God’s Love Story for You

“Because He lives, I can face tomorrowBecause He lives, all fear is goneBecause I know He holds the futureAnd life is worth the living, just because He lives”

It’s been quite a year for all of us. Hardship, sacrifice, stress, fear, and for many, the loss of a loved one. But the power of what we celebrate this day is the freedom from all those feelings and the eternal promise of HOPE. 

The morning of the third day the disciples were still living in fear and disbelief over the tragedy and loss of Christ’s crucifixion. But with the break of dawn came the Son rise that would forever change the story of humankind. 

As the sun rose today so did the hope of God’s promise and the reminder of His great love! Easter is a love story from God to you. When you’re feeling alone, when you’re scared, when you’re feeling hopeless, just remember that Jesus was saying your name as He hung on that cross. And he was thinking of you when He defeated death and walked out of that tomb. You are valuable. You are precious. You are loved – and the Easter story is proof. Your pain, hurt, fear, and sadness are His now. Tell Him your pain. Tell Him your fear. And trust Him to fight for you – because He already has. And He won. For you. 

“The thought of my homelessness and pain is bitter poison. I think constantly and my spirit is depressed. Yet HOPE returns when I remember one thing. The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, so in Him I put my HOPE.” Lamentations 3: 19-26

May the HOPE of our risen Lord give you peace, joy, and victory today! He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Happy Easter!

Christmas & New Year Schedule

Christmas is almost here so we want to give you our schedule of all the closures taking place at The Hope Center this week and the next.

CHRISTMAS EVE: Thrift Stores (Hagerstown & Chambersburg), Donation Center, Recycling Center, and Wildside Youth will all be CLOSED. The Administrative Office will CLOSE AT 11:30am.

CHRISTMAS: Administrative Offices, Thrift Stores, Donation Center, Recycling Center, and Wildside Youth will all be CLOSED.

New Year’s Day: Administrative Offices, Thrift Stores, Donation Center, Recycling Center, and Wildside Youth will be CLOSED.

Our daily community meals, including Soup Line, and our overnight shelter will be OPEN on all holidays. Soup Line will operate on holiday schedule (same as Sundays) on Christmas and New Year’s Day. Trinity Center doors will open at 12:45pm on those days.

If you have any questions or concerns about our holiday schedule please call us at 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com. Learn more about The Hope Center by visiting hagerstownhopecenter.com and be sure to stay up-to-date by following us on Facebook at facebook.com/hopecenterhagerstown

We hope each of you have a safe, healthy and happy holiday celebrations this year! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thanksgiving Happiness Delivered

Thanksgiving 2020 is in the books… and is one for the books!

Our tradition of hosting a large group celebration in the Trinity Center was thwarted this year by COVID-19. We had originally planned to provide meals to-go and delivery but with the quick increase in cases in the area and a few positive cases at The Hope Center we decided to provide delivery only as an option for our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast.

Since we’ve never done delivery as an option we were basically working the unknown. But once the delivery reservation date came and went we were better able to see how it would all go down.

Our volunteers started trickling in the week of Thanksgiving to start preparing some of the foods for the delivery feast. From Dorcas creating the delicious stuffing, to Becky roasting all the turkeys (19 in total), to Laurel, Melanie, and Keith taking the meat off the bones, our pre-Thanksgiving crew worked hard to make sure our feast was ready for the big day. Then came the arrival of all the pies provided by Germantown Church of God and delivered by our wonderful friends, Mark & Sue Hosler.

Then bright and early on Thanksgiving – actually earlier than the sun – staff and volunteers descended on the kitchen to start preparing all the different elements for our feast. From Michelle and Melanie making the sweet potatoes and Doug carving the turkey breast, our kitchen came to life like it would on any Thanksgiving Day. Our faithful friend, Amanda, showed up like she does every Thanksgiving to help all over the kitchen, and good friends of The Hope Center Sue & Dan Thornton arrived to provide a huge help to the day. And then our mashed potato man, Larry, dropped by to make sure we provided the best mashed potatoes as he does every Thanksgiving.

