HMC E-Newsletter January 20, 2011

Daily Prayer Practice
Join others from HMC in daily praying the Prayer Practice provided Sunday, or accessing it on our webpage at:

Centered on Christ in Worship and in Life:
Highlights of Celebration of Discipline #2 – Worship

By Linda Washburn

To complement our first worship series of 2011, (a systematic practice of aspects of worship) and the Lenten season, this article is number two in a series summarizing several spiritual disciplines discussed in Richard Foster’s classic book on spiritual growth, Celebration of Discipline.

Chapter 11 –Worship

 I am purposefully skipping ahead to chapter 11, despite my methodical impulse to summarize the book’s chapters in order, because of the theme of our worship services for the next several Sundays. 

According to Foster, worship is a spiritual discipline in that it is “an ordered way of acting and living that sets us before God so that He can transform us” (p.144).  To worship is “to know, to feel, to experience the resurrected Christ in the midst of the gathered community” (page 138).  God seeks us to worship Him.  Neither use nor disuse of forms or rituals of worship produce worship.  Rather, worship occurs when the Spirit touches us.

The Object of our Worship We worship the Lord because of who He is and what He has done for us. 

The Priority of Worship Worship should be the priority of our life.  Service flows out of worship.  Foster claims that “service as a substitute for worship is idolatry” (p.140).

Preparation for Worship In the Bible, worship is described as people gathering in “holy expectancy”.  We can cultivate this feeling by engaging in constant daily inner worship, for example, by having all of our thoughts be a conversation with God.  Foster tried this for one year, and it both helped him hear God’s voice better, and heightened his expectancy during public worship services. 

Foster also suggests praying for leaders of the worship services and for each person who enters the sanctuary; if even a few in the congregation do this, it will heighten the worship experience for all. 

The Leader of Worship  According to Foster, Jesus, being present among His people, works through His people to lead worship. 

Avenues into Worship

  • First, we need to still all humanly-initiated activity – during Sunday services and in life.  We need to be asking God what we should be doing throughout the day.  According to Foster, this will often mean we should be silent.
  • Praise brings us into worship – Singing is meant to move us into praise.  Praise allows us to be centered.
  • God calls for worship with our whole being; we are to present our bodies to God in worship in a posture consistent with it.  The Bible is filled with examples of physical attitudes for worship.  Foster suggests that our “reserved temperament” that prevents us from trying these is probably a fear of what others will think of us.

Consequences of Worship

Unfortunately, Foster ends this chapter with military allusions to Jesus as a “commander-in-chief” and as the Lamb being at war with demonic powers.

However, the chapter also contains these powerful assertions: “If worship does not change us, it has not been worship…If worship does not propel us into greater obedience, it has not been worship” (page 148).

Connecting More Fully at HMC:
► Community Garden: Saturday January 22 is our “build day” to install HMC’s first community garden! Produce will be shared with the community. See Sylvia Klauser with questions and commitments. Lunch provided.
► Communion this Sunday.          
► Peace Club: Saturday January 22 from 11-2. For all ages.
Contact Judy Hoffhien for additional information.           
► Sunday January 23rd we will begin a Bible study on the book of Romans, led by Pastor Marty.
► Church Work Day: Sat Jan 29th to paint Annex, etc…

“Reading” through Romans: Paul’s Epistle as Mirror and Map for Christians

Join us THIS Sunday for Bible Study, 9:30AM. We’ll be digging into Paul’s letter to the church in the imperial capital Rome. If you’re not used to heading to church this early, test it out a time or two and see what you think. We’re a friendly group, and everyone is invited!

Pastor Marty will lead learning and discussion over the next 6 weeks

Session 1: Competing Gospels
Session 2: Jesus Christ
Session 3: Eschatology
Session 4: New Community
Session 5: Practices of the New Community
Session 6: Why Romans still matters.

Why Romans? Why now? For starters, it’s a fantastic book you can’t get enough of; and we have a leader willing to teach on this topic (hint, hint!). But at a deeper level, “Reading” through Romans runs parallel with what the corporate work we’re doing in our Centered on Christ in worship and in life worship series.

Bring your Bibles, and we’ll see you Sunday!

