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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Maranatha Brethren Kicks Off our Easter Celebrations!

On Friday, March 23rd, the choir from Maranatha Brethren Church performed their Easter cantata, Blessed Redeemer by David T. Clydesdale and directed by Pastor Dan Thornton.

Every month Maranatha Brethren hosts an evening chapel service for our community guests but twice a year they bring their Christmas and Easter cantatas for an even bigger evening of music and celebration.

Following the spring cantata, Maranatha served up a delicious dinner of homemade soup which was perfect for such a cold evening! Along with the soup was a wide assortment of baked goods and sweets to make every sweet tooth in the room happy.

Our guests had a lovely evening kicking off our Easter week celebration. We’re so thankful for Sue Thornton and Christa Bloom who organize the meal and set up the facility each time, along with the other awesome folks from Maranatha for always providing such a wonderful, festive evening for our community guests each year.

If you’re looking for a place to worship and celebrate Easter this weekend then why not check out Maranatha Brethren Church? It’s located at 19835 Scott Hill Drive just off of Jefferson Boulevard in Hagerstown. Go to http://www.maranathagbc.net to learn more about the church, various programs and to get service times for Easter weekend.

And if your church, choir, or youth group would like to get involved like Maranatha then let us know! Call 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. And go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com to learn more about upcoming events and the many other programs, services and ministries at The Hope Center.

My, My What a Spring It Was!

Summer has officially arrived! We love those long, hazy and hot days of summer. The smell of grilling out, the taste of a cold glass of lemonade and the chance to cool off by taking a dip in the pool are some of the things we like the best about this season. But we also love hosting hundreds of kids each summer at Camp Wild, our free summer day camp for kids in Hagerstown.

But before we kickoff Camp Wild season at The Hope Center, we want to take a moment to look back at Spring 2017.

From our 3rd annual Rock the Run 5k, to Easter celebrations, to Soup Line parties and more, our spring was loaded with activities.

We started celebrating random “National Holidays” with our Soup Line guests. On any given day we would include our guests in a “holiday” of sorts which could include prizes and a themed meal. There’s so much negativity and hurt in the world today so we wanted to have some fun with our guests and bring smiles to their faces as they celebrate such days as Oreo Day, Strawberry Day and, of course, St. Patrick’s Day.

But of all the springtime celebrations, of course nothing can compare to the importance of Easter. And this Easter we had so much going on! We hosted everything from a Wildside Youth party complete with a huge Easter Egg Hunt, to our Auxiliary bake sale, Easter celebration with our staff, residents and guests and an Easter cantata performance by the choir from Maranatha Brethren Church with a delicious meal too! Easter is obviously so important to our ministry because it is the basis for the change and hope that we offer at The Hope Center. The power of Christ’s resurrection is what makes all this change possible. So we make sure that our residents and guests understand how important this celebration is to the power of hope.

As soon as Easter was over we were tying our running shoes for our 3rd annual Rock the Run: A Race for Hope presented by Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe. Each year our race gets better and better as we see so many new faces. But with all the new faces, we’re so thrilled to see so many participants returning to support The Hope Center. From our sponsors, to our volunteers and participants, our race this year was an overwhelming success! And we’ll be hosting it again in April, 2018 so plan to join us. Learn more about the race at http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com.

And just this past weekend the awesome folks at Germantown Church of God hosted our residents for an evening of fellowship and great food! The people at the church have been hosting this picnic for years upon years and it’s an activity that our men genuinely love. We were so thrilled to have some of our staff join our men as we mixed and mingled with the people from Germantown Church of God. In fact, our very own Sue (she’s the voice you hear every time you call The Hope Center) is wife to Mark, the pastor of Germantown Church of God. We’re so thankful that the church continues to provide this evening of relaxation and fellowship for our men.

So as we bid farewell to yet another spring, we excitedly look forward to what God has in store for this summer. Camp Wild is just weeks away and things here are focused on making sure that our campers have another safe, fun and action-packed experience this year. Keep up-to-date on Camp Wild by visiting http://www.campwildusa.com. If you’re interested in volunteering or donating supplies for Camp Wild 2017 then call us at 301.739.1165.

We want to thank each of you who have prayed for us, supported us and volunteered with us thus far in 2017. We couldn’t do all that we do without the loving support of each of you. Your gifts, time and talents do not go unnoticed by our staff or our Heavenly Father. Thank you for caring and sharing and investing so much in the lives of so many! We look forward to all the great things in store for the rest of the year!

