ITLOTC 12-15-17

 

ITLOTC

(In The Life Of The Church) 

Advent

Prayer, Pt. 5

A few months ago, I started writing a series of newsletters on prayer.  At the beginning, I said that I would delay taking up the question of why one would pray at all until a later date.  

It is now a later date.

But I really don’t have much to say about this.

Because, if I’m honest, this question is not interesting to me.  

Don’t get me wrong—I spent years (YEARS) of my life spinning my wheels trying to theologically map out the mechanics of free will and prayer and divine providence, attempting to convince myself of whether or not prayer makes a difference in the world or to God. But at some point, I noticed that the twists and turns of that line of inquiry had little to no effect on my desire to pray.

On an existential level, there were things that I wanted to speak out loud—to shout into the universe.  Things that made me happy or angry, things that I wanted to happen or to change.  And insofar as I pushed down the impulse to express these things, the low-key preoccupation that I had with these desires more or less amounted to prayers whether I wanted to speak them or not.

And on a theological level, I was reading the Bible, finding time and again that God is portrayed as a dynamic, loving, compassionate Person, who is invested interpersonally with the minutiae of creatures and creation, and is interested in hearing prayers and responding to them—conversing, if you will.

With these two elements in mind, the question of whether or not my prayers get God to do things seems irrelevant.  I’ve got stuff to say, and I’m going to say it.  And if I acknowledge that God exists as a Person, I’m not going to give God the silent treatment when I don’t feel like God is doing what I ask.  I’d much rather tell God how angry it makes me that things fell apart or how help never came.  

This leads me to believe that the impulse I have to pray is about something besides making things happen or not happen.

The idea of prayer as conversation is pretty well obvious and/or trite at this point, but I want to take a closer look at it, because I think it is most often discussed as a format or mode of prayer, with the “why” of prayer still being to get God to do stuff.  More and more, I’ve come to think of conversation as the purpose and function of prayer.

By that I mean, the thing that drives us to pray is the same drive that leads us to seek out connection with other people, just on a more fundamental, existential level—the drive to know and be Known.

I think about the economy of conversation in terms of expression and transformation.  In expressing ourselves, we move toward being known (by both the other and ourselves).  In listening, we come to know.  And in coming to know, we are changed in some way.

Obviously, the conversational nature of prayer is different in some way from conversing with other people, but I think this structure holds.  The primary difference is the listening is more of a posture of existence—a sort of contemplative openness or teachability.  With or without words, the aim of coming to know and be Known remains.

And, yes, I do think that just as I am shaped by prayer, God is shaped in some way.  I think this because it happens frequently in the Bible.  

That doesn’t mean that I or you have control over God, just as a loved one doesn’t have control over us in conversation.  But the words or requests of a loved one carry SOME influence, right?

Regardless, the function and purpose of prayer is not to influence God—carrying that expectation will leave you thoroughly disappointed in life, and the expectation of interpersonal control in any other context would be easily identified as unhealthy.

Anyway, that is more or less all the stuff I have to say about that.  

I realize that I’ve really only talked about my experience (that’s really the only thing I know how to do).  There’s a chance that someone reading this has experiences that contradict these, and for whom these thoughts are wholly unhelpful—people who don’t feel any drive to pray, or who really do want (or need) an answer to the why of prayer.  If that’s you, send me an email (jamie@ubcwaco.org)—I don’t know that I’ll have answers for you, but I’d be honored to listen to you, step into your experience, and look for an answer together.

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UBC Parishioner of the Week

Paul Jobson, for coaching the Lady Bears soccer team to a big 12 tournament championship followed up by their first ever elite high appearance.  Thanks Paul, for being a winner, both on and off the field.  

ITLOTC Break

This beloved newsletter, that reaches millions of readers each week, will be taking a two week break for the Holiday season.  Please check your inboxes and Facebook feeds January 5th, for the first ITLOTC of 2K18, which promises to be full of amazing information and new ideas. 

Sunday School

There will be no more Sunday School for the rest the year.  Stay tuned for dates and class descriptions for the upcoming spring semester.  

Work is Worship

Greeters: Richardsons

Coffee Makers: 

Mug Cleaners: 

Money Counter: Justin Pond 

Announcements

  • Sermon Text:  "Good Biblical Family Values Part 3: Bathsheba" 2 Samuel 11
  • "Christmas Eve Morning Service/Advent 4" 12-24 @ 10:30 AM.    Carol sing and candle lighting at 5:00 PM. 

