Monthly Archives: October 2014

Pastor Mike’s Weekly Email

Happy Birthday, Hope!

This weekend, we’re celebrating our 20th birthday at Lutheran Church of Hope! Over the past two decades, we’ve seen God build an extraordinary church through ordinary people like us, convert thousands to an eternal life-saving faith in Jesus Christ, and strengthen us for service and mission by the power of his Holy Spirit!

Pastor Jeremy (Sunday at 8:00 am & 5:00 pm in the Worship Center and 9:15 am in the Chapel) and I (Saturday at 5:00 pm, Sunday at 9:15 & 11:00 am in the Worship Center and 8:00 am in the Chapel) are excited to preach on the biblical story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10), as our Jesus Tour moves south to Jericho. It’s a perfect birthday text for Hope, and we can’t wait to guide you through it!

To help celebrate our birthday in style, the internationally acclaimed Nordic Choir from Luther College, (who will perform during mass at the Vatican’s Basilica of St. Peter as part of a 10-day Italian Tour in May) will sing at our Saturday 5:00 pm & Sunday 9:15 am services. As a gift to Hope, they’re also offering a rare free concert in our Worship Center, along with the Valley Singers from Valley High School, on Saturday from 7:30-9:00 pm. I’m not a classically trained musician, but I find Nordic Choir performances to be so stunningly beautiful, inspirational and healing … that my allergies (or something like that) seem to kick in, causing my eyes to water, every time I hear them. Go figure.

Last but not least, we’ve got a fun-filled, old-fashioned, all-church family pot-luck dinner planned for Saturday night in the Bridge from 6:15-7:15 pm (between worship and the concert). Mike Horstmann, who’s been a part of Hope’s staff since the very beginning, will serve as our Master of Ceremonies, and video story-teller Ryan Buck will debut a short film called The Hope Story. Please bring your best family-sized side dish, salad or dessert to share (preferably in disposable dishes), and don’t forget to enter the Jell-O contest!Burgers, hot dogs and drinks will be provided by the church cooks.

We have so many reasons at Hope to give thanks to God on our birthday, and I invite you to join the party, whether this is your first time at Hope, or you’ve been a part of this church family for any part of the past two decades … come and see!

Mike Housholder


We can’t wait for our 20th birthday services and overall celebration this weekend! You can find a rundown of what’s happening this weekend here, but before you do that, be sure to check out the best Happy Birthday video you will ever see (hint: it stars some familiar faces from around Hope!). Enjoy… and see you this weekend!


Pastor Mike’s Weekly E-newsletter

Greetings, Hope Family!

The halls of Hope are practically buzzing with joy and excitement these days …

+ The Jesus Tour sermon series has already covered a lot of territory, both geographically and biblically, and now this weekend we’ll get a closer look at the towns surrounding the Sea of Galilee. That’s where Jesus sent his disciples on a mission to change the world (Luke 10:1-12). Your three tour guides are Dr. Dave (Sunday morning in the Chapel), newly ordained Pastor Andy (Sunday night) and me (Saturday night and Sunday morning in the Worship Center) – we can’t wait to show you around!

+ This Sunday at 9:15 & 11:00 am, we launch a new satellite church at Shuler Elementary called Lutheran Church of Hope Waukee. Dozens of volunteers and Hope staff – including Pat Quaid (campus pastor), Matt McNeece (worship) and Wendy Liskey (administration) – have been faithfully praying, planning and preparing for this day for a long time. The Waukee Campus grand opening will be a great and historic event – spread the word!

+ Enthusiasm continues to rise for ongoing ministries, from WOW & Kingdom Quest for kids, to PowerLife & Ignition for students, to Alpha & all sorts of ministries designed to move grown-ups around the Hope Circle. I’m so impressed to see so many Hope folks living out your commitment to go all in with Jesus during this year of Roots & Renewal – you’re looking good, Hope!

+ And, finally, just eight more days until we start celebrating our 20th birthday at Hope! For details and a full weekend schedule of events, click here – it’s almost time to party!

It’s always good when our church family gets together in God’s house – stop by soon and catch the Spirit of Hope!

