To Be, Or Not To Be, A Light?

By Matthew Sargent

Matthew 5:14a “You are the light of the World…”

Matt SargentI was sitting in the break room the other day, with a handful of coworkers, watching the latest news cast of all the turmoil happening here in the US and around the world. Quick and sharp reaction was voiced to the events that are currently unfolding. While listening to everyone’s concerns, it was interesting to note, that the bottom line in everyone’s mind was not on a specific issues or event that was being broadcast, but more about the overall critical state of the world that we live in. One main underlying factor that was voiced by all was… “People in the world seem to be going crazy! Too much hate.”

State of the current culture:

  • We are a society that loves three things: self, money, and pleasure
  • We are a society that is a tinder box ready to explode at the slightest offense
  • Our political climate, alone, is turning families, communities, and people against one another
  • There is a constant stream of negative news fueling our great divisiveness and hate

Simply put, in almost every fabric of our culture today, love for one another is being snuffed out. Being replaced by every form of this self-centered, “what can the world do for me?”, “please don’t offend me, or else!”, attitude! It is getting pretty cold in our world, and it is just as God warned us of what is to come.

A sign of the end times: a world that lacks love 

Mathew 24:10 — “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other…”

Matthew 24:12 — “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold…”

2 Tim 3:1-5 — “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”

Rise to your calling: be the light

John 13:34-35 — “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

I John 2:5a — “But if anyone obeys His word, God’s love is truly made complete in Him”

I John 2:6 –“Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.”

I John 2:9 — “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the

I John 4:11-12– “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.”

I truly believe there is no greater time on earth that we as God’s children need to heed God’s call when Jesus said, “You are the light of the world”. We are living in the “End of the Age” Era, and this dark world that is increasing with hate, so desperately needs to see the light and love of God in the people of God.

It is clearly stated in God’s Word that His light can only be seen in our lives when we love one another. God’s love is so special and unique, it has its own fingerprint. When we love one another unconditionally, the way God loved us through Christ His Son, God Himself is manifested through our lives in which the world can see. That is how they will know that we are followers of Christ, not because of what we say, but what is seen living in and through us.

Our challenge:

It is time that we the children of God become a bonfire of light in this dark world that we live in. It means living a life of love and service as Christ lived, and modeled for us. A life Jesus commanded us to live. It truly is the worlds only hope. That is my challenge and calling every day, is it yours?

Challenge question: 

Is God’s fingerprint seen in your life today? How bright is the light of Christ shining through you?


Matthew Sargent is the former director of Extreme Impact Teen Ministries and Foundations Life Recovery Men’s Ministry at The Hope Center. Matt is a graduate of Liberty University with a degree in Pastoral Studies. He currently lives with his wife and four children in Wesley Chapel, Florida


Celebrate National Coffee Day!

Coffee is probably the most important part of everyone’s breakfast routine. We all need a good cup of joe to jolt the brain awake and prepare us for the stresses and happiness of each new day.

coffee2On September 29th, America is celebrating our most beloved hot beverage! Stores and businesses across the country are offering free cups of coffee or special coupons to celebrate the day.

A coffee lover comes in many different shapes & sizes. We hail from the Northeast to the Southwest and even places like Alaska & Hawaii. Coffee lovers come from all social backgrounds and are all ages. Pretty much, everyone is a coffee lover.

As you enjoy your morning brew or celebrate with an afternoon latte, remember that not everyone has the opportunity to enjoy a hot cup of coffee each day. There are people who have fallen on hard times and don’t have the resources to drink a cup of coffee each day.

Join us in helping to restore hope to these people by starting with a cup of coffee. It may sound silly, but a cup of joe can help break down barriers and be the first step to building a relationship that could change a life forever!

At The Hope Center, we go through a lot of coffee. From our residents, to our transient guests, to our daily meal guests, to our weekly Koffee Klatch ladies group, there is a lot of coffee consumed. And all that coffee consumption can quickly add up.

Our pantry runs low on essentials, like coffee & sugar, quite often. So why not help celebrate National Coffee Day by grabbing a cup for yourself and a container of coffee for those in need?

This weekend as you go to your favorite grocery store, pick up an extra can or jug of coffee for The Hope Center. Something as small as a can of coffee can go along way. By supplying us with coffee, you allow us to use our resources for other programs & ministries to help reach people in need for Christ.

