Our Hopes + God’s Will = Hopes Fulfilled

Thanks for visiting our web-site. We also invite you to view our other web-site Ray of Hope Ministries On-Line Bible Study www.rohmbible.wordpress.com

We have also published the book shown below in the form of an e–book. We invite you to read, copy, or down-load it free at this  web-site:  

       http://www.pastorrayhopesfulfilled.wordpress.com/home

              HOPES FULFILLED

                  A Spiritual Autobiography

                             

     How God fulfilled the faith-based hopes

         of an ordinary guy from Jersey City

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Our Hopes + God’s Will = Hopes Fulfilled

In my book, HOPES FULFILLED, which is described at the top of this post, I have written about some of my experiences in serving as a pastor in United Methodist Churches for 21 years. I am happy to say that, during those years the people of the churches I served accepted and pursued most of the ideas for ministry that I proposed to them. However, that was not always the case. There were times when I tried to convince the lay leadership of the church that we needed to start certain forms of ministry. These were ministries I was sure we could accomplish, but would take some commitment on the part of our people. However, sometimes the initial response to my suggestions ranged from “we can’t do that” to simple lack of interest or enthusiasm. So after a period of apparently failing to convincing anyone in the church to help start and proceed with these ministries, I lost hope and reluctantly forgot about them. Then, after a period of a few weeks to a few months or even years, someone would come to me and, to my joyful surprise, ask “when are we going to begin that ministry you were talking about?”. In one case, one of our new members, who had never even heard one of my proposals, asked me if she could use our facilities for a ministry very similar to one that I had proposed but given up on. Right away she proceeded to successfully organize and conduct the new ministry.

As I was writing my book, remembering all of those times when I had given up hope, only to eventually see those hopes fulfilled, I came to realize what I call the motto of Ray-of- Hope Ministries:

When just one person hope for something, and that something is in accordance with God’s will, God will assure that the hope will be fulfilled, in God’s time and God’s way.

This means that it is important that we, individually and collectively, do our best to seek God’s will in all things, and say yes to whatever we hear from God, and then use all the grace that God gives us, to pursue our part in doing whatever it is that we are hoping for. Then leave the means and the timing of fulfillment, in God’s hands.

Last Sunday I was again reminded of this motto, as the church my wife Joan and I now attend, Vincentown United Methodist Church, which I previously served as pastor for eight years, reluctantly ended its participation in a very effective ministry called Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN). When I began serving this church 17 years ago, I suggested that it join a number of other churches in our area who were helping the families  served by IHN. Each of the participating churches took turns providing overnight housing and some meals in their facilities for temporarily homeless families. Each of the participating churches provide this service for one week about every two or three months. Each church would provide a volunteer coordinator and about 35 additional volunteers or so volunteers to actively conduct the ministry.

When I initially proposed that we become one of the participating churches, the church lay leadership made it clear that we could  not be involved in that program. So it became another instance in which I was very disappointed, but  decided it was hopeless to pursue it any further.

A few years later, the church completed a spiritual growth study which was attended by a small number of people, including some who had recently become members. The purpose of the study was to encourage the people of the church to become involved in hands on service ministries for people in need. Shortly after the study ended, one of our newer members, unaware that I had proposed the IHN ministry some years earlier, proposed that we become participants in this program. This time our church leadership and everyone agreed that we should could and should be one of the participating churches. She agreed to be the coordinator. Once again, as in other churches I had served, my hopelessness had turned into a hope fulfilled – in God’s time and God’s way.

Just as these hope was fulfilled, it was time for my formal retirement. As a retired pastor, I then agreed to serve as a part-time pastor at a nearby small church. I served there for four years. After that, Joan and I then began attending the church I had last served as a full-time pastor, where the IHN ministry was still in operation. So I began serving as one of the volunteers who served in that ministry.

I continued to serve in that ministry for the next five years, until about a month ago, when participation by our church came to an end, due to the lack of a sufficient number of volunteers. I was very disappointed that the decision had been made to end our participation. However, I do understand that this was a reluctant decision that really had to be made. Nevertheless, I was very concerned that I heard no talk of finding a new form of ministry that we could realistically participate in.

With this concern on my mind, last Sunday I joined a group of most of the remaining IHN volunteers, for a lunch recognizing the service in this ministry by our church for the past about years. As we were all about to leave, one of the volunteers expressed that she was sorry to see our participation in this program come to an end, but she hoped that the leadership of the church would discover some other essential ministry which could take its place. She was expressing my feelings that we needed to be involved in some kind of community service ministry.

As soon as she mentioned this, the last person to serve as coordinator of our IHN ministry made a statement consisting of just five words. She said “We’re already working on it.” I then spoke up, briefly commenting on how, about 17 years ago, the IHN ministry had been rejected when I suggested it, but a few years later, it had been adopted. And even though I didn’t know anything about this new program that was in the works, someone did know about it and had hopes for ts fulfillment.

Once again, I knew that God was going to assure that whatever our new ministry is going to be,  when just one person hopes for something, and if it is in accordance with God’s will, God will assure that the hope will be fulfilled – in God’s time and God’s way. This means that it is important that we, individually and collectively, do our best to seek God’s will in all things, say “yes” to whatever we hear from God, and then use all the grace that God gives us, to pursue whatever it is that we are hoping for. Then leave the means and the timing of fulfillment, in God’s hands.

Grace and peace,  Ray

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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.

Patty Perez and Ray Gough

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This entry was posted in Discernment, Faith, God's grace, God's Will, Hope, Patience, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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