Thursday, May 15, 2008

Blog-Ference Day 3--Faith that Combats Fear and Hopelessness

Hebrews 11:1-Ἔστιν δὲ πίστις ἐλπιζομένων ὑπόστασις, πραγμάτων ἔλεγχος οὐ βλεπομένων.

I'm sure all of us are familiar with Hebrews 11:1. Today I wanted to look intensely at the original language of the verse, and draw out the ways that we can fight hope fatigue and our natural desire to lead out of the Present/Self/Known.

The three words highlighted in red are the nouns of the verse. πίστις is faith or belief, and the rest of the nouns, the sentence, and even the rest of the chapter attempt to explain this one word. The other two words in red are absolutely vital to narrowing down the meaning of 'faith' that Paul seeks to communicate to his audience. 

ὑπόστασις--this word, translated in the NIV as a phrase "being sure," and as a word in the ASV as "assurance," literally means 'that which lies beneath.' Colloquially, you could say 'the thing beneath the thing.' It's also translated throughout other Greek texts as 'subject matter,' 'foundation,' or my favorite: 'the real nature of a thing, essence.' 

ἔλεγχος--this word, translated in the NIV as the word 'certain' and in the ASV as 'conviction,' was a word used most often in court. It's best translated as 'proof.' Not general evidence that many lawyers use, but that which compels the jury to decide guilt or innocence. 

Here is a translation that I would offer of the Hebrews 11:1: "Faith is real life actions that come from hope, convincing proof of unseen realities."

So, from the original language, FAITH is not abstract at all but rooted in the tangible, the seen, the present. 

Here's the main point I want to make today:  LEADING BY FAITH MEANS LEADING OUT OF HOPE!!!!!

When I think about words that those whom I lead would use to describe me, I don't believe many would use the word 'hopeful.' Passionate, convicted, focused perhaps, but not dominantly hopeful. 

When I think about words that I would use to describe the campus ministry, hopeful would not be in my top 5.

Here are 3 reasons why I don't lead dominantly out of hope, and 3 things I believe our organization could change that would lead to stronger culture of hope with CCC.

  1. Being hopeful requires me to lead out of future realities that have yet to be given. I'm fearful of letting people down, and making promises that I know only God can keep. 
  2. Being hopeful requires that I trust more in Jesus than myself. It means a day to day schedule that has appointments and tasks that scare me more than make me feel good about myself. 
  3. Being hopeful costs me my reputation in front of others. Especially leading students who are 'all about authenticity, and keeping it real,' that culture subversively kills hope, since communicating a belief in things not seen can often times be perceived as 'fake.' 
  1. Break free from wrapping up our 'organizational hope' in strategies. Most of my hope fatigue towards CCC comes from hoping in strategies that change every couple years. From the various comments yesterday, it seems we are all tired of changing strategies and longing for a deeper level of commitment. 
  2. Bond and facilitate connections over 'failure' more. It's really brutal to maintain hope in a heavy performance-orientated environment. I actually love our commitment to performance in the sense of being committed to reaching as many lost students as we can. But without honoring failure, courage, innovation as much as strategy and success, the positive and redemptive side of our performance culture gets lost in the shuffle. 
  3. Seek to grow trust between each level; campus to region, region to national. With so many new and easy ways to communicate personally via the web (blogs, video-casts, Skype, etc), I believe we could easily come up with ways to have more personal relationships with RD's and National leaders. Ken Cochrum wrote a great post on means of communication. It was interesting that email came out on the bottom; yet that is the main way our RD's and National leaders communicate. 
I would love your comments on this one, as I really desire to learn how to lead more out of hope. 

What are some ways you communicate hope to others? When have you experienced hope in someone? What was it about them that made you feel hopeful?


Beav said...

Show off :)
You've inspired me to get back to my homework on the present middle indicative tense and contract verbs this week.

Love the thoughts on hope. I hear what you are saying about hope and this generation and how sometimes the unseen is perceived as fake. However, I think this generation is primed for their imagination to be captured by a hope that is more clear and substantial than anything they have every seen. Like you, I just question whether we've really given them a picture of what they should be putting their hope in.

I recommend N.T. Wright's latest book "Surprised by Hope". Just finished it and it's great stuff and right up your alley here.

Shane Deike said...

Dang - you are using greek in your posts! I only used greek the co-ed crusade groupies back in my new staff days. Nice to see someone who knows what they are talking about! You rock.

And on email from leaders. Uh, yea, that is right. I think part of the problem is that system is so complex and permission based that it takes A LOT of communication to keep it rolling. It flows along hierarchy rather than relationship. It is what it is.

Kristie said...

I think you were at the same local leaders track with Jim a few summers you remember what John Hannah said in his talk to the new local leaders? It was alot in line with you Organizational #1. I should try to get it online so you can listen to it.

Brian said...

Thanks Kristie. I don't remember that, but I do have the file somewhere. If you do happen to run across it please email it to me.

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