Stories Of Hope

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!

1 Chronicles 16:34

As a church, we had a great Easter weekend! We engaged with so many people through working with Christ Church and having our Easter Egg Hunts across the estate. Our Sunday Celebration was a wonderful mix of prayer and worship, a community meal and cardboard testimonies, or #storiesofhope, that showcased what Jesus had done in everyone’s lives.

For those who have followed along with the blogs over Lent, know that I have personally been convinced to get closer to God and my faith by reading the Bible. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years, reading the Bible from cover to cover, but have never ‘had the time’. Last week I took a break from reading it chronologically and read the passages by the 4 Gospels that lay out what happened from Palm Sunday until Easter Sunday. Now I know the story of Easter, I’ve heard it every year since I was born pretty much, but reading it for myself, in my own time and really studying the text, not just being read it at a service, really hit differently.

Following the high of Palm Sunday and how well He was received, it intimidated those of high standing in society, so they tried to test Him multiple times. But know what He was tasked to do, it never shook Him. Jesus knew He was going to be betrayed, for a mere 30 pieces of silver. He also knew He was going to be denied. Even telling those would would betray and deny Him, to go and do what they needed to do, so He could fulfil His part. He knew the kind of death that awaited him. And yet, he walked willingly to His death. Knowing everything He knew and how much it would hurt, He still got together those He loved the most, to break bread and washed their feet, showing them all His love. And it really just made me stop and think how wonderful He is. How much love He has for us. And it made me love Him SO much more!

And in that love, I feel so much more connected to my faith and therefore much more confident in who I am and less worried about what others think. I am more confident as a child of God, in who He made me to be. It’s something that I have been working on over the last couple of years, but I have really felt a shift, specifically over Lent, from the New Wine Leadership Conference, all the way to now. He has helped me become sure in myself and who I am. And honestly, I’m proud of that growth.

The great thing is, He has done so many wonderful things in all of our lives and it was amazing to see what everyone picked out to share on their cardboard. Some people felt more confident in themselves like I do, others feel more hopeful, know what their purpose is, feel free of their burdens. Seeing all of the images of the cardboards really helps hit home how lucky we are to have such a merciful, loving, faithful God.

We love and thank you Lord!

A prayer of thanksgiving:

Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we, your unworthy servants give you our most humble and hearty thanks for all your goodness and loving-kindness to us all. We thank you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings in our lives; but above all for your unfathomable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And we pray that you allow us to see all your mercies, that our hearts may be genuinely thankful, and that we declare your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives; by giving up ourselves to do for us and with us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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