The Construction of Your Life

In the year 2,150 B.C, the Babylonian Empire, knowing how to build a house was already fundamental. Everything was governed by the code of Hammurabi. The law number 229 declared: If a builder builds a house and does not do it with good resistance and the house collapses killing the occupants, the builder must be executed immediately.
This law seemed very drastic and deadly Yet for the rulers, it helped to control accidents and have better construction of quality as well as resistance to be able to any type of climate and natural disasters.
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25
When Jesus came to earth and lived in the midst of the men of his time, he understood how indispensable it was to have a good house for the protection of your family and he knew that every good construction depended on a good foundation.
But he went even further as to using the example of construction to talk about the heart of the human being and life. In doing so he was comparing the house that is built on the rock with one that was built on the sand. The two houses were tested by the same storms, but the results were remarkably different: one resisted and the other fell.
Every day we can meet people whose lives are based on vain and transient things, which produces a false peace and tranquility in which vanishes almost immediately. But there are also people who assure their life about the eternal and true, that produces permanent peace and tranquility.
What has been the foundation in your life? 
Have you built wisely?
If it has been the opposite and your life has fallen because of storms, today you can approach God and secure your life on a sure and eternal foundation. Here are Houston First we want to help you build your foundation with God’s help. 
-Pastor David

Will You Join the Merge?

“You do realize we are about to make history this Sunday in our movement in Texas. This is the first glimpse of a sending culture in the Church of God in Texas.” I got this text yesterday from Efrain Cirilo who is planting Merge Church in Conroe, TX. Efrain, his wife Megan, their children, and some of their team will be here Sunday to share the vision of Merge Church with HFC, but this is about so much more than just Merge.
This is about learning what it looks like to step out on faith to follow the call of God toward those who don’t yet know Jesus. This is about the Church collaborating together—even as we may worship in different places—in order to advance the kingdom of God. This is about breaking down the demonic walls of competition between congregations and choosing to trust others with a variety of resources.
This Sunday we will all get a chance to participate in this powerful move of God. After Efrain and Megan speak I’m going to challenge you in four ways.
1. Would you commit to pray for Merge Church in your personal prayer time? Pray for Efrain,
Megan and their family. Pray for launch Sunday which is February 9, 2020. Pray for the people
with whom they will be sharing the gospel.
2. Would you commit to give financially to Merge Church? In 2019 HFC has given $6,000 to
Merge, but I have also personally committed to give $100 each month for three years. Could
you do the same?
3. Would you commit to attending Merge Church on launch Sunday, February 9, 2020? I want to send 25 people from HFC to worship and serve there so that Merge knows they are not alone.
4. Would you commit to being a Rocket Booster with Merge Church? This means you would
commit to serve with Merge for six Sundays in order to help them build a volunteer base from
the guests that are coming to worship for the first time.
I can’t wait to talk to you more about this on Sunday! Until then, have a blessed Thanksgiving!
In Him,
Pastor Tim.

Take a Break!

Earlier this month Charles and I were fortunate enough to take a vacation to Los Angeles, California. I was extremely anxious and nervous about this trip one because over the years I have experienced a progressive fear of flying and to being away from home is a little unsettling for me at times.  
Stopping and taking a break is very hard because I find comfort in the day-to-day routines of work and a schedule… But I will have to say that this trip was exactly what was needed. Not just for me, but for Charles and me as well – our relationship.  We were able to spend time together without all the demands of work, school, and chores or the distractions of social media, TV or just “going to my room”. 
The narrative of the day changed.  We started with “what would you like to do today?”  Are we having fun? What’s next? Ending with what did you like best? Recapping the day…  and starting again the next day.
According to research from Harvard Medical School, mother-daughter trips taken once a year can help relieve stress, improve immune responses and decrease the chances of heart disease. Essentially, it shows similar benefits to a full night’s sleep and a healthy diet.
Researchers add strong relationships and quality time with those people may even help you live longer.
Well… I’ll have to say that my research shows mother-son trips do you just the same!  There is just so much to be said for “getting away”. I look forward to planning our next trip and look forward to hearing that you too, are making plans to take a break and enjoy some time with family and friends!  
Your sister in Christ,
Naomi Dingle

Praise God for a Business Meeting!

Texas Ministries of the Church of God had our annual meeting this past weekend in Dallas, TX at the New Vida Church of God. I have never said this before this year, but it was so much fun! We laughed and laughed the whole weekend. Don’t get me wrong. We handled our business as well, but it wasn’t stressful and boring. It was exciting to hear how God is positioning us for kingdom impact.
Now it is our turn. This Wednesday, November 13th at 7:00 p.m. we will meet together in the sanctuary for our annual business meeting. Yes, we are going to handle our business. Boyce will again be disappointed that we don’t read the minutes out loud, and you will all get a chance to ask any questions you might have. However, we are also going to celebrate! We are going to laugh. Ideally, we are also going to be inspired to see where God has us and how we can join in his kingdom work.
Even if you aren’t a registered voter you want to make sure you are here for this. And did I forget to mention the CHILI COOK-OFF starting at 6:00 p.m. That’s another thing we have to celebrate—a CHILI COOK-OFF Winner—but we need you to vote for your favorite (no need to register in advance). We will have childcare for the kids and they get to vote on chili too. I can’t wait to worship God together with you.
In Him,
Pastor Tim.

