Sunday, December 3, 2017

December 2017 newsletter

 Family of Hope House Church                        December 2017

Notes, Prayers and Praises
“Long, long ago, God decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ.  (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.”                            from Ephesians 1  The Message  
  • DECEMBER BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to Karen Campbell 12/26/69
December Lectionary Texts 
3   Isaiah 64:1-9  Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 Mark 13:24-37
10  Isaiah 40:1-11  Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13  2 Peter 3:8-15a  Mark 1:1-8
17 Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 Luke 1:46b-55 1Thessalonians 5:16-24  John 1:6-8, 19-28
24 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16  Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26  Romans 16:25-27  Luke 1:26-38
31 Isaiah 61:10-62:3   Psalm 148   Galatians 4:4-7   Luke 2:22-40

December services, worship at 4, meal at 6
3 Location: Park Place, second floor meeting room                    564-3716
Worship and sharing: Harvey Yoder
Bible Study: Paul Swarr                                      sandwich/fresh fruit meal
10 Location: Guy Vlasits 1260 Parkway Drive                           269-6706
Worship and Sharing: James Stauffer
Bible Study: Dick Dumas                                                      Carry-in meal
17 Location: FLRC, 273 Newman Ave. (ground floor)               432-0531
Worship and Sharing: Lois Rivera-Wenger
Bible Study: Kent Palmer                                                      Carry-in meal                                                                    
24 No FOH service on Christmas Eve Day
We encourage you to visit another church today.
31 Location: Margie Vlasits 3448 Caverns Drive, Keezletown  908-0391
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder
Bible Study: Elly Nelson                                                     Carry-in meal

Sunday, November 5, 2017

November 2017 newsletter

 Family of Hope House Church                        November 2017

Remembering Karla May, 1947-2017

I first got to know Karla when she became a friend of my younger sister, when both attended Eastern Mennonite High School. I’m sure that one of the things that drew them together was the fact that each was adopted, which both made them special and maybe sometimes also made them feel a little different from their peers. I know my sister, whom we loved very much, still sometimes wondered why she was neglected and not cared for by her mother and placed in foster care, and then adopted. 
     Alma Jean and I each had the opportunity to be Karla’s teachers at EMHS, and Karla adopted my wife as a special friend and mentor, and frequently visited us. Then some years ago Karla became adopted into our little house church, where she was as an active member for many years. She always had a heart for people she felt might be overlooked or neglected, and wanted to make sure everyone was remembered and loved. For example, there was no one in our church more faithful in sending birthday or get well or sympathy cards to any of our members celebrating a life or experiencing a loss. Karla cared deeply.
     As we all know, she went through unbelievable suffering herself in recent years, and I’m sure there were times when she wondered about God’s care for her as his special adopted daughter. But she’ll always have a place of special belonging in our hearts, and I know in the hearts of her husband, children and grandchildren. And I believe God has a special place set for Karla at Jesus’ great banquet table. He’s saying, “Come home, come home, my daughter, it’s supper time.”
     In his letter to the Galatians, Paul writes,
“When the fullness of time was come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, to redeem us, so that we might receive full rights as God’s adopted children. And because we are children, God’s Spirit in us calls out, ‘Abba’ (‘Papa’), Father’,… and since we are children, we are also heirs, by adoption.”  That’s the way God loves all of us.
     So welcome home, Karla, you’ve suffered long enough, you’ve waited long enough. Welcome to the forever banquet. As Isaiah promises, “On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death for ever.”
     So welcome home, Karla. You’ve got a place, yes, you’ve got a special place at God’s welcome table. So save us a seat. We hope to join you soon.  
                                                                            - Harvey Yoder

Notes, Prayers and Praises
  • OUR FOH “MY COINS COUNT” total for the Relief Sale added $150.62 the $25,083.79 brought in this year. The SOS giving campaign brought in $35,575 and the entire sale may have raised a record-breaking amount, with final results yet to be tabulated. 
  • NOVEMBER BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to Neal Nelson 11/2, Paul Swarr 11/10, Emily Zhou 11/11, and Guy Vlasits 11/21. Neal and Elly Nelson’s 25th anniversary is November 26!
November Lectionary Texts
5   Joshua 3:7-17  Micah 3:5-12  Psalm 43  1 Thessalonians 2:9-13 Matthew 23:1-12
12  Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25  Amos 5:18-24  Psalm 70  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18  Matthew 25:1-13
19  Judges 4:1-7  Psalm 123,  Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18  1 Thessalonians 5:1-11  Matthew 25:14-30
26  Ezekiel 34:11-24  Psalm 95  Ephesians 1:15-23  Matthew 25:31-46

