First BIG DAY Talk

LET me ask you this important question:

What gets you out of bed?

The popular coffee ad asks this question in

Tagalog, “Para kaning ka bumabangon?”

It’s a beautiful question. What gets you out of bed? Is it a dream that gets you out of bed? Is it an obligation’? Is it a daily schedule? Or maybe it’s a person – your mom threatening you with eviction if you don’t get up?

Whatever motivates you to get out of bed, I think we can all agree that one of the most powerful motivators in life is called hope. So today, I want to talk about The Power of Hope. And I want to preach to you this simple message: Get Your Hopes Up.

Hope is powerful. Take away someone’s hope and you’ll see how that person dies a slow death. But fill someone with hope and that person can be hanging by the thinnest piece of thread on the edge of a deep cliff and still wish to find the will to survive. Hope gives us the ability to cope with even the worst situations of life.

Hope vs. COVID

Every living thing in this world has been given the instinct to survive.

From the largest species to the smallest organism, every living thing wants to live.

Think about it: A year after battling this deadly virus, COVID 19 is STILL plaguing the world.

It’s like a juice drink. The first product was so successfiul, it came out with different varieties. It started with just l variant, but now there are so many varieties There’s the UK variant, the African variant, the Brazilian variant. We’ve even got our very own variant here in the Philippines. It’s called PH3 (they made it sound like a deodorant so it doesn’t sound threatening). But it’s all the same. COVID19 in 2021 is basically just COVID 2020 wearing a wig. It changed wardrobe a little bit, but it’s still the same COVID. This is evidence that COVID is adapting and mutating to survive. Because every living thing wants to survive.

But no other species on this Planet has the greatest will to survive than the human being. Like you and me. Human beings have existed and persisted since the Creation of Man. We are survivors. Why? Because we have hope. I love what King David wrote long ago. He was considered Israel’s greatest king (before Jesus came). David said, “I look up to the mountains-does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!” (Psalm 121:1-2 NLT).

Listen to this: All great rulers know that they’re not the greatest. That there will always be someone greater than them. Let’s be like David who knew where his help, his strength, his wisdom came from. They all came from up above.


Today, I want to share with you the Characteristics of a Hopeful Person by presenting the 4 types of Hopeful People.

First:  Hopeful People are Happy

People. Do we have a happy person here today? What does it mean to be truly happy? Let me qualify…

There are people who are happy only for a season. Do you know of people like them? They’re happy when they get a boyfriend, but after a while, they get bored and then move on to the next. They’re happy with the new job today, but after some time, the job becomes routine and they lose the excitement.

But there are people who aren’t just happy for a season, but they’re always happy for a reason. They can be in a boring career, or a rocky relationship, and still find a way to be happy. What’s their secret? It’s called gratitude.

Grateful people are happy people.

 Decision vs. Frustration

Let me tell you something I’ve learned about gratitude. Gratitude is not automatic. Gratitude is a skill that you practice every day.

Parents would know this. Parents, if you’re listening, hit amen if you can relate to this statement: Being a parent is a thankless job. Do you agree? It really is. The moment your baby is born, you clean, you cook, you wash, you wipe, you play, you carry, you serve every single day. But do you get a single thank you from your baby? Nothing! Nada! Zilch! Occasionally, you get a smile, but that’s it. Parenting is somehow a frustrating, thankless job.

But as your child grows, you also grow. You learn how to accept the fact that you need to teach your children how to say thank you, how to say sorry, how to say please–until they get the hang of it. Yes, saying thank you is something you teach. It’s something you decide to learn. It’s a skill that you enhance over time. And the more you do it, the more it becomes easier. Gratitude is a conscious decision that you make every day. So, if you’re not in the habit of being grateful, start today.

Here’s the second characteristic of Hopeful People: They are Optimistic People

Hopeful People are Optimistic People

What is optimism? Optimism is the ability to be confident about a future outcome. But I have another word for this. It’s called Faith. Optimism and Faith are the same. Faith is the ability to believe in something that you haven’t seen or experienced. That’s why faithful people are optimistic people.

Optimism vs. Pessimism

Question: How can you tell if a person is an optimist or a pessimist? Easy: Optimists usually wear sunglasses. Why? Because they get blinded by constantly looking at the brighter side of life.

That’s what optimists are. They’re the ones who always find light even in the darkest tunnel– because they have a faith and a hope that says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for YOU are with me. YOUR rod and your staff they comfort me.”

There is hope at the end of this long and dark tunnel– for God is with me. He is for me. He is not against me.

