Hope Notes 07/08/2020

July 8, 2020

Dear Friends of Hope  ~ 
     Once when I was babysitting, the little girl begged and begged me to let her go up in our tree house.  I knew she was probably too young and would be scared, so I kept telling her no.  She finally wore me down and I relented.  Sure enough, once she set foot in the treetop perch, she began to cry.  She wanted to come down but was too afraid.  And what did she keep repeating as she wailed?  “You should have told me NO!” Never mind that I DID tell her no; all she knew was that it was ‘my fault’ she was in this predicament.  Does any of this sound all too familiar in our own lives?
     Many times God is telling us no but we don’t want to hear it.  Or believe it. We keep presenting Him with the same request over and over, hoping for an answer that gives us what we want.  We completely ignore the fact that He knows what is best for us.  I’m sure Paul didn’t like the answer God gave him when he asked for the thorn in his flesh to be removed (read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10).  God made it quite clear that Paul was to rely on His grace alone.  Oh if only we could react like that when we receive a ‘no’ from our Lord! Many times we won’t understand the good that God is doing by withholding what we desire. But we know we can trust Him.
     Another similarity to the treetop situation is that we may blame God for the things that go wrong in our lives, forgetting that sometimes it is simply a natural consequence of our stubborn refusal to yield our will to His. Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.” God’s advice is right 100 percent of the time. When we disagree with what God says in the Bible, we are the ones who need to change.
     How do we avoid those two situations? We should seek God’s counsel, in His word, and through prayer with Him, and then DO what He says to do!  This way we can live life with confidence and cheerfulness, certain that we are walking down God’s chosen path for us. When we are tempted to blame Him for the troubling circumstances in our lives, we need to remind ourselves of His complete sovereignty. “Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it?” (Lamentations 3:37)  These simple steps should help us avoid demanding what we want and then shaking our fists at God when He ‘lets’ us have it!

In case you missed it, we are meeting in person again! For all the details, including service times and Covid-19 safety guidelines, click link below:

Desperately Thirsty (Exodus 14:22-27) – COMMUNION
At some point in all of our lives, we have been desperate. The need we faced was so essential that we couldn’t just brush off our lack of resources.  But it seemed there was nothing we could do to meet that need. In this moment, most people panic, or pray, or both. We talk about a God who cares for us and watches over us. So why would He bring us to desperation? Since that’s exactly what He did right after parting the Red Sea and delivering Israel, let’s dig into what happened and see if we can grow in our trust for the One who delivers and provides!

COMMUNION – July 12th
We are going to attempt to observe the Lord’s Supper together on July 12th  at the close of our service.  This will look different than we normally do communion.  We have prepackaged communion elements that no one will touch, and they will be served in our seats by servers using gloves.  That way, there is no cross contamination.  Of course, anyone can opt out of participating for any reason that morning.  For those at home, please prepare something you can use with those in your house to represent the elements we normally use at church (bread and juice).  It will be a blessing to hold this service even though it is drastically different from what we’re used to doing.  Don’t miss out – join us on this Sunday, July 12th!

JULY CHALLENGE VERSE – 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4,7
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified; that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.”

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!

Bible Study is on hiatus through summer.

SMALL GROUPS – ‘Becoming a Peacemaker’ Wednesday @ 7:00 in July & August  
Also Offering Online Class Sunday Nights 8:30-9:30   IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO JOIN!!

We’ll be going through” Love Over Fear: Facing Monsters, Befriending Enemies, and Healing Our Polarized World” by Dan White Jr.  Books are free, but if you are interested please sign up so we make sure we have enough for everyone. The link to sign up is below and if you have any further questions you can contact Dave at dave@hopechristianfellowship.org
Sign up: https://forms.gle/28FfZKCJLkqV7yrR8 
For those choosing to participate in the online class Sunday evenings, here is the  Zoom Meeting ID: 810 2821 1352
YOUNG ADULTS – July 7th @ 7:30 pm
We’re back at the church for the first time in a long time! Join us as we process together the emotional, spiritual, and overall toll that Covid-19 has taken on us. How do we move forward? How can we be peacemakers in this time?
PLEASE NOTE:  We are back to meeting every other Tuesday with a NEW TIME OF 7:30!

