Welcome To Hope Lutheran Church
We are led by the Spirit to serve God and Share Christ's Love with All
A Congregation of the Florida-Bahamas Synod.
NEW FM RADIO STATION. Anyone can now listen to any of the worship services in their vehicles by tuning into FM Radio station 88.3, from our parking lot. Please join us Saturday afternoon 5:30pm, the Sunday morning 8:30 AM parking lot service or the Sunday morning 10:00 AM worship services.
PLEASE GO TO SERMON SNIPPETS TO SEE PASTOR JEN'S FULL WORSHIP MESSAGES.
October 17 & 18, 2020
Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ at Hope Lutheran Church, Henri Nouwen wrote: “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” These powerful words really speak to our situation in 2020, don’t they? This has been a very difficult year for so many thus far-illness, isolation, financial instability, job insecurity, separation from family and friends, and so much more. While St. Paul urges us to remain joyful: Philippians 4:4 (NRSV) 4 “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice”, that certainly isn’t an easy attitude to hold at all times, is it? We might not feel well, or we worry, or we are sick, or anxious, or alone. And it isn’t just about us. We see unrest and division in our community and our country. Angry, hate-filled words and actions are taking place that upset us. We see Covid numbers rising and we worry about our family living far away. The political tensions are over the top-and we just want a little peace. Joyful? Rejoice? Not easy to muster the energy for it at times, if at all. And yet, it is important to remember that the kind of joy that Nouwen talks about, that St. Paul calls us to-this type of joy and rejoicing comes not from happiness or being silly or goofy or laughter. This type of joy is deep in our hearts and comes from the knowledge that we are chosen, loved, accepted, and wanted by our God just as we are. It comes from knowing that even in the midst of chaos or illness or uncertainty, that God is in control, God is in charge, and God has got this. That’s a source of joy, a source of inner peace, shalom, that can’t be harmed or swayed by the winds of anger and hatred and unsettling events that swirl around us. There’s an old camp song that this brings to mind-“I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart. I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart to stay.” The refrain reminds us that we have the love of Jesus down in our hearts, and that is what brings us joy, peace, and comfort when things seem so out of our control. “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” We choose what we believe in. We choose what we focus on. We choose how to live our lives. We choose to either wallow in the mud or be lifted up by the love of Jesus who, in spite of the storms of life, provides us with the deepest, most lasting source of peace and joy that we can ever know. When we choose joy, it shines in us. It shows those around us that we know something special and wonderful-that we are loved and forgiven and chosen by God who plants his joy in our hearts through his Spirit and leads us in lives of faith to follow in our Savior Jesus’ footsteps. My brothers and sisters, listen to St. Paul: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice”. Rejoicing with you in love, Pr. Jen+