Monthly Archives: April 2013

Pastor Mike’s Weekly E-news Message

Good morning, Hope folks!

Our preaching journey through The Story, a chronological collection of 31 foundational Bible stories from Genesis to Revelation – concludes this weekend, followed by a couple more weeks of Bible studies and small group gatherings.

We’ve learned a lot, and we’ve grown a lot. Ultimately, we’re a much more biblically fluent church today than we were last September. Evidence of this fluency shows up not just in the number of people reading the Bible, but also in the new and powerful wave of enthusiasm for worship, discipleship, service and sharing our gifts that’s happening at Hope these days. The Holy Spirit is on the move!

This weekend, I’ll preach at all of our services on the final chapter of The Story, which covers one of the most misread and misinterpreted parts of the Bible – The Book of Revelation. I look forward to helping you get a better perspective on what the Bible really says about the end of the world as we know it, and the coming Kingdom.

Peace,
Mike Housholder
Pastor. Preacher. Story Teller.

 

P.S. Final totals for the Nets of Hope Lenten Outreach Project are in – you generously gave $405,698.54, which will bring 40,569 malaria-preventing mosquito nets to Sub-Saharan Africa, along with the training on their proper use. The lives of many will be saved because of this – thank you!

Hope Story: Mandy Miller

MMiller04Has anyone ever asked who the most influential person in your life is?

For me, it was my Grandma Doris.

She was so strong in her faith – every day she would pray, read her devotional and her Bible. She was well-liked by many. I believe this was because she lived out her faith and led by example.

When I was a senior in college, Grandma Doris was involved in a horrible accident. A car hit her while she was walking in a crosswalk, breaking both bones in her right leg, her pelvis, back and left shoulder.

The driver of this car was one of my classmates, who also happened to be the same girl who bullied me in middle school.

While grandma laid in the street waiting for the ambulance, she recited her favorite verse, Isaiah 41:10:

“Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

MMiller07She repeated this verse during the ambulance ride, while also praying for the girl who had hit her. My grandma forgave her and prayed every day that this accident would not ruin this young girl’s life.

Grandma Doris lived for just five weeks after the accident. She was ready to go home. But, this time it would be her home in heaven.

I carried a lot of grief and hatred afterwards – I couldn’t talk about the accident without crying and never wanted to see the girl who had caused my family so much pain again.

This all changed when I signed up for the Alpha course in 2012.

During a small group discussion, we talked about the power and importance of forgiveness. My Alpha host encouraged me to forgive her for my own good – the hatred I was feeling for her was only hurting me. The thought of this really blew me away…

MMiller03I signed up for the Holy Spirit retreat (a two-day retreat where you learn about – and experience – the Holy Spirit). I didn’t know what to expect.

In the afternoon on the second day, everyone had the opportunity to participate in a variety of different forms of prayer.

I started with the soaking prayer station – where someone asked to put their hands on my shoulders as they prayed for me. I nodded my head yes, as my eyes were already closed to pray.

Next, I had two ladies pray out loud for me.

I then finished by writing a prayer in my journal.

I prayed for many things, but ultimately to let my heart be opened and filled by the Holy Spirit.

My life didn’t change overnight, but it definitely made me start looking at things differently.

A month later, and after much prayer, I returned home for a class reunion (knowing one of the organizers was the girl who had hit my grandma). I approached her (I could tell she was extremely nervous) and said, “I know it’s been a long time since everything happened between us, but I want you to know I forgive you and everything between us is fine.”

MMiller02She didn’t say anything back, but nodded her head and smiled.

It felt like a thousand pounds were lifted from me. I couldn’t believe I had carried this heavy burden for so many years. My grandma forgave her and I needed to do the same.

I am so thankful for Alpha and the Holy Spirit retreat. It has brightened my life, opened my eyes and given me an entirely new perspective.

Hope Gallery Featured: The art has taken flight

We love to share the many talents of those within our Hope community. So much so, that we thought it would be fun to begin featuring some of the artwork from our Hope gallery that you walk by when worshiping with us throughout the week!

