Hope Notes 09/08/2021

September 8, 2021

Hello Hoper~
     Do you say a blessing before meals?  We do, and it is sometimes followed by laughter. Yes, laughter! Let me share a couple examples:
     I was enjoying a girl’s lunch at Applebees and, when the food was served, we all bowed our heads and began to pray quietly.  When we raised our heads, the waitress was standing there with a very puzzled look on her face. She questioned us, “Is everything okay with your food?  You were all just staring down at it for so long!”  I guess it did look strange if you didn’t know what we were doing! We all had a good laugh.
     Our grandson Maverick has learned from example that when he sits down to eat, a blessing will be said.  He doesn’t really know what that is, of course, but he will thrust out his hand to be held and at some point shout AMEN!  Sometimes he waits till the prayer is done, sometimes the Amen just bursts forth immediately.  I think he knows once that is said we can eat, so let’s go! One time my husband Michael reached out his hand to Maverick and……Maverick stabbed it with his fork!  Again, we had a good laugh.
     The idea of praying before meals comes straight from the Bible.  In Matthew 14, Jesus multiplies the loaves and fishes after saying a blessing. “Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.” (vs19)  In Luke 24, Jesus is at the Last Supper with His disciples. He gives thanks for the bread before passing it to them to eat. “When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.” (vs30)  When Paul sets sail for Rome and the boat is besieged by storms and shipwreck, he still takes the time to thank God before eating. “After he had said this, Paul took bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat.” (Acts 27:35) 
     When we thank God for providing our ‘daily bread’, we are acknowledging that everything we have comes from Him.  Praying before meals can be a reminder of that truth.  It helps keep us feeling grateful and centers our hearts on Jehovah Jireh, the God Who provides.  It can also bring you some laughter; maybe not in the form of a hovering and confused waitress, or an unexpected jab with a fork, but a little extra joy around the table is always a good thing!

Giving Thanks – Lois

SPIRITUAL CARE  SUNDAY MORNING MESSAGE
ALIVE – Are You Really Living?
Life can be hard and challenging, and facing the struggles each day can feel like we’re just existing and surviving instead of truly living.  Is that what we should settle for?  Or are we promised more?  While the human experience will always include times of sorrow, exhaustion, and even numbness, God’s people are told that we are gifted the opportunity to truly and fully be alive.  Why are so many missing it and how can we embrace this amazing gift?  Join us in these weeks to explore.

September 12 – God’s People Live (John 1:1-4; Genesis 3:1-6; Matthew 6:24)
We’re going to start our series on living at the beginning. Jesus is life. The life our souls ache for cannot be found anywhere else. Probably no one who comes to Hope would disagree with either of those statements.  So we should all be fully alive from the depths of our souls, jumping into every day and each calling full of confidence and hope.  But we aren’t.  So what’s the problem?  We’ll take this morning to remind ourselves of the basic truth of the gospel, and then see what gets in the way of that bringing life to our days.

VERSE OF THE MONTH: 
2 Corinthians 5:20

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God.”

PRAYER PROMPT: 
Have you ever considered yourself “an ambassador of Christ”? Ask the Spirit to show you the implications of this in your own life. How can you best live into that role?

SUNDAY MORNING PRAYER:
Join us Sunday mornings at 8:00 in Pastor Mark’s office to pray for that morning’s services. Contact Bob Baumiester for more information (rbaumiester@gmail.com).    ANNOUNCEMENTSBAPTISM: Tonight at 7:00!
Come support your fellow Hopers and brothers & sisters in Christ as they make a public declaration of faith! This service is always powerful, moving, and encouraging. You won’t want to miss it!

CAFE: Talent Needed!
Singing, dancing, juggling? Whatever skill you’ve got – we want to see it! It’s not too late to perform at next week’s cafe! Sign-up online here! For those of you who won’t be on stage, you can still come and support and enjoy food and fellowship. Sign-up to bring a treat in the lobby! 

