HMC E-Newsletter May 17, 2012 Personal Health and Stewardship Edition

Connecting More Fully at HMC:
►Prayer with your church family! Here’s an Easter Prayer Practice (with a scripture to memorize) on our church worship tab! Here:

►ANNUAL  OUREACH BAR BQ HMC Church BBQ, Sunday June 3, after worship. Bring a friend, bring a dish to share. Main dish provided. Greeters are needed to welcome folks to the bar b q on Sunday, June 3.  The shifts will be for an hour each strarting at 1:00.  Others are needed to help with the pinta, children’s games, etc.  Everyone is asked to bring a side dish to share with the meat that will be served. This is an important event that can show others that we are a caring group who cares about our community.  If you would like to help, contact Marty or Judy Hoffhien.

Ten Thousand Villages Sunday is May 20: Shop and support fair trade!

Our next potluck will be Sunday, May 27

1st Annual Kickball Game: Calling all HMCers for a game of Kickball! Please come to the church on May 26 at 2pm to play kickball together. Bring bug spray, running shoes, some hydration and a sense of humor! We look forward to seeing you there.

Save the date: Neighborhood BBQ, June 3

Houston Mennonite Church is now on Facebook! Pictures from Easter Sunday, links, friends, oh my! So much to see, so much to do.

Did you miss last week’s sermons? You can find them at:, sermon tab.

Backpacks and blankets needed for area homeless. Please drop them off at HMC. Will be distributed through our connections with Food not Bombs.
Faith eXploration Baptism Class on Sunday!! A catechism class for those interested or exploring baptism and/or your faith in a deeper way continues Sunday. We’ll meet in the Annex youth room.

SACK LUNCHES are available at church to be given to hungry folks. Grab a couple, carry them in your car to give out, and bless the hungry in a much better way than giving cash.

►Yes, Houston Mennonite Church is now on Facebook! Please Like us and spread the word that this page exists. Pictures from Easter Sunday, links, friends, oh my! So much to see, so much to do.
Unexpected News: Reading the Bible Through Third World Eyes discussion group Sunday’s at 9:30AM all welcome.

What’s your spiritual energy source? Or, do you work too much?
By Marty Troyer

As I write this Kathryn and Dave are visiting Australia right now. She says it’s turning to autumn there. I had forgotten that’s how things worked.

I read somewhere that Australians think we Americans are nuts. Nuts about our work schedules, time schedules, the way we rush around all day long like the world depends on our high blood pressure. India apparently sees us the same way. And what of the famous Spanish siesta? Everybody takes them, and no reports are in of death due to a lower stress or Gross National Product. Come to think of it, the Protestant work ethic is a decidedly American phenomenon. If you look at the earth’s population, we over-hurried Americans are just a small slice of the whole. Nobody else does what we do! Nobody else kills themselves trying to achieve, or cram their calendars. Does anybody else justify turning backs on family for the sake of retirement?

I remember clearly when people’s perception of my character took a dive. I remember it, because it happens to coincide with getting my life together for the first time in a long time. And for the most part, that meant being Australian in the midst of time-crunched America. Two years into the ministry, I assumed a 70 hour work week was a pastor’s natural habitat. It never occurred to me (has it to you?) this was anything but good for my soul, and good for my ministry. In fact, I was taught more equals more!

A widely held virus known as the Protestant work ethic infiltrated and distorted my vision of reality. This is the same virus that controls our smart phones and family calendar, the same virus that sends us scrambling from morning till hoped-for early retirement, and the same virus that judged me not on the quality of work I put in, but on the quantity of work above and beyond expectation. The judgment was unfair, but real. I was perceived as less “pastoral” after I got my hours under 50 (I was being paid for 40) than I was scatter-brained at 65.

Didn’t matter that I finally felt in control. Didn’t matter that my quality control meters went off the charts! Didn’t matter that real ministry started happening. Or that I began having a healthy social life. Or that others were being included in ministry more. Or even that in living a less hectic schedule, I now had more time for God. None of that mattered.

