Hope Notes 10/21/2020

October 21, 2020

Dear Friends of Hope ~
     You knew it wouldn’t be all that long before our sweet little grandson Maverick made his way into one of these openings, didn’t you?  Well, it took eight months, but that day is finally here!  Right now he is all about sitting, standing, crawling, stepping, and reaching.  He has single minded determination and focus on achieving all of these baby milestones.  He always wants to go further, stand taller, and stretch out his tiny hand for whatever his eye happens to notice. I found myself whispering in his ear, “You always want to be just a little further than where you are, and have just a little more within your reach.”  Once I said those words I was immediately struck with the conviction that I should be wanting the exact same thing with my faith journey, instead of allowing myself to be content with where I am and what I have.  And how I often find myself shying away from ‘more’ because it usually entails a period of struggle or sacrifice. Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3-4)  As we mature in our faith, our trials often become somewhat more difficult because it takes a little more to move us out of our comfort zone and get us to turn to God first.  Because when we face smaller issues, don’t we tend to think ‘oh I can handle this’ and then take things into our own hands?   I don’t always succeed, but I do my best to recognize God sized problems and seek His guidance sooner rather than later. ‘More’ can also be frightening.  Instead of wanting to do more for God and His Kingdom, I can easily find myself staying inside my comfort zone where it’s safe and cozy.  Everyone’s comfort zone looks different.  It could be more comfortable to not teach a Bible class, to not witness to someone, to not get up and give a testimony.  But no matter what the boundary on our comfort zone is, the thing that keeps us inside it is fear.  Yet God says this: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)  Okay, that’s pretty clear.  Just think of what we might accomplish if we embraced courage instead of comfort!  Not to mention the fact that we are kind of squashing all that God wants to give us when we embrace the ‘more’.  Listen to what Ephesians 3:20 has to say about God’s ‘more’: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…”  We have HIS power at work within us to enable us to do all that He has called us to (and more).   And He is just waiting to do immeasurably more than anything we could dream of.  That all by itself is a pretty good reason to choose courage over comfort, faith over fear, and stretching instead of stagnating.
    Bottom line? I think I need to take a page from Maverick’s book and pursue ‘more’ with the same kind of fearless determination and perseverance he displays.  Arms outstretched, heart open to what lies ahead, and the look of wonder in my eyes!
Always More in Him….
From Bondage to Freedom – A Study Through Exodus
October 25 – Respect (Exodus 19:9-15)
Today’s concept of God is probably different than it was at many points through history. God was a fearful and seemingly unknowable being who could bring great harm (or great blessing) at His whim. People lived in fear of God.  Jesus came to show us who God really is.  He told His disciples that whoever has seen Him has seen the Father.  Jesus helped us understand that God is knowable and unwaveringly good. Because of that, sometimes we can get very casual with the Lord and forget how important and necessary it is to respect our Creator.  He is not just our Savior and Friend; He is also the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Israel is at the base of Mount Sinai, and they are about to experience an object lesson in respect.  Maybe it is something we can take to heart as well today.

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD: Kick-off is this Sunday!
OCC looks a little different this year because of Covid, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t participate! There will be a table in the rear of the church to pick-up a box, or you may design a virtual box online at the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child website. Take a flat shoebox and take ONE pamphlet for EACH box you plan to make. Shop and pack for your age and gender child. (Make sure to read about things to NOT pack.) Affix label on top of box. Place $9 cash/check inside EACH box OR pay online using the scan tracking label. PLEASE – Do NOT seal the box. You may use rubber bands. Drop back at Hope no later than 11/15/20. Visit the OCC website for detailed FAQ information. 

ANNUAL CHURCH VOTING: 2021 officer election ballots out now!
Calling all Hope partners! We need you to participate in this year’s election for deacon and elder teams. Ballots are available in the church lobby at the sign-up table, along with a list of current partners, deacons, and elders. Completed ballots are due back to Pastor Mark by November 15th. 

YOUTH GROUP: Sundays at 6:00pm
 Students from 6th to 12th grade are invited to join us for games, snacks, and the Word of God as we engage in fellowship and seek to grow in our relationship with our savior. If you have any questions, please contact our Youth Pastor, Daniel Lein, at danlein@hopechristianfellowship.org

CRAFT NIGHT: This Friday 7:00-10:00pm
We’ll be watching Jurassic Park while doing fall crafts! There will be a pumpkin decorating contest with a $20 Amazon gift card reward for the winner. We’ll also have pizza and fall themed snacks, like apple cider donuts, pumpkin spice cookies, hot cocoa, and more!

SUNDAY MORNINGS: Livestreaming & In-Person!
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. If you’re unable to join us in-person, your kids can still watch GoZone on Facebook & YouTube!