I Choose Hope!

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Good morning Family, What an honor and a

privilege to be before you today. I bring you

greetings from Fresno Pacific University,

where I have the privilege to encourage

and equip leaders for the future.

 

I am a product of this valley, I’ve been

trained and nurtured in her bosom …There

is no greater place to serve at and no

greater place to live in.

 

The Valley is California’s crown Jewel of

beauty. Its the place of Hope, where

dreams are fertilized, planted, watered,

nurtured and translated all over the world.

California’s future is in the valley. The

worlds Hope is in the valley. I come today

to talk with you about that Hope.

 

The hope of a people, an American people.

This month is African American History

month. It is also American History Month.

We are a part of Americas history.

 

We are the builders, planters, farmers,

engineers, immigrants, teachers, pastors,

lawyers, athletes, artist and business

people of this great country.

 

Hope was our first teacher, she nurtured us

on the cotton fields of our southern states.

She cradled us in the blistering summer

sun of segregation and Jim crow laws.

It was Hope, that built those communities

of color, when we were banned from

shopping, studying, performing and

worshiping in places where we could not

attend.

 

Hope fed us through the wicked winters of

lynching’s, and the Assassinations of our leaders…

.

Hope kept us together, lifted our spirits,

This four-letter word has inspired my

people for over 500 years!

 

Hope, is the noun that has championed the

economically disadvantaged since we

landed on distant shores.

 

Hope, is the biblical cousin to faith and

love, that makes generations of dark

skinned people trust that life will someday

get better in-spite of the countless micro

and macro aggressions of rejection, felt

daily in the academy, on wall street, in

politics and systemic layers of racism in

society.

 

Hope! Keeps people alive, and believing

that everything is gonna be alright.

The song writer of that great black anthem

said…

 

Lift every voice and sing,

Till earth and heaven ring.

Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;

Let our rejoicing rise,

High as the listening skies,

Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

 

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark

past has taught us,

Sing a song full of the hope that the

present has brought us;

Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,

Let us march on till victory is won.

It was Hope, that caused us to sing!

 

That same teacher called hope,

caused us to build our own schools and

systems of survival to employ and engage

our minds in building a future that would

extend a bridge into tomorrow where we

could share our inventions, scholarship, art,

creativity and biblical worldview.

It was Hope! That dared this little boy from

South Central Los Angeles, to dream of

being the first to go to college, and receive

a PhD. in Divinity.

 

It was hope that made this preacher, see a

community without hope, and dream that

the word of God could make a difference in

a person’s life, plant a church, and save

lives trapped in drug abuse, gang activity

and welfare systems of poverty.

 

Hope did this…and that’s what I came to

give you today….[Can I get a witness]

!

I came to encourage you to keep hope on

the mantle of your hearts!

No matter how hard it gets or how hard it

may seem, you can achieve whatever you

put your mind too.

 

Keep hope burning bright! It will be like a

light to your feet and a lamp on your path!

Where ever there is hope, there is a chance

to do what you never thought you could do.

 

A illustration of hope was shared by that preaching pastor of Houston Texas, Dr. Ralph West.

 

He said, “When his son Ralph Jr, was a boy, he took him to Toys-RUs, and he got detached from him in the store. Ralph jr.

being his first child, his fatherly instincts

caused him to panic.

 

He said, because he could

see the doors, he knew that he had not exited them.

 

So Up one corridor, he paced, and down

another… around a corridor… around

another aisle… peeping… looking to find

 

him amid a crowd of people in the

Christmas rush – but he could not find his

son. I found a security guard and I asked

him, “Do you have surveillance in the

store?” He said, “Yes.” I then asked, “Do

you have a monitor?” “Yes.” “Can I look at

the monitor?” “Yes.” Can you scan the

floor?” “Yes.”

 

The guard began to scan up and down the

aisles, and there he saw his son playing with toys, but he was clearly in a state of panic.

 

His son was all by himself among people he

did not know. He says that his first child was feeling lost and alone, and he did not know what to do.

 

Dr. West asked the guard, “Do you have an

intercom?” He said, “Yes.”

 

I said, “Keep the camera on him.” Then I

got on the intercom and said, “Ralph.” My

son looked around because he recognized

my voice. I continued, “Stay where you

are.” He started looking around. “It’s

 

Daddy,” I said. “Don’t move. I see you

although you can’t see me. Stay where you

are. I’m coming.”

 

In those moments, when you think that God

cannot see you or that you cannot see God,

always remember that God sees you.

The invisible hand of God is active and is

looking after your life.

 

There’s hope for your future, there’s hope

for your circumstances, there is hope for

your crisis…because God see’s you and he

cares.

 

He is just like this Father in the story

looking for his children, who are lost .

 

That’s what makes hope so powerful! It transcends doubt, fear, frustration, insecurity, inadequacies, and incompetence.

 

Hope makes anticipation move the needle toward success, when the temperature of failure is rising in the climate!

 

I know what I’m talking about…I’ve swam in the pool of disappointment, and injustice. I’ve had to do the back stroke against the waves of “uncertainty” …I have had to butterfly when the competition was free to swim the free style….

But because of hope, I was able to use muscles I didn’t know that I had….and the grueling discipline of having to be better, work harder, perform longer, be culturally competent and multilingual in a sea of competitors where the race was fixed…. Made me a stand – out participant….

 

Because of hope…my drive made me stand out above others…because of hope…my skills were unlike anyone else…. because of hope my race was not against those in the same pool, but it was against history itself!

 

Ive got to close now, but hope has taught me that its not what you do, is how you do it, and to whom you do it for!

 

You see hope comes from God, and the God who gives me hope allows me to use that gift as I work unto him.

So when you see me working or performing in the spirit of hope….I hope unto God that I bring him honor and glory on the stages of this world.

Hope! A friend to the preacher! Hope! A confidant to the teacher! Hope! A strong ally in a world of discouragement.

Hope! My change agent and inspiration to please the only one who truly matters.

As I close …

Hope makes me remember that Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction….

 

I choose hope…because therein lies the options that I have against the solutions of injustice.

 

May the Lord bless and Keep you!