MEN’S BREAKFAST: This Saturday 8-9:30
Men 18 years of age and older are invited to our monthly Men’s Breakfast. We feature prayer, full participation study—all enjoyed with a great breakfast and terrific fellowship.

TRUNK-OR-TREAT: Save the Date!
Mark your calendars for Saturday, October 30th from 4-6pm because we’re planning to have Trunk or Treat! Registrations will be out soon so start thinking about how you want to decorate your car now! (Rain date will be October 31st.)

HOPE FAMILY NIGHTS: Two weeks away!
We’re launching Hope Family Nights this fall on Wednesday, September 22nd. Join us for dinner and fellowship from 6:00-7:00 and then attend a class from 7:00-8:00. Plus HopeKids! programs for nursery through 5th grade, and Hope Youth bible study for 6th-12th grades! Truly a night for everyone. Make sure to register for your class using the sign-up forms in the lobby. Questions? Contact Pastor Dave at dave@hopechristianfellowship.org

  • The Comparison TrapLadies Only (Led by Dana Ott) The temptation to compare is as near as your next chat with a friend, trip to the store, or scroll down your favorite social media platform. And whether you come out on top or come up lacking, there is simply no winning in comparison. It’s actually a trap. This 4-week study includes a devotional book which has pages to complete each day as well as questions we’ll answer each Wednesday night. Hope you can join us!
  • Yard Sign ManifestoAdults All Ages (Led by Pastor Dave) You’ve seen the yard signs…In this house we believe: Science is Real, Black Lives Matter, Gay Rights are the New Civil Rights…or something to that extent. These statements compose what Rebecca McLaughlin calls, The Secular Creed. Living by this creed is supposed to ensure the good life for both ourselves and others. We’ll dissect four of those statements and see what we can affirm, what we cannot endorse, and see how ultimately it is faithfulness to Christianity that looks like Christ that is the surest way to diversity, equality and transforming-love.
  • You and Me ForeverCouples Married 10 Years or Less When you promised your spouse “until death do us part” you promised faithfulness for your entire life. But as followers of Christ, you will live an eternal life. Married couples cannot allow lesser things to distract from their marriage, but they also must not allow marriage to distract from eternal things. In this study, you’ll be challenged to view your marriage in light of eternity.
  • Crazy LoveHope’s Single Adults (Led by Jess St. Petery & Rick Mounce) It’s crazy, if you think about it. The God of the universe loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss. God is calling you to a passionate love relationship with Himself. Because the answer to religious complacency isn’t working harder at a list of do’s and don’ts—it’s falling in love with God.

HOPE YOUTH
RE-ENTRY SERIES: Continues this Sunday!
Join us Sunday from 6-8 for what might be a MESSY mission (so dress accordingly!) Open to all junior and senior high students. Contact Pastor Dan with any questions at danlein@hopechristianfellowship.org

BIBLE STUDY: 
Join us Wednesday nights at 7:00 as we study the book of Judges. 

OCEAN CITY RETREAT:
Our annual OC high school retreat is happening September 17-19th. Contact Pastor Dan for a permission slip: danlein@hopechristianfellowship.org

HOPE KIDS
HOPEKIDS! DONATION BOARD: 
It’s not too late to help our HopeKids! Ministry prepare for the fall! On the bulletin board outside of the GoZone, you will find our Donation Board filled with snacks and supplies we need. Choose an item to donate, grab a slip off the board, and be sure to drop your donation off in the kitchen!

NURSERY SPLIT: 
Our HopeKids! WonderZone is growing! With so many new babies at Hope, we are thrilled to be reopening the Nursery 2 room! Beginning September 5th, Nursery 1 will be open to all 0-12 month olds, and Nursery 2 will be open for all 1 year olds! In order to keep both rooms open and running smoothly, we are in need of a few more volunteers to serve on the rotation. If you are interested in serving in either of our nurseries, we would love to have you on our team!  Please contact Kara May at karamay@hopechristianfellowship.org.

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

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!