Eagle 1If you’ve been worshiping at Hope the past few weeks, you have probably noticed a pretty cool interactive art display outside the Jordan Creek Family Prayer Room. We encourage you to stop by and take a closer look! Read below to find out a little more about what went into the display from Diane Ladd, our gallery coordinator.

What is the purpose of the display?
We wanted to provide an interactive element to The Story, encouraging people to get involved beyond just reading or listening, but to actually write their thoughts from what they have learned, what has moved them, their favorite parts, or prayers that have surfaced from it. There are provided note cards and pens at the display for people to write their reflections and clip it on the frames hanging on the walls.

Eagle3Explain a little more about the display’s meaning and symbolism?
The eagle image and the wings floating above those who view it are a representation of the “Upper Story,” while the written reflections represent the “Lower Story.” The symbolism is to show trust in the Lord, and that the eagle will take those lower stories and fly upward to the heavens with them where God is with the Upper Story. 

What Bible verse helped inspire the display?
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Eagle2Who is the featured artist?
Abigail Livingood designed the eagle wings that hang from the ceiling. She specializes in 3-dimensional mixed media.

If you are interested in getting involved with the Creative Arts Express Your Faith ministry or would like to find out how to share your artwork for display, please email Diane or visit our website.

Pastor Mike’s Weekly E-news Message

Hi, Hope Folks!

The story of Paul – a zealous persecutor of Christians, converted to faith in Jesus and a gift of apostleship – dominates the post-Gospels portion of the New Testament. In Acts, we read about his adventures. In most of the subsequent epistles (letters written to 1st century Christian churches), we get an unobstructed view into his theology (scholarly thinking about God).

There’s much for us to learn from Paul about the historical launch of Christianity and the relevant application of that faith to daily life for us. Paul’s life was far from enchanted or perfect. In his story, then, all of us who live in a less than ideal world will find powerful points of contact. This is where you and God connect and find a life that can still be full and abundant even when everything isn’t going your way.

Last weekend, Pastor Grant and Pastor Scott covered the opening portion of Paul’s life and ministry. This weekend at Hope, Pastor Jeremy (Sunday at 5:00 pm) and I (Saturday at 5:00 & 6:30 pm, Sunday at 7:45, 8:15, 9:15 & 11:00 am) will preach on the closing acts of this fascinating and faithful man (Ephesians, 2 Timothy, The Story Chapter 30).

Bring a Bible along with a few friends frustrated by a flawed world and longing for more.

Peace,
Mike Housholder
Pastor. Preacher. Far from Perfect but Full.

P.S. – From the “Wow, God is really good” department … 17 students and parents were baptized this past Wednesday night at Hope. They’re part of a class of more than 300 students who are completing three years of study in PowerLife (Hope’s junior high ministry) and will confirm their faith in Jesus Christ on Sunday, May 5.

Pastor’s Corner: My Playlist

sheet music_iStock_000002624007Medium

“I think this is one of the reasons why I love music so much. It often captures the thoughts and emotions of my everyday life…”

I’ve been listening to my favorite playlist a lot lately (hint: it has nothing to do with iTunes).

My favorite playlist comes from the Psalms.

Here’s one of my favorite lists (in no particular order):

  • Psalm 25:        “O LORD, I give my life to you…”
  • Psalm 19:        “The heavens proclaim the glory of God…”
  • Psalm 1:          “O Lord, hear me as I pray…”
  • Psalm 15:        “Who may worship in your sanctuary LORD…”
  • Psalm 8:          “O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth…”
  • Psalm 22:        “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me…”
  • Psalm 27:        “The LORD is my light and my salvation…”
  • Psalm 24:        “The earth is the LORD’S and everything in it…”
  • Psalm 51:        “Have mercy on me, O God…”
  • Psalm 23:        “The Lord is my shepherd…”

The last one on that last, Psalm 23, is my favorite. It’s full of the promises of God’s faithfulness and abundant assurance:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

If you take a look at the full list, you will find the content each of these Psalms ranges from pure celebration to cries for help.

