Hope For The New Year

Dr. Shane Stanford

Hope For The New Year

January 6, 2023
Dr. Shane Stanford

A friend asked me today – is there any hope for our world? My answer seemed to both comfort and frustrate her.

I shared that, of course, there is hope by following Jesus, but is it that simple?

My friend replied, slightly exasperated, “religion and church often seem so complicated and hopeless.”

However, following Jesus is not about religion – I explained, it’s about a relationship.

Following Jesus is certainly NOT easy, but it also doesn’t have to be complicated.

The key to keeping things simple is a true, honest, and deep desire to know Him. Not the rites, recitations, or rituals of those who claim to follow Him. It’s not an ideology, political party, denomination, congregation, or a pastor.

Truly following Jesus by drawing close to Him – walking with Him, knowing His words. Modeling his response to circumstances in our broken world. Taking. On a willingness to care, to make peace, and to heal.

When Jesus encountered the Leper in Mark 1, the Leper said ‘If you are willing you can make me well. Jesus responded, “of course I am willing.”

Just like that – no hesitation, simple and direct.

The real issue is, are we willing? Are we willing to treat others as we would want to be treated? Are we willing to love others, as He loves us? Willing to make our world – however we find it – a better place.

Willing to be different – to be more than what this world expects? To show others that hope DOES exist- reaching for the unreachable- watching the horizon- choosing hope, by choosing Him.

After all, He chose me, and He chose you too. Sure, some days ‘choosing’ is hard work; but it is not complex.

Yes, it is that simple, and yes, it can change everything.