Hope Notes 6/03/2020

June 3, 2020

Dear Friends of Hope ~Are you someone who likes to make plans or do you like to fly by the seat of your pants, taking each day with a ‘whatever happens, happens’ approach?  I fall more into the first category, although if I see my calendar filling up with too many plans, I start to feel overwhelmed.  I have to say, during this pandemic, my calendar has been empty, empty, empty!  I can almost hear it breathing a deep sigh of relief!  Each day is a blank slate (literally) to fill as we need.  Proverbs has a lot to say about plans.  Let’s start with these two verses, summed up pretty plainly in the Good News Translation:  “You may make your plans, but God directs your actions.”  (Proverbs 16:9) and “We may make our plans, but God has the last word.” (Proverbs 16:1)  How many times has this happened to you?  You have some sort of plan worked out, be it for the week, or the day, or even just the next hour……..and the next thing you know everything gets turned upside down!  If we allow ourselves to simply get frustrated, we may miss the connection between our foiled plan and God’s appointed plan.  I try and remember this when things go awry:  “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”  (Proverbs 19:21)  God doesn’t allow things to happen haphazardly; He always has a plan and a purpose.  However, we don’t always take the trouble to stop and consider what else God may have in mind.  Jeremiah knew that we should surrender to God’s direction and guidance. “LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.” (Jeremiah 10:23)  Does all of this ruffle your feathers?  Does it make you feel like you want to yank back on the reins of control over your own life?  Try looking at it another way, my friend.  I know that I do not have the wisdom our Heavenly Father does.  I cannot see into the future; there is no way for me to know the intricacies of how every decision I make will affect it.  I find it comforting to know that there is One who does, and that He is the one directing my steps.  Not only that, but for the times I stubbornly plow ahead with my own plans, He is there to pick me up when they crumble around me.  I for one am glad that God has ‘the last word’!  “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” (Psalm 37:23-24)

With both national and local conversations heading in the right direction, our elders and staff wanted to let you know about our plans to reopen. We foresee opening soon, once we have the final word from the Governor; we will keep you all in the loop!  If you didn’t get a chance to watch Pastor Mark’s video announcement on Facebook, you can watch HERE as he lays out what to expect once we do reopen.  If you have any questions or concerns you can email:  leadership@hopechristianfellowship.org.  Summary shown below:
*We will be having two services – 8:30 and 10:00 in order to reduce the number of people at any service.
*We will continue live-streaming the 10:00 am service for those who choose to stay home and watch online.
*Spacing out seating (groups of chairs spaced at least 6 ft apart).
*We have about 150 chairs in auditorium (less than 1/2 of our 350 capacity listed on fire certificate). Families may sit together.
*Stay home if you’re sick or running a temperature.
*Masks on in building for anyone 12 and over.
*Greeters to open front and back doors – or they are propped open if weather is nice enough.
*Sunday Sanitizing Team – organized by Deacons (bathrooms, touch points, etc).See Announcement Below.
*Hand sanitizer stations at front and back door – also in each classroom.
*No Salt and Lights handed out, no coffee ministry.
*Conversations before and after service encouraged to be outside.

We are busy making plans for that wonderful day when Hope can reopen our doors to everyone!  One of the things we will need to be doing is sanitizing the things that get touched often – bathroom fixtures, door handles, etc.  We are getting many strategies in place for this and more, but we need some help.  If anyone is willing to take a turn in between services, please contact Jodi Jacoby at  jjacoby804@comcast.net. Please note that plans are all very ‘loose’ right now; we just want to get ahead of things so we are ready to go when we are given the green light.

God’s Guidance (Exodus 13:17-22)
Some people act before they think. Others think and think and think before they act.  Both groups of people make mistakes.  And mistakes often lead to regret.  If you think about it, it can make you wish for some way to know the right way from the wrong way.  As believers, we put our trust in the living God.  But sometimes, it can feel like He is uninterested in our lives or in telling us which way to go.  The story of Israel leaving Egypt is a lesson in the person of God who picks a way to lead His people so that they can’t miss Him.  At the start, they could have thought that God was playing a trick on them.  And as they walked, the potential danger was clear.  But their experiences are a reminder to us that even when we seem to walk similar pathways, God’s presence and direction is still clear for us today.  But only if we’ll look up!

JUNE CHALLENGE VERSE – Psalm 92:1-2, 4
“It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night. For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord. I sign for joy at what your hands have done.”

Now available on Spotify, Goodle Podcasts, and Apple Podcasts! Just search “Hope Daily” and subscribe today!
Every Monday through Friday Pastor Mark & Dave will be publishing short devotional thoughts, answering your questions, and recommending resources to you. If you have a question you’d like answered you can email hopedaily@hopechristianfellowship.org and then listen for your question!

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 
Our final study sheet went out on May 31st, but that doesn’t mean your Small Group has to discontinue meeting over the summer. In fact, with Governor Murphy’s recent announcement allowing groups of up to 25 to meet outdoors, you may want to consider meeting in person (finally!) as you have the chance. If you are looking for study material, alternative meeting formats, or have any other questions please contact Dave at dave@hopechristianfellowship.org.  

Stay tuned for what’s next!

Stay tuned for what’s coming up!

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
MAY GIVING REPORTFor the month of May, we averaged $8760 per week, bringing our annual average down to $9176.  This is still below our annual weekly giving target of $9400 per week, and about 4% below last year’s giving at this point.  Of course, we all understand that these are uncharted waters, so it isn’t surprising that we have seen a decrease in giving.  But as a family, we are keeping an eye on our ability to meet our budget together.  Pray with us for those in need, and pray that the Lord will continue to supply for the expenses of our church.
 My Steps Belong to Him,