When the World Is In Chaos, Jesus Is Our Only Hope

132 people, killed in Paris, France in multiple, coordinated terrorist attacks. 19 dead in Baghdad, Iraq, killed by a suicide bomber just six days after another 12 were killed in that city by multiple bombs. 43 dead in Beirut, Lebanon because of two suicide bombers. 12 dead in Mogadishu, Somalia as terrorists attacked a hotel. 224 dead in a plane crash in Sinai, Egypt in a terrorist attack. Pakistan… Nigeria… Turkey… Israel… Yemen… Syria… Thailand… and the list goes on.

There have been at least 289 terrorist attacks on this planet, this year alone. Most Americans are isolated, or at least fairly insulated, from these incidents. But we have our own history – the Boston Marathon bombings, the Charleston church shootings, the Oklahoma City bombing, the September 11 attacks… we are not immune.

The world is in chaos. And this isn’t a new development. The brutality of past world wars, the history of constant conflict in the middle east, the imperialism of European powers, waves of persecution and ethnic cleansing… these issues date back hundreds and even thousands of years. We like to believe we’ve been enlightened, that we’ve evolved past our violent ways, but we are stuck. We are human. We are broken. We are always in conflict, always at war, always in chaos.

Is there hope?

Nearly two thousand years ago, people were asking that same question. In a land where Rome overruled the various factions in conflict in Israel, Jesus came preaching the gospel – the good news that the Jews’ Messiah had finally come to offer himself as their Redeemer and Savior. His apostle, Matthew, wrote one of his biographies and included a reference to an ancient prophecy about the coming of the King. That prophecy gives us tremendous hope, even with the continual threat of war and terrorism.

Look at my servant, whom I have chosen.
He is my beloved, who pleases me.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
He will not fight or shout
or raise his voice in public.
He will not crush the weakest reed
or put out a flickering candle.
Finally he will cause justice to be victorious.
And his name will be the hope
of all the world.

– Matthew 12:18-21, quoting Isaiah 42:1-4

If we think Jesus’ purpose was to put an end to terror immediately using military means, we’ll miss the point and conclude that his mission was an utter failure. But if, instead, we understand that there was a deeply spiritual purpose behind all that happened to Jesus, we’ll discover the ultimate hope.

He didn’t come to fight a military battle (at least not the first time he came), but somehow, because of him, justice will eventually be victorious. That’s what we want, isn’t it? We want the terrorists to be stopped, the innocent to be rescued, and the victims to be vindicated. We want peace. We crave unity in a world of constant cross-cultural and ethnic tension. And Jesus will indeed bring it to pass. He is our one and only hope! But the time isn’t yet.

You see, Jesus understood that it wasn’t just the terrorists who are lost and broken in sin. It’s all of us. We’ve all gone astray. We’ve all succumbed to pride, to lust, to anger. We’ve all lied and used deception to gain an advantage over others. We’ve all failed. We’ve all blown it. And justice means we all deserve some level of punishment, some measure of God’s wrath.

So Jesus fixed the world’s greatest problems not with an all-out military blitz, but with a cross and an empty tomb. He died to provide himself as a ransom, a sacrifice for the penalty incurred by our sins. Then he rose again and commissioned the church to carry out his special orders – go into all the world and tell every single people group the good news! And when this task is complete, when as many people as possible have had the opportunity to come to know the King, he will return.

So if you’re on the outside, looking at Christianity as a skeptic, know that the reason Jesus hasn’t fixed it all yet is that he’s waiting for you to come to know him. Along with your friends and your family members. Along with everyone trapped in every kind of deception, moral, religious, political, or otherwise. He’s waiting for the communist and the terrorist, the Muslim and the Hindu, the atheist and the agnostic, to have the opportunity to discover personal peace and hope through a personal relationship with him. Donald Trump may want to “bomb the $#!%” out of them” but Jesus would rather save them.

