Hope Notes 05/19/2021

May 19, 2021

Hello Hoper!
     We have evidence that a charming little grandson has come into our lives.  There bubbles and balls on the back porch.  Booster seats and sippy cups in the kitchen.  Sweet little handprint smudges on every surface like his sweet smudges on our hearts.  Objects have been broken, books and pictures torn, but guess what, I don’t mind!  When he goes home, he leaves behind a happy scattering of books and toys across our floor.  They are brightly colored rainbow sprinkles of joy.  Anyone who enters our home would know that a little person is in residence.  After all, when is the last time a couple of 60 somethings were playing with stacking rings or riding on a musical pony?
     This brings me to a question for believers.  Do we have enough evidence of Jesus’ sovereignty in our lives to make it easy for others to see?  Sometimes, a changed life is evidence enough; those who knew us ‘before’ we gave our lives to Christ can see the changes brought about by that decision.  When we have committed ourselves to Christ and live to please Him, the natural result is behavioral choices that look like His. He was clear that true followers of Christ will be recognizable by their fruit: “……….every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7:17-20)  And what exactly IS our fruit?  “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22)  It’s certainly not easy to display these fruits in our own strength.  But we must remember the instruction given to us by Jesus in John 15:5 – “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  Therein lies the key; stay connected to Jesus!  Another important piece of evidence that we belong to Jesus would be our ability to love others as He did.  Jesus told His disciples that “just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34b-35)  It’s no accident that love is the first fruit mentioned in the above list!
     So there you have it.  Scripture clearly lays out the characteristics we should embody if we want the world to know we are followers of Jesus.  Not as easy as scattering around a few sippy cups and stacking rings, but still attainable through the help of the Holy Spirit and a little extra diligence on our part!

Lord, Let My Life Reflect Your Evidence – Lois

Doubt and Fear Rule (Numbers 13:26-14:4)
We are people of hope and people of God’s powerful and amazing promises.  But far too often and easily, we get stuck in doubt and fear instead. What is it about these two things that overtake us so regularly? How do God’s people let go of such incredible birthrights for things that create so much misery? We may be locked in this battle for the rest of our lives, but we certainly aren’t the first ones to face it. Israel stood at the edge of a land of promise, but chose to react in fear and doubt instead. As we read this story, we can take some lessons for our own lives so that we don’t need to repeat their mistakes. Let us live in the hope we have, and may the Lord help us to live victorious over doubt and fear.

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.

Ask God to show you where you are allowing fear and doubt to keep you in bondage. Ask him to help you take the steps to live in the freedom he has given you.

Join us Sunday mornings at 8:00 in Pastor Mark’s office to pray for that morning’s services. 
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! 

JUDGES: Zoom Conversation
Join Pastor Dave on Tuesday, May 25th at 7:00 for a conversation about this month’s bible reading. Meeting ID:  833 0061 7394   ANNOUNCEMENTS
In keeping with the progress being made across the country, we are updating our protocol for the first time since June! Beginning May 30th, we are asking you to wear a mask while in motion (similar to restaurant guidelines!) We will also be eliminating temperature checks for our children’s programs. We’re excited for this change, and also recognize policies could be updated again between now and May 30th. If that is the case, we will adjust our guidelines and keep you informed. 

BAPTISM SERVICE: June 9th at 7:00pm
Ready to make a public declaration of your faith? If you are interested in being baptized, Pastor Dave will be holding classes on Sunday, May 30th & June 6th after the second service. Sign-up in the lobby. Contact Pastor Dave (dave@hopechristianfellowship.org) with any questions!

CHOICES OF THE HEART: Due back May 30th!
There is still time to support Choices of the Heart for the month of May. You can also donate directly here or you can pick up a baby bottle located in the back of the church. All bottles can be returned to the back table by May 30th. For more information, or more ways to get involved with Choices of the Heart  please visit their website: www.choicesoftheheart.com. Any questions please contact Stacy Reid, sreid0905@gmail.com.

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.
1st & 3rd TUESDAYS at 7:30pm
Open to anyone graduated high school through their early 20s. Stay tuned for upcoming events!

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!