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Newsletter April 1, 2014 New Beginnings at New Hope VOLUME 2, ISSUE 11
Our European Connection

The history of America and Europe are forever joined. Most of us trace our ancestry to Europe. We speak a European language. We have fought wars on European soil. The influence also includes Christianity, our main religion.

Europe and Christendom are also forever joined. The conversion of Constantine, the Canonization soon thereafter, the Reformation, Michelangelo, Bach, the great cathedrals. All are of our story.

Only 4 of the 27 books in the New Testament are devoted to the life and teachings of our Saviour.
Paul takes up most of the rest of it. He was the dominant figure in spreading the word of Christ. Had it not been for him, Europe might not have become Christian and we Americans may never have heard the Good News we celebrate during this Lenten season..
 
From the Pastor

Our Lenten Journey began with Ash Wednesday on March 5th; lent, a time in which we may revive our faith. We continue to journal in our Journey to the Cross, 40 Days of Discovery book, with the appropriate Bible texts as a guide during this most holy season in the Christian year.

The discipline of Lent, through repentance, fellowship, prayer, and fasting are signs that we are to be imitators of Jesus in our reflections of His light in our lives. Lent is not just giving up something, but rather taking upon ourselves the intention and the receptivity to God’s grace through good works and/or almsgiving.

We begin Holy Week on Palm Sunday. The name is a combination of two ideas that are in conflict with each other: a triumphal entry of palm-bearing procession into Jerusalem shouting “Hosanna,” and the sober realization that Jesus faces the agony and pain of torture and death on the cross. On Palm Sunday we will enter the sanctuary in a procession, with palm branches, which will be laid at the front of the sanctuary.

Palm Sunday is sometimes called “the Sunday of Passion or Passion Sunday.” Passion is sometimes misunderstood to mean “strong emotion,” but in this case, the term comes from the Greek word pascho, which means “to suffer,” and the Latin word, passio, which refers to our Lord’s suffering from the time of the Last Supper until His death on the cross.

On Thursday, April 17th we will have the Maundy Thursday service, with communion, as this was Jesus' Last Supper. “Maundy” comes from the Latin word mandatum, meaning “command.” As Jesus shared the Passover meal with His disciples on the evening before His crucifixion, He gave them a new command: “Love one another; as I have loved you” (John 13:34). Following communion, the Lord’s Table, the pulpit, and decorations in the sanctuary will be stripped/removed. This act demonstrates the desolation and abandonment of the long night that Jesus spent in Gethsemane and the actions which followed.

Easter Sunday, April 20th, will be our celebration of the Resurrection of the Risen Lord, during morning Worship Service. Items removed on Maundy Thursday will be ceremonially replaced as Worship Service begins.
 
May I encourage you to attend any and all of our Lenten Services and our Easter Morning Worship Service. I challenge each of you to bring a friend to experience the love of God and the love of the New Hope Church Family.

May God grant you Grace and Peace,
Pastor Sandra
The First Baptism

The honor of being the first convert in Europe goes to a woman named Lydia. Paul's first foray into Europe was to Phillipi in Macedonia. He was accompanied by Luke, Silas and Timothy. Lydia was from Thyatira where there were some Jews living and she likely had become a God-fearer there. She was a prosperous merchant of coveted purple dye and head of a large household. Upon hearing Paul's message, she became the first baptized convert. She insisted that her slaves and dependents also be baptized. She opened her house to Paul and his companions and there they held church services during the stay in Phillipi.

Paul on Prayer

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." - Collosians 4.2. Let's examine what Paul is saying here. He is asking the Collosians to use prayer in their daily lives as a connection to Christ. In the next verses, he asks them specfically to pray for him and his ministry. Be thankful: always give thanks to God for everything. Be watchful. Paul does not elaborate. It could mean to be wary of false prophets, evil or temptation. Or it could mean to be watchful for opportunities to serve the Lord.

You and Prayer

Paul encouraged constant devotion to prayer. Jesus often went away to pray, to a mountaintop, a garden or other peaceful place. Sometimes he took disciples with him, though often he went alone. He taught us how to pray saying...

 I heard about a church in Orangeburg which conducted a "Shut In" last weekend. Members arrived at 10 p.m. on Friday night with only a pillow and a blanket. They prayed and fasted until Sunday morning. How's that for  devotion to prayer!

Sandra preached Sunday on imitating God in our daily lives. Prayer could be a big part of that.

I Stand Corrected

Last month in the Bible Quiz, Abraham and Sarah were depicted as the parents of Jacob and Esau. They were, of course, the parents of Isaac. He and Rebecca were the parents of twins Jacob and Esau. The 12 tribes of Israel are named (for the most part) after the 12 sons of Jacob. Jacob was given the name Israel by God before the birth of Benjamin.

April Calendar

•  Bible Study, Wednesday April 2, 1-2 p.m.
•  Special Music from Cody Smith, Sunday, April 6, 11:15 a.m.
•  Bible Study, Wednesday April 9, 1-2 p.m.
•  Church Dinner, Sunday, April 13, following church service.
•  Maundy Thursday, Thursday, April 17, 6:30 p.m.
•  Easter Egg Hunt Thursday, Saturday, April 19, 3 - 4 p.m., at the church
•  Easter Sunday, April 20, 11:15 a.m.
•  Bible Study, Wednesday April 30, 1-2 p.m.