Overcoming Ghosts

I am one of six siblings. I’m not the youngest, but for six years I was the baby. I was also the
one who got picked on the most. I can remember when my sisters got this clever idea to
drape Kleenex’s over oranges and tie them with long strings. Then they would hang them over
the door to their room. Whenever I  walked by their room, they pulled the strings so they
looked like floating ghosts. To finish it off they said, “BOOOoooOOO” in a creepy voice.
As a four-year-old, it terrified me! I needed my mom every time I would go upstairs.
Of course, now I’m older and the ghosts are scarier because they aren’t made of
oranges anymore. No. Now they are made of past pain, fears, and lies—fear of love,
fear of disappointment and fear of not being enough. I’ve met people that have made
past pain as well as present pain with just one word. All the lies start to become what I believe in and the ghosts are all I see.
As the disciples were fighting strong winds and huge waves, Peter, in his fear, sees a
ghost in the water, but it wasn’t a ghost. It was Jesus. Jesus is the one who gives a
clear view that makes the ghosts disappear. He says “Don’t be afraid,” and “take
courage. I am here.” He surrounds us with his warmth. As we trust him as he gives us
victory over our enemies, our issues, and our ghosts.
In Him,

Opportunities to Give

First of all, on behalf of the entire staff, thank you all so much for every way that you poured out your love to us over this last month. The cards, letters, prayers and reception were so amazing, and we are so blessed to be able to serve together with you. Thank you for allowing your generosity to spill into our laps.
I also wanted to let you know about several other opportunities to give and bless others with your generosity once again. It all starts this Sunday when Pastor Joe will be with us all the way from Kenya. It was such a blessing to preach to his church and now he will have the opportunity to preach to ours. When we were in Kenya he mentioned that the students in the school he oversees do not have tables at which to eat their meals. Many have asked how they might be able to help meet this need. Each table costs $250 US dollars which for 50 tables would be a total of $12,500. You will have an opportunity help meet this need this Sunday with a special offering.
Pastor Joe’s visit will be followed by the missionary we support in Turkey on November 10 th . Also, if you would like to join her for a meal on Saturday, November 9 th please contact Cindy Moore who is coordinating dinner plans with her. We will also receive a special offering for her and her ministry.
Then on December 1 st Pastor Efrain Cirilo, his wife Megan and others from their launch team will be here to talk about Merge Church, the Church of God church plant in Conroe, TX. In that time together we will talk about vital ways that we can give to support Merge, not just financially, but even with our attendance, service and prayer.
Finally then, on December 8 th Larry and Lee Ann Sellers will be back with us. We will get to hear their heart for the Ivory Coast and how God is working through them in Africa and in the US. Again we will have a chance to bless them with a love offering too.
Thank you for every way that you give and your amazing hearts of generosity. You are having a
powerful influence on this world through the kingdom of God.
In Him,
Pastor Tim.

A Gift of Prayer for Pastor Sarah

Dear Church,
   As I celebrate my birthday today, I am counting all ways that God is good to me – and He has been good! Skip to the end of the article if you want a few items off my God-is-SO-good list!
    I have had many health issues the last 10 years that are not typical for a person my age including extreme muscle weakness. My medical team began asking questions and running tests to determine what could be causing this weakness. I was diagnosed with Lupus and Fibromyalgia in March of this year, both auto-immune diseases. Once on medication, many of my symptoms improved but a few lingering issues continued. In August, after more testing, I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, also an auto-immune disease, which causes extreme muscle weakness, and affects the heart and lungs. They determined the cause of the Myasthenia Gravis was an active Thymus gland, a gland that after infancy doesn’t really do anything, unless it reactivates and sends the body into confusion; the immune system doesn’t know which cells to fight, so it resorts to fighting everything, including healthy cells.
   After much prayer God has provided answers and a path to recovery! My medical team has decided that the best choice is to do surgery and remove the thymus gland, in anticipation that it will quickly remove the symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis and over time will remove the Lupus and Fibro, as well as some of my food allergies. They say that I am the perfect candidate for this to work: the right age, early in my diagnosis, and female. They cannot promise anything, but are positive! At this point, we are still waiting for the team to select a date, but the surgery will be before the end of the year. We are not sure what pre-op and post-op look like at this point, but they have warned me that I will have to be to be isolated from the public and from children at some point before my surgery and for a few weeks following the surgery as they will be shutting down my immune system so that it doesn’t attack the surgery site. Safe to say we’ll be doing things “a little different” in the HFC Kids hallway. I’m grateful for technology that will allow me to be with the kiddos, even if it isn’t in person.
   I am planning to work from home after the first 10 days of initial recovery. We will be relying on volunteers to fill the roles I usually handle on a Sunday/Wednesday during that time. If you are able to help out, please email me at pastorsarah@hfcog.org. Dates are soon to come!
   While this entire process has been overwhelming, the whole time I have known, beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is good. He has shown up time and time again! He has provided financially for all the specialist appointments, testing, and scans. God is so good. He has provided doctors on my team who are believers; He has provided doctors who told us outright they weren’t a good fit and referred us to the best! God is so good! God has walked with me on this medical journey, which not only spans the whole of this year, but even goes back ten years! God is so good. Even though there are still so many unanswered questions, I know the ultimate answer is in Him, and He is good!
   I know that you love me and that you may have many questions, but for right now please just pray for me. Together we will all just trust God with the details that have not yet been revealed to us.Thank you so much for your faithful prayers; they have been, and continue to be a great source of comfort and encouragement to me.
-Pastor Sarah

