Finding The Hope

April 27, 2018
by JJ Ollerenshaw

Romans 10:14b,15b – And how shall they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" (NIV)

A few years ago, several churches in my area participated in the Finding the Hope campaign. Dozens of Christian volunteers went door to door and blitzed the whole city with a small booklet about salvation and an invitation to church, delivered to each mailbox.

I won't forget that early spring day because the rain came down in buckets. It was icy cold, and my teammate and I were soaked through to the skin. Unable to use an umbrella, we delivered the pamphlets clumsily with soggy gloves and numb fingers. Up and down driveways we hurried, careful not to cut across anyone's property. Hair dripping and feet squishing in our shoes, we strode swiftly along our assigned route.

At the end, we were too wet to sit down for the hot drinks provided. We hauled ourselves onto plastic-protected car seats, cranked the heat up, and headed home to hot baths. We might have been miserable, but instead, we were ecstatic that we'd completed the task. As uncomfortable as we were, those of us who live in rural areas stopped at mailboxes on the way, wanting to get the Word out to as many as possible.

After all this, did we see more people in church the next day? My church is large and I don't know everyone, but I didn't notice any strangers. The euphoria soon left. Time passed, and I never heard of anyone attending as a result of the campaign. I often comforted myself by thinking that they all must have gone to other churches.

About three years later, I led a Bible study series, and on the last evening, we held a celebration. While nibbling finger-foods, I invited the group to tell their stories about how they came to our church or why they chose this class. When it came to the turn of a couple who had been particularly interested, I was astounded to hear that they had received a Finding the Hope booklet in their mailbox and had come to our church the next day! As a result, they and their four children were all saved. I am so thankful that God was gracious enough to let me know that this couple responded to His divine invitation. There may be more in my community, but for me it is enough that I know of this family.

Matthew 28:19a – Therefore go and make disciples of all nations. (NIV)

Many of us have had the experience of sharing God's Word with others and being disappointed when it appeared to have made no difference. However, we are indeed our brother's keeper. The responsibility of sharing the good news of salvation rests upon us. Let us not give up, and let us not give up hope, either. We can be assured of the truth of God's promise:

Isaiah 55:11 – So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (NIV)

Prayer: Father, when You ask things of us that are not easy, and when we never hear the result of our obedience, assure us that Your Word never returns to You empty. Help us to be Your messengers of hope. Amen.

About the author:

JJ Ollerenshaw <sandjollie@yahoo.com>
Belleville, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for sharing, JJ.


    Thank you for your encouraging and uplifting sharing. God bless you.


    Thanks for an encouraging word today JJ.
    Blessings.


    I have had a similar experience
    What a privilege we have both experienced the honour and humility of knowing we have touched someone positively for God. May He continue to bless you.
    (ON)


    Thank you, JJ, for sharing your experience in this devotional with us. I’ve been told that an unbelieving person will experience a Gospel invitation eleven times before they will come to church. Then how they are welcomed will affect whether they come back as much as the minister’s sermon and the music. Thanks again for sharing. Blessings.


    Re: Thought for Today ……. and every day.
    Your thoughts are now my thoughts and your ways are now our ways and are an inspiration as I continue to prepare my message for this Sunday.
    Blessings for writing!
    (Ontario)


    Thank you for your devotional for today. I appreciated your testimony of passing out tracts and how we need to pray for patience and that God gives the increase. Recently I was blessed in reading Hebrews 6:18b19a. NKJ “Lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.” I also have a friend in Bible Study who gives out tracts and is a bold witness for the Lord which also challenges me. Thank you for your challenges.


    Oh yes!! For several years as minister to a small 2-point charge, I delivered Daily Breads around the one rural village, 4 times a year. And I have some stories of individuals who are now part of that church and have come to Christ. Not many, but as I went, I prayed for those families and homes in that village and know that God hears and sees and how that affected people’s lives I will not know this side of heaven. The little I do know, kept me cheerful in service. Thanks for the boost to my day!!!


    Dear JJ
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful story. I came to know God through the Alpha program by seeing 60 signs in the lawn of the church I now attend regularly. My church goes house to house inviting folks to come and see how good God is. We must continue on and keep running the race and be our Lord’s missionaries of Hope.
    God bless you as you continue serving and sharing.


    What a great story! Thanks for sharing it.
    I publish a community paper, and I have often felt discouraged.
    I was telling my distributor, who is also a committed Christian how odd I found it that nearly every week lately, I get a call from someone who hasn’t received a copy for a while. And they all say the same thing. “I just love that paper. I read everything in and I really miss it when I don’t get it.” Often, we then talk about something else perhaps a concern the person has.
    I think this is a way the Lord is encouraging me to persevere and not get discouraged.
    Can’t be a co-incidence.
    Your story encourages me too. Thank you.


    Hello JJ
    Oh, this one gets me excited to think of the amount of possibilities you the others created….the number of lives that could change because they received the booklet. One time our church did that but we had small videos, and there was a letter sent out to each home that we were going to be going to asking if they would have any prayer requests for the ones who would be dropping by. We did have a few that did ask us to pray for them or situations going on in their lives. I too, not sure if it all made a difference as far as attendance at our church but what is exciting is to think God now had the Holy Spirit water those seeds we planted!! Also knowing God would be pleased with our obedience. All of it makes life more interesting and exciting when a person serves God, just never know what He may put on the heart to do for Him and how humbling it is to think He would ask a sinner saved by grace to do the job for Him!!! Makes me cry at this moment as I write this, just how outstanding that concept is.


    Amen.

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