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

by John Miller

 

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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.

 

Chambersburg Store Hours Update

Beginning now our Thrift Store in Chambersburg will be closed on Wednesdays until further notice.

 

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Chambersburg Thrift Store at 64 S. Main Street

 

Our Hagerstown store schedule is not changing and will be open on Wednesdays operating on regular hours. This closure is only affecting the Chambersburg store.

We will post once the Chambersburg store reopens on Wednesdays. Until then please continue shopping at our store every day of the week except Sundays and now Wednesdays. Our store still offers gently used items like clothing, shoes, accessories, furniture, household items, toys and more all at great low prices perfect for any budget! And the best part is that every time you purchase from our stores you are helping people in need in our community.

For more information about our Thrift Stores or donating your gently used items please go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com or call us at 301.739.1165.

The Address of Hope

by Ron Shank

Board of Directors 2017 (2)Joe Bailey in his book “A View From a Hearse” tells of the day his boy died of cancer. He had returned to the clinic to thank them for their kindness and care of his son. As he spoke to the receptionist, she motioned toward a woman whose son was playing quietly with toys in the waiting area. “He has the same cancer your son had” she said. “Why don’t you go over there and see if you can talk with her.”

Bailey went reluctantly over to sit next to the mother and they whispered just out of hearing of the boy. “It must be hard bringing him for the treatments,” he said, more a statement than a question. “Hard,” she turned with anguish in her eyes. “I die every time I have to bring him in. What makes it worse is that I know it’s not going to stop the cancer and he’s going to die.”

Uncomfortable, Bailey ventured: “Still it is some comfort to know that when that happens there is no more pain and suffering, and they go to a better place.”

With hardness in her voice the lady responded “No”. “When he dies I’m just going to bury him and the cemetery and never see him again.”

Bailey wanted to leave. It was uncomfortable to speak with this woman who obviously had no hope in any way. Then he spoke quietly, “I buried my son just yesterday, and I’ve only come today to thank the doctors and nurses for their kindness. I know what you’re feeling but I also know there is hope; a promise of a better life for my son now.” “How can you believe such a thing?,” she challenged. And then Joe Bailey told her about Jesus and the essence of real HOPE.

The hymn writer tells us:

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.                                    I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.                                   His oath, His covenant, His blood support me in the whelming flood.                            When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.                                 On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.”

Job 3:15a says, “Though He slays me, yet will I hope in Him.” Now Job was a man who know what it was like to have his whole life fall apart – to lose everything and yet he still had hope. Millions of people are living without hope; I see this firsthand everyday.

And yet I would tell you this truth: THERE IS HOPE!

And this hope is found in God alone and in a relationship with Him.

When I became a Christian I began to memorize scriptures I was taught to memorize the content of the verse and its address – the place it was found. Today, I believe the address of hope is found in John 3:16.

John 3:!6 has been called the greatest verse in the entire Bible – the Gospel in a nutshell. It is one of the first verses learned by children in Sunday School or Vacation Bible School. This verse is often quoted in sermons and it is even hung over guard rails in many football stadiums. It is so familiar to so many that I fear we often quote it or read it without deeply thinking about its meaning and the promise it holds.

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son (one and only son) that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

It has been summarized in the following way:

  • For God – the greatest One
  • So loved – the greatest degree
  • The world – the greatest amount of people
  • That He gave – the greatest generosity
  • His only begotten Son – the greatest uniqueness
  • That whosoever – the greatest invitation
  • Believeth in Him – the greatest simplicity
  • Should not – the greatest certainty
  • Perish – the greatest possible loss
  • But – the greatest difference
  • Have – the greatest possession
  • Eternal – the greatest length
  • Life – the greatest gift

I would say to you if you know nothing of the Bible start with this verse. If you know everything of the Bible, return to this verse often. This is the Hope Diamond of scripture! If there was ever a verse that could change the world – this would be the one.

I would like to break this verse down and examine the beautiful intricacies found within this verse and also discover the hope that this verse holds for all of mankind. From this one verse we can find at least four truths about the love of God which produces such hope.

