Hope Notes 05/01/2024

May 1, 2024
Hello Hoper,
Where do you live?  I don’t mean your physical address; I am referring to the place that your mind or your heart goes to on a regular basis.  For instance, do you find yourself reliving the past and ruminating over prior situations or conversations, wondering what you could have said or done differently, fixated on ‘if only’?  Or do you often find yourself catapulting into the future, consumed with ‘what ifs’? Unfortunately, most of us seem to spend time in these two places.  Living in the past often produces feelings of regret, guilt, or shame.  Living in the future, usually produces feelings of worry, anxiety, and fear.  None of this is good or productive.  God’s Word instructs us to leave the past behind.  (“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” Isaiah 43:18) God’s Word clearly tells us not to worry in Matthew 6.  We are also instructed in James 4:14 not to get ahead of God and carry forth with all our plans for ‘tomorrow’. “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Notice the two ‘ifs’ in those scenarios? Well I have another ‘if’ for you:  EVEN IF. It’s a phrase full of faith and surrender.  It’s a declaration that even in the face of uncertainty and fear, we will trust in His goodness and unfailing love. God’s plans may not always align with our own, but His sovereignty remains unchanged.  So where does God want us to live?  Right here. In the moment. With Him. Trusting Him for His grace over our past and His protection and plan for our future.  There’s an old clichéd saying  that’s very true – “Today is God’s gift to you; that’s why it’s called the present”. Let’s try and live like we believe that!
No matter what………even if!  ~  Lois


Vain Grace (2 Cor. 5:21-6:2)

Most people probably believe that marriage is one of the great blessings of life. But so many moments in marriage can be taken for granted. Sometimes, people even destroy this great blessing by their choices of action (or inaction). Humans have often treated other great blessings from God in similar ways, wasting talent or time or freedom or any number of HIs priceless gifts. Paul urges the Corinthians to not make that mistake with God’s grace. First, he gives one of the great statements about Jesus’ sacrifice in our place. And then he begs this church to step into in incredible gift of grace and all that it means.

If you’re a part of Hope, we’d love to have you commit to this six-week discussion about the uniqueness and details of our church. Each week, Pastor Mark will give a summary overview of the main elements that show up over and over at Hope. It would be great if every Hoper knew how our church worked, our story, our doctrine, our core values, and the various roles at Hope. We’ll also take time to talk about our distinctive approach to discipleship, evangelism, worship, giving, serving and even sexual ethics and gender roles in church. These weeks will help seasoned Hopers as well as new ones.  We’ll be better able to function as a church with more clarity and alignment. Join us at 6:30 for hot coffee and a sweet treat before heading into our studies at 7:00. We’ll have HopeKids & Hope Youth programs for all ages. 

  • Week One: We will talk about the story of Hope – our history and journey. Get to know how the Lord has worked in our church over the years and some of the twists and turns. As we look at our Core Values, we can understand how we approach ministry and decisions. We’ll also go through our doctrinal statement to discuss the concepts that we see clearly enough in Scripture to include as ‘what we believe.’ Lastly, we will make note of where you can find important documents for the church.

We would love to live-stream our “Distinctly Hope” series so as many Hopers as possible can have the opportunity to see it. If you plan to be here on Wednesday nights, and would be willing to help, we can teach you! Please contact Ken Shinn if you are interested in serving!

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!

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).


Hope Christian Fella-ship Wiffleball is back! Get your team of 3-5 guys together and come out to compete in the 3rd Annual Wiffleball tournament on Saturday, May 18th starting at 10:00. Whether you’re a rookie or a pro, you can look forward to a day of fellowship, fun, food, and friendly competition. Sign-up in the lobby or contact Dylan Ott with any questions!

HOPEKIDS! FIELD DAY: Sunday, June 2nd from 4:00-6:00
All HopeKids! (ages 0-5th grade) and their families are invited to join us in kicking off the summer season with a field day! There will be games and activities for everyone: from water tables and ball pits to obstacle courses and tug-of-war! And come hungry, because there will be a cookout-style dinner starting at 5:30 as well. You won’t want to miss this event, so register your kids here.

Did you know that you can give using a debit or credit card online? You can even set-up a recurring payment plan. We use Simple Church, which is a safe and secure software specifically designed for churches! To give to Hope online, click here!

Even if you missed our Directory Day this past Sunday, you can still be a part of this essential tool that keeps us connected! Our directory is password protected and available to Hopers only. There is even a new mobile app that makes staying in touch with other Hopers easier than ever. To be a part, contact Emily DiLorenzo.

GOOD NEWS CLUB: Opportunity to Serve
Matt & Jordan Berger are serving our local elementary schools by spreading the good news of Jesus with students during their after-school programs. They are excited to share they still have one opening at West End Elementary and one opening at Evergreen – both practically in our backyard – and wanted to give Hopers first dibs! Volunteers would serve on Thursdays from 3:00-4:00 for a fall session and spring session. For more information, contact Matt!

Please consider joining us on Tuesday, May 14th at 7:00pm if you are interested in learning about VA benefit programs related to aging and survivor benefits. The seminar will cover: Veterans Pension, Survivor Pension, Burial benefits, and Dependency Indemnity Compensation (DIC) for surviving spouses. This seminar is not about increasing your service connection; it’s about how the VA can fit into elder planning. Bring a friend that might need to hear this information as well. Fill out this form to attend. Any questions can be directed to Mike Holovacs.

Meets 1st & 3rd Tuesdays at 7:00
10 QUESTIONS JESUS ASKED: New summer series starts May 7th
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. During our current series, “Dinner With Jesus,” we meet for dinner and then have bible study, so be sure to come with an appetite! Any questions, contact Brian & Wendy Ball at briwensean@aol.com

All teens 6th-12th grades are invited to join us on Sunday evenings from 6:00-8:00p for fellowship, fun, and study! Any questions? Contact Youth Director, Dan Lein

Whether it’s with friends, family, or romantic partners, relationships can get rocky. With the world shouting its own ideas about love and the emotional turbulence of being a teen, relationships can feel like trying to navigate a rough mountain trail with a Ferrari. You might look good on the outside, but inside you’re a jumbled mess. Join us as we turn to God as our guide and install an all terrain faith for these rough relationships. Strap in!

WHAT IS LOVE: Midweek Series
Join us on Wednesday nights at 7:00 for this series. In a rapidly developing world of changing definitions it can be daunting for any student to navigate the tricky emotion of love. In this Bible series students will explore what the Bible has to say about love, redefining not just romance but the true love that we see exemplified perfectly in Jesus Christ.

GUYS & GIRLS NIGHT: May 3rd from 6:00-9:00p
Back by popular demand, Hope Youth will be having a Guys’ and Girls’ night! Our gents will be gathering around a proper bonfire for some flame grilled food and backyard sports at John McCarson’s house (860 Main Street Sewell, NJ 08080.) Meanwhile our ladies will be gathering together at the Peterson residence (833 Hardingville Rd, Monroeville, 08343) for a color-themed craft night! The ladies are making encouraging prayer jars for one another all while enjoying some delicious snacks! Mark your calendar and invite a friend!

Parents, stay up to date with everything happening on our calendar here!

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

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: Sundays from 6:00-8:00p
Come to HopeKids! Hangout for games, snacks, and Bible study! We’re digging deep into the Bible with our new series, “The Heart of God.” Each week we will be reading different passages from Scripture on a quest to learn more about the character and nature of our Creator, and reinforcing those lessons with activities and games to go along with it. If you have a K-5th grader in your sphere of influence, draw them nearer to God by sending them to HopeKids! Hangout!

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!

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