Merry Christmas

 By: Henry Knapp

We walk by faith, not by sight! (2 Cor. 5:7) This has been the Scripture of the year for us as a family. Each year, we like to put a little Post-it note up by the place where we hang our keys. A daily reminder to call to mind what we believe and who we are in Christ. This year, it’s been quite a faith walk for the Knapps! This is exactly how God likes it. Leaning in on Him for literally everything as an expression of our utter dependency. That’s been our year!

We wanted to take this time to say Merry Christmas to our entire Hebron church family, and to share “family Christmas letter style” greetings. Here’s everyone’s highlights of the year in a nutshell:

Sabrina – She continues to thrive out east in West Chester, PA. She is thoroughly enjoying her call to ministry by being on staff at Iron Works Church. She is the Church Life Director and does everything and anything the pastor does not do himself. She is involved in teaching, worship leading, office management, outreach, and discipleship. This church is a small but thriving church plant right near West Chester University (her alma mater!) and she loves the various ministry opportunities at hand. She is also pursuing her Master of Divinity degree part-time and gets some Greek lessons and theological ponderings once in a while from her Dad on the phone. She enjoys exercise (ran a marathon!), travel, reading, singing, and all things musical theatre.

Jason – He decided, upon graduating PSU in May’ 22, to join his sister out east. Clearly, God called him to the King of Prussia area outside of Philly. He landed a solid job with Arkema as a Material Science/Polymer Engineer, relocating in June, and pretty much has been flying all over the nation since. The job has him learning and traveling and developing in a lot of ways and it has been a joy. He is pursuing his discipleship and friendships at New Life, a great church in the area. He is loving the fact that upon moving east, the Phillies went to the World Series and the Eagles are undefeated. He bleeds black and gold—we keep reminding him of that!

Henry and Kelly – We just wrapped up our fourth year of  ministry here at Hebron. How can this be? What a wild Christmas four years ago, moving into the house with two college-aged kids and everything being so new and so different! We have seen His faithfulness; He has kept us steady in unsteady times, and nurtured us fully. Some highlights of our personal lives: we had our wonderful, annual time in FL with Henry’s parents, enjoyed a new refurbished back deck this summer, saw family out east, in Conneaut Lake, and in Michigan, and relaxed in New England for our b-day/anniv. week in August!

This year in particular has been one of many, many blessings and many, many trials. We are growing in our trust walk with the Lord and in His promises. We walk by faith, not by sight. We love Hebron and the unabashed love for Jesus in this place. Thank you for loving us well. From our family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Love in Christ,

Henry, Kelly, Sabrina and Jason Knapp

The Heart of Giving

 By: Bill Kear, Stewardship Team


Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (Matthew 25:34)


Planned Giving

What a marvelous statement! Before He created anything God willed to bless us with an imperishable inheritance that was made manifest by the person and work of Christ Jesus. That’s what you call Planned Giving.

What about us? Planned gifts take forethought. Some build giving into their budgets. Some conscientiously avoid ‘living on the edge’ so they’re in a position to bless others. Some make regular deposits into their children’s or grandchildren’s 529 accounts.

For those that have the financial means, the following Planned Giving strategies are ways to bless Hebron’s ministry now, in a few years or at death. Please confer with your legal counsel and/or tax advisor. 


1. Donations of appreciated publicly traded securities - A contribution of appreciated assets such as stock may help reduce the impact of taxes, resulting in a larger gift to Hebron. You will not have to sell the securities and will not incur any capital gains tax. 

 

2. Qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) - Individuals 70½ or older can make QCDs from traditional, rollover, or Roth IRAs directly to Hebron. Such distributions are not taxable and can be used to satisfy Required Minimum Distributions.

 

3.    Designate Hebron as a beneficiary on a life insurance contract or IRA account.

 

4.    Make a specific bequest to Hebron in your last will and testament.

If you have complex assets like real estate or mineral interests with which to bless Hebron, or want to explore more sophisticated giving strategies to bless both family members and Hebron, Henry or Jerry can help direct you to obtain additional information.  

