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Newsletter August 1 2018 New Beginnings at New Hope VOLUME 6, ISSUE 2
Blessed Assurance

From our recent study in Romans, we learn that some branches of Christianity teach a kind of rationalistic faith that has little to do with personal experience. This is frequently a legalistic approach and results in a failure to comprehend the wonderful grace of God, the free gift of forgiveness. It can keep us tortured with guilt and insecurity, and bereft of assurance.

John Wesley, whose "heart was strangely warmed" at his conversion, defined it this way: "By the testimony of the Spirit, I mean, an inward impression on the soul, whereby the Spirit of God immediately and directly witnesses to my spirit, that I am a child of God; that Jesus Christ hath loved me, and given himself for me; that all my sins are blotted out, and I, even I, am reconciled to God." Until Aldersgate, Wesley was a decidedly pious and dedicated Christian but had failed to feel the warmth of the Spirit.

Fanny Crosby wrote about this in her much beloved song: "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood."

This is the Doctrine of the Witness of the Spirit. It says that God witnesses directly to the heart of the believer by giving assurance that the believer is in fact saved and forgiven. The key verse is from Romans 8. "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children." - Romans 8:16. Don't worry if it's news to you. Your editor confesses that he was not familiar with it. But, hey, you learn something every day. Especially from studying the Bible.

From Pastor Kevin

New Hope,

Thanks so much for the warm welcome! Paul makes a profound statement to the Romans by saying, “Welcome and receive to your hearts one another, then, even as Christ has welcomed and received you, for the glory of God”. It it important that we share in this warmth with all we meet and I thank you for this.

I am grateful to you and Pastor Sandra for your assistance as I begin to grow with the New Hope family. In the next few weeks we will have a meeting to discuss my philosophy, aspirations, and business aspects of the church. Charge Conference will be upon us soon!

Always feel free to call me if I can be of any assistance. Throughout the week invite others to come and share in our gatherings and pray for the life of our church.

God Bless, Kevin

A Farewell to Sandra

Our New Hope family got together on Saturday, July 14 to honor Pastor Sandra in a fond remembrance of her service to us. Sandra came to us in April, 2013, at a critical time in the church's 190 year history. We had separated from the other two churches in our charge and had requested a new pastor through Brother Frederick Yebuah, the District Superintendent who had been in that position for one year.
Bible Study

The above article is from our recently concluded study of Romans 5-8, which author Ralph Wilson entitled The Christ Powered Life. Our next study, also from Paul, is Ephesians. It will be our fourth in the letters of Paul. We began with Phillipians, then on to Galatians, now Romans and next Ephesians, which we will begin in September. Of all his letters, Ephesians is considered his spiritual masterpiece. It is 16 lessons, conveniently divided into two groups of eight each. So our journey has includee Galatians, recognized as the earliest piece of Christian literature ever written; Romans 5-8, about leading a Christ powered life and Ephesians, the spiritual mountaintop. For several years we did not have Bible study at New Hope. Through a commited effort begun in 2013 we started gathering on Thursday evenings and now we are in our twelth study. Studying God's word is a privilege. Studying it in a group is both a privilege and a joy.

We were experiencing poor attendance and had none of the activities typically associated with a church: Sunday School, Bible study, socials, missions and the like. Sandra changed that. We got some old members back, some new members and some folks from Sandra's church to come along for the ride. And what a ride it was. Fellowship dinners, Fifth Sunday Singing, Buncombe and Shannon choirs, special services like Hanging of the Greens, Tenebrae and Christmas Eve. We packed the house on a couple of occasions and needed the Community Center to hold everyone. We started a food bank in honor of beloved member Justine Halls. We had a dozen Bible studies and are starting another. We got reacquainted with old friends through our Fellowship Dinners. We even tried a Halloween Party and an Easter Egg hunt. Well, it was worth a shot. We took care of our church properties, too. Redid the Fellowship Hall, repaired the windows in the sanctuary and got rid of the bats. We became a loving, caring, welcoming church family again. All we needed was a leader. Thank you, Sandra. God bless you.

The Voices of Shandon

We were pleased to welcome the choir from Shandon UMC for our 5th Sunday service on July 29. They were back for a second time having been with us last year. This talented group under the direction of Eddie Huss filled our sanctuary with praises to God in song in a memorable way. if you weren't able to attend the event you can view the video here. Thanks Kevin for the great A/V work!

Church Calendar

•  Thursday, September 6. Bible Study 6 p.m. Begin study of Ephesians.
•  August events. Administrative Board meeting and movie, I Can Only Imagine. Dates for both to be determined.