Hope Notes 11/28/18

November 28, 2018

Dear Friends of Hope,

I don’t want to frighten anyone, but it’s DECEMBER already! It was such a treat to walk into church last Sunday and see the transformation our Christmas elves had made. But it gave me quite a jolt to realize that the holiday season is now upon us. All the greenery and twinkling lights sure did help to soften the blow and nudge me towards a Christmas frame of mind. Confession: I admit that I am a bit of a Grinch when it comes to decorating for the holidays. I don’t really enjoy it all that much (don’t judge me!). I love how it looks, but I wish it would just magically appear! Un-decorating is a different story – I love taking everything down and tucking it all away. (Okay, I can hear your collective gasp of horror!) So, how about you? What has you feeling the pressure of the holidays? Are you stressed over shopping, entertaining, and gift wrapping? Or maybe it’s the financial strain it all puts on your budget. As believers, we know that what we are really celebrating is the birth of Jesus. And we want to keep that front and center amongst all the trappings of the holidays. Yet somehow we succumb to the joy stealers and the stress makers. We can lose the awe and wonder underneath piles of presents to be wrapped, trees to be decorated, and cookies to be baked. If we’re honest, sometimes Christmas and all its trimmings can wear us out! Since it’s the very beginning of the holiday rush, let’s make a vow. Regardless of how far ahead or behind you are in the preparations, let’s decide today that we will not lose sight of the miracle of Christmas. We will not exhaust ourselves in the pursuit of perfection. We need to remember to stop and take time each day to plug into our best source of strength and peace – our Lord. Draw near to Him. Read His Word. Talk with Him. These things will help us remember the true meaning of the holiday and celebrate God’s incredible act of love. How much more joyful to celebrate Christmas out of gratitude for what God did for humanity and remember His birth by giving gifts, worshiping Him, and rejoicing in the promise of Heaven! “For unto us a child is born, … and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6)

The greatest sermon ever preached still has unbelievable power to change us. Jesus spoke these words about 2000 years ago to a large audience on a hillside, but He meant them to challenge us as well. The thoughts upend normal thinking on almost every spiritual front, and if we want to follow Jesus, much of what He represents starts here!

SUNDAY MORNING MESSAGE – Be Perfect (Matthew 5:48)
Who would like to be the perfect mom? Or dad? We long to measure up to the highest standard in roles that matter to us. So whether we are trying to be the perfect student, teammate, employee, or citizen, we can all understand the desire to eliminate mistakes and do everything right. But the nature of being human is that we all mess up – no one escapes this reality! So we come to the end of the first chapter of the Sermon on the Mount, and Jesus makes a statement that simultaneously challenges us and makes us feel defeated. What is Jesus trying to get across and what does the rest of the story teach us about this statement? Let’s look at how Jesus summarizes His declaration that He has come to fulfill the law.
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)

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!

DECEMBER CHALLENGE VERSE – 1 Thessalonians 5:15
“Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and everyone else.”

PLEASE NOTE: Bible Study is on hiatus until January 9th

We have a variety of small groups set up for you to join! This is an easy way to get connected and grow closer to your fellow Hopers. Check out the Small Groups Bulletin Board to see what’s going on or contact Dave Hallahan (dmhallahan5@gmail.com) or Chick Dougherty (chickdoc@verizon.net) with any questions.
PLEASE NOTE: Small groups are on hiatus and will resume January 6th.

Young Adults – First & Third Tuesdays @ 7:30 in Youth Room
Open to anyone who has graduated high school up to their early thirties. Contact Dave Hallahan at dmhallahan5@gmail.com.
Please Note: We are on hiatus until January 15th.

GOD’S GIRLS WOMEN’S GROUP – First & Third Mondays at 6:30 pm
For information, contact Mary Lebeau 856-316-6301 (call or text) 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!

