just the beginning
"We made a commitment....to live here intentionally and with purpose."
Chad and I have lived in Canton almost our whole lives. When we were younger, we dreamed about how we might one day live elsewhere. For most of our adult lives, we have lived here. We even started a family here but we still dreamed about where else we might go. Then, something changed. We made a commitment to stay. To not only stay but to live here intentionally and with purpose. That is how Rising Hope started. We stopped dreaming about where else we might go and what we might do there and we began dreaming about this City where we live now and the potential that we see here. Once we made the commitment to stay, it’s as if the blinders fell away and we began to see our City with fresh eyes. Where others see lacking, we see potential; where others see decline, we see opportunities for growth; and where others see despair; we see hopefulness.
In Numbers 13, God tells Moses to send several men to explore the land of Canaan. God intended to give Canaan to the Israelites and he instructed Moses to send one leader from each tribe to inspect the land and report back to all of the Israelites as to what they observed there. Moses obeyed God and sent twelve men to explore Canaan, including Caleb and Joshua. At the end of forty days, the twelve men returned to the desert and reported to all of the other Israelites about their expedition. The men described Canaan as flowing with “milk and honey” and they brought back some of the fruit that they found there. But they went on to say that the people who lived there were powerful and the cities were fortified and very large. Caleb spoke up and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
(v. 30). Caleb recognized that this was the land God had promised them. It didn’t matter how big its people were or how fortified its cities were, God was bigger and stronger. Yet, all of the other men except Joshua, disagreed with Caleb.
They forgot that their God was bigger and stronger. And so, they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored.
Chad and I love this account because it reminds us that when God makes a promise to his people, He means it. God intended to deliver the land of Canaan into the hands of the Israelites, just as we believe God intends to deliver the City of Canton into our hands. It doesn’t matter that others see our City as dirty, depressed and hopeless. We see beauty. And we believe that God wants to restore this City and its people and transform it into a place filled with hope and love.
11:00am - 12:30pm
"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me." Matthew 25:35