Hope Notes 11/8/17

November 8, 2017

Dear Friends of Hope,
We had the heartbreaking experience of saying an unexpected goodbye to our pup (Olive) this pastFriday.  It was a sudden descent from ‘fine’ to beyond help.  Three days.  Thankful for her sake it wasn’t longer, but it’s a lot to process.  My hope and prayer is that in sharing some of my sad little story, you will be encouraged and strengthened because unfortunately, every one of us goes through times that may seem unbearable.  It is a hallmark of our faith that, even through the darkest of times, we can know our God is always with us. Remember that He Himself has said “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)   You just have to keep your heart turned towards Him so you don’t miss it when He bestows a pocket of mercy on you in the middle of your trial.  And trust me, He will.
One of the most blessed and overarching gifts we have from God is the fact that only He knows our future. James 4:14 tells us,  “…you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.”  I am so thankful that God gave us the gift of not knowing the future.  What a heartbreaking burden that would be to bear!  We also have at our disposal the life giving, spirit saving, soul soothing Word of God.  One of my most favorite Scriptures is Psalm 34:18.  It reminds me that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” I know my Lord is in the business of mending broken hearts and shattered spirits.  We know that He shares in our sorrow and “collects our tears in a bottle” (Psalm 56:8). This simply means that our tears are not futile.  God knows each of us intimately, and every tear we shed has meaning to Him.
I’m going to leave you with a poignant example of the way God shows us how much He cares about everything that happens in our lives. Those of you who ‘do’ Facebook know that memories will randomly pop up on their anniversary dates.  Here’s what popped up on mine 11/3/13.  It was a photo of Olive standing in the middle of our woods, surrounded by the blazing colors of autumn, gazing over to a spot among the trees. There were shafts of sunlight beaming down on her. (For those of you who are curious, I did post the picture on Facebook.)  What made this so spectacular is that four years later to the day, we buried her in the very spot where she was looking.  God alone knew the number of her days.  He alone knew we would choose that very spot to lay her to rest.  It was confirmation that not only did we pick the right place (her most favorite place in our yard), but that it was already ordained by His hand.  I choose to believe those beams of sunlight are just a little bit of God’s glory shining down. And I know without a doubt that He is there, He is good, and He reveals Himself to us in ways we couldn’t even imagine.

SUNDAY MORNING MESSAGE – What’s Next for Hope (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)
Our church is growing and God is doing incredible things in our people. As we head towards Thanksgiving, it is very appropriate to let our hearts be filled with wonder and gratitude.  But it brings up some natural questions among our church family.  Maybe one question serves as a good summary: What’s next for Hope?  We’re going to take this morning and talk about God’s direction for our growth.  Not everything is clear and certain (the plan of God rarely affords us this luxury).  However, there are some elements of our mission and some aspects of God’s direction for our future that we can share.  Don’t miss this morning if you are a part of Hope as we talk about where we will be directing our energies as God continues to add to Hope!

Sunday’s worship service is available on CD immediately following the service for FREE. Pick up a copy for yourself or for anyone you would like to share Hope with.  Pastor Mark’s messages are also available on our website: www.hopechristianfellowship.org.

SUNDAY MORNING PRAYER TIME – 8:30 in Pastor Mark’s Office
Do you have a heart for prayer? Our Sunday morning prayer time is open to everyone. We pray for the services that morning and for the needs in the church. If you would like to participate, just show up!  “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20)  Bob Baumiester leads this prayer time – feel free to contact him with any questions: rbaumiester@gmail.com.

PRAYER HUDDLE – 8:40 to 8:45 for Both Services
The prayer huddle is open to anyone who would like to come pray – but it is specifically intended for those who are serving on that Sunday.  So if you’re scheduled to be in kids’ ministry, greeting, in the tech booth, on worship team, or any other ministry role for a given Sunday, join us at 8:40 sharp in the Youth Room to pray together for God’s power in each of us.  We can do all things through Christ, and nothing of worth without Him, so let’s come together each Sunday to ask for God’s Spirit to fill us and use us!

Hebrews 10:24-25
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

We are taking a look at Hosea and the story of “Redeeming Love” that’s presented in this book.
PLEASE NOTE:  We will be meeting in the Youth Room while our choir practices for the Christmas Cantata.  Bible study will run through 11/29, with the exception of Thanksgiving (11/22), and resume in the new year on 1/10.

Unable to make it out for Wednesday Night? Bible Study recordings are now available on our Podcast AND YouTube Channel! To listen to a recording, visit hopechristianfellowship.org/ messages, or subscribe to our Podcast on iTunes. Or you can watch on our YouTube channel “Hope Christian Fellowship.”

YOUNG ADULTS – 1st & 3rd Mondays at 7:30 in Youth Room
Anyone who has graduated high school up to their early thirties is welcome.  Contact Dave or Leah Hallahan at dmhallahan5@gmail.com. Childcare is provided.

GOD’S GIRLS WOMEN’S GROUP – 1st & 3rd Mondays at 7:00
God’s Girls will be doing a 4 session study on some of our favorite parables of Jesus. These lessons are stand-alone, so you don’t have to attend all four – just join us as you are able!   Contact Mary LeBeau for more information at   856-316-6301
or marylebeau@verizon.net.

MEN’S BREAKFAST  – 8:00 – 9:30 am – 2nd Saturday of Every Month
Come and join us for a delicious breakfast and a good time of fellowship/sharing with the men of Hope.  Feel free to bring a friend!  Open to men 18 and older.

