Making a Difference ... We met with our 20 -30 year olds after church yesterday and learned something interesting. After asking what they find most meaningful about church, they unanimously agreed ... it was the opportunities the church offered them to serve others and make a difference.
If only this could be common place amongst all churches ... instead of playing politics. What a different country we would have!
Let's work together to provide hope to all the needy we are able to reach. Race, religion and education do not matter. Our young people want to do these things. They want to put Matthew 25:31-40 into action. Imagine if each of our churches built a repuatation as the place that provides opportunities for all folks, church attenders or not, to reach out to the needy.
Lets make it happen. Tell us your story as we need stories of hope to share amidst the negativity of the world in which we live. We will publish it as an example of what other places of worship can accomplish, like to story of "L" below. Confidentiality, of course, will be protected.
Let's join our young people, who want to "Make a Difference" in doing just that. Hope is Seen in 2018. Hope is seen!!!
Looking forward to reading your stories of Hope.
Please write to: TimFerguson@Christianyouthgroup.org
A little Love, care and the gospel can go a long way ... see the story of L. below...
The Hope Page:
Married at the young age of 19 and L. remained faithful to her Jewish roots, attending services at Temple Emanuel of NYC. She worked in New York's Garment District making ladies belts and became a supervisor for the last 10 years of her employment but had to retire to take are of her ailing Mother, honoring both her mother and father in every way she could. Now a senior citizen herself, she lives on a low, fixed income and finds it very challenging to make ends meet. L. survived not one but two battles with cancer and her illnesses drained what little savings she had tucked away.
One day while taking a walk in her neighborhood, L. noticed a line bending round the corner of her lower east side New York City neighborhood. Inquiring what it was all about, she was informed that it was food distribution for those in need. The line was part of a group of caring Christian individuals, who take the passage in Matthew 25 very much to heart.
L. was particularly happy to learn that special privileges were given to Senior Citizens who could qualify by providing just proof of address from social security and she quickly became a part of Hope For The Future seniors group.
She can always be found at our Church
Without Walls services and rarely misses a meeting, stating that she has found hope in the
ministry, which has become her family. Yes Hope is Seen in 2018. May we all take Matthew 25:31- 46 to heart and continue to provide hope to those most in need.
An Inoculation of Hope ... Give it a try.
Why is it hard to find hope? Perhaps we need someone to inspire hope in us?
Pastor Jada Hodgson writes ...
"Sometimes it seems different generations are from different worlds. If Tim and Mattpaul can speak with one another, perhaps we can speak and learn generation to generation... I am grateful for this book. It is a good story, well told and delightfully illustrated."
Pastor Dianne Dunne writes ... "The Chest Of Visions is an excellent tool to reach our youth today."
Lee Ashford of Reader's Favorite summarizes his review by stating: "If read in its entirety, and considered prayerfully, "Chest of Visions" should be acknowledged as a significant step forward in Youth Group Study Guides."
No question ... Jesus Christ is our hope but a little inspiration from a messenger of hope can go a long way. A young man Alex, who has written on our blogs, stated at one time "I need an inoculation of hope. He then talks of how members of his youth group are praying for him. Where does he ultimately find his "inoculation of hope"?
From reading the story of Mattpaul in "The Chest of Visions". Mattpaul - a young man, whose faith changes his world. Don't miss this opportunity to find an inoculation of hope for yourself.
The young man Mattpaul inspired hope in his world. His story will do the same for
us.The story is now expanded from Chest of Visions: Secrets of Caperston through Chest of Visions: New Pathways 'Cross Broken Highways.
Start with the published book , Click: The Chest of Visions
TheChest of Visions: New Pathways 'Cross Broken Highways is available but is not fully published. If you are interested in this follow up to the story, please let us know by writing to: Timferguson@christianyouthgroup.org
New Hope for 2018
When I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960's our small church helped assist a missionary in the heart of Africa. His family had been there for a few years and, although our support was modest, we could call this family our own.
The family visited with us once, as I recall, for a weekend and shared stories of people who were no longer cannibalistic in nature but were now loving children of God. But, though spiritually better off, were they actually better off.? They remained in poverty with a life expectancy of about two thirds of that of an American. Of course there was no internet and few televisions or even movie theaters in these poverty stricken regions. So, in the 1950s and 1960s, they did not know the opulent world from which their caring missionaries came.
The Apostle Paul, in one of the most read portions of the Bible (I Corinthians Chapter 13), adds a most interesting sentence near the end of the chapter. I Corinthians 13 is the wonderful description of love often read at weddings. The second to last verse in the chapter reads:
"For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known".
There are many commentaries about this passage, most feeling Paul is talking about understanding why everything happens as it does when Christ returns at the end of the ages. However, if we allow the Holy Spirit to open our minds perhaps this verse is an awakening call to Christians.
"Now I see through a glass darkly" - the fact that we have viewed the world through the eyes of the missionary ... share the gospel story for that is really all they need.
