October 2, 2011
One of the hopes we have for Ray of Hope Ministries was and is to form a world-wide internet community of ordinary people helping each other live with hope in their lives. (Please note our emphasis on the word ordinary). One of the ways we hope to develop this community is to invite each of you who are reading our blog to share your thoughts, testimonies, and insights about hope, especially your own hopes. We believe this blog will be so much more helpful to you and all of us, including others you might invite to join us, if messages of hope didn’t just come from us (Patty and Ray), but from some of you.
Why the emphasis on ordinary people? The world tends to categorize people very broadly as “important” or “ordinary”. The world sees those with high levels of status, power, authority, fame, wealth, knowledge, etc. as important people. The world needs important people. And God uses important people to fulfill some of his purposes. In contrast, in the eyes of the world, ordinary people are people like Patty and me, and probably most of you. We haven’t written books on theology. We don’t get invited to give lectures on the subject of hope (or any other subject, for that matter). We don’t have expert knowledge about using the ever expanding world of internet technology. We’re just ordinary people. How ordinary are we? I can’t speak for Patty, but I was born and raised and spent the first half of my life in Jersey City,NJ. (and proud of it).You can’t get much more ordinary than that.
So why does God use ordinary people like us to spread messages of hope, when he already has all these important people doing his work? I believe it’s because God doesn’t categorize people as important or ordinary. The categories that matter to God are whether you are or are not willing to say yes to participating with him in spreading his extremely important message of hope (along with peace, love, and joy) to all people. The reality is that for every “important” person who God is using for his purposes, there are thousands of “ordinary” people he could also be using.
I have found it helpful to read and listen to those I consider to be important people. But over the years I have found that God has given me his messages of hope mostly through other ordinary people. This has been especially true in the lowest points in my life, especially during a time when I was feeling totally hopeless, helpless, and useless. Yes, God spoke words of hope to me through some books by important people. But God spoke to me mostly through ordinary people who, each in their own way, helped give me the hope I needed to hear, accept, and pursue the plans God had for me. In some relatively small, but important ways, all of those ordinary people did their part in participating with God in changing me, and ultimately, changing the world.
The world might look upon Patty and me as ordinary people. But to us that’s a badge of honor. We are proud to be known as ordinary people who have been called by God to participate in giving his message of hope to other ordinary people. This brings me back to our request at the opening of this blog. Patty and I believe that most of you who read this blog are, like us, seen as ordinary people in the eyes of the world. We believe God is directing us to invite you to send us your words of hope, which we can share with the world through this web-site. Recently, my son, Raymond A. Gough, accepted that invitation. He sent me a blog which we expect to publish next week. Please join him in sharing your thoughts, testimonies, and insights on the subject of hope. We believe the world needs to hear more of this from ordinary people. We believe God is calling upon all of us to help each other hear God’s messages of hope. Please pray about this, and if, at any time, you sense that God is calling you to share some words of hope, just send me what you have written via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grace and peace, Ray
Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.