The Heart of Evangelism

by Lynn Harney

Lynn Harney“Sing to the Lord, all the Earth; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations; His wonders among all peoples. For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is also to be feared above all gods.” 1 Chronicles 16:23-25 NKJV

The above verses are a part of the first psalm David sang at the arrival of the ark of God in Jerusalem for the first time. In it I find both the mission and the heart of evangelism. We are told what to proclaim, when to proclaim it, where we should proclaim it, who we should be talking about and why.

What we are to proclaim is “His salvation”, that is the salvation He provided that we were unable to achieve on our own. More to the point, we would not even have come up with such a great plan on our own. The evidence of this is overwhelming, every other option for having a relationship with God is through our own good works. We are told in the New Testament in many ways that it is only through Jesus that we can come to the Father. “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 “There is no other name by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 “There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5 Just to name a few. This shows us this is His salvation, His idea on His terms.

Once we receive Christ we are to proclaim His glory and His wonders. Glory, now that is not a word we use in the every day world and we Christians might be at risk of taking it for granted. One of its meanings is to give an accurate opinion of a person or a thing. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the gift of God, is the most accurate description of God there could ever be. In it we see His love, mercy, holiness, and justice. Hebrews 1 tells us Jesus was “the express image of God” or the exact representation of Him. There is no more wonderful thing in life than that Christ would give His for mine that I could share His.

We are told to proclaim it, from day to day. Our lives are to be a continual proclamation of His salvation. Need I say more?

Where we are told to proclaim it. Among the nations to all the peoples. There are no cultural boundaries, racial or economic divides. It is for all people. Some claim the Gospel to be exclusionary and in one way it is that is, in its means or how one is saved. But who it is for, is everyone who is willing to come, on His terms. So we make the Gospel available to everyone all of the time.

Finally, we are told why. “For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised; He is also to be feared above all gods.” Once again the character of God becomes the focus. Mans’ need for a savior is not the focus, though implied, by God Himself. When people see what God is really like their need becomes obvious. Isaiah saw the LORD and fell on his face, “Woe is me, I am undone. I am a man of unclean lips.” So our lives should evidence the character of God.

David through this Psalm was rededicating his life focus to the person and work of God so that everyone would know how great is our God. We call ourselves The Hope Center not merely because people’s physical needs can be met but because our wonderous God can be met in their time of need.

 

Lynn Harney is the co-director of Foundations Life Recovery program at The Hope Center. He and his wife, Wanda, served with New Tribes Mission for 22 years among the Manjaku people as church planters in Senegal, Africa. They have four children, a daughter-in-law, and four grandchildren. 

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Spiritual Growth

by Jerry Cooper

JerryCooper (2)God has many purposes for The Hope Center. But I believe that first and foremost God desires that we preach the Gospel for the salvation of men, women, and children. In addition, God desires the spiritual growth of all who do trust Christ as Lord and Savior.

Through Peter, the Holy Spirit commands all believers to grow in their faith.

2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Spiritual growth is one of the reasons that The Hope Center offers a 13-month discipleship program for men. Sonny, Rick, Lynn, and other staff are always seeking and looking for the spiritual growth of the men in the residential program.

Sadly, not all who believe in Christ grow spiritually as God desires. Some follow poor examples as those described in Hebrews 5.

Hebrews 5:12-14, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”

“By this time” means that these Christians had time to grow spiritually, but they were still immature. They needed “the basic principles of the oracles of God,” or spiritual “milk”. Each of them was a spiritual “child”.

This passage also teaches that the Word of God is essential for spiritual growth. Sadly these immature Christians were “unskilled in the word of righteousness.” Either they did not read the Scriptures and study them, or they did not listen when others taught the Scriptures.

Therefore, the Mission staff and churches preach and teach the Word of God at every opportunity. Men in the program memorize Scripture. They are urged to be active in a local church and study their Bibles.

Spiritual growth is also important because a Christian is useful to God when he is growing as God commands. The Holy Spirit spoke through Peter and explained who is effective and fruitful.

2 Peter 1:5-8, “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

God is saying that every Christian should grow in spiritual character: virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. The word “increasing” means that these words are not static, they are growing. But if they are not increasing, then the Christian is “ineffective” and “unfruitful”.

Let’s always pray for ourselves, that we grow spiritually and not be “ineffective”. And let’s pray for the men in the program, that they will grow spiritually and be fruitful.

 

Jerry Cooper is the pastor at Virginia Avenue Baptist Church and an evening chaplain at The Hope Center. He and his wife, Barb, currently reside in Hagerstown. For more information on Virginia Avenue Baptist Church visit http://www.vabconline.org. To contact Jerry please email him at jtcooper51@gmail.com

 

Happy Birthday, Louis!

The beginning of each month we have a special day to celebrate the birthdays of the guys who are residents at The Hope Center and are a part of our Foundations Life Recovery program.

This month we are so excited to wish Louis Dennis a happy birthday!! The birthday celebrations are made complete with a delicious cake by our friend Stormy.

Louis has been a part of Foundations Life Recovery program for 11 months. Louis has been progressing throughout the program and could be moved into our Gold Level this month which means he is close to completing the program.

Louis, who works in our Recycling Center, is very happy to talk about how he is growing spiritually since being in the program. In fact, he’s thrilled to tell people that he has even been baptized to show the world his commitment to his relationship with Christ.

We’re so happy to watch as Louis continues to claim victory each day as he continues to overcome his addiction issues and grow closer to Christ.

Join us in wishing Louis a very happy birthday!

