Hope Notes 04/01/2020

April 1, 2020

Dear Friends of Hope ~I’ve been watching Spring slowly emerge over the past few weeks. I like that God is gradually revealing its beauty bit by bit.  Every day there’s a new surprise, a fresh burst of color.  More and more the trees are beginning to soften their harsh edges with tiny buds of green.  Leaves are slowly unfurling.  Flowers are staggering their emergence from the ground so that we are treated to something new almost daily.  I would bet it’s safe to say that no Spring season has ever been more appreciated than this one right now! The consistency of the earth’s seasons is a reflection of its Maker and the steadiness of His character.  “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” (Genesis 8:22)  I feel like God is reminding us that, just as the dark and dreary days of winter are over, this dark season that has come upon us will also one day be over.  This year, more than ever, Spring is a beacon of hope. “See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.”  (Song of Songs 2:11-13) We are made aware of the innocence and beauty that still exists in this world and that there is new life all around us. As a Christian, we are given new life and new mercies every morning. No quarantine, no virus, no hardships can change that. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)  I think it’s also important to read one verse further – “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him.” (vs 24)  The Contemporary English Version puts it this way – “Deep in my heart I say, “The LORD is all I need; I can depend on him!” Our God is still on His Throne, bringing forth the change of seasons. New Life is coming.  We have new mercies every single morning.  God is faithful.  He is all we need. We can depend on Him.  What comforting things to grab hold of during these troubling times!

Message – God’s Authority (Exodus 9:13-35)
Many of those who question God’s existence or goodness come back to some version of this question: Is what we’re witnessing supposed to be a reflection of a God who is in charge and is good?  We see such evil and trauma in the world around us, and then we hear that God is in charge.  How do we put those two together?  For people who reject the premise of a Divine Being, this is almost always part of their argument.  If we’re honest, there are times in every person’s life when we’d rather be in charge. So we all feel the reality of God’s claim to authority in a similar way.  But what we’re learning as we go through the plagues of Egypt is that God demonstrates that He actually is the ruler of the earth, with power over nature and everything that exists.  As believers, we need to take this truth deep into our souls and find the comfort that comes from embracing it by faith.

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have because God has said, Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you. So we say with confidence, The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

WEDNESDAY NIGHT BIBLE STUDY LIVE STREAMING ON FACEBOOK @ 7:00 pJust because we can’t meet together in person, we can still ‘be together’ in our own homes as we tune in and listen to Pastor Mark!  We’ll be continuing on in our study of Ephesians.  Don’t miss this opportunity to stay connected and hear God’s Word.FELLOWSHIP 
Have your teen joins this week’s online meeting using the information below:
Meeting ID: 378 065 395
Password: hopeyouth 

Build Your Own Burrito – Thurs Apr 2nd @ 8:30 pm – This Thursday!
April 2nd is National Burrito Day. Since we won’t be able to go out and enjoy one, we’ll make our own! That’s right using only ingredients you currently have in your house make the best burrito you can and then join us on Zoom to show off your creation.
Meeting ID: 938 317 389
Password: burrito  

If your small group is still hoping to meet, we have some resources that may be of use to you!
Zoom – This is a great video conferencing app that you can use on your phone or computer. The free version does limit to 40 minute calls.
Google Hangouts – Another great video conferencing app. This limits to 10 users at a time.
In addition to these apps that allow you to see each other, Mark has continued to post our Small Group Study Sheets. If you are looking for something else you could check out one of the following free video based small group studies. Everyone in your small group could watch separately and then you join a video call to discuss. 
Anthology – This is free year round, so check it out and bookmark it.
RightNow Media – This is normally subscription base, but they have made several of their studies available during this time.
If you have any questions, need help, or are looking for ideas other than what is listed here please contact  Dave at dave@hopechristianfellowship.org

On the HopeKids! MinistryFacebook page we have formed two new groups for parents to join!  Our HopeKids! WonderZone group is for our 0-5 year old families, and our HopeKids! GoZone group is for our K-5th grade families.  If you haven’t already be sure to ‘Like’ HopeKids Ministries on Facebook and then request to JOIN the group(s) below to follow all of our curriculum postings!  
HopeKids! WonderZone (0-5yr) Facebook Group
HopeKids! GoZone (K-5th) Facebook Group

HopeKids! Ministries will be doing our best to stay connected to our HopeKids! families.  We will be posting videos of our regular Sunday Worship, Lesson, and Scriptures for the WonderZone and GoZone every weekend.  The GoZone! will also include an attachment of activities that parents can do with their kids that go along with the lesson!

