Hope Notes 2/27/19

February 27, 2019

Dear Hope Friends,

Do you like to garden? My dad was an amazing gardener; however as a child I didn’t really appreciate all the work that went into producing row upon row of vegetables. Not to mention the actual veggies! The only thing I really liked about his garden was playing among the vines and trellises he had set up. The damp earth smelled so good and the leafy tendrils made for good hiding places from the hot summer sun. Jesus knew about vines. In John 15:1 He said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” Hmmm……True Vine. That must mean there are false vines. And if Jesus is the True Vine, and if no one comes to the Father except through Jesus (John 14:6), then I’m willing to bet those false vines won’t get us into heaven. Let’s think about what some false vines could be. On my short list would be heritage, like how the Jews thought they were guaranteed a seat in heaven because of their status as God’s chosen people. Or how about family? Many believe getting into heaven is a shoe in if your family members are saved. Like a package deal! Then there’s church membership. It makes me sad to think how many are lulled into a sense of eternal security simply because they are members or regular attenders at a church.
We cannot sit back and coast along based on our heritage, our family’s beliefs, or our church attendance. Often young folks go through a time of doubting and testing their faith. It can strike fear into their parent’s hearts, but it can also be a very important part in making their faith their own. I didn’t go through that because my parents were not believers. But I did go through trials that caused me to dig deep and examine what I really believed and how much I trusted God. It’s important to seek the Lord for yourself and let Him speak directly to you. In Jeremiah 29:13 God reassures us that, “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Once you’ve experienced God for yourself it’s a whole new ballgame. Job had a fresh view of God that allowed him to trust the Lord more once he had seen Him for himself. In John 4, we hear about the people who believed in Jesus via the testimony of the woman at the well. At the end, Jesus himself visits their village for a few days. Then many more people believed in Him after personally listening to His teaching. The people respond to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” (John 4:42)
Maybe it’s time to take inventory and see what vine we are clinging to. We need to step up and take ownership of what we believe, coupled with some first-hand experience to back it up. For when we can proclaim like Job, “I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes”, (Job 42:5) we can be sure our faith is truly ours.

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 – Don’t Judge (Matthew 7:1-6)
Does anyone remember the OJ trial? High powered attorneys piled up on one side, with all of the resources of the District Attorney’s office on the other side. But no matter how rich or powerful, each person had to submit to Judge Ito. In retrospect, Judge Ito may have surrendered more control in his courtroom than was healthy for the process. But as the judge in the case, he had the authority and even the expectation to run the courtroom and oversee all of the personalities and information in the trial. How often do Christians act like they have this kind of authority? The reputation of the church for ‘judging’ people is both well-earned and a result of some miscommunication. Jesus tells us that citizens of the Kingdom leave the judging to the King. There are consequences to wading into judging others that He warns us about, and there are reasons we aren’t allowed to put ourselves in the position of judge. So let’s take Jesus’ instruction to heart throughout the body of Christ!
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!

“You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Each month we’ll focus on one of our church goals for 2019 and have a weekly challenge to help us achieve it! Let’s ask the Lord to work through us this year!
February – Meaningful Integration
Pray for the Lord to help us find ways to show people how they can deeply ‘belong’ at Hope.

We have resources to help you stay committed to reading. One plan will guide you to read through the New Testament in a year reading about a chapter per day, while the other plan is more of an overview of the entire bible in a year, reading about 15 verses a day. You can also download the PDFs on our website under the “Resources” drop-down.

Come join us for this study on the book of Ephesians. It’s a good mid-week boost for our spiritual growth. If you are unable to make it out, you can watch our live stream on Facebook!

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.

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.

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!

MIDDLE SCHOOL GROW GROUPS – Sundays @ 9:00 following worship
All 6-8th graders are invited to join us for an 8-week class where we’ll explore what we believe and why we believe it.

30 HOUR FAMINE (March 22-23)
Our students are raising money for World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine this March! $40 feeds one child for an entire month! Please consider giving towards our cause. You can give directly to one of our participating students (checks made payable to World Vision) or give online at: https://www.30hourfamine.org/team/21791. You can also support us by donating materials (see insert) or by donating soup and/or bread for when we break our fast. See Dave Hallahan with any questions!

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!

MADE TO PARENT – FREE Parenting Conference March 9th from 9:00-2:30
Parenting is one of the most important roles you have been given by God. With that comes a lot of weight, responsibility, and if we’re honest, self-doubt. BUT it doesn’t have to be that way! God has called you to this and he has given you all the tools necessary to raise your children! Join us as for this FREE one day conference where Pastor Mark, Dana, Matt and Dave will share from their experience both as parents and from working with children to pull out some principles that will help you step into the role God has for you. Register online to be qualified for giveaways, breakfast and lunch provided hopechristianfellowship.org/parenting. Deadline to register is March 3rd. For more details and a schedule of the day, visit our Facebook Event!

We are looking for some new team members to serve our 2-3 year old Sunday School classes! See Kara Ott or Matt Russell for more details.

One of the things we value most here at Hope is connection. Our new online directory will make it easier than ever to connect to each other! The directory is private and secure, and will be for Hopers only. To register your family, simply visit: hopechristianfellowship.org/directory. Deadline to register is March 31st. Any questions, contact Emily DiLorenzo at emilydilorenzo@hopechristianfellowship.org

SPRING CAFE` Sunday, March 24th @ 7:00 pm
Ready for a fun night of entertainment, fellowship, and food? Sign up if you’d like to share your talent with us and also to bring a snack to share. Look for signup sheets in the lobby. Contact Kim Biglin with any questions: Kimmi_b@comcast.net.

If you are interested in being baptized, Pastor Mark will be holding classes on March 17th & 24th after the second service. The baptism service will be Sunday, March 31st @ 7:00 pm. Please sign up so that we can get an idea of how many are interested. Signup sheets are in the lobby.

Calling all Singers! We’re excited to invite you to be part of an Easter choir for 2019! We will be performing “The Story-The Musical” which is based on the book by Max Lucado with music written by Nichole Nordemann. It’s not just a Resurrection story, it’s the bigger, beautiful, miraculous story of God’s redemptive plan from Genesis to Revelation. Choir practices will begin on Wednesday, February 27 from 7:00 – 8:30 pm and run for 8 weeks. The performance dates will be Good Friday (April 19th) and Easter Sunday (April 21st) at both services. Sign up sheet is in the lobby. See Dana Ott with any questions or for more information!
Lots of fun stuff coming up for Hopers!
Ladies Tea – May 18th
Craft Fair – June 1st
VBS – July 22nd thru 26th

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.

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.

Ushers 9:00 ——Bob Kerr
Ushers 11:00 —–Tom Albright
Counters ———-Damon Briggs, Bill Berry
Greeters ———–Irene Riddell, Pat Keith, Charlotte Zediker, Jeanne Wurst

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.

** 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.

He is Our One True Vine,