I remember the early day of Thrive Church. There was this crazy excitement going on in people. I’ve often tried to understand why we get excited about things. I’ve come to think that perhaps our excitement is a product of our expectations having found new life in hope. The funny thing about expectations is that they can give us hope, or defeat hope. You’ve heard people, after something bad happens, say things like “well, what did you expect?” That is expectation mired in hopelessness. In the early days, our expectations were aflame in hope.
Some saw a chance for renewal – a legacy that could be redeemed.
Some saw a chance to experience new life – a dormant faith rejuvenated.
Some saw an opportunity for impact – feelings of futility conquered.
Some saw purpose – a wandering soul set on a mission.
Notice how each expectation of hope was in a remedy for an expectation of hopelessness. Many of our number sadly experienced hope killing situations prior to Thrive Church. They saw, in Thrive Church, a chance for God to do something amazing. We would, together, come to love God in greater measure. We would intentionally do what it takes to love one another with grace and abandon. We would set out to conquer the world as we passed on Christ’s love. “Love God, love one another, and pass it on” became more than a motto – it was an expectation of hope.
4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.
(Verse 4 of Revelation 2:1-7)
What a bomb Jesus delivers! This is an often quoted verse, but many forget it comes right after some pretty hefty praise. Jesus saw some good stuff – they were hard workers, they had great perseverance, they had good discernment. They were able to accomplish these great things because they were passionate about Jesus. But something happened along the way. They forgot why they were doing what they were doing. In other words, their first love was not also their last love.
5 If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
(Last half of verse 5 of Revelation 2:1-7)
I ask myself today, “are my expectations still living in hope? Is my first love, still my last love? Is Jesus Christ still my center (1 Corinthians 2:2) ?”
I resolve to shout, “Yes!” to each question, knowing that at this moment I fall short. I’m holding out for hope.
What about you?