Spiritual Growth Resources
Topic: Hope

Topic for this week: Hope

Theme for the month of March: New Life

The Carmichael SDA Church is providing spiritual growth resources for individuals, couples, families, and small groups as an extension during this pandemic for a church that is scattered like salt and to indeed be salty; to be light and receive another infusion of power. Pick and choose from these resources for your spiritual growth, whether it’s during your time of personal devotions or family worship or small group gathering. The 10 options include:

Video & Intro

Hope can be a very broad topic to cover. What does hope look like?  How do you measure it? Where do you get it? Just think of how we use the word “hope” in our everyday conversation. I hope it rains tomorrow. I hope we’re eating Big Franks for lunch. It’s almost as if hope is there to help us cope with something that is out of our control or something we cannot directly affect. We can try to influence the outcome and therefore we hope for it. We pray about something and so we hope it turns out our way, in our favor. Our topic last week “Sickness and Death” often draws on hope for healing and even resurrection. The foundation of our hope is based on a God who has acted in history (the past), and gives us an assurance for the future. Faith allows me to live in the present. Hope is faith that looks forward. 

We usually have a timetable on hope. Even though we wait, we expect things to happen around a certain time. If the object or goal is not obtained at an expected time, our heart gets sick (Prov. 13:12). Sounds like another way of saying we get discouraged. But the opposite of that is when our desires and/or longings are fulfilled, they are like a tree of life.

Bible Dialogue

Paul’s letter to the Romans is full of theological words like justification, grace, faith, righteousness, etc. In chapter 5, Paul writes about a common word - “peace.” We think a lot about being “at peace” with God. Many doubt that God is at peace with them and that we have unsettled accounts that need to be paid up. Paul assures the Romans that the way to peace with God is through Jesus Christ. So we access this peace through Jesus and we grab ahold of it by our faith. As a result we rejoice in the “hope of the glory of God.” Hope points to the future. We anticipate a future rejoicing, because our present faith in Jesus finds its anchor in Christ dying for us in the past.



What has given you hope during this pandemic?

Read Romans 5:1-5

  1. What do you try to accomplish when you “justify” yourself?

A. Prove that you are right.
B. Win an argument.
C. Make it look like you are right, even when you’re not.
D. Who better to justify myself than me.
E. It’s a defensive maneuver.
F. Not lose ground; maintain my current status.
G. Without realizing it, I’m trying to be my own savior.
H. Other.

2. What does it mean to be justified by faith?

A. I have no idea. It’s just a string of theological words.
B. Trusting God gives a person a clean slate.
C. Everything works out for those who believe.
D. Faith matters; not our works.
E. Only those who are guilty need to be justified.
F. Faith is all that matters.
G. When a person has faith, hope will follow
H. Other.

3. How does hope help you rejoice? (vs. 2)

A. I never thought of it that way.
B. I enables me to know what’s coming.
C. Because “the joy of the Lord is my strength” (Neh. 8:10).
D. This kind of hope is one I can trust.
E. It takes me beyond my current reality to better promises.
F. Hope is optimistic, so rejoicing comes naturally with hope.
G. God’s many promises give reasons to hope and rejoice.
H. Other.

4.  How do the challenges of life end up increasing your hope? (vs. 3-4)

A. They don’t.
B. I’m easily overwhelmed by the many challenges in my life.
C. Things can only get better at this point.
D. Hope springs eternal.
E. I recall what God has done for others in the past.
F. I recall what God has done for me in the past.
G. Challenges force me to depend on God more than usual.
I. Other.

5. What plants hope in a person?

A. Being a visionary helps.
B. Only God can do this.
C. What Christ has already done for us.
D. What Christ does in us right now through the Holy Spirit.
E. Suffering.
F. Perseverance.
G. Character.
H. Other.

6.  How does hope not “put us to shame”? (vs. 5)

A. Sometimes it does.
B. Short-term—not a problem; but waiting and waiting is hard.
C. There is always someone who will try to shame us.
D. Hope finds it grounding by trusting God.
E. I’m not hoping on something merely temporary.
F. Hope in God does not disappoint.
G. Others often join someone hopeful.
H. Other.

7. What’s the relationship  between God’s love and hope (vs. 5)?

8.  What is the Holy Spirit’s role in making this a reality (vs. 5)?

Prayer Experiences

It could be said that we pray our hopes. It would be easy to interchange hopes with needs or wants. Strengthening our hope is a way to keep hope alive. Pray your hopes to God right now. Include big hopes and little hopes; hopes you have as an individual, as a family, as a church. Consider your hopes as it relates to the pandemic and the roller-coaster ride that has been this past year.

If you have no idea where to start, turn to the Psalms. You could also ask another person about their hopes, which might stimulate or remind you of your hopes.

Another option is to check out the following video which provides “Prayers of Hope” mingled with Bible promises.

