Take Away The Stone

“Take Away The Stone” – Rev. Benjamin Wines

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications!
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
Lord who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;
My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning,
More than those who watch for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
And with him is great power to redeem.
It is he who will redeem Israel from all its iniquities. From Psalm 130

Please join us for worship, starting at 11:00AM. We will be meeting in-person, although you can also watch the service via livestream. Rev. Benjamin Wines will bring the sermon, “Take Away the Stone”. We will be reading from John 11:1-6, 32-45.

Questions for Further Reflection:
In this passage, Jesus fully reveals himself to everyone who witnesses Lazarus’s resurrection.
What does Christ reveal about himself?
Who do you know Christ to be?

Annual Gathering

Brothers and sisters,

By the time you’re reading this, I will be in Winston-Salem at the Annual Gathering for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina (CBFNC). For those that may not know what all happens at the Annual Gathering, this is basically CBFNC’s annual state meeting where ministers from CBF churches all over North Carolina come together to meet each other, worship together, go to workshops, and conduct business for the state de-nomination.

That description of it sounds too formal. At the Annual Gathering, I’ll get the chance to meet up with friends and colleagues from all over the state — people I haven’t seen since last year’s Annual Gathering. I’ll get a chance to hear how they’re doing and what their congregation has been up to over the last year. I’ll also get to meet new folks and build some new relationships. More likely than not, I’ll get to catch up with a group of people from a church I served at as an intern years ago (they send a group of about 6-8 people every year). It will be a wonderful time to see folks and let them know what good things we’re up to here at Hope Valley.

The workshops end up being wonderful opportunities to listen to other leaders from around the state or from around the country that have new and interesting ideas on things to do at church. They provide chances for those of us gathered there to talk about the things happening in our local contexts and encourage one another. There’s a saying, “Theology is done in community,” and the workshops provide that community.

And the worship services end up being wonderful moments where we can all come together and worship God together. All different people from all different contexts, bringing their gifts and their talents to bear to offer God honor and glory and praise. Preachers offer words of encouragement and challenge. Worship leaders provide musical experiences that are interesting, varied, and affirming. And testimonies offer even more insight into the incredible creativity of God’s people and God’s churches all across our state.

All in all, Annual Gathering is a great time of reflection, introspection, community, and inspiration. I’m sincerely looking forward to this Thursday and Friday.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Ben

Widow’s Ministry

Starting May 2nd, we will meet every other month on Tuesdays, at 11:00AM.

Meet at the church for food and fellowship.  This meeting is open to any windows in the community.

Please contact the church office for more details.

As Long as Christ is Around

“As Long as Christ is Around” – 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 hope you will join us for Worship! We will be reading from John 9:1-12, 28-41. Rev. Benjamin Wines will bring the sermon titled, “As Long as Christ is Around.”

Questions for Further Reflection:
In this passage, Jesus does something unexpected.
Think about a time when you were surprised by something wonderful God did in your life. What made it so wonderful?

Living Water in Samaria

“Living Water in Samaria” – Rev. Benjamin Wines

O come, let us sing to the Lord;
Let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
Let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the Lord is a great God,
And a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
The heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
And the dry land, which his hands have formed.
O come, let us worship and bow down,
Let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For his is our God, and we are the people of his pasture,
And the sheep of his hand. – from Psalm 95:1-7

Please join us for Worship, in person or via livestream, starting at 11:00AM. We will be reading from John 4:5-42 (with emphasis on verses 13-15, 21-24, 40-42). Rev. Benjamin Wines will bring the sermon titled, “Living Water in Samaria”.

Questions for Further Reflection:

In this passage, Jesus extends the reach of the Gospel further than expected.
What are some ways God might be calling you to faithfully step out of your comfort zone?
Who might God be calling us to reach out to that we didn’t expect?

A Sunday Afternoon Walk

Brothers and sisters,

This past Sunday, I had a unique opportunity. Normally, on the first Sunday of each month, we our Deacons meet to discuss our ministry together and how we can best serve the church moving forward. But, this week we were unable to meet, deciding instead to post-pone our meeting until this coming Sunday, March 12th (P.S. To any deacons that didn’t know that—Deacons Meeting this Sunday at 2:00 PM). Since it was a perfect day outside, I decided to go for a walk in a familiar place—UNC’s campus.

I parked on Franklin Street and made my way to-ward Carolina, taking in the spring air and enjoying the day. As I stepped onto campus near Pettigrew Hall, so many memories came flooding back. I walked past the music department where I had taken some of my favorite classes. I passed Davie Poplar and the Old Well—icons of the university. I would have lingered at each, but Davie was surrounded by a group of young people doing team-building exercises for some kind of organization and there was a young woman doing a graduation photoshoot at the Old Well. Moving on past South Building, I passed Carolina Hall, which houses the Religious Studies department. And I couldn’t help but smile as I remembered all the time I spent in that building. I remembered the way I was challenged there. I remembered how my love for digging into religious texts and history was fostered there. It was wonderful.