"but then face to face"- until we see those in need materially, socially and spiritually, we really cannot provide Hope for them
"but then shall I know even as I am known" - in this day we cannot hide out lavish life style from others. The world knows us as we know ourselves.
We no longer in a "we only" world. That is the reality of life. Unless you are a Native American everyone of us is a descendent of an immigrant. That is the truth of the matter and we can no longer live our lives "seeing through the glass darkly".
Hope can only be seen when we open our eyes to see it.
In Matthew 28:19-20, just before his ascension, Jesus calls his disciples and, thus, us to "Go teach all nations the things I have taught and commanded you" . Note the command is to reach out ALL nations and teach what I have taught you. All nations includes the United States of America.
One of the stories Jesus used as a teaching tool can also be found in Matthew 25:31-40. He tells of the future and says
"For I was hungry and you gave me meat; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; Naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came up to me."
And the righteous came to him and said, "When did we do these things for you, Lord?" And the King answered "When you did it to the least of my brethren, you did it to me".
This scripture is clear and one of the individuals to be cared for is the stranger who we are commanded to "take in".
Hope is Seen in 2018 as the Christian church no longer sees through the glass darkly and takes a stand asking our government to abide more closely to Jesus Christ's teachings about those in need including the "strangers" that we are "to take in".
Now many will call this wishful thinking and a practical application of Christ's teachings in the modern world is indeed a challenge. Despite claims being made that drug dealers and terrorists are coming through our borders statistics clearly state the contrary.
Below are some facts which, I admit, I did not know:
Per "AP FACT CHECK: Donald Trump on immigration"' Associated Press, September 1, 2016":
Unauthorized immigration is at its lowest level since 1972. The only increase in arrivals are unaccompanied children fleeing gang violence and drug cartels in Central America.
More Mexicans have been leaving our country in recent years than arriving at our border.
Per the New York Times, "Contrary to Trump's Claims, Immigrants Are Less Likely to Commit Crimes" dated Jan. 26, 2017:
"Analyses of census data from 1980 through 2010 show that among men ages 18 to 49, immigrants were one-half to one-fifth as likely to be incarcerated as those born in the United States."
Hope is Seen in 2018 as Christians no longer see through the glass darkly. Call your congressman and senator and ask them to get working on Immigration Reform based on the above facts and Christ's call in Matthew 25:31-40.
The challenges of providing Christian hope are seen around the world. Hope arrives when we put Matthew 25:31-46 into practice.
" "For I was hungry and you gave me meat; thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you took me in.
I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me and in prison and you visited me..." (Matthew 25: 35-36)
Jesus never advises his followers that they are only to assist the needs of their own people. In fact the command "love your neighbor as you would love yourself" applies to all people of all races and religions.
What is hopeful about this picture?
Should we consider people using these tents as permanent housing fitting the description of the needy in Matthew 25?"
What if every Christian in the world committed themselves to assisting these people to escape these horrific living conditions?
Christians have a chance to make a life-changing statement and having such a chance is hopeful.
Interested? Write to us at Timferguson@christianyouthgroup.org and we will tell you where the picture was taken and what each of us, as a group of caring people, can do about this.
More Hope: 37 Words of Hope that allow the storms of life to pass us by and that, when it rains, we will know how to dance through the raindrops.
Read this story of Hope as shared on April 8, 2018 at:
The Healing Power of Love
More hope is described in:
Stories listed below
In response of Americans demanding some change in Gun Laws. See: Analysis of Change We look at all sides of the discussion.
The Inoculation of Hope theme in "The Chest of Visions". Read how a youth changed his community through his life of faith.
Organizations like Hope for the Future: story below.
Are you a participant in change? Simple ways to bring about change below.
Hope is Seen in 2018
I sat on the lift and rose over 1,200 feet in altitude over snow covered trails with the hope that the mountain would once again be there. When I turned to the left off the lift, just as I had done twenty years before, I looked out to the horizon ...
A peace came across my mind as down the trail I skied, singing the Andy Williams song "Born free, as free as the wind blows; as free as the grass grows; born free to follow your heart."
Jennifer Joni Thomas shared the below story. Is this not one aspect of Hope, the willingness of a person or, in this case, a group of people to step forward to assist those in need? Jennifer's world is now such a better place due to caring friends taking action.
"The one car my family depends on got stolen and, while I was sad, I did not shed a tear coz, you know stuff like this happens. I had to stay strong for the crumbling hubby and tearful kids! So my car shuttle me to work and kids to school and then hubby to work, so ya it was hard.
I shared what had happened to few work mates, coz they would need to know why I was gonna be late. Truly I did not expect anything at all. What I did not know was that madam @weiiitan started a lil group with the HB family to help out, and, yes, I was so not aware of all this.
A short time ago they surprised me with this card on my table and a print out is a banked in slip inside this card!! I freaked out, all I could remember was screaming and balling out like a baby. They had collected so much and enough for us to get a way better car than we could have ever expected.
Yes they all chipped in and collected a really good amount!! I was so crazy blown away, seriously can you ever get better than this?? This is not a work place; they are not my work mates; they are my Work Family!!
