Starting 2018 Off Right – Working With God to Do Great Things

by John Miller

 

JohnMiller (2)

John & Melissa Miller

John 14:12, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on Me, the works that I do he shall do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father.”

 

“When God contemplates some great work, He begins it by the hand of some poor, weak, human creature, to whom He afterwards gives aid.” -Martin Luther

Just think of it! The Almighty of this universe desires to employ us in His eternal work! Can anything be more fulfilling than this? To know that the Creator desires to give us aid and opportunities to fulfill His will in sharing His love with others.

All human edifices and titles will one day be dust. Worldly fame and fortune will be forgotten. At the funeral of one of the richest men who ever lived, J.D. Rockefeller, someone asked: “How much do you think he left behind?” The reply was: “All of it.”

Heavenly treasure never fades. Working with God in His eternal purposes will last throughout eternity. What a humbling thought, that God would choose to place some “calling” in our hearts, invite us to become involved in something He is doing, then provide aid to us. Perhaps He is calling you to some special work? Is God speaking to your heart to become more involved in aiding The Hope Center in some way? Has God blessed you with time to serve? Resources to give? Some talent to be used to help others?

I can think of nothing more rewarding and satisfying than seeing God work and provide through people to bring about His hearts desires. As The Hope Center moves forward in their calling they pray to God to raise up people who can serve and give to reach others. They can’t do this alone. They continue looking to God for all we need. The staff remains focused on exalting Christ in all they do, praying for each person who comes through their doors, encouraging people, feeding stomachs and souls, and being vessels through whom God can do His works!

Jesus said we could do “greater works” than He did because He went to the Father. Isn’t this astounding?? This word “greater” doesn’t mean better or grander, but more in number. Jesus went back to Heaven at age 33 but He continues from Heaven, providing opportunities for us to complete works He still has to do, through you and me! What an amazing offer from a perfect God to weak, broken and unworthy souls.

How does God want to work through you today, and more specifically to help The Hope Center fulfill the mission God has given to them? Call today and inquire about how you can help. God will smile upon your benevolence.

To learn more about how you can join God’s mission to the city of Hagerstown through the many ministries, programs, and services provided at The Hope Center just go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com. To speak to someone now about how you can get involved in one way or another call us at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net

 

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.

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Broadfording Church Delivers a New Years Surprise!

Our community has always been so supportive of our various needs at The Hope Center. And for us to continue all that we do without ever charging our guests or receiving tax funding from the government, we rely on God providing the amazing people in the greater Hagerstown area to support us through financial gifts, volunteer hours served, food donations, gently used clothing, furniture, household items and the such, and prayer.

This Christmas season was a wonderful time again as we witnessed churches, businesses, families, civic clubs, and individuals giving items that are so necessary to our everyday operation. And while little things like jars of peanut butter, pillows, and toothpaste may seem small and trivial on the grand scale, they are absolutely so incredibly important  to the continued success of our programs and services and so valuable to the guests who are in need of assistance in one way or another.

DSC_0445 (2)Recently, Ashley Burkett from Broadfording Church just outside of Hagerstown delivered a load of items collected by the church for The Hope Center. What a great way to kick off 2018!

Ashley, the Outreach Coordinator at Broadfording Church, had read our Twelve Gifts of Christmas post and encouraged her church to help get the various items on our list. And the church delivered! They provided us with new pillows, spaghetti & sauce, cold medication, pain reliever, personal care items, cleaning products, gift cards, peanut butter, laundry detergent, socks, and disinfectant spray!

We are so thankful for Ashley and the generous people of Broadfording Church! We are so happy to have so many wonderful, generous, and caring people in our community and we can’t thank God enough for all the great people He has brought our way to partner with us to keep this ministry open another year! So again, thank you Broadfording Church for the gifts you provided!