Light vs. Darkness

One of the symbols of hope is light. And light represents none other than Jesus Himself. He is the Light of the World (John 8:12 NLT) Thar’s why if you cannot find light in your life right now and it’s all darkness and loneliness and despair, ask yourself: “How’s my relationship with Jesus?” Could it be possible that you’ve disconnected yourself to the Source of Light that’s why you struggle in seeing the positive side of your life? Connect with Him today.

The amazing promise in the Book of John is that, “If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will bave the lieht that leads to life.” (John 8:12 NLT)

Jesus want to give you light. He wants to give you hope.

Again, Hopeful People are Optimistic People.

Here’s the third one. Hopeful people are characterized by the peace that’s within them. Hopeful people are peaceful people

I’ve heard many times that the command, “Do not be afraid” is said 365 times in the Bible. Have you ever heard of this? People say it’s as though God is reminding us not to be afraid every single day of the year. It’s very good to hear, right? 365 ‘do-not-fear’ reminders every day. But actually, that’s not accurate.

While Jesus was agonizing in the garden of Gethsemane, sweating blood, He spoke to God the Father, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. “ (Matthew 26:39 NLT)

Jesus was negotiating the Cross. To paraphrase, if Jesus lived today, He’d be like, “Father God, uhmm…instead of the Cross, how about we just do a concert? Or

maybe a fund-raiser? Or maybe a big raffle?

Jesus was negotiating with His Father. Historically, this is one of the very few times we see Jesus questioning the will of His Father. But in the end, what happened?

Jesus says, “Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Matthew 26:39 NLT)

Don’t beat yourself up if your first reaction to trouble is panic and not peace. It’s human nature. I want you to know that being faithful has nothing to do with not being panicky. Faithfulness is not the absence of panic in your life. But faithfulness is the presence of God’s peace that’s greater than your panic. Apply it this way: The moment panic comes, peace should follow. Your panic should always transition to        peace. After you worry, your worship should follow next.

St. Paul says, Don’t worry about anything: instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)

This is the peace that I’m talking about. How many of you want this kind of peace? A peace that transcends human understanding. A peace that doesn’t make sense.

For instance, you can be in the most chaotic environment at home or in your company, and yet still have peace within. Like Jesus sleeping on the boat in the middle of a raging storm. You want that peace? Anchor your hope in the Lord and He will give you that peace.

Here’s the fourth and last characteristic of Hopeful People? They’re Expectant People. Hopeful People Are Expectant People.

When I hear that word, expectant, I’m reminded of a pregnant mother. Like when a woman gets pregnant, she says, “I am expecting!”

And so, she waits for nine months for the baby to develop and then be born into the world.

That’s usually the tough part: When you’re waiting. For most people, waiting is torture. Do you agree? How many of you know what I’m talking about? Give me a virtual hands-up if you do, Perhaps you’re waiting for a job. Or waiting for a promotion. Or waiting for approval of your VISA application. Or waiting for a spouse. Or waiting for a baby. Or perhaps you’re waiting in line for the COVID vaccine.

Sometimes, waiting can be excruciating, especially if what you’re waiting for is nowhere in sight. There’s no indication of any proof that your prayer is being answered.

Surrender vs. Giving Up

My wife and I waited for four years to get pregnant. It was one of the most difficult challenges of our married life. Seeing other people deliver a baby one after the other like a factory, while we struggled manufacturing even one. It was hard. Year after year. Waiting. Nothing. Waiting. Nothing. Waiting. Nothing. By the end of the third year, we were tired of this pattern. We were so close to giving up the idea of having a child. But instead of givingup, we surrendered and bowed to God’s will.

That’s what you need to do. Don’t give up. Instead, give it up to the Lord.

We said, “Lord, we’re deciding to be happy. Even if you don’t bless us with a child, we EXPECT that one way or the other, You will bless us in different ways.” Let me tell you this: It’s only in God’s Kingdom where surrender is not a loss, but actually a step towards victory

A few days after we prayed, I said yes to serving the Lord as a preacher in our spiritual community. And you know, I will never fully understand God’s mysterious ways, but one thing I can tell you is that miracles happen when you surrender to        God’s will. Because a month later, we got pregnant.

Believe me when I say this: God listens and God answers. He hears the deepest cries of your heart. But the reason sometimes you think God is not answering is you’ re expecting His blessing to be packaged the way you expect it to come. Sometimes God sends a blessing packaged differently.

In our case, the Lord didn’t give our blessing in a new package. It came  in the package we expected it to. After our four years of waiting. God blessed us with a child, then, plus one more

At right, our Ethan Elijah born September 18, 2017, welcomes sister Ellie Elisha, born April 23, 2021.