YOUTH GROUP SUMMER BBQ – July 11th from 2:00 – 6:00
Dive back into youth group at our summer BBQ! Join us July 11th at the Baumiester’s (750 Fairview Ave, Woodbury Heights). Bring a bathing suit and towel; we’ll provide the food. RSVP to Dan.
Be sure to follow @hcf_hopeyouth on Instagram and/or facebook.com/hcfhopeyouth to participate in Bible reading programs and catch all announcements for future events!

We are excited to reopen HopeKids! Ministries on Sunday, July 19th at our 8:30 and 10:00 services.  We can’t wait to serve our Hope families again!
There will be some changes in our classroom structure throughout the summer:
Toddler & Pre-K classes will be meeting together in the Toddler classroom at both services.
0-2 year olds will be meeting together in Nursery 1 at both services.
In order to reopen HopeKids! in a safe and secure way during the pandemic, we are putting together some important new protocols to make sure we are serving in the safest way possible.  Her are some of the important need-to-know changes:
Every volunteer’s and child’s temperature will be taken at the registration table before allowing them to enter a classroom. 
Anyone who’s temperature is over 100 degrees will not be allowed in.
We will only allow up to 10 kids per classroom
All teachers and helpers over the age of 12 must wear a mask at all times.
We ask that parents not enter the classrooms with your kids. A HopeKids! team member will meet you at the door to take care of your child.
For more detailed information, please visit our Post Quarantine Protocol Sheet.

Small Groups and HopeKids! Hangout are now combined Tuesday nights from 7:00-7:45 for all K-5th Graders on ZOOM!
The link to the meetings will be posted on Facebook.
Contact Kara May (karajoellxo@gmail.com) or Pastor Matt( mattrussell@hopechristianfellowship.org) with any questions.
Our elders are excited to announce that we will be voting on July 26 (either by ballot at one of the services or at the brief business meeting to follow) to place Dan Lein as our Youth Pastor. All official partners are invited to join us that morning to vote. We are not yet sure if there will be a virtual option for partners who cannot come out, but if there is, we’ll get that information out as soon as possible. 

We’re very sorry to have to make this call, but it seems like we’ve run out of time to wait and see if anything will allow us to have a meaningful VBS experience this summer.  So we’re going to cancel it for this year and find some other ways to serve our kids and families. Looking forward to the day when we can have this powerful program again!  In the meantime, keep an eye out for some different opportunities we’ll be creating for our kids.
PS: We generally do the church picnic in connection with VBS.  If we’re able to do it this year, we’ll do it in September.

JUNE GIVING UPDATEFor the month of June, we averaged $8781 per week bringing our annual average down to $9115 per week.  This is about 3% behind our giving average for the first half of last year, and still slightly below our target for this year of $9400 per week.  We are grateful for God’s provision for our church in these trying times, and look forward to the opportunity to serve every one of you in the coming days. Thank you for your faith and faithfulness in giving!

We were planning to have a church information meeting in April to discuss our progress on the building projects and give our plan for what is next.  Since that wasn’t possible, we postponed it.  We are hoping to be able to hold such a meeting in September.  If we cannot do that for some reason, we will be sending more detailed information on our projects – both outstanding and proposed – to our partners directly during that month. Pray with us as we sort out the major needs of our building and God’s provision for each project!

With all the new guidelines in place to make Hope a cleaner environment, we are making sure to be sanitizing the things that get touched often – bathroom fixtures, door handles, etc.  If anyone is willing to take a turn in between services, please contact Jodi Jacoby at  jjacoby804@comcast.net

Serving our Sovereign God,