Once the pies were cut, the cranberry sauce in individualized containers, and all the food prepared, our dining room became a food delivery factory! We had volunteers dipping the food, volunteers filling delivery boxes, and volunteers driving the food all over the Hagerstown area for our community friends to enjoy!

It was a long day but it was a huge success! While we absolutely missed seeing all our volunteers, guests, family, and friends, we are still so happy we were able to continue the tradition of providing Thanksgiving for our community! We’ve been providing this Thanksgiving Feast since the very beginning when the Rescue Mission was founded by Jim & Ellen Resh all the way back in 1955. Coronavirus may have caused a few hiccups but it didn’t keep us from being able to celebrate all the blessings God has provided during this unconventional year.

And speaking of God’s blessings – what a year of blessings it’s been! God has provided for us repeatedly this year in so many awesome ways!! And this Thanksgiving celebration was just another visible way of God showing His faithfulness to our ministry. Every time things looked more difficult than we expected, God sent someone or something to give us hope. Our volunteers on Thanksgiving were absolutely amazing. From Sue Thornton working her magic in the kitchen to all the food servers filling the delivery orders, to all of our happy drivers who dropped off meals to families and came back to deliver more! In the midst of this challenging year God has continually showed up for this ministry and provided in miraculous ways.

We hope each of you had a safe, healthy, and happy Thanksgiving this year! And while we enjoyed seeing our delivery feast make everyone happy we can’t wait to host everyone in person next year!

Thanks to all of our donors, volunteers, and staff for going above and beyond for our unprecedented Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast! We honestly thank God for each and every one of you who helped to make it a success. Thank you so much!!

We’ve REOPENED… Again!

Our Hagerstown Thrift Store and Donation Center were briefly shut down due to COVID-19 but we’re happy to announce that both are open and operating on normal schedule!

And to celebrate the reopening, our Hagerstown Thrift Store is having a DOUBLE SALE! From now through November 25th enjoy 50% OFF WOMEN’S CLOTHING and JEWELRY! This is an incredible sale that’s perfect for that special someone on your Christmas list. And with new merch hitting the shelves daily you never know what interesting item you might find each visit.

Our Hagerstown Thrift Store is open M-Sat from 9am – 4:30pm. The current sale is only good through Wednesday, November 25th so don’t wait too long to take advantage of these great sales! For more info about our sales or Thrift Store please call 301.739.1114.

Our Donation Center has reopened too! We’re happy to accept your gently used items. Our Donation Center hours are M-Sat from 9am – 4pm. For a list of items we accept/cannont accept please visit https://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com/in-kind-gifts

Please note that our Thrift Stores (Hagerstown & Chambersburg) and our Donation Center will be closed on Thanksgiving, Thursday November 26th.

If you or anyone you know would like a free Thanksgiving meal delivered please call us at 301.739.1165 by noon on Monday, November 23rd to reserve a delivery!

Thanksgiving Day Update

As Thanksgiving Day quickly approaches we’ve had to make a tough decision. Unfortunately with everything that’s currently happening with the rise of Covid-19 cases we’ve decided to serve delivery meals for Thanksgiving only.

We had originally planned on providing carry-out meals along with delivery but for the safety of our staff, volunteers, and guests we’ve chosen to only provide delivery meals to the Hagerstown area. Meals will be delivered between 11:30am – 1pm on Thanksgiving Day.

The delivery meals will provide all the same delicious items that we’d serve carry-out orders. From roast turkey, to our delicious stuffing, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, succotash, sauerkraut, cranberry sauce, fruit cocktail, and pie, each delivery meal will be packed full of amazing Thanksgiving goodness.

Reservations for delivery meals are required. To reserve a delivery meal for yourself and anuyone in your household please call 301.739.1165 by noon on Monday, November 23rd.

Our Thanksgiving Feast is free for anyone and everyone in the Hagerstown area. Call to reserve your meal and then share this with everyone you know!