Equip Digital Retreat

For the last two years we have been talking about disciples making disciples, multiplication, and being equipped for the works of service of the church.  Over the last two years I invited people to come with me to the Exponential conference in League City to hear about, learn about and process through what these ideas might look like at HFC.  Unfortunately, only a hand full of people could go because of the distance and cost.  But not any more!
This year we are bringing the same content Exponential content to our building.  We have digital videos that we will watch together and then process through how we can live this out.  Here’s the best part.  It is totally free!!!
Whether you have been trained as a disciple maker or are brand new to the idea you can learn valuable insights on how to help others grow closer to Jesus.  Join me on Friday, October 25 and Saturday, October 26 from 6-9 p.m. each evening in the Hospitality room.  You will leave seeing the world differently. 
Sign up for it today by simply emailing me at pastortim@hfcog.org or you can fill out a YES card this Sunday.  I can’t wait to see you there!

In Him,
Pastor Tim

God Delights in Us!

If God is ever guided by his emotions, it is when he thinks of you. You give great pleasure to God, he loves the fact that you can be yourself. Of course, you can let others point out why God would be disappointed in you. But they would be measuring you against perfection, and you don’t have to be perfect. Only God is perfect.
Focus on how much unlimited his love and mercy are just for you. You are His supreme achievement of your creation, and that give you the greatest pleasure. God is totally committed to His love for you and will never be unfaithful in that relationship.
In fact, God’s delight in you outshines all of the things that can make you feel unworthy. Satan wants you to feel unworthy and wants to keep you wrapped up in all of those lies. But God wants you to know that you are perfect in His eyes. Don’t let anyone take that from you.
Consider this:
How do you feel knowing that God delights in you even though He knows everything-everything -about you?
What do you find your greatest pleasure in? God is always looking forward to spending time with you.
-Pastor David Rivera

Tips to Disciple Your Kids

Tips to Help You Disciple Your Kids
Do feel lost in your own home as a disciple-maker? You’re not alone! Many parents feel lost when it comes to discipling their kids, mainly because they feel they were never discipled themselves. They know that they should, and they want to, but when it comes to actually doing it, they feel lost. ‘Where to begin? What to say? Do I really know enough myself?’ And so, because of the overwhelming feelings or fear of lack of knowledge, many parents tell their kids,‘Listen to your Sunday school teachers’. This is understandable, but it doesn’t have to be this way. It can’t be this way. Discipling your children is far too important to hand off to others—as godly and loving as those teachers and leaders are. Okay, so we know we need to disciple our kids (Deut 6), and we really want to do it, but how do we actually do it? Here are the first three of eight ways disciple your kids (to read the full article visit: The Gospel Project
1. Set realistic expectations.
One of the main hang-ups parents have is that they expect way too much of themselves when it comes to discipling their kids, and when they can’t live up to them, they feel like failures and often quit. Parents need to be realistic of what their family discipleship will look like. Perhaps that means talking about a Bible story for 15 minutes one night a week at dinner and trying to find one or two times each week to move conversations toward the gospel. Wherever you are, start there and develop rhythms and habits that work for your family and then build on them.
2. See family discipleship as a way of life.
There is nothing at all wrong with having a more organized time of family worship—it is actually a great idea to do that! But parents can’t think of family discipleship as a program to be completed; they have to see it as an ongoing way of life (see Deut. 6). Parents, talk with your
kids about Christ naturally as much as possible. Look for themes in shows, movies, and music and talk about how they relate to the gospel. Talk about the character of God, especially as you experience it in your own life. We have natural opportunities to talk about the gospel every
day—we just have to look for them.
3. Focus on Jesus.
The goal for parents should be to always point their kids to Jesus. It is easy to fall into the trap of moralism—focusing on behavior and wanting them to ‘act right’. But that is not God’s heart for them! God is less concerned with their behavior and more concerned with their hearts. And
the way kids will develop hearts that love Him and want to obey Him is through the gospel transforming them. This is why parents need to point their kids to the gospel and allow that to inform how they live. Their behavior matters—but why they behave the way they do matters
far more. Focus on heart change through Christ.
Again, these are just the first three of eight ways to help parents disciple their children. To read the full article with great, easy, practical tips, visit Gospel Project or pick up a copy on the HFC Kids Check-In Kiosk next time you’re at HFC.
Making Young Disciples,
Pastor Sarah