Back To Church Sunday

Reopening the building has been incredible!  Pastor David, along with the Worship Team and Tech Team have done an amazing job leading worship both for those in the building and those still online.  At the same time Pastor Sarah has done an excellent job with our kids and in organizing Community Groups.  Like I said, the reopening has been great!

But now it is time for our GRAND OPENING!!!  This Sunday is Back to Church Sunday and I want to do all that we can to invite, welcome and love on guests.  Use the invite cards you received Sunday to invite someone you know, and share the digital invites that are available on Facebook.  Look for guests on Sunday and introduce yourself (from a safe social distance).  Invite guests to your Community Group or help them find another group that might work better for them.

People are starting to open up their lives again.  They are looking to set new rhythms and schedules.  Let’s do all that we can to ensure that growing closer to Jesus is part of their new schedule in order that he can show them what NEW LIFE is really all about.  God is already at work.  Let’s all join him so that we can show everyone that we are truly STRONGER TOGETHER with Jesus.

In Him,
Pastor Tim.


Nothing great comes in our comfort zone

Setting goals is something I am new at… for a few weeks now I’ve been setting goals. I have a few big goals that I’m working on and can’t wait until I reach them. Thursday, I set a daily goal and it was to reach the end of a trail near my apartment. I packed my backpack with water and started my journey at 8:00am. There were people on bikes and some people walking already. Once I was two miles in I turned around and I noticed there was no people walking behind me. They had turned around, but I just kept walking. 3 miles in I got to a little gate, I was crossing to a different area of the trail however I kept walking. And did I mention that I wasn’t sure how long the trail was?  At 4 miles I made it to a wooden bridge and it was beautiful it was so exciting because I had never made it that far before… I crossed it and kept on going. At 6 miles I made it to another smaller bridge and kept walking finally I made it to a parking lot. I reached my daily goal!  I had walked almost 7 miles, I was tired and it never crossed my mind how hard it was going to be to walk the 7 miles back home. 10 miles of walking and I had already finished my water, I had no more energy, and I had no food. I had done a lousy job at preparing but I had to keep going… I had 4 more miles ahead so I walked and walked. The last 2 miles were brutal. I could see the exit from afar but I couldn’t walk any faster. The only thing that kept me from giving up and laying down on the ground was that I knew there was food and water at home. Oh my! I couldn’t wait.
 
We as Christian have a goal – that is to reach lost sheep, teach them about unconditional love… just like it was taught to us. What happens when we don’t read the word or pray and just neglect our relationship with Jesus? We start to starve, we get thirsty, and we faint. There is no strength left; we start to feel like I did walking the last 2 miles. I could see the exit, my freedom but I was too weak. No matter how many miles we walk in the Lord through all of it we will be lifted up, we will be kept full, we will not grow weary that is a promise from God, just like my motivation to not give up was the food in my fridge. We have something better than food in the fridge we have JESUS!
 
-Jackie


The Excitement is Building!

This coming Sunday…  Just a few days away…  The moment we have all been waiting for…  That’s right!  This Sunday, September 6th we are back in the building for worship with HFC at 11:00 am!  HFC Kids will be in full effect as will the Youth ministry.  I hope you are able to join us for worship.  It is still mandatory to wear a mask and we will continue to social distance but that won’t stop the excitement of being together and glorifying God!  And don’t worry, if you aren’t ready to be back in the building yet, we will still have the service online.

But wait, there’s MORE!  This Sunday, September 6th also starts HFC Community Groups!  If your group meets during the week your first meeting will be after September 6th.  There is still time for you to sign up for a Community Group too!  Go to www.hfcog.org/community-groups to register.  You can also call Pastor Sarah or email her at PastorSarah@hfcog.org to ask questions and find the group that would be best for you.

And the most exciting news of all is that Sunday, September 20th is our Back to Church Sunday!  So many people have gotten out of the habit or worshipping with the church over the last several months of the pandemic and we can invite them back.  You can invite them to worship with us at the building, worship online at their home, or worship with you in your home as you watch together online.  Invite everyone!  People are looking to reconnect.  Let’s be disciples that make disciples by helping people reconnect with Jesus!

In Him,
Pastor Tim.


Empowering Each Other

A few days ago, the youth and I went hiking for the first time to Huntsville stake park for the first time. In preparation for the hike I started walking every other day, I also started eating better, and at some point, I even stared exercising which is extremely good for my health. Even though I was preparing my body specifically for that hiking trip with our youth group, I started to notice a significant improvement in my overall health.

The same can be said for our spiritual lives, we go to church on a Sunday morning or Wednesday night, we read our bible every day, we pray for our meals and so much more. We actually don’t think much of that, but when problems come our way our attitude is different in how we process that situation.

