Hope.

Today I enjoyed a much-needed, undeserved day off. I sat in the backyard on a swing, overlooking the lake, on a miraculously non-humid breezy July day.

While I sat out there, marveling in the great gifts God chose to bestow on me today, my soul came alive again. It wasn’t just from the beyond perfect scenery, or fact that I finally was making myself rest, though I know that was part of it.

This summer has been incredible. The Lord has taught me so much, and I do so love my job. I get to work at a seriously fun and intentional summer camp, and I get paid for it. Dream job.

But I get tired. I get discouraged when I don’t see change in girls I pray for, or when I don’t know what to do next, or when I miss my friends, or when I realize my family is on its fourth vacation of the summer now, and I’m missing it again. ((I hate missing things!))

Today the Lord reminded me what makes my heart come alive. I remembered that though this summer has been good, and I have been walking with the Lord, I still tend to get caught up in all the work. “Doing ministry work” is a poor excuse for trading a relationship with the Lord.

I started reading this book today:

This has been on my “must read” list for some time. Most people read it when it first came out, two years ago. Still, an updated edition was released in 2012, so I suppose I can still be relevant. I really don’t know if any other book has come so highly recommended.

Barely past the introduction, I see why.

The author poses a simple question: “Why did Jesus come to earth?”

Based on Jesus’ reading in the temple from Isaiah in Luke 4:17-21, here is the authors’ response:

The mission of Jesus was and is to preach the good news of the kingdom of God, to say to one and all, “I am the King of kings and Lord of lords, and I am using My power to fix everything that sin has ruined.” As pastor and theologian Tim Keller states, “The kingdom is the renewal of the whole world through the entrance of supernatural forces. As things are brought back under Christ’s rule and authority, they are restored to health, beauty, and freedom.” (location: 489-493, chapter 1)

Without a doubt, Jesus came to save sinners. He also came to restore, redeem, and fix all that has been broken by the curse. He makes all things new! The brokenness of this world is evident everywhere. But hope- hope is also just around every corner! Jesus has come to bring us hope! He came to restore!

Glimpses of this Kingdom-hope are everywhere. I see it in a story of adoption. A lingering conversation full of laughter with lifelong friends over dinner. A marriage celebration. A beautiful breezy summer day. Fresh, just off the vine blueberries.

Every good and perfect gift is from above. I want to join, with even more investment, into this beautiful holistic restoration story God is weaving.

In summary, our message to you is this: Quadruple your efforts to help the poor and do so immediately. Just consider doing things differently than you have in the past. (location: 268-269, preface)

The Lord is gently reminding me of my passions and my purpose. He is gently nudging me away from the wind I too eagerly chase, and back toward what is eternal, unfading, andΒ whole. I know that as I prayerfully consider “what to do next,” this will be more than a small factor.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has annointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor…” -Jesus, quoting Isaiah’s Messianic prophecy in Luke 4:18-19

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