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Newsletter February 3, 2016 New Beginnings at New Hope VOLUME 3, ISSUE 21

When we hear the word "peace" today, we tend to think of world peace or at least the absence of conflict. Even from the pulpit, when prayers are made for peace, it is, appropriately so, for people to come to their senses and stop fighting. Certainly the world would be a better place if we could experience this kind of peace. For the Bible, peace means something else.

The biblical concept of peace refers to the individual and rests heavily on the Hebrew root "slm", which means "to be complete" or "to be sound." "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled; neither let them be afraid." John 14:27.The word "peace" appears in the Bible more than 300 times. All instances have to do with an inward peace, not a world peace.

God is the Source of this inner Peace. Peace was promised to the Israelites through a covenant. Failing to live in righteousness would (and did) disturb that promise. The Old Testament anticipated, and the New Testament confirmed, that God's peace would be mediated through a messiah. Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. Second Thessalonians 3:16.

We do not have a birthright of this inner peace, even as children of God. As a believer, your sins are forgiven, but that is not a guarantee that you will experience peace in your lifetime. It is certainly a good start: confessing your sins before God and taking up the promise of a new life in Jesus. But this peace that passeth understanding is dependent on a right relationship with God. A relationship that is active, consistent and maturing and worthy of a lifelong pursuit. "It is a peace that banishes all doubt, all painful uncertainty; the Spirit of God bearing witness with the spirit of a Christian, that he is 'a child of God.'" - John Wesley.


From the Pastor

The Most Holy Season of the Christian year begins on Wednesday, February 10th, as we begin the Season of Lent. Lent is a forty day period, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Sunday – Easter. Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon word lencten, which means “spring.” The season of Lent is a time of preparation for celebrating Easter. Historically, Lent began as a period of fasting and preparation for baptism by converts and then became a time for penance by all Christians.

New Hope will celebrate Ash Wednesday on February 10th with a service at 6:00 pm. Ash Wednesday emphasizes a dual encounter: (1) we confront our own mortality and (2) confess our sins before God within the community of faith. The form and content of the service will focus on the dual themes of sin and death in the light of God’s redeeming love in Jesus Christ.

The use of ashes as a sign of mortality and repentance has a long history in Christian worship. The Imposition of Ashes can be a powerful nonverbal and experiential way of participating in the call to repentance and reconciliation with God.

Today, as in the past, the heart of Lent is inner penitence and reconciliation with God. Penitential practices encourage inner change. Traditional Lenten practices include: fasting; special commitments; good deeds and almsgiving; prayer and reflection; reading the Bible daily; participation in church worship services; improving one’s prayer life; volunteering to help others who are less fortunate, to name a few.

Let us prayerfully contemplate the Season of Lent with the intent of developing a closer relationship with our Lord God.

Grace & Peace
Pastor Sandra
Life of David

This month, we begin a new Bible study on the Life of David, perhaps the most intriguing and compelling figure of the Old Testament. He is a musician, a poet, warrior, an adulterer and a murderer. He was chosen by God to reign as king over Israel in its heyday. He learned to trust God in the depths of his depression and in the extremes of danger.

This study will look at an important period in Jewish history. David was the second of the 37 kings of Judah and Israel. He was from Bethlehem, and as prophesied, Jesus was of the line of David. We will see how a morally challenged David found favor with God. We will see his greatness and also his failings and get a look inside the soul of this man through the power and beauty of his Psalms. David found God's peace. Like all of us, he was a flawed human being. But he got right with God through prayer and seeking the counsel of others.

This would be an excellent time to join the Bible study. Each chapter contains discussion questions which can be viewed in an online forum. But there's nothing like being there. The Bible is best understood when it is studied together. "Learning is better with others." - author Ralph Wilson. We begin the study on Thursday, February 18, 6 p.m.
Website Update

If you receive this newsleter via email, you already know that New Hope now has a website, http://www.newhoperowesville.org. It is still in a development stage but is viewable online. We have installed broadband in the Fellowship Hall which gives us online access from the church. This will be helpful in working on the website in a group setting. We wil meet to review the website status on Thursday, February 11 at 6 p.m.
Church Calendar

•  Wednesday, February 10. Ash Wednesday Service, 6:30 p.m.
•  Thursday, February 11. Website Review, 6 p.m.
•  Sunday, February 14. First Sunday in Lent; Gideon speaker, 11:15 a.m.
•  Thursday, February 18. New Bible Study begins: Life of David, 6 p.m.
•  Sunday, March 20. Palm/Passion Sunday
•  Thursday, March 24. Holy Thursday Service, 6 p.m.
•  Sunday, March 27. Easter Sunday
•  February Anniversaries. Vance & Terry Boone (12th); Thomas & Henrietta Dukes (26th)