Our Hope is Eternal

       You have probably heard by now of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris catching fire and burning yesterday afternoon. I was watching live news footage when the famed spire, charred and burning, fell. It was hard to see such a beautiful place fall apart as the fire continued to grow. Many reports mention devastated crowds of people gathered nearby, weeping, praying, and singing hymns. Some say that Paris will never fully recover; some claim they personally will never recover. One went as far as saying Easter was ruined.      
   
     While I am sad to see such a beautiful building damaged, and think of the history held within those walls, I was not devastated. I have never visited Paris, I don’t live there, so maybe I don’t fully understand the symbol of hope that the cathedral brings to the Parisian people. To put it into perspective for me, I thought, “If HFC were to burn down this afternoon, would I be devastated? Would our community never recover? Would I swear to grieve the loss for the rest of my life?” I literally grew up in this building, and have a personal history and many fond memories of HFC. My answer was instantly, yes, I would be sad or upset, but I would not be devastated. You see, HFC is not really a place, it’s a people. When you ask a member why they love it here, the answer is usually something about the warm welcome, the friendly people, and the friends who have become family. All of that would still be alive with or without this building. This is the culture of HFC: Connect, Commit, Learn, Influence. Relationships would still be developed without this building. Worship would continue on without this building. Growth would continue without this building. Discipleship would continue without this building. Our church exists outside these walls, because our people exist outside these walls!        
 
      I am so excited that our hope is not in a building, but in an eternal God who offers us grace, mercy, and forgiveness. And with or without a building, that hope is alive. This Easter week, let’s strive to find ways to bring that hope into a lost and dying world. Bring it into your world: your office, your school, your neighborhood. Invite others to come with you to Journey to the Cross on Good Friday. Invite them to a casual, fun picnic and egg hunt at Bane Park on Saturday! Invite them to join us in worship Sunday morning. Invite them to experience the hope our God gives through forgiveness! Our hope is eternal, because our God is eternal.  
 
Many Blessings,
Pastor Sarah


How Will You Celebrate the Resurrection?

 
   Do you have your plans set for next week yet?  What an exciting time in the life of the church to come together in worship and celebrate together all that God has done for us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah!

 

  • Foot washing Service, Wednesday, April 17th at 7:00 p.m. We do not apologize for following the command that Jesus gave his disciples to wash one another’s feet as an example of kingdom leadership.  You may be hesitant but so were the original twelve disciples.
  • Journey to the Cross, Friday, April 19th from noon to 7:00 p.m. This is a come-and-go, self-guided opportunity to experience Jesus’ journey to Golgotha.  You can go through individually, with your family (children ARE welcome), or with a group.
  • Dominion Christian Centre Good Friday Easter Drama, Friday April 19th at 7:30 p.m. “The Unpassionate Christ… What if?” will display powerful drama and inspirational singing for the entire family.  (Location address: 4221 Liberty Rd. Houston, TX 77026)
  • Picnic at Bane Park, Saturday, April 20th starting at 11:00 a.m. This is going to be a fun time to just hang out, eat some food and enjoy an egg hunt with the kids.  Bring a side dish to share and a chair to sit in and we will provide the hamburgers, hotdogs, buns and plenty of eggs.  This is a great opportunity to invite some friends that aren’t already connected to the church.
  • Acreage Home Church of God “Son Rise” service, Sunday, April 21st at 6:00 a.m. Rev Angel Williams of the Shadydale Church of God will be speaking.  The sun may not be up by the time she is finished, but the Son did rise!!!
  • HFC Resurrection Celebration, Sunday, April 21st. Learn Groups will begin at 9:30 a.m. and worship will begin at 10:45 a.m.  In both settings we will discover how we can Come Alive all because Jesus is now alive!

     I anticipate a great move of God in this time of celebration.  Make sure that you are using the invite card each week to invite just one person to celebrate with us.  Who knows?  It might be their new life that we are celebrating most.   In Him, Pastor Tim.



Fatherly Advice

Sunday, I was at my little cousins birthday party. She turned 3 years old. They had cake, candy, and had also rented a bouncy house for all the kids to play in. All of the grown-ups were just hanging out near the bouncy house watching the kids roughly playing.The boys would chase, tackle, and jump on each other.
 
 My cousin Danny who is a five-year-old boy was being chased to get tackled by the other boys. He let out a high pitch scream. His father having heard him let out a shout, “Danny don’t scream like that!” He was concerned for the children’s ears, I thought to myself. He kept saying, “scream like a man, a warrior!” I couldn’t help but laugh at the advice he gave his son.
He looked at me laughing and said,”he sounded like he saw a snake!” He wanted his son to not flinch when he saw trouble coming. 
 
