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Agents of Hope:

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Agents of Hope

Swede Ingmar Bergman told a story about a knight named Antonius Block who kneels in front of a confessional to confess his sins. He does not realize until later that he is talking to Death—a shadowy, robed character—rather than a priest. Block declares that he is seeking not faith, not suppositions, but knowledge.

"I want," he says, "God to stretch out His hand toward me, reveal Himself, and speak to me."

Death says back that perhaps there is no God, that there is only nothing.

"Then," says Block, "life is an outrageous horror. No one can live in the face of death, knowing that all is nothingness."

Intro TextToday millions live in the face of such nothingness. They have no faith in God, no hope in anything past the world around them. No wonder, then, that so many focus on the comforts of this life, seeking solace in pleasure and the various worldly distractions. The Christian faith—which calls upon us to "fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Cor. 4:18, NIV)—is foreign to them.

As Christians, we are God's agents to bring these people hope, to show that there is a God who loves and cares for them, to show that although life has many outrageous horrors, it is not ultimately an outrageous horror but that God will finally make all things right.

The Bible gives us many inspirational stories of God's agents of hope. In this quarter's lessons we will focus on some of these outstanding missionaries; on whom they were and what they did in seeking to bring others to a saving knowledge of the Lord of salvation.

Ellen G. White tells the story of a man nearly chilled to death in deep snow. He was about to give up struggling for his life when he heard the moans from a fellow traveler nearby. His first impulse was to rescue the other man. When he found him, he rubbed the man's frozen limbs. He finally got him to his feet and carried him through the drifts to safety.

Then "the truth flashed home to him that in saving his neighbor he had saved himself also" by quickening "the blood which was freezing in his own veins."—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 319.

The point? A healthy church is a church focused on mission to others. Sharing God's love with the community brings fresh life and energy into the church.

It would be a mistake this quarter to study these biblical agents as interesting historical figures and leave it at that. Rather, we need to catch the inspiration of their lives and focus on our mission to this dying world. There is nothing more refreshing, or more life-giving, than reaching out to others.

Our prayer is that this quarter's lessons on biblical agents of hope will lead us into a renewed commitment to share God's love with our neighbors and friends and in mission fields around the world. In so doing, we may just find that we have entered into a whole new dimension in our Christian lives.

Gary Krause, an Australian born to missionary parents in Fiji, is director of the Office of Adventist Mission at the General Conference. He is married to Bettina, and they have one daughter, Bethany Grace.

Contents:  (all lessons may not be posted)

No. Study


July 5 For Such a Time As This:  The Apostle Paul  (KJV)  (NKJV)


July 12 "All Things to All Men":  Paul Preaches to the World  (KJV)  (NKJV)


July 19 John the Baptist:  Preparing the Way for Jesus  (KJV)  (NKJV)


July 26 The Son of God Among Us  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Aug 2 Matthew 10:  Jesus and His Disciples  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Aug 9 The Compassionate Savior  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Aug 16 The Apostle John  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Aug 23 From Folly to Faith:  The Apostle Peter  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Aug 30 A Pillar of Mission:  The Apostle Peter  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Sept 6 Women of Mission  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Sept 13 Mission in a Pagan Land:  Daniel and Company  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Sept 20 Gifted for Service:  Philip  (KJV)  (NKJV)
 13 Sept 27 "Here Am I!  Send Me":  The Prophet Isaiah  (KJV)  (NKJV)

Giardina Sabbath School Study Helps

Jerry Giardina of Pecos, Texas, assisted by his wife, Cheryl, prepares a series of helps to accompany the Sabbath School lesson. He includes all related scripture and most EGW quotations. Jerry has chosen the "New King James Version" of the scriptures this quarter. It is used with permission.  The study helps are provided in three wordprocessing versions Wordperfect; Microsoft Word;  RTF for our MAC friends (this is now a zip file); and HTML (Web Pages).

Last updated on July 2, 2008

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