We will also host our daily Soup Line on Thanksgiving. Soup Line doors will open at 12:45pm and close promptly at 1:15pm. Soup Line meets each day in the Trinity Center (215 W. Church St). MASKS MUST BE WORN and SOCIAL DISTANCING GUIDELINES ARE ENFORCED. Seating is limited for Soup Line due to social distancing regulations.

To place your delivery order or for more info please call 301.739.1165.

Who’s Ready for Turkey?

Halloween is just a week away which means the holiday season is upon us!

We’re kicking off Thanksgiving month with our second Community Grocery Giveaway! We’re opening the doors of the Trinity Center on Friday, November 13th from 9-11am (or while supplies last) for anyone in the community who needs food assistance. Our first Community Grocery Giveaway in the summer was a hit so we’re happy to give out more food to those in need in November. Reservations/tickets are not required for this event but masks must be worn. Each person will be able to choose from a wide selection of various non-perishable items and an assortment of breads and pastries. For more info please call 301.739.1165.

And with Thanksgiving just around the corner we’re happy to announce that our annual Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast will take place this year! With that being said, it’s going to look a little different. We will be providing meals for carry-out and delivery this year. There will not be a service nor kids activities this year.

The menu for our feast this year will be exactly as you remember it from the past. You and your family can enjoy roast turkey, mashed potatoes, our crowd-pleasing stuffing, sweet potatoes, succotash, sauerkraut, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and more!

The Trinity Center doors will open at 11:30am and each person will be able to receive a delicious meal to take home. Reservations are not required for carry-out. Doors will close at 1pm or while supplies last. Please remember to wear a mask.

Delivery will begin at 11:30am also and will be for residents inside Hagerstown city limits. Delivery reservations are required. Please call our office at 301.739.1165 by November 16th to be put on our delivery list. Delivery meals will be the same menu as carry-out.

We are in need of volunteers to help again this year at our Thanksgiving feast. We need people to help serve, prepare delivery meals, and help deliver meals around the city. If you or anyone you know would like to volunteer this year please call 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com immediately. Please help us spread the word! Thank you!

Please remember that our kitchen is open every day of the year to serve meals to anyone and everyone in the community. If you are in need of a delicious meal please join us each day. Also, if you or your family are in need of grocery assistance please call us to reserve a complimentary food bag. For more info about food bags, our daily meals, or any other programs and services at The Hope Center please call us at 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com. To learn more about The Hope Center please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

11 Pipers Piping…

The eleven pipers are piping with glee because our week 11 countdown sale is 50% OFF ALL TOYS!!

Our latest 12 Weeks of Christmas Thrift Store Countdown kicked off this morning with a great sale on all the fun things for the little ones on your Christmas list. And let’s be honest, you might just find some great items for the kids at heart in your life too!

Stop by our Hagerstown Thrift Store from October 9 – 15 to enjoy this huge sale on all of our toys. And come back often because we’re always putting out new items on our shelves so you never know what perfect gift is waiting for you.

This sale is at our Hagerstown Thrift Store only. Our store is open Mon – Sat from 9am – 4:30pm. It’s located at 215 W. Church Street and we have plenty of parking on our central lot. For more info call 301.739.1114.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

It’s the sound of 12 Drummers Drumming to announce the arrival of our 12 Weeks of Christmas Thrift Store Countdown! From October through December we’ll be counting down the weeks until Christmas with special sales starting each Friday. These sales are BIG but only last for a week.

And those 12 Drummers are beating their drums in excitement for our first week sale. From October 2- 8 all MEDIA will be 50% OFF!! This includes records, tapes, CD’s, and videos. There are so many classic titles, random finds, and collectors items in our media section. And each visit you may find something new that would be perfect for someone on your Christmas list!

Our Hagerstown Thrift Store is located at 215 W. Church St. The store is open Mon – Sat from 9am – 4:30pm. For more info please call 301.739.1114 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

The 12 Weeks of Christmas Thrift Store Countdown is at our Hagerstown Thrift Store only.

