Our Easter Hope – Jesus’ Sacrifice Opened Heaven’s Door

By John Miller

JohnMiller (2)“And the angel said to them; ‘Fear not, I know you were looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen just as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord was laying.'”    -Mathew 28:5-6

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead means so many wonderful things to believers. One of the most blessed truths about His resurrection is that it gives us HOPE regarding our future resurrection. Death is not the end.

Jesus Christ is God come to us in human form. God loves us so much that He decided to willingly step into a body of flesh in order to feel the emotions, fears, temptations, and weaknesses of this flesh. Through Jesus, He overcame temptation and took a perfect sacrifice to the cross where He paid the sin debt for us! We could never pay sin’s debt so God paid it himself.

However, in order for this transaction to be complete there must be a resurrection. Remember when Cain and Abel offered sacrifices in Genesis chapter 4? The evidence of whether or not a sacrifice was accepted by God was a visible raising up of that sacrifice. The same was true with Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1st Kings chapter 18. God showed by a fiery and dramatic “taking up” of Elijah’s sacrifice that Yahweh is the one true God!

When Jesus died on the cross and then was placed in the tomb, it looked as if everything had failed. Why did Jesus die on the cross after He had performed so many miraculous feats, even raising the dead? Why did God allow His Son to die? Will God accept the sacrifice of Jesus’ death on the cross as a sufficient payment for the sins of mankind?

Yes! Three days later the stone rolled away and Jesus walked out of that tomb! God said YES to the sacrifice and raised it up for all the world to see that Jesus Christ has made sufficient payment for our sins and opens the door to Heaven! What we call death is only a door to a believer! For the Christian, death is like walking from one room to another glorious room called Heaven.

Do you have peace with God today? Are you 100% for sure that your sins are forgiven and you are on your way to Heaven? The Bible says in 1 John 5:13, “These things I have written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

If you do have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ then rejoice in your eternal destination and know that His resurrection guarantees your resurrection to eternal life! If you do not have peace with God today, why not stop what you are doing right now and call upon Him for eternal life. Repent of sins and turn to Jesus. Call The Hope Center and let them know about your decision and how to know what to do next in your walk with the Lord.

Go ahead, call them now! They want to rejoice with you and encourage you in your new found faith!

To talk to someone at The Hope Center please call us at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. Learn more about The Hope Center 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.

 

 

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Party-in-the-Park is Back!!!!!

Our Halloween Party-in-the-Park is almost here!

Join us at Wheaton Park on Saturday, October 24th from 3-6pm for games, prizes, food, fun and more!

This is a free event for anyone and everyone so spread the word and invite all your friends, family & neighbors.

For more information about the event, including volunteer info, please call 301.739.1165.

See ya Saturday!!

60th Park Party Fall

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.

Congrats Graduates!

Earlier this summer we were able to celebrate with our residents as three of them graduated from our Foundations Life Recovery program.

Our Foundations Life Recovery program is a free 13-month addiction and life rehabilitation program that helps men conquer the sins that destroy their bodies, relationships and lives. During the 13-months in the program, the men attend classes, Bible studies, and participate in work programs. These classes and programs help to educate the men about their true identity and purpose that God has for them in this life.

Some of the men who join the program have been raised in the church or Christian homes while others are brand new to the life-changing message of Christ. All of the men are dealing with addictions of some sort whether they are alcohol, drugs and pornography. The majority of the guys who come seeking help are trying desperately to stop the destruction of themselves, having already lost jobs, houses, and most importantly, relationships with family & friends.

While in our program, the guys live in our dorm and are fed, clothed and counseled for free, thanks to the generous support of our neighbors, friends, churches and other organizations in the community who fund The Hope Center. Many of the men have nothing left when they walk in the door. But they leave having gained so much for so little!