So we who have chosen to know and follow him, find hope in him. We are sure that his life, death, and resurrection have changed everything. You don’t have to believe this. He won’t make you. He won’t bruise you or force you or coerce you. That isn’t his way. But he does invite you. He does welcome you home to hope.

The choice is entirely yours. It is Christ, or it is chaos. People have decided for thousands of years to skip God and put their hope in humanity, and for thousands of years, we’re continually disappointed. I’m placing my faith in Jesus. And I’m absolutely sure he is the hope that you and I need!

This Coming Weekend: How to Have Hope Every Day

Easter offers us hope for the forgiveness of sin and for eternal life. But there is more! God offers us some huge reasons to have hope every single day! In part two of Why We Hope, coming up this Sunday at Grace Hills, we’ll look at the three big gifts Jesus gives today to help us live with hope every day no matter what:

  • His Word (the Bible)
  • His Spirit (the Holy Spirit)
  • His People (the Church)

We’ll define and discover how to take full advantage of each.

You can always help us spread the word by visiting our Facebook page and clicking “Like” on the current weekend preview video.

Easter Means Healing Now, Hope Forever

Let me focus in for a moment on Simon Peter, one of the key disciples surrounding Jesus. You may know the story by heart in which Peter asserted that He would never dessert the Lord Jesus, to which Jesus replied, “Before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times.” Sure enough, Peter forsook his allegiance to the Lord Jesus and denied Him, even cursing, to distance Himself from the cross.

For Peter, the story didn’t end there. There was a time of restoration and healing. Two elements would dominate Peter’s life for the rest of his existence. First, healing now. Second, hope forever!

Let’s listen to the heart of one man who was radically changed by the first Easter… one man who would never be the same again…

Continue reading Easter Means Healing Now, Hope Forever

This Mess Called Marriage

SchützenfestAre you happily married? If you’re smart (and you’ve been married more than two years), you’ll realize that’s a question that depends on how things are going in the moment. Am I happily married? I am today – not sure about tomorrow. But I am securely and joyfully married.

Continue reading This Mess Called Marriage

Christmas Sermon Series: GOOD TIMES

Note: Yes! Feel free to use anything you find here. Permission granted!

Good Times Christmas Sermon SeriesThese are tough times in many respects, but for the believer, they are also really good times in terms of some of the great opportunities God has brought our way. With our entering the holiday season, approaching the celebration of the birth of Christ, I wanted to present the really good news of Christmas in the midst of a world of scrooges. While most people are saying “Bah! Humbug!,” Christians ought to be saying, “Thank you God for being so good!”

So here is the series…


Christmas is a Good Time for Family.

We emphasize gathering with our relatives, but we also belong in God’s family. We believe the truth together, behave in holiness together, and belong together for all eternity. (1 Peter 1:18-25)

Christmas is a Good Time for Giving.

Christmas usually brings out the giving nature in us. Jesus said it’s “more blessed to give than to receive” and the New Testament is full of examples of churches that were enduring poverty and persecution, yet dug deep into their pockets to support the family of God across the Mediterranean.

Christmas is a Good Time for Hope.

All of the Jews placed their hopes in the coming of Messiah. Jesus’ mother Mary said about His birth, “He has fulfilled the hope of His people.” And today, we hope still. Part of our hope (of forgiveness) is fulfilled in Jesus’ death and resurrection, but we still hope for His second coming and final deliverance of His people.

Christmas is a Good Time for Receiving.

Is it not interesting that while giving a gift brings us joy, receiving a gift forces humility? It’s almost awkward to open a gift because of our feeling of unworthiness. Jesus said when He came to earth the first time – God’s Son wrapped in flesh – His own people did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, “to them gave He power to become the children of God.” Why not receive the greatest gift of all – the gift of eternal life?

My hope and prayer, for this and every sermon series I ever preach, is that God will use it to draw people into a relationship with Himself and into a church family. May God bless these weeks together!

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