If you would like to learn more about all the different ways that The Hope Center is working in our area then go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com. Thinking about volunteering? Great! We’ve got the information you need at http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com.

 

Our 60th Anniversary Celebration Kick-Off Was a Blast!

Our 60th Anniversary celebration kicked off in March with a party planned outside at Wheaton Park just two blocks from The Hope Center.

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As the day approached, the weather man wasn’t providing us with exactly what we wanted to hear. There were some nice, mild days in the forecast but, unfortunately the day of our outdoor party was not going to cooperate.

We all know that God is in charge of the weather and He wouldn’t allow anything to happen that day that would be more than we could handle so we pressed forward with our plans to host a party for our community. We prayed that the weather would cooperate enough for us to have a good day but, more importantly, that God would bring the crowds to our event.

The morning of our party was much colder than we had hoped. In fact, it was below freezing … literally with a wind chill of 14 degrees. Our volunteers were not going to let a little cold bother them so we began setting up for our party. But God, just reminding us that He’s watching over us and showing us that He’s definitely involved in our event, provided an absolutely unexpected miracle that day.

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The director of the Head Start program at the MLK, Jr. Center had received our fliers about the Party-in-the-Park and had promised to help distribute them in the neighborhood.  Because of the frigid temperatures the morning of the party, this kind lady offered to allow us to use the MLK Jr Center, a community center/gym located just one block away from Wheaton Park. We hadn’t inquired about the building.  We didn’t even know it was an option. But God knew – and He had a plan! 

Of course we couldn’t say no! For the sake of our volunteers and guests we quickly took her up on the offer. And we’re so glad we did! The warmth of the building was a literal God thing that day!

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Our volunteers quickly began setting up the rec center for our event. We had plenty of carnival games, a photo booth, face painting, finger nail painting, food, prizes and more.

As the time approached for the start of our event, we wondered just how many people would brave the chilly weather to come to a park event.

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We never expected to have the turnout as we did. Not only had God provided an indoor facility for us to use, He brought the people out in droves! We had close to 300 guests for our “park” party! The line to get into the building was out the door for a long time!

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Parents, grandparents and kids filled that building with the sights and sounds of happiness & memories being made. Everyone had a wonderful time playing games, goofing around, eating, and just hanging out.

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We even had a surprise visit by the Easter Bunny!

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In addition to all the indoor activities, we were able to have the egg hunt outside for all the families. Over hundreds of eggs filled with candy were hidden in plain view for all the kids who were there. Within a matter of minutes the eggs had been found but not before parents and their children had their chance to have fun together racing around to get as many as they could.

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We had so many prizes that day but we were so excited to have drawings for a few big door prizes like big stuffed animals from LifeWay Christian Bookstore, a Mickey Mouse Easter-themed basket with a special Mickey Mouse plush all the way from Walt Disney World, and a brand new tablet!

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We couldn’t have asked for a better start to our 60th Anniversary celebration! God reminded us that He is still with us, supporting us just as He’s done the past 60 years.

We want to thank so many people for their hard work in making this event come to life.

First, we want to thank the kind people of the MLK Jr Center for offering us their facility to use. We appreciate their commitment to the community and all they do to help improve the lives of our neighbors.

 

DSC_0014We also want to thank a few 4th graders from Fountaindale Elementary School who wanted to do something nice for the community. These girls created “health bags” which were full of personal care items like soap, shampoo, toothpaste and other items. They collected all the items themselves and put it all together for our guests. These wonderful young ladies made 75 bags for our guests! We’re so thankful that these girls have such a big heart for others and that they actually did something to help make a difference.

To all of our volunteers, thank you! A BIG thank you! These awesome folks were willing to brave the cold temperatures to have this party outside. And they adjusted quickly to the changes once we moved the party indoors. Our volunteers probably had just as much fun as the guests and that’s exactly what we were hoping for. Thank you, volunteers, for giving your Saturday to spend it with total strangers. You may never know the impact you made on the lives of our guests but God does and someday you’ll be amazed at what those few hours on that cold Saturday morning did for someone else’s eternity. Thank you for supporting this ministry and helping us reach so many people for Christ! It’s because of faithful people like you that The Hope Center has been so successful. We thank God for our volunteers and we’re so proud to call you a part of The Hope Center family!