Dec 2nd – A Special Christmas Rooted
Dec 9th – Rooted Christmas Party

Go Zone is our Sunday Morning kid’s service, planned especially for K-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

K-5th Grade Bible Study and Epic Hangout Time
Join us for a study of God’s word, snacks, video games, theme nights and epic skits!
HOPEKIDS HANGOUT K-5th CHRISTMAS PARTY – December 2nd from 6:00 – 8:00
We’re going to take a break from our normal HopeKids! Hangout schedule and have a Christmas Party! Dress in your Christmas best as we have a blast playing games and eating lots of Christmas treats. We’ll even watch a Christmas classic. Bring a $5 White Elephant Gift for a gift exchange! (Note: There will be no 3-5 year old program this night.)

GOD’S GIRLS ANNUAL CHRISTMAS EXTRAVAGANZA – Monday, December 3rd @ 6:00 – This Monday!
All women in the church are invited to join us for our Christmas party! Pizza will be served – please bring along a snack or sweet to share. Also remember to bring a wrapped $10 gift for our infamous White Elephant Swap! If you have any questions, please contact Mary Lebeau (marylebea@verizon.net; 856-316-6301 call or text)
Please Note: This will be our last meeting of 2018. Our meetings will resume on Monday, January 7 at our regular time of 6:30.

Mark your calendar! You don’t want to miss out on this entertaining, but powerful, holiday event. And it’s a great service to invite friends and family to! Performances will be Friday, December 14th at 7:00 and Sunday, December 16th at the 9:00 & 11:00 services. Questions? Contact danaott@hopechristianfellowship.org
HopeKids! Christmas Program practices have begun! Make sure to have your kids out each and every Sunday at the 9:00 or 11:00 services. Performances will be Sunday, December 23rd at both worship services. Make sure to invite your family and friends!
We are still in need of a few volunteers to help us make this program a success! Contact Matt Russell if you are interested.

For the month of November, we averaged $8040 which brings our annual average giving to $8075. This remains above our target for this year of $7950 and helps us get momentum towards our new target for next year of $8500. We’ve also received $36,229 towards our HVAC projects, officially putting us past the half way mark as we work towards a total of $65,000. We’re extremely grateful for so many who give sacrificially and generously in response to God’s provision. And we are excited for what the Lord will do with each investment in Hope!

ANNUAL BUSINESS MEETING – Sunday, December 2nd – This Sunday!
Join us for our business meeting after the second service. All are welcome to attend, but partners are needed to vote on next year’s budget. The budget is posted on the bulletin board at the back of the church for review. We will have ballots available for voting if you are unable to stay for the actual meeting.

Hope Share just got easier than ever! Our new page is a closed group for Hopers only. 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! Join the group and start meeting each other’s needs! Visit facebook.com/HCFWoodbury/ and request to join!

Is your family in need of some food assistance? We have a small food pantry here at Hope and want to help you during your difficult time. Head on over to our kitchen located on the front left side of the auditorium after the service. One of our pantry workers will be in there to assist you. You can also speak to one of the ushers or Pastor Mark and they will direct you to someone who can help.

Canned tuna and chicken. Spaghetti sauce and angel hair pasta (not whole wheat). Toilet paper in individual wrapping (Such as Scotts). Laundry degergent. Frozen vegetables.
Also – if anyone has earned a free turkey, turkey breast, or ham and would like to donate it to the pantry.

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 go to our website (hopechristianfellowship.org), click on ‘Going Deeper’, and you will see all our ministries and the various teams they have. You can also check out our Ministry and Service Opportunities brochure (on the glass tables). 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 ——Damon Briggs
Counters ———–Kathy Berry, Wendy Devereaux
Greeters ————Harriet Brittingham, Mary LeBeau, Joan Schaaf, Michele Schmidt

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.

** For our upcoming Christmas events as we share the Hope that is found in Jesus.
** That the Lord would help us effectively integrate new folks so they will easily and quickly feel like they are fully connected at Hope.
** That God would lead us to the right man for the future Assistant Pastor position and provide the necessary weekly giving growth to add him to staff.

Nothing Without Him,