Hope Notes 12/20/23

December 20, 2023
Hello Hoper,
One of the things I enjoy most during the Christmas season are the lights. On Christmas trees, on houses, draped over bushes and wrapped around porches. They give a festive glow to the outdoors, and inside they make everything seem cozy. I love to turn off all the house lighting and let the tree and our manger be the only source of illumination.  Because, of course, nothing makes lights look prettier than darkness!  I know that Christmas can be ‘dark’ for some people for any number of reasons.  You many have just lost a loved one, lost a job, destroyed a relationship or be struggling with finances.  Whatever the reason, there is Hope. You are not alone. God is right there with you.  Remember, He sent His baby Son to earth just for you. Born to die.  Light of the world. As believers our touchstone is the birth of Christ. That’s what our Christmas celebration is all about! I wouldn’t know how to celebrate Christmas without that and I am thankful we attend a church where we are continuously drawn back to Jesus’ birth as our focus. Although your personal darkness may be painful, it’s the perfect setting for His Light.  Alone in the darkness, His Light becomes all the more obvious and shines all the more brightly.  It’s there for you – a beacon of hope for you to cling to. I invite you to go sit in a darkened room and let the lights of Christmas remind you of our own Light in the darkness.   Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Celebrating with you the birth of our Savior….
-LoisSPIRITUAL CARE  

CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE: 4:00 & 5:30
Join us this Christmas Eve for a service built around reading the Christmas story from Scripture, Christmas Carols, and special music. We’ll end our service with a candle lighting and singing “Silent Night” together. HopeKids! programs will be available for Pre-K and under; all GoZone kids can join their parents in the auditorium where they can participate in the candle lighting with glow sticks! As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, we are reminded that one name He was given by an angel was ‘Immanuel’ which poignantly means “God with us.” That truth has changed the world and our lives, so tonight we remember, give thanks, and rejoice for our Savior has come!WEDNESDAY NIGHT BIBLE STUDIES:
Starting January 10th, Wednesday Nights will be back! We’ll have HopeKids programs for all ages, as well as a study for Hope Youth, and several adult classes rolling out over the coming weeks, so be sure to check back for full descriptions! Join us at 6:30 for hot coffee and a sweet treat before heading into our studies at 7:00.

  • UNSTUCK: How to Live in the Freedom Jesus Gives, Led by Pastor Mark beginning Jan 10th
    People often find themselves living in patterns that are unhealthy or empty. We don’t mean to, but we somehow wander into habits that we can’t shake.  As Christians, Jesus asks us to follow Him, and that certainly does not include living stuck in sin or addiction. From fear and worry to substance abuse to gossip to bitterness or anger – we all know somewhere that we seem to always lose our footing. We’ll take 8 weeks in this study to look at what God’s Word teaches us about living free.  So join us and find out how you too can get unstuck!

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 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

BIBLE READING PLANS: Out now!
We know that one of the best ways to deepen our faith and accelerate our relationship with God is by reading His word! Bible study is an important value to us, so we’re providing you with a few resources as you head into the new year! Check out one of our bible reading plans in the lobby. We have a bible in a year plan, plus two curated plans put together by Pastor Mark available on bookmarks. Or download a plan here!SERVE IN OUR PRODUCTION BOOTH:
Are you interested in serving in our Production Booth? If so, we need you! Our worship ministry isn’t just the stage team, it includes gifted and trained folks who faithfully serve behind the scenes as well. Currently, we have a few gaps that need to be filled and we’re hoping YOU might be interested in getting involved. There are roles on the Media Team (projecting lyrics and scriptures), the Broadcast Team (live streaming to our social media platforms) and on our Sound Team (mixing and running sound). If you have some background or experience but have been on the fence, this is the time to jump in! Even if your experience is limited, we’d love to have a conversation with you, to train you, and to explore this opportunity to serve in this powerful and vital ministry! Please contact Dana Ott for more information at danaott@hopechristianfellowship.org or fill out a Volunteer Card today.

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.comJANUARY 2ND: New Year, New Series!
You won’t want to miss our new series, “Dinner with Jesus.” We will enjoy a meal together each meeting, followed by a discussion centered on what happened around the meals in the Gospel. Start the new year off right as we dive into God’s word.

HOPE YOUTH
HOPE YOUTH GROUP: 
NO YOUTH GROUP ON CHRISTMAS EVE
All teens 6th-12th grades are invited to join us on Sunday evenings from 6:00-8:00p for fellowship, fun, and study!

BEYOND THE WEEKEND: Winter Retreat
We’re going BEYOND next year for our winter retreat with the Beyond Weekend Winter Retreat! Join us and other youth ministries for a seismic youth event spanning an entire weekend! From January 26th-28th we will be heading to America’s Keswick for a faith and fellowship filled weekend! Live worship and Bible centered teaching anchor a weekend full of fun events and activities. Whether you’re enjoying the indoor pool, hot tub, sauna, or any number of the sport and video game tournaments throughout the weekend you’ll have a blast and make friends! Normally admission is $100 per student but Hope Youth wants to make it possible for everyone to go! That’s why we’ll pay half of every students’ admission fee! For just $50 any student between 6-12th grade can join us on this awesome weekend! Download the permission slip for the Beyond the Weekend retreat, print it out and return it to Youth Director Dan and we will see you there!

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

JOIN OUR TEXT THREAD:
Stay in the loop for all of the most important notifications! Text “”hopeyouth” to (856) 420-6078 to start receiving updates this week!

HOPE KIDS
PAJAMA DAY: December 31st
December is always full of holiday fun as we learn about the birth of our Savior!  To close out this month and celebrate all we’ve learned, we invite all of our HopeKids! children and volunteers to wear their favorite PJs on New Year’s Eve during Sunday services!

HOPEKIDS! MOVE UP: January 7th
Every year on the first Sunday of January something amazing happens—our Kindergarteners transition from the WonderZone to the GoZone for the first time, and our 6th graders transition from the GoZone to church in the auditorium.  If you see a new young face in the auditorium with you, say hello! And if you see a little one wearing a GoZone sticker, congratulate them on their first day!

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: Resumes January 7th
How can I discover who God really is? How can I get a slice of pizza and play some basketball? The answer to both of these questions is by coming to HopeKids! Hangout on January 7th from 6:00-8:00pm to kick off the new year and our new series, “The Heart of God!” If you’ve got K-5th graders in your life, you won’t want them to miss a single Sunday night of us opening God’s word and digging into who He is—so that we can know and love Him more!

WEDNESDAY NIGHTS IN THE GOZONE:
Wednesday night programs are starting back up on January 10th, and we have exciting plans for our GoZone (K-5th) friends! Each week we will be looking back at our Bible story from Sunday morning in a new way and doing fresh activities to reinforce our monthly theme. Plus, we’ll be storing God’s Word in our hearts by learning and practicing a new Bible verse every week—so you won’t want your kids to miss a single Wednesday!

WEDNESDAY NIGHTS IN THE WONDERZONE:
Our Wednesday WonderZone programs will be up and running again beginning January 10th! The Nursery team is excited to love on your little ones (0-2), while our Preschool (3-5) team dives into an Alphabet Scripture Memory study! Every week they will learn a new Bible Verse, and each week they return with their verse memorized, they’ll earn a letter to attach to their Scripture Sash! Your kids will want to join us every Wednesday night to plant God’s Word in their hearts, earn all of their letters, have fun building a foundation of faith, and even have a chance to connect with our GoZone kids every week!

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