HMC E-Newsletter July 26, 2012 Work as Mission edition
We extend a special welcome to…
Seen recently online, from the bulletin insert at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Community:
We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, yo no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rail or could afford to lose a few pounds.
We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like our pastor who can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you’re more Catholic than the Pope, or haven’t been in church since little Joey’s Baptism.
We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion,” we’ve been there too.
If you blew all your offering money at the dog track, you’re welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church.
We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts … and you!
Connecting More Fully at HMC:
►Generosity Update: May the Lord richly bless you for your generous giving! Our year to date actual offerings through the end of June 2012 totaled $49,978 which is $5,120 less than our year to date end of June 2012 budget of $55,098. As the Lord has blessed you please consider giving to make up our shortfall.
►Memorize the Books of the Bible: We encourage you to memorize the 66 books in the Bible. Grab your bookmark at the back!
►The Washburn family would like to invite everyone at HMC to a pool party after church on Sunday, July 29 (12:30 – 4:00). Please bring salad, snacks, drinks, and / or dessert. Hamburgers and hot dogs will be provided. Maps will be in your mailboxes today and also available on Sunday, July 29.
► HMC Women’s Luncheon Saturday, August 4, 2012, at Brookwood Cafe in Brookshire, 11:00 am. ►PEACE CAMP AT HMC: Volunteers Wanted to help August 6-10 from 9 AM-3 PM. Ages 5-12 are invited to participate. The theme will be “Courage.” www.peacecamphouston.com for information or contact Judy Hoffhien.
Forming Christ in Us: Resources for Christian Discipleship
Here are some of the best resources I know that would help you integrate your faith into your worklife
- FaithWalking Retreat: The basic premise of FaithWalking is precisely this: to be a whole and healthy Christian in all areas of your life. How can we claim to be that if we do not energetically attempt to Christianize our vocation? Check out FaithWalking here: http://www.faithwalkingonline.com/calendar.html Or follow their blog now at: http://www.faithwalking.blogspot.com/
- Public Jesus, by Tim Suttle, which I reference below. His chapter on work is very helpful: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/paperbacktheology/2012/07/547.html
Is your work part of the reign of Christ?
Marty Troyer’s Sermon from Sunday July 22, 2012
“I’m out,” said the church planters’ wife. “I don’t want to do this anymore.” The planter – who like many of us believed planting a church to be the pinnacle of joining God on mission – was stunned to hear these words directed at God’s vision. Tim Suttle, in his book Public Jesus tells this story and explains why she hesitated. “You don’t count what I’m doing, and what I’m doing is providing income for families. I run my business like a family. We talk about our problems; we bear each other’s burdens. I’m trying to be the hands and feet of Christ in this place, and you won’t count what I do unless I can get them to come to church.”
This story is marvelous in helping us to think about the way we think. Because, for most of us the business owner in this story has us pegged for what we are: compartmentalized thinkers.
For hundreds of years the way we think about the work of Christ and the church has gone something like this: Special people do special things for God, and everybody else pays. We call and ordain pastors to be these special people who do special things when they live here, and send and commission missionaries for the same work that happens to be “over there.” For the rest of us “being Christian” and connecting to God’s story happens primarily through tithing and volunteerism.
Suttle says that we may spend up to 65% of our time at work. And yet, as the story illustrates, in the old model of being a Christian, this doesn’t count. The worth of “normal Christians” comes in their capacity to financially support the “special Christian” and in the amount and quality of time they can shave off their busy schedules to volunteer.
Work is something I do over there to allow me to participate with God over here. The “ethical version” of such a mental model is an invitation to do your job purely (after all, work is a necessary evil, isn’t it?): not gossip, keep your books right, not cheat, maybe start a Bible study.
Compartmentalized thinking assumes there is a place that God acts, and a place God seemingly doesn’t.
How can we faithfully follow Christ in all of life if our mental model suggests what matters happens only in my limited “Christian” time, such as going to church and volunteering? Such compartmentalizing of our lives is incompatible with Anabaptism, which insists that we are to follow Jesus in “all areas of life.” Daily discipleship to Jesus is a call for all Christians in all areas of life, not just an elite few who perform special tasks.
