As I write this, vast swaths of Houston and other much smaller towns in Texas and beyond are flooded with several feet of water as a result of Hurricane Harvey. Meteorologists have said this is a once in 500 years weather event. FEMA says they will be there for years rebuilding, relocating, and restoring people, homes, and whole communities.
While the devastation is shocking and may make us thankful to live in Seattle, many of you are wondering what we can do to help. Certainly, some of you will already have donated to various relief agencies by the time you read this. If not, I would invite you to consider bringing help and hope in one or more of three ways:
1) PRAY - for hope and God’s presence for the people who have lost everything and those who will try to help meet their needs.
2) GIVE FINANCIALLY - while there are many worthy organizations to support, I would recommend the Texas District of our denomination of churches, the LCMS. They are already on the ground and in the water connecting with our sister churches and schools and their people. You can give online at https://txlcms.org/how-can-i-help-hurricane-harvey/ or you can give through Lutheran World Relief at https://lwr.org/donate/domestic-disasters. LWR will also be pursuing relief efforts for Hurricane Irma, which is still activating affecting those areas, as we print this newsletter.
3) CONSIDER GOING to SERVE - As the specific needs become clear, we will let you know about opportunities you might want consider for being a part of a Hope Team of volunteers to go to Texas and other storm-affected areas. There will be houses to gut and restore, debris to be cleaned up, and people to be encouraged.
Closer to home, there are lots of great things planned for this fall as we dive deeper into discovering what it means to “walk in the Hope of Jesus!” I strongly encourage you to attend worship weekly throughout this fall and to consider being part of a linkHOPE small group. While you can grow a lot in your faith on Sunday mornings, a lot of life-change can happen more effectively in small groups: in other words, circles are better than rows.
We are currently in a five-week message and small group series called Living Generously that will explore what it means to live with a generous attitude towards others. Starting October 15, we will take a look at five key values of the Reformation as we join with Christians all over the world in celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation and the work of Martin Luther and other reformers. We will also host a West Seattle Reformation worship celebration on Sunday, October 15, at 6:30 p.m.
You are also encouraged to attend a Puget Sound Reformation Celebration service and event at Overlake Church in Redmond on the afternoon of Sunday October 29, with a goal of 2500 attendees from Lutheran and other churches. See more information on the back page of this newsletter.
It’s going to be an amazing time of growth
at Hope this fall!
Lastly, I want to encourage you to attend Hope’s Men’s or Women’s retreats. These are life-changing weekends filled with time to relax and pursue adventures, experience great worship and teaching, and join in laughter and conversation. Both of these will be great weekends! Sign up online today at hopeseattle.org/renewhope and look for more information on the next page.
The storms and floods down south are a reminder that we don’t control nearly as much of our lives as we would like to think we do, but the good news is that God is faithful to provide what we need. As we each go through the various joys and challenges of life, may we always look to God in faith to be our “refuge and strength, our ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). He knows your name and your story and He loves you more than you can possibly imagine! Trust Him with every part of your heart and life today!
In His Strength and Peace,