Hope Notes 10/28/2020

October 28, 2020

Dear Friends of Hope ~
     Last week we had a couple of really foggy mornings.  While I was out driving,  I found myself crawling down roads that were actually quite familiar to me, squinting and searching the road ahead for any recognizable landmark.  It was kind of scary not being able to see much of anything…..and wondering if other drivers were able to see ME!  I rounded a bend and drove up a little hill when suddenly the sun finally managed to burn through the mist.  And, just like that, the veil of fog was gone and I could clearly see the road before me.   Before I was saved, I had a similar type of veil that prevented me from clearly understanding the message of the Gospel.  Paul speaks about this in 2 Corinthians 3:14-16. “However, their minds became closed. In fact, to this day the same veil is still there when they read the Old Testament. It isn’t removed, because only Christ can remove it. Yet, even today, when they read the books of Moses, a veil covers their minds.” (GWT)  I had the whole process backwards.  I remember thinking, ‘Okay, I’ll read the Bible and once I understand it and agree with it, then I’ll give my life to Jesus”.  It doesn’t work that way!  We need the Holy Spirit inside us to help us understand things.  One particular bit of irony stands out to me.  I had a lot of trouble with the book of Revelation, as you would imagine any non-believer would.  And yet in the Greek, the word revelation literally means ‘unveiling’, haha. But I still had that veil hindering my understanding of the Good Book.  What a difference knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior makes when reading the Bible!  Anyway, back to the fog…….
     When I was driving through the fog, I could only see as far as my headlights would allow. God has provided us with ‘headlights’ when we are faced with a path or future that seems unclear.  When we can’t see what’s ahead, we can look to His Word for direction. “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”  (Psalm 119:105) As we study the Bible and commit its words to our hearts, those words will guide our steps and provide light even in our darkest times.  I think it’s important to note that the lamp only illuminates a portion of the path.  God gives us just enough light to allow us to put one foot in front of the other (so to speak) without stumbling.  We have to keep relying on Him and reading His Word in order to continue moving forward.  It requires that we put our faith and trust into action.
     I’m thankful that the fog so that I could feel safe driving.  But I’m even more thankful that the veil of fog was lifted from the ‘eyes of my heart’ so that I could fully drink in and comprehend the life giving words of God.
 Eyes and Heart Open…
Understanding Transcendence (Exodus 19:16-25) & Communion
Communication at its core is meant to transfer ideas and understanding from one person to another.  Many times, something goes wrong in that process and misunderstanding ensues. But it would make no sense to any of us for a college professor to give a lecture from their class to a toddler.  If the professor wished to communicate anything to that child, he or she would have to adjust their wording and simplify their discussion so that it was understandable to someone so young.  In much the same way, but to an indescribably larger degree, God comes down to our level to relate to us. The idea that God is infinitely above our level, but chooses to descend to meet us is called transcendence. And it is put on full display at the foot of Mount Sinai just before God gives the Ten Commandments.  Let’s look at this moment in Israel’s history and be reminded of both God’s greatness and of the unstoppable desire He has to connect with us.

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
GOD’S GIRLS: 1st & 3rd Mondays 6:00-7:30
Open to all ladies of Hope graduated high school and older! Join us Monday, November 2nd as we continue our “Wonder of Worship” series and take a look at Kari Jobe’s song “Forever.” This meeting will be led by Michele Gabriel. There will be no snacks, but feel free to bring your own beverage. We will be practicing social distancing. Any questions, call or text Mary Lebeau at 865-316-6301. 

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
NOVEMBER 3RD: Join us as we talk about the Parables of Jesus!

If you weren’t here on Sunday and didn’t catch the livestream, you may have missed the announcement that Pastor Matt is stepping down as our kid’s pastor. This is certainly a bittersweet moment for us, as Matt has wonderfully served in this role for over seven years. He has made countless amazing experiences for our kids, as well as led the congregation in worship. While we are sad to see him go, we are excited to see all that God has in store for him and his family. Please join us in praying for him as he moves to the next chapter, and as we look for someone to fill his shoes. 

We are looking for volunteers in all of our areas across kids ministry, but particularly at our registration table. If you are interested in welcoming families and checking-in their kids for Sunday morning classes, this would be a great opportunity to serve! Contact Pastor Dave at dave@hopechristianfellowship.org