Mike Housholder

Pastor Mike’s Weekly E-Newsletter

Good morning, Hope-sters!

For the past two days, I’ve been hanging out with some outstanding leaders at board meetings for Wartburg College in Waverly – a Lutheran college named for the castle near Eisenach, Germany where Martin Luther hid for his safety in 1521-1522 (after refusing to recant his public claim that some common church practices, like selling indulgences as a fundraiser, stood in conflict to Scripture). While living at Wartburg, Luther translated the New Testament from ancient Greek to German, making God’s word accessible to the masses in a way it had never been before.

Realizing more completely the history of a college, a movement, or a church like Hope helps us to better appreciate our identity (who we are), and the path God calls us to walk (where we’re going).

In that same spirit, we’re celebrating our 20th birthday as a church in just a few weeks (Nov. 1 & 2): anniversary themed services, an all-church pot-luck dinner and program (after the Saturday 5:00 pm service), a classic Lutheran Jell-O contest (just for fun!), plenty of birthday cake and a special concert on Saturday at 7:30 pm by the internationally acclaimed  Nordic Choir from Luther College, along with the  Valley Singers from Valley High School. Nordic Choir will also share offerings of music at the Saturday 5:00 pm & Sunday 9:15 am services that weekend. Throughout the celebration, we’ll share stories about all the wonderful places we’ve been together as a church family over the past two decades, and the even greater places we’ll go, according to God’s plan, in the future!


Mike Housholder

P.S.- Leading up to that big 20th birthday party, we have two great weekends of worship planned at Hope, including tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday. The Jesus Tour continues with a story from Mark 4:35-41 about a stormy boat trip gone bad, and the cool (and rather intimidating) miracle Jesus carries out to save the day! If you ever find yourself facing big storms in life, this sermon is for you … come and see!

Pastor Mike’s Weekly E-News

Greetings, Hope Folks!

Hope’s colorful, three-dimensional, next-best-thing-to-actually-being-there-in-person “Jesus Tour” moves north to the Sea of Galilee this weekend. There, on the northern shore of a deep and beautiful blue lake, we’ll encounter Jesus calling together his first disciples from a rough and crusty bunch of seasoned fishermen (surprise)!

It makes for a rather fun and salty story, complete with some interesting geography lessons that will help you “see” Jesus, and his followers, in a whole new light. Pastor Jeremy and I can’t wait to serve again as your tour guides/preachers this weekend!

Keeping a weekly worship routine can be challenging. Life is busy. Schedules are full. Cultural norms have changed.  Saturday college football games now run well into the evening, pulling some of the crowd from our Saturday 5:00 pm service. Sunday morning practice fields, gyms and ice arenas are packed with kids in sports uniforms, scheduled by grown-ups who seem to have misplaced (temporarily) their healthy fear of the Lord! But they’re not alone – fun runs, charity walks, sleepovers, and a seemingly endless list of other activities have also found their way onto our Sunday morning schedules.

Please don’t misunderstand. I’m pro-weekend fun, in favor of charitable races, and a strong advocate for getting kids involved in extra-curricular activities. I’m particularly familiar with, and fond of, youth sports. They made a positive difference for our three kids growing up, and the closets full of trophies, plaques, awards and varsity sports letters in our house remind us of all the fun we had, and the valuable life lessons we learned along the way.

It’s all good. But, Jesus reminds us that if want to keep our balance and find a fulfilling life, we’ll make him our first, not second, priority (Matthew 6:33, Exodus 20:3, Luke 14:16-24). A weekly worship habit is an irreplaceable tool for developing a relationship with Jesus Christ that will last forever, and bless us even more than any other good weekend activity ever could.

To help make it a little easier for busy people to make time for worship, Hope offers seven weekend options for you – two traditional Sunday services in the Chapel at 8:00 & 9:15 am, and five celebration services – Saturday 5:00 pm, Sunday 8:00, 9:15, & 11:00 am, and 5:00 pm – in the Worship Center.

Come after the game. Come between games. Come dirty and still wearing your team jerseys or your running shoes. Come as you are. God invites you to his house again this weekend … Come and see!

Mike Housholder
Jesus fan