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Hope's Vision: Looking Back & Looking to Our Future Together

Friends of Hope,

In June of 2017, while Pastor Paul and a group of people traveled to Israel, he asked me to fill the pulpit at Hope for three weeks. Heidi and I were new to the congregation, and we felt immediately embraced. Very quickly, Hope became ‘home’ for us.

 

In August 2017, after Paul had been diagnosed with cancer, he and the elders asked me to come on board and assist while he went through treatment. I was honored to join the team in serving the people of Hope Covenant Church. Heidi and I love this church, and in our short time here, we have more deeply experienced what it means to be a part of the family of God.

 

Over the final four months of 2017, our family here at Hope has been through a lot. Creating space for Paul’s continued recovery, navigating staff changes, and discerning what God is calling us to in this next season are some of the important things we are tending to together. I am so impressed by the folks at Hope who have stepped up and worked together to continue making Hope a place where the love of God is displayed to all who come through our doors.

 

Imperfect People Belong

Since coming to Hope I have witnessed that the saying, “imperfect people belong,” is far more than a slogan on our street sign. Hope is truly a place where people are welcomed and embraced. The kind of genuine love on display through you – the people of Hope – is a rare and beautiful treasure. In the upcoming year, we are asking God to clearly show us the ways He is calling us to welcome people even more deeply into Christ-centered community.

 

God Moves

A group of us have been praying for God to continue to move at Hope. It’s easy to get caught up in busy schedules and in offering many options, but we are convinced that partnering with God in the places He is already at work is the best way to do life and ministry. So as God moves, we are paying close attention to the places He invites us to engage and expand ministry.

 

Part of tuning our hearts into where God is moving involves cultivating a deeper life of prayer. I’ve been encouraged by the small, yet faithful, group of 15-20 people who are showing up and praying for Hope. I am convinced that some of what we are seeing in our times of worship together on Sunday mornings is impacted by those prayer times.

 

Lives Change

Part of the legacy of Hope are the stories of many lives who have been changed forever as a result of what God has done in and through them here at Hope. Our church has members of all ages and backgrounds, but we share a common story of being changed by the amazing grace and redeeming power of Christ. At Hope, we see people moving from death to life, and from despair to hope. It is a privilege to be a part of a church where we see this value of ‘Lives Change’ lived out. Being a part of this transformation process is a beautiful thing, and we do not take it for granted.

 

Whether someone is exploring faith, new to Christianity, or has followed Jesus for decades, we want to find ways to help each person take the next step in their walk with God. As we look to the season ahead of us, we are planning the launch groups and classes that will allow us to be a part of the transformation and discipleship process in the lives of all who God brings us at Hope.

 

Love Acts

At Hope, we believe God loved us so much, he sent Jesus to give His life for all (John 3:16). The more we learn about, experience and enter into the love of God, the more we are shaped into the people of God who He longs to partner with in impacting this broken world.

 

We receive His love, and we respond by giving it away to those around us. ‘Love Acts’ when we find ways to love and serve, partnering with the work of the church. But as important as that is, it is crucial for us to remember that ‘Love Acts’ when we find ways to love and serve the poor, the needy, the broken; people who can’t give anything back to us.

 

‘Love Acts’ when we seek to be the remedy – bringing the Kingdom of God to human need, especially among people who are poor, oppressed, and overlooked. This also has been a part of the legacy of Hope, and in this next season, we want to sharpen our focus so we can make a more significant impact both here at home, and beyond. Loving and serving our neighbors next door, but also envisioning what it will look like for us to follow Jesus in bringing that love and service to people beyond our borders: into the nations of the world.

 

In closing, I am honored to be serving as the associate pastor here at Hope. Thank you to Pastor Paul for his trust in me, to our elders for giving me this opportunity. Pastor Ryan is a superstar and a joy to partner with in creating our Sunday morning worship services. And thank you to the staff, leaders, and members of Hope for welcoming us and giving Heidi and I this beautiful church family. We are truly grateful for you!

 

Together,

 

Doug Glynn

Associate Pastor

Show Marvelous

As my role has temporarily expanded from worship to also encompass youth ministry, I have spent a bit of time thinking about one of the most awkward stages of life – middle school! When I look around at the middle school students at our church, I wonder what I could do differently to connect with them and help them feel grounded at Hope, even as they navigate this life stage filled with transitions. The article below is geared toward small group leaders, but I believe there is some valuable insight for parents of this youth demographic as well as the broader church body. I would like to encourage us all to remember the eternal implications of investing in the lives of our children and youth!