 

All Moms Ministry Update

 By: All Moms Leadership Team

This fall has passed quickly and along with it, the fall semester of All Moms is drawing to a close! We have had 5 meetings (the last will take place Dec. 6th in the form of a Christmas party with a focus on Hope) located in Fellowship Hall. We have a total of 30 women registered, with attendance averaging 17 women, some of whom do not attend Hebron. Over these 5 meetings we have had speakers on various topics (encouragement, control, “Be the Parent”) and have also done an article review. One of the meetings was a fun night of crafting and making apple dumplings to take home to their families! We were able to host a FREE pumpkin patch for the group and their families, including a hay ride, a bonfire, snacks and pumpkins for the kiddos! As a service project, we had a clothing/toiletries drive to benefit domestic violence victims in the month of October.


But more importantly than that which is measurable, is surely that which is not. Over these impactful meetings, our ministry of young moms has grown in relationship, and our leadership team has been able to pour Christ’s love into these women by centering on the Gospel. The outreach arm of this ministry has brought women from all over the local area, including a young woman from Crafton. In addition to our Tuesday night meetings (held on the first and third Tuesday of the month) one of our mentor moms, Kelly Knapp, hosts Coffee Chats in her home three times a semester. These Coffee Chats have been well attended by these moms for more intimate connections and deep conversation that all comes back to pointing these ladies back to the truth of the Gospel.


Plans to kick off the spring semester at the beginning of February 2023 are underway! We thank you for your support and ask for your continued prayers for this thriving church ministry as we continue to touch moms and their families.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!




Making Apple Dumplings

Children's Ministry

 By: Melanie Mills & Jill Scott

In November, preschoolers have been talking about all of the wonderful gifts God has given us! The 9:00 AM Sunday preschool small group led by Jayne Shorthouse and Lynn Glenn painted paper donuts with puffy paint as they discussed how grateful we are that God made yummy foods!

 

Nursery friends sharing a snack during the Sunday 10:15 AM small group, led by Emily Garrison, Hillary Chichon and Sarah Webb. Nursery care for infants and toddlers is available during the 9:00 AM, 10:15 AM and 11:15 AM hours on Sunday morning.


PRESCHOOL

Imagine going about your day, doing all the things you normally do... working, carpooling, sitting in meetings, running errands, answering phone calls and emails, making dinner for your family. And then...Bam! Your normal everyday life is interrupted by a major announcement. That’s what the shepherds were doing the night an angel, followed by an entire angel army, delivered the BIGGEST birth announcement of all time. Jesus is here. The promised one. The one they’d ALL been waiting for. He had arrived and they could find him in a stable, in the small town of Bethlehem. The shepherds ran to see Jesus for themselves, overwhelmed by this good news. And after they saw Jesus, what did they do? They immediately began telling EVERYONE about Him. (Luke 2: 8-22) YOU have that same opportunity with the kids in your life this month! Tell them about Jesus!

The preschool memory verse this month is John 3:16 GNT, "God loved the world so much that he gave His only Son."

It's true! God loved the world so much that He gave us His one and only Son! This month during preschool large group we will sing "What Christmas Is About" by Orange Kids. We encourage parents to download the Spotify app and follow the hebronkidz "Christmas 2022" playlist to have access to the songs your kids are singing during large group time on Sunday mornings. When worship is woven into the daily rhythm of your family's day it reminds your children that Jesus is at the center of our lives, all glory is His, and He loves us! 

Worship with your kids in the car, dance with them to worship music in the kitchen, and encourage your child to share the exciting news of the birth of Christ the King with a friend or family member!

ELEMENTARY

James, the brother of Jesus, wrote that every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17), but the best gift God ever gave was Jesus. From the beginning, God has had a plan to rescue the world from the consequences of sin. Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s plan. Because of Jesus, it’s possible for us to have a relationship with God that will last forever. As we remember the Christmas story, we take time to celebrate the greatest gift the world has ever known.  

On Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings in December, elementary small groups will be reading through the Gospel of Luke. We will share the incredible story of Zechariah and Elizabeth, that it seemed impossible for them to bear children in their old age. But one day an angel came to Zechariah and told him he would have a son. That son would prepare the way for the promised one, Jesus. An angel also came to Mary, who was awestruck when told she would bear the Savior of the world. These stories (Luke 1: 5-66) remind our elementary kids that anything is possible with God! Your children face some difficult seasons throughout their lives, but no matter what they face, they can trust God. His promises are true.

In Luke 2:8-20, we read that God didn’t choose to share Jesus’ birth with kings, government officials or religious leaders. Rather, God sent an angel choir to announce this news to a bunch of shepherds on a hillside. The shepherds ran to find Jesus, where they worshipped Him. They were so full of joy that they made sure to tell everyone what they had seen! The good news is for everyone. The message of Jesus, the gift of His love, isn’t something we should keep to ourselves. We want Hebron kids to start thinking about how they can share the good news about Jesus. From the words they say to the life they live, your kids can point people to Jesus and show God’s love to others.

The elementary memory verse for December is Luke 2:11 NIrV,  “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is the Messiah, the Lord.”

 

Important Dates:

Hebron Kidz Sunday small groups (infants through 5th grade) will not meet on December 25th or January 1st.

The nursery will not be available on either of these Sundays during worship. 

The last Wednesday Night Kidz Club of 2022 will be December 14th.

Kidz Club will not meet December 21st or 28th.

Young Life

 By: The Mission and Outreach Team


Hebron Mission Committee would like to introduce you to one of our new missionary partners, Jonathan Grissom, who began to serve Young Life in the East Hills this past summer.

“We have landed in the East Hills and have been busy meeting people and kids and working on building a foundation for healthy long-term ministry. My wife, Maria, is enjoying the All-moms program at Hebron, and Gracie (6 months) and Jude (2 years) are enjoying library trips and running and crawling around the house.  At Penn Hills High School we have been meeting kids and working on adding to our volunteer leader team, so we can really meet the kids where they are.  We had our first YL outreach night in October and had about 20 kids come and carve pumpkins, eat too much food and have a good time.  We have already seen the grace of the LORD in our start here, finding a house, meeting great people and having open doors to meet high school kids.  We're excited and expectant about what the LORD will do through our efforts!”

 

HCC - A Year in Review: We Are Excited & Making Progress

It has been a year of learning and trying new things - evaluating, adjusting, starting, stopping, meetings, events, activities, and programs. We are learning many things and still have more to learn but are thankful for Hebron allowing and supporting us in this journey. 

The Hebron Community Center’s (HCC) mission is to create a safe and inviting space for the Penn Hills community. Over the past year, the Barclay Building has provided a space for the community to gather, serve one another, and care for community like Christ. Our efforts continue to be aimed at caring for the whole person: physical, mental, emotional, social, & spiritual. We recognize the need to take a multi-faceted approach in caring for the community around us. 

Just as individuals are not designed to function independently, the HCC recognizes that we are not the only organization that cares about the community and looking for ways to partner with other organizations, churches, and leaders. Building relationships with people coming through the doors for regular activities, our instructors, as well as with other organizations have been a large part of the progress we have made this year. 

Our current offerings consist of: Tuesday 9-9:45 AM Keeping in Balance (Indoor walking and Balance class), 6-6:45 PM Zumba followed by Open Gym Basketball from 7-9:30pm, Thursday 6:30-7:15 PM Latin Aerobic Dance followed by Open Gym Volleyball 7:30-9 PM, and Friday 6-7 PM Open Gym Indoor Soccer. For full details and costs please see our website: HebronCC.org

During a given week we will typically see around 50 individuals that participate in HCC programs. Since the start of regular programming in February 2022, we have had roughly 175+ people come through the doors to participate in some capacity!! 

Last year we had our inaugural event, Trunk or Treat, which had around 120 people in attendance. This year for our second annual, we had 2 individuals and an organization request to partner with us for the Trunk or Treat and had over 300 people turn up for the event! 