Liturgy 12-10-2017

This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies.  If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to learn to wait
for a Light in the darkness

to grasp for the Peace of God
in the midst of uncertainty and so much noise

to step into God’s story

and to be transformed by it

into people who live stories
of wonder, hope, and peace,

and who join with God
in the work of re-Creation in the world

Amen

 

 

 

 

 

Peace Candle Liturgy

In our waiting for the Light to come into our darkness, we seek the peace of God--that peace that passes all understanding, that puts broken pieces back together, and heals wounds that, by any measure, are beyond repair.

[Light Peace Candle]

Here is God’s promise of peace from Isaiah 11:

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
and faithfulness the belt around his loins.

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.

On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious. 

Scripture

Joshua 2

Then Joshua son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went, and entered the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab, and spent the night there. The king of Jericho was told, “Some Israelites have come here tonight to search out the land.” 

Then the king of Jericho sent orders to Rahab, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come only to search out the whole land.” But the woman took the two men and hid them.

Then she said, “True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they came from. And when it was time to close the gate at dark, the men went out. Where the men went I do not know. Pursue them quickly, for you can overtake them.” 

She had, however, brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax that she had laid out on the roof. So the men pursued them on the way to the Jordan as far as the fords. As soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.

Before they went to sleep, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that dread of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt in fear before you. 

For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites that were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. As soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no courage left in any of us because of you.

The Lord your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below. Now then, since I have dealt kindly with you, swear to me by the Lord that you in turn will deal kindly with my family. Give me a sign of good faith that you will spare my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” 

The men said to her, “Our life for yours! If you do not tell this business of ours, then we will deal kindly and faithfully with you when the Lord gives us the land.”

Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the outer side of the city wall and she resided within the wall itself. She said to them, “Go toward the hill country, so that the pursuers may not come upon you. Hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers have returned; then afterward you may go your way.” 

The men said to her, “We will be released from this oath that you have made us swear to you if we invade the land and you do not tie this crimson cord in the window through which you let us down, and you do not gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your family. 

If any of you go out of the doors of your house into the street, they shall be responsible for their own death, and we shall be innocent; but if a hand is laid upon any who are with you in the house, we shall bear the responsibility for their death. 

But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be released from this oath that you made us swear to you.” She said, “According to your words, so be it.” She sent them away and they departed. Then she tied the crimson cord in the window.

They departed and went into the hill country and stayed there three days, until the pursuers returned. The pursuers had searched all along the way and found nothing. Then the two men came down again from the hill country.

They crossed over, came to Joshua son of Nun, and told him all that had happened to them. They said to Joshua, “Truly the Lord has given all the land into our hands; moreover all the inhabitants of the land melt in fear before us.”

Setlist 12-10-2017

Yesterday was the second week of Advent, and the songs were selected with that in mind.  Below, you’ll find the list of the songs and artists. Clicking the song titles will take you to the lyrics.  Below the songs, you can find a brief example of one way you might think of these songs. If you want to talk about any of these, feel free to comment at the bottom of this page or email me at jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Songs:

Hope (There Will Come A Light) by ubcmusic

There by Jameson McGregor

Rise Up by BiFrost Arts

Peace (Change Everything) by ubcmusic

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Doxology

How They Fit In:

There are many ways to think about the significance of songs and the way they fit together–-this is simply one way you can look at these songs in light of this week’s theme. 

Hope (There Will Come A Light): This song clings to the hope that God's inbreaking Kingdom will enter the darkness of our world of broken systems, bringing justice to the oppressed.

There: This song proclaim's God's transcendence over and above every source of anxiety in the world, and clings to God as an anchor in the midst of the uncertainty and noise of life.

Rise Up: This song proclaim's God's immanent concern in the plight of the oppressed and marginalized.

Peace (Change Everything): This song pleads for God to bring peace into the dissonance and brokenness of the world, from the socio-political sphere to the cellular level.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel: We sang this song to look over our shoulder at last week's songs: We sang this song to enter into the part of our Story where the people of God were waiting on the Light to enter the darkness.

Doxology: We close our time together each week with this proclamation that God is worthy of praise from every inch of the cosmos.

-JM

ITLOTC 12-8-17

ITLOTC

(In The Life Of The Church) 

Advent

Navigating the Darkness

Sometime last year, or maybe before, I wrote a blog on the difference between conviction and certainty.  The author of the book I have just finished reading provided me with a new language that further clarified this difference for me.  I’d like to share it with you.

Christian Wiman said, “We do not need definite beliefs because their objects are necessarily true.  We need them because they enable us to stand on steady spots from which the truth may be glimpsed.”

