Monday, January 10, 2011

There is Hope

A sermon developed by Dr. Terry W. Dorsett based on Jeremiah 29:11-13 and preached at Faith Community Church, Barre, VT, on December 29, 2010.

Jeremiah 29:11-13
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

• This passage was written by the prophet Jeremiah approximately 600 years before Christ was born.
• Most of Jeremiah’s friends had abandoned all faith in God and were focused on doing whatever they wanted to instead of following the Lord.
• Jeremiah was watching everything around him fall apart.
• Jeremiah’s situation is not that much different than our own.
• Today’s teens see few of their peers acting like Christians or following any kind of faith.
• On April 29, 2010, the USA Today newspaper reported that a recent survey of 18-29 year olds discovered:
• 65% rarely or never pray with others, and 38% almost never pray by themselves either.
• 65% rarely or never attend worship services.
• 67% don't read the Bible or any sacred texts.
• Today’s teenagers are entering adulthood at a time in which jobs are scarce and the cost of living is going up.
• Today’s teenagers see their nation mocked around the world by terrorists sworn to destroy us.
• It would be extremely easy for today’s teens to become discouraged about life and become filled with bitterness and anger.
• And yet, there is hope . . . .

Verse 11 - For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
• God spoke to Jeremiah and reminded him that God had big plans for Jeremiah.
• God’s plan was to prosper Jeremiah, not to harm him.
• Though Jeremiah went through some very difficult times that FELT harmful, in the end, God worked out all that stuff for good.
• We often go through difficult times in life.
• We may wonder how those difficult things will work out, but we must remember that God never stops working behind the scenes to convert difficult situations into good results.
• We have to trust God and wait for His timing.
• God’s plan includes hope. What is hope?
• Sometimes we focus on the mistakes or difficulties of our past, which leaves us feeling frustrated.
• God’s plan focuses on the future.
• Why must we focus on the future?
• We must learn to look beyond past frustration and find hope in every situation.
• We must learn from the past but not be trapped by the past.
• We must look to the future and walk forward boldly trusting God to guide us along the way.

Verse 12 - Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
• The way we will find hope in difficult times is to call upon the Lord.
• When we talk to the Lord, He takes away frustration, fear, anxiety, anger, stress and other negative emotions and replaces it with hope.
• Prayer can make a real difference in our lives if we will practice it regularly.
• Sometimes we may wonder if God really hears our prayers. This verse reminds us that God does listen to us when we pray to Him.
• God not only listens, God answers!
• How does God answer prayer?
• God answers prayer through the Bible, the church, circumstances and through the Holy Spirit. We must learn to listen to His voice.

Verse 13 - You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
• Perhaps we have tried to pray in the past and it did not seem like God heard us.
• Perhaps we tried to listen to God speak but just couldn’t seem to hear His voice clearly.
• This verse reminds us that we will find God when we seek Him with ALL our heart.
• If we are honest we would have to admit that we seldom seek God with ALL our heart.
• We tend to give God our leftovers.
• We give God our leftover time.
• We give God our leftover energy.
• We give God our leftover talents.
• And when we do not have any leftovers, then we give God nothing.
• If we want the hope for the future that God promises, we must give God more than leftovers.
• How can we give God more than leftovers?
• There are many ways we can do this, but it starts with having a real relationship with Jesus Christ.
• We must have more than just ritualistic religion.
• We must have a real relationship with Jesus Christ that begins with an acceptance of who He is and what He has done for us.
• Once we have a relationship with Christ by accepting Him as Lord and Savior, then we can grow in our relationship with Him.
• We grow through having a daily quiet time of Bible reading and prayer.
• We grow by REALLY worshipping Him at church.
• We grow though baptism, communion and similar spiritual experiences.
• We grow by looking for ways to include God in our daily lives, not just when we are at church.

• The world can be a rough place but we can face the world with hope for the future.
• Hope for the future comes when we pray about our decisions.
• Hope for the future comes when we listen to what God says to us in our lives.
• Hope for the future is strongest when we seek God with all our hearts instead of just with our leftover energy, time, efforts, etc.


  1. Ok you need to video your sermons so we can watch them on facebook. I live in WV and would love to hear this sermon.

  2. he does Carla I could send them to you!!

  3. That would be awesome Nancy...

  4. Carla and Nancy,
    The church does video the Sunday morning sermon and we make DVD's of them for people who want a copy. However, this particular sermon was actually from a Wednesday night youth service and was not recorded. Sorry.......

  5. I like this.

  6. I think it would be good for adults too!! I love this Verse. Alot to learn from it :) ~ Thank you Pastor.