God bless,

ryan_th01

Pastor Ryan

----------------------------

Show Marvelous
by Kristine Herring

 

3.2.2015 showmarvelous

Let’s face it. Middle schoolers can be difficult. They are in such an uncertain time in their lives – one foot in childhood and the other in adulthood. Unsure of who they are, they spend their time trying to figure it out and that process can be a little rough. They can be awkward and annoying and sometimes, even, hard to love.

They actually remind me of my favorite flower, the Gerbera daisy. Although their blossoms are magnificent, Gerbera daisies are not pretty plants. Truth be told, they are fairly ugly. Their leaves resemble something much closer to a weed than a flower. They are jagged and rough, a stark contrast to the soft smooth flowers they surround. Only when the stunning, captivating blooms open is the true beauty of the plant revealed.

Often times, this is true of middle school students as well. Right now, in this tumultuous season of their lives it’s easy to only see their leaves. It can be tempting to dismiss them and get distracted by their ungainliness.

And yet, we are exactly the ones who need to dig and search further. We need discerning ears to hear them as they beg us to look closer. We need clarity of vision to see past the unlovable. We need soft hearts to be sure we don’t miss the very best parts of who they are.

I think one of the richest, most affirming passages in all of scripture is Psalm 139. From first verse to last it is full of promises and glimpses highlighting the glorious intimacy between God the Father and His creation. Sandwiched in the middle of that chapter is verse 14.

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

As if that simple truth weren’t enough, there is further treasure to be found here. One of the possible translations of the Hebrew word for “wonderfully” is “show marvelous”. “Show marvelous or show extraordinary or splendid,” according to Webster’s dictionary. Again I was reminded of the daisy. Despite it’s ugly leaves, if you wait patiently and give it a chance, it will most definitely show itself to be marvelous. If you look past the unappealing mess that encircles the heart of the plant, you will be struck by just how marvelous it is.

This is true of these students we have chosen to share our journey with. If we withhold our judgment and wait patiently we will see that there is vibrancy beyond the baseness, there is softness amidst the roughness and there is beauty despite the awkwardness. That amidst all the unsightly tangles surrounding them, they are divine creations and in God’s time, He will complete them, reveal them and show them marvelous.

My 7th grade small group is full of Gerbera daisies. There are days when I wonder if they’ll ever bloom and have to remind myself of their great potential. And then there are days when I get glimpses. Days when the Creator gives me a hint of what’s to come and shows me a preview of their magnificent blooms. In those moments, I am profoundly grateful for this role I get to play. I am humbled by my unique opportunity to watch as they unfold and “show marvelous.”

Do you have Gerbera daisies in your group? Which leaves are the hardest to see past? Have you perhaps, amidst the awkwardness, caught glimpses of beauty and splendor? How is God moving your heart to nurture and encourage their fragile hearts and spirits?

 

http://leadsmall.org/students/show-marvelous/

Prepare for Something Special

When company is coming over, when a big test is on the horizon, or a difficult conversation is coming later in the day, there is something important to be done.  It's called "preparation". We prepare for all kinds of things, and during this Easter season we want to extend an invitation to you to prepare for Easter. lent01

From Ash Wednesday (February 18th) to Easter is a season on the church calendar called, Lent. This span of about six weeks is a time when many Christians around the world focus on prayer, repentance, self-denial, and reflection.  This is a time to eliminate some of the distractions around us and pay attention to what really matters in life - Jesus. To this end, we want to offer you several things for this Lenton season:

  • Ash Wednesday Gathering: Next Wednesday morning, February 18th, we will have an open house time from 6am-9am.  During this time you are welcome to stop by to briefly pray, read Scripture, and receive the ceremonial ashes of the cross by one of our pastors.
     
  • Lenten Devotions: There are many wonderful devotionals that stretch from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday that you can commit to reading through during this season. The Evangelical Covenant Church in Canada has put together a great one that can be read online for free by clicking here. If you're interested in picking up a short book, I recommend N.T. Wright's Lent for Everyone.
     
  • Self-Denial or Fasting: Different forms of fasting have been practiced during Lent. The idea is that we give up something (e.g. usually food but perhaps, technology, alcohol, Facebook, TV, etc.) as a response to what Jesus has done for us. Often times in those moments of surrender and denial, we are able to focus and identify with God. You may want to consider fasting from something during this season as well.

 

 

brandon smiling photo-1small sizea

Pastor Brandon

Pastor Duane's 2014 Annual Report

Did you get what you wanted for Christmas? I did, for the most part. A friend wrote a Reality Christmas List that is, well, realistic: 

Reality List 

1) Matching socks – this seems to be a continuing (about fifty year) problem for me. Please buy me twenty pairs of two kinds of socks and hide all the others. 

2) A new wallet – one that stays flat and thin in my back pocket no matter how much I pack into it. 

