HMC E-Newsletter February 24, 2011

 Guess Who I am?
“Guess Who” is a new feature of the HMC E-Newsletter. See if you can guess who answered these questions! If you’d like to join the fun, simply fill out the answers to these questions and email or hand them to Pastor Marty!

Three words to describe me would be … organized, musical, early-riser
I do my best thinking … while driving
I always smile when I … think of how good my life is now
My dream vacation would be…a motorcycle tour of New Zealand or Europe.
The last book I read was … “George, Nicholas, and Wilhelm – Three Royal Cousins and the Road to WWI”

You ought to see my collection of … I don’t collect things
It’s hard to believe, but … I used to work 60 hours a week
When I’m cruising in my car, I’m usually listening to… love songs from the 80’s
If you ask me, there could never be enough … snacks
You’ll never catch me eating … BBQ
In my spare time, you’ll find me … cleaning or organizing something
When it comes to movies, my all-time favorite is … “Mr. Holland’s Opus”
When it comes to TV shows, I try not to miss… “Modern Marvels” (except the ones about weapons)

The one thing I won’t leave home without is … sunglasses
If I were in charge I would… try to make people realize we’re more the same than different
My name is…. [See the end of the Newsletter for the answer!!]

Evaluating Worship and Weekly Communion
Please remember to complete your Worship Survey that was emailed to you at noon on Sunday February 20th, 2011.

The survey is 10 questions over 6 pages and should take 5-10 minutes or more. Please take the survey once in the next 2 weeks and provide as much information as you feel called. The more information we have, the more accurate our picture of worship will be. After listening to congregational voices and the Spirit’s voice, the worship Team and Church Council will discern together the future direction of our celebration of communion.

May you be centered on Christ in worship and in life.

Connecting More Fully at HMC:        
►Sewers and Doers: Saturday Feb 12 & 26 9:30AM at HMC.   
►Fellowship Meal: This Sunday, February 27, our theme will be Food You Love.  Please plan to join us for a time of food and fellowship following the service.
Children's Mission OfferingPlease remember to bring your coins to church this Sunday, February 27.  The money we collect this year will be given to MCC Global Family to support children and youth in 5 Brethren in Christ schools in Zambia with school fees, uniforms and textbooks.  Each month we will collect money on our fellowship meal Sundays.
PEACE  CLUB : February 26 from 3:00-5:00PM at the church.  See Judy Hoffhien or Ana Rosa for additional information. The next gathering of the Peace Club will be on Sat., February 26 from 3-5 PM at the church. Ana Rosa Craig will be leading a discussion with interactive activities about El Salvador. The group will also be making some Central American recipees for the Food Not Bombs group which feeds the homeless 4 nights a week. Bring your laptops, resource books, etc.,learn about other cultures and have some fun! Everyone is invited to participate.
►Death By Fire: Next Sunday night at HMC (See Ad below).

Death by Fire: Did Texas execute an innocent man? Several controversial death penalty cases are currently under examination in Texas and in other states, but it’s the 2004 execution of Cameron Todd Willingham — convicted for the arson deaths of his three young children — that’s now at the center of the national debate. View the Frontline Documentary Death by Fire and join in discussion and action!
Hear the issues.  Learn about current legislative proposals.  Act.
When:   Sunday, March 6, 6:30 pm
  Houston Mennonite Church, 1231 Wirt Road, Houston, TX 77055
For More Info:    or   (713)464-4865             

This is an excellent opportunity for HMC to be a distinctly Christian voice for peace in the Houston community. Join us for an exciting evening.                                 

Highlights of Celebration of Discipline #5 – Meditation
By Linda Washburn

To prepare us for the time of Lent, this article is number five in a series summarizing several spiritual disciplines discussed in Richard Foster’s classic book on spiritual growth, Celebration of Discipline.

Apart from the introduction, this chapter is the first that explains one of Foster’s twelve Spiritual Disciplines:  Meditation.  Along with Prayer, Fasting, and Study, Meditation belongs to the category Foster calls the Inward Disciplines, since they are practiced individually and privately.

Chapter 2 – Meditation

Foster asserts that three of “our Adversary’s” (Satan’s) major tools are:  noise, hurry, and crowds.  “If we hope to move beyond the superficialities of our culture, we must be willing to go into contemplation (meditation)” (p.13).

Understanding Misconceptions

The biggest misconception about meditation is that it belongs to the Eastern religions.  “It’s a sad commentary on the spiritual state of modern Christianity that meditation is … so … foreign” (p.14).   The difference is that in Eastern religions, the goal of meditation is to empty the mind, whereas in Christianity, the goal is to empty the mind in order to fill it with God.  Meditation detaches us from the world and attaches us to God.  It is to be a partner of prayer.  It helps us hear God.

Other misconceptions are that meditation is too difficult and it’s impractical.  Foster argues that meditation is simple; it’s taking the time to wait that’s hard.  He says the best preparation for meditation is to believe in its importance.   

Finally, there’s the misconception that meditation is a religious form of manipulation.  Foster clarifies that as long as the results of meditation are spiritual, and not just physical (like relaxing), then meditation is a good way to communicate with God.

Desiring the Living Voice of God

Meditation “boldly” calls us to talk to God ourselves, rather than let someone else do it for us.  We first need to pray for the desire to hear God’s voice.

