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Keeping Christ central

A weekly series from HOPE’s director of spiritual integration

It’s a question I’m asked often:

Aren’t you basically providing financial incentives to get people to convert to Christianity?

At HOPE, we’re passionate about combining two objectives some view as unrelated, even dangerous: 1) promoting sustainable poverty alleviation and 2) clearly inviting others to love and follow Jesus Christ. But at the same time, we are careful not to trick, mislead, or coerce anyone into making a false profession of faith for the simple reason that Jesus didn’t.

In John 6, Jesus is being chased around the Sea of Galilee by a large crowd. He’s healed terrible diseases, fed thousands with a few loaves and fishes, and taught with great authority. Things were going so well the crowd was planning to make Him king by force. In modern language, Jesus was a rock star.

What would you have been thinking if you were one of the disciples? “Surely this is the moment. You’ve got them eating out of your hands … literally! Use your power to make them follow you.”

But in one of the countless ways Jesus defies expectations, He doesn’t capitalize on His fame. Desiring true disciples over admiring crowds, He proclaims harder—even potentially offensive—teachings. The result?

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