December 20, 2018

People of Hope!
I had a freaky experience a few years back. The doors on my old Civic were completely frozen shut so I decided to open the hatch and crawl in. After I pulled the hatch shut, I realized I had just locked myself in the car and, for a brief moment, I freaked out at the possibility that it wouldn’t start. No one was available, and the windows were completely frosted over so no one could see me waving my arms and shrieking frantically…they could only see the car rocking back and forth violently. When the panic strategy failed, I crawled into the driver’s seat, prayed and started the car. Whew! Now it was only a matter of waiting until the car heated up enough to melt the windshield enough to drive. By the time I got to the church the doors still wouldn’t open but the driver window cracked free and I was able to crawl out. Have you ever felt trapped? Sometimes people get into situations that trap them and maybe even now you feel like you can’t break free from a behavior or lifestyle that feels like bondage. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”  (Romans 7:24-25) Advice without Jesus at the center of it will fail to truly set you free. “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36) Nowhere else will you find true spiritual freedom and forgiveness than in a relationship with Jesus who was judged instead of you and rose from the dead to break your bondage.
Take some time to enjoy the company of some other ladies here at Hope. Bring a wrapped gift that costs no more than $15 and one of your favorite dishes to share for a meal together. Tonight (Thursday) at 6:00 pm. Childcare will be provided
We will have two services on Christmas Eve with real “light ‘em on fire” candles; one at 4:00 and one at 6:00 pm. There will be care for every child, nursery through 6th grade. A special children’s program in the kid’s wing will take place during the services that I believe will provide a lasting memory especially for those kids who have never or rarely been in church. These services are not only encouraging to believers, but I would highly encourage you to take the opportunity to invite someone who hasn’t started following Jesus yet, it’s one of two times each year that an unbeliever will most likely respond to an invitation from you.
We’re going to open the back gravel lot. If you’re able to park there to save spots for guests who may show up, that would be wonderful. Sometimes new folks will drive in and leave if they can’t find a marked spot and I’d like to make it as convenient as possible for them.
As the new year is about to begin, our small groups will be starting up again with a couple of new ones beginning also. Community with other believers is a wonderful thing that God intends for us to have, unfortunately we have to do hand-to-hand combat in order for the right priorities to win out. Chat with your husband or wife and contact Jeff to let him know you’re interested. He’ll get you plugged into a group that fits your situation.
See you soon!