Reasoned Hope is a new ministry I have started with the help of some friends. Let me tell you how this got started – but for that I have to go back a few years.
Part of the reason Diana and I moved to Redding fifteen years ago was to start a ministry that would reach out to young people with the gospel of Jesus Christ – with two things being at the forefront of our efforts. Those two things consisted of the wonderful and powerful Transforming message of the love the Lord has for them and also to help warn them that the devil and the world were truly a menace to their very lives. During those early years we held an event at a local church and focused on how the devil wants to use music to influence and ultimately tear them away from what is good and drag them into evil. The event went well and lives were touched and we continued on. But shortly after that we realized that there was a whole lot more than worldly music aimed at us and our kids. We realized that the enemy was using a variety of methods (called schemes in 2 Corinthians 2:11) and the very church we were going to was preaching things we could not find in the Bible. Ouch! God moved us out of that church and later out of a partnership that was also a problem. Oh the Lord is merciful isn’t He? He is also a very good teacher!
But through all of these changes our dream seemed to die in the process. The church we found in Redding was preaching the Bible pretty well but was lacking in a real fire it seemed. But, on we plodded wondering if God would still use us in the way we thought He would when we moved to the Northstate. We went into God’s waiting room. Ever been there before? We got our heads back into the Word of God and began to learn more and more about the deception that had creeped into the church at large. We realized that the danger was not only in the world, some of it had seeped into the church – the problem was worse than we ever imagined. At the same time we also began to see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ more purely, more intensely than every before. We found that in His presence is fullness of joy. That word ‘fullness’ was all over the New Testament and was hinted at strangely in the Old one!
The pressure inside us began to build again. I remember turning fifty and thinking, “I have only so many years left, God use me to the full extent of them – if you will!” I began to dream about doing a youth outreach ministry with a dual emphasis of “warning and encouraging” within the context of the local church. I though, “just give us a week to come alongside a church and their young people and I believe we will see changed lives.” We spent a year preparing and then due to the recession the secular job I had faded away. For the first time in three decades I was unemployed. But our faith grew. We thought that this was God too – clearing the decks so I could move into full time ministry and see my dream happen. We began to prepare and work towards the goal. When nothing too substantial happened after a year of prayer and preparation some disappointment started to set in. Was this not God’s will? Had we missed it? Had we misheard the call?
The day after we met with our pastor for dinner and to ask if they knew why the delays and if maybe I should just start looking for a job something big happened. An opportunity happened overnight. A church an hour away needed a pastor all of a sudden. They wanted us to come and interview. My pastor said it was exciting and would pray for us in this possibility. My family was behind us. My friends were praying! Within a few short weeks it became a reality. The church had twelve people and we didn’t even think we would get a salary. But the Lord quickly grew us and the church took care of us and we had our very own youth group built in. Meanwhile God was doing something very deep in my heart.
I had met my wife in a small but powerful Bible college in 1977. There and in countless hours of personal study from my earliest days God had been preparing me for this opportunity to share His Word on a weekly basis and to be an undershepherd in His house. But I had so much to learn on the job. For five years there was success and there was struggle. Then one day it felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me. Two families made a decision to move their business out of state. This meant several other families that they employed would be leaving too. How would we survive? How would our needs be met? God rebuked me for this lack of faith. Not only that but He provided and brought new families to join us in our small church in our small mountain town of about one thousand people. God proved Himself faithful and showed us He is in charge. Incidentally, he brought two families that care about young people – what a shock right?
Our youth ministry is still in its infancy. We have as many kids from the neighborhood as we do from church families. But the youth group is alive and the youth leaders are alive and on fire for Jesus. For any pastor worth his salt that is incredibly exciting to see. We are expecting great things as the ministry takes off again and grows deeper and wider and impacts more young people – encouraging and warning them, so they will grow mature and begin to witness to their friends.
So where am I in all this? I’m glad you asked.
For some time I thought it would be an awesome idea to build a little podcast studio at the church where I could film short teaching videos and podcasts during the week that would deal with current issues of discernment and encouragement for our flock and for anyone else that would benefit from this. We could record testimonies and interview missionaries and get into the nitty gritty of walking out our faith in a pretty messy world that leads many of us to conclude that we are really living in the last days.