3) A nice pen set – with some sort of GPS device attached. 

4) Comfy clothes for around the house. One can never have too many comfy clothes. 

5) That I be given my own reserved spot on the couch that takes priority over the one that belongs to the cats. 

6) Permission to wander aimlessly in a home improvement store for as long as I’d like, and a gift card that would actually allow me to buy something there. 

7) That I become involved in something spiritually significant this year. 


Obviously this is not my list (see #5) but I do agree with #7. I want to become involved in something spiritually significant this year. I know we have a wonderful church, and I know that we are making a difference. But I want more from myself and more from my church. I want significance not success. 

You can’t read a Christmas Carol without realizing that the one ghost drags chains and objects “wrought in steel” attached to those chains. These represent all the good deeds in life that he could have done but did not do. 

What can we do as a church, and as individuals, that will contribute to significant growth, significant evangelism and significant ministry to the broken and lonely? That’s what I pray for in 2015. Please join me so that, unlike Scrooge, we will have found a way to keep Christmas in our hearts every day of the year. 2014 was an amazing year. Here are some highlights of what God has accomplished among us. 


MEMBERSHIP AND ATTENDANCE 
Our membership is 308 (we added 32 members, minus 1 deceased, to our 2013 total of 277). Our average attendance reported to the Covenant is 447. 

SACRAMENTS 
In addition to our communion services, we saw 14 adults & teens baptized and 9 infants either dedicated or baptized. 

PRAYER 
Prayer continues to be the cornerstone of our ministry. Steve & Lennie Stewart lead our Prayer Team (“Lifted Hearts”) each Tuesday and Jim Blackburn leads our “Altar Team” of 30 individuals who pray with people after each service. In addition, a group of prayer warriors pray each Sunday morning at 8:15AM for our services in my office. Anyone is welcome to join us in prayer. 

STAFF CHANGES 
Brian Pollard retired from his Youth Pastor post after 17 years of service. On October 19 we celebrated his outstanding ministry to Christ and Hope Covenant Church. While we search for a new Youth Pastor, Pastor Ryan, intern Mikey Dascoli, and newly hired intern Julie Bogle serve as our Youth Leadership Team. In addition, Corrie Gustafson resigned to take a position at the Christian school in Oahu, Hawaii. 

WEDDINGS 
I had the privilege of officiating at 6 weddings and 2 renewal of wedding vows in 2014. 

FUNERALS AND MEMORIAL SERVICES 
In 2014 God has called home some of his choicest saints: Ron Roper (1-24); Yuri Hoshiwara (1-26); Leroy Gibson (8-25); and Gilbert Hernandez (11-22). Peace be to their memories. 

EVANGELISM 
The Holy Spirit has drawn many children, youth and adults into a life-changing relationship with Christ. This year, 73 individuals have prayed to receive Christ. Thanks be to God! 

INVEST AND INVITE 
Our church served the community and witnessed to our neighbor in various ways in 2014: 

• “Serve the Church” (Feb. 8) 
• “Jazz and Chocolate” (Feb. 21) 
• Ten-minute parties 
• Leadership Retreat (Feb. 28 – Mar. 1) 
• Picnic in the Park (Mar. 16) 
• Easter celebration at Tumbleweed with over 2,000 people 
• Several “Pizza with the Pastors” 
• Blood Drive (June 29) 
• Leadership Summit (Aug. 14-15) 
• Men’s Retreat (Sept. 5-6) 
• “On the Move” Missions Month (Sept. 14 – Oct. 5) 
• “Black & White Ball” fundraiser for Streetlight Ministries 
• “Harvest Party” (Oct. 24) 
• Annual Holiday Boutique (Nov. 12-15) 
• Partnership with San Marcos Elementary School 
• Thanksgiving Eve Service 
• Two amazing Christmas Eve Services! 

And much more! 


THANKS 
This year more than ever I am grateful for the dedicated people I serve with at Hope Covenant Church. Our staff, Brandon Hovey, Ryan Starr, Barbara Ellis, Corrie Gustafson (left in June for a fulltime assignment), Brian Pollard (retired Aug. 1 after 17 years of incredible service), Mikey Dascoli, and new intern Julie Bogle. Each brings giftedness and passion to ministering at Hope. Thanks much to our admin staff led by Pat Bahle. Pat’s service to our church comes to an end this December after 7+ years of extraordinary service. Pat will be serving her husband as he faces mounting physical challenges. Richelle Caubang began part-time in October. She will continue in a fulltime capacity. Mike Wolfe continues to serve as our maintenance staff and does an excellent job. To our Board of Elders, Andy Cary (Chair), Gary Boydston (Vice-Chair), Debby Anderson (Secretary), Viki Reed (Elder), Will DeVaughn (Elder), and David Vogt (Elder), I want to extend my heartfelt thanks for dedicated service and leadership. 

