Time Together

Brothers and sisters,
As I write this article, I’m preparing to go on vacation with my family. I’m working on getting volunteers lined up to lead the different parts of the worship service on the 17th. I’m thinking about what all I need to purchase before I go to the beach, with sunscreen being priority number one! And I’m thinking about what all my family and I will do once we
get to the beach. But there’s another thing on my mind as well.

Today is my friend’s birthday! I would imagine most of you have, at some point, heard me talk about my friend Dustin. Well, today he turns thirty-three! Dustin is one of my closest friends, but also one of my oldest friends. We met twenty-five years ago, around this time of year, when he invited me to his eighth birthday party. Since then, he and I have grown up together and have experienced so much of life together. Back in high school, we spent plenty of Saturdays with friends playing games, swimming, and eating pizza.

We’ve struggled through classes in middle and high school together. We’ve been there for each other when family members have died and relationships have ended. We’ve celebrated huge moments in our careers with each other—my graduation from Duke Divinity and his passing of the Professional Engineer Exam.

But when I think about my friendship with Dustin, one of the first things that jumps to mind is our time together in college. Dustin and I were roommates for two years at Carolina before he transferred to NC State to pursue a degree in Environmental Engineering. Even though we were roommates most of our time in the dorm room was spent studying or working on homework. Because of that, we started intentionally carving out time each week to have lunch together at a restaurant on Franklin Street. We would meet up somewhere on campus each week and then make our way to any number of restaurants—Mama Dip’s, Bon’s, Franklin Street Pizza and Pasta, Los Potrillos, B-Ski’s, etc. It was a wonderful time when we could get away from the stress of classes and just be present with each other, catching up on how things were going. Regardless of how stressful our schedules were, we would find time to share a meal together. We could take time to rest and encourage each other, even when we were tired and stressed.

So often in the scriptures, whenever food is mentioned, it serves to bring people together. It gives the people in the Bible a moment of respite, to breathe and reconnect. Sometimes they reconnect with each other. Sometimes they re-connect with God. Meals end up serving as precious moments in the gospels where Jesus can speak to people about the eternal love that God has for them. When Abraham entertains the angels of the Lord unaware, he does so with food, and he is able to build an unshakeable bond with God. When the prophets envision the heavens, they envision meals that are served at tables where everyone has a seat. God knows human beings very well. God knows that when we take time to break bread with each other, we build community with other people. God knows that we need community and God knows that the communities we build can endure all kinds of issues. The communities we build can withstand the test of time and enrich our lives. Every one of the restaurants I mentioned earlier, except Mama Dip’s, has gone out of business. But the connection Dustin and I built over meals in those restaurants continues. I’m grateful for those meals and for that time together.

Grace and peace to you all,
Pastor Ben

Trunk or Treat 2021

Saturday, October 30 4:30 – 6:30PM

Trunk-or-Treat at Hope Valley Baptist Church is a fun, safe way for children in our community to enjoy the traditions of Halloween! We’ll have trunks full of candy and other treats, a Photo Spot, and more. Plus, attendees will get to vote for best car and pumpkins! Bring your family and invite your neighbors—you won’t want to miss this time of fellowship!

Want to help?

Volunteer via the sign-up sheet available at church, by calling the church office, or by using this link.

Rain date: Sunday, October 31

Shoeboxes for Appalachia

Shoeboxes for Appalachia, which is coordinated by CBF Field Personnel Scarlette Jasper, is a ministry of Olive Branch Ministries as a part of CBF’s Together for Hope Rural Poverty Initiative—a 20-year commitment to the 20 poorest counties in the United States.
This year HVBC will have the opportunity to assist with this program by collecting items and preparing boxes for children and young people in need.

According to Scarlette, because “these boxes may be the only gift some kids will get for Christmas” the goal of the shoebox ministry emphasizes quality instead of quantity, and because children do not always wear a clothing size standard for their age, she requests gift cards instead of clothing items (with the exception of hats and gloves).

The church will provide boxes for you to use. They can be picked up beginning Wednesday, October 6th at the church office or in the vestibule on Sunday mornings.

Please look at the most recent newsletter for other important information about this project.

