Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. This means that hope must precede faith. Our faith in God revealed in Jesus is rooted and grounded on the deepest hopes of our hearts and minds. The dreams of a better world that stir our imagination. These are the dreams of Abraham and Sarah, the dreams of King David, the dreams of the prophets, the dreams of Joseph and Mary and the Shepherds and the Wise Men. These are the dreams of Jesus and the Apostles – the dreams of God’s kingdom manifest on earth as it is in heaven.
You and I, by virtue of our calling and baptism into Christ, are co-creators with God of bringing this dream to reality. This church exists so that we can hear the dreams of old, have our own imaginations stirred, and invite our neighbors to work alongside us for the healing of the nations – the way of God’s shalom.
As you enter into this Advent season, what are your dreams? What is your hope, of which your faith in God will be the assurance?
As a prayer for God’s fulfilling these hopes and dreams, we light the candle of Hope.
(The first purple candle is lit as the hymn is sung.)
I’m grateful for the new opportunity for partnership in congregational ministry with Central Christian Church. There are so many great things about this congregation that intrigue me. Most importantly – They are hopeful, eager, even hungry to grow their ministries in ways that deepen and broaden the life-transforming impact of the gospel of Jesus Christ alive in and through them by the power of the Holy Spirit. In addition:
They have strong participation from their members in programming and events outside of Sunday morning – both on campus and in the community. They celebrated 10 years of hosting Dallas’ best dog park on their campus – providing space for their neighbors to create and experience community. They have partnered with Hispanic and Ethiopian Christian congregations on their campus. They are open and inclusive across all aspects of congregational life and leadership. They have a traditional service with great music – and have already incorporated AV technology into their sanctuary. They recognize the equal partnership in ministry between clergy and laity. They have partnered with @Connecting Point of Park Cities – a ministry that provides weekday programming for adults with severe physical and developmental disabilities. They provide a safe meeting place for one of the region’s strongest LGBTQ welcoming AA groups. They have organized and hosted theatre productions that included professional directors, crew and actors. They are a congregation of multitalented individuals who seem eager to see how God might use them in new and expanding ways. They have a building and campus ready for innovative ways to extend their ministry beyond its current reach.