What if we took this father’s advice into our own life? Let out warrior scream when we face trouble or when we see the enemy coming. Has He not given us the weapons to fight back against the enemy? Psalm 144:1 reads, “Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.” Aren’t we on a winning team? With the Lord on our side, we will always win the battle. Let’s not let out a high pitch scream when we see a snake, but let us stomp on its head and shout like the warriors that we are in Christ!
 
Jacqueline Melgeras


One Invitation

This Sunday you received an invitation to give to someone this week, but it is so much more than just an invitation to a worship service. It is an invitation to a life with Jesus and most people are going to welcome the invitation. 
 
Last week Boyce gave an invitation to a co-worker. He reported that while he is not sure of the spiritual condition of the co-worker he was “very receptive to the invitation.” What a great opportunity! This invitation might just move this gentleman from spiritual sleep to spiritual life.
 
Who are you going to invite? Just know that whoever you invite is probably looking for an invitation. Your invitation will help them find what they are already looking for. Make sure you share your stories with me too. I can’t wait to hear how well it goes for you. 
 
 
In Him,
Pastor Tim. 
 


My Test

Many of us want to live a dream life, both for ourselves and our families. This can be in the form of owning a big house with enough space to relax and enjoy each day, a fancy car; many of us wish we had jobs where we didn’t have to work as hard or a job where we receive a good salary to cover all our expenses.

Have you ever stopped yourself for a second to ask this simple question: “Am I qualified for that job position or that big salary?”  I am sure each one of us would say that we are prepared and qualified without a second thought, but what if we were given a test to see how much we actually know? A test to determine whether we qualify or not?

Sometimes we do not have the answers we thought we had or the knowledge we were supposed to have. Maybe that qualifying test has come and we have failed it. Maybe we have failed it multiple times throughout our lives. Even through the failures, 
there is still hope for us. Maybe we haven’t accomplished the things we wanted to, but even with that we have a Jesus to help us out. Who does not want free help? I certainly need His help in my life.

Psalms 46:1-3 says that God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

So, if God is our strength and refuge we only need to let Him in and he will do the rest, if we feel that we are in trouble, we must allow God to work in our hearts and he will show us the way. He will guide and give us the right step for us to pass those tests. Chapter 46 of Psalms ends with these words: “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
 
God Bless,
Pastor David


Urgent Request!!!

I wish you could see a picture of my desk right now—papers everywhere, to-do lists scattered about, a stack of books I wish I could read, a binder for my Elders’ meeting, a binder for my state work, two laptops and a desktop computers.  I look on the wall and see a yearly calendar for planning.  I look down and I see a phone dinging.  Emails, texts, social media…

Does this sound familiar to you too?  Life seems so full of things to do that at times it can feel overwhelming.  How do we keep from being overwhelmed and actually live the life that God wants us to live?

Look up.

Charles Hummel in his book, Tyranny of the Urgent, wrote, “Your greatest danger is letting the urgent things crowd out the important.”  So many times we can be consumed by what appears to “need” to be done right now that we put off that which is actually most important.  We are so busy looking down at our lists that we fail to look up to the face of God.  We are looking down at our phones instead of looking up to God’s word.  We are looking down at ourselves for not being good enough instead of looking up to God who is always more than enough.

What will you do today to break the cycle of looking down?  How will you cast your attention on Jesus by looking up to God and listening for his Holy Spirit to speak?  The urgent things will be there later.  There is nothing more important for you to do right now.

 

In Him,

Pastor Tim.



Speak God’s Reality

Death and life are in the power of the tongue.
Proverbs 18:21a
 
In our culture it is normal to proclaim misery and failure over our lives without thinking about it. Sarcastic statements like, “With my luck, the car will break down before I get halfway there,” or “Just watch – I’ll fall flat on my face and make a fool of myself,” or “This day is going downhill fast!” are just a few common examples. Words like these may seem harmless, but they do not align with God’s reality or His promises. The Bible is clear on what should occupy our thoughts: “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things” (Phil. 4:8).
 
When we speak words that are negative, we cannot meditate on the things God has called us to meditate on. Speaking negative words causes us to focus only on our frustrations and complaints. And predicting negative things that might happen is the equivalent of stating that we don’t believe God is going before us or faithfully caring for us as He has promised in His Word.
 
The words we speak reveal where we are putting our faith. With our words, we either choose to agree with God’s promises or accept the enemy’s lies. And when we accept the enemy’s lies, we give him legal right to harass and hinder our lives. That’s why declaring doom and failure over our lives (or the lives of our children) is setting the stage for it to happen. On the other hand, declaring God’s reality sets the stage for His power and faithfulness to be experienced.
 
Speaking God’s reality has nothing to do with the “name it, claim it” or “positive affirmation” trends that are promoted by some. Those messages usually have selfishness and/or human willpower at the root. (i.e. “If I want something, it’s my right to claim it for myself.”) Instead, speaking God’s reality is a way of honoring our faithful Father by accepting His Word as true. It’s looking beyond our circumstances and our fears and declaring that we believe He is exactly who He says He is, and that He cares about the smallest details of our lives. That is when we begin to see miracles unfold in our daily lives – both big and small.
 