One of My Favorite Times of the Year …

Brothers and sisters,

I am excited for the sermon series we’re going to be starting this Sunday. We are moving into one of my favorite times of the year—fall! I really do love just about everything about this season. I love the crispness in the air. I love the return of football. I love the changing colors of the leaves. If I’m honest, I even kind of love how we get a pumpkin-spice version of everything! But perhaps my favorite thing about the fall is the food that comes along with the season. I love making a pot of chili for my friends and inviting them to carve pumpkins with me on Halloween. I love hot coffee on a Saturday morning when it’s cold out and the sun is shining. I love Thanksgiving and the incredible spread of food my mother prepares each year.

What does all this have to do with our upcoming sermon series, though? Over the next seven weeks, we are going to be taking a look at several different passages in the Bible in which food plays a critical role in the story. The Bible is filled with food imagery and stories and visions of meals. Food is a constant presence and a constant source of nourishment and sustenance for God’s people. But why focus on food (other than the fact that we Baptists love to eat!)? I want us to take some time to focus on the food in the Bible because of how basic food really is. Food nourishes our bodies. It gives us strength to meet each day. Food can also nourish our souls. How many of us have a favorite dish, something that just makes us feel good when we eat it? Food nourishes our communities. It brings people together to share a common meal, to share the stories of their lives, to share their culture and their heritage. Food ends up binding us to other people and to the rest of Creation. We are reminded, every time we eat, that we are de-pendent upon the wondrous bounty of God’s Creation to survive. Food reminds us of our place in God’s grander plans.

Finally, perhaps most importantly, food reminds us of the kind of love that God has for us and the kind of love we ought to have for one another. It takes time to prepare a meal for someone else. It takes intention on each of our parts to do that. We have to spend time and money planning the meal and purchasing ingredients. We spend time and effort cleaning, chopping, stirring, seasoning, tasting, seasoning again, and plating. All to let someone know we care about them. And there are so many moments in the scriptures where we see God doing similar things. We will see God break bread and provide for God’s people. We will watch God multiply scant resources in the midst of a drought. We will see God care for people through food and rest. We’ll even catch a glimpse of God’s table and see what the Lord will lay out for all of us one day. All these beautiful images of God, these wonderful under-standings of God’s love and God’s character—they all involve food. I’m looking forward to the next seven weeks. I hope you all will as well!

Grace and peace,
Pastor Ben

Twelve Baskets Full

Twelve Baskets Full – Rev. Benjamin Wines

The Lord is my shepherd
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside still waters;
He restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths for His Name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff—they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me,
In the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life.
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
My whole life long.Psalm 23

We invite you to join us, online or in-person, at 10:45AM. Today’s message, Twelve Baskets Full, will be brought to us by Rev. Benjamin Wines. We will be reading from Mark 6:30-44. Today’s Ensemble is Anne Pokorny, Brenda Doyle, Mary Summerlin, John Myers & Mike Bunch. A big thank you to all of the above for sharing their gifts of music with us this morning.

Prayers of the People

Prayers of the People” – Rev. Benjamin Wines

If it had not been the Lord who was on our side—
Let Israel now say—
If it had not been the Lord who was on our side
When our enemies attacked us,
Then they would have swallowed us up alive,
When their anger was kindled against us;
Then the flood would have swept us away,
The torrent would have gone over us;
Then over us
Would have gone the raging waters.
Blessed be the Lord,
Who has not given us as prey to their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers;
The snare is broken, and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
– from Psalm 124

We invite you to join us, online or in-person, at 10:45AM. Today’s message, Prayers of the People will be brought to us by Rev. Benjamin Wines. We will be reading from James 5:13-20. Today’s Quartet is Anne Pokorny, Brenda Doyle, John Myers & Mike Bunch. A big thank you to all of the above for sharing their gifts of music with us this morning.

Field Education Placements

Last week, Duke Divinity School announced Field Education placements for the 2021-2022 academic year – I will be returning to FBC Henderson where I served over the summer. With that being said, I am happy to share that I am continuing my time at HVBC, albeit with some limitations and changes.

First, since I cannot be in two places at once and field education is the priority, you will not see me on Sundays. I will need to be at FBC for worship and all Sunday programming. I encourage students to volunteer and fill some of the roles I would normally fill in worship!
Second and related to the first point, Youth Bible Study times and days will be changing. The exact day of week and time will be announced soon.

This year will feel strange, at least in different ways from the previous year and a half. Yet, I am excited to spend the final year of my graduate program with everyone at HVBC. I anticipate that each of us will grow in knowledge, wisdom, and nearness to God as we commune with one another when we are able!

If at any point you have questions/concerns about what I’ve written here or Youth group happenings, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send a text/email.

