Hope Notes 02/03/2021

February 3, 2021

Hello Hoper!
Having a grandchild has opened up a place in my heart that I didn’t even know existed; 
all the things people told me I would feel were true.  But since I’d never experienced it for myself, I just couldn’t comprehend or truly understand the depths of love and joy it would bring.  It’s the same kind of thing with God’s love.  It’s hard to explain to someone who’s never experienced it.  For God’s love is not anything like what the world defines as love.  The world’s definition of love can be found in the dictionary.  “An intense feeling of deep affection”….in other words, love is what one feels.  In fact, we often choose who we deem worthy of those feelings. Others we label unlovable. We are stingy with our love.  But God’s love is all-encompassing.  His love is SO all-encompassing that He gave His Son in order that the whole world could be saved!  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)  He didn’t select just the beautiful, the intelligent, or the rich to love; He loves every single one of us.  Perfectly and unconditionally.  Could any of us love like that?  The Biblical definition of love could best be summed up in the word Agape.  This defines God’s immeasurable, incomparable love for mankind.  Agape love is perfect, unconditional, and pure.  Again I ask, could any of us love like that? I know I couldn’t.  I also know that I will never experience a love like that outside of the love God has demonstrated and bestowed upon me.  Upon all of us.  Where our love can be fickle and fleeting, God’s love is certain.  “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39 ESV). He loves us whether we respond to Him in love or not.  His love for us is not based on our response, but on His character.  God’s love is eternal.  “The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)  We know all too well that love here on earth often dims and dwindles till there’s nothing left. I admit it’s sometimes hard to feel God’s love.  After all, He’s not here beside us whispering sweet nothings in our ears.  (Well, in a way He IS, if we are reading His Word!) But we must trust His love for us and know that we have it in abundance in our hearts. “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit……” (Romans 5:5) Do not look for or accept the world’s false imitation of the standard that only God can give us, for humanity’s version is but a pale shadow compared to the brilliance and truth of God’s love.

Living As Ambassadors
John 18:33-40; 1 Cor. 13:1-8
“When you leave this house, you represent this family!” Have you ever been told this or maybe told one of your kids this? The obvious implication is that your behavior reflects on what kind of family you come from. This is the same idea behind Paul calling Christians, Ambassadors of Christ. As he says elsewhere, our citizenship is in heaven. God is making his appeal to the world through us. Wherever we go, we represent his family. The question for us is, how do we live as ambassadors of God while living in this world? How do we represent the Kingdom of God while living in the Kingdom of America?

James 1:16-17
“Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

What good and perfect gifts have you received from God? Take time this week to reflect on them and to give him thanks.

Join us in reading John. This 21 chapter gospel is easy to read in a month!
Join us in person or online this Sunday as we announce and important update on our Children’s Pastor position! You don’t want to miss this information!

We’re continuing our study in Ephesians weekly at 7:00pm. Bible study will remain online for the month of February. Join us on Facebook or YouTube! 

GOD’S GIRLS: Resuming Feb 15th
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!

FIGHT CLUB: 2nd & 4th Tuesdays at 7:00
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.
1st & 3rd TUESDAYS at 7:30pm
Never Gonna Give You Up (2/16)
You’ve been Rick Rolled. In the coming weeks, many in the Christian tradition will be observing lent. It is customary for people to give something up for those 40 days with the intention of drawing closer to God. Have there been times in your life where you’ve felt God calling you to give something (or someone) up? What are things or habits in your life now that God may be asking you to set aside?

YOUTH GROUP: Sundays at 6:00pm
Our current series, Bible Basics, will help equip students to read God’s word. Right now we’re in Genesis! 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

Our toddlers and preschoolers (4-5 year olds) have been combined since June, but as of this Sunday we are officially opening our Pre-K class back up! We’re so thankful to have enough kids and volunteers to make this split possible! 

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! Make sure you’re following Hope Kids Ministries on Facebook!
God made me, God loves me, Jesus wants to be my friend forever!  Our HopeKids! WonderZone Facebook group is the perfect tool to help you reinforce these truths with your Preschooler! You’ll find our Ollie the Owl videos posted every Sunday, along with a weekly activity to reinforce the Bible lesson! This group is also a place for all announcements pertaining to our Nursery, Toddlers, and Preschoolers.  Join today to stay in the loop on all things WonderZone!