Jen has been busy building relationships with many organizations including Pittsburgh F.R.I.E.N.D.S (aimed to build unity within the whole church- all races, denominations, etc and emphasizing doing ministry TOGETHER), PH Community Development Committee (PHCDC), PH Rotary, PH Clergy & PHSD Bible Club, and Reaching Back (mentoring program). One of the HCC’s strongest partnerships is with Reaching Back. Jen has been a co-facilitator with the HCC as the host for a program: Encouraging Healthy Masculinity, a 12 session course encouraging gentlemen ages 12-19 to be more intentional about having healthier more respectful relationships. This program has allowed Jen to present the Gospel and share the Word in an otherwise secular curriculum, as well as begin to build bridges. 

We are thankful for God’s provisions and awed at the opportunities He has put before us to engage with other organizations, encourage community, and hold forth His Word to others. We are very excited about our upcoming Holiday Shoppe that will take place on December 17th from 10 AM to 2 PM where we can support local small businesses, showcase local talent, and spread holiday cheer! All are welcome to participate in whatever capacity they are able! You can register to be a vendor, can sign up a group to perform, or stop by to shop, eat, and enjoy the festivities. 

This coming year we anticipate continued growth in programming, increasing our volunteer base, increasing our funding sources, and continuing to identify needs, which we can work to address all while we keep caring for community like Christ at the center of all we do.

Volunteers for 2022 Trunk or Treat

Left to R: HCC Board President - Craig Ball, Director - Jen Balkey, HCC Board Secretary - Jill Scott

Tuesday Night Open Basketball

On the Practice of Discipleship

 By: Henry Knapp

We called it “the snow belt,” a strip of land where an abnormally high volume of snow would fall in the winter. I grew up in Crawford County, about 100 miles north of here, just south of Erie County. When the wind blew across Lake Erie it would absorb water into the atmosphere, then dump it all as snow in a 30-50 mile swatch—including where I grew up. Snow drifts of over 2-3 feet were not uncommon.

Working outside with my father in the wintertime often involved plodding through mounds and mounds of snow. Like most kids, I loved playing in the snow… but when I was working with my dad, snow was the worst! Cold, wet, yucky. When I would complain, my father, a much bigger man than I was, would direct me, “just walk in my steps.” In theory, I could trudge along behind him and never experience the misery of snow-down-my-boots. Of course, if I wandered off course, I could easily get lost in a snow bank or, if I wasn’t careful, I could misstep and end up cold-n-wet or I could willfully decide to go-my-own-way and pay the consequences. But, always, my father’s footsteps were there.

This past year we have stressed “Worship + 2” at Hebron as our focus in making disciples—

· through our worship: Loving the Lord together

· through +1 our study: Learning the Word of God together

· through +2 our service: Serving our King together.

All this, however, begs the question a bit… what exactly does it mean to “make disciples”? The language is familiar enough, even for those loosely affiliated with the church. But, in the interests of “making” them well, can we give more definition to the idea of a “disciple”?

There are three words the Bible uses for the disciple—mathatas, apostolos, and akolutheo. The first, mathatas, speaks of a learner, a scholar, one who accepts and embraces another’s teaching. We are disciples because we are attentive to the teachings of our Lord; we disciple others by prioritizing His Word. The second, apostolos, is a messenger, a herald, one who is sent with the authority of another. As disciples, we represent Christ; we disciple others by highlighting Him and Him alone. Third, akolutheo, is a follower, an imitator, one who walks in the footsteps of another. We are disciples through our imitation of Christ; we disciple others by encouraging them to follow Jesus.

On one level, discipleship is an automatic process—all parents (for good or ill) “disciple” their children. Friendship naturally includes discipleship; every relationship involves some learning, leading, following. Indeed, I would argue that we all are disciples of something/someone. But, if we are seeking the discipleship that leads to a grace-filled, godly Christian life, then the ultimate footsteps we follow are His alone.

