Christmas Mailbox

Christmas is just around the corner. Start the festivities off right by participating in the
annual Hope Valley Baptist Church Christmas Mailbox. Bring your cards for church members and regular participants and drop them in the box in the vestibule or outside the office. No stamp is needed, but we do request a donation of 30 cents per card to the Christmas Offering. The deadline for “mailing” cards is December 4. Cards will be delivered at the Worship Service and at special activities beginning December 18.

Saints in Our Lives

Brothers and sisters,
This past Sunday, November 6th, was All Saints Sunday. We took time to remember, honor, and celebrate the lives of those Christians who came before us. We took time to remember the things they taught us and the good times we had with them. If you were here on Sunday or you tuned in to the livestream, you heard me us that phrase, “those Christians who came before us” a lot. And you also heard me talk about those saints teaching us things. But as I thought about this past Sunday, I realized that I really didn’t share many of the things I had been taught over the years from the saints within my own life. So, if you’ll indulge me for a bit, I figured I’d share a few things that Sunday got me thinking about.

The first thing that hit me after the service was when I walked back into my office and saw my certificate of ordination. I was ordained by my home church, FBC Goldsboro, and so the names of the folks on my ordination council are people I have incredibly fond memories of. My youth Sunday School teacher’s name is there—she was, and still is, the definition of warmth, kindness, patience, and hospitality. She also makes, hands down, the best sausage biscuits!

Bob’s and Bill’s names are on there. I remember the steadiness of their faith and their dedication to serving the church however they could. I worked with them a lot building handicapped ramps for folks all around Goldsboro and Wayne County. They embodied James’ belief that faith without works is dead—and their faith was very much alive! I also remember that Bob has a sweet tooth and Bill liked to “pay” me for my volunteer work with a McDonald’s cheeseburger and a Diet Mountain Dew.

There were also three pastors on my ordination council, though only two signed. Scott and Glenn’s names are there, my youth pastor and senior pastor, respectively. To write what they have meant to be personally would take far too many Illuminators to be practical. The first pastor I ever interned for, Alan, also sat on the council—he is the unsigned pastor, simply because he called in from Georgia to be a part of it. Those three taught me more about my faith, myself, and what it means to be a pastor, than I will probably ever fully understand. And since there seems to be an unspoken food theme in my recollections—Scott never turns down Thai food, Glenn loves country cooking, and Alan is a sandwich connoisseur!

Most of the folks on my ordination council are still with us. Bill has gone on to glory, but I love that I have gotten to know all of them. I am grateful for the things they taught me and the good times I’ve had with each of them. And as I sit and think about all the wonderful things God has done for each of us, I really do believe that stitching Christians together as a family is one of God’s greatest ideas.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Ben

Faithful Boasting

“Faithful Boasting” – Rev. Benjamin Wines

O sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things.
His right hand and His Holy Arm have gotten Him victory.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
Break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
With the lyre and the sound of melody.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
Make a joyful noise before the Lord.
Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
The world and those who live in it.
Let the floods clap their hands;
Let the hills sing together for joy
At the presence of the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity. Psalm 98:1, 4-9

We hope you will join us for Worship, in-person or via livestream, starting at 11:00AM. We look forward to seeing you there! We will be reading from 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12, as Pastor Benjamin Wines brings the message, “Faithful Boasting”.

A Wee Little Man Wasn’t He

“A Wee Little Man Wasn’t He” – Rev. Jeanell Cox

You are righteous, O Lord,
And Your judgments are right.
You have appointed Your decrees in righteousness
And in all faithfulness.
My zeal consumes me
Because my foes forget Your words.
Your promise is well tried,
And Your servant loves it.
I am small and despised,
Yet I do not forget your precepts.
Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness,
And Your Law is the Truth.
Trouble and anguish have come upon me,
But Your commandments are my delight.
Your decrees are righteous forever;
Give me understanding that I may live.Psalm 119:137-144

We invite you to join us as our guest speaker, Rev. Jeanell Cox, brings the message “A Wee Little Man Wasn’t He” based on Luke 19:1-10.

Jeanell Cox serves as an interfaith Chaplain at Glenaire Retirement Community in Cary. She is a Board Certified Chaplain of 20 years, and truly enjoys both her work with older adults and opportunities like today to join in leading congregational worship in a local church.

Halloween & All Saints Day

Brothers and sisters,

By the time you’re reading this article, I will no longer be in the state of North Carolina. As you all know, I’m on vacation this week and my friends and I have traveled out of state for one of the most interesting trips I’ve taken in a while! By the time you read this, I will be in Salem, Massachusetts, just a couple days before Halloween.

As a history buff and a nerd for all things religious studies, I’m incredibly excited to travel to a place where every street has a history, every building has a story, and every name has a past. I’m also excited to be there just a few days before Halloween simply because I love Halloween and Salem is a place that leans into the wonderful weirdness of that holiday. It leans into the air of mischief and mystery that Halloween brings with it. And, from all I’ve read about the town, it is this incredible blend of the old and new. You can walk down one street and find a wax museum that recreates the people involved in the Salem Witch Trials. Walk down another and you’ll come to the House of the Seven Gables, made famous by Nathanial Hawthorne. Turn the corner, though, and you’ll find yourself in a run-of-the-mill Starbucks or a CVS. Salem’s past and present intersect in a fascinating way.

Now, obviously Halloween gets a lot of fanfare each year. As of 2021, Halloween was a $10.1 billion industry in America, with $1.9 billion being spent on candy alone. Stores deck themselves out selling various spooky products and decorations. But there is a church holiday the day after Halloween that doesn’t get the credit it deserves.

