Dear HMC, Here is this week’s E-Newsletter below and attached.
HMC E-Newsletter June 10, 2010
“My soul is filled with joy as I sing to God my savior: you have looked upon your servant, you have visited your people!” #13, Sing the Journey songbook.
We want your ideas, input, creativity and feedback
Our Developers are hard at work!
This Sunday the Campus Development Taskforce invites you to a presentation and discussion regarding future campus development plans. A meal after worship will be provided.
Our recent discussions have begun to move from remodel of the Annex to remodel of the main building. We’ve looked at several proposals for renovation and new construction, discussed parking issues, a more holistic campus plan (including community gardens, peace path, children’s playground, etc…). Minutes are posted from May 16th.

We want your ideas, insights, wisdom and experience as we take the next steps to develop our campus.
Connecting More Fully at HMC:
►BRING PICTURES Of Respected Christians!!! The idea with the visual at the front is for YOU to add pics of people you respect and admire for their Christian faith and story..
►Fellowship Meal & Ensminger Blessing next Sunday, June 20th. Please bring your favorite Texas food to share. Everyone welcome.
►Ten Thousand Villages Sunday next week, June 20th.
►Western District Conference: July 9-11! It is $130 for room and board, and HMC will cover the $50 registration cost for the first 16. The setting for the annual meeting of Western District churches, scheduled for July 9-11, is a large camp and conference center located near Dallas, Texas. Lodging for adults will be in comfortable, motel-type rooms and with meals provided in a large dining hall. There is a wealth of recreational opportunities suitable for all ages. Childcare and programming through senior high make this an attractive opportunity for a mini-family vacation. Adults will be involved in worship services, Learning Communities, session for delegate business, informal sharing and free time. See:
How can anyone be Christian in a world like this???
In a world of constant and unrelenting change, overwhelming advertizing voices, pursuit of happiness above all else, fast-paced & spread-out living, tolerance and acceptance of all faiths – how can anyone remain Christian? We’re kidding ourselves if we think a couple minutes of non-participatory “worship” once a week is enough to keep our faith commitments (and our character) how we want it! We need more… Lots more. We need passionate engagement with God’s word, authentic sharing, compassionate accountability.
And, while it’s not perfect, our Sunday School program does strive for all of these things. And keep in mind, as hard as it is for adults to remain faithful in today’s world, its even harder for our children! They need the love and wisdom of trusted Christian elders in their life. Keep your faith strong- participate in Christian formation this Sunday through our Sunday School Program.
Sunday School at HMC:
Join us each Sunday morning at 9:30AM!
►ADULTS: Christian Commitment in Today’s World, with Roxie Voran.
►Preschool (age 2-4): With Teachers Rahel Koshy, Margaret Gehman, and Adrienne Graybill.
►Intermediate Youth: with Lynda Voran.

** Children’s Church during worship in our children’s ministry room for kids 1-5. They hear a Bible story, sing, and play together.

If you are looking for a way to help kids learn about peacemakers, solving problems, dealing with anger, etc. there are some excellent opportunities for you to connect to those goals. The people planning the 11th Annual Houston Peace Camp needs your time, energy, skills, money and whatever else you have to offer. We have done an outreach program to area shelters this year and have received quite a few youth who are homeless and woud like to patrticipate in camp. However, they do not have the $125 for tuition and we have given out all the scholarships we can and need to have more funds if we are to have the second week of the program. In addition to cash, we need volunteeer support in every area including technology, publicity, cleaning up, etc, etc. We have the perfect challenge for you! Please see Ana Rosa Craig, Liza Koshy or Maria-PC veterans of several years-or Judy Hoffhien to find a way to enable our youth to become more caring and knowledgeable people. ________________________________________
Come to worship this Sunday and celebrate:
GOD’s STORY-my story!!!
If you have not received a GOD’S STORY-my story journal, please pick one up this Sunday. Here is this week’s journal entry:
Week 2: My relationship with God:
God has been meaningful to me in these ways:
The images and/or names of God (Father, Lord, Mother, Friend, Spirit, etc…) which have been most meaningful to my faith over the years include:
The primary image I use to describe myself in relationship to God (Jesus in my heart, Footprints, God is my guide, etc…) is:
Some of the noticeable ups and downs of my relationship with God have been:
I tend to feel the closest to God when (What was I doing? Where was I at? Who was I with?):
Read and reflect on Galatians 2:20.
The Fear of God, OR, When God doesn’t give up on your story
by Marty Troyer
Voldemort. Darth Vadar. Freddie Krueger. Aliens. The Joker. And the new and never better Doc Ock. Villains that break into our worlds via story, movie, and legend. They kill. They terrorize, they steal and they maim. They bring our deepest fears to life, if from a safe distance for us to enjoy. The human race has always been thrilled by villains, and loves to create enemies. I for one will never forget as an impressionable 2nd grader my first encounter with the Creature from the Black Lagoon! Because, as M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable so richly pointed out -there are no hero’s without a villain.

I have a villain in my life. An enemy out to get me, and not for the first time! Rebellion. Traitor. Blasphemer. Law-breaker. Heretic. Demon-man. Rogue. These are the names my villain has been called. And I’m scared to death of him! I’ve got nothing short of everything to loose to my enemy should he desire to take it.