After I finished the book, I listened to Christian participate in an interview with Krista Tippett on her program, On Being.  He synthesized this and a few other thoughts that were fragmented in the book.  He said that belief has objects and that faith does not.

I think this is a helpful way to think about us as humans with changing belief.  I don’t believe everything I  believed ten years ago.  I likely won’t believe everything in ten years that I believe now.  I change.  My view of the world changes.  And still, in this sea of change, there is a constancy in my faith.  The same Jesus who pulled me out of the chairs of my childhood church up to the altar for prayer, visits with me now.  That same Jesus assures me, unsettles me, and stands by me.  

I believe everything in Nicene Creed.  It’s what we have listed on our website under “what we believe.”  But here’s how I’ve grown.  I’m not threatened by the removal of the individual objects on that list.  

One time my dad told me that people who persevere in faith do so because they’ve had experiences with God.  I think he was right.  Those experiences can be subtle like still small voices, but they are still experiences.  Said differently, people don’t stay Christian because their beliefs always make sense to them or never change.  They belong to the faith because they are held by God, and in the holding, they have sense of the ineffable.  

In advent we walk around in the dark.  Promises linger in the air.  We’ve heard rumors of God’s solution coming.  The stars are aligning.  Something cosmic seems to be going on up in the heavens, but without light, it’s tough to see.  And so we practice faith.  We cling to the thing that keeps us when the objects of belief find the limits of explanatory power.  We long to arrive at the manger and see Jesus.

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UBC Parishioner of the Week

Rev. Dr. David Wilhite for his contributions to and leadership in crafting the Boston Declaration. 

Foster Care Christmas Presents

If you took a tag to purchase a foster child a Christmas present with our partner ministry Arrow Child and Family Ministries, please bring that present this Sunday!!!  The party for the kids is Sunday afternoon and we are still missing about 8 gifts.  

Thailand Mission Trip - June 10-24, 2018

There are still spots open for the mission trip to Thailand in May.  The cost of the trip is around $2500, and covers all meals, travel, lodging, and events.  A $200 deposit is due by the 17th.  If you have any questions, please 

Work is Worship

Greeters: Ricky 

Coffee Makers: Kim 

Mug Cleaners:  Vince & Sarah

Money Counter: Hannah Kuhl 

Announcements

  • Sermon Text:  "Good Biblical Family Values Part 2: Rahab" Joshua 2 
  • finance team meeting 12-11
  • "Christmas Eve Morning Service/Advent 4" 12-24 @ 10:30 AM.    Carol sing and candle lighting at 5:00 PM. 

Liturgy 12-3-2017

This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies.  If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to learn to wait
for a Light in the darkness

to cling to the hope that the Living God
has not abandoned God’s creatures

to step into God’s story

and to be transformed by it

into people who carry the wonder
and love of God in our own stories

joining with God’s work
of re-Creation in the world

Amen

Advent Introduction

Today, we find ourselves in the first week of Advent.  If that’s a new term for you, Advent is the first season of the church calendar—the beginning of the story we live in—and like the other seasons of the church calendar, it calls us to enter into a drama of sorts.

We unstick ourselves in time, stepping back a couple thousand years, in order to allow ourselves to receive the Gift that God is bringing on Christmas, as though we don’t already know exactly what we are celebrating at the end of December.  It is a season of waiting on God, of looking back on the way that God has been faithful to God’s people and trusting that God will continue to be faithful to us. 

Now, we also stand as particular people in a particular time and place, who can look back a couple of thousand years and know exactly what we are celebrating at the end of December—people who stand in the midst of a story where we have seen just how far God is willing to go to set things right—yet who also know that things are still very broken.  As these people in this present brokenness, we too look forward, trusting that God will continue to be faithful to us, and that the Kingdom of God we sometimes glimpse among us is on its way in fullness.

So, holding both of these identities, the ancient and the future, we are learning and relearning to wait for God to show up.

Of the Advent and Christmas season, N.T. Wright says:

“For many, Christianity is just a beautiful dream.  It’s a world in which everyday reality goes a bit blurred.  It’s nostalgic, cozy, and comforting.  But real Christianity isn’t like that at all.  Take Christmas, for instance: a season of nostalgia, of carols and candles and firelight and happy children.  But that misses the point completely.  Christmas is not a reminder that the world is really quite a nice old place.  It reminds us that the world is a shockingly bad old place, where wickedness flourishes unchecked, where children are murdered, where civilized countries make a lot of money by selling weapons to uncivilized ones so they can blow each other apart.  Christmas is God lighting a candle; and you don’t light a candle in a room that’s already full of sunlight.  You light a candle in a room that’s so murky that the candle, when lit, reveals just how bad things really are.  The light shines in the darkness, says St John, and the darkness has not overcome it. Christmas, then, is not a dream, a moment of escapism.  Christmas is the reality, which shows up the rest of ‘reality.’” 