Thank you for supporting my endeavors and the youth program!

-Sean Timmons

Volunteers Needed!

Lemonade on the Lawn, Student Prayer Partners, Trunk or Treat, Valentine’s Banquet, Easter “Egg-stravaganza,” Ice Cream Social. What do all of these activities (and more!) have in common? They’re all activities sponsored by the HVBC Family Ministries Team!

At HVBC, Family Ministries is not just about children or youth ministry. Rather, it’s a ministry that seeks to build intergenerational relationships not only within our church family through “inward-focused” activities like Lemonade on the Lawn and Student Prayer Partners, but also with the greater community around us through more “outward-focused” activities like Fall Festival, and other holiday events around Christmas and Easter.

Interested in learning more? Contact Amy Herring or Frances Smith. Or simply sign-up to join us for the 2021-2022 church year by reaching out to the church office or a member of the Nominating Team.

Coffee & Faith

Brothers and sisters,

Early on in my time here at Hope Valley, I mentioned that I love coffee. I love the smell of coffee brewing. I love the rich taste of a good dark roast. I love coffee shops and the atmosphere they cultivate. There is a buzz in the air—though that could just be the caffeine! My favorite thing to order at a coffee shop is always a pour-over. A pour-over, for those that may not have ever ordered one, is essentially just a cup or two of coffee. But pour-overs take time and attention from the barista. The coffee beans have to be ground to a specific size. The water has to be heated to a specific temperature based on the roast of the bean. The grounds need to be “bloomed” with a little bit of water and then the barista must slowly pour the hot water over the grounds to ensure a smooth, silky texture to the finished coffee. It takes time, but my goodness it is worth it!

I actually have all the equipment I need to make pour-overs at home. I’ve got a burr coffee grinder so I can get the exact grind I want, a digital gooseneck kettle so I can heat the water to the exact temperature I want and control the flow of the water once it’s been heated, and a glass Chemex to hold the coffee (glass is preferred since it imparts no flavor of its own to the brewed coffee). From start to finish, it takes about ten minutes to brew one cup of coffee. As a coffee-drinker, I love every step of the process and my friends who are coffee-drinkers enjoy it as well. But I do surprise some of them, because even with the Chemex and all the special equipment I own, I still have a Keurig machine. Within the coffee community, Keurigs are looked down upon. They are not as exact as a pour-over. K-cups are filled with preground coffee, meaning it isn’t as fresh as possible. And the machine forces the water through the grounds, rather than letting it work its way slowly through them. And so, I’ve over-heard coffee-drinkers at my beloved coffee shops saying things like, “Ugh. I’d rather have nothing than have to drink Keurig coffee.” But on a weekday morning, when I’m heading out the door to work, I don’t have time to heat water to a specific temperature and set my grinder to a specific size. I don’t have time to “bloom” my grounds. I just need coffee.

Our faith can be like that too. It is wonderful to be able to take time to slow down, read the scriptures, pray over them, and spend time speaking to God and with God. Those dedicated times of prayer and reflection are incredible and I would not trade them for anything. They can be soul-nourishing and invigorating, the types of moments that help us to build strong faith. But sometimes life is hectic. Sometimes you just have to get out the door. Sometimes you just have to make a meeting or get to an appointment or get on the road. And so some-times all we have time for is a quick prayer, a quick, “God, be with me,” or, “Help me, God.” Sometimes we can pour over the scriptures and sometimes we only have time for a quick reading. Both are valid. Both are faithful. Both are good. The important thing is that we find some time, any amount of time, to speak to God. If you can dedicate some time to an in-depth reading of the scripture, filled with prayer and contemplation, I would encourage you to do so. If you can’t, I would encourage you to try and steal a minute or two here or there where you can say a quick prayer or reflect on your faith. Regardless, I would encourage you to spend whatever time you can with God. It will always be worth it.

Grace and peace to you all,
Pastor Ben

Choosing God

Choosing God – Rev. Benjamin Wines

Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
Or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers;
But their delight is in the law of the Lord,
And on His law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees planted by streams of water,
Which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.
The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.from Psalm 1

We invite you to join us, online or in-person, at 10:45AM. Today’s message, Choosing God will be brought to us by Rev. Benjamin Wines. We will be reading from James 3:13-4:10. We are also joined by the Men’s Quartet: John Myers, Mike Dossett, Chris Summerlin & Mike Bunch. A big thank you to all of the above for sharing their gifts of music with us this morning.