We are so thankful for the staff, volunteers and churches who help to bring the message of God’s love into the hearts of these men who Satan has enjoyed destroying. For the staff at The Hope Center, to be able to watch our residents graduate is a deeply emotional and incredibly exciting moment. Knowing how dark their lives once were and to see them glowing with the happiness of Christ, it’s a feeling that words can barely describe. Each one of these men was once a forgotten soul that Satan had thought he devoured. But God saw them for their potential in all of their sin and He had something great planned for them.

The men in our Foundations Life Recovery program have a lot of obstacles to conquer. From breaking the addictions, to learning who they can trust, to rebuilding their self value, to dealing with personal demons, there are many roadblocks in the path to recovery but these men who graduated fought the good fight and gave the other guys in the program the courage to continue their own fight to sobriety and salvation.

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So join us in congratulating the three men who got the victory this summer. Frank Shortt, Troy Robinson and Bill Rice all completed the Foundations Life Recovery program and were honored at a moving ceremony for them. Staff, family, friends and volunteers were invited to join in the celebratory ceremony where guest speaker, Matt Sargent, spoke. Following the ceremony, graduates, residents, staff and guests all gathered together for a time of fellowship in our dining room.

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We’ve asked each of the three men to give us a brief testimony of their journey towards recovery. Here is what they said:

Frank Shortt

Frank Shortt 2015I came to The Hope Center in September of 2013 out of desperation and loss of hope. Since coming here, God has done something in my life that I, and my loved ones, would never had thought possible.

God has, and is, changing this heart that was hardened and broken. Among many other things, He has given hope where there was no hope.

For now, my future plans consist of building my relationship with God, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, along with my two biological sons.

Troy Robinson

Troy RobinsonWhen I came to The Hope Center in January of 2013 I was lost, scrambling to gain meaningful sobriety. Not just drinking and drugging, which I had succumbed to, but being able to live purposefully.

While in the program, God taught me that Jesus is the only way. He is the truth. He is the life. The hopeless can find hope in the Almighty. There is victory in Jesus.

My future plans are to finish well, rejoicing in the Lord always. “Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1)

Bill Rice

William Rice 2015I am 55 years old and I have struggled with alcoholism both as an unbeliever and a believer. Before coming to The Hope Center I attended Bible College but I succumbed to my addiction and fell away from the Lord. So in 2007 I enrolled in the Foundations Life Recovery program and progressed well until I blew it and was released from the program. I attribute my failure to spiritual pride because I had a knowledge of the Word that other members of the program did not.

In 2014 I knew I had to get help and asked to return to the program at The Hope Center. I finished the program and remained sober the whole time. God has dealt a lot with me in the spiritual pride area but He is still working on me.

It is my desire someday to be in ministry, but I find as a graduate that I struggle with handling freedom. I would appreciate your prayers that I would give God total control of every area of my life.

 

Please continue to pray for these men as they venture out on their own, back into the world where Satan has plenty of temptations waiting for them. Pray that they continue to fight the fight and stay strong in the Lord.

And thank you, to each of you who has invested in the lives of these men and everyone else who has come to The Hope Center seeking help in some form. From prayers, to volunteering, to hosting a chapel service, to donating food, shopping in our Thrift Stores and financially supporting us so we can continue to provide this ministry for free, God has used you to help change a life. You may not realize it or even think about it but these three men, and the countless other individuals and families helped at The Hope Center, are because of faithful friends like you who God has called to help change this city and win it for Christ.

Thank you for partnering with us as we celebrate 60 years and thousands upon thousands of lives changed in Hagerstown!

Koffee Klatch Says Goodbye…for Now

On Thursday, June 5th, Koffee Klatch had their final meeting for the season.

Instead of the traditional donuts and Bible study time, the season finale was a delicious lunch and time of fellowship, praise and celebration. Following the Bible study, the women had a wonderful time eating and socializing. The ladies all prepared food for the celebration and there was plenty of delicious food to be had!

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Usually, the Bible study follows the fellowship time, but this day was a little different. The ladies sang some songs, shared some stories, prayed together and gave special thanks to those who help make Koffee Klatch successful.