If you have developed a habit of speaking negative things, I encourage you to look for specific promises in God’s Word and declare that reality instead:
 
When you are tempted to say, “I know I’m going to fail,” instead proclaim God’s reality that, “The Lord is my helper, I will not fear” (Heb.13:6).
 
When you are tempted to say, “I can’t handle this; it’s too much for me,” instead proclaim God’s reality that, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).
 
When you are tempted to say, “This day is falling apart,” instead proclaim God’s reality that, “This is the day that the Lord has made; [I] will rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps. 118:24).
 
When you are tempted to say (or think), “I know I won’t be able to sleep tonight,” instead proclaim God’s reality that, “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety” (Ps. 4:8).
 
Speaking God’s reality can have a tremendous impact upon your perspective and can infuse joy and strength into your spiritual walk – not to mention uplift those around you!
 
Article in part from setapartgirl.com. To read the article The Power of the Tongue in full visit http://setapartgirl.com/magazine/article/12-1-18/power-tongue .
 
Church, as we are striving to be disciples who make disciples, let us remember to speak the promises of God to ourselves and to others, and choose to focus on His truth, ignoring the lies of the enemy and revoking his right to harass us. Let’s speak God’s reality and trust in His Word.
 
Many Blessings,
Pastor Sarah


Nothing Compares to God’s Love

Dear Church,
 
I met a boy in junior high who became my friend. As we got older we both made bad decisions in life. I abused drugs and alcohol and so did he. When he was 20 years old he got arrested for capital murder. I remember talking to his mom after they had arrested him and the love for her son was still there. Even after hearing of his crime, her love remained strong for her son. Even now she hasn’t forgotten about him as he serves 25 to life in prison. The love of a mother can not compare to the love God shows us. His unfailing love that doesn’t have favoritism. It doesn’t matter if we have murdered, if we have lied, or  cheated. God can still see beauty out of our screw-ups. He can turn a murderer into a God-fearing man who will bring glory to His name; someone who worship in spirit and in truth. To get to them it starts with us. It starts with loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind and loving our Neighbor as we love ourselves. Not seeing their sin but seeing them leave their old life behind to follow Jesus and lift His name up High. How beautiful is that we can share the Gospel that saved us with those that are lost so that they can have love that is rooted in Christ?
Have a Blessed Day
Jackie


What’s Faith Got to do With It?

Dear Church,
 
When I was a kid I would do some of the silliest things. Most of the time those things would drive my parents crazy. Times when I got kicked of the bus, or got detention for saying very inappropriate things to a classmate, or using words that I heard in a movie (even if I didn’t know what they meant).
 
There were so many conversations about right and wrong, appropriate and inappropriate, helpful and unhelpful. I got grounded, yelled at, spanked (although probably not enough) and sent to my room. Yet, in all that happened never once did my parents ever question their love for me. Why?
 
First, they loved me because we were connected; we were family. Second, they loved me because they had faith that I was growing, learning and developing. I want to suggest that these are the same reasons why we are supposed to love others, even our enemies. We love them, not because we always feel like it. No, we love them because we are connected to them. Even if they aren’t part of the family of God right now we love them because we have a hope that someday they will be. Our love says, “I’m not giving up hope on your growth!” Our love says, “I believe that what Jesus did in me he can also do in you.”
 
See, loving others isn’t about having feelings of love. It is about having the faith to believe that God’s love in us can impact their lives just like it impacted ours. We don’t love others because they are easy to love. We love them because we believe that the love of Jesus really can change lives.
 
What does your love say about your faith? Do you trust God enough to love those who hate you, or persecute you, or work with you, or live with you, or worship with you? Do you trust God enough to love you? Do you have faith to believe that denying the desires of your flesh and submitting to God’s Holy Spirit really can produce love in you? He will respond to your faith.
 
In Him,
Pastor Tim


Be a True Worshiper

Dear Church,
 
Worship is so much more than just singing songs. It is a condition of the heart and a state of mind. We can even worship God passionately without singing a single note. Our worship for God is born in our hearts, it fills our thoughts, and it is expressed through our mouths and through our bodies.
The world often thinks of worship as “religion”, which could not be further from the biblical concept of worship. It’s about a personal relationship, spiritual intimacy and passionate expressions of devotion from people who love God with all their hearts. This is true worship.
The Bible says that God is seeking those who worship Him ‘in spirit and in truth’.
I find it interesting that He does not want just anybody to worship Him. He wants true and genuine people. He does not want to be worshiped out of fear, obligation or religion.
True worship is a result of intimacy with God. Worship God today with your WHOLE heart, and be a worshiper in spirit and in truth!
 
Have a blessed week!
 
Sherry


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