Hello, friends! I hope you are having a full, memorable summer! I’ve enjoyed my time offline, and have more than a few adventure-filled stories to share with you in the coming weeks. I look forward to catching up with you all as we move back into the routine of fall.
During the past few weeks, I’ve taken advantage of extra time to read and connect with friends and family across the country. On more than one occasion, I’ve sat in the corner of my bedroom with tears streaming down my face. My heart has broken for families and marriages battling for survival and for people groups across the globe facing destruction. At times, it all seems too heavy to bear. Yet in the midst of the grief, I find I have hope. God’s hope shines through the clouds of darkness, and I know there is more. There is more than the current heartache, the seeming hopelessness.
My stack of books this summer included The Hope Quotient by Ray Johnston. It’s not often that I sit down with a Christian living title and read half the book in one sitting, yet that’s exactly what I did with The Hope Quotient. The words seemed to fly off the page and right into my heart. I read with lightning speed, because this is a message I needed. This is a message so many people I love need. This is a message our world needs.
As a pastor, leader and founder of the Thrive Conference, an annual meeting for leaders in communication, Johnston has spent years dealing with all sorts of people. In his observations, he has noted a direct correlation between someone’s hopefulness and their success in all areas of life.
Johnston caught my attention on page 20 when he referenced 1 Corinthians 13:13:
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.” Christians and Christianity will never thrive without all three. However, the Christian church has spent years majoring on two and leaving hope out of the equation.
He goes on to point out how often we talk about faith and love in our churches and Christian communities. We have statements of faith and thousands of books on faith. We sing about love, talk about love, preach about love. But how often do we talk about hope?
In the first section of the book Johnston describes what hope is, how it can be built, and how discouragement destroys everything.
In the second section of the book he outlines seven key factors that increase our hope: Recharging your batteries (Um…this chapter was ouch for me!), Raise your expectations, Refocus on the future, Play to your strengths, Refuse to go it alone (fantastic conversation about community, my hot topic!), Replace burnout with balance (another ouch!), and Play great defense.
The final section of the book discusses unleashing a culture of hope – in your marriage, kids, career, church, community, and the world. The book also comes with a unique code that you can use in an online assessment to measure your level of hope and build a road map for increasing your level of hope.
The book is filled with great stories, memorable illustrations, and a number of practical applications. I believe you will finish each chapter finding yourself uplifted and excited about what God can do in your life and the lives of those around you.
This is a message we need. I’ve found myself praying over and over recently, “Lord, let your hope break through the darkness of this situation. Let hope cover that marriage. Let hope embrace those children.”
We need hope. And we can have it. You can have it.
So, what great books have you read this summer?
*I received a free copy of this book to review. All opinions are mine.