I passed through the Pit and Student Stores next, taking in just how much Carolina merch you can buy these days! Some made sense—shirts, blankets, mugs, etc. Some made less sense, like cheerleader outfits for dogs (and yes, outfits—plural!). I managed to get out of there with some money left in my bank account and made my way down to South Campus, where I passed by my old dorms and reminisced about late nights with friends, late nights with book and papers, and afternoons spent throwing a frisbee around. And as I made my way back up to Franklin Street, I was reminded of the “hill” in Chapel Hill!

I tell you all that not as an advertisement for UNC or anything like that. I tell you all about that because I remember the feelings that came over me as I walked the campus. It was a feeling of being at home, a feeling of nostalgia as I walked familiar paths, and a feeling of joy as I passed students and wondered what incredible experiences they were having. It was a day to revisit a part of the story of my life that was just wonderful. And so I wanted to ask you all, where are the places you feel that kind of joy? Where are the places you experience that sense of being “at home”? Where are the places that help you reconnect with the story of your life? Where are the places you feel close to God?
Grace and peace,
Pastor Ben

Crop Walk

Please support the Hope Valley Baptist Church team’s efforts in Durham’s 49th annual CROP Hunger Walk on April 2. CROP Hunger Walks are sponsored by Church World Services and are held around the country to support the organization’s fundraising efforts. CWS is a faith-based organization that works to transform communities through sustainable responses to hunger, poverty, displacement and disaster.

Twenty-five percent of the money raised in Durham is returned to our community to support local efforts to fight hunger. The organization isn’t just about providing food in emergency conditions, but also focuses on sustainable efforts that help build capacity for people to feed themselves and their families in the future.

For more information or to make a donation online, link to the team fundraising page at https://events.crophungerwalk.org/2023/team/hope-valley-baptist-2 If you prefer, you can write a check to CWS-CROP and give to a team member in person, place in the contribution box in the vestibule, or drop off or mail to the church office.

What Do You Want?

“What Do You Want?” – Rev. Benjamin Wines

Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit.
While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
My strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to you.
You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble.
Many are the torments of the wicked,
But steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous,
And shout for joy, all you upright in heart.
From Psalm 32

Please join us for Worship, in person or via livestream, starting at 11:00AM. We will be reading from Matthew 4:1-11 (with emphasis on verses 2, 4, 7, 10). Rev. Benjamin Wines will bring the sermon titled, “What Do You Want?“.

Questions for Further Reflection:

In this passage, Satan offers Jesus alternatives to God’s plan.
What are the things in your life that can distract you from God?
And how can Christ’s struggle help you stay focused on God?


Brothers and sisters,
As the Christmas season wrapped up in the beginning of January, I remember saying to Robin and Kathryn, “Well, we’ve got a little time before Lent will be here this year.” Then, I blinked. And now, it’s Ash Wednesday!

The actual practice of coming to worship on a night like tonight and having ashes placed on one’s head dates back over a thousand years, with the earliest recorded mention of Ash Wednesday coming sometime in the 8th century. The ashes themselves are meant to signify several different things. In one sense, they are a reminder to us of the words of God to Adam after the Fall, “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis
; emphasis mine). Thus, the ashes remind us of our own sinful nature and of our mortality.

In another sense, the ashes are meant as a sign of grief. We grieve over our own sins and understand that we ought to confess and repent. We grieve the brokenness of our world and acknowledge that there is so much work to be done to help people with their daily needs, as well as their spiritual needs. And we grieve that while we know God’s kingdom is coming, it has not come yet. And so the ashes can be understood as a sign of grief for the way things are, longing for the way things ought to be, and hope for the way things will be one day.

There’s one other interpretation of the ashes that I will put forth in my Ash Wednesday meditation tonight. I also see the ashes simply as a marker of who we are as Christians. They are outward signs of inward truths. Those truths? That we have decided to follow Jesus. That we understand that there is a cross that awaits us at the end of this season. That we choose to help others even when it may not be in our best interest. That we believe in the inherent dignity of all people, created by God in God’s own image. That we know that even if there is a crucifixion coming, even if our bodies are mortal, that Christ has already overcome death.

So, Ash Wednesday is kind of a strange day of the church calendar. It is a day on which we mark ourselves with a symbol the reminds us of our own mortality. The cross of ashes is a mark of death. But it is also a day on which we declare that death does not have the final say. Yes, we are all of us taken from the dust and to the dust we shall return, but there is still more beyond that moment. And in the meantime, the ashes convict us of our need to reach out to those who need help, to work for God’s kingdom in all that we do, and to remember that no matter how dark things can get—God is with us. Always. May we live into the truth of the Gospel during this Lenten season.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Ben