I think this is one of the reasons why I love music so much. It often captures the thoughts and emotions of my everyday life.

What’s on your playlist?

Start developing a set of playlists that include the songs of the Bible (yes, that’s the Psalms).

Some days you will sing them from your heart. Others you won’t be able to sing.

That’s when God sings these songs to you.

I hope this playlist is one you will enjoy. I encourage you to check it out – these songs are everyday music…

Pastor Eric

 

Pastor Mike’s Weekly E-news Message

Greetings, Hope Folks!

What a powerful move of the Holy Spirit we were blessed to experience last weekend at worship.

In case you missed it, we took some extra time at the end of each sermon to stand together in prayer as a church family, asking God to bless Pastor Nicole and Pastor Grant with healing and peace … and, to fill all of us with his Spirit, according to our need.

God’s timing was perfect. Lots of hurts were released and given to God, and I’ve heard from several Hope folks who shared their stories of healing from that time of prayer.

God is good.

Please continue to pray for the Woodley’s, asking God to heal Pastor Nicole’s cancer, and for all in our church family who are in need. Hope has always been a praying church, and yet I feel like the season has arrived for us to turn to God in prayer even more, and to lift up our hearts to him in joy, thanksgiving, confession and need.

Keep in mind (and spread the word), in addition to our weekly Healing Prayer service (Thursdays from 6:30-8:30 pm in The Well, come and go as you please), we also have trained prayer partners available to minister to you after each weekend service. Just come forward toward the front, or if you’d like a little more privacy, stop by the Prayer Room with the big windows under the “right field” grandstand in the Worship Center.

Peace,
Mike Housholder
Pastor. Preacher. Prayer Guy.

P.S.- This weekend at Hope, you’ll hear an outstanding message by Pastor Scott or Pastor Grant from The Story (Acts 13:42-29) and the mission of the Apostle Paul. As always, bring a Bible and a few friends who are looking to find God’s mission for them.

Hope Story: Margie Hague

SusanAustinPhotography-6614Everyone has a story and mine started in 1958 as the oldest of four.

My parents had strong faith and taught us the importance of prayer. My mother suffered from severe headaches and a rare illness so I learned early on how to be a caretaker. I was a happy child.

Then, when I was 13 years old, I was raped by a high school boy. He was much bigger and stronger than I was and I remember walking home hitting myself in the face with the hopes of leaving a mark so my mother would ask what happened, because I didn’t know how I could ever speak of this terrible thing.

When I got home, she was sick, so the opportunity to talk about the rape passed. This secret manifested into drug use, alcohol and bad choices in men. The drugs and alcohol didn’t last long, but my poor choices with men did.

After high school graduation, I got involved with an abusive relationship. The abuse continually got worse, and in order to gain some control in my life, I began to refrain from eating. I finally got the courage to leave him (Praise God!), but the eating disorder continued for several more years.

SusanAustinPhotography-6632Later in life, I met a man and we married. Through our relationship, I came to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

But, this didn’t mean things were perfect and there were no trials.

In December of 1998, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and my life really changed. The fatigue from MS was so unpredictable that I could no longer work full-time.

On top of that, my 16 ½-year marriage also came to an end.

Through this, I leaned on God and my faith grew stronger. I learned that “God causes all things to come together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

SusanAustinPhotography-6559I almost died in 2007, but by the grace of God, I didn’t. Since then, I started mentoring youth, volunteering as a coach for unwed mothers and heading up prayer ministry. God led me to Lutheran Church of Hope and I was hired within the fellowship ministry, where I love to cook, serve and pray for those around me.

I may not have a lot according to this world, but feel so blessed by God. I have two wonderful children and I now realize the hurts from the past have shaped me into the woman I am today – someone who still makes mistakes but knows her hope is in Jesus Christ and loves him deeply.