Now…don’t mistake me when I go upstage and turn on a microphone. No, your pastor is not going all “cult” and thinking he is divine in any manner. Much the opposite. But I won’t be preparing a sermon for Sunday, and neither will we have a special guest…er…well, unless you count the Sovereign Lord of the Universe as a guest speaker (though He is always present; always speaking). God Himself will be the voice to us on Sunday, and He is going to speak through you. Yep. You. (Oh, and I’ll have a bit to say too.) I’ll tell you more in Deeper Thoughts below…
· We will be sharing in Communion (The Lord’s Supper) this Sunday. Come prepared to thank God for your salvation. You online livestream folks, prepare some juice and bread from the kitchen to participate as well!
· Next Sunday, December 3 begins the Advent Season. We’ll launch a new four-week teaching series through Christmas Eve called “Would You Like a Savior?” Consider inviting some friends and loved ones for a joyful celebration of Christmas and the power of the Gospel.
· Mt. Hope’s Annual Christmas Party and Pageant--Sunday night, December 10, 5:00 – 7:30 p.m. Join us for a potluck dinner 5:00 – 6:30 p.m., and then a wonderful presentation of the Christmas story from our Kids Connect and youth ministries from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
o We need you to bring some amazing yummies! In addition to Chris Nicholson’s world-famous pork loin and applesauce, click here to sign up on Perfect Potluck to help us coordinate! Don’t forget to bring a card to say what your delicious dish is, and any common allergens.
· Ladies…Cookie, Tea, and Craft Celebration – Saturday, December 9 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Last chance to RSVP as we need a solid headcount--click here for more info and to sign up!
· New believer’s small group: starting in December, Chris and Sherri Eads will be leading a midweek small group for those who want to start all the way at the beginning with the basics of the Christian faith. Click here to let us know you’re interested, and we’ll give you all the details!
OK, that’s it today for you email skimmers and you who mistakenly think you have nothing meaningful to say. BUT…
Some Deeper Thoughts…
It is unmistakable to me that every single Sunday God speaks through me or whomever else we have teaching, leading, or ministering to us. It’s the biblical concept of “anointing,” that God brings a special addition of His power, wisdom, and revelation to any preparation or human thought we have put into our ministry role.
You see it every week in how Ryan Sauder, John Dively, or others on the worship team bring us into the presence of God. They are good musicians for sure, and their hearts are so inclined to love God through song that it is nothing short of inspirational. But you know that this power is not from themselves, do you not? The pull… the draw… the sense of God’s presence: This does not come from human hands upon instruments, vocal perfection in song, or preparation and energy. No, this comes from God and is called “anointing.”
You see it in how Chris Bowen, Kristie Zoller, Eva Moore, Jessica Sauder and others in our children and youth ministries make an impressive impact in your kid’s or teenager’s lives. We all see this sincere love and attention they have for your beloved children. They deeply care about each of their stories, each of their needs and wants, each of their fears. This is not because they have any particular talent with young people, though they clearly do. No, the strength of their affection and attention to your loved ones comes directly and supernaturally from the heart of God and is called “anointing.”
You see it when the Word of God is opened by any of our teaching team here at Mt. Hope. That connection and relevance you sense—and we hear about from you so often—is not coming from any intellectual prowess or creativity on the part of our teachers. No, it comes from God as He “anoints” His Word just as He promised He would do (see Isaiah 55:10-11).
But have you ever considered how God is anointing your life and your story?
You might think that you have a mediocre, milquetoast, semi-boring life. You might think that God doesn’t notice much of you, and we for sure wouldn’t either. But if you think this way, you are terribly mistaken.
The scriptures reveal that God is tremendously and supernaturally involved in the intimate details of your life. Carefully cataloguing every minute and hour of every day in your life, He has been collecting your stories in a journal He keeps right there by His side. He has been journaling about you since the very beginning of time, contemplating each moment, each incident, each reaction, each nuance of you with incredible joy. Don’t believe me? Do some reading of God’s revelation in Matthew 10:29-31; Psalm 139:16-18; Ephesians 1:4-5.
So how will your story be the voice of God to us on Sunday?
There’s a great tradition around Mt. Hope. It is the “open mic” of sharing testimony of God’s work in our lives. And you have something to tell us, no matter how simple or small you think it may be.
We are a family—siblings every one of us, adopted together into this really big home where God is the Father, and we are the kids. This Sunday, our sanctuary becomes a massive Thanksgiving dinner table where we will tell of the goodness of God in our lives. We will regale each other with stories of how God has worked—in bold, supernatural provision, or in hidden wrestling amid troubling circumstances, or in subtle transformation of our hearts and minds.
As we pass the microphone around the room (don’t worry… we won’t stick it in front of you unless you ask for it!), listen closely to the subtle and not-so-subtle ways God has been moving among your family. As each story is shared, I’ll do my best to listen to the Holy Spirit for the scriptural truth that has been manifested in your story. I’ll add some biblical commentary that will be entirely unscripted but will match your story with the promise of God from scripture.
So…be thinking and praying. What can you give testimony to God from your life?
For those who are uncomfortable sharing in front of a crowd (which I fully understand are many of you!), we’ll have a mechanism where you can write out a story of God’s work on a notecard that I can share for you.
Sincerely: no pressure. I don’t want anyone to feel that you must share anything. And logistically, all hundred or so of us who are there this Sunday can’t all speak up. But many of you need to. God has been forging an anointed story in your life that we need to hear. Will you prayerfully consider if you have one to share?
I’m so looking forward to this service and can’t wait to see you all. In-person, 10:00 a.m., or online-livestream for those who are out of town. Join us, one and all!
Much love…Sherri and I are immeasurably thankful for each of you being in our lives.
Mt. Hope Pastor