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A big thank you to Maranatha Brethren Church for providing food, prizes, activities and volunteers for this event. To all our donors and supporters, it’s not cheap nor easy to host an event like this but because of your generosity, we were able to provide our guests with a great Easter party!  Even if you only bought a bag of candy, that candy was used to tell someone that they are loved by a great God who cares so much for them. Thank you for caring & sharing and helping us show our community the love of Christ!

To Krista, Gene, Sue and Adrian, thank you for the hours of planning that you put into this event. Your heart for others is evident by how hard you worked to put this entire event together. And even when the weather wasn’t kind, your enthusiasm and optimism helped make the event so successful. We are so beyond thankful for your commitment and investment in this ministry. We know that God will bless you so much more than any of us can imagine and one day in Heaven you will see the rewards of your service. Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting together such a great event!

And to Mr. & Mrs. Shank, who worked so tirelessly behind the scenes from day one on this event, and all the other 60th Anniversary events yet to come. This is a challenging year of celebration but God has put the right people in place to make it all come to life! Your love for Christ and this ministry is evident in everything that you do each day and we don’t thank you enough for your hard work and sacrifice. Thank you for all you do and for helping to reach the least, the last and the lost for Christ. Even though its tiring and difficult, just remember as The Hope Center founder, Mr. Resh, would say, “keep on, keepin’ on!” To God be the glory!

Rock the run logo jpgOur 60th Anniversary celebration is rolling right on with our first 5K event in April. Rock the Run 5K: A Race for Hope will take place on Saturday, April 25th at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown. This race will help to raise awareness & support for the ministry at The Hope Center that deal with homelessness and hunger in Hagerstown. So many lives are affected by homelessness and hunger and this is our way of helping to get people involved to end the hopelessness. Registration is only $25 until race day and you can register now at http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com.

Be sure to visit http://www.hopecenter60.com to learn more about The Hope Center, see pictures from the past 60 years, and get all the info about the other upcoming events planned for 2015.

 

The Fun Never Ends at Wildside Youth Events

Wildside Youth has been having a blast in 2014 so far!
In January, Wildside kicked off the second half of their year with a new party celebrating America’s favorite game, football!
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The Football & Cheerleading party got everyone excited for the Super Bowl. The party had football-themed carnival games, art projects, great food and Wildside’s own version of the big game! In addition to all the sports fun & food, the kids also took some time from the action to learn about excellence and how God wants each of us to do our best in all that we do. Sixty kids, dressed in their favorite team jersey, attended this party and ten came forward at the altar call!
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 In February, Wildside hosted the second annual Valentine’s party. This party was celebrating love, true love, the love that Jesus gives. This was a great opportunity for the kids who attended to learn about the love that passes all understanding; to really get a chance to experience a genuine love that changes lives for eternity. The kids were given time to play Valentine’s themed carnival games, create Wildside Valentine’s cards and so much more.
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March was all about the green – clover green! Ireland invaded the Trinity Center to help celebrate St. Patrick’s day with Wildside’s Clover Bowl! This party celebrates the Irish culture and all things green. The kids who attended played games, ate delicious food, and learned about the man who this holiday is all about. The Crew, Wildside’s student leadership training program, put together a video detailing the life of Saint Patrick. In the video the kids learned about his capture, his slavery, escape, transition to a cleric, and his return to Ireland to spread the Gospel to the people of the Emerald Isle. Not only are the kids able to have fun playing games and being silly, they are also given the chance to learn the history behind our holidays and see how Christianity has been changing the world for thousands of years!
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Wildside Youth Ministry doesn’t just host big monthly event parties, they also have more intimate activities throughout the month.
Sunday Night Wild is Wildside’s weekly church service in the Wildside Sanctuary. And the kids attending Sunday Night Wild have been having a blast! In 2014, SNW celebrated it’s two-year birthday by having a big celebration. After the birthday celebration, SNW has been focusing on answering the question, “Who is Jesus?”. After that series concluded, SNW kicked off the series “Jesus our King”, complete with a celebration cake and paper crown art projects and an interactive, multimedia lesson.
As kids grow and mature in the program, some are hand-selected to join The Crew. This leadership training program meets once a week. Kids in The Crew learn valuable lessons about leadership while also helping Wildside Youth Ministries in various creative ways. Currently, The Crew has been working through a lesson series called “Camp Preparation”. This camp training program is covering topics about emotional, spiritual and behavioral maturity; learning how to be a good example to others; how to lead and care for a small group; conflict resolution; knowing and setting expectations; and the basics of our faith. All this training and education will hopefully help equip our student leaders how to serve at Camp Wild, be leaders at home and school, be servants at church & other ministries, and most importantly, how to grow their personal faith.
 
