From the Pastor's Heart

Pastor's heart original

Pastor Dalton 2/22/2024

Church Family, 
 
Ezekiel 3:8 says, "Behold, I have made your face as hard as their faces, and your forehead as hard as their foreheads." I love this text because God had just gotten done telling Ezekiel that he was sending him to the people of Israel and they were a bunch of hard-headed people. And in response to this, God tells Ezekiel, I'm making your head as hard as theirs because you have to get this message across! I find that humorous, but there is a helpful truth there as well. You know we are called to love and serve those who are, at least in our estimation, hard-headed! And we can be tempted to blame their "hard-headedness" as the reason for us to quit worrying about them. However, if we really want to see someone know Christ and grow in Christ, we can't bail on them. We need heads that are just as hard! And praise God, by grace, He can provide us that.
 
As for announcements, this coming Sunday we will have the breakfast bar open prior to Sunday School this Sunday. So come early, enjoy some good food, good fellowship, and then attend a class to enjoy fellowship along with God's Word! 
 
Second, WMU will be meeting at 10am on March 2. Mark it on your calendar and make plans to be there for this time of learning, fellowship, and mission amongst our ladies here at Hopewell. 
 
Finally, on March 23 we have the Hope Mission Breakfast and the Easter Egg Hunt. Be sure to mark it on your calendar and support the events when and where you can. 
 
See you Sunday!

--

Serving Him, 
Pastor Dalton
Hopewell Baptist
Pastor's heart original

Pastors Dalton 2/15/2024

Church Family, 
 
Romans 15:1 says, "We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves." Now hopefully you are hesitant to declare yourself as "strong," and I agree with you. However, let's lower the bar of our expectations of what "strong" is and let's suffice it to say that you may well be more spiritually mature than others that you know who claim Christ. Now assuming that you are stronger than someone, how do you handle the weaker brothers? I'm convinced that all-to-often our default response is to boldly reprimand their obvious weakness rather than bearing with them in it. We must see people not as weak links to be destroyed, but brothers who need to grow in their faith and they need you to do it! So be gracious and bear with those who know less than you. 
 
As for announcements, on March 23 will be feeding the Hope Mission downtown at 7am. This is a great opportunity to help those in need and to serve the ministry of the gospel that takes place throughout the meeting. So be sure to sign up and come and serve. 
 
Second, on the same day we will be having our annual Easter Egg hunt at 12:30pm. Certainly we want you to begin to invite others to this event, but right now, mark your calendar and if you can help feel eggs with candy, please do that. We will have the empty eggs ready soon for people to take and fill up. Thank you to those of you who do this every year!
 
Short week of announcements, but that's ok! The last announcement is the one that I make every week: Lord willing, I'll see you Sunday! 

--

Serving Him, 
Pastor Dalton
Hopewell Baptist
Pastor's heart original

Pastor Dalton 2/8/2024

Church Family, 
 
Romans 8:18 says, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." I just love this text. Paul knew suffering well, and the extent of his suffering was pretty bad. However, he says that it really isn't even worth comparing. It's not even in the same ballpark! That is not to downplay our current suffering. It is certainly not fun and you are not intended to enjoy it. But rather, the key of this verse is that the glory in store for us is so great, that nothing else measures up! That's exciting and it should be encouraging. So, let's be diligent, knowing that we are running the race for a great God! 
 
As for announcements, this coming Saturday morning the Secret Sisters will be meeting at 9am for breakfast as Mama Penn's. This event is open to all ladies, even if you did not officially sign up for the secret sister ministry. This breakfast is just planned as a time of fellowship as you enjoy some time with other sisters in Christ. So make plans to go get you some pancakes and eggs!
 
Then, that night (February 10), at 5:30pm come and buy a very affordable spaghetti dinner with dessert and drink and all for a good cause! Of course we will be having our Valentine's Banquet, and the youth will be serving as all the proceeds will go to help send them to summer camp. Also, for entertainment we will be having the newlywed game, so it should be fun! So make plans to be there. 
 
Finally, I want to just celebrate something with you! I know that during our business meetings we saw that the finances were doing well last year, but the numbers have been finalized and closed out for the year. And with that, with just our general giving, we surpassed our budget by around $40,000! I think that's worth celebrating, as with that we have been able to do so much needed work around our church. So thank you for being faithful to give, and I'm excited to see how we can leverage God's blessings for His glory alone! Amen! 
 
