Introduction to Community Houses of Prayer Ministry Manual
Our Lord Jesus Christ has called us to Himself to belong to Him and to follow Him. He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness that imprisoned us in sin’s mastery, misery and condemnation. He has brought us into His kingdom of light and life, the very ground and reason for our worship (1 Pet. 2:9f.). Through Him we are sons and daughters of the living God, servants of the Most High.
Hope. To us belongs a hope, not a “hope-so” hope of wishful thinking but a hope of confident expectation, assured conviction and vibrant certainty. Ours is not futile hype, but a fertile hope grounded in the historical work of Jesus Christ. As the writer of Hebrews puts it: “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf.” (Heb. 6:19-20a). This hope points to the finished, victorious, redemptive work of Jesus on our behalf that secures our salvation and secures us as heirs of eternal life. The apostle Peter exclaims the praises of such a God who graciously gives us new birth into a living hope (1 Pet. 1:3), in which our inheritance is held for us (1 Pet. 1:4) and we are held in His mighty hand for our inheritance (1 Pet. 1:5). We live out our days in anticipation of the blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). Every day of our lives we live as the redeemed of the Lord, children of hope (1 Thess. 5:5), different from those of the world who have no hope (1 Thess. 4:13). As we walk by faith, God fills our lives with faith, hope and love, causing us to overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 15:13).
Kingdom Ambassadors. As part of this new kingdom of hope, joy and peace, we enjoy not only the blessings of heavenly citizenship, we find ourselves as subjects and servants of a new King, workers in His vineyard, soldiers of His kingdom. No longer is this world our home. Rather we are citizens of heaven, aliens and pilgrims in this world, not occupied with building our own kingdoms or enhancing our own reputations but concerned with Christ’s kingdom priorities and values, seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness. In this sojourning our Lord calls us to be ambassadors of hope, declaring to those around us without God and without hope (Eph. 2:12), the sure hope of the gospel wherein a perfect righteousness is found in Christ apart from our own efforts at obedience to God’s law (Rom 3:19-24).
Our lives bear witness to this God of hope both in word and in deed. The character of our lives is to point others not to how great we are but to how great is our God (1 Pet. 2:11). That our behavior might not point to us or to any notion that salvation is by our good behavior, we are to give interpretation to our deeds as the Lord provides opportunity by verbal explanation for the hope we have (1 Pet. 3:15). Our lives are governed by the reality that Christ bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness; by His wounds we are healed. We were as sheep gone astray, but now by the grace of God we have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls. (1 Pet. 2:24f; cf. Is. 53:4-6). Our lives are His and we live for Him.
The Glory of Grace. As we look to embark upon a ministry of reaching others for Christ what bearings are we given? The land we survey gives us a panorama of grace, a grace that has swept us up in its current, a grace that oxygenates and invigorates our existence in this world, and a grace that qualifies and empowers our role as ambassadors of Christ. We enjoy the standing we do only by the grace of God. His grace sustains us each and every day, leading us away from self-focus and self-dependence to find our strength and sufficiency in Christ (Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7). His grace has given us new hope, a new identity and a new home and His grace will lead us home.
With these bearings, as ones who have received every spiritual blessing in Christ because of the grace of God and who are stationed as His witnesses in this world, we turn to how we can be faithful to carry out that role. CHOP is a tool designed to equip, engage and encourage us in faithful service to our Lord as instruments of grace in His hand for the spreading of the sure hope of the gospel.
(click here for CHOP website)