And in a wicked twist of irony, he just so happens to be my hero too. Jesus is his name, and like the hounds of heaven, he won’t back off.

A recent story of my destruction help’s to make sense. I was foolishly meditating my way through the Sermon on the Mount one section at a time. My intent was to hold the gospel in one hand, my life in the other, and judge/adjust accordingly. READER BE WARNED: Do not, under any circumstances, try this @ home by yourself. You need professional help to pull this off with your life intact! I sailed along nicely for a week or so, performing casual touch up jobs to the facade I called my life. Then he wiggled the brick called Matt 7 and the whole thing fell flat:
“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?”

I felt like the wicked witch of the west melting under the watery strain of Jesus’ tears. Jesus came at me like a hungry warg, tearing at my bitter heart, relentless, and refusing to stop! It hurt – every minute of it. I hated the gospel mirror I’d stuck myself in front of and the truth it reflected. You must deny yourself, pick up your cross daily, and follow me. Not this kid! No way, I refused to die. It was March 23, a day so harsh for soul my resistance sent me spinning, spinning for months on end in the land of shadow. I slammed the book shut and didn’t come back. My journal -done. Bible reading -not possible. Meditating through the Sermon on the Mount? Hah! Never again. The only hope I had of winning was closing my ears and hoping he’d go away. He didn’t. My bitterness, selfishness, conceit, and hatred remained unacceptable to my hero/villain. So there, after months of stress in the wilderness, he vanquished me!

Oh sweet surrender! Oh how glorious the feeling of opening up that stinking pit of a room to God and allowing him to sweep it clean. Oh praise to the maker of healing and change! Savior! Redeemer! Lord! And Friend! And what a concrete example that, “An act of commitment does not change our reality… we are overwhelmed by the negative inertia of our unevangelized zones…there is much within us that is resistant to God’s love (Michael Casey).”
Part of my maturation has been a deepening understanding that there is indeed much within me that resists God and the Kingdom. “Repent!” he won’t stop calling, “and order your life according to the kingdom of God!” I’d love to Jesus, but I didn’t realize that was part of the package. I had no idea believing in Jesus meant also believing him! Safety, power, popularity, my past, my future, free time, a second car, consumerism, saving money, fitting in, capitalism, competition, becoming the best – none are immune to Jesus attack, or his love.

Some battles he wins. I usually get excited and describe these moments with words like: new creation, being born again, conversion, filled with the Spirit, recommitting, etc… But there are still times when I win. On the outside we call these: life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness. But really they are death, sin, and selfishness.

Whether Jesus be a hero or a villain depends on where we’re at in life. Oddly, he often comes as both. It’s just a bit harder to see the villain with all the happy-talking vegetables and the flannel graph lying around. I mean think about it, for every Zachaeus in the New Testament there’s a story of a Sadduccee so scared of Jesus he spends his nights praying to God for ways to kill him! There are many, many folks who simply were so tired of Jesus pestering them they finally killed him instead. And it was simple stuff he was teaching! Don’t throw stones. Don’t call people names. Eat with the losers. Sell your stuff. Don’t sell your stuff in church. God is good. It wasn’t rocket science, but it was the kind of stuff that fired people up! It just so happens that’s the same kind of stuff that fires me up too. And because he loves me like crazy, he won’t let me get away without experiencing change. I’m all right with that. More than all right! I welcome it. So bring it on Jesus, hit me with all the love you’ve got!
And let us pray to our villainous hero: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done.” AMEN.

NOTE: This article first appeared on my blog in 2004 and reflects on an experience I had in 2000.________________________________________ORDER OF WORSHIP SUNDAY June 13th, 2010
Prelude The steadfast love of the Lord
Welcome & Announcements
* Gathering Psalm Psalm 24 HWB 815
* Opening Prayer
* Opening Songs
My soul is filled with joy SJ #13
Long before my journey’s start SJ #36
Scripture Reading Ruth 2:2-13 OT Pg 242
Children’s Time: Ancient Story of a Person of God
(Children 1-5 dismissed for Children’s Church)
Offering & Special Music Transform Us
Offering Prayer
Scripture Reading Psalm 139:1-3a,5-8,12-13 OT Pg 577
Modern Story of a Person of God
Song of Response For God so loved us HWB #167 (vs-1,3-Eng, 1-Ger)
Prayer of Response and Reception
Sharing stories, joys and concerns
Prayer for the People (Feel free to light a candle-prayer during this time)
* Blessing Song Be thou My Vision HWB # 545 (1,2,4,5)
* Blessing John 3:5-8
Thank you to the following for sharing your gifts!
Worship Leader: Maribel Hinojosa; Story Teller: Linda Washburn; Song Leader: Paul Siemens; Accompaniment: Margaret Gehman; Scripture Reader: Mitch Miller; Children’s Message: Margaret Gehman; Children’s Church: Linda Ensminger.
Next Week: Story Teller: Linda Ensminger; Children’s Church: Jane McNair and Danielle Graybill.
________________________________________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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