Preparing to Meditate

Foster admits it is impossible to learn how to meditate from a book.  Nevertheless, he writes some suggestions.  We need to set aside time to meditate, while also preparing to meditate all day.  We should also set aside a place for meditation. 

Our posture (at the same time “not important” and “of utmost importance”) while meditating should be comfortable.

How to Meditate – First Steps

Meditation requires imagination (thinking in images).  Foster suggests asking God to talk to us through our dreams, and then asking Him to interpret them.

How to Meditate – Specific Exercises

·         Start with 5 minutes per day to “center”, using one of these 2 ideas:

o   Palms up (receive from God) / palms down (turn our concerns over to God)

o   Concentrate on breathing.  “Lord, I exhale my (concerns, worries, etc.)…Lord, I inhale your (love, peace, etc.)…”

·         Add 5 minutes to meditate on creation

·         Use your five senses to meditate on a Scripture verse

·         In your imagination, let your spiritual body leave your physical body and rest in God’s presence

·         Meditate on current events in order to gain prophetic perspective

Foster ends the chapter by cautioning us that we may be discouraged that meditation may seem meaningless at first.  He reminds us that our culture has provided us with no training or encouragement for meditation.  He concludes that meditation is not an act, it is a way of life.

P.S.  A song (based on a Psalm1 & 119) came to mind as I was reading this chapter:   “I will delight in the law of the Lord, I will meditate day and night.  Then, like a tree, firmly planted I’ll be grounded in your word.”

 “Mennonites” in Texas
Here are two links for some lite reading on Mennonites (some like us and some very different) in Texas.

Gingerich, Melvin and Jenifer Hiett Umble. “Texas (USA).” Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2008. Web. 21 February 2011.

Here’s a second link about Mennonites in Texas from the Texas State Historical Association.
This may help you understand how people view you when you tell them you are a Mennonite and why it doesn’t add up to how we see ourselves here in Houston

Also interesting to note we’re not alone!

Mennonite Central Committee updates:

 MCC’s international workers evacuated from Egypt during the recent turmoil have started returning to their work placements in Egypt . MCC asks that you pray for the safety and well-being of all people in Egypt and in other countries in the Middle East and North Africa where there is civil unrest.

MCC invites you to share the following prayer with your congregation:

Praise God for the relative calm that has returned to Egypt. Continue to pray for people in the Middle East and North Africa as unrest continues in Libya and elsewhere.


For Sundays, Feb. 27 and March 6 please run the following bulletin announcement:

Mennonite Central Committee Central States only has a few more slots available on an MCC Learning Tour to Tanzania, April 26-May 10. The trip is open to anyone with an interest in water projects and a heart to share about MCC’s work upon return. The anticipated cost of the trip is $3500. If you are interested in finding out more information please contact Sarah Bunn at or Maynard Knepp at or call 316-283-2720.

Christian Formation Options at HMC:
Join us each Sunday morning at 9:30AM!
►ADULTS: Bible Study on Romans.  
►Preschool (age 2-4): With Adrienne Graybill.
►Intermediate Youth:  with Lynda Voran.
►Junior and Senior High: With Kristi Long and Alan Wilson.
** Children’s Church during worship in our children’s ministry room for kids 1-5. They hear a Bible story, sing, and play together.

Help for a family who lost everything  as a result of a fire that destroyed the home

A family of 4: Older parents living w/ adult son & his family. Lost all of their possessions and have relocated to an apartment. They are in need of kitchen items: pots & pans, silverware, tableware, dishes, storage containers.  If anyone has gently used items that can be shared bring them to Church on Sunday. I will deliver your donations to them at Metropolotan multiservice Ctr. Located at 1475 W.Gray. Houston 77019 7132841973

Ana Rosa Craig 

ORDER OF WORSHIP February 20, 2011

Scripture Reading Isaiah 49:8-13                                                                                            
Opening Prayer                                                                                                          
* Singing         
Holy Spirit, Come with power      
HWB 26
Let’s sing unto the Lord              
HWB 55 in Eng or Span, or both
When Morning Gilds the Skies    
HWB #644
Scripture Reading            Matthew 6:25-33                                                                  
Children’s Time                                                                      
Prayer HWB 738                                                                                                                    
Song of Response                    I Sought the Lord    HWB 506                                                               
Bob Henschon             Updates
Youth and Non-Military Opportunities                                      
Sharing, & Announcements                                                                                                    
Prayer (Feel free to light a candle-prayer during this time)                                                                
* Song of Sending         Go my Children             HWB #433     (1-4 verses, as time allows)    
* Sending Prayer/Commissioning                                                                                           

Thank you to the following for sharing your gifts! Worship Leader: ??; Speaker: Roxie Voran; Scripture Reader: Danielle Graybill; Children’s Message: Judy Hoffhien; Children’s Church: Wilson Family; Song Leader: Paul; Pianist: Linda Washburn. Pastor Marty will be speaking at Peace Mennonite Church, Dallas.

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,, also available on Facebook.

Additional Information                                                                     
HMC E-Newsletter is compiled by Houston Mennonite Church pastor Marty Troyer.  
All are invited and encouraged to share articles, personal updates, stories, announcements, pictures, etc… to include in the weekly updates
Know of others
who would like to receive HMC E-Newsletter e-mails from Houston Mennonite?  Have them send name and e-mail to Marty at


GUESS WHO Answer for this Week:
My name is….
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