I want to thank all of you for attending Christian Resource Network, Inc. 2018 Open House, and pray that God will help us as we journey forward. The title of my message is Why we Should Celebrate Life and Live with Hope.”
Oprah Winfrey once said “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” What does that mean for all of us? It means that in the midst of life-storms, life’s troubles, life-issues, life-struggles or what you chose to call them, all of us should celebrate life.
Today, I am going to look at why we should celebrate life, how we should celebrate life with others and how we should celebrate life in the midst of struggles and disappointments. I will tell a story about a Russian girl who celebrated life even in the midst of her disabilities and I will give examples from my own life-journey.
- Why we should celebrate life
We should celebrate life, because I believe, God has put us on this earth for a purpose. In Jeremiah 29:11 God says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” We see here that God’s plan for us is to give us hope and a future. Celebrating life does that, it gives us hope and a future.
2. How we should celebrate life with others?
We should celebrate life by loving God and loving our neighbor. In Mark 12:30-31, God says we should ” Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” If we do not understand our purposes for celebrating life, we see from this scripture, that we are to honor God and live in communion with Him. Why? God is who keeps us. He loves us unconditionally. It is by grace that we have been saved, not of our own doing; it is by the grace of God who sent his son to take away the sin of the world. God has fashioned us to be his own. He has sealed us with eternal life through grace. We should love our neighbor as ourselves.
The story of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37 is an example of loving your neighbor. The Samaritan, who saw a man lying at the sidewalk after being beaten by robbers, had compassion on the man and carried the man on his donkey to an inn and paid the innkeeper to care for the man. How many of us in this room will do that today? We should celebrate life by also loving ourselves-I believe all of us in this room know how to care for and love ourselves.
3. We should celebrate life even when we go through overwhelming problems or disappointments.
a. Example of the Russian girl:
Jessica was born to teenage parents who were not sure what to do with her as she was born with severe disabilities- no legs, so they left her in a hospital. An American family adopted her and helped Jessica to celebrate life even with severe disabilities, by swimming for the special Olympics where she won twelve trophies in three Paralympic games. Jessica’s story became so newsworthy that it led to her desire to find her biological parents and siblings and when she did find them, she welcomed them with joy, not with anger. This is how Jessica viewed her disability: “I think that real disability is a negative attitude towards life. Despite the fact that I have no legs below the knees, I do not consider myself disabled.” Jessica celebrated life and lived with hope.
b. Example from my own life:
Life seems to cave in on me daily, as I care for my special-needs daughter, but yet, when I felt like giving up, I could not and would not. I realize that hope keeps bubbling up inside me when I think of the goodness of God and all that He has done for me. God has kept me strong and in good health, so I can press on to the high mark in Christ Jesus. I am not my own, I have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Because I am not my own, I can go through immense problems, because nothing can separate me from God’s love. (Rom 8:38-39). When I am going through these troubles, the Almighty God is not only holding my hand through them, but is guiding me through them, and He is loving me through them. There is nothing too hard for Him in your situation and in mine.
The question that you are asking yourself is why am I here at this luncheon? I came to tell you how happy you have made me feel in the past few years, I wanted to thank you for supporting me in numerous ways: with your prayers and with your love. We are all here to celebrate life together and to tell of the great things that God has shown us, to tell of how God has helped us and how God has healed us. My hope is that this celebration will leave an indelible mark on all of us.
God is ushering Christian Resource Network, Inc. into unknown territories and I will need prayers and your moral support in every way possible. But God, who is mighty, knows what He wants and He uses us, His ambassadors on the earth, as His vessels to expand His kingdom. I hope that this is simply the beginning of our celebration of life together and hope that we can continue to celebrate the gift of life and help others to celebrate their lives by opening doors for them to realize their potential.
I want to end by stating a quote by Osho, Creativity: Unleashing the Forces Within: “Be the celebrators, celebrate! Already there is too much—the flowers have bloomed, the birds are singing, the sun is there in the sky—celebrate it! You are breathing and you are alive and you have consciousness, celebrate it!” May God bless you