Expect the Lord to bless you with what you need. I say need because there is a difference between what you need and what you want. And what you want may not always be what you need.

But thank God that He knows exactly what we need.

He knows when you’re ready for that blessing. He knows when you’re ready to transition from ‘single’ to ‘in a relationship’. He knows when you’re ready tor that new job. He knows when you’re ready to be healed.

Need vs. Want

Let me tell you why you want God to give ONLY what you need. Because if God gave you that thing that you want badly, but you’re not ready for it, you might

mismanage the blessing. You might mismanage the relationship. You might mismanage that career upgrade. So, somebody type this in right now: “Praise God for giving me what need.”

Hebrews 11:3 says that “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NLT).

That’s beautiful. Contrary to what you might hear out there: If you believe that your faith is a product of what you see, that’s not real faith. Real faith is a product of what you CANNOT see and what you CANNOT touch,

Let me give you this analogy. One cloudy day, a boy was flying a kite so high it went above the clouds,

A man who was passing by saw the boy holding the string and asked him, “What’re you doing?”

“I’m flying a kite, Sir,” the boy replied.

The man looked up, but couldn’t see the kite. He asked the boy, “How do you know if your kite is up there?”

The boy smiled and said, “Every once in a while, 1 feel a tug on my string. That’s    how I know my kite is still there.” often, you’ll feel Him tug your heart. Have you ever felt that tug in your heart? That’s when you know God’s really there.

Let’s do a quick recap: A hopeful person is someone who is…

What’s that? H O P E. Hope.

Where Does Your Hope Come From?

What are you hopeful for this year?

Let’s close with this point: I feel like there’s someone who’s been listening to this message who’s struggling to find hope in this season. I cannot imagine how much you have lost during this Pandemic.

Some of you lost a job, an opportunity. Some of you lost some time with a loved one. Some of you even lost a loved one. But some of you also lost this thing called Hope. That’s one of the worst you can lose. How many of you lost some hope?

It’s excruciating to see someone lose hope. And in case you’re running empty on hope, let me encourage you right now.

A few years back, my wife and I were watching The Passion of the Christ during Holy Week. There is that one scene, one of the bloodiest scenes you will probably ever see in the cinema– the Scourging on the Pillar, where the Roman soldiers started tearing the flesh off of Jesus. My wife started squirming and asked if we could skip that scene.

I told her “But you already know the ending, Love. Remember, Jesus wins? He walks out of that tomb.

I can’t help saying the same to you today. You may be getting worked up about the outcome of that difficult situation that you’re in, and you may be thinking. “May we skip this scene, Lord? Is there a way for this cup to pass from us? May we please go fast forward to the good part?

Guess, what? I got a spoiler alert for you. Check this out. This will end your stress, your worry, and your anxiety. Are you ready?

Here it is: At the end, God wins! Somebody give me a hallelujah! Stop getting worked up over that thing. Because in the end, God has worked out everything You might be in your Good Friday right now, when all hope seems lost, when the night

is at its darkest. But don’t forget, we’re Easter people!

Hopeful people are Easter people! Our hope is not found in this broken world or in broken people. Our hope is tound in Jesus alone. So get Your Hopes UP! David says, “I look to the mountains–does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!” (Psalm 121:1-2 NLT)

Don’t get your hope from the world. Get it from the Lord. Get it from the One

who sits on His heavenly throne. Get Your Hopes UP!

This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s the story of a God who entered a broken world that’s infected with a virus called hate, bitterness, and shame.

So God, in the form of man, lived among sick people, without a protective suit, without a face mask, without a face shield. He breathed the same air as we do now. He ate the same food as we do. He slept under the same sky as we all do. But what made Him different is that He was rejected by the same people He came to save. He died in isolation away from His loved ones. He experienced the most excruciating        ending ever. But He endured all those that He might give this sick world the antidote to the virus called sin. It’s called Salvation. He healed you and me. He gave us everlasting life.

He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?” (John 11:25-26 NLT)

Think about it: If God had no hope for the world, He would have destroyed the world by now. Like Thanos, the villain in the Marvel Comics and the movie version, The Avengers, aims to wipe out half of all life by the snap of his fingers.

Instead, in His boundless mercy and compassion, God saved the world. He loved you before you even loved Him back.

He made His mercy available even before you apologized. How do you respond to

love this great? You simply receive it. You let it change you.

Today, I invite you to come back to Him. Come back to the light. Stop living in darkness, my friend. Choose the light. Every step you take closer, God’s light shines brighter, His Hope becomes clearer.

Are you ready to receive God’s Hope? Let’s pray… Get Your Hopes Up.


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