We, too, want to take a minute to thank the people who work behind the scenes to make Koffee Klatch possible each week. Becky Shank, who works in our administrative office, makes sure that all the food & coffee is prepped and ready to go each Thursday. She sets up the fellowship area and cleans up after each Koffee Klatch. We also want to thank the two very special ladies who lead Koffee Klatch each week. Dorcas Black, who works in our Sorting Ministry (donated goods), and Anna Nunemaker, a volunteer and former missionary to Africa, team lead Koffee Klatch each week. We are so thankful for their service to the ministry and their heart for all the women who attend.

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Anna Nunemaker, who usually teaches Koffee Klatch, brought a special speaker to give the ladies a word of encouragement. Anna’s granddaughter, Melanie, who lives in Switzerland, was visiting her grandmother and accompanied her to Koffee Klatch. Melanie, who travels Europe to speak about Science and the Bible, spoke to the women about using every opportunity, whether good or bad, to show the world who God truly is. She talked about how Satan may try to use a situation for evil, but can use it for good. She encouraged the ladies to keep up the fight during the summer break and remember that no matter what happens in life, always remember God means it for good.

During the Bible study time, the ladies in attendance gave God praise for the many blessings and prayers answered during this year. Many of the ladies talked about how God provided miracles in their lives, healed relatives and friends, and how He opened doors through various means to allow the women to share Christ with total strangers.

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Many of the women noted that Koffee Klatch is something that helps them grow in the Lord and is an activity that is much needed in their lives. One lady even said that the thing she loves most about Koffee Klatch is seeing women from all different churches, denominations, ages, and social backgrounds coming together at the weekly Bible study to worship God and grow spiritually.

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And she’s right. One of the most beautiful things about Koffee Klatch is the blending of women from all over the area. Some women are Baptists, others Brethren, and others Mennonite. There are women who have careers, others who are retired, and some who are housewives. The differences of these women show the power of God’s Word. It’s a unifying force that draws people together who would never usually mix. It’s the common thread that creates lasting friendships and breaks down barriers and stereotypes among humans. These women don’t see each other with the man-made labels we often give each other. They see each other as daughters of God. They’re sisters in Christ and they’re coming together to teach each other, support each other, pray for each other, love each other, and grow in the Lord together.

And this is why we want to encourage you to join us in the fall when Koffee Klatch returns. This is a great opportunity to create new friendships, help other women through various situations, and learn more about God in a different atmosphere. Koffee Klatch is free and open to any women who have some time each Thursday to attend.

And don’t forget to invite your friends, too! Bring your mom, sister, coworker, neighbor, and join us for a very informal worship time together. There’s so much that we can learn from each other so why not stop by? Unfortunately we don’t provide childcare. If you would like to learn more about Koffee Klatch, call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

Have a great summer, ladies, and we’ll see you in the fall!

 

 

Letter from our Executive Director

Sonny Shank Executive DirectorAs friends and supporters of The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission, I am sure you know that the doors of The Hope Center opened for the first time in May of 1955 on Jonathan Street in Hagerstown. We moved to our current location on North Prospect Street in 1957-58 and from that time on the doors of The Hope Center have remained open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!

As I was thinking about how God has blessed the ministries of The Hope Center, and the impact The Hope Center has had on thousands of lives over the past 58 years, I imagined for a moment what it would be like if there had never been a Hagerstown Rescue Mission. I can tell you this – the lives of many people would have been extremely different.

Like Bill Crowe who, more than 50 years ago, was transformed by the power of the Gospel and was set free from the bondage of alcohol. Bill is the Director of the Martinsburg Rescue Mission and also pastors a local church. Or like Carl Black who was one of the first men paroled to the Mission. Carl’s life was radically changed when he gave his heart and life to Christ. Carl faithfully served God as a pastor and then as Superintendent of Hagerstown Rescue Mission until God called him home. And I remember Amos Rippeon who lost everything, including both legs, because of his addiction to alcohol. When he came to the Mission he was filled with hate and bitterness. But when Amos began a relationship with Jesus Christ, his life would never be the same! Amos spent the rest of his life here at The Hope Center smiling, singing and being a blessing to everyone he met.