As you can see, Wildside has had a pretty exciting winter & spring. But there is still some great activities coming up! In April, Wildside celebrates Easter with the wildly popular Easter Fiesta party. This event, like all Wildside activities, is free for kids ages 5-12. If you’d like to get more info or sign-up any children for our Easter Fiesta, please call 301.739.1165 or email info@wildsideyouth.com. Also, be sure to check out http://www.wildsideyouth.com for more pics, videos and info about Wildside Youth Ministry.
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And now that spring has arrived, that means we are only a few short months away from Camp Wild 2014! This free summer day camp is open to kids ages 5-12. Camp Wild fills up quickly so be sure to get your kids registered for this fun summer program. Go to http://www.campwildusa.com to keep up-to-date on all things about our summer camp program. You can call 301.739.1165 or email info@wildsideyouth.com to get on a mailing list.
If you’re interested in volunteering at Wildside events, including Camp Wild, please call 301.739.1165, email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net or check out http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com to learn more about all the volunteer opportunities at The Hope Center.
Wildside Youth Ministries is one of the ministries sponsored by The Hope Center. When you donate financially or through in-kind gifts, you are helping to keep programs like Wildside Youth free for at-risk kids in the greater Hagerstown area. Thank you for your support of this ministry and all the other ministries at The Hope Center!
 

Wildside Youth Has Tons of Activities for Spring!

Tonight is Wildside’s Football & Cheerleading party from 4:30pm-6:30pm in the Trinity Center at The Hope Center.

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This party is gonna be full of action-packed excitement like football-themed carnival games, a cheer competition, prizes, great food, and an awesome lesson about Jesus.

This event, like all Wildside events, is free for anyone ages 5-12. If you’re unable to come tonight but would like to join the fun another time, check out the schedule for all the spring parties planned.

  • Valentine’s Party – February 11
  • Clover Bowl – March 11
  • The Easter Fiesta – April 15
  • Camp Wild Kick-Off Party – May 13

And girls, tomorrow night is your night! Join your favorite Wildside leaders tomorrow night at the Trinity Center for a fun night just for you! Call or email ASAP to sign-up!

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In addition to the monthly parties and special events, Wildside hosts Sunday Night Wild every Sunday night from 7pm-8pm in the Sanctuary at Wildside Youth.

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And we’re just a few months away from Camp Wild 2014! This exciting week-long day camp is another free activity for kids ages 5-12. Go to www.campwildusa.com to keep up-to-date on Camp Wild 2014.

If you’d like to learn more about Wildside Youth, go to www.wildsideyouth.com. You can contact the Wildside offices by calling 301.739.1165 or emailing info@wildsideyouth.com.

There are volunteer opportunities for Wildside, Camp Wild and other ministries at The Hope Center. If you’re interested in learning more about volunteering in one of our many ministries and programs, please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. We’d be glad to have you join the ranks of the best volunteers in Hagerstown!

Guests Enjoyed a Wonderful Easter Cantata

On Saturday, March 23rd, the choirs from Maranatha Brethren Church and Waynesboro Grace Brethren Church hosted a beautiful night of music and food to celebrate Easter!

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The joint choirs performed an Easter Cantata called “The Story”, which tells about the powerful life, death & resurrection of Christ through beautiful music.

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Following the service, the two churches served a delicious, hot meal of homemade chili, bread and desserts. A perfect meal for a cold evening!

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There were between 40-50 volunteers who helped to serve the guests in attendance. This is the 3rd time that Maranatha has hosted a cantata for the community and each one has seen a rise in attendance.

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We want to thank Dan Thorton, cantata director and pastor at Maranatha, and the choirs and volunteers from both churches for providing such a wonderful night for our guests in the community! We hope to continue having these cantatas every holiday season!

If you would like to support the choirs from Maranatha & Waynesboro Grace then be sure to go to one of their shows this weekend. On Saturday, March 30th at 7pm, the cantata will be presented at Waynesboro Grace Brethren (250 Philadelphia Ave, Waynesboro, PA). It will then be performed again on Easter Sunday, March 31st at 7pm at Maranatha Brethren Church (19835 Scott Hill Dr, Hagerstown).

For more info or directions, please call Maranatha Brethren at 301.733.1717 or Waynesboro Grace Brethren at 717.762.5826. You can also check out their websites at www.maranathagbc.net and www.waynesborochurch.org.