Hope Notes 12/18/2019

December 18, 2019

Friends are an important component to our lives.  I especially feel the blessing of having close friends since I don’t have many family members outside of my immediate family.  I know I have been given one of the rarest gifts from God – a friend who I have known for 62 of my 63 years.  We fill in the blank spaces of our memories; one remembers what the other has forgotten!  There are less than a handful of people who remember or share my childhood.  We’ve never had reason to have cross words between us.  Okay well……in full disclosure……there was that one time when I was maybe seven.  My mom always gave her my hand-me-downs and I was certain that she deliberately wore my beloved (but no longer fitting) poodle skirt when she came over to play in order to taunt me!  In spite of her showing up with my passed on clothing, we played with abandon in the world of childhood make believe.  We divided our time between each other’s houses.  Her home was a safe haven for me, since my house was filled with dysfunction and unpredictability.  I liked the calm that permeated her home.  I think she liked mine because my mom let us do all kinds of ‘wild’ things, where her home was very proper.  Why am I telling you this tale of friendship? Because I think it’s important to remember that not only does our God graciously give us friends here on earth, He has given us the greatest friend of all in Himself.  That’s right……..you heard me.  The creator of the universe says we can call Him ‘friend’. “And the scripture came true that said, ‘Abraham believed God, and because of his faith God accepted him as righteous.’ And so Abraham was called God’s friend.” (James 2:23)  Because Abraham believed God was who He said He was (FAITH) and would do what He said He would do (TRUST), God called Abraham His friend.  In John 15:13-15 Jesus told the disciples, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”  Jesus laid his life down for us and if we are people who obey him, then we are his friends. And because we are his friends, he shares his secrets with us through the Word.  A few key elements to being a friend of God/Jesus are faith, trust, and obedience.  These are things we should actively pursue in our Christian walk.  Not just because they allow us to be called God’s friend, but because they should be hallmarks of any believer’s life.  As I reflect on the graciousness of God in giving us friends here on earth (even poodle skirt offenders), I am ever so grateful for the opportunity to have a Friend in heaven who loves me with an Everlasting love. “I have loved you with an everlasting love….” (Jeremiah 31:3)

CHRISTMAS PROGRAMS (Taking a break from our Exodus Series)
SUNDAY MORNING MESSAGE – Christmas Characters Elementary Program (Luke 2:1-20)

Christmas is upon us, and that means we’ve arrived at the Sunday before Christmas and our Elementary Kids Christmas Program.  We can’t wait to enjoy our kids on stage.  And what adds to the joy is that they will be sharing the good news of Jesus with us!  We’ll close our service by looking at the Christmas story of Jesus’ birth in Luke 2 and recognize how the story itself invites everyone – all characters – into God’s story.  This great event from over 2000 years ago still has the power to inspire us and to change our lives if we step into the reason Jesus came as a baby.

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 and on YouTube “Hope Christian Fellowship”.

SUNDAY MORNING PRAYER TIME – 8:30 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 1st & 2nd Grade classroom 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!

Join us for our study in the book of Ephesians.  This book is a beautiful revelation of the Church and the spiritual blessings we have in Christ Jesus. Paul explains the mystery of the church and gives practical insight into living as believers.
Please Note:  Bible Study will be on hiatus through December.  We will resume on January 8th.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”

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!
Will you invest sacrificially in what God is doing at Hope?

YOUNG ADULTS – First & Third Tuesdays @ 7:00 in Youth Room 
Come join us for food and fellowship and study Open to anyone who has graduated high school up through their twenties.  Currently studying ‘Finding Truth’ by Francis Chan. Contact:Dave Hallahan at dmhallahan5@gmail.com
Please Note:  Young Adults is on hiatus until January 12th.

YOUNG ADULTS – New Year/New Topic – January 7th
Join us 1/7 for our first meeting of the year to talk about “What do we do with the gifts we never wanted?” Plus there will be pizza! 

GOD’S GIRLS WOMEN’S GROUP – First & Third Mondays at 6:30 in the Youth Room
Come and join the women of Hope as we encourage and support each other.  All women are welcome to attend! For information, contact Mary Lebeau 856-316-6301 (call or text) or marylebeau@verizon.net
Please Note: God’s Girls will not be meeting in December.