Embracing the Hope of Easter in These Uncertain Times

by John Miller

JohnMiller (2)Easter is a time to embrace our need and celebrate God’s provision! Our need is to be forgiven of sin, God’s provision was to give us the Savior Who would not only offer us pardon by His death on the cross but also Victorious Life by His resurrection from the dead! Jesus Christ is God’s answer to our “virus” of sin.

During these uncertain days of COVID-19, we’re reminded about how fragile life is and how mortal we are. One little microscopic life form has brought planet earth to a standstill. By a simple inhale in the wrong place at the wrong time, we can become the next victim. Hearts are anxious and lives are in upheaval because of this invasion of what has been called “the invisible enemy”. Our prayers go out to all who are affected by this in any way, some more than others. And we applaud all who are on the front lines working to provide healthcare and supplies to hospitals, stores, postal services, feeding programs such as The Hope Center, banks, and every facet of service that is engaged in this war.

As bad as this pandemic is, sin is much worse than any coronavirus. COVID-19 can take a life, but sin can take a soul. The enemy of our souls invaded the human race all the way back in the Garden of Eden. Sin entered our spiritual lungs and began to suffocate the Life of God out of our lives. Mankind no longer breathed the fresh Presence of God. Over the years, old testament sacrifices were made that served as foreshadows of a future Sacrifice on a hill called Calvary but could not take away sin or provide us with a new nature. Jesus is the “Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world” and implants within us a new nature by being born-again, born spiritually.

When Jesus died on the cross as the perfect, sinless “Lamb of God” He did so to provide atonement. The word “atonement” can be better understood as “at” “one” “ment”. God and man had become divided through sin (much like social distancing). God and man could not enjoy the fellowship they once had due to the “sin virus”, so distance was put between us until Jesus came to live a perfect life for us and then offer His life as a sacrifice, much like a blood transfusion, to give us life and restore us to “at” “one” “ment” with God = Atonement! His sacrifice is enough for a full payment of our sins!

But, that’s not the end. When Jesus said “It is finished” while hanging on the cross, it was only getting started! Did God accept Jesus’ offering as a sufficient remedy for our sin virus? During the old testament days, when God wanted to show that He had accepted a person’s offering, He’d raise it up by some spectacular fashion, such as with Cain & Abel in Genesis 4, Gideon in Judges 6, and Elijah in 1 Kings 18. It wasn’t enough just to offer a sacrifice. Would God accept it? Was it good enough?

If God saw that Jesus’ offering was sufficient, then He will raise Him up! Romans 1:4 tells us in no uncertain terms that “Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection from the dead.” God raised up Jesus to say to the world: “YES! JESUS IS ENOUGH! MY SON DID IT. I ACCEPT HIS SACRIFICE IN PLACE OF YOURS!” Had Jesus only died on the cross without a resurrection, then we’d have to conclude that God did not see it as sufficient, but HE DID! And He proved it!

You see friends, we deserved to die on that old rugged cross! We do not deserve to go to Heaven. But if we will simply place our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, all is forgiven. Jesus Christ is the only remedy for this sin-virus that runs rampant in the human race. Just as COVID-19 has invaded the planet, sin has invaded the human race. The only vaccine is Jesus. And to accept Him as Savior means so much more than just getting a “vaccination” or “ticket to Heaven”. It’s about relationship.

Do you know Jesus as your personal Savior? Has there been a time in your life when you know you were born-again and that you and God have been restored to “at” “one” “ment” through the Atonement of Jesus?

If not, why not today? Right there, call on Jesus to rescue you from the virus of sin that threatens to take your soul. Turn from sin and look to Jesus in full repentance from sin and open arms to receive Him into your life.

We’d like to encourage you in your faith, especially if you just asked Jesus into your life. Will you let us know? Contact The Hope Center to let them know about your decision to follow Jesus!

HAPPY RESURRECTION DAY! JESUS IS ALIVE!