I look forward to worshipping with you Sunday. See you then!
--
Serving Him, 
Pastor Dalton
Hopewell Baptist
Pastor's heart original

Pastor Dalton 2/1/2024

Church Family, 
 
Mark 1:27 says, "And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, 'What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.'" Now this point is interesting because they were shocked to hear teaching with authority because apparently they were so used to teaching without authority. Now of course the authority here is because Jesus is God and He has ultimate power over all things. So the question is, can we teach with authority today? I think so! No, I don't and you don't have the authority to command whatever you want to be done. However, when we teach God's Word with a reliance upon God's Spirit then you are plugged into God's power. He is the authority behind His Word that we point others to. Amen!
 
As for announcements, the Valentine's Party is on February 10 at 5:30pm. Please be sure to sign up on Sunday if you plan to come, and you can pay at the door that night. It should be a fun time with a good meal, and the best part is that all of the funds help to send our teenagers to Summer Camp! So come enjoy and support. 
 
Second, I just want to brag on our business meeting this past Sunday. We voted to have the education building painted and the floors redone, and it went over without a hitch. Now I'm excited about the work that will take place, but I'm also very excited to see a church that is on the same page. It's a great testimony for us to have. So I just want to commend and encourage you in this unity! 
 
Finally, there is a sign-up for the Hope Mission Breakfast in March. Of course the breakfast is a ways away, but I want to encourage you to go ahead and signup if you can help as it will help Kim and the WMU in planning and preparing for that awesome outreach opportunity. 
 
I'll see you Sunday! 

--

Serving Him, 
Pastor Dalton
Hopewell Baptist
Pastor's heart original

Pastor Dalton 1/25/2024

Church Family, 
 
Acts 11:17 says, "If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?" This is Peter reporting to the church in Jerusalem about the salvation of the Gentiles and the result was that the whole place fell silent. I simply ask you this: are you guilty of putting God in a box? It is certainly true that we sometimes think God can and will only work in certain ways, and I think we sell God short. Don't put Him in a box, because He is the creator of it all! 
 
As for announcements, I should be back today! I'm so excited to share with you all that took place over the past week, and I'll plan to give you a report this coming Sunday during the morning service. Thank you so much for all the prayers. 
 
Finally, don't forget about the Valentine's Banquet on February 10. The event will be a fundraiser for the youth so come and enjoy the time and support the students. Make sure to mark it on your calendar. 
 
Lord willing, I'll see you on Sunday! 

--

Serving Him, 
Pastor Dalton
Hopewell Baptist
Pastor's heart original

Pastor Dalton 1/18/2024

Church Family, 
 
Matthew 11:11 says, "Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." Jesus says this right after John sends messengers because he is having doubts in prison. I love this text because it reminds me that having doubts and moments of weakness is no reflection upon who we are in and to Christ. Jesus praises John despite his doubts. It's comforting to know that even John the Baptist struggled with his faith, and yet, God was faithful to Him!
 
As for announcements, Lord willing, I'm arriving to Uganda at midnight tonight, which is about 4pm our time. So I just ask that you pray for me as I hit the ground and begin the work tomorrow. Pray for protection for me and for clarity in speech and thought in my teaching. Also, please be praying for Nicole and kiddos!
 
Second, on February 10 the social team will once again be hosting a Valentine's Banquet which will be a time where the youth will serve and receive all the proceeds to help send them to youth camp this Summer. So, be on the lookout for the details on that in the bulletin and make plans to come and support the youth and enjoy a good time of food and entertainment with you Valentine!
 
Finally, I want to encourage you to be here this coming Sunday, as we have special speaker planned. I'm excited about it, and I think you'll be blessed by it. So come ready to worship!
 
I would say see you then! However, I'll be worshipping with our brothers and sisters in Uganda! Praying for you all and love you!

--

Serving Him, 
Pastor Dalton
Hopewell Baptist
Pastor's heart original

Pastor Dalton 1/11/2024

Church Family, 
 
Acts 8:1 says, "And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles." This scene immediately follows the stoning of Stephen, one of the first deacons. I give you this verse today, because I want you to see how it connects to Acts 1:8. The church was supposed to be a witness in Jerusalem, and they had been doing that for the entire book of Acts. However, they were also supposed to go to Judea and Samaria, and they had not done so yet. But what pushed them? Persecution. The blood of the martyr Stephen proved to be the seed for growth of the church throughout the surrounding regions! God can use many things in many ways all for His glory! 
 
