Tuesday, May 10, 2005

"Therefore, We Have Hope" by Jack Reese

Lesson 1: Why Our Children are Leaving HERE
Lesson 2-1: A People of Peace HERE
Lesson 2-2: A People of Peace Part 2 HERE

“Therefore, We Have Hope” is part 3 (the final part) in Jack Reese’s three-part class from the Pepperdine Lectures 2005 in Malibu, California. I have shortened this one way down, so you’ll really need to hear it to get the whole thing. Sorry for not including everything! I can send you an mp3 of it if you really want more.

The church faces threats that imperil our witness and our future.

Things are not what they used to be. The future will not look like it has in the past anymore. As a result, public rhetoric in the church has grown heated. Meaningful communication has ceased. Some are even advocating further division while others shrug at the division they believe has already occurred. The church is fragmented. Christ’s body, broken. For this very reason, there is cause for hope.

In recognizing our brokenness, there is hope for us. The moment we think we can figure it out; that we can put it together; that we can patch it up; that we can heal things; if we can just find the right methods and modes of conflict resolution; that somehow, we can put it all together, we are in trouble indeed.

The moment we recognize, “Yeah, we’re messed up folks…” there is great hope. Because it is within those circumstances that lie the seeds of opportunity. We’re not good enough. We’re not bright enough. We’re not wise enough to repair what we have damaged. It is here that God has done his greatest work.

In every epistle you can see the letter growing out of conflict and coming back to the hope that is possible because of God’s power in the midst of conflict.

Jack has spent most of his life in ministry. He has spent most of that ministry afraid.
  • Afraid of someone criticizing what he said or did.
  • Afraid of confronting someone who was acting inappropriately.
  • Afraid of confrontation and criticism.
He admits he will always have a measure of fear, but he is less afraid now than he has been in a long time. His perspective has changed. It’s like the nurse who is squeamish in medical school at the sight of blood, but over time becomes used to the sight and is less and less squeamish. He hopes it is not callousness that he has grown, but that it is just seeing people differently.
  • After holding the hand of a man dying of cancer take his last breath.
  • After performing the funeral of 3-year-olds.
  • After seeing people in the midst of arguing over a divorce settlement.
  • After having conversation with someone who is dealing with sexual abuse.
  • After having conversation with men and women dealing with shocking racism in our churches still today.
  • After receiving too many anonymous letters questioning his sanity and faith.
  • After attacks in the foyer of his character and beliefs.
  • After too many curt words on the phone from people he’s never met.
  • After witnessing too many lives destroyed in the church…
He sees people with new eyes.
People are weak and broken. We are sinners. It is liberating!

No longer does Jack see dangerous enemies, but people who are hurting and in need of prayer.
I am a member of a community of brokenness. We need to be able to find healing and it gives him hope. But it takes boldness and work.

We need to find ourselves in our fellowship able to say to those who are creating discord among us, “We will no longer support with our presence and our money those kinds of activities…we won’t do it anymore.”

There are times that elders have to say to preachers who are divisive in their language and in their sermons, “not here, not now, no more.”

There are times that we say to our members, “We will not allow you to attack our ministers and our leadership anymore with your hurtful words. No more.”

There are times that we say to those in their journals, who say and spread unkind, unfair, hurtful, damaging things about others and perpetuate gossip, who make accusations against people whom they’ve never met, with whom they’ve never prayed…there are times to say, “No more…This is not sound doctrine…This is not healthy teaching. No more.” For those journals that call for division and advocate division over issues that are not related to the essence of the gospel, there are times to say, “I’m not going to subscribe anymore. I will not participate in it.”

There are times that we sow peace and disconnect from these kinds of things so that we may, therefore, have hope.

Again, I am sorry I shortened this one so much, but it is worth hearing Jack speak the words in his voice...get the CD's in this set...you won't be disappointed! Thank you, Jack for your great wisdom in these lessons.