Where does hope come from?
On Saturday, Sept. 15 at 11 a.m., America for Jesus became a source of hope for many who had given up hoping. Long before the prayer gathering at Independence Mall began, the initiative LOVE Philadelphia was reaching out with a hand of compassion and the eternal message of hope.
A principle throughout Scripture teaches that when we close our ears to the cries of the poor, the Lord will not hear our cries (see Prov. 21:13). In fact, as Jesus announced His public ministry in the temple, He unrolled the scroll, read from what we know as Isaiah 61 and declared: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor” (Luke 4:18).
Consistently, Jesus’ message was for the least, the last and the lost.
At eight outreach sites across the city of Philadelphia, LOVE became the source of hope for more than 10,000 people. More than 120,000 pounds of food and groceries were distributed and entire truckloads of laundry detergent and diapers were brought to the most needy communities of our city through the local network called Hope4Philly (Hope4Philly.com).
As guests of honor arrived, they were met by smiling faces. They had a family photo taken as soon as they entered. Soon, their children were enjoying inflatable rides, lots of games and a festive atmosphere with free food and music. Some sites had health services, free haircuts, school supplies and job services. All this was good news for the poor.
In a culture engulfed with serving self and fulfilling personal dreams of success, LOVE Philadelphia had a different purpose. We saw hundreds of people forgetting about themselves for the sole purpose of bringing a message of hope and healing.
The promise when we live for others is recorded in Isaiah 58:10: “If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday” (NIV).
Immediately prior to receiving their groceries, attendees passed through the Prayer Tent. There, many lives were touched with Christ’s love in prayers for needs, family members, health issues and more. For hundreds, they put their trust in Jesus Christ and crossed the line of faith.
So where does hope come from? Hope comes when we put our faith into action and translate what we believe into what we do. Love only becomes love when it is shown. LOVE Philadelphia brought HOPE!
Jason Tourville has been the senior pastor at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship, a multicultural, Pentecostal church in Abingdon, Pa., since 2005.