While we were hiking with the youth, I noticed that some walked faster than others, some were drinking much more water than others, but we all were encouraging each other to finish our trip. Many times, we tend to compare ourselves with others and their situations thinking that it is the same and we forget that we all are walking at different speeds. It is okay to ask for help when we struggle in life, we could be surprised to know how much support and encouragement our spiritual family can give us. The bible says that we need to surrender ourselves with like-minded people who can help us get closer to God.

Once our hiking trip was completed, it was amazing to know that everyone has finished, not everyone finishes at the same time but we were there for one another, you don’t have to do Christianity all on your own, we have a spiritual family ready to be there for us.

With Love,
Pastor David


So What About…?

Community Group sign ups are under way and already about 45 people have signed up to join a Community Group.  You can sign up today at…  www.hfcog.org/community-groups

You might also have some questions like…

“Are Community Groups replacing Learn Groups?”

  • Yes, but this is not just a name change. The focus of the groups will be different and the leaders have different goals for each group.

“If I’m not in a Community Group on Sunday morning then what will I do?”

  • First, if you aren’t registered to meet with the Sunday morning Community Group then please don’t. In order to accomplish the goals we have it is important to keep the groups small.  Again, you can sign up for a Community Group at hfcog.org/community-groups.
  • Secondly, we will still be offering Sunday School for our children and youth from 9:30-10:30 on Sunday mornings. Please bring them!
  • The rest of us will have an opportunity to hang out and talk to each other in the lobby and cafe areas. We are committed to creating relational environments that help disciples make disciples.  This un-programmed time together is so important for this process!  This is not “extra” time or “wasted” time or a “waiting” time.  This is “relationship building” time.  This is “get real about your week” time.  This is “what is Jesus doing in your life” time.

“What about Wednesday Night Bible study, youth meeting and Kid Min?”

  • Youth will continue to meet with Pastor David on Wednesday night up in the Youth Room.
  • Kids are welcome to come but we realize it does make for a late night on a school night.
  • The Bible study has been great for digging into God’s word but feels more like a classroom than a living room. So, just like Sunday mornings before worship, Wednesday nights for adults will be a time to share life together.  Think of it as a time to apply God’s word to our lives as we relationally invest in each other.

“What if I have more questions?”

  • Reach out to PastorSarah@hfcog.org or PastorTim@hfcog.org and we would love to talk with you about any questions you have. The mission is to make disciples and together we will all get on the same page in accomplishing that mission!

In Him,

Pastor Tim



Step Inside!

Do you remember The Secret Life of Pets movie that came out a few years ago? It gave us an inside look at what our pets might do while we are away. It was hilarious! The movie showed us that our pets are curious, adventurous, loyal, intelligent, protective, and prone to making huge messes! They really do have a secret life that we miss when we’re gone!

What if there was another Secret Life movie? The Secret Life of Kids! What would we see as we peek into their world? What adventures would they go on? What would draw their curiosity? How would they play? What would they discover? It’s an exciting idea, isn’t it? There have been many TV shows geared to this very concept over the years; Kids Say The Darnedest Things, Little Big Shots, numerous hidden camera/social experiment shows where they leave kiddos in a room and watch as they navigate different challenges. What if I told you that HFC Kids can offer you this special inside look? What if I told you that you get a front row seat to The Secret Life of Kids?! Would you say yes to that free ticket? Well then, today is your lucky day!

Volunteering in HFC Kids gives you a front row seat to The Secret Life of Kids! This fall come with us on an epic adventure as we walk the roads of the New Testament! Help us discover new exciting stories of the early Church as they began to go and tell! Laugh with us as we play fun games together. See our curiosity grow as engaging discussions unfold. See our creativity and personality as we craft reminders to take home. Join us as we learn to be disciples who make disciples. We are having a blast down the HFC Kids hallway, and we’d love for you to join us! Your journey can begin today! Visit hfcog.org/kids to sign up for a front row seat to…

 

Many Blessings,
Pastor Sarah

P.S. Be sure to tune in Sunday to see the video announcement! You don’t want to miss it!



Five Years of Ministry

August 1, 2015 I showed up at Rudy’s at 8:00 a.m. for Men’s Breakfast.  That was my first official duty as pastor of the Houston First Church of God.  Now here we are five years later, and let me just tell you, we have a lot to celebrate!  This celebration isn’t about me though.  This celebration is about what God is doing through all of us as a church.

The highlight of my year each year is to celebrate what God is doing through the many volunteers who give time, energy and other resources to carry out the work of God for his kingdom’s sake.  This year we take the month of August to shine a spotlight on the ministry that you are doing through Volunteer Appreciation Month.  In these weeks the rest of the staff and I will highlight some of our amazing volunteers that are truly influencing the world with the kingdom of God.

