Hope Notes 12/02/2020

December 2, 2020

Dear Friends of Hope ~ Babies are the purest look into the handiwork of God, don’t you agree? They are His brand new creation, fresh from the Master’s hands.  Our family has been wishing, and hoping, and praying for two very special babies to meet.  And they finally did! Our dear friends converged at HCF on the very day that our grandson Maverick was to be dedicated.  This was a culmination of an awful lot of prayers coming from NJ, Florida, and Guatemala. What a joyous reunion it was!  And it did not escape my attention that God in His mercy not only caused many obstacles to be overcome, but gave us ‘more than we could ask or imagine’ (Ephesians 3:20) by placing them here on the day of Maverick’s dedication.  It was truly almost more than I could bear.  Undeserved.  Freely given. Simply an example of how much our Good, Good, Father cares to give us the ‘desires of our hearts’. (Psalm 37:4) Anyway, I digress.  Back to these precious little ones.  Watching the two of them interact and listening to them chatter, I was struck by something interesting.  Maverick wasn’t babbling in English.  Caroline wasn’t babbling in Guatemalan.  Baby babble in any language sounds the same!  This realization quickly led to another thought. (Because these are the trails my mind goes down…)  The Tower of Babel!  Remember?  “At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words.” (Genesis 11:1 NLT)  Wouldn’t that be cool if such were the case today?  I like to imagine we would understand not only people from all nations, but even baby babble!  But no, the Babylonians had to go and ruin it for us by wanting to make a name for themselves rather than glorifying God.  “They began saying to each other, “Let’s make bricks and harden them with fire.” Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.” But the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them!  Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.” (Genesis 11:3-7 NLT) God had something wonderful in place for the whole world, yet their disrespectful actions left Him no choice but to impart a consequence.  We so often take what God has given us and disrespect it.  He gives us the relationship we’ve longed for. We to pick away at it until it loses its wonder. He gives us the job we’ve desired.  We start to complain about it.  He gives us the financial resources we’ve wished for.  We begin to use it selfishly, wastefully, and forget about giving back to His Kingdom.  We sometimes even forget the biggest gift of all, our salvation.  (Lord, let me not take that for granted!) “Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.” (Psalm 103:2 NLT) Right now I feel certain that I will never forget or take for granted the wonder of how God orchestrated so many things in order to bring about that joyous reunion of friends and babies.  But sadly, the reality is that the ‘magic’ of it all could dim as time goes by.  It is vitally important that we remember and record ALL the many gifts that God gives, lest we forget ‘the God of our salvation’ (Isaiah 17:10) and how gracious He is.  Lord I pray, help us not to take these blessings as our rights but rather as your gifts of grace to us.
Humbled by His Blessings,
Why God Repeats Himself (Exodus 20:18-26)

Any good parent knows that repeating yourself goes with the territory.  While your child may be able to quote entire movie scripts from memory and remember every word to the latest song, it seems that some part of their intelligence is blocked from simply listening to their parents. But parents don’t talk just because they have a captive audience.  Loving parents talk because they believe their words will have a positive influence on the lives of their kids. That’s why they find themselves repeating certain instructions or ideas over and over again; because the parent knows that this information is very important, and missing it could have undesirable fallout.  As we move on from the Ten Commandments, God repeats some of it again.  Could it be that God is doing this with a heart for His children like a loving parent?  And if God is repeating Himself in our lives, perhaps it is for the same reason.  And we probably should listen up!

VERSE OF THE MONTH: Hebrews 12:1-2
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Would you please join us in praying for God’s direction on gathering and serving the single adults that attend Hope?

Email Hap Cunningham if you have a request you’d like the church family to pray over! Hap will send an email out to our prayer team and make sure your request is known: HapCunn01@gmail.com
Please note that several of our regular programs are taking a break until the new year, including Wednesday Night Bible Study, God’s Girls, Fight Club, and our home-based Small Groups.

For the month of November, we averaged $9579 per week bringing our annual weekly average up to $9294.  This is still slightly below our annual target of $9400 per week, but a 2% increase over our giving at this time last year.  We are truly grateful for God’s provision for Hope through the sacrificial and faithful giving of each Hoper!

Looking for a way to help a family in need this Christmas? Our youth group has partnered with Adopt a Family to serve families who can’t afford to purchase presents this year. To participate visit the Amazon wishlist linked here, and purchase a gift or gifts! Youth Pastor Dan will take care of the rest. If you have any questions, contact him directly at 856-285-9016 or danlein@hopechristianfellowship.org. Purchases need to be made by December 10th. 

We’ll be having our annual meeting to discuss and vote on the 2021 budget on Sunday, 12/27 after the second service. All Hopers are invited to attend, but we need partners for the vote. Copies of the budget are available on the sign-up table in the lobby. Please review and direct any questions to Pastor Mark, Damon Briggs, Mike Hartwell, Ryan Winstel, or Pastor Dave. 

We would love for you and your family to join us for an outdoor candlelit Christmas Eve service!!! We are planning to meet at 6:00 in the parking lot for a short time of scripture reading and song. (This event will be weather dependent, and in the event of cancellation we will update social media and our website.)

We know the holidays can be a financially difficult time for many families, let alone a holiday season amidst a pandemic! If your family is in need, please reach out to our Needs Team. We would love to help you financially, or with food or other provisions that would help your circumstances. Contact them at needs@hopechristianfellowship.org

Did you have an item go missing while at church? Make sure to check our lost and found bin at the back of the auditorium next to the sound booth! We’d love for these items to be reunited with their owners before we donate them elsewhere. Make sure to take a look!

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
ONLINE GAME NIGHT: 12/8 at 8:00pm
Join us on Zoom! Meeting ID: 859 1015 0031  

CHRISTMAS PARTY: 12/15 at 7:30pm
Let’s get festive! We’ll have games and snacks. Bring at present that’s $5 or less for the White Elephant gift exchange!

As we approach the dates of each program, we wanted to let you to know that we will not be live-streaming the kids performances. (We will still stream and share Pastor Mark’s message.) Elementary aged kids will be performing on 12/13, and our Preschoolers will be on 12/20.