Hope Notes 04/22/2020

April 22, 2020

Dear Friends of Hope ~     A few months after we bought our house, we came home from work to find it had been broken into.  A number of things were stolen.  Not surprisingly, the loss of irreplaceable sentimental objects hurt more than all the objects and equipment that were taken. These guys were pros.  They tossed everything in the bedroom onto the bed, rolled it all up in the comforter and hauled it away (including my freshly folded laundry, haha!).  They ran from room to room, grabbing what they knew would be an easy sell on the black market and then walked boldly out the front door into a waiting van.  This all happened while we were away, so although we felt violated, it was more a source of distress at fixing things up and replacing stolen items.  Then a few years ago, a man tried to climb in through our bedroom window in the middle of the night. His flashlight beam in my eyes and the noise of the screen being pried off is what awakened me.  He never made it into our house, even after trying multiple windows.  So he technically never stole anything.   But he took something even more precious.  He took my peace.  My sense of safety.  It was much more personal than the random robbery while we were not at home.  Even after that first break-in, I never felt afraid at home.  And yet, years after that man tried busting his way into our bedroom, a strange noise outside that window at night can set my heart pounding. 
     I fully believe that this is what the enemy is trying to do to us all right now.  He wants us to feel afraid.  Uncertain.  Anxious. He has one mission – to make us doubt God’s protection, provision, and love for us.  The Bible calls him a thief because he wants to steal our joy, our security as children of God, our peace, and our belief that we are safe in our Father’s arms.  Jesus said, “The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life; life in all its fullness.” (John 10:10)  Catch that?  Jesus offers us ‘life in all its fullness’.  To me that means a life filled with joy, peace, security and an unshakable trust in our Savior.  We must not allow ourselves to believe the things Satan will whisper in our ears.  Instead, we must remember what John 8:44 tells us: “He (Satan) has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
So there you have it.  The enemy is a thief and a liar.  He cannot steal anything that is rightfully ours as children of God, nor can he render us helpless in believing his lies………..unless we let him.  I may not have the power to keep flesh and blood thieves out of my house, but I have the power of God within me to defeat Satan and all his tricks!  “……how very great is his power at work in us who believe…..” (Ephesians 1:19 GNT)

Darkness (Exodus 10:21-29)
Has life ever gotten really dark? It’s as if someone turned out the lights and now you really feel quite lost. Sometimes it happens suddenly through some unexpected or tragic event. But other times, you just drift into that darkness. We’re going to talk about what darkness can mean and how we can find hope in darkness. The second to last plague in Egypt was the plague of darkness. For Egypt, it was a literal darkness. But it was symbolic of the darkness they embraced spiritually. Pharaoh’s response shows that the darkness isn’t just around him; it is also in him.  Our prayer is that every soul walking in darkness will know the light and will embrace the invitation to walk in light!

“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?”

Every Monday through Friday Pastor Mark & Dave will be publishing short devotional thoughts on our new podcast, Hope Daily. They are available for listening on our website, Spotify, and coming soon to Apple podcasts! Please note this is a separate account from our regular Hope Christian Fellowship podcast where you can find our normal Sunday sermons and Wednesday night bible studies. 

Just 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 
SMALL GROUPS  f 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

If you haven’t already, make sure to ‘Like’ our HopeKids Ministries on Facebook and request to join the group(s) below in order to follow all of our curriculum postings:
HopeKids! WonderZone (0-5yr) Facebook Group
HopeKids! GoZone (K-5th) Facebook Group

GoZone: 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.  
HopeKids! Hangout:  Friday nights from 7:00 – 7:45 for all K-5th Graders
The link to the meetings will be posted on Facebook. 
Contact Kara May (karajoellxo@gmail.com) or Matt Russell (mattrussell@hopechristianfellowship.org) with any questions.ANNOUNCEMENTS
Thanks to the generosity of our Hopers, we have a nice stash of food and supplies in our Food Pantry.  If you find yourself in need, or just can’t find an item you’ve been looking for, contact our Needs Team at needs@hopechristianfellowship.org and we will see if we can help!

Our live streams are now also available on our website.  Anyone can go to our website and watch our Sunday Services or any other live stream from our church by simply going to our website (www.hopechristianfellowhip.org) and clicking on ‘view live stream’.  This means we can share our church services to anyone – even people without Facebook or YouTube accounts. 

GIVING TO HOPE 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!

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

Keeping Close to the Cross,