So let’s look closer at the 65% of our time we spend at work. Work is not a necessary evil, drain on your time, or boost to your bottom line. It connects you intimately with God’s reign and mission in our world. It’s an invitation for you to catalyze your best energies of heart, mind and strength to seek shalom in our cities and the common good of neighbor and enemy alike.
In describing Mennonite faith and practice in his book Beliefs, John D. Roth says, “Mennonites believe that hard work- the disciplined skill of the artisan and professional, the creative expressions of poets and musicians and artists, the routine tasks of parent and farmer – is a reflection of God’s original act of creation. Work that is honest and constructive, that heals and reconciles, that makes the world more beautiful- all such work celebrates the goodness of God.”
Through both the form and the function of our jobs, we can glorify God. Formally, we can be Christian in our workplace, such as the opening story illustrates: through paying living wages, practicing care-giving to coworkers, exercising concern for the environment, allowing our word to stand for itself, etc…
Functionally, we can connect faith and work through the specific type of work we choose to do. We as a congregation build, engineer, teach, heal, nurture, organize, and engage in work that genuinely furthers the common good. This work in and of itself should be brought under the lordship of Christ and given the appreciation it deserves!
Your work matters. It doesn’t matter because it allows you to tithe, or is flexible enough to permit you to volunteer. No, it matters because it is part of God’s healing plan for our world. It’s a powerful way to participate in the reign of God with the 65% of your time too often ignored when we compartmentalize.
Do you see how big the Gospel is? It completely obliterates the notion of “secular” and integrates work in to our faith. As Paul says, “Whatever you do, in word and work, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.” God is creating a beautiful new world right in our midst, and invites us to join in through the work that we choose to perform. Thus Suttle says, “Our jobs, our work will have meaning for us only when it finds its proper place in God’s good creation.” Is your work part of the reign of Christ? Or is it dedicated to something other than Jesus?
Psalm 139 empowers our decision to those questions by moving us past the demand to incorporate God into all areas of life and into the promise of God’s presence in every area of our lives. A missional retelling might go something like this:
Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to NASA, you are there. If I make my income in business or the corporate world, you are there. If I spend all day with patients, energetic students, clients or family – you are there. In all our workplaces your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.
Most Christian business people today have heard scant few sermons in their lives directed at their work. Sermon applications that target family, marriage, church, or spiritual life are prevalent. But few have heard that Christianity calls us to move beyond volunteerism to vocation. If as a church we continue to embrace a missional identity, that will unequivocally change. I pray you have or find that meaning in your work. And I pray for wisdom in empowering you for your ministry there.
Note: Tim Suttle’s Book “Public Jesus” is an excellent and highly recommended read.
GOD’S STORY (YOU ARE HERE) July 29, 2012
Call to Worship SJ #134
Songs of Praise and Celebration
SJ 61 How can we be silent verses,1-2,5
SJ 25 When long before time
*Offering and Offertory
Scripture Jeremiah 29:1,4-14 & Philippians 3:10-14 Children’s Time Prayer of Confession We forget to dream
Response Song HWB545 Be thou my vision vss 1-2,5 *Sharing & Prayer
Song of Sending God is working his purpose out HWB # 638 Commissioning
Here’s a Summer Series Summary
Act 1: Creation: It is very good!
Act 2: The Fall: Something has gone terribly wrong.
Act 3: God’s Solution, Part 1: Israel
Act 4: God’s Solution, Part 2: Jesus
Act 5: The age of the Church
Scene 1: The New Testament Church
Scene 2: Church History
Scene 3: Houston, TX, 2012
Scene 4: Future History
Epilogue: Remember the Future
Christian Formation Options at HMC:
Join us each Sunday morning at 9:30AM!
►Adults: Immigration: See above.
►Junior High/High School Youth: Faith Exploration with Pastor Marty. In the annex.
** Children’s Church: During worship in our children’s ministry room for kids aged 1-5. They learn a Bible story, sing, and play together.
Pastoral Care: Do you want a person to talk with about something in your life? Got a question or insight into faith or scripture you want to kick around? Have you been sitting on a great idea for the church? Need prayer? Want to get to know your pastor better? As your pastor, I’m available to meet with you at the office or at a time and spot that works better for you. Just let me know when and where! Monday’s through Thursdays, and weekends by appointment. Marty Troyer, church office (713)464-4865, firstname.lastname@example.org, also available on Facebook.