For Christians like us who are committed to the holistic peace and welfare of our cities, time management is hard to navigate. Why? Because the brokenness is so overwhelming; ministry opportunities are endless. And they rarely come to us during business hours, 9-5, like we wish they would. Living on mission with God pushes us out into the world in times and ways we don’t expect.

I’m learning again this spring how essential personal health is. My ministry, your ministry, the peace of our city, depends on us being healthy and whole individuals. We need to eat right, take time to exercise, read novels, play with our children, study and pray, and learn to say ‘no’. We also need to rest, and embrace the practice of Sabbath. I’ve never forgotten what Walter Brueggeman said many years ago on Bill Moyers’ show, “The creation of the Sabbath reveals that God is not anxious about the world he created.” Neither shall we be! Let’s work hard, do our part, but remember that ultimately the transformation of our city is not up to us: it’s up to God.

For me this has meant committing again to being healthy through 2 daily workouts: physical and spiritual. After about three weeks, I feel healthy, energized, reconnected to God and self, and filled with more capacity to love others.

What if our church was known for it’s commitment to ensuring all people were healthy first and foremost, rather than productive? Now that’s an exciting quality.

Houston Mennnonites: What practices will ensure your health so you have time, energy, talents and possessions available for God’s purposes in the world? What practices will ensure your health so you have time, energy, talents and possessions available for yourself and your family?

I hope your day is filled with joy!

Building up the Body of Christ: Resources to Form Faith.

  1. Time Warped: Great resource study on stewarding our time and being fully healthy. In our church library.
  2. My Name is Asher Lev, fantastic novel by Pastor Marty’s favorite novelist, Chaim POtok. This book chronicles the childhood trauma, adulthood and career of one son whose father gave too much away to a very good cause.
  3. The Last Temptation of Christ, an excellent film depicting the life of Christ. The “last” temptation referred to in the title is whether he will follow the path of God (ie, greatness and self-sacrifice), or follow the path of family and ease. Controversial for all the wrong reasons 25 years ago, it’s the best Jesus movie there is.
  4. 4.      Making the most of your health, at the Everence website, with great suggestions for personal health such as: Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; Avoiding foods high in fat, sugar, and salt; exercising frequently and regularly; avoiding tobacco and alcohol products.
  5. 5.      How to avoid Spiritual Bankruptcy, by frank Viola. A great little post which diagnoses why people become spiritually bankrupt in the first place, and what we can do to not join their ranks. I’ve been there myself, and his solution was definitely my saving grace! Check it out:

Jesus is risen… now what?
Worship May 20, 2012

Does the resurrection matter for daily life? What does it mean that Jesus – executed now risen – is present with us today? Join us next Sunday as we enter the book of Acts for inspiration on walking in the resurrection! Paul says in Romans, “the same Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you! Consider yourselves dead to sin, able to live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus!” More than a historical fact, the resurrection of Christ empowers each of us to live the abundant life God intends.

Check out the Prayer Practice on our church worship tab! Here:


*Call to Worship (based on Romans 6)

*Opening Prayer
*Opening Songs Great is the Lord HWB #87 & HWB #19 Praise God
Scripture Reading Psalm 47
Song Lord Jesus you shall be my song SJ #14 vs1-4 (English)
Meditation and Offering SJ #147             How can you use your time, energy, talents and possessions for God’s purposes in the world?
Children’s Message
Sharing Time What do you bring to build up the Body of Christ, and how can we build you up?
Scripture Reading John 17:6-19
Message                                    Jesus leaves so we can live     
Commitment to Ministry HWB #793
Song of Confession and Ministry           How clear is our vocation, Lord HWB #541
Connecting More Fully
Sending Text                 John 17:18
*Sending Song Guide my feet  HWB # 546

Christian Formation Options at HMC:
Join us each Sunday morning at 9:30AM!
Unexpected News: Read the Bible through Third World Eyes, by Robert McAffee Brown as our guide.
►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,, also available on Facebook.

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