Hope Notes 05/12/2021

May 12, 2021

Hello Hoper!
 Nowadays a lot of parents are teaching their babies some sign language in order to make it easier for said babies to communicate what their needs are.  Our grandson Maverick’s favorite sign is ‘please’.  He knows it will signal to us that he wants something.  One day in the church nursery he kept signing please (tapping his chest) over and over to the point where the baffled nursery worker thought something was wrong with his chest!  She just didn’t know what he was doing.  A simple sign, but easy to misunderstand.  This made me start thinking about signs in another sense.  I’m reading Judges right now (on Hope’s reading plan – check it out) and Gideon asked God not once but TWICE for a sign in Judges 6:36-40! Years ago I knew a woman who was always asking God for signs before she did anything.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  I know that God is not against His people asking for signs; He complied with Gideon and many others in Scripture.  However, constantly asking God for a specific sign before making any sort of move seems to speak of some lack of faith. If we ask for a sign, is it because we have a doubt? It surely would be nice to feel crystal clear about things.  But God wants His children to trust Him and “Walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)  Our Heavenly Father would prefer that we make our decisions based on our faith in God and on what is written in the Bible.  Signs supposedly ‘from God’ can also be misread. “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” (Matthew 24:24)  God Himself  used signs, but more generally in the sense of a symbol.  “I set my rainbow in the cloud, and it will be a sign of a covenant between me and the earth” (Genesis 9:13) and “You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.” (Genesis 17:11)  But still, Scripture makes it apparent that Jesus grew weary of being asked for signs to prove who He was.  “One day some teachers of religious law and Pharisees came to Jesus and said, ‘Teacher, we want you to show us a miraculous sign to prove your authority.’ But Jesus replied, “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.” (Matthew 12:38-39 NLT)  Another example is found in John 4:48 (NLT) – “Jesus asked, “Will you never believe in me unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?” Can’t you just picture Him sighing and shaking His head?  In light of all this, I’ve come to the conclusion for me that I will do my best to simply ask God to lead and guide me, whether it be through Scripture, a sermon, or perhaps some godly counsel.  I’d love nothing more than to have Him drop a great big billboard sign down on my head, but I highly doubt that’s going to happen.  And, just like our poor nursery worker, I still might misunderstand it!

Relying on Him – Lois

When God Lets You See (Numbers 13:1-25)
The normal Christian life is a walk of faith.  That means we usually don’t see very far down the road. We know God is good and His plans for us are what we want. But we can’t often know how God is going to be good or how His plans are going to play out in ways that show it. So are we doomed to always feeling like we’re walking blind?  Actually, no, we’re not.  In this story, we see something unique.  God shows His people what He has for them and how good He wants to be. And the Lord does that sometimes in our lives too.  Make no mistake; we’re not talking about seeing or experiencing all the good He has for us. But sometimes just a taste is meant to encourage us and to help us have the trust and faith we need to go forward into great promises and great challenges.

Romans 6:21-22
What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

Take time this week thanking God for your freedom from sin and ask him to make that reality line up with your experience.

Join us Sunday mornings at 8:00 in Pastor Mark’s office to pray for that morning’s services. 
BAPTISM SERVICE: June 9th at 7:00pm
Ready to make a public declaration of your faith? If you are interested in being baptized, Pastor Mark will be holding classes on Sunday, May 23rd & May 30th after the second service. Sign-up in the lobby. Contact markott@hopechristianfellowship.org with any questions!

Our annual baby bottle fundraiser is here! Help support Choices of the Heart by picking up a baby bottle located in the back of the auditorium and filling it throughout the month with extra change. All bottles can be returned to the back table by May 30th. You can also donate directly here! Any questions or if you would like to join our Mission’s Team please contact Stacy Reid, sreid0905@gmail.com.

HOPE’S SINGLES GROUP: New name, same group! 
Please Note: This month’s first meeting will be May 16th

This group meets on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month at 12:30pm. We are committed to encouraging one another to lead obedient, fulfilling lives as followers of Jesus. Keep your eyes peeled for announcements regarding a quarterly event as well! Contact Jess St. Petery (856-673-6809 or j.st.petery@gmail.com) for more information or with any questions!

GOD’S GIRLS: Now at 6:30
May 17th: “Wonderfully Made: Seeing Ourselves as the Father Does” 
Here the women of Hope gather to share one another’s joys, burdens, and needs with the Lord and each other. Grow together through our fellowship gatherings, time in prayer, and studies on various topics in the Bible. All women are welcomed to join us as we encourage each other in our personal walk with the Lord. Meets the 1st & 3rd Mondays of the month at 6:30. Any questions, contact Mary Lebeau (marylebeau@verizon.net).

New to Hope? Our online directory gives you access to contact information of other Hopers, and is secure and private for church use only. You can also update your information and picture at anytime. Access it online or through an app! To sign-up, fill out the form here. If you’re already a member of the directory, now would be a great time to refresh your information and make sure it’s accurate!

SUNDAY Q&As: Now in the auditorium! 
Has a Sunday message ever left you with unanswered questions? It doesn’t have to anymore! 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. To ask a question, visit swiftpolling.com and use the event code 24424.


Summer is just around the corner and we are hoping to get back outside and back together, but we need your help! For the months of July & August,  Hope Youth would like to partner with you to host pool parties and summer devotionals! If you have a pool and would like to lend it out for an afternoon to Hope Youth please sign-up! We will take care of food and drinks, we just need the space!Sign-up here, on the youth bulletin board, or contact Youth Pastor Dan at danlein@hopechristianfellowship.org

BIBLE STUDY: Ephesians
Meets every Wednesday night in the auditorium at 7:00, as well as live on Facebook and YouTube. This is a great opportunity for a mid-week spiritual boost and a chance to spend time with church family. Don’t miss! 
1st & 3rd TUESDAYS at 7:30pm
Open to anyone graduated high school through their early 20s. Stay tuned for upcoming events!

HOSEA: May 18th
Join us for a discussion on the book of Hosea! Hosea’s life serves as a vivid example of God’s unfailing love to unfaithful people. Read through this short book and bring any questions or thoughts you have. 

Join us Sunday, May 30th at 12:30 for food, tubing, and yard games! Sign-up in the lobby to bring a snack or dessert. (Address: 2033 Ballard Dr., Hammonton)

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

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

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!