Hope Notes 1/13/2021

January 13, 2021

Hello Hoper!      I’m loving the weekly Prayer Prompts that are showing up along with our verse of the month!  (If you haven’t seen them, you can find them right here in Hope Notes or on our social media accounts.) I sometimes need a little jump start to know what to pray over a verse and these are just perfect!  Praying doesn’t always comes easy for me.  I can tell when it’s just me struggling along, or when the Holy Spirit gets a hold of my heart and the words flow effortlessly.  So a prayer prompt is always welcome! 
Thinking about these made me realize there are other prayer prompts that arise in our daily lives if we stop and take notice.  For instance, when a need arises, where do you turn first? I know that my first reaction is often to call a friend, Google the solution, and then try to resolve it on my own.  I’ve learned that every need that arises is an opportunity to immediately turn to God in prayer. Whether for myself or someone else, using that problem as a prayer prompt can develop a deeper prayer life.  When someone asks for prayer, rather than say I will pray for them, I’ve been trying to make it a point to say, “Let’s pray” and do it right then.  Same thing when I see a prayer need on social media.  I stop and say a quick prayer before commenting that I will pray for them.  We need to pay attention to those prompts, and to stop and pray in the moment.  Ephesians 6:18 tells us to ‘keep alert’ and for the sake of my thought process, I am reading it as always being on the lookout for an opportunity to pray. “Do all this in prayer, asking for God’s help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God’s people.”
     Now this may sound like a strange one, but when your mind wanders, turn your thoughts into prayers. I always felt guilty if my mind wandered while I was praying, but then I heard a sermon once when the pastor said perhaps those wandering thoughts were actually Spirit promptings. If someone comes to mind, pray for him or her. If a situation or task on your to-do list comes to mind, lift it up to God. I had never thought of it in that way, but I love that the Holy Spirit could actually use those wandering thoughts to deepen my prayer life!
     As I endeavor to keep looking for prayer prompts (both on our social media and in real life), I will keep at the forefront what Paul tells us in 1Thessalonians 5:16-18 – “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Building My Prayer Life – Lois
January 17 – Time for Excuses or Decisions (Exodus 32:21-35)

The new year is often a time for resolutions; we commit to changes we believe are good and needed.  But by this time, many of our resolutions are fading or forgotten.  It’s not that we always just ignore them. We have reasons and excuses for why we can’t continue or why this day is different and makes follow through impossible.  The problem is that whether we have a legitimate reason or we are just making up an excuse, we still live with the fallout.  Dropping our healthy eating plan or our exercise regimen may or may not be reasonable, but it always has consequences. The Israelites have sinned against God.  Aaron tries to excuse himself. And the people are in humiliating chaos. So Moses and the Lord call them to a decision.  Through that decision, they learn about the chance to make a choice after they’ve made the wrong choice.  We are invited to the same opportunity today!

2 Corinthians 5:7
“For we live by faith, not by sight.”

Pray over the relationships in your life. Ask God to show you where you can take a step of faith in a relationship that needs healing.

Each year we typically put out a read-through-the bible plan to encourage you to get into God’s word as part of your new year’s goals. This year we’ll be reading a different book of the bible each month. For January we’re starting with Matthew!
Our study in Ephesians will be on livestream only for the month of January. If you’re watching on Facebook, you can interact in the comments! Bible study is a great midweek spiritual boost to get you through until Sunday! 

Small Group study sheets are now available in the lobby and on our website. We’re also launching the following short-term groups in February! To sign-up click here

Faith as the Fix – Deb McCarson: Thurs in Feb
There are not always easy explanations for the complex workings of the human soul, and at times it feels we have lost our footing, especially after disruptive events in our lives. In this workshop, we will use various meanings of the word “fix” as an outline to recall faith as a stabilizer.  This small group will meet at The McCarsons residence in Sewell.

Fight Club – Dan Lein: 2nd & 4th Tues in Feb & Mar
Pornography is an epidemic, affecting over 80% of men, twisting our ideas of sexuality and killing us in the process. But there is hope; James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” No judgement, no condemnation, only healing and support is our offer.  Using Tim Chester’s “Closing the Window: Steps to Living Porn Free” we will be looking at the ways we can both spiritually and practically fight The Fight against pornography. Fight Club will meet at the church in Dan Lein’s office.The Enneagram & Spiritual Growth – Dave Hallahan & Emily DiLorenzo: Thurs in Feb & Mar
The Enneagram has become a popular tool for personality typing and gaining self-awareness. Regardless of how familiar you are with it, we will seek to explore how this tool can be used to shape us in Christ’s likeness by taking a look at some of the unique strengths and challenges you face and which Spiritual Disciplines may be most beneficial to you. This class will meet at the church and be available via Zoom.

GOD’S GIRLS: Resuming Feb 1st
God’s Girls is open to all ladies of Hope graduated high school and up. Meets the 1st & 3rd Mondays from 6:00-7:30pm. Come out for a time of fellowship and study. We are currently doing a series on worship songs! 
1st & 3rd TUESDAYS at 7:30pm
JAN 19TH: All Things New
The New Year is a time when hope springs eternal. Everyone evaluated themselves and their situations and seeks to map a new course. After 2020, we are feeling the desire for change more than normal. So, what are you hoping to do differently this year? We’ll discuss our hopes and goal and see what Gods word has to say about making meaningful changes. 

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

GO ZONE: Our Sunday morning program for K-5th graders meets in-person at the 8:30 & 10:00 services, as well as livestreams on Facebook at the 8:30! Please note: check-in for K-5th grade will now be happening in the Youth Room at the start of GoZone! All younger kids (Wonderzone) will check-in at the hallway table as normal!