Feb 23 2017
Here’s the backstory to the teaser. As a small church pastor, I am, by necessity, a generalist. To use a common metaphor, I have to spend a lot of time working in the boat, and that means I don’t have a whole lot of time to work on the boat.
But next week I’m going on vacation, and that means that I haven’t had to worry about the little details of this week’s service. So I’ve spent a bunch of time and had a bunch of conversations with folks that have helped me refocus on the big picture of Parkland.
I’m a big Star Wars fan, so my current favourite movie is Rogue One. That will be true until December when The Last Jedi comes out. Anyway, there’s a line in Rogue One that two characters say: “Rebellions are built on hope.” And what was true a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away of a movement to unseat the Galactic Empire is equally true right now of our galaxy.
As Christians, we are fighting a rebellion, not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of darkness. We provide a desperate world with the one thing it can’t get elsewhere: hope. We believe that there’s a better king and a better kingdom, one that will overcome all the evil we see around us and result in the full expression of God’s design.
And the truth is that we, at Parkland, have a lot of reasons to have hope. Sometimes we forget that. Sometimes it’s hard to see that God has a bright kingdom future in store for us. But he does.
Parkland is uniquely positioned at this moment to see God work in amazing ways. We have incredible people who love Jesus and want to see his kingdom come. We have a building that allows us to do ministry. And we have an amazing location that brings with it an incredible amount of potential.
But let’s put all that aside for a moment, because none of those things are permanent. Let’s look at the really big picture. The truth is that we have reason to hope not just because of our people, or our building, or our location. We have reason to hope because we know how the story ends.
That truth, more than anything else, is our source of hope. No matter how difficult the battle is at any given time--and it’s difficult--Jesus wins. Nothing can stand against him. Nothing can stand against his church. And whether or not Parkland is still around when Jesus comes back, his church will prevail.
When I was growing up, we sang songs from the hymn book on Sunday mornings, and a number of those hymns stick with me to this day. And there’s one in particular that I’ve been singing in the car this week: Because He Lives. I’ll conclude here with the lyrics of that song and ask you to consider whether or not you believe it’s true.
And if it is, then you have every reason to be hopeful.
God sent His Son
They called him Jesus
He came to love, heal, and forgive
He bled and died
To buy my pardon
An empty grave is there
To prove my Saviour lives!
Because He lives
I can face tomorrow
Because He lives
All fear is gone
Because I know who holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because He lives!