Hope Notes 03/08/2023

March 8, 2023

Hello Hoper,  
     I can hardly believe that this coming Sunday is the start of Daylight Savings Time. Before we know it, we’ll be enjoying an extra hour or more of sunlight.  I’ve been noticing how much slower the evening fades into dark; it’s still light out when we are eating dinner!  This is also the time of year that I am reminded we serve a God who “makes the sun stand still….” (Joshua 10:12-13) Yes, I do know that the government set the time change, but it’s much cooler to remember how our heavenly Father gave the Israelites some ‘daylight savings time’ in order to defeat their enemies.
     Neither can I believe that I am seeing daffodils and forsythia in bloom.  Dare I say that spring might actually be just around the corner?  We haven’t even had to pay the penalty of a harsh winter complete with epic snowstorms. I almost feel like we don’t quite deserve the promise of spring until we’ve gone through the hardships a frigid winter brings. But apparently God has a different plan in mind for us this year! After all, it is He who “changes the times and the seasons….” (Daniel 2:21) Our daughter was born on April 30th.  The week she was born we had a snowstorm that draped our forsythia bush in snow.  The yellow flowers looked so incongruous peeking out beneath the white covering. One year later as we celebrated her first birthday, it was a blistering 90 degree day.  Talk about some capricious weather! Both the time change and the change of seasons just serve to remind me that “God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’ (Job 37:5-6).  If we are honest, we would have to admit that most, if not all, things in life are beyond our control…….as much as we might like to think otherwise. I don’t know about you, but I am kind of glad they are not! I would much rather live my life under the loving guidance of the One who “even the winds and waves obey”. (Matthew 8:27)
Looking forward to Spring… Lois

SPIRITUAL CARE  

SUNDAY MORNING MESSAGE: 
Greater Love (John 15:8-17)
The concept of love really defies a clear and concise definition. Stories have been written and rewritten. Songs have been sung over and over. People think they have a sense of what love is because they “know it when they feel it.” But Jesus is having a discussion with us about what kind of love He’s calling us to. In this part of the conversation, Jesus invites them to bear fruit that will last.  Still using the picture of a plant, He now explains more to the disciples about how we are to stay connected to the vine and what that will do for our souls.  We are invited to change the world like they did by choosing great love.

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 8:40 in the GoZone!

SUNDAY MORNING PRAYER:
Anyone can join us Sunday mornings at 8:30 in Pastor Mark’s office to pray for that morning’s services. Contact Bob Baumiester for more information (rbaumiester@gmail.com). 

LEVEL UP ON WEDNESDAY NIGHTS: 
Wednesday nights in 2023 we are focusing on taking your relationship with Jesus to the next level by offering programs for all ages built to strengthen your faith and deepen your spiritual knowledge. Here is our list of classes for adults:

  • CHRISTIAN SEXUALITY PART 2: Led by Pastor Mark & Pastor Dan Last fall, we started a series on Christian Sexuality diving into the tough topics of sex, marriage, and pornography – and what the bible has to say about it. Join us as we continue that conversation, this time addressing homosexuality, transgender identity, and the LGBT community. We’ll hear real stories from real believers who face same sex attraction and gender dysphoria and how they pursue Christ in the midst of it. This Wednesday we’ll discuss LGBTQ+ issues. 
  • THE CASE FOR CHRIST: Led by Mark Suloff thru March Is there credible evidence that Jesus–the carpenter from the ancient town of Nazareth–really is the Son of God? In this video Bible study, based on the book The Case for Christ, participants journey on a quest for the truth about Jesus. Skeptics dismiss the Jesus of the Gospels by claiming there is no evidence that he was God’s Son. But does their claim hold weight? And, if not, what evidence is there, especially outside the Bible? Lee Strobel–a former legal journalist and one-time atheist–presents the findings of his own search for truth. The first 10 to join this class will get a free book! 
  • Parenting Through The Phases: Led by Pastor Ryan & Kara May coming in April!

VERSE OF THE MONTH:
Matthew 5:9-12
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

ANNOUNCEMENTS

GIVING REPORT:
For the month of February, we averaged $9617 per week bringing our annual average down to $9901 for the year. This remains well above our current target giving of $9300 per week and will potentially allow us to address our ‘frozen’ budget from the end of last year in the coming month or two. We are grateful for how this giving level will provide for current needs of the ministry and staff as well as how it paves the way for our future needs as we continue growing at a rapid pace.

NEW TO HOPE RECEPTION:
Are you new to Hope in 2023? Our staff and leadership team would love to welcome you! Come share a coffee and pastry with us on Sunday, March 26th in the GoZone 2 classroom between 9:45 – 10:45. This is “open house style” so stop in as you’re leaving the first service, or come early before the second service! We can’t wait to connect with you! 

WOMEN OF HOPE: Spring Soup & Salad Night
Women of Hope want to invite you to come out and join us for a “Spring Soup & Salad” night on April 3rd at 6:30pm. We’ll meet at our regularly scheduled time & place but this time we’ll step out of the current study and enjoy dinner and some fellowship. Even if you haven’t been part of our Monday night group, we’d love to have you! Sign up in the front foyer if you’re able to come and if you’d like to make a soup or salad, there’s a spot for that too. Contact Mary Lebeau (marylebeau@verizon.net) or Michele Gabriel (momichga6@gmail.com) with any questions.

