Andrew Naffin, Theology, church, scripture, N.T. Wright, Karl Barth
  Literally, Surprised by Hope. I was sitting around a campfire with some friends tonight, many who are currently pastoring in local churches. We were laughing, joking and telling some stories. Hands down, the best story of the night came from my friend Jeff. A few years ago a guy who had no previous church background or bible knowledge came to know Christ and became a part of their church called "Sinners and Saints". During a particular service in which they were teaching on Matthew 24, they came to verse 30, which says, "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory." The guy quickly interjected, interrupting the sermon with great joy and surprise, "You mean to tell me that Jesus is actually coming back!?.... ARE YOU FU@#ING KIDDING ME?!!!" he exclaimed.

It's kind of funny when your world gets rocked like that. I mean literally, in that one verse, God changed the guy's entire theological paradigm (and probably his entire outlook on Christianity and life) and brought him into the hope that most of us as Christians take for granted. Something as powerful as the parousia (coming Kingdom), is the very thing we look forward to and place our hope in as Christians.

This dude was literally "Surprised by Hope" (sorry NT Wright, but this guy sums it up in one sentence what you try to do with a few hundred pages). You think God was mad at his response? Not in the least. I'm sure that at that moment, the heavens resounded with an "AMEN!"

Visit Jesse's blog at A Narrative Called Life for more reflections

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Andrew Naffin, Theology, Church, Scripture, N.T. Wright, Karl Barth