Hope Notes 05/06/2020

May 6, 2020

Dear Friends of Hope ~Being a mom has many seasons. I think the very first one is a season of waiting.  You may have to wait a long time or just a short time to get that positive result on a pregnancy test. This is very quickly followed by a season of expectancy when you realize you actually have no idea about what’s in store for you. Then comes the seemingly unending season of fatigue while raising an infant and toddler. School age children present a season of growth and knowledge as you struggle to keep up with their schedules, homework, and friendship dramas.  When your child graduates high school, you may experience a season of distance if they head off to live at college.  There is also a shift here from a season of directing their lives to a season of simply guiding as they move towards adulthood.  Then, finally comes the season when they are living their own lives and making their own families.  I feel like this last season is the one laced with the most assorted emotions.  There may be some sadness or a feeling of emptiness.  It can also be filled with joy, fulfillment, excitement and a sense of completeness.  NOTE: We know there are those who never get the desired result from a pregnancy test.  Or who lose a pregnancy or a child.  And for those a huge season of grief follows.  Our hearts break for you.  Yet our God remains with you through it all. “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18) 
All of us have the above seasons in our lives, whether we are moms or not!  Just read Ecclesiastes 3, which tells us “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” You never know exactly what each season will bring you until you get there.  But the one thing you CAN be sure of is that our God has gone before you in every single one of them.  None of it is a surprise to Him!  He will lead and guide you.  He will give you wisdom for each and every season. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

2020 Motherhood (1 Corinthians 4:2-4; John 15:5; Hebrews 10:23-25; 2 Corinthians 12:9)
Mother’s Day

This is a day we set aside to celebrate and honor the role of mother.  While it can be a painful day for some, we should never allow the Enemy to destroy our opportunity to give thanks to a good Father who loves us and created motherhood.  As we study today, we’ll find out that we’re all vital in this zone – those of us who are actively mothering, and the rest of us who are connected to mothers as a church family.  It seems like mothering in 2020 is a bit different than in times long ago.  Whether that’s true or not, we certainly feel like there are more pressures and stresses on our moms.  So let’s take a look at some simple instructions from our Lord about how to step into our roles well.  We can certainly apply these ideas to any vital and overwhelming role, so let’s start with some refreshment for any weary moms among us.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

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

Stay tuned for our future Zooms!

Make sure to check for our future Zoom Youth Group!

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
APRIL GIVING REPORTFor the month of April, we averaged $11,077 per week bringing our weekly average to $9383 for the year. In our current circumstances, this is an outstanding month of giving for our church.  We want to express our overwhelming gratitude to the Lord for your faithfulness and generosity.  While we are still down 2% from 2019, we are well ahead of where we could be and close to our monthly target for this year (which hasn’t been adjusted since we went fully online) of $9400 per week.  We also have received over $3000 towards our benevolent fund to help those in financial need. Hope is certainly a giving church, and we love being able to help people at this time.  Thank you to everyone who has stood with us in these weeks. We’re trusting God’s provision for the coming weeks as well!

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

Every Season is in His Hands,