The Hope Center started as a rescue mission in an old dance hall on Jail Alley in Hagerstown in 1955. Since our doors first opened there we haven’t shut them. The Hope Center is the oldest continually operating shelter in Hagerstown. And we are able to remain open every day of the year, giving shelter, feeding families, and helping change lives, because of kind people like Ashley & Broadfording Church in our community who come together to provide for the less fortunate. If you would like to learn more about the various programs & services provided at The Hope Center then please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com. If you, or someone you know, is in need of assistance then please call us at 301.739.1165.

If you’re interested in learning more about Broadfording Church please visit http://www.broadfordingchurch.com. The church is located at 13523 Broadfording Church Rd in Hagerstown.

 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 4Just a reminder that our Administrative Offices, Thrift Stores (Hagerstown & Chambersburg), Wildside Youth, food bag program, donation drop center, and recycling center will all be closed on Monday, January 1st for New Years Day. Our Soup Line (doors open at 1:15pm), evening meal/chapel, and overnight transient (homeless) shelter will be open and operating on a normal schedule.

Everything will return to normal operating hours on Tuesday, January 2nd. For any questions or information please call 301.739.1165. You can also have all the information you need at your fingertips by visiting http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

We hope you have a safe, fun, and warm New Years celebration! May God bless you and your family & friends in the upcoming year! Happy 2018!

It Was a Very Merry Christmas at The Hope Center!

December was a huge month at The Hope Center with so many activities and parties for so many different people.

From a cantata concert, to a party for kids, a Soup Line celebration, and more, we made sure that there was plenty of fun things to do to celebrate the birth of Christ at The Hope Center.

Auxiliary Christmas Celebration

Each year our Auxiliary hosts a Christmas dinner for our residents where they bring in local talent to perform while providing delicious food and great company. And on December 2nd, the Auxiliary kicked off the Christmas celebrations at The Hope Center with a wonderfully festive Christmas evening. Our Auxiliary does a lot of work behind the scenes helping to provide different things to The Hope Center while also helping to make sure our residents feel at home at The Hope Center while they’re enrolled in Foundations Life Recovery, our 13-month program. This Christmas celebration is just another way for our Auxiliary to show love and support to the guys who are a part of our family. The Auxiliary sponsored the roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy from Leiters’ Fine Catering and cooked and baked the rest of the food and treats including the festive Christmas punch. If the good food wasn’t enough our residents were treated to a great concert by Second Chances, a local group comprised of members from various churches. We’re so thankful to our Auxiliary and all the hard work that they put into all they do to keep The Hope Center programs and ministries moving forward. If you’d like to join our volunteer Auxiliary then please call us at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

Wildside Christmas Party

On December 5th, Wildside hosted their annual Christmas party for kids in Hagerstown who were ready to start celebrating the season! Local kids had a blast playing Christmas themed games, winning prizes and eating some pretty festive food! All Wildside events are free for kids ages 5-12. Wildside has so many different activities and events year round for kids to be a part of. Learn more about Wildside Youth and take a look at all the fun things coming in 2018 at http://www.wildsideyouth.com.

Maranatha Christmas Dinner & Concert

On December 8th the great folks from Maranatha Brethren Church hosted their annual Christmas cantata and community dinner at the Trinity Center. Each year Maranatha Brethren sets a festive mood with their cantata and this year did not disappoint. This year our guests enjoyed the choir performing The Story of Christmas: Worship the King. Following the concert, Maranatha provided all guests with a great meal and festive desserts! Maranatha’s cantata and dinner have now become a holiday tradition at The Hope Center and an evening that is enjoyed by all who attend. Like all our community events, this dinner concert is free and open for anyone and everyone to attend. Maranatha Brethren Church is a great friend of The Hope Center and works year round in various ways helping us bring hope to Hagerstown. We’re so thankful for their commitment to this ministry and their heart to serve others! If you’d like to learn more about Maranatha please visit http://www.maranathagbc.net.

 

Bikers Christmas Party

The local chapter of Christian Motorcycle Association hosted a Christmas luncheon for our residents at the Trinity Center. They provided the men with great food, Christmas music, great conversation and even gave each man a Christmas gift. Our residents enjoy this event where they are being celebrated and have the opportunity to talk to people in the community who are supporting them in their journey of recovery. Our residents are part of Foundations Life Recovery which is a 13-month rehabilitation type of program to help them break the destructive addictions and habits that have cost them almost everything in their lives. This event is such an inspirational moment for the men as they are able to just talk to people who genuinely care for them and their success. We are so thankful for the CMA for hosting this party for our residents year-after-year. Christmas is such a busy time of year for all of us and to see people go out of their way to love and support others during this time is exactly what the season is all about. For more information about the Christian Motorcycle Association please email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net or call us at 301.739.1165.

Soup Line Christmas Celebration

On Tuesday, December 19th, we hosted a Christmas celebration with our community guests at our daily Soup Line. They were treated to a delicious holiday lunch with some great Christmas desserts and treats as well as opportunities to win prizes. And to top it all off our community guests got a chance to meet our very own Santa! Howard, one of our graduates, gladly donned the Santa outfit and interacted with our guests as the big man from the North Pole. Everyone, including Howard, had a great day eating, laughing and celebrating. Our Soup Line is free for all people, young and old, and is open every single day of the year, including all holidays and during inclement weather. For more information about our Soup Line and other food programs please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com or call us at 301.739.1165.

The Hope Center Christmas Service 

On Thursday, December 21 we hosted our Hope Center Christmas celebration. Each year we host a service where staff and residents come together to worship God and celebrate the birth of Jesus. Between singing Christmas carols and hearing a Christmas message, everyone is in the Christmas spirit! Then the men’s staff hand out the Christmas gifts for our residents. Each of our residents got new sweaters and sweatshirts, pillows, bath towels, socks, gloves, underwear, personal care items, and most importantly, candy. Following the Christmas service & party, everyone was treated to a special holiday dinner where residents and staff mixed, interacted and celebrated together as one big Hope Center family! This celebration is a way for us to make each of our residents feel at home and help deal with the pressures of the holidays without family and friends. And this celebration wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of all of our supporters and friends in the community. From donating financially to providing the pillows, treats and other items, each of you in the community were a part of this, and all the other celebrations year-round, at The Hope Center.

As the oldest continually operating shelter in Hagerstown, we have been combating homelessness, hunger, addiction, tragedy, and hopelessness every single day of the year since 1955. And we’ve done it all without ever asking the government for one cent. The Hope Center operates as a Christ-centered relief agency to help our local community in their darkest days and we do it through the love and support of individuals, churches, businesses and civic clubs in the area. God has always provided for The Hope Center and He uses amazing people like you to help change so many lives. From providing multiple hot meals a day, to free summer camp for at-risk kids, to our food bag program, overnight shelter for the homeless, and so much more, you’ve helped be a part of something that’s bigger than we ever imagined it would be. 2017 was another banner year for people giving of time and resources to help others. We are so thankful for each of you and your continued support of The Hope Center and each precious life who walks through our doors seeking help and love. Christmas is all about that love. Because of God’s deep love for all humanity He sent His Son just for us. And because of that Son we have the hope to provide for every person who needs it. God’s love is free for all and we are so happy to partner with you to show every man, woman, and child who comes to The Hope Center the power behind God’s love and the power of genuine hope. Thank you for allowing us to help people day-in-and-day-out. Our doors are open every single day of the year and they’ve been that way since the very beginning. And we don’t plan on changing that in the years to come. We look forward to all God is going to do in Hagerstown in 2018 and we are hopeful that you’ll continue to partner with us to provide HOPE for Hagerstown in the coming year.

For more information about all the various programs and services at The Hope Center and to also learn about how you can join us in the fight against homelessness, hunger, and hopelessness then please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Thank you for helping provide a wonderful Christmas season for our residents and guests this year! We hope each of you had a very Merry Christmas and we hope that you also have a wonderful 2018!

The Twelve Gifts of Christmas

12 Days of ChristmasEvery year we hear one of the most widely known and, depending on the day or the version, possibly most annoying song of the Christmas season. At first, it’s fun. But by the time we hit the eight maids-a-milking we’ve generally had enough of the song and it’s constant reminder that our memory isn’t what it used to be.

No matter how bad our memory gets, the first time it comes on for the season it’s a fun challenge to try to remember each of the gifts throughout the twelve days.

But those gifts… what an interesting, yet thoughtful, series of presents they were. Nine ladies dancing. Seven swans swimming. And how about those five golden rings??

As we were singing through the song a thought came to our festive mind… how about a 12 days of Christmas list of our own? Now, the six geese-a-laying is a fine gift but not necessarily something that we can use on the regular. So we drafted a list of twelve various things that we could definitely use at The Hope Center. And these are things that we can use year round, not just the twelve days before or after Christmas.

So as you’re checking off items from your Christmas list, maybe grab one or two off of ours. This list is small and simple but incredibly necessary and a huge relief for us to get in donations due to the large amount that we use throughout the year.

So, without any further adieu, we give to you our Twelve Gifts of Christmas (the holiday tune is optional):

  • On the first day of Christmas our neighbors gave to us bottles of pain relievers (Advil or Tylenol type)
  • On the second day of Christmas our neighbors gave to us non-drowsy cold meds
  • On the third day of Christmas our neighbors gave to us coffee and creamer
  • On the fourth day of Christmas our neighbors gave to us travel-size men’s shampoo
  • On the fifth day of Christmas our neighbors gave to us jars of peanut butter*
  • On the sixth day of Christmas our neighbors gave to us brand new pillows
  • On the seventh day of Christmas our neighbors gave to us spaghetti and sauce
  • On the eighth day of Christmas our neighbors gave to us fast food gift cards**
  • On the ninth day of Christmas our neighbors gave to us candy bars
  • On the tenth day of Christmas our neighbors gave to us liquid laundry detergent (and/or dryer sheets)
  • On the eleventh day of Christmas our neighbors gave to us travel-size men’s deodorant 
  • On the twelfth day of Christmas our neighbors gave to us spray disinfectant (Lysol or similar brands)

*14 – 16 ounce jars of any brand peanut butter for our food bags

**The fast food gift cards from places like McDonald’s & Roy Rogers are used in the monthly birthday gifts given to the men who are residents and enrolled in our Foundations Life Recovery (13 month rehabilitation) program

Ok so our lyrics might not be as catchy or easy to sing to but these twelve items are a vital part of the programs and services we offer and by donating them you help us keep our costs down so that we can continue to provide shelter and all of our services free for anyone in the community who needs help. From food used for community meals and food bags, to birthday gifts for our residents like the fast food cards and candy bars, to toiletries for our homeless/transient guests, and detergent to wash all the bedding, towels and other fabrics, these everyday items can quickly put a dent in our budget for the entire operating year. But year after year God has provided and allowed us to increase services to helping hundreds of men, women, and children in our area because of faithful and generous people like yourself. And we’ve done it all since 1955 without burdening the taxpayer. Everything we do is without the assistance of tax dollars so each life that has been helped was done so out of pure love and generosity. And we thank you for providing, even if it’s just a jar of peanut butter, to help us continue to fight hunger, homelessness, and hopelessness in Hagerstown.

If you would like to donate items or funds to The Hope Center then please call 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. Thank you so much for giving, caring, and sharing this Christmas season. We hope God blesses you and your family this Christmas and in the new year to come!

To Be, Or Not To Be, A Light?

By Matthew Sargent

Matthew 5:14a “You are the light of the World…”

Matt SargentI was sitting in the break room the other day, with a handful of coworkers, watching the latest news cast of all the turmoil happening here in the US and around the world. Quick and sharp reaction was voiced to the events that are currently unfolding. While listening to everyone’s concerns, it was interesting to note, that the bottom line in everyone’s mind was not on a specific issues or event that was being broadcast, but more about the overall critical state of the world that we live in. One main underlying factor that was voiced by all was… “People in the world seem to be going crazy! Too much hate.”

State of the current culture:

  • We are a society that loves three things: self, money, and pleasure
  • We are a society that is a tinder box ready to explode at the slightest offense
  • Our political climate, alone, is turning families, communities, and people against one another
  • There is a constant stream of negative news fueling our great divisiveness and hate

Simply put, in almost every fabric of our culture today, love for one another is being snuffed out. Being replaced by every form of this self-centered, “what can the world do for me?”, “please don’t offend me, or else!”, attitude! It is getting pretty cold in our world, and it is just as God warned us of what is to come.

A sign of the end times: a world that lacks love 

Mathew 24:10 — “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other…”

Matthew 24:12 — “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold…”

2 Tim 3:1-5 — “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”

Rise to your calling: be the light

John 13:34-35 — “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

I John 2:5a — “But if anyone obeys His word, God’s love is truly made complete in Him”

I John 2:6 –“Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.”

I John 2:9 — “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the
darkness.”

I John 4:11-12– “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.”

I truly believe there is no greater time on earth that we as God’s children need to heed God’s call when Jesus said, “You are the light of the world”. We are living in the “End of the Age” Era, and this dark world that is increasing with hate, so desperately needs to see the light and love of God in the people of God.

It is clearly stated in God’s Word that His light can only be seen in our lives when we love one another. God’s love is so special and unique, it has its own fingerprint. When we love one another unconditionally, the way God loved us through Christ His Son, God Himself is manifested through our lives in which the world can see. That is how they will know that we are followers of Christ, not because of what we say, but what is seen living in and through us.

Our challenge:

It is time that we the children of God become a bonfire of light in this dark world that we live in. It means living a life of love and service as Christ lived, and modeled for us. A life Jesus commanded us to live. It truly is the worlds only hope. That is my challenge and calling every day, is it yours?

Challenge question: 

Is God’s fingerprint seen in your life today? How bright is the light of Christ shining through you?

 

Matthew Sargent is the former director of Extreme Impact Teen Ministries and Foundations Life Recovery Men’s Ministry at The Hope Center. Matt is a graduate of Liberty University with a degree in Pastoral Studies. He currently lives with his wife and four children in Wesley Chapel, Florida

 

Spring 2017 is Going to be Wild!

We’re two months into 2017 and things are getting already getting crazy! And no, we’re not talking about the unseasonably warm, but wonderful, weather we’ve been experiencing.

We’re talking about all the exciting and fun activities hosted by Wildside Youth Ministries at The Hope Center!

In January Wildside hosted a Football & Cheerleader party to celebrate the Super Bowl and then they turned right back around and hosted a Valentines party to celebrate everything about love.

These large themed events are free for any kid ages 5-12. Each month Wildside has a fun theme for each event complete with games, activities and food to celebrate the theme. Kids from all over Hagerstown join their friends at Wildside to have fun, eat some great food and learn some Biblical lessons in a way that is geared specifically for them.

Sorry your kids missed the events in January and February? Don’t worry, there’s still so much more fun for kids the rest of the year. Take a look at the upcoming schedule of events and mark your calendars to make sure that your kids don’t miss out on any of the fun!

Wildside Spring 2017 Schedule:

  • March 5th – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)
  • March 14th – St. Patrick’s Party (5-7pm)
  • March 19th – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)
  • April 2nd – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)
  • April 11th – Easter Party (5-7pm)
  • May 7th – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)
  • May 16th – Camp Wild Kick-Off Party (5-7pm)
  • May 21st – Sunday Night Wild (7-8pm)

And like we’ve already mentioned, all this is provided free for the kids. Thanks to the generous financial donations of people and groups in our community along with funds generated from the proceeds of sales in our two Thrift Stores, Wildside is able to reach these kids for Christ and provide a safe and fun atmosphere for them to let loose and enjoy life.

If you’d like to learn more about Wildside Youth Ministries or Camp Wild hosted by Wildside Youth then go to http://www.wildsideyouth.com and http://www.campwildusa.com. To register your kids or talk to someone about Wildside events call 301.739.1165 or email us at info@wildsideyouth.com.

Thinking about volunteering at The Hope Center? Go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com to learn more about all the various ways, including Wildside Youth activities, that you can become a volunteer and help make a difference in our community.