Hope Fellowship Blog

Posts by Pastor Eric Channing

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Joyful Generosity

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Have you ever felt uncomfortable when "money" or "giving" is talked about at church? You are not alone. There are very few topics about which we are more reticent to share with other believers than the topic of how we handle our personal finances. And yet, Jesus spoke frequently on the subject. Perhaps this is because He knows how money can uniquely displace God as the foc...

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Church Health

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Let's admit it: church life can be difficult at times. Why is that? Perhaps it's because living in community exposes our flaws and shortcomings. That is uncomfortable. Not to mention that at some point we will inevitably hurt others, and be hurt by others. Consequently, some of us have concluded that life is better lived with a bit of distance from other Christians. The ra...

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Selecting Elders

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When you picture a "church leader," what comes to your mind? Are you filled with gratitude and gratefulness for those who have loved you, cared for your soul, and humbly taught you the Word of God? Or do you picture someone who has hurt you, disappointed you, or someone whose behavior has disillusioned you? Regretfully, many of us identify with the latter description more ...

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Prayer Meeting

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As we begin the New Year, the elders have called a prayer meeting for this Sunday evening (1/8) at 7pm at the church offices. As you contemplate whether to attend, you might be asking yourself, "Why should we pray together?" It's a valid question. Here are 10 reasons, in no particular order: We pray together because we are completely dependent on God for everything. We...

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New Year

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Somehow January 1st feels different than other days. It feels like change is more possible. It feels like there is a bit of a reset, a blank slate ahead. Now if we're honest, we know that we won't change just because the calendar does. However, in a very real way, the beginning of a new year can provide the motivation to do things we've been meaning to do. Like exercise. O...

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Christmas

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It's hard to believe that Christmas is only two days away. The anticipation is building. Presents are getting wrapped, and last-minute gifts are on their way (Please get them here soon, Amazon!). Holiday traditions are in full swing. As we hurry around, readying ourselves for the big day, have you stopped for a moment to consider your motivation for all this busyness? The...

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Thankful

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As Christians we always have an occasion to give thanks. The apostle Paul exhorts us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to "give thanks in all circumstances." So as Christmas approaches, don't let it pass by without spending many moments giving thanks to God for sending his Son Jesus. Last week's passage in John 1 reminded us of this unfathomable truth: God became a man. Amazing. Jes...

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Black Friday

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Black Friday. It’s a day where marketers are vying for our attention. The promise of life-changing deals on everything, from clothing to new technology, bombard us from all directions. Companies are desperate for us to spend money on their products. It is out of control. In any case, the good news of Black Friday is that Christmas is not far away. As followers of Jesu...

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Praying & Living for the Advance of the Gospel

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Why is it so challenging to pray, or at least to persevere in prayer? Perhaps it is because prayer feels unproductive in our efficient age. Perhaps it is because our minds are so easily distracted. Perhaps it is because we are unsure of its effectiveness- we secretly think "Is God really listening? Does He really care?" Perhaps we forget the intense spiritual battle ...

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Living for Christ in Your Closest Relationships

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This Sunday, in Colossians 3:18-4:1, we come to a passage that continues to answer the question: "How do I walk in Christ throughout my daily life?" It's a section of scripture that Martin Luther called "household tables," which are commands related to how a household should function. Three sets of the typical 1st century household are addressed: wives and husbands, childr...

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Living Your New Life in Christ

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Have you ever wondered: "Why do I still struggle with some of the same sins if I am a redeemed child of God?" or "How can I defeat the ugly pattern of thoughts and actions that remain in my life?" If so, you are not alone. In this Sunday's preaching passage, Colossians 3:5-17, God continues to show us how to live the life that is ours in Christ. This involves "putting to ...

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Seek the Things Above

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This Sunday we come to yet another majestic passage in Colossians. Paul begins chapter three by turning our eyes heavenward: "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God" (Col. 3:1). After reading this verse, questions may be flooding your mind, such as: How am I raised with Christ? What are...

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The Celebration of Communion

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On Sunday we will be celebrating communion together once again. You may be thinking, "why so soon- I thought we did this two weeks ago?," and you would be correct! The recent pattern at Hope has been to participate in the Lord's Supper once per month, with some exceptions. However, for a while now, even before I arrived at Hope, the elders have been considering an increase...

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Continuation of Colossians and Child Dedications

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This week we will have the opportunity to participate in child dedications during the service. As an aside, we should really call these "parent dedications" since it is the parents who are dedicating themselves to raise their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. In any case, let us reflect today upon the tremendous blessing it is to be raised in a family...

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Pastoral Installation Letter from Pastor Eric Channing

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Sunday morning marks a significant moment in the life of our church. As always, our focus will be upon worshipping the Lord Jesus through the preaching of God's Word, prayer, and song. In addition, during the service there will be a special moment where the elders will officially "install" me as your lead pastor. Here are three reasons (among many) that a pastoral installa...

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An Introduction to Fall Sermon Series: Colossians

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This Sunday we will dive into Paul's letter to the Colossians - I'll be preaching on the first fourteen verses of chapter one. What an amazing text! The letter to the Colossian church was penned by Paul from a prison (Col. 4:18), likely in Rome, while he was serving time on account of the gospel. During this prison stay, Paul probably also wrote the letters to the Ephesian...

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Colossians: The Preeminence of Christ

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Last Sunday we launched the Colossians series and celebrated communion together. It was a meaningful service, and if you missed it, you can watch here. As we look ahead to this Sunday, in Colossians 1:15-23 we come to one of the most amazingly majestic passages about Jesus in all of Scripture. Remember that the believers in Colossae were being tempted to move beyond Jesus ...

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