If you or someone you know would like more information about Foundations Life Recovery program or would like to talk to someone about how to get help then please call us at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

 

 

Camp Wild 2015: Gallery of Smiles

Camp Wild 2015 was an incredible summer for both our campers and staff! We had over 230 kids experience all the action & adventure of our free summer day camp. There are plenty of activities for our campers to get involved in each day. From learning about Jesus, to building relationships, to creating art, hiking, swimming, exploring and playing, campers at Camp Wild are never lacking for anything exciting to do each day.

Since Camp Wild is free for any kid ages 5-12, we rely on the generous support of all of our donors in the area. We want to say thank you to all the individuals, churches, civic clubs, businesses and other organizations who helped to underwrite the cost of Camp Wild 2015. We appreciate your support and your commitment to reaching these precious kids for Christ and giving them a summer experience they will always remember.

For more information about Camp Wild go to http://www.campwildusa.com. To learn more about our youth ministry, Wildside Youth, go to http://www.wildsideyouth.com.

Where is Your Hope?

One of my favorite hymns, On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand, states in the first verse, “My HOPE is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” It states in the third verse, “When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my HOPE and stay.”

The ministry of the HOPE Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission is reaching out to the many who have nowhere else to turn. They are not aware of the blessed HOPE that is Jesus Christ until they find their way to the Rescue Mission. Lives have been changed through the sharing of the HOPE of the Gospel. (Romans 8:24 & 25)

Hebrews 11:1 states: Now faith is the substance of things HOPED for, the evidence of things to come. As this message of HOPE is given to so many who are down and out and have no place else to turn, the love of God through His Son Jesus gives a whole new perspective. Not only are our sins forgiven, but Titus 2:13 tells us, Looking for that blessed HOPE and glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. We now know where we will spend eternity, and His return could happen today.

But are believers sharing this HOPE, the good news of our salvation? 1 Peter 3:15 says, But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the HOPE that is in you with meekness and fear.

I praise God for the ministry of the many Rescue Missions founded by my dear Uncle Jim Resh and the HOPE they have given to thousands over the years. As we are living in the end times when the rapture could happen at any moment, believers need to be ready to share the Gospel at every opportunity. We also need to give our support to ministries like The HOPE Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission.

Lynette Brewer

Written by Lynette Brewer

Lynette Brewer lives in Westminster, Maryland, has been President of the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Westminster Rescue Mission and has recently become a member of their Board of Directors.

Celebrate the Resurrection with Us

The choir from Maranatha Brethren Church is back to perform their Easter cantata, Arise My Love, this Friday, April 3rd, at 7pm in the Trinity Center.

Maranatha Easter Cantata 2015

Following the performance, a delicious meal will be served for all of our guests. This is a free event and one that everyone in your family will enjoy! Maranatha always provides a great performance and incredible food so don’t miss this chance to celebrate the resurrection of Christ!

Be sure to invite your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and others to join you this Friday at 7pm at the Trinity Center at The Hope Center.

The Trinity Center is located next to the Thrift Store on Walnut Street between Franklin & Church Streets. There’s plenty of complimentary parking in our central lot located off of Church Street.

For more info, call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

For You, Do Two!

At the beginning of every month we have a birthday celebration for residents who were born during that month. Our good friend, Stormy, always bakes & decorates a delicious birthday cake for our guys, and they love it! We recently celebrated Frank’s birthday, the only resident in the program with a birthday in the month of August.

After celebrating Frank’s birthday, we asked him to jot down a few thoughts about how his life has been changing and what another birthday means to him. So we’re gonna let Frank tell you, briefly, his story of hope and redemption in his own words.

‘For you, do two!’

“By the grace of God, all glory and praise be to my Savior, Jesus Christ!

Hello, my name is Frank Bercaw and I’ve just celebrated my second birthday at The Hope Center.  On August 1, 2011 I returned to the “Foundations” program after a second chance was granted me by the staff.  My battle with alcohol was a war I couldn’t win on my own.  The only thing I can say is that my battle was fought and won by my Lord Jesus Christ.  All I needed to do was accept it.  By the grace of God, they accepted me back into the program which has allowed me to grow more and more in my relationship with God the Father.

If I can encourage anyone to let God start and finish a work in your life, please have an open heart to accept His Spirit to work through you.  I hope my life serves as a testimony of God’s love for His children.

The Hope Center has taught me to empty myself of what I was full of so God has a useful vessel.  The devil was determined to bump me out, but with regular prayer and worship my mind is focused and I’m a better man because of it.

I’ve been blessed by God to be able to do many things with my hands.  Work was never a problem for me.  As a matter of fact, I over-worked.  My daughters ask me over and over again, “Daddy, when are you finished with the program?”  And I tell them, “Your daddy is coming through this program as a better father to you.”

Thanks be to God for allowing a place like The Hope Center to rescue the lost as I have been rescued!

“For you, do two?”  The two birthdays I’ve spent here at The Hope Center have changed my life in an amazing and beautiful way.  God brought be back here so I can do amazing things by glorifying His name!”

I could write a book, and maybe some day I will.  But for now, may God’s love be with you all.”

The change in Frank’s life has been very evident since he returned to the Foundations program for the second time. God is using Frank to be a testimony and example to the other residents in the program. Please continue to pray for Frank. Please keep praying for the residents that are currently in the program and all the new men that will seek help this year.

Thank you for being a part of this ministry and helping to make it possible for men like Frank to turn their lives around. Each time you give, in one way or another, you are helping to change lives for Christ. Please don’t forget how important you are to this ministry!