Ray Johnston is the founding pastor of Bayside Church in the Sacramento suburb of Granite Bay, and the president of Thriving Churches International—a nondenominational organization with a goal of establishing and strengthening churches around the world. He is the author of This Changes Everything and The Hope Quotient—the source of this week's readings. Ray and his wife, Carol, have four children.
What he Said … Where's the Hope?
Anyone who has been to a Christian wedding has heard this famous Bible verse: "And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love" (1 Cor. 13:13, NIV). Christians and Christianity will never thrive without all three. However, the Christian church has spent years majoring on two and leaving hope out of the equation.
We major in faith. Every church has a statement of faith. You can't get hired to work at a church without agreeing to one. You could fill stadiums with books on faith. I crammed three years of seminary into five years to study the Christian faith.
We major in love. We sing about it, talk about it, practice it, and fill libraries with books about it, and nearly every movie has it as a theme. Faith and love get a lot of attention.
Few ever talk about hope. There are no classes on it. There are no Statements of Hope. God puts it in the list of the top three human essentials, yet for decades we have left it on the shelf.