Finally, I want to acknowledge my partner in ministry and life, Sheri, for her passion, her heart for people and her unparalleled commitment to Christ and his church. Honey, I couldn’t do it without you. 

2015 will be our greatest year of impact and transformation – I believe this with all my heart. 


For the Big Kingdom, 

duanec

Pastor Duane Cross 
Senior Pastor

 

Download a copy of the complete Hope Covenant Church's 2014 Annual Report here.

The Missing Link

Spiritual growth is a big deal. All of us desire to have lives formed into the image of Christ. We want to be women and men who feel connected to Jesus—who pray often, love well, and serve others. This is why we do things like read our Bible, pray, and spend Sunday morning singing songs and listening to sermons.

However, there's a big problem. Many of us are missing something crucial for spiritual growth.

For most of human history, knowledge and learning happened in the context of personal, often times one-on-one relationships. This is certainly the case in the people of God. All throughout the Scriptures we find examples of people more mature in their faith training and pouring into others.  For example, in the Old Testament Eli trains Samuel, and then Samuel trains David. Later on in Scripture, Paul trains Timothy, and Timothy in turn trains the leaders of his church. These sorts of spiritual friendships are part of the warp and woof of the Christian life. We need them.

Missing-Link

In the modern age though, the learning process has shifted. In today's world, many people are learning through computers, classrooms, blogs, books, and videos. And as great as all of these things are, they have a way of isolating people and interfering with one of the most important part of our spiritual growth—mentoring relationships.

Mentoring relationships is the “missing link” in many people’s spiritual growth. We need these relationships to grow, change, and see things differently. Mentors can play a variety of functions in our lives. It’s helpful to understand each of these so that we can become proactive in meeting the needs of our spiritual growth.

Here are the Nine Mentor Functions adopted from the book Connecting: The Mentoring Relationships You Need To Succeed In Life by Paul Stanley and Robert Clinton:

  1. Discipler: guidance in the basics of following Christ;
  2. Spiritual Guide: accountability for spiritual growth and discernment;
  3. Coach: specific skills development and the motivation to use them well;
  4. Counselor: timely advice, offering correct perspectives on ourselves, others, and ministry;o-MENTORING-facebook
  5. Teacher: knowledge, and the motivation to “see” truth;
  6. Sponsor: career guidance, protection as you move upward, and opening doors for new opportunities;
  7. Contemporary Model: a person who is a model for life and/or ministry;
  8. Historical Model: a historical person whose life reveals dynamic principles and values for ministry today;
  9. Divine Contact: timely guidance or discernment which is perceived as divine intervention. There is no "ideal mentor.";

 

There is no mentor out there that can fulfill all of these functions at the same time. That’s okay because God has placed many different Christians in our life that can help mentor us in different and diverse ways. The important thing is that we have the self-awareness to identify the types of mentoring relationships we need, and then proactively seek out those relationships with others.

Another way of thinking about the Nine Mentor Types is by placing them on a continuum in terms of duration and intensity. Notice how some relationships are more or less deliberate.

 MORE DELIBERATE LESS DELIBERATE 
 ACTIVE (INTENSIVE) OCCASIONAL (FOCUSED) PASSIVE (LOOSE)
1. Discipler 4. Counselor7. Contemporary Model
2. Spiritual Guide5. Teacher  8. Historical Model  
3. Coach 6. Sponsor9. Divine Contact 

Some mentoring relationship (e.g. #1-3) require a more formalized commitment from both parties so that meetings can be set and goals can be tracked. On the other hand, other mentoring relationships (e.g. #7-9) are less deliberate.  Both are needed but some are more appropriate during certain seasons of life and ministry than others. 

It's my hope that all of us would seek upward mentors in our life that have greater wisdom, knowledge, and experience in the Christian life, and can walk with us on our faith journey.Samuel, David, and Timothy needed a mentor and so do we. And as we grow on our journey, God gives us the privilege and responsibility of mentoring others.

Finding these kinds of relationships is sometimes difficult. It takes us outside of our comfort zone but I think most us crave mentoring relationships. We desire the kind of guidance, wisdom, coaching, and accountability that we find in Jesus giving to his disciples, and Paul giving to Timothy and Titus. 

So how do we find these kinds of mentoring friendships? It all starts with reaching out and meeting people at Hope. I've seen many mentor-mentee relationships form as a result of men getting to know each other at a Men's Retreat or women get connected by being in the same small group.  We've got to go out of our way to get to know others. The staff and elders are also available to talk to about mentoring, and perhaps make some suggestions.

Hope Covenant Church

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