In our worship, in our learning, in our service, we are slowly but surely being discipled—practicing how we walk more and more faithfully in the footsteps of our Lord. As with so much in the Christian life, discipleship is easier with others around than individually; come join us as we learn of, imitate, and follow Christ together!

The Heart of Giving

 By: Bill Kear, Stewardship Team

The Stewardship Team is embarking on a series of messages about stewardship which is a predominant theme of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation; from when God made man and woman stewards of Earth, to when God will make His children stewards of the new creation. To the extent that we put the biblical principles of stewardship into practice, we will enjoy the freedom and fulfillment that comes only from being the Lord’s servants. Look below for more info from the Stewardship Team.


Luke’s Gospel provides a wonderful portrait of the “heart of giving.” Beginning in 18:18, a rich young ruler approaches Jesus and asks him what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus is patient with the young man and inquires if he’s upheld the commandments. Not truly understanding the depth of the commandments, and placing the bar for sin in his life far too low, the young man responds in the affirmative. Jesus then drives to the heart of the issue, the young man’s wealth and possessions. Even in the presence of the Lord, the rich ruler could not fathom walking away from what meant the most to him. He valued his wealth and status more than God, and had created an idol that certainly broke the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).

As the young man dejectedly walks away, Jesus astonishes those with him by saying, “For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:25).

The disciples are incredulous and perplexed, and ask Jesus then who can possibly get in, as they equated great wealth with favor and position in God’s Kingdom. But Jesus has one of the most heartening verses in response, “What is impossible with men is possible with God” (Luke 18:27).

Moving on to chapter 19 in Luke, we get a vivid demonstration of the truth of verse 27. Jesus has an encounter with Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector and man of incredible wealth. Despised by all those around him as a sinner of the worst sort, Jesus nonetheless meets and stays with Zacchaeus. So moved by the love and acceptance of Jesus, Zacchaeus in essence offers to liquidate his massive holdings by giving it away to the poor and restoring to anyone he’s defrauded (and that line would likely be a long one!). How is this possible? We need look no further than Jesus’ declaration that with God all things are possible. Zacchaeus had a complete heart transplant in a manner of speaking, as his place in the kingdom of God became paramount. The wealth and estate no longer mattered, as the Lord showed Zacchaeus where his “true” treasure was located.

If you not only believe God’s wonderful promises, but also trust in them more and more daily, you can understand how Zacchaeus can respond in this fashion. The Lord promises us a place in His Kingdom, and in His presence. Can anything even remotely compare or compete with that? Hopefully you’d respond no to that question, as God continues to soften your heart, and helps you focus on what truly matters. God tells us that we are “sojourners,” and that our place is with Him. So don’t be discouraged, softening a heart is a lifetime work in progress! Just as Jesus encouraged the disciples, “with God all things are possible.”

We are heirs, and remember heirs don’t earn, they receive. To borrow a phrase, think about that.


Student Ministry

 By: Jerry Zeilstra

How about carving pumpkins? Do you like it or do you hate it? I never did it as a kid, but I do love carving them now. I love the expressions and the way they come to life. On Saturday, October 8, a number of us learned a new pumpkin carving technique under the direction of Brendan Conaway, and as the carving began so did the mess. However, out of the mess came some really cool Minion creations. The expressions on the pumpkins were fun, and the expressions on people’s faces priceless. It took us a little over two hours to carve the pumpkins, and when I do the traditional style I can carve a pumpkin in less than 10 minutes. Gary and Lynn Zimmer, Sandy Skriba, Sally Shirer and Jodie Skanderson were our judges and helped keep the mess to a minimum. I do have some work to do though to get the yellow stains out of the tables. Our top three winners were Austin Sanders, Jen Balkey and Olivia Miller.

The month of November has lots of opportunities for you to grow in your faith. Worship and Sunday School on Sunday mornings, retreats at Laurelville on a couple of weekends, youth groups on Wednesday nights, serving at Clean-Up Day and packing meals at Amplified Church with Amen to Action.

 


Space is limited, sign up today!

MS Laurelville - November 4-6
HS Laurelville - November 18-20