Hope Notes 05/17/2023

May 17, 2023

Hello Hoper,  
[I feel the need to make a statement regarding the following: I personally do not believe the thoughts below apply to anyone who has suffered some form of abuse from another. Barring that one exception though….this is a good mindset to have. Read on, fellow Hopers!]
     I was skimming through the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15); skimming because this was an old, familiar story.  Son takes his money, spends it all, winds up eating with the pigs, realizes his mistake and goes home, father celebrates his return, older brother is jealous…….end of story.  But this time something else jumped out at me and I’m wondering if I’m just a little slow or if this will be ‘new’ to anyone else.  In verse 20 we see that the father RAN to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him’.  Okay – so he was glad to see him and celebrating that he had come home. Side Note: The fact that he ran was significant because, in those times, men with his social standing did not run. It was not dignified.  But here’s the new little gem I gleaned from this: the one who was wronged is taking the initiative in restoring the relationship; the mistreated one shows compassion to the one at fault. Isn’t that amazing?  It’s the biblical equivalent of being the bigger person. Now granted, in verses 17-19, the son made a decision to repent and went to find his father.  But still! The father did not know that when he ran to greet his son. There goes any excuse we might stubbornly hold on to that we are in the right to withhold our forgiveness and love from someone who has wronged us.  Our flesh wants us to wait for them to make the first move because we weren’t at fault.  We feel we are owed the apology, olive branch, or whatever and THEN we will be gracious enough to accept and forgive them.  (Bonus Quote:  “An apology is a debt we need to pay. That’s why we say ‘I owe you an apology.’  Forgiveness is a gift.”)  Anyway..…the next time we are in a stalemate waiting for someone else to make a move, let’s remember this example and run towards that person with open arms and a forgiving heart. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
God not only forgives, He forgets!…Lois


Shame Into Glory (John 17:1-5)

How many people can you think of who suffered mistreatment in their time, but later that same event was part of why their lives had a great impact? People like Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela who suffered imprisonment were later hailed as leaders beyond compare.  Their convictions and jail experiences were transformed from shame into honor. Many believers throughout history have had a similar experience. We see some of these stories in the book of Acts. What was painful and humiliating turned into something that was a source of glory. For Jesus, He opens His prayer to His Father talking about the hour that has come. And He connects this moment to the glory that comes through it.  In doing so, Jesus teaches those who follow Him that our suffering and shame are not what they seem. When we are rejected and mocked for believing in and following Jesus, it only serves to bring glory to our Savior. May we be people who believe the truth deeply enough to face shame with faith.

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!

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: Wednesdays at 7:00
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. 

New classes begin May 17th, details below:

  • SURVEY OF THE GOSPELS: Led by Dwight Lein Have you ever wondered why we need four gospels? Couldn’t one have done it? We’ll take a look at the major points of each of the gospel accounts noting the important similarities and differences. While all 4 Gospels tell us about our savior, each Gospel has its own perspective of Christ: King, Servant, Son of Man, and Son of God. By the end of four weeks, you’ll have a better understanding of the contents of each gospel and what each one has to offer.
  • THE SEARCH FOR SIGNIFICANCE: Led by Jess St. Petery Learn how to freely enjoy Christ’s love while no longer basing your self-worth on your accomplishments or the opinions of others. Robert S. McGee’s book, The Search for Significance, shows readers how four false beliefs have kept them from the joy of abundant life in Christ. A workbook is included in the back of the book.


CAPE MAY WOMEN’S RETREAT: First payment due May 28th
We are looking forward to our first ever Hope Women’s Retreat happening this October 5th – 7th at the Marquis de Lafayette in beautiful Cape May, NJ and we want you to join us! Our time together will include fellowship, study, and of course some free time to explore Cape May and have some fun! The cost to attend is $200 and includes accommodations (4 attendees/two beds per suite) and some meals. For those who prefer an individual bed, suites that sleep 2-3 are available at a higher rate (subject to availability.) For pricing, contact Dana Ott (danaott@hopechristianfellowship.orgDetailed itinerary and information about registration is available here on our website

We’re expanding our volunteer team in the Production Booth and we need your help! If you have some skill or experience using a Mac, presentation software, audio recording/mixing, or computer technology such as live streaming, we’d love for you to explore this opportunity to serve on our team. Please reach out to Dana Ott (danaott@hopechristianfellowship.org) with questions or fill out a volunteer card and drop it in the offering slot. 

Looking for a way to serve during the week? We are looking to organize a rotating team of volunteers who would be willing to provide childcare for some of our staff kids while we are meeting and working in the office together on Tuesdays. We are looking for some morning help as well as some afternoon help. If you would be able and interested in helping in this area, please reach out to Kara May at karamay@hopechristianfellowship.org for more details!

SOH has a new ministry called Hope Chocolates! They’ve managed to establish a business that not only sells premium chocolate products but provides hope to men and women who have been recently released from prison. They teach them job and life skills, as well as discipling them to become servant-leaders as they recognize God’s power to transform hearts. Please check out their website. We are sure you’ll find some tasty ways to treat your family and friends with, along with supporting SOH’s calling of transforming those former inmate’s lives!

Bins will be located at the front and back of church for the entire month of May. We are collecting the following items: boxes of cereal, peanut butter, jelly, cans of soup, canned vegetables, tuna, canned chicken, spaghetti sauce, pasta, mac & cheese, canned or dried fruit. Any questions please reach out to the Missions Team, sreid0905@gmail.com.

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

Join us for our annual Memorial Day BBQ with an afternoon filled with fun, food, and fellowship! Feel free to bring your favorite yard or table top game to add to the fun, otherwise just bring yourself and show up ready to party at 612 Westover Ct, Williamstown, NJ 08094 from 3:00p-7:00p.

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

  • PRAYER & PIZZA: May 21st Students will embark on an engaging prayer walk that will guide them through various prayer activities and invite them to a deeper understanding of their conversations with the LORD. Whether you are a prayer pro or have never prayed before this night is designed to help us grow closer to God and feel more comfortable talking to him. Plus, we’ve got dinner covered! We can’t wait to see you there!
  • MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND BBQ: May 28th Join us for an evening of grilling food and yard games as we compete for prizes and dive into God’s word. An additional prize will be awarded to the person who brings the most guests, so start thinking about who you want to join in on the fun! 

SEEDS OF HOPE SERVICE PROJECT: This Saturday at 7:00am
Teens will get a hands-on opportunity to serve others and experience the power of service. We will meet at church and from there, we will drive to the Volunteers of America on Atlantic Avenue to help Seeds of Hope serve! After, we will return to Hope for a time of fellowship where lunch will be provided! Serving others is an exciting and life changing opportunity, not just for those served but for those doing the serving. Click here to sign-up and we will see you there! 

Have fun and dive deep with us on Wednesday nights at 7:00 as Hope Youth explores the story of David through the books of 1st and 2nd Samuel. With more time dedicated to study, Wednesday nights will be a great opportunity to learn more about God’s word and grow together in communion and conversation. We hope to see you there! 

Parents, stay up to date with everything happening on our

calendar here!

HOPEKIDS! FIELD DAY: June 4th 3:00-5:00
We’re so excited to kick off summer with a field day for our HopeKids! (WonderZone & GoZone ages!) and their families! We’ll have everything from bubbles for our babies to water balloons for our big kids. Join us for games, family fun, and dinner hot off the grill — you won’t want to miss! Sign up here today!

HOPEKIDS HANGOUT: Last meeting May 28th
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!  Join us for our “Tell the World!” series about carrying the message of God’s love with you wherever you go!

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.

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!