After taking a week off for Fall Break, we were back in the full swing of things at Café last week with a special focus on Globalscope!
Lauren Lillquist was our guest speaker, and began talking about the idea of encouragement - specifically, how the people in our lives can encourage us with their words and actions.
We talked from the book of Romans, and how Paul was trying to encourage the early Roman church through a letter he had written to them. He spoke a lot about the idea that Christianity is for everyone, not just for the Jews but also for non-Jewish people (a.k.a. Gentiles), because there seemed to be a lot of division amongst the Romans. As the letter is coming to an end, he had these words for them:
4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.Though the Roman church was not perfect or wholly unified at the time, Paul wrote to them to essentially say: be encouraged. Let's remember what God has done and look forward to the things he has promised us. Look back, remember, and through all these things you can have hope.
5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. 8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed 9 and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.
As it is written: “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing the praises of your name.”
10 Again, it says, “Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.”
11 And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; let all the peoples extol him.”
12 And again, Isaiah says,
“The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.”
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
It can be easy to feel hopeless when bad things happen or when life doesn't go the way that we want it to, but God wants more for us than hopelessness. Because of Jesus, the fulfillment of so many Old Testament prophesies, we can have hope that God is still promising good for us.
We can even look back on our own lives and see how God has been good, and encourage others to do the same. Paul doesn't just tell the Romans to be encouraged, he is telling them to do something through the encouragement they receive. We, too, can act on knowing that we're loved and accepted by God, and go on to help others see how God is good.