Friday, May 24, 2013

Finding Hope in the Midst of Adversity

For eight years I was the bivocational pastor of Faith Community Church in Barre, Vermont. The church started in my home with two other families and eventually grew to over 200 in worship. From the beginning, the congregation tended to attract young people from difficult situations. In time, many of families those young people came from, also found their way into the church. My wife and I, and the other elders, loved them, cared for them, and did all that we could to help them find health and joy through faith in Christ. Many such families were gloriously transformed by the power of the gospel.
While there were numerous means that God used for these transformations, one of them was a focus on finding hope in the midst of adversity. Far too many people think they cannot find hope, joy or peace until all their troubles go away. That is unrealistic. We live a sin-cursed world and trouble is all around us. Part of maturing spiritually is learning to find hope and joy in the midst of all of our struggles.

Part of helping the congregation find hope in the midst of adversity included preaching through various sections of the scriptures that highlighted victory over circumstances. One such series of sermons that I preached at Faith Community Church revolved around the book of Malachi. The study showed how the announcements of coming judgment in Malachi actually contain a thread of hope that helps Christians understand the refining process of adversity. Though learning how to recognize hope in the middle of difficulty can be hard, it is possible. So many people asked for the notes that I published them on my blog, Our church also made a DVD set that sold out each time we did a duplication run. Realizing that these materials seemed to meet a spiritual need in the lives of many people far outside the scope of ministry at Faith Community Church, I decided to put the study into book form. The book is laid out in seven lessons which contain historical context, theological truth and practical application. It can be used individually, or as a small group study. It is my prayer that this book will help people who are experiencing real challenges in their lives find hope through faith in Jesus Christ.
Though I have now moved away from Faith Community Church, my heart still aches for those going through deep pain and adversity. In my new church planting ministry in the greater Hartford, Connecticut area, I continue to meet people who have been beat up by the struggles of life and need hope. I pray that God continues to use this book to help people find hope in Him. All of the proceeds from the sale of the book support our family’s ministry to hurting people.

I encourage you to check out this Bible study at one of the links below:

Digital version:

Print version:

1 comment:

  1. The Bible study is great! I loved going through it.