I Have Come... Hope - 12/02/2012

Sermon text:  Isaiah 42:1-7 & Jeremiah 29:10-14

   There is an old story about a man who punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of wrapping paper. Money was tight, and he became angry when the little girl tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree. Nevertheless, she brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, “This is for you, Daddy.”
   The father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction once he realized the gift was for him. However, when he opened the gift … all he found was an empty box! Now infuriated, he yelled at his daughter, “Don’t you know that when you give someone a present, there’s supposed to be something inside?”
   The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said, “Oh, Daddy it’s not empty. I blew kisses into the box. ALL for you, Daddy.”
   Well, as you can imagine, he was crushed. Putting his arms around his little girl, with tears now streaming from his eyes, he said to her, “Please, please forgive me … I’m so sorry, Honey. This is the best present ever.”
   That father kept his gift by his bed for many years. Whenever he was discouraged, he would open the box, take out an imaginary kiss, and remember the love of the child who had put it there.
   In a very real sense, each of us has been given a GIFT … our LIVES … opened to the potential of being filled with unconditional LOVE … by OTHERS and by GOD. But for many, our lives remain empty … or at best “HALF-LIVED.” Let me explainRead full sermon here (PDF)