WE HAVE HOPE BECAUSE THE LOVE OF GOD IS UNCONDITIONAL

“For God so loved the world.”

  • Because these words are true, it changes everything, doesn’t it? The Greek word for world, kosmos, is defined as all mankind; the total human race. This is the world that God loved. It doesn’t say that God loved all the good guys. Or that God loved all the Jews. Or that God loved all the saints. It says, “For God so loved the WORLD”
  • God’s love clearly isn’t based on our spiritual condition or our goodness. It isn’t based on our behavior or attitude towards him. Rather we see here that God’s love for humankind is universal and unconditional. He loves everyone one. And this is one of the things that sets Him apart from every other god held up by every other world religion.
  • There is no love that can exceed the depth, breadth, length, and height of God’s magnificent love for humankind. Whenever you begin to wonder if His love is sufficient for your problems, know that His love far exceeds any dimensions of the human mind.
  • The word for love used in this verse is a form of “agape” – an unconditional love – a love that is not given because of any excellence or worthiness in its object but a love that is an exercise of divine and deliberate choice.
  • C.S. Lewis has stated that “Christianity uniquely claims that God’s love comes free of charge, no strings attached. No other religion makes that claim.”
  • So we have hope that God’s love for us is unconditional. It is as Philip Yancey once wrote: “There is nothing we can do to make God love us more. There is nothing we can do to make God love us less.”

For God so love the world.

WE CAN HAVE HOPE BECAUSE THE LOVE OF GOD IS SACRIFICIAL AND VALUABLE

“that He gave His one and only Son…”

  • According to a footnote in the English Standard Version of the Bible an alternate translation to the first part of John 3:16 is as follows: “So this is how God so loved the world…” How did God love us? By giving, by serving, by sacrificing.
  • So here we learn something important about the nature of true love – God’s love
  • Some people think they love others because of what those people do for them or how they make them feel. But God shows us true love has nothing to do with what you can do for me, but everything to do with what I can do for you. Love is a deliberate choice!
  • Love – “agape” love is a verb. It has to be tangibly demonstrated. It has to be proven – lived out. The Bible says in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrated (proves) His own love for us in that while we were still in our sin Christ died for us.”
  • The power and passion of God’s love comes across through the length to which God was willing to go for the sake of the world – to give “His one and only Son.” This was not giving out of abundance for Jesus was Gods one and only Son. This is what makes the sacrifice so valuable.
  • That sounds strange to many people. Some say, “I don’t need anything from God. I’ve led a good life. I don’t need God to give His Son for me.” But the Bible tells us, “Everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s standard.” (Romans 2:23). Our sin separates us from God. So if any of us are going to have a real relationship with our Creator, then it’s up to Him to reconcile us. That’s where Jesus’ death comes in. Jesus built the bridge between us and God with an old rugged cross. Jesus gave Himself. God gave Jesus, His Son, to bring salvation to the world through His Son’s death.
  • We have hope because God’s love was sacrificial and valuable.

WE HAVE HOPE BECAUSE GOD’S LOVE IS ACCESSIBLE

“that whoever believes in Him…”

  • The really good news about God’s love is that it is not limited to a select few. It is not available only to those who were born with the right color of skin or on the correct continent. Nor is it difficult to obtain. Jesus calls us to do one thing: believe!
  • Listen to what the Bible says: “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to be called children of God (John 1:12 NIV)
  • “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe in the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on Him.” (John 3:35 NKJV)
  • “I tell you the truth, whoever believes has eternal life.” (John 6:47 NCV)
  • “Then he brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They replied, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” (Acts 16:31 NLT)
  • “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8 ESV)
  • What Jesus wants us to see is that it’s not because of what I’ve done, but because of who He is. It’s not because of who I am, but because of what He’s already done! And all He asks is for us to put our trust in Him, and Him alone!

WE HAVE HOPE BECAUSE GOD’S LOVE IS BENEFICIAL

“…should not perish but have everlasting life.”