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.HOPE YOUTH MINISTRY 
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!   Follow us on Social Media:  Twitter and Instagram  @hcf_hopeyouth and  Facebook.com/hcfhopeyouth
Please Note:  Youth Group is on hiatus.  We will resume January 12th with a new series (dis)CONNECTED.  Between our phones, tablets, and computers we are able to stay connected to people and events all over the world.  But is it possible that this untethered access it too much of a good thing?  
Middle school grow groups will begin 1/12 after 9:00 worship with a new series, “Seriously, what would Jesus do?” 

We have lots of fun activities planned, including a guest appearance from the Grinch!  Bring $25 for ice skating and pizza, along with a $5 White Elephant gift.  You won’t want to miss this!  (Drop off at the church.  Pick up is 8:00 am Saturday.)

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!  
Please Note:  HopeKids Hangout is on hiatus until January 12th.
This past year we have been beyond blessed with a booming kids ministry! With the addition of so many little ones, you may have noticed our classrooms have been getting crowded. But come the new year we will have new classroom assignments to resolve this issue. The official swap will happen January 5th, so stay tuned for all the details!

Join us Sunday, December 22nd at both services for our annual HopeKids! Christmas Program. Our elementary school aged Hopers will tell us the story of  the one time in history a star marked the miraculous birth of our Savior, by performing the musical drama, “A Star is Born.” This service is always moving, entertaining, and a great Sunday to bring friends and family to!
Reminder for Parents: Don’t forget we have a rehearsal Wednesday, December 18th at 7:00, and a final dress rehearsal on Saturday, December 21st at 9:00 am. 

Just a heads up that we will be taking an offering on Christmas Eve that will go entirely to our Benevolent Fund.  This is the fund we draw from in order to help out one of our own who may be experiencing a financial need.  Please prayerfully consider whether God is leading you to contribute.

CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICESThis year’s services will be at 4:30 & 6:00 and will each be no longer than an hour. Bring your family for a time of scripture reading, song, and carols, with a candle-lighting at the end of each service. We will have special glow stick candles for our little ones at the 4:30 service! 

UN-DECKING THE HALLS Saturday, January 4th @ 9:00
Sadly, we do have to take down those beautiful Christmas decorations.  But we always have fun doing it!  We’d love for you to come and lend a hand.  Contact Deb Caranci with any questions http://debcaranci@gmail.com

CHURCH GAME NIGHT Friday, January 17th
Hope’s Small Groups is hosting a game night for all adults at Hope! Whether you are currently part of a small group, interested in joining one, or just need a night out for some competition join us at 7:00 pm for an awesome night of fun and fellowship. Mark your calendars now; sign-ups will be out soon!
One of the most important things we can do in our relationship with God is to read His word. And yet, we often feel overwhelmed or don’t know where to start! The new year is a great time to set a bible reading goal and we have a resource to help! Check out the sign-up table for our bible reading plan. This plan will guide you to read through either the New Testament or the entire bible in a year, reading five days a week.

Just in time for Christmas shopping, Hope is now on Amazon Smile! Through this program, Amazon donates .5% of your purchases to support our ministry. It costs you nothing and is an easy way to contribute to Hope. Simply visit smile.amazon.com and select our organization and proceed to shop as normal! 

We post all of our Sunday morning messages as well as Wednesday night bible studies on our YouTube channel. It’s a great place to catch up on a lesson you might have missed. Subscribe to our channel, Hope Christian Fellowship, and never miss a video! You can even set-up notifications for when we post new content! If you’re interested in helping our video ministry, contact Charlie Peterson at  cajapeterson2@gmail.com.
Have you seen our new Prayer Wall in the coffee room? Be sure to check it out and pick up a prayer request, leave your own, or both! Requests can be anonymous or leave your name, whatever you feel comfortable with. Take and leave as many as you’d like! This is a great way to connect to each other and bear one another’s burdens. 

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!HOPE’S  FOOD PANTRY 
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 ———-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.

A Friend of God!