They not only took it upon themselves to walk with me but to truly go through this with my whole family!!! I still can't believe it and truly HB is starting such a new work culture!! These people are the real deal and I am forever grateful!!
Thank you all so very very much!! I am beyond blessed!! So grateful for each one of you!! Thank you God for this crazy bunch!! The best bunch in this world!! Also wanna take this time to honour my sister that helped me so much with her car, and to thank the Hoo sisters and Dora for the other lil surprises that really made my day!! Thank you guys for being the best work family ever!!"
Jennifer - thanks for sharing. It is so nice to hear stories like yours that demonstrate how hope is truly provided one person reaching out to another time and time again.
At times of a world divided as exists today, hope seems far away.
It is good to take time to truly think how much better we would be if we all worked together. The below parable says it very well.
Colors of the Rainbow"The rainbow is a sign of hope for tomorrow." And so,
whenever a good rain washes the world, and a rainbow appears in
the sky, let us remember to appreciate one another."
Once Upon a Rainbow
Once upon a time the colors of the world started to quarrel: all
claimed that they were the best, the most important, the most useful,
Green said, "Clearly I am the most important. I am the sign of
life and hope. I was chosen for grass, trees, leaves without me, all
animals would die. Look over the countryside and you will see that
I am in the majority."
Blue interrupted: "You only think about the earth, but consider
the sky and the sea. It is the water that is the basis of life and drawn
up by the clouds from the deep sea. The sky gives space, peace, and
serenity. Without my peace, you would all be nothing."
Yellow chuckled, "You are all so serious. I bring laughter, gaiety,
and warmth into the world. The sun is yellow, the moon is yellow;
the stars are yellow. Every time you look at a sunflower, the whole
world starts to smile. Without me there would be no fun."
Orange started next to blow her trumpet: "I am the color of
health and strength. I may be scarce but I am precious for I serve
the needs of human life. I carry the most important vitamins.
Think of carrots, pumpkins, oranges, mangoes, and paw paws. I
don't hang around all the time, but when I fill the sky at sunrise or
sunset, my beauty is so striking that no one gives another thought
to any of you."
Red could stand it no longer. He shouted out: "I am the ruler
of all of you. I am blood, life's blood! I am the color of danger
and of bravery. I am willing to fight for a cause. I bring fire into
the blood. Without me, the earth would be as empty as the moon.
I am the color of passion and of love, the red rose, the poinsettia,
and the poppy."
Purple rose up to his full height. He was very tall and spoke with
great pomp: "I am the color of royalty and power. Kings, chiefs, and
bishops have always chosen me for I am the sign of authority and
wisdom. People do not question me; they listen and obey."
Finally Indigo spoke, much more quietly than all the others.
"You hardly notice me, but without me you all become superficial. I
represent thought and reflection, twilight and deep water. You need
me for balance and contrast, for prayer and inner peace."
And so the colors went on boasting, each convinced of his
own superiority. Their quarreling became louder and louder.
Suddenly there was a startling flash of bright lightning, thunder
rolled and boomed. Rain started to pour down relentlessly. The
colors crouched down in fear, drawing close to one another for
comfort. In the midst of the clamor, rain began to speak: "You
foolish colors, fighting amongst yourselves, each trying to dominate
the rest. Don't you know that you were each made for a special
purpose, unique and different? Join hands with one another and
come to me.
Doing as they were told, the colors united and joined hands.
The rain continued, "From now on, when it rains, each of you will
stretch across the sky in a great bow as a reminder that you can all
live in peace. The rainbow is a sign of hope for tomorrow." And so,
whenever a good rain washes the world, and a rainbow appears in
the sky, let us remember to appreciate one another.
While walking to the supermarket to purchase a few groceries, I noticed a written announcement taped to the side of the entrance. Before the New Year, Come MeetGod at the Library Meeting Room. The writing was in black magic marker, neatly written with the word "God" in gold...
A five minute drive to the library brought an unexpected surprise. I anticipated ten to fifteen attendees but, as I approached the front door, there was a line that reached outside the front door.
The rhetoric is too high ... too nasty. Christians, whatever your political persuasion, Christian youth ministry needs Trust and Prayer at this time.
I fear for the future of our world. We need to speak up. Christ calls us in Matthew chapter 25 to reach out to the sick, the needy and those imprisoned unjustly.
This is NOT a liberal issue. It is a Christian issue. Will you pray for wisdom and strength to stop this prejudice?
Comment received from Alex ... "Wouldn't it be nice to just forget the past and move on with a future of hope. However, we live in a world too separated by people with big differences of opinions...." Read more and share. Click: Christians Blog
Speaking of hope, please visit our story of an outdoor soup kitchen in one of the poorest areas of New York City. The title of the article is: Heaven will Know What you did today.
If you live in the metropolitan New York area, particularly on Long Island and are interested in learning more about this ministry, please write to me and I can share much more including opportunities to volunteer to actually work at this special sup kitchen.