Hope Notes 05/14/2020

May 13, 2020

Dear Friends of Hope ~      You may have heard our worship team close Sunday’s service with ‘The Blessing’ featuring Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes. You can take a listen to the original here .  This song only came out in March, but it has such a timely and comforting message.  Needless to say, I’ve been listening to it a lot and found that some parts of the lyrics in particular have great meaning for me.  Those of you who know me well know that I am quite inquisitive; research is in my blood!  So naturally I decided to do some investigating as to the specific origin of the lyrics.  What parts of Scripture do they come from?  What exactly IS the ‘blessing’?
     I discovered that it is called The Aaronic Blessing (sometimes called The Priestly Blessing) which was given to Aaron and his sons to speak over the people of Israel, recorded in Numbers 6:23-27.  This is where the first part of the song is taken from. (Note:  I’ll be quoting direct from the Scriptures, not the song.) “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”  I like that the emphasis is upon God.  He is the one who originated the blessing. He is the One who blesses us and does for us what we cannot do for ourselves.  So great is this blessing that the words are still regularly spoken over present day congregations, long after the Old Testaments priests used it!   For a believer, the things mentioned in the blessing have been granted to us through Jesus Christ for eternity.  Although our day to day experience of these things can waver, it should be a reminder of what we DO have in Christ.
      When I first heard the song, it reminded me a little bit of the popular “Irish Blessing”- “May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”  Now this is a very sweet sentiment, but for me it holds no weight because it is simply something that originated in the thoughts of man.  (No offense to the Irish!)  It’s the same way I feel about secular music; the thoughts expressed in the lyrics can be so touching, but they don’t have the weight of Scripture behind them.  2 Timothy 3:16 declares that “All Scripture is God breathed….” and I believe this.  As believers, we can have confidence that God has promised and delivered these blessing to us because His Word says it is so. Praise God!
      Note: Yikes I didn’t realize how much God would give me to say about this whole topic, so lest I take over the entire Hope Notes, I will save the rest for next week.  Stay tuned for my research results on the rest of the song, and find out which lyric did me in!

The Passover (Exodus 12:1-30) 
Our culture is pretty familiar with Easter as a spring holiday that has religious connections.  Of course, many celebrate Easter without focusing on the resurrection of Jesus or the offer of spiritual regeneration. But the nation of Israel has their own version of this holiday, and it is actually the holiday that was taking place when Jesus died.  It is called the Passover.  And this morning we’re going to look at the actual event – which was the tenth plague over Egypt, and the final straw in God breaking Pharaoh’s will. There are many crossovers between the two holidays besides just the yearly timing, and we want to see how Passover laid the groundwork for God’s people to understand what Jesus would do about 1500 years later.

MAY CHALLENGE VERSE – Isaiah 55:8-9 
“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.”

Now available on Spotify, Goodle Podcasts, and Apple Podcasts!
Every Monday through Friday Pastor Mark & Dave will be publishing short devotional thoughts on our new podcast, Hope Daily. 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

Please note that the final Small Group Study Sheet will be going out May 31st.

This week for Young Adults we will be discussing fasting. It’s one of a few spiritual disciplines Jesus mentions specifically, yet it’s one that we don’t practice often. What is it? Why don’t we do it and why should we? Join us as we ask these questions and more.
Meeting ID 824 1674 3234

Join us this week on Zoom as we play games, talk about becoming more like Jesus, AND FIND OUT WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO MAKE DAN’S HAIR BLUE!
Meeting ID: 827 1394 9571

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

Lord Bless and Keep You,