A prophetic voice packing a powerful punch. That’s how last night felt at New Horizon. Someone tweeted: “Heard a guy speak tonight, @malcomjduncan. He said things that may not have wanted to be heard but everyone was better for hearing.”

Malcolm Duncan’s theme was Jesus our Hope. Not only is Jesus the hope that we have, he is the hope that the world needs.

1. Hope WITH us. Seen in the incarnation that reveals a transcendent and immanent God.

2. Hope IN us. Christ is in us and we are in Christ.

But hope needs to go beyond us. We are called to share it.

3 – Hope WITH us. The. Church should be a community of hope. Yet, often, it is not. The over-40 generation needs to realise that under-40s are leaving the church because of what they see as the older generation’s unwillingness to engage the world. Younger people do not want “a small ask.”

4 – Hope THROUGH us. We need an uncluttered gospel that proclaims the lordship of Jesus Christ and gets involved in the world. However there are thousands of churches that are simply doing the same thing every week, expecting to see different results. It is as though they are replicating Mr Bean’s one note performance at the Olympic opening ceremony, hitting the same note every week while we need to start playing the symphony of the lordship of Christ.

So to the question in the title. Malcolm Duncan is from Belfast, but has lived outside Northern Ireland for over 25 years. He had a strong challenge for the church of his homeland as he concluded his message: does Ulster see Jesus in the Church? Or have we wrapped the cross and the Bible in a Union Jack and failed to get beyond a patriotism that masks God and makes him look like us? The church needs to chance its arm and rise up to be a people of hope. Could we see a day where people from every county on the island would come together to proclaim Jesus? Could we be part of a generation that sees the island changed?