KIDS ALLEY: Raffle Basket Donations Needed!
Kids Alley is putting on a Designer Bag Bingo event to raise money for their program and is in need of people willing to donate raffle baskets! These baskets would need to be valued between $50-$200. We love to partner with Kids Alley, so if you are able to support to them contact Michele Esser at micheleesser@kidsalley.org.  

SEEDS OF HOPE MINISTRY OPPORTUNITY:
Seeds of Hope is having a Good Friday outreach on Friday, April 7th at their location in Camden from 12:00–3:00. They will have a prayer station, grill some hot dogs, and have iced water to hand out to people on the street. This will take place in the “Heal Camden” lot right next to their ministry home on Broadway. Volunteers can drop in and stay for as little or long as they like. It is an awesome way to practically demonstrate the love of Christ and the Lord always provides opportunities for us to share why Good Friday really is good. If you’d like to volunteer, contact Stacy Reid at sreid0905@gmail.com for more information.

BAPTISM SERVICE:
Here at Hope we believe baptism is an outward expression of an inward change, and an important part in your faith journey! Our next baptism service will be on Wednesday, April 12th. In order to participate, you’ll need to attend two classes: Sundays, March 26th & April 2nd following the second service. If you’re ready to make this proclamation of faith, sign-up in the lobby now!  

EASTER AT HOPE:
Mark your calendar for the following Easter events coming soon!

  • HopeKids! Easter Jam on April 1st from 10:00-Noon
  • Good Friday Service on April 7th at 7:00 (nursery provided for children 2 and under)
  • Easter Sunday Services at 9:00 & 10:30

YOUNG ADULTS
Meets 1st & 3rd Tuesdays at 7:00
The Young Adults ministry at Hope 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

FIRST SUNDAY HANG: New starting March 5th!
Introducing another opportunity to gather as young adults! The first Sunday of each month we’ll be getting together for a simple hangout. Join us at the Hallahans (612 Westover Ct. Williamstown) at 1pm for some light snacks, games, and fellowship.

HOPE YOUTH
YOUTH GROUP: Sundays 6:00-8:00
Open to all teens 6th-12th grades! Contact Pastor Dan Lein with any questions: danlein@hopechristianfellowship.org

CURRENT SERIES: CHRISTIAN SEXUALITY
Last fall our students dove into six weeks of educational conversation on the subject of Christian Sexuality. Over the next six weeks we will be returning to the series and will be addressing new topics, including same sex attraction, transgender identity issues, and many other LGBTQ questions. We believe this series is vitally important for this day and age, and we strongly encourage all youth group students between grades 6-12 to join us. We hope this series will continue to help equip and guide our students through the choppy waters of sexual identity and lead them to a better and stronger relationship with Christ.

GUYS’ NIGHT: March 10th at 6:30
The thrill of competition. The bonding of brothers. The taste of tacos. A night full of competitive games and prizes is the perfect way to spend your Friday night and an easy invite to friends looking to make their first connection. All guys 6th-12th grades are invited to join us at the church for all this and more!

GIRLS’ NIGHT: March 10th at 6:30
Calling all female students! Join lady leaders for a night in of fun, snacks, and fellowship! We want to take this time and set it aside to bond as sisters in Christ, enjoy each other’s company, and grow closer! Join us and bring out your friends as we meet at Grace’s house, 30 South Evergreen Avenue Woodbury NJ, 08096 from 6:30-9pm! 

LAUNCH TRAMPOLINE EVENT: 
Launch into the last stretch of school with the Hope Youth Launch event! Summer’s just around the corner and we wanna jump right in at Launch Trampoline Park! All 6th – 12th graders are invited to attend. Join us at 1500 Almonesson Road in Woodbury from 6:00-8:00p on Friday, April 14th; cost is $20. Sign-up here!

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

calendar here!

HOPE KIDS
EASTER JAM 2023: 
Get ready for an Egg-stra Special celebration at Easter Jam 2023! We’re excited to host another awesome Easter event for the whole family with songs, games, and an Easter story for all ages. Join in the experience on Saturday, April 1st from 10:00-Noon! Sign up HERE or at either Registration Table on Sunday!

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! Our current series is a 12 week study on the New Testament. 

SUNDAY MORNING PROGRAMS:
We offer childcare and classes from our littlest Hopers to our 5th graders every Sunday morning at both 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.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT PROGRAMS:
We’re so excited to invest in our HopeKids! on Wednesday evenings, during our Level Up series, by providing classes for infants through 5th graders! Our elementary kids will be paired up with our preschoolers for a portion of the evening to work together on a craft, game, or activity. We can’t wait to see how God works in & through our elementary kids to serve, lead by example, and encourage our preschoolers! Your kids won’t want to miss out on these fun-filled Wednesday nights, engaging their faith and learning more from God’s Word!

For any questions about HopeKids! Ministry contact us at: kids@hopechristianfellowship.org 

Check out our social media (and more) here!