November services, worship at 4, meal at 6
5 Location: Festival of Praise at EMHS at 4, followed by fellowship and a sandwich/fresh fruit meal at Park Place, second floor meeting room                                              
12 Location: Guy Vlasits 1260 Parkway Drive                269-6706
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder
Bible Study: Elly Nelson                                          Carry-in meal
19 Location: FLRC 273 Newman Avenue      432-0531      
Worship and Sharing: Lois Rivera-Wenger
Bible Study: Harvey Yoder                                 Finger foods meal
26 Location: Susan Campbell 1361 Lincolnshire Dr,      564-1524
Worship and Sharing: James Stauffer
Bible Study: Lewis Overholt                                       Carry-in meal

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

October 2017 newsletter

 Family of Hope House Church                            October 2017

Passover as God’s evacuation order

The lectionary reading for September 10, Exodus 12:1-14, included the story of the original Passover, when thousands of enslaved Hebrews celebrated their emancipation and prepared for their evacuation.

Their mandate was clear: Get ready to leave Egypt's tyranny now. Don't wait or hesitate. Prepare your last supper--in your house, or the house of a neighbor--a meal of roast lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs, and be ready to make a run for your freedom at midnight.

Some twelve centuries later Jesus announced another regime change, this time from oppression of an even greater magnitude. As a new Moses, he is leading a worldwide, heaven-based rule based on a non-violent, grace-offering, blood-outpouring love for all, fellow-citizens and hated foreigners alike. Under God's universal new covenant, the lost are to be redeemed, the oppressed are to be freed, former enemies are to be reconciled, and the poor and oppressed are to experience God's special favor.

In this new era, marked by Jesus choosing crucifixion instead of vengeance, he is both our Passover Lamb, ensuring our deliverance from all evil, and our heaven-sent Liberator. He leads the procession of all who lay down their arms and take up his cross, and who who are willing to demonstrate his dramatic regime-changing vision for heaven-based living, starting right here on earth. The very body and life blood representing his Passover presence become nourishment and empowerment for our massive worldwide exodus toward freedom and shalom.

We praise God for this forever vision of Pesach, our "passing over" into new life.
  • - Harvey Yoder
Notes, Prayers and Praises
  • FORMER FOH MEMBER KARLA MAY, age 70, passed away Friday afternoon, September 22, near Petersburg, WV. Her memorial service is at the Mt. Clinton Church of God at 6 pm Tuesday, September 26.
  • OCTOBER BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to Joyce Ulrich 10/14, and Elly Nelson 10/28! 
  • Lewis and Mary Ellen Overholt’s address is VMRC, Heritage Haven, G49, (229-938-6410), and Kent Palmer’s is 1431B Hillcrest Drive, Harrisonburg, VA 22802 (574-606-8917).
October Lectionary Texts

1   Exodus 17:1-7  Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16  Philippians 2:1-13 Matthew 21:23-32
8  Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20  Isaiah 5:1-7  Psalm 80:7-15 Philippians 3:4b-14  Matthew 21:33-46
15  Exodus 32:1-14  Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23  Isaiah 25:1-9  Philippians 4:1-9  Matthew 22:1-14
22  Exodus 33:12-23  Psalm 99  Isaiah 45:1-7  1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 Matthew 22:15-22
29  Deuteronomy 34:1-12  Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17  Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18  1 Thessalonians 2:1-8  Matthew 22:34-46  

October services, worship at 4, meal at 6 (except 10/22)

1 Location: Park Place, second floor meeting room                   564-3716
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder
Bible Study: Paul Swarr                           Sandwiches and fresh fruit meal                                                 
8 Location: Susan Campbell 1361 Lincolnshire Dr, 22802         564-1524
Worship and Sharing: Elly Neal
Bible Study: Kent Palmer                                                      Carry-in meal