All Saints Day happens every year on November 1. Halloween’s modern name is derived from its original name, All Hallows Eve—that is, the day before All Saints Day. And in the past, All Saints Day was a day of the year in which churches would honor the lives and the faith of Christian martyrs, the saints, who had come before them. In modern times, though, we tend to use the word “saint” to describe any person of faith.

That means that All Saints Day has grown into this holiday where the church takes time to remember those Christians that have come before us. It is a day when we deliberately take time to consider the ways that the Christians we have known in our own lives, before they passed away, have shaped and molded us. It is this beautiful expression of the way that God calls all kinds of people from places all over the world to be a family of faith. It reminds us of their love for God, their neighbors, and for each of us. It is a beautiful holiday where the church’s past and present intersect in a faithful way.

Typically, churches celebrate All Saints Day on the first Sunday after November 1 and so we will be celebrating on November 6 this year. The families of our church members who have gone on to glory have been invited to join us for a special service that Sunday. You are invited as well. Come on November 6 and support our brothers and sisters who have lost someone. Come and share with them a fond memory of their loved one. Come and remind them that you are available to them if they ever need anything. Come and be a part of this tradition that links us with those saints who have gone before us, those saints who live among us, and those saints who will come after us.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Ben

Christmas Angel Tree

We are preparing for the Christmas season and very soon you will see the “Angel Tree” filled with tags! This year, HVBC will be purchasing gifts for $50 or less for homeless men, women and children in Durham from the Durham Rescue Mission. We ask that you select a tag, purchase the gift, wrap the gift and return it to the church office by Sunday, December 4. The requested gifts will be given to shelter residents on Christmas Day! Please look at the most recent newsletter to learn more about this event.

A Critical Faith

A Critical Faith” – Rev. Benjamin Wines

Deacon Ordination Service for Leigh Bigger and Cameron Packer

The Law of the Lord is perfect,
Reviving the soul;
The Decrees of the Lord are sure,
Making wise the simple;
The Precepts of the Lord are right,
Rejoicing the heart;
The Commandment of the Lord is clear,
Enlightening the eyes;
The Fear of the Lord is pure,
Enduring forever;
The Ordinances of the Lord are true
And righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
Even much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey,
And drippings of the honeycomb.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. from Psalm 19

Join us in Morning Worship, whether online or in-person, beginning at 11:00AM. Today, Pastor Benjamin Wines brings the message entitled, “A Critical Faith”. Our scripture passage is 2 Timothy 3:14 – 4:5. We will also be having an Ordination Service for our two newest deacons, Leigh Bigger and Cameron Packer.

God’s Faithfulness

“God’s Faithfulness” – Rev. Benjamin Wines

Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
In the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord,
Studied by all who delight in them.
Full of honor and majesty is His work,
And His righteousness endures forever.
He has gained renown by His wonderful deeds;
The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The works of His hands are faithful and just;
All His precepts are trustworthy.
They are established forever and ever,
To be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever.
Holy and Awesome is His Name.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
All those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever.
from Psalm 111

We look forward to worshiping with you, either in-person, or via live-stream, starting at 11:00AM. Our Call to Worship is from Psalm 111, and we will also be reading from 2 Timothy 2:8-15.

Take in the Joy of It All

Brothers and sisters,

It’s that time of the year again. One of my favorite local events has come back to town and I’m excited to get to go soon. Growing up in North Carolina, this event was one that I went to constantly either for school field trips or for church youth outings. To this day, I’m the one that always gets my friends together and sends out the text, “Ok, so when are we going?” Y’all, the State Fair is back!

Now, I will say this, I am a more subdued State Fair visitor. I’m not into all the crazy rides with the pi-rate ships flipping upside down or rides like, “The Zip-per,” which is just a monstrosity! I’ve never understood the desire to go on the ride that uses centrifugal force to push you against the wall. I guess folks are curious what the spin cycle on their washing machine is like?

Instead, I go to the fair to take in the atmosphere, check out the submissions of artists and farmers from all over the state, and eat as much crazy food as I can! Every year, there’s a new lineup of things you never knew could be fried (might I recommend the Fried Key Lime Pie Bites!). Every year, there’s at least one thing I hear about that I think, “I’ve got to try that.” And this year, thanks to a local Instagram account I fol-low, I know what I’m looking for. It’s the Korean Corn Dog by Golden K Dog. It’s a chicken sausage with mozzarella cheese and fried like a corn dog. French fries are added to the batter, then it’s rolled in Flaming Hot Cheetos, drizzled with nacho cheese, and served with a side of spicy mayo. Sign me up!

Now, you may be wondering why I’m talking about the State Fair and particularly why I’m talking about a corn dog covered in Flaming Hot Cheetos. The answer is simply this, I love the creativity of the State Fair. It is a place where all different kinds of people from all different places all over this state come together to show off their talents and their interests. You can go into one section of the fair and see the largest produce you can imagine, cared for diligently by farmers here in NC. Go to another building and you can find local cake artists recreating scenes from Charlie Brown or creating a pastoral farm scene or making a Hocus Pocus themed cake. In another part are pumpkin carvers. In yet another part are musicians. And then, yes, there are the wildly creative food vendors.

What it reminds me of is the vast creativity of God. We were shaped and molded by a God who created all kinds of landscapes, land-forms, animals, birds, fish, reptiles, etc. And we are called, in our own unique ways, to be creative as well. We are called to use the gifts and talents God has given us in creative ways. Sometimes to spread the Gospel. Sometimes to reach out to our communities. Sometimes just to bring others joy. So, if you go to the State Fair this year, I’d encourage you to take a few moments and just take in all the wonderful creativity surrounding you. Whether you are there for the rides, the gargantuan produce, or the crazy food, take in the joy of it all.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Ben