Money that would be spent purchasing coffee & sugar can go towards helping men break from their addictions that have destroyed their lives. This money can go towards providing comfortable beds and warm blankets for the homeless during the cold winter months. There are so many ways that your coffee donation can actually help make a difference in our city.

But the most important way that your coffee donation can make a difference is that someone who feels lost, desperate and alone knows that there are caring, loving people in this world and there is a great, loving and compassionate God who wants the best for them.

Restoring hope and changing lives is too big for humans. It’s a God-sized task. He just asks that we show His love so He can rescue lives.

And love can come in all forms, even a cup of coffee.

If you would like to donate coffee or get involved on a regular basis at The Hope Center, please call 301.739.1165 or email

To drop off coffee & sugar donations, please stop by our Administrative Office, Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm. If you need to arrange another time, please call us at 301.739.1165.

If your church, Sunday School class, youth group, civic organization, Boy/Girl Scout troop, business or any other group would like to host a Coffee & Sugar Drive, please contact us for details. This is a wonderful way for the community to pull together to help make a difference.

Thank you for caring & sharing! Your support helps tremendously!

For more info on The Hope Center, please go to

The Dream Continues

On August 28th, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered one of the most inspiring and socially motivated speeches in modern American history. His “I Have a Dream” speech would become one of the most widely-known speeches around the world.

His dream of an America where people of all races can live peacefully together is more alive now than ever before in American history. But with that being said, there is still much work that needs to be done to create a society of love and acceptance.

At The Hope Center, we are proud to say that we strive to be a facility which shows God’s love to all people and accepts each one for the content of their character, not the color of their skin.


God looks on the heart, not the outward appearance of a man. And so do we. No matter the race or ethnic background, our doors are open to help people in need. Our program is designed to bring people to God and teach men how to change their lives through the transforming power of God’s love. And when you’ve learned how deep God’s love is for you, you learn to show that love to others, no matter who the person is.

The men who live in our residential program are a living witness of Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream. These men, from all different backgrounds, social levels and races have come together and formed the bond of brotherhood that can only be done through the unconditional love of Christ.

These men live together, eat together, pray together, learn together, worship together, work together, struggle together, heal together and succeed together. They are the body of Christ. Brothers in Christ. They’ve learned to put aside the childish things that separate people and have discovered the deep truths that bring us all together.

Kevin and Curtis

They know that at the core of each human is a deep need to have a relationship with their Creator. They understand that hate is what destroys lives and that love truly conquers all.

So today, as we remember MLK Jr and celebrate his legacy of brotherhood, please join us in thanking God for His unfailing love and acceptance of us. He truly sees us as the person that we are. He doesn’t love us more or less because of our skin color, or our social standing, or our family name, or our degrees, or our bank account. He loves us just for us.

And when we all start to love each other the way that God loves us, then the desperate people of America and the entire world, will see the difference of Christ in us and will come running to be apart of what we have.

We are so proud of our residents. To see the bond of brotherhood through Christ that these guys have created is a living testament to the power of God!

Thank You, Veterans!

Today we celebrate and honor the many men and women who have given their time, dedication and most importantly, their lives to protect this great nation!

As we celebrate the day with family & friends, let’s not just treat it as another day off of work, but as a day of reflection and remembrance for what thousands of fellow Americans throughout our history have done for us.

Jesus said it best in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” And just as Jesus layed down His life for our spiritual freedom, our neighbors, family members, friends and others do the same for our personal freedom.

But we as citizens need to remember to protect and take care of our service men & women after their time in the military is over. Unfortunately, a rather large number of veterans end up homeless and jobless. From dealing with the pressures of war to disabilities to the stress of returning to civilian life, our veterans can have a difficult time getting settled into everyday American life.

At The Hope Center, we work with many homeless veterans. Whether they stay with us as transients or as residents, we work to help restore the courageous individual that once defended this great nation.

So today, and everyday, please remember to pray for the many veterans who sacrificed so much for each of us. Pray that God will direct their paths to find peace and restoration in Him. And let’s work together to make sure that our veterans receive the proper gratitude and life that they deserve!

Thank you, veterans! And Happy Memorial Day, America!!