As for announcements, if you have a teenager between 6th-12th grade, then you need to contact Sarah Watts (sarahespence921@gmail.com) about Winter Jam and Summer Camp! Unless they are gone, they had just a few spots left for winter jam, and Sarah is very excited about MFuge this year, but deposits will be due soon. So please contact her and get your student signed up!
 
Second, I am scheduled to fly out on January 17 if the Lord wills it. So I just ask that you pray for me as I travel and please be in prayer for Nicole and the kiddos as well. With that, I am so grateful to you all! My trip has been completely paid for through your generosity, and I feel extremely blessed. Thank you and I can't wait to give you a report of the work when I get back!
 
Finally, I wanted to make sure everyone knew that we are still meeting on Sunday evenings for Prayer Meeting, but we are no longer meeting in the sanctuary. Now we are meeting in Harry's classroom which is the first large classroom in the education building. So come and join us at 6pm on Sundays and let's pray! 
 
I look forward to seeing you Sunday!

--

Serving Him, 
Pastor Dalton
Hopewell Baptist
Pastor's heart original

Pastor Dalton 1/4/2024

Church Family, 
 
Matthew 1:5-6 says, "and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king." I actually could have included verse 3 as well. I want you to see something I found fascinating about this genealogy. Only the fathers are mentioned except for 3 cases: Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth. Now you can read Tamar's story in Genesis and you'll see it's not exactly a story full of righteous acts. Then we know that Rahab was the prostitute that hid the Israelite spies, and Ruth, while honorable, was the pagan wife who was rescued by the kinsman redeemer Boaz. Neither of these women would be bright spots by Jewish standards, and yet, Matthew made sure they were highlighted in the geneology. I won't say more than that. Just ponder that fact. 
 
As for announcements, don't forget about the first WMU meeting of the new year this Saturday at 10am. If you are a lady and you have not yet been to a WMU meeting, then start this new year off right by coming to the first one! It's a great time of fellowship and ministry for all of our ladies!
 
Second, this coming Sunday we plan to ordain Bro. Doug VanDyken and Bro. Ryan Marino into the Deacon ministry! I'm excited about this special service as we get the chance to pray for our deacons and we look forward to the ministry they'll fulfill in the life of our church! 
 
Finally, my trip to Uganda is January 17-25. I want to thank everyone who gave to help send me, and I want to thank everyone of you that gave something to support the ministry we will be doing over there. I just ask now that you pray for me to stay well so I can make the flight, and pray for the trip as a whole! 
 
I look forward to being with you Sunday! See you then!

--

Serving Him, 
Pastor Dalton
Hopewell Baptist
Pastor's heart original

Pastor Dalton 12/28/2023

Church Family, 
 
Luke 19:4 says, "So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way." Of course, this is the story of Zacchaeus, the "wee-little man" as the childrens' song goes. He was short in stature and couldn't see over the crowds, but he wasn't going to let that stop him from seeing Jesus. Now there is much that can be said here, but I want to bring out a simple point. Climbing a tree is not easy work. It's inconvenient, but he did it. How many times have you missed out on worship because something was inconvenient? Would you climb a tree to see Jesus? Be careful to not let comfort be the main excuse that keeps you from Christ and his calling on your life. 
 
As for announcements, this coming Sunday is New Years Eve and we will be observing the Lord's Supper. So please come prepared to partake in the Supper by making sure you are at peace with all your brothers and sisters in Christ. This is a great way to end the year and begin to usher in the next one. 
 
Second, we are approaching the end of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering season. Technically, there is no time limit to when you can give to Lottie Moon and the IMB, but our focused time is coming to a close. If you have not yet given, please consider doing so, as those funds are used to help fulfill the Great Commission. 
 
Finally, remember that on January 7 we are planning to ordain Bro. Ryan Marino and Bro. Doug VanDyken into the deacon ministry. I want this to be an encouraging time for our church family as we celebrate together. So come prepared to pray and offer encouragement to these brothers. 
 
I will see you Sunday! 

