This past Friday Judy and I had the privilege to meet with some of our Orange Grove friends who were working in The Vine. We spent a few minutes meeting all those working that day. I am so glad First-Centenary has opened its doors to these wonderful people.
One of our new friends is Jolene. She had a broken foot and was concerned that she would lose her job of 16 years at the recycling center. By the way, she informed Judy and me of every detail of her job. As I listened to her I was amazed by the pride she had in her work. Jolene (our new friend) said something that helped me that morning. She turned to me and said; “Preacher will you pray for me?” (I sort of like hanging out with folks like Jolene. They are so real and authentic.) She said; “Preacher will you pray for me because I am worried about the future. I need your prayers because it helps me have hope.”
Maybe this touched me so much because I too, like Jolene, was anxious about the future. I do not move well. As Jim Elliot said; “Wherever you are - be all there.” Over 35 years of ministry I have tried to be “all there” at each appointment. Jolene’s words reached deep into my heart and a strange but familiar peace settled over me. When Jolene said “pray for me - it helps me keep hope alive” I remembered the personal mission statement I adopted several years ago – “To bring hope and encouragement to all I meet.” I even have a trinket on my key ring that reads; “keep hope alive.” No matter where I am, I am called to keep bringing hope to the sick, the fearful, the anxious, the outcast, the immigrant, the depressed, the discouraged, the detestable....EVERYONE.
As a body of Christ may we continuously offer hope to each other, in our community, in our state, in our nation and in our world. As we begin our journey together may we help others have hope.
One more thing – I ask that you pray for me this week and in the coming weeks. It helps me have hope too. Thank you Jolene for helping me to keep hope alive and thanks to you First-Centenary family for keeping hope alive in our church, community and world.
– Mark Gooden
Jeremiah 29:11 For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.
Published on Friday, July 6, 2018 @ 2:33 PM EDT