Hope Notes 09/21/2022

September 21, 2022

Hello Hoper,
    Our sweet little grandson has started asking the dreaded question that can cause parent’s (and grandparent’s) eyes to roll up in frustration.  A polite request to please stop doing something is met with the universal toddler refrain of…….WHY?????  Oh dear.  You really just want them to say OK and move on but we all know that isn’t about to happen. Obviously the adult has the final authority and can say no without an explanation.  However, I personally want to give him the respect of at least one answer to his question, but that can quickly lead down a never ending series of whys. I find myself struggling to come up with something that will end the questioning without resorting to the old refrain – because I said so! 
     I wonder if God has the same trouble with us. We often question His authority and want to know why something has happened, or why He says we should not do something.  The Lord can see what we cannot and He is always coming from a place of love and protection. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)  Our job is to trust Him. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)  Sometimes I feel like I can almost hear God saying ‘Because I said so’ when I am questioning or hesitating. Just like I wish my grandson would simply take my instruction and proceed, I am sure God would love it if we were able to accept without question His purposes and plans for us! I may never know the answers to my questions, but I’m okay with that. The Lord is my Savior, my Protector, and the one in whom I trust. If He says so, then His will be done!
Trying hard (like that old hymn) to trust and obey! – Lois

SPIRITUAL CARE  

SUNDAY MORNING MESSAGE: 
Our God Is Near | Communion
(Revelation 1:17-20)

Sometimes as you’re doing things online, you come across one of those videos where a service member who has been overseas surprises their family by coming home and showing up unexpectedly. If you’re given to emotion (and even if you are not), you can’t help but be overwhelmed with how much it means to the family to be reunited. When you love someone, you want to be near them. Plenty of people today think that God either doesn’t exist, or that, if He does, He stays far away from us. But nothing in Scripture presents God as someone who stays distant. Instead, He is close to us and holding us.  As Revelation opens, Jesus has some words that still ring in the ears of the church. He holds us and speaks to us, meaning He knows what is happening in our lives, it matters to Him, and He has direction to give us for our good.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT BIBLE STUDY: “Foundations” 
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. Tonight at 7:00; in-person only; childcare provided. 

CHRISTIAN SEXUALITY: Starting next week!
Join us on Wednesday nights at 7:00 starting September 28th for this six week study. We’ll take a Christ-centered look at sex, marriage, and sexual identity. There are big questions facing both individuals and the church at large surrounding these topics, and we’ll explore the answers God has given us in scripture together as a church family. We’ll discuss sex in marriage, singleness, pornography, shame & forgiveness, and God’s love for us. Single or married, parent or not, there is something for everyone to learn. You won’t want to miss out on this time of study and conversation. This series will be 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

“NEW TO HOPE” FELLOWSHIP:
Are you new to Hope within the past six months? Our staff and elder team would love to get to know you! We invite you (and your family!) to join us for cake and coffee on Friday, October 7th at 7:00pm. Sign-up in the lobby, or RSVP here

WOODBURY FOOD PANTRY CHRISTMAS COLLECTION: Due back this Sunday!
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 

MEN’S BOWLING LEAGUE:
Our team is in need of just a few more bowlers to complete their roster! We bowl Monday nights at 6:20 p.m. at Bowlero in Deptford. If interested, contact Bruce Clark at 609-820-4858.

SMALL GROUPS:
We currently have 10+ small groups meeting in Woodbury, Williamstown, Woodstown, and even towns that don’t start with a ‘W’! If you are interested in joining the 100+ people who have already connected with a small group, contact Dave Hallahan for more information at dave@hopechristianfellowship.org 

TRUNK OR TREAT: Coming soon!
This year’s Trunk or Treat will be Saturday, October 29th from 3:00-5:00pm with a rain date of Sunday. We’re rolling out registration forms for trunkers this Sunday, or you can sign-up online now! Stay tuned for more information about how you can get involved with one of our biggest and most exciting events of the year! 

YOUNG ADULTS
Meets 1st & 3rd Tuesdays at 7:00
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

NEW SERIES: God, what is going on?
Throughout this series we’ll look those things in our lives – both personal and global – that leave us wondering what God is up to. We’ll be able to share moments we had those questions and see how Christians have handled them in the past. 

HOPE YOUTH
YOUTH GROUP: Sundays 6:00-8:00
Please Note: There is no Youth Group this Sunday due to OC Retreat!

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.

SENIOR HIGH SMALL GROUP:
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. Our next meeting will be October 6th, location to be announced!

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

calendar here!

HOPE KIDS
VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION NIGHT:
To show our gratitude for our awesome HopeKids! Volunteers, we will be hosting an appreciation night on Friday, October 14th at 7:00pm. There will be games, desserts, and gifts for each of our team members! If you are currently serving on any of our HopeKids! teams, let us know that you can make it by 

submitting your RSVP here!

HOPEKIDS HANGOUT: 
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, enthusiastic, background checked team members to ensure your child’s safety. Our WonderZone! serves our youngest children from infants through Pre-K, who are full of wonder about who God is!  K-5th graders gather in the GoZone! where we GO for God, GO for growth and GO forever.

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