15 Location: FLRC 273 Newman Avenue (rear of building)      432-0531                           
Worship and Sharing: Lois Rivera-Wenger
Bible Study: Dick Dumas                                               Finger foods meal                                                                    
22 Location: The Table, at Community Mennonite  (at 4:30)    432-0531
Worship and Sharing 
Bible Study: Overseer Roy Hange                                        Carry-in meal

29 Location: Guy Vlasits 1260 Parkway Dr.                              269-6706
Worship and Sharing: James Stauffer 
Bible Study: Harvey Yoder                                                   Carry-in meal

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Delivered by Grace, Governed by Love

Here's the outline of the Agape Meal service we celebrated at our 4 pm service this Sunday:

Opening choruses

Prayer and sharing time
Your will be done on earth, O Lord

Anticipating regime change
Psalm 149, Exodus 12:1-14
Come, we that love the Lord Hymnal 14

Maintaining love and order in the new regime
Matthew 18:15-20
Peace before us, peace behind us, peace the path for our feet, 
Peace within us, peace over us, Let all around us be peace.
(Christ… Love… Grace… Praise… etc.)

Governed by Agape
Romans 13:8-14
I am the bread of life Hymnal 472
Let us break bread together
Be present at our table, Lord 457

Celebrating the Feast of Deliverance
Readings, partaking of bread and cup, followed by an agape meal
Sent forth by God's blessing Hymnal 478

May the Lord give you bread for the journey to come
May God’s Spirit sustain you with light from above
May the good Lord bless and keep you
May his face shine upon you

Go in faith, go in hope, go in love.

Here's a link to my most recent blog entitled "Passover: God's Mandatory Evacuation Order":

Sunday, August 27, 2017

September 2017 newsletter

 Family of Hope House Church                                  September 2017

Life As Rehearsal For A Royal Wedding

The Genesis 24 account of Abraham's servant, who is led to just the right young woman as wife for his son Isaac, has its parallel in the story found in the fourth chapter of John's gospel. In that passage Jesus is both the seeking servant and the royal Messiah. At Jacob's well, he wins over a receptive Samaritan crowd brought to him by an unlikely woman from the town who comes there to draw water. At this ordinary time and place we sense a rumor of a God-blessed wedding, one bringing together God and God's people, a united new God-family that will include even unorthodox Samaritans. And just as Rebekah leaves all to cast her lot with Isaac, who loved her deeply from the moment he met her, so Jesus's disciples everywhere are loved into leaving all behind and casting their lot with him.

It's like a wedding. You "leave" one family and you "cleave" in the formation of a new one. In Matthew 11, Jesus is making what sounds like this kind of proposal to would-be disciples, "Come to me, all who are weary and weighed down, and I will give you rest," or as Clarence Jordan translates it, "I will give you zest.'' "Take my yoke on you (that is, companion with me) and learn from me, for I am gentle and gracious of heart, and you will find rest in your inner being." In other words, you will find a place to call home.

So whether in our human relationships or in the intimacies of the spirit, we find ourselves enthralled, blessed, joined together in relationships that offer deep joy and great purpose. Life becomes a kind of wedding rehearsal, in which the divinely betrothed learn to live lives of integrity, fidelity and deep passion.
- Harvey Yoder

Notes, prayers and praises
  • KARLA MAY WAS RUSHED TO THE MORGANTOWN HOSPITAL   Sunday, August 20, where she has been in critical care. Please pray for her and her family.
  • THE VIRGINIA MENNONITE RELIEF SALE is set for September 29-30. Plan to make a generous cash donation for famine and war refugees in addition to purchasing food and other items.
  • SEPTEMBER BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to Lewis Overholt (9/5), David Weaver (9/23), and congratulations to Billy and Karla May on their anniversary (9/3).
  • SHALL WE PLAN FOR A PICNIC for our September 24 gathering?
September lectionary readings 

3   Exodus 3:1-15  Jeremiah 15:15-21  Psalm 26:1-8  Romans 12:9-21  Matthew 16:21-28
10  Exodus 12:1-14  Psalm 149  Ezekiel 33:7-11  Romans 13:8-14 Matthew 18:15-20
17  Exodus 14:19-31 Psalm 114  Genesis 50:15-21 Romans 14:1-12Matthew 18:21-35
24  Exodus 16:2-15  Jonah 3:10-4:11  Psalm 145:1-8  Philippians 1:21-30 Matthew 20:1-16