YOUTH GROUP – Sundays from 6:00 – 8:00

Our middle school and high school groups meet right here at church! Come out for another amazing year as we grow closer together and closer to God!

Rooted’s Christmas party this year will start at 7:00 pm on Dec 15th and won’t end until 8:00 am the next morning! We will be heading to Darts of War in Turnersville from 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm and then spend the rest of the time at church. Pizza will be provided. The cost of this event is $20. See Dave Hallahan with any questions!

Go Zone is our Sunday Morning kid’s service, planned especially for 1st – 5th graders. Our goal is to encourage the kids to live with their focus on “GOing for GOD, GOing for GROWTH, and GOing FOREVER!” This service includes worship, games, and exploring important biblical truths in fun and creative ways before heading off to Sunday school.
Follow HopeKids! Ministries on Facebook at: facebook.com/HCFHopeKid

We have an all new, revamped HopeKids! Hangout for our K-5th graders! Their’s more time to hangout and more time to be in the Word! We have an exciting series of themed nights, games, snacks & skits planned, along with a new challenging Bible series called, “The Choice is Yours!” We also have a fantastic program for the 3-5 year olds that they wont want to miss!  Come and see what it’s all about!

On Christmas Eve, we will be moving our Sunday morning services to 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm. We’d love to have your whole family join us for scripture reading, music, and our traditional candle lighting at the close of the service.

Thanks to all who took home our 200 shoe boxes!  (If you did not receive one of the free shoe boxes, you can use your own or pick one up at a Dollar Store.)  Extra labels are on the OCC table at Hope.  Here’s how to make this easy & fun:  CHOOSE a boy or girl and the age category.  FILL WITH a quality ‘wow’ item, then add other fun toys, hygiene items, and school supplies. PRAY for the child who will receive your gifts; you can include a personal note & photo.  If you’d like, you can donate $9 online and receive a tracking label to discover the destination of your shoe box. www.smaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/follow-your-box
Finished shoe boxes are due back at Hope by this Sunday, November 12th.

We’re adding a special performance of this year’s cantata on Friday, December 8th at 7:00! This will be in addition to performances at both services on Sunday, December 10th. Make sure to invite your friends and family out for this highlight of the Christmas season here at Hope!

HopeKids are gearing up for another great year of celebrating Jesus’ birth, through a musical program!  We need volunteers who are willing to help with all of the preparation including teaching the songs and script, supervising practices and putting the program together.  Please contact Matt Russell if you are interested.

We’re a few weeks behind, but we’re ready to go! Practices will take place during Sunday School at both services, so please have your little ones to class on time and for as many Sundays as you’re able! This year we’ll be performing “A VeggieTales Christmas Show” on Sunday, December 17th at both services. Expect to receive a letter and practice CD this Sunday, November 5th! For any questions see Dana Ott or Leah Hallahan.

Our meeting will be held on December 3rd after the second service. All are welcome to attend, butpartners are needed to vote on next year’s budget. We will be allowing partners to vote via signed ballot during the services if they are unable to stay for the meeting.

Please note that our study sheets are now available on our website.  You can also find a stack of them on the table with the signup sheets.

Our Card Collection boxes are located in the front of the auditorium.   If you have a prayer request, you can fill out the orange  Prayer Request card and our Prayer Team will lift it up in prayer.  If anyone has a need or knows of someone in need, one way to let us know is to drop a yellow Needs Request card into the box.  Our guests can fill out the blue Visitor Card and drop it in the box. All three cards are right there with the collection box – how easy is that?!

Make sure to check out Hope Share on our website – it’s a place to share things we no longer use and to look for things we need!  It’s easy to upload photos of items you’d like to give away and to search for that special item you just might need!

We make it easy to give as the Lord leads.  There are envelopes and a drop box in the back of the auditorium.  If you prefer to give electronically, we have online and texting options.  Just go to our website and check them out!  www.hopechristianfellowship.org

The New Testament has this wonderful ministry for the elders of a church – PRAYER. And we’d like to offer it to anyone who is in need of healing (physical or otherwise) or who needs the power of God to be at work in their lives in a special way.  If you or anyone you know would like to take advantage of this ministry, contact Pastor Mark to set up a time after one of our Sunday services for the elders to pray over you.

There are so many places to connect and serve here at Hope. There truly IS ‘something for everyone’ and we want to make it easy for you to know all the different options!  You can check out our Ministry and Service Opportunities brochure (on the glass tables) and also keep your eye on this section as we post any pressing needs.

For all Kids Ministry scheduling, please refer to the Planning Center or contact your team leader.
Ushers 9:00 ——-Joe Sambucci
Ushers 11:00 ——Dan Rozinski
Counters ———– Bill & Kathy Berry
Greeters ———– Rick Ayusa, Patty Bonnell, Paul Rochat, Helen Mastalski

If you have a prayer request, please fill out a prayer request card and drop it in one of the Card Boxes located at the front of the auditorium (you can find the prayer request cards there) or use the “Contact Us Form” on our website: http://www.hopechristianfellowship.org/contact/.
If you have any questions or would like to join the Prayer Team, please contact Hap Cunningham: hapcunn01@gmail.com.
PLEASE NOTE: We would greatly appreciate it if you could keep the team updated on your request. Situations can resolve or change for the better/worse. Praises are always welcome!  This will help our team know best how to pray for you.

In the Shelter of His Arms,