So, ubc, as we occupy the space of Advent, take time to look around to see how dark the world is, that we might learn to wait for a light in this darkness.

Hope Candle Liturgy

On this first Sunday of Advent, we are reminded that we live by Hope.  Hope in the coming of the Messiah, that God will bring Light into our present darkness.  Hope that those pinned in by anxiety will find rest.  Hope that those who feel worthless will find their true Value.  Hope that the poor, the homeless, the refugee, and all those trampled by systems of power will be given the mercy and justice of God.  And hope that Love will cast out every fear.

For now, we wait, trusting that God is faithful and at work redeeming all things.  We declare these things in lighting the Hope candle.

[Light the Hope candle]

Hear God’s promise of hope from Isaiah 2:2-4:

In days to come
   the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
   and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it.
   Many peoples shall come and say,
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
   to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
   and that we may walk in his paths.’
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
   and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
   and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
   and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
   neither shall they learn war any more.

Scripture

Genesis 38:1-26

It happened at that time that Judah went down from his brothers and settled near a certain Adullamite whose name was Hirah. There Judah saw the daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua; he married her and went in to her. She conceived and bore a son; and he named him Er. 

Again she conceived and bore a son whom she named Onan. Yet again she bore a son, and she named him Shelah. She was in Chezib when she bore him. Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn; her name was Tamar. But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord put him to death. 

Then Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her; raise up offspring for your brother.” But since Onan knew that the offspring would not be his, he spilled his semen on the ground whenever he went in to his brother’s wife, so that he would not give offspring to his brother. 

What he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, and he put him to death also. Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Remain a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up”—for he feared that he too would die, like his brothers. So Tamar went to live in her father’s house.

In course of time the wife of Judah, Shua’s daughter, died; when Judah’s time of mourning was over, he went up to Timnah to his sheepshearers, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 

When Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep,” she put off her widow’s garments, put on a veil, wrapped herself up, and sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. She saw that Shelah was grown up, yet she had not been given to him in marriage. 

When Judah saw her, he thought her to be a prostitute, for she had covered her face. He went over to her at the roadside, and said, “Come, let me come in to you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law.

She said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?” He answered, “I will send you a kid from the flock.” And she said, “Only if you give me a pledge, until you send it.” He said, “What pledge shall I give you?”

She replied, “Your signet and your cord, and the staff that is in your hand.” So he gave them to her, and went in to her, and she conceived by him. Then she got up and went away, and taking off her veil she put on the garments of her widowhood.

When Judah sent the kid by his friend the Adullamite, to recover the pledge from the woman, he could not find her. He asked the townspeople, “Where is the temple prostitute who was at Enaim by the wayside?”

But they said, “No prostitute has been here.” So he returned to Judah, and said, “I have not found her; moreover the townspeople said, ‘No prostitute has been here.’” Judah replied, “Let her keep the things as her own, otherwise we will be laughed at; you see, I sent this kid, and you could not find her.”

About three months later Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has played the whore; moreover she is pregnant as a result of whoredom.” And Judah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned.” 

As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “It was the owner of these who made me pregnant.” And she said, “Take note, please, whose these are, the signet and the cord and the staff.” Then Judah acknowledged them and said, “She is more in the right than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not lie with her again.

When the time of her delivery came, there were twins in her womb. While she was in labor, one put out a hand; and the midwife took and bound on his hand a crimson thread, saying, “This one came out first.” 

But just then he drew back his hand, and out came his brother; and she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” Therefore he was named Perez. Afterward his brother came out with the crimson thread on his hand; and he was named Zerah.

Setlist 12-3-2017

Yesterday was the first week of Advent, and the songs were selected with that in mind.  Below, you’ll find the list of the songs and artists. Clicking the song titles will take you to the lyrics.  Below the songs, you can find a brief example of one way you might think of these songs. If you want to talk about any of these, feel free to comment at the bottom of this page or email me at jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Songs:

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Come Thou Fount

SMS [Shine] by David Crowder* Band

Hope (There Will Come A Light) by ubcmusic

Wayward Ones by The Gladsome Light

Doxology

How They Fit In:

There are many ways to think about the significance of songs and the way they fit together–-this is simply one way you can look at these songs in light of this week’s theme. 

O Come, O Come Emmanuel: We sang this song to enter into the part of our Story where the people of God were waiting on the Light to enter the darkness.