I wish that we could do all of this in person so that I could personally thank each and every one of you.  You deserve it for all that you have done.  For now though, please accept my extreme thanks and gratitude through these simple words.  I love you.  I am so glad that God has allowed us to live as disciple makers together.  I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else with anyone else, and I can’t wait to see what the next five years will bring… together.

In Him,
Pastor Tim


Praying for You!

There a so many things that we can do to fill our time… before you know it the day is over, the week is gone and the years have passed…

Time has become more precious to me with every birthday that passes. Watching our children grow up, move out of our home and begin their lives is just crazy to me. I still remember them as babies and young kiddos in school as if it was yesterday. Knowing that this is Charles senior year and hearing his plans for the future is exciting, but also bitter sweet…

The feelings that I have about time, kids growing up, family dynamics shifting, and just “change” in general makes me think about my spiritual growth, my relationship with Christ, relationships with others and most importantly am I doing what God wants me to do.

I have come a long way – but I also know I have a long way to go – truth be told, I don’t believe we ever “arrive”. We may be more knowledgeable, or able to hear God’s voice clearer, but every single day we must be intentional for the kingdom.

Every day it is a choice – we have to strengthen our relationship with God our Father so that we seek His will, learn to love what He loves and learn to love others as He loves us.

So to try and wrap this up with a pretty bow on top… I want to challenge you to be intentional daily in reading your Bible, prayer, listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in every part of your life – at home, at work, with family, with friends, with everyone that crosses your path. Connect with someone from HFC, your learn group, or someone that has been on your heart to call. Don’t let another day, week, or year pass…

At the end of the day, I pray that you have connected with someone in some way that shows them God love. I also pray that you feel God’s love for you and that He is able!

Praying for you!
Naomi



But then there is YOU!

Dear Church,

Beth and I had plans to go to Colorado to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary.  Because of COVID 19 we had to cancel.  The kids had plans to go to Ohio in June.  We had to reschedule.  Then we were all going to go to Ohio in July.  We had to cancel.  Does this sound like your life too?  How can we schedule anything when we don’t know what “normal” is going to be next week, next month or next year?

But then there is YOU!  Because you have given with such generosity the HFC staff and Elders have been empowered to plan for a future that is unpredictable.  We have purchased a video system that will be built into our sanctuary that will allow us to do multiple things. 

  1. When we are not able to be in the building it will allow us to record services with exceptional sound and video quality.
  2. When we have some at the building and some at home we will be able to stream a live broadcast on both Facebook and YouTube with words for songs and slides for the sermon.
  3. When we are all back in the building we will be able to give guests a great understanding of what our services are like even before they step into the building.

During this time we have also spent more funds on counseling services than in any three month stretch of my five year history with HFC.  Your giving to benevolence is making it possible for these individuals and families to gain the tools they need to be emotionally and spiritually healthy.

Your generosity is still needed as well.  Since the video system wasn’t budgeted you may want to give a special gift to help offset that significant cost.  As COVID 19 continues there will continue to be benevolence needs that you can provide.  Also, don’t forget your Faith Promise.  We are currently about 14% behind budgeted giving for the year and those ministries are relying on our faithful support as well.

Church, we are in this together so if your life is feeling unpredictable, let me know how we can help.  As each of us faithfully gives to God’s mission work through HFC we will all together reap the benefits of God’s kingdom here on earth.  God is able.

In Him,

Pastor Tim


Our New Normal?

Before Jesus left this earth he told his disciples, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).  Throughout the rest of the New Testament we get a glimpse as to what that looked like.  Paul in particular traveled by foot and by boat to share the good news of Jesus Christ as he started house-churches all around the Mediterranean Sea.

Until March we got used to sharing God’s word as we met together in the church building and worked through Learn Groups to make disciples.  Now however we are worshipping online with Learn Groups on Zoom.  Each day we all become less and less sure what the future will look like but we know the mission Jesus gave us is still the same.

I wanted to let you know about two things that HFC is doing now that will empower you to go and make disciples where you are and allow you to reach the nations at the same time.  First, Community Groups are starting in September.  These groups will be a place for you to form real relationships that will show you what it looks like to be a disciple that makes disciples.  These will be places where you will grow deeper with current members of the church and also invite your neighbors, friends and coworkers.   You will get a chance to sign up for one of these groups in August.

We are also purchasing a video system that will be installed in the sanctuary.  This system will make it easier for the worship team to record and live-stream worship services on Facebook and YouTube.  This will provide all of us with a high-quality worship experience no matter where we are, and it will be a tool you can use to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with those who won’t be in the church building.  The expense for this was significant but I believe it will show great fruit even in the unpredictable times in which we find ourselves.

We might not know what normal is going to look like tomorrow but we do know that the mission of Jesus remains the same: go and make disciples.  Let’s use everything we have to accomplish the mission for the glory of God!

In Him,
Pastor Tim.


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