Having trouble viewing this email? Click here for online version. For all newlsetters, click here.
Newsletter August 3, 2015 New Beginnings at New Hope VOLUME 3, ISSUE 13

Our leaders advise that the war on terror will be a battle of ideas, or ideologies, not one of guns and bullets. It would make sense then that we know something about the ideology of the enemy. And that we understand our own ideology and why it would presume to be preferable to theirs.

We saw an example of their doctrine recently with the killing of four marines and a sailor in Chattanooga. We see it with shouts of "death to America"and "death to Israel" every day. The jihadists' ideology is based on the Quran which sanctions the vanquishing of the infidel by any means necessary. The goal of ISIL is to establish a region where Islam and Sharia law rule and non-Muslims are expelled. In this "caliphate", religion and the law are one and the same. There is no parliament or congress or elected officials, only mullahs and ayatollas. This is not the situation with all Muslim countries, but certainly it is with those who are sponsors of terrorism.

It would stand to reason that if we are to woo away people who are used to praying five times a day, including those not involved in the jihadist movement, we would need to offer a package that includes religion. Best choice: Christianity, a religion of Peace and Love. But we can't even decide what place religion should occupy in our own culture. To many Americans, it is merely a choice of lifestyles. To Muslims, their religion is life itself. Maybe our leaders intend to put up for their consideration our secular lifestyle, featuring democracy, capitalism and a take it or leave it religion. This would go up against a religious theology that has ruled its people with an iron hand for a thousand years. Winning this war will be a challenge.

Muslims, even those in this country who just want to live in peace, are afraid to speak out against the jihadists. Americans are afraid of offending someone. Or of what speaking out could mean for Christians in other parts of the world. Or maybe we are just afraid to speak the truth. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. - Ephesians 5:11.

If we are to stand a chance in this war of ideas, we must face up to a major obstacle: fear. FDR said "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." How then do we overcome fear? And Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened..- Matthew 14:29. Peter believed and had faith, but not enough to overcome his fear. He took his eye off Jesus and became aware (afraid) of the storm (the world). How does Peter overcome fear? Jesus would say to him, "By trusting me instead. Put your faith in me, not the storm, nor the boat."

We love God, we worship him and we will spend eternity with Him. We sing His praises and stand in awe of His might and power. But do we put our trust in Him? Surely God is my salvation;  I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. - Isaiah 12:2.

From the Pastor

On Sunday, August 30th we will celebrate our second 5th Sunday Singing & Scripture Service; then we will share a fellowship dinner. Sometimes familiar words lose their intended meaning; such as the word "fellowship." In today’s society the word is used to describe gatherings ranging from coffee and donuts to worship services. Most times it is associated with gathering where sharing food is involved. In The Bible we learn that fellowship is a "heart" issue, something to be felt and expressed, something very important to be a part of. It is a way of life for believers in Jesus Christ to want to be in each other’s company, to share things together and to help and support each other both physically and spiritually. If one of the members hurt we share the burden. We at New Hope are truly church family in that we share both happiness and sadness together.

The importance of fellowship can be found in 1 John 1:7: If we walk in the light…have fellowship with one another; in Psalms 133: 1: How good it is when brothers live together in unity!; in Hebrews 10:25: Let us not stop meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching; Matthew 18: 20: For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them.

The early church was born in a hostile society. The church – the assembling of believers – was the source of strength. They continued together in one accord: preaching the love of Jesus, the forgiveness of sins, salvation through belief in Jesus as the Son of God. They fellowshipped together, prayed together and they shared meals together.

The Bible speaks of singing during fellowship in Ezra 3:11: They sang together…praising and giving thanks; Matthew 26:30: And when they had sung a hymn, they went out…; Hebrews 2: 12: . I will sing your praises.

Let us praise the name of The Lord on Sunday, Aug. 30th as we worship God together in song, scripture readings, prayer, coming together in one body – the church. And, yes, we will fellowship during our time together as we enjoy the tasty food. See you on the 30th!

God’s Grace to you,
Pastor Sandra

Think Small

We talk about the big picture - the economy, politics, etc., but life is mostly a lot of small pictures. Pastors know that small groups are essential to the survival of the church. "We believe that people grow better in circles than they do in rows. Small groups are a great way to grow deeper in your faith with those you enjoy being around". - Pastor Bill Hybels.

We began a weekly Bible study this year. Pastor Hybels is right. We are growing in our faith, leading to deeper friendships and a genuine increase in caring for, supporting and praying for each other. This is not a by product of Bible study, rather the essence of it. The church began this way. They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Every day they continued to meet together.. and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42, 44, 46-47.
Church Calendar

•  August 30 Fellowship Dinner, following worship service
•  August Birthdays Gilbert O'Cain (6th), Terry Boone (7th), Esther Higginbotham (7th), Betty Murdaugh (10th), Sara Jo Steinbraker (19th), Linda Heape (22nd), Sidney Bowman (23rd)