Tag Archives: Hope

When Jerry Bought the Farm

Christmas break has brought beloved son and guest blogger, Josh Knowlton, home from Wheaton College. Today he weaves a tale for us…

It was the year 2050 and the end of the world was imminent. The advanced alien race—called the Barbylons by the humans—had taken over the entire world. Burning down entire civilizations and harvesting earth’s precious resources, they were a brutal force, and left nothing but destruction in their wake.

Only a small town in Wisconsin was left—its numerous prisons providing some shelter and protection for the town’s population. But the Barbylons were encroaching, and it looked as if this small town would soon fall into their dreadful hands.

Most people in the town were concerned about protecting their families. Making sure they had enough food and water to last through the worst of the alien occupation. The world—as they knew it—would soon be gone forever.

Or would it? One old man thought differently than the rest. He had faith—or what his neighbors called a “naïve hope”—that God would restore humans as rulers of earth once again. His name was Jerry.

How did everyone hear of Jerry’s hope? It’s simple. One day, in the midst of a fierce, bloody battle against the Barbylons, Jerry gathered all his resources—his cash, his precious jewelry, and his 401k—and marched to this outskirts of town to his cousin’s farm.

Cousin Hank opened the door. He was there with several others from the town.

“I’d like to buy the farm”, said Jerry, “All of it.”

At first they stood there in disbelief. Then suddenly, as if on cue, they all broke out in laughter—a kind of haunting doomsday hilarity. They thought it was a joke. Only a fool would buy a field days before the aliens came and seized everything.

“I’m serious,” Jerry insisted. “I’ll take the field.”

This time, Hank knew by the look in his eyes that he wasn’t kidding. If this was truly the case, no one could reasonably pass up such an amazing deal! So they signed the papers. Jerry got the deed to the farm, and Hank got all of the money.

When the town heard about the whole ordeal, they jeered at him. “Fool!” “Madman!” “Lunatic!” they would shout as he walked past. Hardly was there anything more senseless to do than to buy a farm in the midst of an alien invasion. “The Barbylons will soon take it,” they yelled, “and then you’ll really have nothing left!”

But Jerry was not a fool. He was not a madman. He did not have a naïve hope—he had a real faith. By purchasing a farm in these hopeless times, he was making a point.

“You see,” Jerry told them, “We will lose this war now. The Barbylons will take my farm—they will even take some of your houses and your family members. We will be obliterated! But that’s not the end of the story. God has told me that, one day, he will restore humans again to rule this earth. He will restore our houses, our farms, and our families. And one day, this field I bought will be restored—to me, the proper owner now. Wait on him and trust in him!”

But Jerry’s words fell on deaf ears. No one believed him. Not one person.


“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for” says the author of Hebrews. Buying a field in the midst of an alien invasion is the assurance of some pretty crazy hope.

Just like Jerry and the townspeople, you can have your faith in one of two places—this kingdom, or the kingdom yet to come. You’ll look like an idiot if you choose the second one. Yet that is what God asks of us.

So… where’s your faith?


(This story really happened! Kinda. Read Jeremiah 32 to find out the real story…)


Posted by on January 5, 2016 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , ,

When Should You Share Romans 8:28?

I once heard of a Christian speaker who said that believers should basically not quote Romans 8:28 to one another. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (ESV)

Now obviously, there is a time and a place for everything. I don’t quote this verse when I’m going through the receiving line at a funeral. That just feels…well, insensitive. Like I said, a time and a place. But I don’t think this man was speaking of such extraordinary circumstances. I think he was thinking of more normal troubles. And I’m not sure why he said this – maybe he thought it was a cliché which is overused.

But if I understand him correctly, I heartily disagree. Of course there is a right and thoughtful way to use this verse, but Romans 8:28 is one of the most wonderful truths in the Bible, and as far as I’m concerned we ought to meditate on it and pull it out to encourage one another often.

After all, Paul knew exactly what he was talking about when he wrote it. This is the same man who, when we pick up with him in Acts 25, has been in prison for two years.

Now think about that for a moment – the apostle in jail for two years – and eventually it would be much longer. Of course, readers of the New Testament are used to the thought of Paul behind bars. There are all the letters he wrote from prison like Philippians, Ephesians and Colossians. So most of us never give it a second thought.

But if you really consider it, it’s one of the oddest ideas in the Bible. And here’s what I mean: if you were the Sovereign God of heaven, and you were moving your missionaries and saints around to accomplish your purposes like much loved chess pieces (if I may speak so crassly) why ever would you put a resource like Paul the Apostle in prison for years at a time?

But there he sits, year after year, “wasting away.” Except, that is, for Romans 8:28. You see, Paul knew good things were happening. After all, if you were wondering, his letter to the church at Rome was already written at this time. He likely had written the letter on his most recent journey, when he was in the city of Corinth.

And so it might be a strange idea for us to think of the Apostle in prison, but not so much for him. He understood that there was a God in heaven who knew exactly what he was doing putting this “valuable resource” away for that period of time.

God was molding him, and making him into the man he needed to be.

Just like he is doing for you and me in whatever we’re walking through today. And what hope there is in that – God is sovereign and loving and He is molding us into the image of Jesus. And therefore everything that we who love him walk through is going to work out for our ultimate good. I just think that we probably don’t meditate on this truth often enough.

And I definitely think it’s a truth we should not keep to ourselves.


For tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17th: Acts 26

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 16, 2015 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: