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

 

Advertisements

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.

A Picture’s Worth

The holidays kicked off with another great Thanksgiving celebration at The Hope Center. And as soon as we polished off that last piece of pumpkin pie it was as if we were ringing in the New Year!

The holiday season goes by so quickly and there’s so many activities and things to do that it sometimes feels like you can’t even catch a breath. But we love the holiday season because it gives us a chance to really see how incredible our community is. Each year we’re reminded that God has given us a support system of volunteers, donors and friends who continually give their time, energy and resources to help others in need.

From Thanksgiving morning until the last Christmas cookie was eaten, we had so many volunteers and supporters making the season bright. We cannot thank each of you enough for all you did this season. From the homemade treats, to the food donations, to all the gifts given and time invested, our residents and guests were able to see God’s love through each of you. And a time of year that can be very difficult and lonely for so many wasn’t at The Hope Center because of kind people like yourselves who did so much to make it so memorable for everyone.

Enjoy some pictures of the some of the different faces who volunteered, donated items or were guests of honor this holiday season. From our annual Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast, to Wildside’s Christmas party, our Ladies’ Auxiliary party, Maranatha Cantata, Kingdom Heirs party and more, these pictures give a quick snapshot of the festive celebrations hosted at The Hope Center.

If you would like to volunteer at The Hope Center, go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com to learn more or call 301.739.1165.

 

We Thank You for a Great 2016!

A message from our Executive Director, Sonny Shank:
sonny-shank-executive-director“As we close out this year and look forward to the challenges of 2017, I look back with awe and thanksgiving for the provision of God’s hand. And as I reflect on this year, one thought stands out in my mind … 2016 was a year of caring and giving by many of the most generous people in the world – friends like you who support God’s work here at The Hope Center. So, on behalf of our Board of Directors, staff and those we serve, I want to thank you for giving the gift of love and compassion in such a personal and caring way. You are a blessing to so many!
Although 2016 was not without its difficulties and struggles, we rejoice in the good things that happened here at The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission. As of the end of November, 82 different families were given free groceries (171 bags given thus far); 44,326 meals were served; 11,637 were given safe shelter; 381 different men were provided overnight lodging. Throughout 2016 hundreds of kids attended our Wildside Kids events, including four weeks of Camp Wild. And just recently on Thanksgiving Day we served a traditional turkey dinner to approximately 200 people!
But the greatest joy of 2016 is the transformation that has taken place in the lives of many of the men enrolled in our long-term recovery program. I wish you could meet each one of the men and see the change that God is making in their lives. In case you have ever wondered just how important your support is, I want you to read a few notes that the men recently wrote for our donors:
~I’m thankful for a place to get myself clean and sober. Great people here. Coming closer to God.
~I’m blessed that The Hope Center has this program.
~Being here at The Hope Center has helped me get my life back in order. I’ve gotten my driver’s license, a bank account, a full-time job and a car. My relationship with God is strong which above all is most important.
~I’m thankful that these doors were open to me when I felt like all doors were closed. God healed my heart!
~I’m thankful for the goodness of God’s people to inspire me and give me hope for my own life.
~Thankful for a place to sleep and food to eat. I would be out in the cold if it weren’t for The Hope Center.
God is working in the hearts of men like Raymond, Frank, Nathan, Gus, Donald, Louis, Darrell, Larry, Stephen, Justin, William and so many others. These men have been blessed through you! That’s why we need your continued help to meet the rising needs before us.
It is always a challenge to try to keep our commitment to caring for everyone who comes to us seeking assistance, while at the same time being concerned about our ability to keep
up financially. As we close out 2016 will you consider making a generous end-ofyear gift to help those in need? The Hope Center needs your help, and we pledge to you that we will use your money wisely. Thank you! May God bless you and grant you a prosperous and Happy New Year!”
Gratefully yours,
Bruce L. “Sonny” Shank
Executive Director

Christmas Candlelight Processional is Coming

Don’t forget to mark your calendars and invite your friends to join us on Sunday, December 20th for our first Christmas Candlelight Processional & Concert of Prayer at the Trinity Center from 5-7pm.

60th Anniversary Christmas Candlelight 2015

We’re planning a beautiful and festive evening of music, celebration, praise, prayer & fellowship that will help make your Christmas magical this year.

Join us as we celebrate the birth of Christ by praying for our city, state, country and our neighbors who are dealing with tough life issues like homelessness, poverty & hunger. God cares so deeply for these people and we want to take the time to show our community our commitment as followers of Christ to reaching out and helping those in need.

Following our Candlelight Processional & Concert of Prayer, we’re going to have a time of refreshments and fellowship.

This is a free event for everyone so please invite all your friends, family, co-workers, church groups and everyone else to join you.

This is the final event in our 60th Anniversary Year of Celebration. To learn more about our celebration, see pictures from our last 60 years and to see our other celebration events, go to http://www.hopecenter60.com.

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