Hope Notes (Pastor Letter Edition) 9/4/14

September 4, 2014

Hi Friends of Hope!


Lois is away this week, and sometimes that means I get to sub in for her and write a little letter to you all.   She always does such a wonderful job – and I’m sure many of you are disappointed not to hear her ‘musings’ to start of Hope Notes this week! – but, I’m not going to try to replicate her newsletter.  I’m just going to write something that shares my heart and hopes for our church family.


First, I hope that you are getting adjusted to September. It feels like it came rather quickly this year!  Maybe that’s because our family had a big wedding in the middle of summer and it felt like summer barely started and then it was over.  But in any case, we’re charging towards fall, back to school, and back to more normal schedules.  If you’re the kind of person that runs on ‘fresh starts’ and you’ve gotten a little disconnected or distracted, now is the perfect time to re-engage.  Whether it is the simple (but powerful) stuff you do personally (like reading your Bible and praying, listening to music that feeds your soul, etc) or stuff you do at church (showing up, serving, giving, worshipping, learning), take full advantage of this chance to reset and get back to what matters.


As we get rolling, we’re really excited for what this fall will bring to Hope.  This Sunday, we kick off small groups and high school youth group.  I’ll talk about forming small groups on Sunday, but let me give you just a bit of info.  We let you form your own groups around your own friendships – we’re targeting 8-12 in each group.  We plan to meet every other week and we have a study sheet that helps you discuss what God has been teaching everyone.  If you’ve never been in a small group at Hope, we’d love for you to get in a group this year.  And we’ll help you do just that – in whatever way we can!  If you’ve been a part of a small group, maybe this is the year for ‘multiplying’. I’ll talk a little about that on Sunday too.


Our youth group keeps getting bigger, and that has given us the chance to divide into middle school and senior high.  There are retreats coming up that I would highly recommend for your teens.  Mine will be there!  And I’ve never known anything to have the kind of impact that retreats have.  So bring your kids out on Sundays nights (High School) or Wednesday nights (Middle School). And don’t forget that we start our Wednesday night kid’s ministry this coming week too.


I can’t believe how amazing our family nights in August were – we averaged well over 100 each week.  And the picnic was amazing – I certainly never expected that many people to come out, but I’m so thankful that they did.  VBS was a huge success, and I want to thank all those who served this summer to make it such a wonderful and memorable season.


We’re thinking through some other things as we go forward – elections are coming in October, we are thinking through a Halloween community event, we have kids Christmas programs in the works, and maybe even an adult choir Christmas Cantata.  Lots of fun, but sometimes it is hard to press it all into our very packed schedules.  Take some time to pray about your schedule and let God lead you in what you should and shouldn’t do.  It may be that some presumptive activities need to get bumped off your list.  Let’s practice being faithful and healthy in the way we pace our lives.  Sometimes, we don’t get a say about how much is on our plate.  But those should be the exception.  If you’re living stressed out every single day, you’re probably not weeding out the stuff that you shouldn’t be carrying or doing!  Remember Philippians 4:6 and Joshua 1:9.  Great truths and promises of God! And make sure you aren’t treating the things of God as optional or non-essential – that would be a huge mistake.


My prayer for our church is that God will work in each person’s life so that they will move forward in their relationship with Him.  That will mean that you get better at serving, giving, worshipping, learning, loving, and knowing Him.  It sure seems like the time of Jesus’ return is rushing toward us, and we want to make the most of every opportunity we have to serve the kingdom of God and to live as children of God.  I’m going to do all I can do to get better at what I do.  Join me – pour out your life in service to the One who is worthy.  Whether it is at your job, in your home, at church, or wherever – do all to the glory of God!


Have a great rest of this week and see you all Sunday!
Pastor Mark