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
darkness.”

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

 

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Young People Get the Call to Serve

On August 23rd, a group of young people from the Hagerstown area volunteered to prepare and serve the meal following the evening chapel service.

Kaylee Monninger, Emily Horst, Alyssa Monninger, Rebecca Walton and Keith Welch

Planned and organized by Alyssa Monninger, the group of friends just wanted an opportunity to serve others in the community.

Alyssa attended Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia for a time, and while she was there the school’s focus on serving the community and being missionaries where you are impressed her. Even after returning home, she thought about the emphasis Liberty placed on getting out into the community and making a difference.

She decided that she wanted to take what she learned at Liberty and put it into practice here in Hagerstown. Alyssa remembered coming as a child to The Hope Center with her family’s church. So she decided that The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission was the place to start serving in the community.

The group of friends, about 12-15 young people, brought lasagna, salad, bread, cupcakes and beverages for our evening guests.

We want to thank Alyssa and all the young people who came to serve their neighbors at The Hope Center! We hope that more people join Alyssa & her friends and help us make a difference in the lives of so many different people in this city.

If you’d like info about how you can get involved just like this group did, please call us at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

The names of the people in the picture, from left to right, are:  Kaylee Monninger, Emily Horst, Alyssa Monninger, Rebecca Walton and Keith Welch.

Stories of Hope – The Transformation of Jose

“God, if you are real, PLEASE HELP ME!”

One man’s journey to transformation thanks to you!

Jose never really had a chance…

At the tender age of four, Jose, his mother, and his sisters were on the run – fleeing for their lives from a father who’d rather hit them than hug them.

It was a living nightmare.

As a teenager, Jose’s heartache continued as another man – a step-father who Jose loved deeply – walked out of his life…leaving him broken with no explanation.

That was just too much for his young heart. And Jose had to dull the pain…he turned to alcohol…and his life quickly spiraled out of control. Then a few years later, on one dark night, overwhelmed by feeling lost, alone, unloved, and without any purpose in his life, Jose called out, “God, if you are real, please help me!”

And God heard him…loud and clear.

A few weeks passed and a few of Jose’s friends invited him to go to church. And on that Sunday, for the first time ever, Jose heard the Gospel of God’s redeeming love, His acceptance, and His forgiveness…and Jose responded!

But there was still a battle raging within Jose, keeping him in constant struggle…as he was confronted with the consequences of his rebellion, being jobless, wanting to grow spiritually, and having nowhere to turn for help.

Jose called out to God again for help…and this time, God led him to The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission!

Today, because of your support, Jose is experiencing peace for the first time ever – and has even been reunited with his sister after 17 years.

Jose is growing in God’s Word and is learning to surrender more and more. In his own words, “I need to have more of God and less of me.”

Having just graduated from our program last month, Jose is now planning to enroll in classes at Liberty University where he will pursue Pastoral Studies – devoting his life to God and ministering to others who, just like him, need help putting their lives back together.

Thank you for being an important part of Jose’s transformation and giving him hope for the future!