I woke up the other day at 2am and could not get to sleep. I started writing ideas down about these possibilities. I wrote out a budget for this broadcast studio. I researched the costs and best practices we would need to make it excellent and keep it manageable. I began to think how I could present it. I thought about one of the real “hearts” of our church – our Thursday morning ladies Bible study group. This group along with all the other ladies in our church are incredible prayer warriors and are always up “for a good scrap” as the army of God should be.
I prepared a powerpoint to distill down my ideas and thoughts and dreams. Then I realized something incredible. If done right, this ministry could open doors to take the “double shotgun” truths of encouraging, transforming love and the needed warnings out of our comfortable little mountain valley and into the big old world. God could resurrect my dream of reaching young people – to light a fire in them and see them safe within the guidelines of Scripture. Through a podcast and internet ministry maybe God could open doors to see a revolution launched. I could take this ministry with me and connect with other like minded folks at a conference I will speak at in August up in Oregon….but what would our own ladies think first?
The ladies were engaged and seemed genuinely excited. One of them came up afterward and paid for our website we would need to build with one stroke of her pen. (So I went home that afternoon and built it – oh yah – I have been doing websites for some time and have all the software to edit video and audio ready to go – on less thing right?!) The ball is beginning to roll. They all wanted to see the chart of the “stuff” we would need to get the broadcast center up and running. So I will print it out (for those who love paper and ink) and post it below into this blog. During my talk with the sisters I gave them a couple of verses from 1 Peter. First I talked about the “ability” we have in Christ through His powerful world if we will simply proclaim it – to impact the world for Christ. That verse is in 1 Peter 4:11 and it basically says that we are to speak the very Words of God – the “oracles” and minister with the strength – the infinite power – of God Himself and that if we do that He will be glorified. That is all God wants from us. For us to glorify Him in all things. That is the reason for “Reasoned Hope Ministries” as we are calling this effort – to give God His richly deserved glory.
The second verse I shared with the gals yesterday was from 1 Peter 3:15 and is the source of where we got our name. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a ‘reason for the hope’ that is in you, with meekness and fear.” That word “defense” is the word we get apologetics from – the defense of the faith and the warning of false teaching go hand in hand – so we see a great Biblical mandate to defend and warn and protect the faith once delivered to the saints. (See Jude for more info on this) But what has really gripped my heart is the phrase “reason for the hope.” Reason is the Greek word ‘logos.’ The same Word used of Jesus in John 1:1 and translated “Word” as in the eternal Word who was with God and was God. Here in 1 Peter it is translated simply ‘reason.” By extension isn’t it fair to say that Jesus is the only reason for ministry, for life, for hope – John 14:6 says as much. But Jesus is also the ‘reason’ in this way – He is pure sense and logic and right thinking and is also the full expression of God – He is God with us – Emmanuel – and He is the one with answers. Colossians warns that some Christians will be persuaded by persuasive arguments (Colossians 2:4) and yet the previous verse tells us that in Jesus are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Jesus gives us a ‘reasoned hope” then. He is that hope – that wisdom we so desperately need each day. As His followers – His disciples we will have the power and grace to make that reasoned hope a part of our very lives and character and outlook – but then we must share what we have with the world. That is what it means to be a real disciple.
We are simply asking God to open doors for that sharing to be made possible through the medium of audio and video podcasts as a way to encourage and warn Christians and also draw unbelievers to the light that is only found in Jesus Christ. If you would like to help in this ministry you can email me – Pastor Rod at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to seeing those people who are on the other side of the door that God seems to opending up at this time in our lives. We need about $1900 to finish the studio purchases. We need prayer partners. We need to have some of you share this vision with your Christian friends and family. Many hands make light work and we are all simply ‘workers together’ (2 Corinthians 6:1-2) for the cause of the gospel.
It is His work after all so He will see it through and guide us in these efforts. Of course, He does that through people – would you consider helping us? Please email me and let me know that you are praying for this ministry. Please pray for His provision of the money we need but pray more that God would give us opportunities and open doors for the gospel and that He would powerfully work in the life of our church and in the lives that this avenue can reach through the website, podcasts and videos. The site is under construction and can be found at http://reasonedhopeministries.org/. Below is the chart with the needs to build out a simple but excellent little studio. If you are wondering about the item labeled ‘chair’ that is on there for a very good reason. My current chair makes a ton of noise during recording. It is old and I brought it with me to Lewiston – its falling apart, so we need a new one. Everything wears out except Jesus – right?
The Lord be magnified in all things!
Amen and Amen!
By His grace and love,