Hope Notes 10/11/23

October 11, 2023

Hello Hoper,

Cody Carnes has a new song called Bless God.  One of the lyrics says, “Bless God with a praise that cost me”.  I began turning this thought over and over in my mind.  What does it mean to offer a blessing or a praise that costs you? What does it even mean to bless God?  After some reading and prayer, I’ve come up with what make sense to me.  I believe it simply means to recognize His great richness, His strength, His power and to express our gratitude.  In other words (for me) – praise.  We’ve all heard people say praise God when something works out or when a disaster is averted. But I don’t think we hear praise God very often when the news is not good, or in the midst of great sorrow. I believe that therein lies the cost. To be able to offer a praise to our heavenly Father no matter what the circumstance, no matter what we are feeling, no matter how much we might be afraid. This is what David expressed in Psalm 34:1 BSB.  “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.”  Not just when things are going our way.  ALWAYS.  We can still acknowledge God’s greatness and power in times of distress.  In fact, isn’t that the best time to cry out to Him and trust in His sovereignty? “I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:7-8 ESV) As I reflect on all of this, I’m wondering if the praise that costs us might be just a little bit sweeter to our Lord’s ears! Blessing His Holy Name…..Lois SPIRITUAL CARE  

SUNDAY MORNING MESSAGE:  A Different Wealth (Phil. 4:11-12; Luke 12:15-21; 1 Tim. 6:6-10, 1-19) If you ever played a never-ending game of Monopoly as a kid, you know the emptiness of playing a game without a winner. It’s fun for a little while, but the norm is to play a game for competition. We all take that instinct with us into life. We want to keep score. Winners are those with the most. These ideas find traction in how people deal with money. The more you have, the more you’re a winner. You have more security and power if you have more money. But Christians give money away. They don’t measure their lives by their bank balance. Why are we so out of step with normal human thinking? We take to heart the words of Jesus and Paul on this topic. Today, we’ll see that money for a believer is a God-given resource to invest in His Kingdom rather than an opportunity to enjoy ourselves. If you’ve found yourself wound up about money, these passages will help any Christ-follower to find freedom and life regardless of their financial situation. WEDNESDAY NIGHT BIBLE STUDIES: Join us Wednesday nights this fall at 6:30 for coffee & fellowship before heading into our classes at 7:00pm. There are programs for kids, teens, and adults. In fact, new classes are beginning soon! Read the descriptions below. Sign-up in the lobby now!

    • “You Might Be A Pharisee If…” led by Dwight Lein begins October 25th: A Biblical look at biases and traditions in the local church and in each of us.
    • “Find Rest” led by Damon Briggs begins October 25th: Are you a tired Christian? Does your life seem like one endless rush after another? Jesus invited us to come to Him to find rest.  How can we do that when there’s so much to do?  In this study, we’ll explore together the Scriptures that teach us how we can step into the kind of rest we need.
    • “Leading at Hope” led by Pastor Mark on Nov 1st & 8th: A discussion of some of our basic approaches to leadership for anyone who is serving in a leading role, or who wants to learn more about Biblical approaches to leadership.

SMALL GROUPS: One of the best ways to get integrated and connected at Hope is through a Small Group! The following groups will be meeting this fall. Make sure to sign-up in the lobby to attend! We also are offering a Small Group Orientation for anyone who is interested in hosting a group!

    • Apologetics Group – Hosted By Mark Sulloff: Come join a new small group book study that will help believers articulate a more sophisticated defense of their faith as well as answer the questions of those with doubts. The title of the book is: “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist,” by Dr. Norman Geisler. We will be meeting at 6pm at the church every other Sunday starting on October 22nd.
    • Artisans & Craftsmen Small Group – Hosted by Ann & Mike Schweigart: “And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability, and knowledge in all kinds of craftsmanship, to design artistic works.” (Exodus 31:3-4a) Join us, Thursday nights at 7:00pm at the Schweigart’s (141 Kenton Ave, Pitman 08071) as we discuss “The Christian & The Creative Spark in a Consumer-Driven World.”
    • Small Group Orientation – Led by John Smythe: Wednesday, October 25th at 7:00 or Sunday, October 29th following the second service

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). ANNOUNCEMENTS

HOPE HARVEST: Taking Donations! We’re so excited for our amazing fall event planned for Saturday, October 21st from 3:00-6:00pm. Hope Harvest will be open to the public (and all Hopers, of course) for fall family fun! In order to make Hope Harvest happen, we need our Hopers to help! Stop by the back of the auditorium this Sunday to sign-up to donate to this big event! We have several items to choose from, but we especially need apples, pumpkins, and apple cider donations!

