"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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