Worship Resources:

I mentioned Sunday that the worship team is reading together the book Worship and Mission after Christendom by Alan and Eleanor Kreider. This is an excellent book that looks at how Christendom shaped both our worship and how we do (or don’t do!) missions. I highly recommend this for your reading. It’s challenging reading, but well worth it. You can purchase the book from Herald Press at .

I also want to highlight several other worship resources for you:

  • The Dangerous Act of Worship: Living God’s call to Justice, by Mark Labberton of Fuller Theological Seminary is an easier read but still draws the connection between worship and how we live our lives.  I quoted him Sunday saying, “worship reorders reality (Labberton, pg 39).” “To be centered on God means first discovering that God is our center and then living lives focused on the things that matter to God. We reflect the worthiness of God by how we love and serve whomever and whatever God considers to be of worth (Labberton, pg 27).”
  • Apocalypse and Allegiance: Worship, Politics, and Devotion in the Book of Revelation, by J. Nelson Kraybill, former president of AMBS. A&A is a fun yet powerful look at the Bible’s most mysterious book that combines the elements of worship and living in a helpful way. He explores life in empire in a thorough and helpful way. You can purchase his book at Brazos Press,, or your favorite online bookstore.
  • Robert Webber’s fantastic series of books on worship in the Complete Library of Christian Worship 7 volumes. We have all 7 amazing volumes in our church library! Volumes explore the Biblical foundations for, historical expressions of, and renewal movements in worship, as well as music, the arts, the Christian year, rituals (such as communion), etc… While I’m not suggesting you read all 7, I do think you might find a browse quite helpful.


Peace Club: The next session of the Peace Club will meet on Saturday, January 22, we will meet from 11:00 AM-2 PM and will be preparing vegetable soup and cornbread for the folks working on the Community Garden at the church.  They will be there from early morning until late in the day., so we will be offering them lunch.  Youth and parents are invited to dig and plant too, so bring shovels and gloves if you would like to help. There will be some time spent during each Saturday, designing some postcards and flyers for publicity, so bring your creative ideas.  This is an outreach program of the Decade of Non-Violence, the Houston Peace and Justice Center and the Houston Mennonite Church. To volunteer or give support, contact Judy Hoffhien for additional information.

 See the Church neighborhood as it really is: Over the past 18 months Newspring has led almost 20 bus tours of Spring Branch (averaging one per month).  Originally we thought this would be a one-time experience.  But the demand has kept us going. The tours go below the surface of a fascinating community, one with great resources and promise and also with deep problems.  To say the tours are eye opening is an understatement.  They also give us the opportunity to pray for a community in need of prayer.  So we get off the bus and join hands in prayer.
You are invited to a tour scheduled for Feb. 26, from 8:30 am – noon, including lunch at a “hidden” Spring Branch restaurant.  If you want to “pull back the covers” on this amazing community of 150,000+, please respond to this email and we will save you a seat.  If you have already been on a tour, you are welcome to come again.  I promise you will learn something new.
Cost is $15, including lunch.  Please respond to this email and we will save you a seat.

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.

ORDER OF WORSHIP January 23, 2011

Welcome and Prayer                                                                                                               
* Singing

            What is this place  HWB #1
            Jesus calls us here to meet him  SJ #3

Confession and Song    Jesus help us live in peace                SJ #52                                            
Scripture Reading                         1 Corinthians 14:26-33a                                                      
Children’s Time           (Children 1-5 are invited to the Children’s Ministry room for further time).
Sermon                                 The Work of the People                                                                 

♦ Communion & Centering                                                                                                    
Community Dialogue, Sharing, & Announcements

Scripture Reading                    1 Corinthians 13                                                                       
* Song of Sending  HWB #430 God be with you                                                                                   
* Sending Prayer/Commissioning                                                                                           

Thank you to the following for sharing your gifts! Worship Leader: Rachel Vlachos; Speaker: Pastor Marty Troyer; Children’s Message: Adrienne Graybill; Children’s Church: Maribel Hinojosa; Song Leader: Paul Siemens; Pianist: Margaret Gehman.

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, cell:(713)835-9436, 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

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