Hope Notes 08/12/2020

August 12, 2020

Dear Friends of Hope  ~ 
     A pastor I follow on social media posted a picture of him ‘holding up’ a huge bolder that was part of a natural rock formation.  He captioned it “This is what pastoring in 2020 feels like”.  It really made an impression on me.  Then Pastor Mark’s message this past Sunday added to the picture I was beginning to get about what it means to be a shepherd to God’s people during this time. (If you didn’t happen to catch it, you can listen to it HERE.)  Because I have not been called to be a pastor, I don’t think like one.  The weight of responsibility on their shoulders and heaviness on their hearts must be staggering.  Consider the Biblical warning given to them even during ‘normal’ times in James 3:1 – “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”  Now couple that with the fact that we are all navigating through a global pandemic! 
     That thought just wouldn’t leave my mind and so I began researching.  I came across an article by Pastor Rob Norman in which he states, “No pastor alive today has ever done ministry amid a global pandemic. No seminary class, conference breakout session, or any other training opportunity has addressed how to pastor during such a unique time. Therefore, we’re forced to lead in unknown territory and navigate through the now often-changing challenges facing church ministry.  We’re having to stay ahead of the curve. We’ve had to climb the mountain of moving ministry totally online then climb an even bigger mountain of opening up church again while continuing to do ministry online. We’re trying to figure out how to accomplish every aspect of a local church’s ministry in a new era of church life while being biblical at the same time.”  These poor pastors!  I bet they must feel like they just can’t win when faced with all these decisions. 
     Piggybacking off some of what Mark mentioned Sunday, we all truly need to rally round each other (and our pastor!) and find ways to come together as the body of Christ.  To make a concerted effort to put different opinions aside and have love for one another.  To hold each other up (and our pastor!). To give grace to each other (and our pastor!).  We may think the ‘battle’ is the pandemic, but the more important battle is the spiritual one the enemy would like to win – causing division among the church.  Take a look at these two Scriptures:  “So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.” (Romans 14:19 NLT)  and “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.” (2Timothy 2:23 ESV)  I’m not just talking about our church, I’m talking about THE church.  Our pastor and our people need our prayers now more than ever.  God has given us here at Hope our very own shepherd like those specified in Jeremiah 3:15 – “Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.” 
    I am confident that you, like myself, want Pastor Mark to know we love and appreciate him and are praying for him. Let’s remember that ‘boulder on the shoulder’ and do all we can to help our pastor ‘hold it up’.  When Moses’ arms grew tired, Aaron and Hur brought a stone for him to sit on, while they stood beside him and held up his arms…” (Exodus 17:12)

Humbled Before the Throne, 
8:30am & 10:00am
(Via Facebook & YouTube)
GoZone at 8:30am & Church Service at 10:00am

Becoming Peacemakers – Matthew 5:9
Have you ever had a family member or close friend who you really enjoyed being around? Of course, right? Have you ever been surprised to learn something new, and perhaps unsettling, about that person? You assume that this person sees the world the way you do, agrees with you on most everything. Then you find out you’re not quite as similar as you thought. This can be quite upsetting. We can even begin to undo years of agreement and friendship over the first hint of disagreement. Our ‘fight or flight’ instinct starts to kick in. We feel like we have to attack or avoid someone who was once so close to us. In the midst of ever increasing polarization this feeling is probably more common than it’s been. In the midst of ever increasing polarization, Jesus’ call for us to be peacemakers may be more important than it’s ever been.

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared.
MARRIAGE NIGHT: Deadline to register is August 30th! 
We’d love to have you and your spouse come to this “date night” we’ve planned on Friday, September 18th from 7:00 – 10:00! We’ll be hosting a one-night broadcast event right here at Hope designed to encourage husbands and wives with a refreshing vision for God-honoring relationships. Laugh and learn together as we hear from marriage experts and discover how to cultivate a healthy marriage on a lasting biblical foundation. Cost to attend is $15.00 per person; make sure to register yourself and your spouse separately by August 30th here. Open to anyone who is married or engaged!  

We know that the current circumstances surrounding covid have left many of us without work. Here’s one resource you might find helpful. To view a current list of job openings in Gloucester County, click here

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!

SWIMMING & BONFIRE NIGHT: August 14th 7:30-9:00
Join us for a pool party at 973 Johnson Road in Sicklerville. There will be a bonfire, swimming, and s’mores! Just bring a bathing suit and towel! 
August 18th – What I’ve Learned So Far About… Manhood
Whether explicit or subtle, the we are constantly taught what it means to be a man. Boys are taught who they are supposed to be from the men in their lives and the men portrayed in the media they intake. Girls and women are taught what to expect from men from the men in  their lives and the portrayal of men in the media they intake. In your roughly 20 years of life, what are the lessons you’ve learned about what it means to be a man? Whether they have been good, bad, or seemingly neutral we want to hear from you (regardless of gender) on what you’ve been taught it means to be a man.

We are excited to reopen HopeKids! Ministries at our 8:30 and 10:00 services. 
For more detailed information, please visit our Post Quarantine Protocol Sheet.

HKH is on hiatus through September. We’hoping to start meeting again in October, but will finalize a plan as we get closer to the fall. Check back for details and make sure you’re following us on Facebook for all of the latest info!