Hope Notes 08/31/2022

August 31, 2022

Hello Hoper ~ 
     The words blessed and blessing get thrown around a lot these days.  You’ll see it on clothing, home décor, even on those little candy heart candies. But what is the biblical definition of blessing? Dictionary.com states the biblical meaning of blessing as ‘a favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness.’  I certainly do not feel worthy of all the blessings God has bestowed upon me.  Even though I know He sees me as perfect and holy, my human brain cannot comprehend that.  He is faithful.  I am not. Everything He is, I am not.  And yet He continues to bless me. In looking further into biblical blessings, I came to a deeper understanding.
     God doesn’t simply bless us just so we can say we are a blessed people. There are two main reasons why God blesses us. We are blessed simply because He loves us, and then also so that we can be a blessing to others. This follows along with how He comforts us so we can be a comfort to others, and how He instructs us so we can instruct others. In reading about Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3, we can see that God blessed Abraham, and that Abraham was then a blessing to others. ”I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you; and all the families of the earth will be blessed through you.” In 2 Corinthians 9:11, I know that Paul is referring to financial blessings, but I believe we can apply it to all the blessings we receive from God.  “You will be blessed in every way, and you will be able to keep on being generous…”
     We are not to be stingy with our blessings, whatever they may be. We ought to use them in whatever way we can to bless others.  Blessings flow from God, but they should never stop with us. They come to us, and then flow through us. Take a few minutes today to thank the Lord for all of your blessings, and then ask Him to show you ways that you can be a blessing to others.
Blessed beyond measure – Lois    

SPIRITUAL CARE  

SUNDAY MORNING MESSAGE: 
Morning of Worship

Join us as we kick off fall by pouring out hearts out in worship. These opportunities are precious to us because we get to worship together as a church family for the whole morning. Come ready to give thanks and praise, and to see God’s work in our lives. And don’t be surprised if something tries to get in the way of you showing up because our enemy knows the kind of power that fills our hearts and lives when we give our full focus to worshipping together!

WEDNESDAY NIGHT BIBLE STUDY: “Foundations” Three Part Series
We hear a lot about ‘deconstructing’ Christians today.  And we face questions as well as casual but presumptively certain statements about God, Christians, the Bible and truth. How can we navigate these waters without losing our faith?  We’re going to kick off our Fall Wednesday Nights with three introductory lessons on ‘Foundations’.  Each week we’re going to look at a major topic that we can later digest in more detail.  But if we are informed and trained in these areas, the chances of us being taken off guard by a skeptics comments or even losing our way when we question our faith are greatly diminished.  We want to find solid ground to stand on in the current cultural discussions and debates, so join us as we target a few places to find our footing. Begins September 7th at 7:00; in-person only; childcare provided. 

PRAYER HUDDLE:
If you’re volunteering on a Sunday morning, whether its greeting, HopeKids!, in the sound booth, etc., please join us for a team prayer huddle! We want to gather together everyone who is serving that morning to pray for the services. Meet at 8:15 in the Youth Room. 

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). 

VERSE OF THE MONTH:
Proverbs 15:1

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word can stir up anger.”

SEPTEMBER BIBLE READING PLANS: 
Year 1: 1 & 2 Corinthians 
Year 2: Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon
Psalms 103-109

HOPE DAILY: Available on Apple Podcasts & Spotify!
We post a 10 minute episode daily, Monday through Friday. You’ll hear from a variety of our staff as they share devotional thoughts and scriptures. Listen on Apple, Spotify, or on our website

ANNOUNCEMENTS

SMALL GROUP KICKOFF:
We’re so excited to kickoff a new season of small groups for the fall! We believe that relationships with other believers are essential to growing in our faith and one of the best ways to pursue these relationships is through our small groups. You can sign-up to join one of our existing groups, or form your own! Not sure where you fit? You can request for us to help place you in a group! Visit this link to get started, or contact Pastor Dave (dave@hopechristianfellowship.org)

LADIES EVENT: “Reflect: No Filter” Watch Party & Dinner
Join us right here at Hope on Friday, September 16th at 6:30 for food, fellowship, and a watch party! We’ll start promptly at 6:30 with dinner: a pasta bar, drinks, and desserts! Then we’ll live-stream Elevation Church’s “Reflect: No Filter” ladies event. This night will be about embracing the woman we see in the mirror and building “unfiltered” relationships with God & one another. We’ll worship together and hear an encouraging & challenging word from several speakers including Holly Furtick. There’s no cost to attend! Invite a friend if you’d like! Any questions see Dana Ott (danaott@hopechristianfellowship.org) Open to all ladies post high school and up. Sign-up in the lobby by September 11th!