Since those early days, The Hope Center has been God’s instrument for bringing the message of His redeeming love to countless persons. People like Eddie, Howard, Jose, Frank, Kevin, Donnie, Jack, and hundreds of others in bondage to alcohol and drugs have been set free and have gone on to live meaningful, productive lives.

For thousands of needy men, women and children, The Hope Center has been a source of help and encouragement. In their time of need they have come here and found food, shelter, clothing, and other kinds of needed care. So to imagine, even for a second, that The Hope Center never was is not a pleasant thought when you consider the positive impact this ministry has had on so many lives over the years.

I’d much rather picture The Hope Center continuing to serve God by serving others through a Christ-centered outreach of compassion to hurting people. Because of your support, that’s what we will keep on doing! Your involvement is vital to the future of The Hope Center. Thank you for all that you have done! I thank God for your friendship and for your heart of compassion. Please continue to be a part of our efforts to bring hope to the hopeless!

Gratefully your,

Bruce L. “Sonny” Shank

Grace Pointe Teens Have a Wild Week at Camp!

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We are always happy to have missions teams come and serve at The Hope Center. As you know, the summer is prime season for missions teams so it’s a perfect match for our day camp program, Camp Wild, which relies heavily on volunteers to operate.

Camp Wild is a free summer camp program for inner-city and at-risk kids in Hagerstown. To help meet the needs of families in Hagerstown, Camp Wild is a free camp for kids ages 5-12, including free transportation to-and-from our facilities each day.

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Since we provide Camp Wild free of charge, we require many volunteers to help make the program run successfully, and as a way to keep it free for the families.

We are eternally grateful for all the volunteers who take time out of their summer schedules to help reach kids for Christ. Some of our volunteers are high-schoolers, some are college kids, others are teachers and some are people who use vacation time to help us minister to the kids.

But some weeks we are happy to host a missions team. In the past, we’ve had teams come from all over America, and some come from our own backyard. These teams raise financial support to come and work for a week at Camp Wild. They stay in hotels in Hagerstown and help in many ways at The Hope Center, not just at Camp Wild.

This summer, we were happy to host a group from Grace Pointe Community Church of the Nazarene from Severn, MD.

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The group of teens was Brianna, Sammi, Tiffany, Miranda & Clayton. They were accompanied by leaders Dennis & Sheila.

Dennis & Sheila are a husband/wife team who play many roles in their church, in addition to being the Teen Service Group leaders. Dennis is on the Teen Board and Sheila is on the Children’s Board. Both were extremely pleased to bring their teens to Hagerstown to have them help Camp Wild.

The group was put to good work during their time at Camp Wild. They helped in many ways, including helping to clean-up and reorganize after Camp Wild concluded for the season.

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Sheila said that they all enjoyed their time at Camp Wild. In fact, they all loved it so much that discussions have already started about returning next year to help again!

“We are already working on plans for next years missions trips and the teens who attended have told the others they think we should go there again”. Sheila happily says that she & Dennis are definitely on-board for returning!

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We are so thankful for people, like this missions team from Grace Pointe Community Church of the Nazarene, who take time to help reach others for Christ. It’s not always easy to raise support for trips and then spend long days in the hot sun working with kids. But when it’s all said and done, lives are changed, but not just the kids who attend Camp Wild. Volunteering and working with these kids can have a profound and life-changing effect on the staff as well.

If you would like to volunteer at The Hope Center or have your family, Sunday School class or civic group volunteer, please call 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net for more info. You can also go to www.hagerstownrescue.org to see the different ways you can get involved at The Hope Center.