If you are looking for a place where Jesus Christ is the center of life together then on behalf of the Hope family, I would like to extend a warm invitation for you to join us as we seek to be the Church, discovering and celebrating the joy of life in Christ. We invite you to join us for worship on Sunday mornings at 9:30am with Christian Education at 11am. God is doing something special at HCC. Why not be a part? We look forward to seeing you.
Rev. Chad C. Fernald, Pastor-Teaching Elder
Tuesday evening prayer group has returned to 6pm
Thursday morning group resumes February 6 @10am
A Word of Hope
‘A Parable in my Backyard’
When we moved into our house in 2001, we noticed that the landscaping had not been maintained very well. All along the back were thorn bushes and creeper vines; hedges that were at least 15 feet high! I am talking about the type of vines that wrap around everything they touch; vines with deep roots and stalks as thick as my upper arm. We found an old apple tree that had been consumed and had to be removed. When I was done with the hedges I had reclaimed about 500 square feet of my backyard. It was a long and laborious task to remove these unwanted nuisances (eight years later, I am still finding shoots here and there!)
There was one poignant moment in all this. One afternoon I was on a ladder, trying to un-wrap a particularly stubborn specimen from around a tree. (You need to understand that some of these vines went up 20-30 feet into the trees!) I felt that these things were more animal than plant; they fought at every turn. Thorns bit into my hands and younger, but equally as dangerous offshoots, lashed at my arms and face as little by little the vine gave way. Bits of tree broke and fell, but I knew that if the tree was to live, the vines needed to be torn out.
Then it hit me. My horticultural battle was the story of sin and redemption being played out in the tree. Sin, we are told in Scripture, ‘easily entangles us’ (Hebrews 12:1). It starts small (the beginnings of the vines look harmless and weak) but once it takes hold it grows stronger every day. It chokes the life out of us and if it isn’t removed, all that remains is an ugly, empty shell where there once was life and beauty.
As I looked at my bleeding hands (these thorns went right through my gloves), I was reminded, powerfully, of the battle that Jesus Christ waged on the cross to tear the thorns of sin out of my life. It was not easy. He bled, he suffered, he endured immense pain, but He knew that if I was to live, the vines of sin needed to be removed. Bits of me get ripped out, but the scars will heal and I will be better for the ‘momentary light afflictions’ (2 Corinthians 4:17) that are for my good.
I thought I got to the tree too late, but given the freedom, life returned again. Each summer I look up and comment to my wife about the healthy leaves waving from the high branches. I was in time to save the tree; it was not beyond hope.
God is never late and no one is beyond hope.
I pray that we will all let Jesus continue to do His loving work of tearing the sin vines from around us that we may be the strong and healthy people He intends for us to be.
God bless you all in the Name of the great and awesome gardener, Jesus Christ!
The question has been rasied a few times regarding why Adam would go along with Eve in sinning against God. Some feel that he did it out of love or to save her. However 'noble', these are not reasons the Bible gives. Check out this interesting article: Did Adam Sin out of Love for Eve at http://creation.com/did-adam-sin-for-love
Did you miss Sunday Service? Go to the 'services' page and scroll down to the 'Pastor's Messages' section. Click the link to download the sermon.
Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
We will be continuing our service to the Dover Housing Authority in 2014 (the last Wednesday of each month).
If you have ideas for reaching into our community, send an email to email@example.com