Hope Notes 03/15/2023

March 15, 2023

Hello Hoper,  
     Have you ever heard someone who claims to have faith say, “I’m gonna try praying to God but if that doesn’t work I’ll just….(insert whatever).”  That isn’t faith; that’s simply covering your bases. We should not have God as one option among many. We mustn’t use God as one part of an arsenal of methods used to insure we get the outcome we desire. Maybe you know someone like that – they try prayer, maybe some meditation, some self-actualization, perhaps something Zen and Buddha like. That is an insult to our God. Shall I drop a name? *cough Oprah cough* (Apologies to all the Oprah lovers.)
      God should be able to claim His rightful place as our one true source of trust.  We need to place our faith and trust in Him alone; no backups and no contingency plans. We don’t even need a huge amount of faith! Jesus told His disciples, “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” (Matthew 17:20) The key to answered prayer is not the size or strength of our faith, but the object of our faith. We can have the smallest shred of faith, so small that we feel we can barely hold on to it, and still pray with absolute trust that our God will hear us. The power doesn’t come from our faith; it comes from the One in whom we have faith! I remember as a brand new believer, having a man from our church come up to me and lay hands on me asking God to heal my back.  I did not ask them to do this, in fact I was very uncomfortable.  For many months afterwards, he would ask me if I’d been healed yet.  Every time I responded ‘no’, he would inform me it was because I did not have enough faith.  What a terrible burden to lay on someone who is already dealing with pain, an illness, or a chronic condition! This was extremely disturbing to me and it took me awhile to sort it all out through discussions with my pastor and by reading Scripture. 
      Hebrews 10:22 NLT encourages us to “go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting Him.” Give it a try.  Let God hear your most monumental, mountain moving prayer and believe that He hears, He cares, and He answers.  Regardless of how tiny you may feel your faith is.
Growing that mustard seed……Lois

SPIRITUAL CARE  

SUNDAY MORNING MESSAGE: 
Hated (John 15:18-25)
Everyone wants to be liked, right? Disapproval and exclusion are powerful tools to pressure people to conform or fit in. Some people will do almost anything to gain the approval of others. It is such a universal reality in our world that many people get trapped in living for ‘likes’ or for the opinions of others. But we follow Jesus.  And on the night He was betrayed, He had some words for His disciples on this very topic.  He said that in fact they would be hated as He was hated. He gives reasons for this, and they don’t include being rude or obnoxious and then claiming that ‘we’re hated like Jesus was hated.’ Instead, the bigger point is one that offers freedom to live for the King and His Kingdom without the fear or pressure of what everyone thinks of you.

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 Our Christian Sexuality series is coming to a close with possibly the most practical and applicable topic yet: Dating and Friendships. We are going to dive into one last video and discuss how, as parents and leaders, we can help our students navigate these tricky waters.
  • 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

CHOICES OF THE HEART:
Thank you to everyone who donated their change to our Baby Bottle campaign for Choices of the Heart. Hope raised over $4,000!!! That’s over $1,000 more than we raised last year! Thank you again for your support of this organization. To learn more about how Choices of the Heart is helping women, check out their website here

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! 

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!  

WOMEN OF HOPE: Love Is All You Need
How can we love, unconditionally? Let’s talk about it! Join us on Monday, March 20 at 6:30 as we discuss “Agape” love and conclude our study on the four types of biblical love. We’ll have snacks, hot beverages (or BYO), and great conversation. Bring your Bible and a friend! Hope to see you there! Open to all women post high school. 

YOUNG ADULTS: Hiding from Our Problems
We’ve all lived in the middle of messy situations that are difficult to face. We all have different coping strategies – escape and distraction or numbness and bypassing. We assume that anywhere else, or even being anyone else, would be better than our messy reality. But what if the truth is that the only place we can encounter God is in the middle of our present reality? Join us on Tuesday, March 21st at 7:00 as we talk about the false gospel of hiding from our problems and the ways God meets us in the middle of our mess. Open to anyone post high school through their 20s. 

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.

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

  • HopeKids! Easter Jam on April 1st from 10:00-Noon (register here
  • 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

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
We are bringing the Christian Sexuality series to a close this Sunday as we jump into our final topic on Dating and Friendships. Moving away from the topics of sex and sexuality we are looking to practically apply Biblical truths to the questions that are on every teens’ lips. Questions like “how far is too far?”, “what is the point of dating?”, and “how can I make real and fulfilling friendships?”. It’s a conversation your teen won’t want to miss and one we can’t afford to give over to the world. Join us Sunday from 6pm-8pm! 

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!