WOODBURY FOOD PANTRY CHRISTMAS COLLECTION:
For the month of September, Hope will be supportingGreater Woodbury Cooperative Ministries in collecting Christmas gifts to give to those visiting the food pantry this December. We are collecting canvas tote bags, throw blankets and scarves for women. You can purchase items and place them in the bins located at the front and rear entrances of the church, or you can purchase an item online through Amazon without having to worry about shopping & dropping them off! Thank you for helping us spread the love of Jesus this Christmas. Any questions please contact Wendy Ball, briwensean@aol.com 

YOUNG ADULTS
Meets 1st & 3rd Tuesdays at 7:00 beginning 9/20
The Young Adults ministry at Hope Christian Fellowship is a group of post-high school through their twenties adults truly seeking to explore life, engage culture, and empower change while remaining ground in the Word of God. Any questions, contact Pastor Dave at dave@hopechristianfellowship.org

ICE CREAM SOCIAL: September 9th at 7:00
Hope’s Young Adults is kicking off the fall with an ice cream and game night! Join us for a night of fun and games and the opportunity to create your own sundae.

HOPE YOUTH
YOUTH GROUP: Returns this Sunday!
Youth Group is back with a BIG month of events you won’t want to miss! A breakfast night, a game night, even a night themed around the alphabet? (Okay maybe just trust pastor Dan on that last one.) And all of it centered around our new series, Least of These! We will dive into the idea of how Christians should be marked by their habit of helping others and their willingness to do humble themselves through acts of service. Open to all students in 6th through 12th grade on Sunday evenings from 6:00-8:00 here at Hope. 

SENIOR HIGH SMALL GROUP: Starts Tomorrow
This small group will provide our senior high students with the opportunity to dive more deeply into the Word and create a space to more vulnerably and openly discuss faith and how it comes up against the challenges of the world. Meetings will be held on the first Thursday of every month at 7:00, starting in September. The first meeting will be hosted by youth leaders Josh and Becky DeWalt at 81 Davidson Rd, Swedesboro NJ 08085

GROW GROUPS: Returns this Sunday!
Hope Youth resumes its annual Grow Group series on “big church”, helping 6th graders transition from Go Zone to adult Sunday services. For 6 weeks (9/4-10/9) 6th graders will learn together in a small group setting the core aspects of church, why the Church works the way it does, and how we can all be a part of making it happen! Grow Groups will take place in Go Zone 2 during the 8:30 service following worship. Can’t wait to see your students there!

OCEAN CITY RETREAT: September 23rd-25th
Ocean City has always been a great kick-off event for our senior high (9th-12th grades) as well as a time for students to build bonds that our brief time on Sunday nights doesn’t quite allow for. It’s also a whole weekend of making new friends, playing games, and encountering God so if you’re looking for another good event to invite a friend to, this is the big one! Contact Pastor Dan for a permission slip!

HOPE YOUTH CALENDAR:
Parents, stay up to date with everything happening on our

calendar here!

HOPE KIDS
BACK TO SCHOOL KICKOFF: Sign-up HERE!
All our WonderZone & GoZone kids and their parents are invited to our first event of the fall! Join us on Saturday, September 10th from 10:00a – Noon.  We’ll have a party to celebrate the new school year with music, games, and school supplies!  Sign-up online at the link above or in-person at church. 

HOPEKIDS HANGOUT: Returns September 11th at a new time!
All elementary kids are invited to join us in the GoZone on Sunday nights from 6PM-8PM for an extra dose of fun and Bible study. Just like on Sunday mornings, we gather together for games, Bible stories, and prayer—but with an extra hour there’s twice the excitement, bigger games, and more time to get to know each other! This September we will be continuing our journey through What’s In the Bible, picking up where we left off and brushing up on our Old Testament knowledge. 

SUNDAY MORNING PROGRAMS:
We offer childcare and classes from our littlest Hopers to our 5th graders every Sunday morning at both the 8:30 & 10 services. Each classroom is staffed with friendly and enthusiastic teachers and helpers who are background checked to ensure your child’s safety. Our WonderZone! serves our youngest children, who are full of wonder about who God is! We have an infant room, one-year-old room, toddler classroom, and a pre-K classroom in order to serve each child with an age-appropriate curriculum. K-5th graders gather in the youth room for our opening service called The GoZone! where we GO for God, GO for growth and GO forever through worship, games and an interactive lesson through teaching and videos. The K-5th graders are then split up into age appropriate small groups to dive deeper into the lesson where they can share their own experiences and ask any questions they may have. 

For questions about WonderZone (0-PreK) contact Kara May at karamay@hopechristianfellowship.org

For questions about GoZone (K-5th) contact Pastor Ryan Moreno at ryanmoreno@hopechristianfellowship.org

Follow us on Facebook & Instagram at HopeKids Ministries