To talk to someone at The Hope Center please call us at 301.739.1165 or email us at info@hagerstownhopecenter.com. Learn more about The Hope Center, our response to COVID-19, and all the programs & services we offer the community free of charge by visiting http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

John & Melissa Miller are familiar faces around The Hope Center. As former pastor at Faith Christian Fellowship, John & Melissa would help with evening chapel services and have both ministered in various ways to our residents and guests at The Hope Center in the past. Currently they are the V.P. of Operations/Missionaries for Churches in Missions. To learn more about the Millers go to http://www.johnandmelissamiller.com or visit http://www.churchesinmissions.org.

Once Upon a Time…

Good Friday 1I love a good story. I mean, we all do, right? Stories entertain us. They ignite our imagination or pull at our heart strings. They encourage us or motivate us. They teach us lessons or bring the past to life. We all love a good tale as old as time. The excitement of that ‘once upon a time’ and the contentment of ‘happily ever after’.

A good story is what we all need now. It’s what we’re all longing for. An escape from the reality of this pandemic. A way to shelter ourselves from the death and fear surrounding us. A story to put our mind and heart at ease and remind us that things will be ok again.

As a kid in church I loved when my Sunday School teacher would use the felt board to tell Bible stories. I secretly always wanted to own one so I could tell the stories myself. Those visuals helped to bring those stories to life and live inside our minds.

But also as a child in church there was another medium used to tell stories: songs. We all remember Father Abraham and Deep and Wide. Classics in Sunday Schools across the country. But for me, there was one song as a kid that I’ve always loved. I can’t sing it for you as you read this but I’m sure you’re familiar with it too and your brain will instantly jump right back into this song and you might even bust out loud singing. It goes like this:

“I heard an old, old story, how a Savior came from glory

how He gave His life on Calvary to save a wretch like me

I heard about His groaning, of His precious blood’s atoning

then I repented of my sins and won the victory

Oh victory in Jesus, my Savior forever

He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood

He loved me ‘ere I knew Him and all my love is due Him

He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood.”

What a story! So powerful, so encouraging, so timely. And that’s another thing about a successful story — timing.

We tell stories to help in situations. A story isn’t only as good as its content or subject matter but as when the story is told and how it will change the person or group who hears the story.

And that’s what makes this all so significant. In the darkest time of this pandemic comes Easter. The most powerful, life-altering, history changing, good vs evil story known to humankind. Easter! In our most challenging days arrives the most encouraging story.

It’s got darkness and despair. A world falling apart and desperate for help. It’s got loneliness and heartache. Bad decisions and bad motives. It’s got fear and death. And it’s got an ending to end all stories.

This timing didn’t surprise God. It’s a message for us. It’s a reminder that He is still here even when we feel so isolated and scared. It’s His story of hope. It’s His story of victory. It’s His story of love. And it’s His story of our ‘happily ever after’.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed with the news and images we see and hear constantly. It’s easy to be unnerved by closed businesses and empty parks. It’s understandable to feel alone. Imagine the disciples and family watching as Jesus was paraded down the road broken, humiliated, carrying His cross. Imagine as they watched Him hang on that cross desperate for air. Imagine as they watched Him breathe His last breath. Imagine the fear they felt as the stone was rolled in front of that tomb.

I imagine that you, like the rest of us, are experiencing the same types of feelings now.

In fact this morning was especially hard on me. There’s only so much of the darkness and evil in the world that I can take before the feeling of hopelessness takes over. But in that minute when my desperate heart cried out to God to intervene He put a song on my lips. “I heard an old, old story…”

Victory in Jesus! If that isn’t the ‘happily ever after’ the world needs now then I don’t know what else to say. In the darkest point in our lives, is a holiday celebrating the most powerful and victorious story ever told!

God knows our fear and our pain — He’s gone through it. God knows our loneliness — He’s been there. God knows our heartache as loved ones die — He’s experienced it. And God knows the hope of victory — because He’s already won it.

Sure, this Easter is gonna be strange and different for us but in no way is COVID-19 changing the message of hope. In no way is the virus rewriting the ending of the story. In no way does the fallen world win.

There’s victory in Jesus! And now more than ever the world needs to hear this story…now. This is the story of life. The story of victory. The story of HOPE.

May you and your family have a safe and HAPPY EASTER!