Opening Activity:

Take a moment to reflect on where you were when you learned about 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. Do you remember the thoughts that went through your mind and the feelings that sprang up inside of you? What were they?

Open your Bible and read Psalm 23. It’s one of the shortest chapters in the Bible, so read it a few times, and as you do underline or circle the words or statements that remind you of the hope we have in the Lord. Today we will explore the contrast of light and darkness and in doing so we will be reminded that hope is available to each one of us during life’s most difficult times, even in the shadow of death.


1.     What was your initial reaction to today’s podcast discussion with Danielle Strickland about hope?

2.     Danielle shared many powerful, hope-inspiring stories. Which one struck you most? Why?

3.     In what area(s) of your life or ministry has fear taken up residency? Why has fear been allowed to occupy this space for as long as it has?

Today’s Goals:

After listening to this week’s podcast and working through today’s session, we will:

●      Identify the despair in our communities keeping people in darkness, and then formulate a plan to bring light to their lives.

●      Identify the chaos in our churches that’s creating discord, and then formulate a plan to draw out the opportunities hiding in the chaos.  

●      Identify the fears in our own minds paralyzing our ministry, and then formulate a plan to replace those fears with the hope we have in Christ.

Closing Thoughts:

During my conversation with Danielle she shared the story of Rob, a recovering heroin addict, and a prayer meeting in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, which is an eight-block radius where more than 7,000 intravenous drug users live. During this prayer meeting someone began speaking a prayer over Rob, who was newly-saved at the time, and they kept repeating the words, “You are the light of the world!” Suddenly, Rob shot up out of his chair, ran out of the prayer meeting, bolted down the street, and then stood stock-still in the center of a park. This particular park is nicknamed “needle park,” because of all the syringes that litter the area—so many needles, in fact, that the cops don’t even go inside.

When Danielle caught up to him, Rob was standing inside needle park with his arms outspread and his head up to the sky. Danielle approached Rob and asked, “Rob, what are you doing?” And Rob answered, “I’m being the light of the world. Can you feel the darkness trembling?” This is exactly what I want us to remember before finishing up this brief exploration of hope: light belongs in the darkness. Light belongs in needle park. As we learn in the story of creation, and as we learn from Danielle and her radical efforts, God will bring the chaos to order and will chase away the darkness with light.

Prayer Prompt: Thank the Lord that there is no darkness so deep or chaotic that His hope and light can’t overcome it. Ask Him to use you today, this week, this year, and the rest of your life to spread the hope of His message to the world.


Albert Tate