MEN’S BREAKFAST: This Saturday! Men 18 years of age and older are invited to our monthly Men’s Breakfast. We feature prayer, full participation study—all enjoyed with a great breakfast and terrific fellowship. Join us on the second Saturday of each month from 8:00-9:30am. NIGHT OF WORSHIP: October 18th at 7:00 J.I. Packer said “The Trinity is the basis of the gospel, and the gospel is a declaration of the Trinity in action.” Our God is three in one. The Father, who is Lord over all creation, the Son, who came to dwell among us and suffered to save us from our sin, and the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, changing us from the inside out. We are going to come together this night to worship the fullness of who God is in this Trinity. There will be HopeKids! programs available for nursery and pre-school children and we’ll even have the coffee on – you don’t want to miss this night of worship, praise, and prayer. BAPTISM SERVICE: November 15th at 7:00 Baptism is an important symbolic opportunity to declare your testimony, and decision to follow Christ, in front of the church body! We’d love you to participate if this is something you’ve yet to do in your journey of faith. To participate, you’ll need to attend two classes – each will be held after the second service on Sundays Nov 5th & 12th. Sign-up at the front of the auditorium now! Any questions can be directed to Pastor Mark. MID-WEEK VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: In our HopeKids! Ministries, we get to have fun on more than just Sunday mornings! There are a handful of mid-week opportunities to pour into our children and make a meaningful impact on their lives and in the lives of their families. If you have availability during the week (mornings, afternoons, or evenings), we would LOVE to have you partner with us in serving our little ones. Contact Kara May at karamay@hopechristianfellowship.org to join the fun! 2024 OFFICER ELECTION: Ballots out now! It’s that time of year again! Deacon and leadership team nomination ballots are available in the lobby for all Hope Partners. We need every vote possible so make sure you pick one up and turn it in by October 29th. Any questions about the voting process can be directed to Pastor Mark (markott@hopechristianfellowship.org) or one of our elders (leadership@hopechristianfellowship.org).

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 Brian & Wendy Ball at briwensean@aol.com

OUR TRUE IDENTITY: October 17th “Who Are You?” Iconic words recognized world wide asked by the group The Who. “Who am I? Why am I here?” Words spoken during the presidential debates in 1992 by James Stockdale. The question of identity has been and continues to be one of the most sought after questions in our world, perhaps now more than ever. In our next meeting, as we continue our series on The Pursuit of Happiness, we will dive into this important topic and see what the Bible has to say about who we are. We will also enjoy some “eye”dentity treats. Pun intended. FALL BONFIRE: October 31st at 7:00 Join us at Isaiah & Julia Owens’ home (115 S Drexel St, Woodbury) for a fall evening fireside! Enjoy s’mores and apple cider donuts as you warm up by the fire with friends.

HOPE YOUTH HOPE YOUTH GROUP:  All teens 6th-12th grades are invited to join us on Sunday evenings from 6:00-8:00p for fellowship, fun, and study! SUNDAY NIGHT SERIES: How To Read The Bible for Dummies How do you even use the Bible? It’s big, it looks weird, and it’s written by folks who are long dead and lived far away. How can this be useful in your day to day life, let alone the guiding light? These and many other questions are precisely what our new series seeks to address! By learning reading techniques, basics of interpretation, and helpful habits the Bible will go from a dusty book on your shelf to a vital part of your daily life. WEDNESDAY NIGHTS:  We’re diving deep into the Word on Wednesday Nights! Join us for some fun and some focus as we crack open the book of Psalms and see what awesome truths we can learn! Taking it one chapter at a time, we’ll learn about these ancient poems and see just how they speak to us today! It’s also a great opportunity to group with friends, pray for each other, and grow closer to God. Hope to see you there! 30 HOUR FAMINE: November 11th-12th Every 30 hours roughly 7,000 kids will die of starvation. We don’t think that’s right, so Hope Youth is raising awareness and money to better serve and feed families around the world. We’re doing this through 30 Hour Famine with World Vision, and organization committed to feeding communities as well as providing them with the education and equipment to feed themselves in the future. A simple donation of $40 can feed a child for a whole month and you wouldn’t believe what more can do. Join us in raising money to fight hunger by donating on our World Vision event page here. If your student is interested in taking part in this service opportunity they can join us through the link above, and in-person from 6:00pm on Friday, November 10th to 2:00pm on Saturday, November 11th. HOPE YOUTH CALENDAR: Parents, stay up to date with everything happening on our calendar here!

HOPE KIDS CHRISTMAS PROGRAMS: Practice starts this Sunday! It’s never too early for Christmas here at Hope! Our GoZone and WonderZone classes will be starting up practices with their Christmas music on October 15th, so make sure your kids are there—on time and ready to sing! We’ll also be handing out a parent letter and CD to make sure you have all the information you need about the programs! WONDERZONE CHRISTMAS PROGRAM: December 10th This year, our little ones will share where we can find Jesus in our program, “Where’s Baby Jesus?” You’ll want to have your little ones in class and on time so that they don’t miss out on practicing our songs and lines each week! Listen to the songs on Google Drive or watch the songs and lines with motions on our YouTube playlist! Contact Kara May with any questions at karamay@hopechristianfellowship.org GOZONE CHRISTMAS PROGRAM: December 17th Our GoZone Christmas Program is “Hotel Noel,” a fun and inspiring story of a family who learns the true meaning of Christmas after getting stranded by a snowstorm! Program practices are officially getting started, so make sure your kiddos start listening to their songs.  Click here to access this year’s GoZone Christmas music now! If you have any questions, reach out to ryanmoreno@hopechristianfellowship.org 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. HOPEKIDS HANGOUT: Sunday Evenings HopeKids! Hangout is back for all kids in K-5th grades, and we’re starting a new series called Jesus Lives, Follow Him Boldly. This fall we will be talking about why we put our faith in a LIVING savior, and what living out that faith means for anyone who believes, no matter how young or old. Join us for those conversations + exciting games, fun activities, and, of course, snacks! Hope to see you there from 6:00-8:00! WEDNESDAY NIGHTS:  None of our HopeKids! will want to miss our Wednesday night programs this Fall! We’ll be digging into Bible stories about harmony and integrity, looking at different verses of the Bible each week, and pairing our elementary and pre-K kids together to enrich the experience through crafts, games, and partnership. You don’t want your kids to miss out on these fun-filled 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!