Hope Notes 03/31/2021

March 31, 2021

Hello Hoper!
I think about this every Easter so I may have shared this with you before so please bear with me.  When Emily was around four, she noticed the Easter bunny walking through the mall, most likely on his way to the center court for the requisite pictures with crying children.  Apparently the giant bunny head didn’t faze Emily.  Rule follower that she is, what really bothered her was the fact that some man was ‘wearing his pajamas in the mall’.  (So indicative of her personality to this day!)  Anyway, that giant bunny is but one of the ways we know that Easter is approaching.  Stores begin to stock Easter candy, fancy outfits and egg decorating kits.  None of these were around on that very first Easter, the day that Jesus rose from the dead and conquered the grave.  But God did give some very clear signs to Peter, Mary, and others that day.  These are God’s clues of hope for us. They are recorded in Scripture for us to read and remember the hope that Easter brings. For believers, this hope does not just apply to Easter, but to every day of the year.  If you go to John 20, you can easily see the progression. First, “….the stone had been removed from the entrance (to the tomb)” (vs1) Next, Peter saw “the strips of linen lying (in the tomb) as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head.”  (vs6)  Then, Mary saw “two angels in white seated where Jesus’ body had been…” (vs12)  Finally, Mary “turned around and saw Jesus standing there…..” (vs14)  All of Christianity stands on the fact that Jesus Christ was crucified, died, buried, and rose again.  “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is worthless, and so is your faith.” (1Corinthians 15:14) When life seems heavy and we’re looking around for anything to grab onto that would give us some hope, let us remember those four clues spelled out so simply in Scripture.  And finally, let us remember what Jesus Himself said in John 14:9.  “……..Because I live, you also will live.”  The greatest source of hope of all.
The Tomb is Empty! – Lois

The Good News (Colossians 2:13-15)

Easter is one of our biggest and most exciting celebrations of the year. For believers, we turn our minds back to the events of this weekend about 2000 years ago and reflect on the love Jesus lived through the cross. We think about how the grave could not hold Him, but that after He gave all for us, He rose from the grave. This is the good news.  It is personal and has changed our lives – both now and forever. Instead of a ‘wishing’ hope, we now have a ‘confident’ hope. We find life here and now, but we know it is just a taste of the life that awaits us.  Death has been transformed from the worst reality we ever face, to the very doorway of our deliverance from all that is fallen and broken in this world.  And this hope is something we want to share.  We’ll sing and celebrate this morning; but we’ll also look at a few verses that sum up the good news of Easter.

Acts 4:19-20
“But Peter and John replied, Which is right in God’s eyes; to listen to you or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

APRIL’S BIBLE BOOK: Join us in reading Romans! And be sure to pick-up a bookmark in the lobby for a complete list of the books in our bible reading plan!
Prayer huddle is back! Join us Sunday mornings at 8:15 in Nursery 2 room for a brief prayer for anyone serving that morning. 

Bible study will begin meeting in-person (in addition to being live streamed) starting April 7th! We’ll meet in the auditorium so there is plenty of room to space out. We’ll be continuing our study in Ephesians. Starts at 7:00.

SUNDAY Q&As: Starting April 11th!
Has a Sunday message ever left you with unanswered questions? It doesn’t have to anymore! For the three weeks after Easter we’ll be trying out an in-person Q&A session after the second service. You’ll be able to submit questions electronically at either of our two services and our pastoral staff will address them following the 10:00am service.  Join us in-person or check out the recorded Q&A on our YouTube and Podcast feeds. 

Are you recently married or engaged? Join us Saturday, April 24th at 7:00 for snacks, fellowship, and some friendly competition. It will be a great way to get to know other couples at Hope! Sign-up here.

“When Life Gives You Lemons…”

Join us for a night of lemonade and laughs on Friday, April 7th from 7-9pm! We’ll also serve coffee and sweet treats and hear from some of our ladies about the ups and downs of life, and the goodness of God in the highs and lows! If you’re post high school and up, you’re invited to sign up in the lobby or online here. You don’t need to bring a thing, but feel free to invite a friend!

GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE: 4/2 at 6:00pm
We’re so excited to be having an in-person service this Good Friday! There will be song, scripture readings, and communion. All offerings collected that evening will go to our benevolent fund. Service will also be live-streamed for those who are unable to join. 

EASTER SUNDAY: Three Services!
In addition to our regular Sunday morning worship times, we’ll also be having a third service at 11:30. We anticipate this third service will be our lightest, so if you haven’t been back to church since we re-opened, our hope is that you’ll feel comfortable to join us! We also want to celebrate Easter morning by offering donuts and coffee before each service. We can’t wait to be together as a church family after missing last year! 

All HopeKids (WonderZone & GoZone!) and their families are invited to attend our Easter Jam event! We’ll have games, songs, and an Easter egg hunt! Join us Saturday, April 3rd from 10:00am until noon. If you haven’t already signed-up at church, you can sign-up here!
1st & 3rd TUESDAYS at 7:30pm
Finding Joy – Philippians (4/6)
The book of Philippians is perhaps the most positive letter Paul sent a church. In it we will find several things we can do to cement joy in our lives, even in the midst of difficult times.

YOUTH GROUP: Sundays at 6:00pm
For the month of March we’ll be focusing our study, Bible Basics, on Jesus. Join us as we take a look at the gospels and study the life of Christ as we head into Easter. 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

DIY personal pizzas, board games, and Hamilton… what more could you possibly want on a Friday night? Join Mackenzie on Friday, April 16th at 6:00 at her house for a super fun girl’s night! Her address is: 973 Johnson Road in Sicklerville. 

We are very happy to announce the new and improved GoZone Virtual Experience! Instead of the livestream, our GoZone kids who can’t make it to church will have their VERY OWN virtual experience designed specifically to be as accessible and exciting as possible for children at home. Make sure you’re following HopeKids Ministries on Facebook so your child can watch!

Our Sunday morning program for K-5th graders meets in-person at the 8:30 & 10:00 services.