Discussion Questions

Select from these questions, or let them prompt your own questions. You can reflect on these by yourself, or discuss them with another person or group of people.
1. In recent times, what have you set your hopes on?
2. Can life be lived without hope? (Ephesians 2:12)
3. “Hopes and Dreams” What’s the difference?
4. Do you share your “hopes” with others?
5. Do others share their “hopes” with you?
6. Do you promote hope or discount it? Why?
7. How does anxiety about the future compare with hope?
8. How does hope compare with faith?
9. What makes hope take root in your mind or heart?
10. How much hope do you have the pandemic will end?
11. Do you have more hope now than you did at Christmas?
12. When do you need hope?
13. In what ways does God provide hope?
14. How does forgiveness impact hope?
15. What increases your hope?
16. What decreases your hope.
17. What Bible promises fuel hope in you?
18. How does Christ’s promise to return impact you daily?
19. What is the relationship between faith, hope, and love?
20. Do you neglect hope?

Application Ideas

The word “HOPE” is used a lot in Adventist publications and in different programming. We have the HOPE Channel. Our church’s unofficial anthem is WE HAVE THIS HOPE. We are a People of Hope. What this seems to convey is that we have a hope to share with others. Our hope is not just that the pandemic will finally be over in a couple of months. Our hope is not just that the stock market continues with an upward trend. Our “hope” goes beyond the temporary. We have hope in the midst of all of these things. When others are worried sick about the present and the future, we, of all people, have a message of hope, but not just a message, but something that we hold dear.

We don’t hold on to this hope blindly. This hope is founded in the present reality of God’s presence. It is founded on the past reality of God’s providence and in the promises laid out in Scripture and spoken by Jesus himself.  

The Christian hope offers so much more than what the world pretends to offer us. Some put their trust in government to fix the ailments in this world. Some put their hope in local and world leaders to enact change that will bring about the necessary reforms to make our world a better place. It’s okay to “hope” for these things, but history tells us that these are temporary hopes. The hope above all hopes is given to us by God—that He will bring justice, and he will put on end to sickness, death, and sorrow.
We are called to live today in the shadow of that hope.

Sharing Options

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” — Jeremiah 29:11
Apply this passage to yourself. Then share it with another person.  

This verse can be used as a template for engaging someone on the topic of our hope. Here are 4 points that can awaken hope in someone.
  1. God has a plan for you
  2. God’s plans for you are good.
  3. In addition to being present today, God has a future planned out for you.
  4. God is the one that gives us hope.

Sharing Steps
  1. Share what God’s plan for you has been and how that’s being fulfilled. If you don’t think you know what God’s plan for your life is, then this may be a good time to consider what that may look like for you.
  2. What would your future look like if you followed God’s plan for you?
  3. After asking these kinds of questions, you could end up with this question: Does any of this affect your hopes?  

Bible-In-My-Head, Heart, and Hand

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” — Jeremiah 29:11
Memorizing God’s promises and repeating them are a way to “keep hope alive”.

Kids of All Ages by Pastor Melissa

Have you ever thought about what kind of mansion you would like Jesus to build for you in heaven? What would it look like? What special rooms would it have? What could you do there, and who would you want to invite over to play?

Let me tell you about the mansion I’m hoping for. It doesn’t have to be very big at all. Maybe just a cozy room with a fireplace and big windows. But I want that room to have 4 walls. And in each wall, I want there to be a door. The first door would lead to SUMMER  - a white sandy beach on a tropic island, with crystal clear blue waters full of tropical fish, and palm trees swaying in the breeze. The second door would lead into FALL - into a forest of trees with leaves of all colors - fiery orange, sunshiny yellows and deep reds, with a steady autumn rain pattering over it all. Out the third door you would enter a silent WINTER scene - snow covering every branch of every bare tree, and big snowflakes drifting slowly to the ground. And out the fourth door - you guessed it! It would be SPRING:  fields and fields of tulips, daffodils, poppies, lilacs, and other flowers. Entire cheery tree orchards in full pink blossom, new grass and soft warm sun. And at night it would all be covered by the brightest starry night sky anyone had ever seen.

These are the things I love the most on our world now  - the beach, the rain, fall colors, silent snowflakes, spring flowers and stars. I want them all! And just think - I could visit each season, any old time I wanted to!

Why do we think there are going to be mansions in heaven? Well, in John 14, Jesus gives us a very special promise to look forward to. He says “In my Father’s house are many mansions - and I am going there to prepare a place for YOU!” If He’s there making a place for us, we can also trust that He plans to come back and get us. This is where we get the idea of HOPE - we have hope in our hearts because we know that something better is coming up ahead. We know our future with Jesus will look brighter and happier than life looks now. When life is difficult or sad or lonely here on earth, we can enjoy the HOPE that someday we’ll be with Jesus, and everything will be okay.

Are you looking forward to that day? I know I am!

But, there’s something I didn’t tell you about my mansion in heaven. It’s the very best thing about my mansion, actually. The doors leading out into my favorite seasons and places would be super cool. But actually, do you know what I want the most in my home in heaven? It’s not a what. It’s a who. I want my family there. My husband, my kids, and all the people I love most in all the world - I want them to be in heaven with me.

Even the most amazing mansion wouldn’t end up being that great without the people I love. That’s why it’s important to share the HOPE we have in Jesus with everyone we can - right now - so they can come to heaven too. Who can you share this hope with today?

Family Talk Time:

  1.  Describe your mansion in heaven, if you could design it. What would it be like?
  2. Read John 14:1-3. When things are hard in our lives, what hopeful things can we think about that might encourage us?
  3. What do you look forward to specifically about heaven?
  4. Who are the people we want in heaven with us? Is there someone we still need to share Jesus with today?