  • God’s only desire in sending His Son was to show you and I His love and to draw us into a love relationship with Himself.
  • Jesus didn’t come into the world in order to rebuke you – He came to rescue you.
  • He didn’t come to criticize you – He came to cleanse you.
  • He didn’t come to punish you – He came to pardon you.
  • He didn’t come to destroy you – He came to deliver you.

The benefit of God’s love which produces hope:

  • Deliverance from coming judgement and punishment. “Perish” depicts death, destruction, total loss and excluded forever from God – giving the thought of total hopelessness.
  • Receiving of everlasting life – eternal life. Everlasting life is not just eternal existence but it is also having Jesus – Christ living in me – speaking of the quality of life now. A growing relationship – a life that is better than any other life that there is. An abundant life Jesus said.

There is HOPE!

John 3:16 is the address of hope. Aren’t you glad that John 3:16 is true?

God did love the world and that means that God loves you.

  • If you were the only person on earth, God would have still sent Jesus to die just for you. That’s how much He loves you.

God did give His Son to die for your sins.

  • The blood He shed on the cross is the only thing that can save you from your sins. Jesus was your substitute who paid the debt and penalty for sin that you deserved to pay.

And God’s salvation is for whosoever-

  • That means anybody. That means young and old; smart and average; educated and not; lower class to upper class; all have sinned and are in need of a savior.

And God’s offer of salvation is by grace through faith alone – not your church, or your religion, or your works, or how much penance you’ve done, or if you’ve been baptized or confirmed.

No, it’s like this: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

That is the HOPE for you, me and all of humankind.

 

Ron Shank is the Director of Pastoral Care Services at Brook Lane in Hagerstown. He is a graduate of Liberty University. He and his wife, Nancy, reside in Washington County and have two adult children. He is currently serving as the Secretary of the Board of Directors at The Hope Center.

 

Christmas Bazaar Countdown

Tomorrow is the big day when our Auxiliary kicks off the holiday season with their annual Christmas Bazaar fundraiser. Stop by the Trinity Center between 9am and 1pm for all sorts of Christmas gifts, decorations, food, and more! And don’t worry, we’ll turn on the heat for you! For more information or any questions please call 301.739.1165 or visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Christmas Bazaar

Students Use Music to Inspire Hope

Hopeful Hearts (2)On Saturday, October 21st, some very talented young people took the stage at Bridge of Life Church in downtown Hagerstown for a special fundraiser to benefit The Hope Center.

These young people are all members of Youth For Christ at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts located downtown. Organized by the students in the club, this fundraiser, a first for the group, was designed to use their musical gifts and talents to entertain and inspire the audience while also raising money to help meet the needs of people in the community. Performing various songs like Go Light Your World, Heart of Worship, and It Is Well, the vocalists and instrumentalists put on a beautiful show celebrating the hope and power of our incredible God.

For the finale of the show, our residents, who are a part of our Foundations Life DSC_0075 (2)Recovery program, joined the students on stage to perform Victory in Jesus. What a touching moment to see so many people performing together in different stages of life singing about the victory they’ve each experienced through their relationship with Christ. This is exactly what hope is all about and it was a beautiful reminder that evening.

Following the concert, refreshments were served and the audience could mix and mingle with the students who performed in the show.

We want to thank the students in the Youth For Christ Club at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts for putting together such a wonderful evening of music and hope. These young people have been given a true gift from God and it’s so exciting to see them use their talents to help others. We are so appreciative of their heart to help others and so humbled that we were able to be a part of this event. Thank you to each of these incredible students and to everyone who helped them put on such a wonderful show!

To learn more about all the various programs, services and outreach ministries to our community at The Hope Center please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Memorial Day Schedule

The following will be closed on Monday, May 29th, 2017 for Memorial Day:

  • Administrative Offices
  • Donation Drop-off
  • Thrift Stores (Hagerstown & Chambersburg)
  • Recycling Center

The following will be open on Monday, May 29th, 2017:

  • Overnight shelter (regular schedule)
  • Soupline (doors open at 1:15pm)
  • Evening service/meal at 7pm

For questions or concerns please call us at 301.739.1165 or visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.