Monday, November 3

Hope begins-Week 1.1

I guess since it's still Monday, November 3 I can say I made my promise about starting the book study today. We won't think about the fact that it's after 10 and some of you more responsible types are already in bed :) Let me preface this by saying I am always open to suggestions, and things may change as we go. I've been a part of book studies/clubs and even led them, but I've never been part of one via someone's blog, so I feel a little baffled by it. My plan is to do summarize/reflect/quote three times a week throughout the course of the five week study and then include questions that people can answer in the comments area. Feel free to comment on comments and let follow-up conversation happen there. Also, answer one or all or...whatever you want! That sounds like a good place to start, yeah?

"Hope Lives" challenges us as Christians to focus on becoming what God is calling us to be. This book demands that you interrupt your busy life and embark on a spiritual journey to know the poor through God's eyes, through his words...It is my greatest desire that this book will help you develop a deeper relationship with God and, in doing so, ignite a natural response and a passion to serve the poor as God directs" (Wes Stafford in the Foreword 5)
Week One: The Poverty of the Heart
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." -Micah 6:8
We have so much, don't we? No matter where we are today, we are not one of the 1.2 BILLION in the world living in extreme poverty on less than a dollar a day. Just think-if you bought this book, even if it was on amazon or some other such place, you spent potentially the equivalent of three months income for 1.2 billion humans. Doesn't that just blow your mind?!? For a book! For many, life is very hard...."and I don't know how to take it. I want to throw up my hands and accuse God or someone or something" (12). And yet here in America, even with the threat of economic crisis looming, we are experiencing a very different story. Comparatively, "we are thriving...we have more material wealth than any other generation in history....megacorps and megamalls and megachurches. My church buddies and I are thriving, too--we have our many church meetings, our building campaigns, our community outreaches playing Frisbee at the park with Starbucks afterward" (13).
"Is this pleasing to God? Is this his vision of what his world should look like?"
God said to the Israelites in Isaiah 58: "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter--when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Amber asks, "What does God want from me, from his people? What is true fasting, true religion...What if, like the Israelites, my spiritual service is a bit too tidy? a bit too focused on me? What if all this time I've been polishing myself up to exhibit spiritual excellence--like it's some precious jewel--when what God really wanted was something wholly different? Not to stay home perfecting myself, but to go out into the world" (16).
*You may also answer any of the questions throughout the summary/quotes.
1. What about Isaiah 58 challenges you?
2. Why are you reading this book? What interests you about it? What are you hoping for?
3. What do you believe God wants from you at this moment in time?
I'm excited!!! Thanks for doing this with me!

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paraguayalyssa said...

I have the coolest sister in the ENTIRE world. And I'd totally fight about it. With words. I'm really a wimp when things get physical. Nothing personal, D, but I'd really bring dishonor to the Lugbill name if I tried.

Linda Breuer said...

Hey Danielle, I have the book and I am behind already! I have just read and will have to get back to the questions.
However I already was wondering why I spent 10 dollars at Ritters!

Danielle said...

What's that statistic about how much Americans spend on ice cream? I think it's something like we could wipe out poverty....or something. Anyone know?

By the way, with how life is lately, I'll probably only post at the beginning and end of each week, so you have a couple of days to catch up :)

And thanks, Alyssa. I'm all talk too when it comes to physical fighting....except for that time when we were young. Sorry about that.

jill coen said...

Okay, I'm a slacker, but I want to do this with ya'll. I'll be back....