In the WonderZone, our goal is to post the weekly Worship, Lesson, and Bible verse video every SUNDAY.  We will also be having a follow up activity/video with Miss Kara on THURSDAY afternoons.  Additionally, there will be DAILY resources posted on the HopeKids! WonderZone group page to provide activities your family can participate in to revisit the weekly lesson!

The GoZone will be hosting ZOOM small group meetings on Tuesday nights.  The K-5th girls will be meeting from 6:55-7:25 and the K-5th guys will be meeting from 7:30-8:00.  The link to the meeting will be posted on Facebook.   On Friday nights ALL K-5th graders are invited to join us for HopeKids! Hangout from 7:00-7:30 on ZOOM.  

Please feel to contact Kara May (karajoellxo@gmail.com) or Matt Russell (mattrussell@hopechristianfellowship.org) at any time with questions, concerns, or needs you may have! We want to support you and encourage you through this difficult time, and we are here for you!WAYS TO HELP DURING COVID-19   
Please Note:  The breakfast scheduled for April 4th has been cancelled.  If you’re looking for ways to help Seed of Hope,check out the following:
1.Drop-off one case of water and/or individual packaged snacks (like cheese crackers, granola/protein bars, trail mix, etc.) in bulk to the following locations:
Seeds of Hope Ministries, 1700 S. Broadway, Camden, NJ 08104
Contact Percy Carter at carterpercy68@gmail.com or 856-209-8005 before coming to make sure someone will be here to receive it. 
OR Seeds of Hope, 1 W. Walnut Avenue, Merchantville, NJ 08109
Contact Rebecca Bieber at rebecca@seedsofhopeministries. org or 609-304-6748 before coming.

2.As a family, together and make sandwiches(turkey & cheese, beef bologna & cheese)…place them in individual sandwich bags and drop them off to:
Seeds of Hope Ministries, 1700 S. Broadway, Camden, NJ 08104
 Please contact Percy Carter at carterpercy68@gmail.com or 856-209-8005 before you come.  

We at Hope would like to reach out to your loved ones who are in Nursing Homes, Assisted Living, hospitals, or just ill and shut in alone at home by sending them a nice note or a cheery card.  You can email Lorraine Otis at otislorraine20@gmail.com with names and addresses of those who would enjoy a card.  If anyone would like be on a list of volunteers sending these notes and cards, please email your name to Lorraine as well.  

If you or anyone you know is facing the loss of their job, Governor Murphy recently posted this helpful information:
Businesses across New Jersey are looking to hire THOUSANDS OF WORKERS, including those who lost their jobs or have had hours reduced as a result of COVID-19. Check out this link in order to help with your job search:  https://jobs.covid19.nj.gov

While we are not meeting in person, you all have proven in many ways that church is still very much happening. Your response to donating for our food pantry and your commitment to connection have truly been a blessing.
As a church, we also continue to have bills to pay. So we ask that you be as faithful as you can be in giving to Hope. We have updated our online giving categories to better reflect where our money is going. These additions include our benevolent fund which is being used to help meet the tangible needs of our Hope family during this time.
If you are currently in need (food, financial, or otherwise) don’t hesitate to reach out to needs@hopechristianfellowship.org.
Listed below are some ways to give:
1.  ONLINE GIVING – Visit hopechristianfellowship.org and click ‘give online’.
2.  TEXT-TO-GIVE –    609-251-4223
3.  MAIL A CHECK –    246 King St. Woodbury, NJ  08096

Now more than ever it’s important that we are able to stay connected with each other.  We can have access to the entire church directory on our laptops or on our phones through the app.  We’re better able to connect if we are all participating in the directory.  To sign up, simply contact Emily at emilydilorenzo@hopechristianfellowship.org and she will get you set up!

Thankful for Spring!