September services, worship at 4, meal at 6 

3 Location: Park Place, second floor meeting room                   564-3716
Worship and Sharing: Lewis Overholt
Bible Study: Paul Swarr                               Sandwich and fresh fruit meal                                                 
10 Location: FLRC 273 Newman Avenue                                   432-0531 
Worship, Sharing and Communion: Harvey Yoder
                                           Bread, fresh fruit, cheese and grape juice meal                       
17 Location: Guy Vlasits 1260 Parkway Dr.                               269-6706
Worship and Sharing: James Stauffer
Bible Study: Dick Dumas                                                      Carry-in meal                                                                    
24 Location: Old Massanutten Lodge, 3448 Caverns Drive       269-6706                                             
Worship and Sharing: Lois Rivera Wenger
Bible Study: Elly Nelson                                             Picnic carry-in meal

Friday, July 28, 2017

August 2017 newsletter

Family of Hope House Church                           August 2017

The Parable of the Terrible Tares

One of the July 23 scripture texts included Jesus's story of someone planting a field of wheat, then having an enemy sow noxious weed seeds in that field while the farmer slept.
     When the owner of the field was asked by his servants whether they should root out the unwanted weeds he told them to wait for the harvest to separate the good from the bad.
     In explaining the parable's meaning, Jesus says the field is the world, the wheat represents God's people and the weeds, evildoers. Let them both grow together, he said, until God separates them at the last judgment.
     This passage has been a source of confusion for those who assume this means that the church therefore exercises no discernment as to who is a follower of Jesus and who is not. This would contradict what is taught in passages like Matthew 18 and other texts which counsel us to meet with a erring person privately to bring about restoration, then if needed take another caring person with us to make another appeal, then involve the whole congregation if necessary to discern whether that person is to remain loved and cared for as a member or to be loved and re-evangelized equally warmly as an outsider. The church continues to love and care in either case.
     But this parable is not about the church but about the world. In other words, followers of Jesus are not to go about seeking and destroying God's enemies, going after unbelievers or persecuting members of ISIS or others who are clearly living in ways that are counter to the life and teachings of Jesus. Let God be the judge of all outsiders, Jesus is saying, meanwhile we are to go about the business of simply being a faithful community of Jesus followers.
     The field is the world.                                                                       - Harvey Yoder

Notes, prayers and praises 
  • WE ARE INVITED TO JOIN THE TABLE at their worship service at 110 Old South High Street August 20.
  • AUGUST BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to Gail Blackburn 8/30! Also, Alma Jean and Harvey’s anniversary is 8/8 and James and Ruth Stauffer’s is 8/30.  
  • WE WELCOME LEWIS AND MARY ELLEN OVERHOLT back home from their summer travels!
  • PLAN TO MAKE A GENEROUS CASH GIFT  for MCC’s work with famine and war refugees at the Fall Mennonite Relief Sale September 29-30 in addition to purchasing of food and other items.
August lectionary readings
6   Genesis 32:22-31 Isaiah 55:1-5  Psalm 145:8-21  Romans 9:1-5  Matthew 14:13-21
13  Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28  1 Kings 19:9-18  Psalm 85:8-13 Romans 10:5-15  Matthew 14:22-33
20  Genesis 45:1-15  Isaiah 56:1, 6-8  Psalms 67  Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32  Matthew 15: 10-28
27  Exodus 1:8-2:10  Isaiah 51:1-6  Psalm 138  Romans 12:1-8  Matthew 16:13-20

August services, worship at 4, meal at 6
6 Location: Park Place, second floor meeting room                   564-3716
Worship and Sharing: Lois Rivera Wenger
Bible Study: Paul Swarr                               Sandwich and fresh fruit meal                                                 
13 Location: Guy Vlasits 1260 Parkway Dr.                              269-6706
Worship and Sharing: James Stauffer
Bible Study: Richard Dumas                                                 Carry-in meal                            

20 Location: The Table, at 110 Old South High Street at 4:30 pm
                                                                                               Carry-in meal                                             
27 Location: Susan Campbell 1361 Lincolnshire Dr, 22802      564-1524
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder                                     
Bible Study: Elly Nelson                                                   Carry-in meal