--

Serving Him, 
Pastor Dalton
Hopewell Baptist
Pastor's heart original

Pastor Dalton 12/21/2023

Church Family, 
 
Nehemiah 1:4 says, "As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven." This chapter of Nehemiah has always been encouraging to me, as right after this verse there is a long recorded prayer, where Nehemiah recalls the promises of God in asking for a very specific request. However, one thing I've never noticed is look at what he does in verse 4. He fasts and prays for many days, and then we see the long recorded prayer. But what was he praying for many days? I'm sure he prayed very similar prayers, but what I find encouraging is that there are a lot of unrecorded prayers. Your prayers may not sound like the one in Nehemiah 1, but that specific prayer came after days of praying and weeping. And my guess is that those prayers were less polished. The key is that he was praying and the same is true for us. 
 
As for announcements, thank you to everyone who went caroling and attended the Christmas party this past Sunday. We had a great time singing with those at Morningside assisted living, and then we had a wonderful time of fellowship at the party. I hope that you enjoyed the gathering, and if you get a chance, be sure to tell a social team member how much you appreciate all they've done this year in planning these events for us. 
 
Second, I'm not sure if you were aware of this or not, but Sunday is Christmas Eve! We will have regular morning services this coming Sunday. Then at 6pm we will have a shorter candlelight service. So I look forward to seeing you then as we bring the Advent season to a close. 
 
Finally, on January 7 we hope to open our new year by having a special ordination service for our two new  deacons: Bro. Ryan Marino and Bro. Doug VanDyken. This should be a sweet time of fellowship, and I wanted to be sure to put it on your radar as we get ready for that Sunday. 
 
See you Sunday!

--

Serving Him, 
Pastor Dalton
Hopewell Baptist
Pastor's heart original

Pastor Dalton 12/14/2023

Church Family, 
 
Joshua 1:9 says, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Man, talk about having some big shoes to fill! Joshua had to follow the man who literally went up on a mountain with God and received the 10 commandments. He followed a guy who was the human instrument in the splitting of the Red Sea. And yet, Joshua was commanded to be strong and courageous! Could you imagine? Joshua certainly seemed to have ample reason to be frightened, but God tells him to stop and listen. He tells Joshua to read and understand the Law and to live by it. And then the key to it all? That last part of verse 9! God will be with him wherever he goes. God was with Moses too! The only thing that made Moses great was God, and God would do the same through Joshua. I guess the question is, what makes you think you can't do something God has commanded you to do?
 
As for announcements, this coming Sunday at 3:30pm we will be going Christmas Caroling at a local assisted living facility. This is a great opportunity to have fun singing some Christmas songs and to minister to those who are often forgotten. Many in these assisted living facilities have family that visit and involve them, but as you well know, there are a large number of residents who never have a visitor. So, we plan to spread some Christmas cheer and share the love of Christ this Sunday! 
 
Then, at 6pm we will be having our church wide Christmas party in the FLC! The social team has some fun games planned, and it should be a sweet time of fellowship. So bring a finger food, and if you want to partake in the gift exchange, bring a $10 wrapped gift. It's going to be fun!
 
Finally, we will have our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 6pm on Christmas Eve. So make sure to invite any friends or family that may be looking for somewhere to worship on Christmas Eve evening. 
 
See you on Sunday! 

--

Serving Him, 
Pastor Dalton
Hopewell Baptist
Pastor's heart original

Pastor Dalton 12/7/2023

Church Family, 
 
2 Corinthians 12:9 says, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." This past Monday, I got the privilege to interview Pastor Tony Howell who is retiring from Starr Baptist Church after serving them for 32 years. One of the first questions I asked Pastor Tony was, "If he wrote a book on ministry, what would the title be?" His answer? Grace! He mentioned simply that none of it is possible with God's grace. I thought his answer was simple yet profound. And it made me think of this verse. Believer, I don't know what you are facing today, but I do know this: God's grace is sufficient! 
 
As for announcements, our regular end of the year business meeting is this coming Sunday immediately following the morning service. If you're a member, please plan to attend as we will be voting on the budget and other important items. 
 
Second, the church wide Christmas party will be at 6pm on December 17th. Just bring a finger food item and a $10 gift that is wrapped if you'd like to take part in the gift exchange game that they have planned. This party was so much fun last year, and I'm looking forward to it again this year. So make sure to join us for some food, fun, and fellowship!
 
Finally, we will have a Candlelight Christmas Eve service at 6pm on....you guessed it....Christmas Eve! Be sure to invite neighbors and friends who would like to be a part of this story. Many people are willing to attend Christmas events even if they'd never come to church, so my prayer is that this will be a time of outreach as we present the gospel during this service. 
 
I look forward to seeing you Sunday!

--

Serving Him, 
Pastor Dalton
Hopewell Baptist