Come Thou Fount: We sang this song to give voice to our looking back at who God has been in order to calibrate our hope of who God will continue to be for us.

SMS [Shine]: This song offers us language to express what it is like to wait in the darkness hoping that God has not abandoned us.

Hope (There Will Come A Light): This song clings to the hope that God's inbreaking Kingdom will enter the darkness of our world of broken systems, bringing justice to the oppressed.

Wayward Ones: We sing this song every time we take communion to remind ourselves of a couple of things.  First, we are a broken people--though we are seeking to become more like Jesus, we often fail at this.  Second, Christ has given Himself for us despite our brokenness.  We take communion to remember the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf, even though we did not, and do not, deserve it.

Doxology: We close our time together each week with this proclamation that God is worthy of praise from every inch of the cosmos.

-JM

ITLOTC 12-1-17

ITLOTC

(In The Life Of The Church) 

Advent

            When I was younger – probably until I was about 13 or 14 – my mom’s family would have a family reunion on the weekend after Thanksgiving. On Thursday morning we would load up the car with all our things for the weekend and drive to Fort Worth to celebrate Thanksgiving with my dad’s family, and then when we were done we would get back in the car and drive on to Rusk, TX. Rusk is a very small town in East Texas and someone owned some land and a farm just outside of town so we all went every year and stayed in this same hotel in town.

 It was a little bit of a free for all – or it felt that way as a kid. The hotel was on a lot of land and surrounded by lots of trees and a golf course. So there were plenty of places to run around or find a good hiding place and sit and read which is what I did. And we always rented one hotel suite as a common room where everyone would hang out and all the food got kept in there (it seemed like an endless supply of food at the time). And on Saturday night we all went out to the farm and had a big bonfire and roasted hotdogs and s’mores. It wasn’t the most typical Thanksgiving experience – but those days with my family are days for which I am very thankful.

The Lectionary text from the epistles for this coming Sunday is 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 and while I know that technically we’re in Advent and that the Lectionary Calendar isn’t created with Thanksgiving (or any American Holidays) in mind, I can’t help but think that this is a particularly appropriate text for the week after Thanksgiving. It says:

3 May all the gifts and benefits that come from God our Father, and the Master, Jesus Christ, be yours. 4-6 Every time I think of you—and I think of you often!—I thank God for your lives of free and open access to God, given by Jesus. There’s no end to what has happened in you—it’s beyond speech, beyond knowledge. The evidence of Christ has been clearly verified in your lives. 7-9 Just think—you don’t need a thing, you’ve got it all! All God’s gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale. And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that. - 1 Corinthians 1:3-9, The Message

            I am especially taken by the way The Message interprets v.7-9 – “Just think—you don’t need a thing, you’ve got it all! All God’s gifts are right in front of you…” I don’t think that I live my life like this every day – believing that I don’t need a thing because God has already given me all that I will ever need. I wonder how my life would change if I did. And not only has God already given me everything that I need, but also, “God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus.” Not only has God already given me all that I need, but also God is with me as I walk through this life – encouraging me, strengthening me, sustaining me at all times until all things are wrapped up in Christ.

            I think that sometimes it is easier to be thankful for things that have already happened. Sometimes it is easier for me to be thankful for days spent with my family at a hotel in East Texas – but it’s a little harder to be thankful for an ordinary day in my ordinary life while it’s happening. 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 encourages me to ask myself - how different would my life look if I lived every day with a sense of thankfulness that God had already given me all that I ever needed? How different would yours be?

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about this, feel free to email taylor@ubcwaco.org.

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UBC Parishioner of the Week

Chad May for being a #champion4thelord and making coffee on Sunday. 

 (December 5th and 6th)

UBC will be opening its doors from 10am-midnight, on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.  Overheard at last years Study Hall: “UBC is the best. I mean seriously, I have been here for 6 hours, but I feel like Ive learned as much as I do in 60.  I also feel closer to Jesus.  This is the absolute best place to study.  I feel sorry for my friends who didn’t come here to study, they will probably fail their finals.”

We will have snacks and drinks out all day, and don’t worry, our pancake extravaganza will be happening at 10pm on Wednesday night.  If you have any questions, email toph@ubcwaco.org #yourbestfinalsnow

Thailand Mission Trip - June 10-24, 2018

There are still spots open for the mission trip to Thailand in May.  The cost of the trip is around $2500, and covers all meals, travel, lodging, and events.  A $200 deposit is due by the 17th.  If you have any questions, please email toph@ubcwaco.org

Get To Know Your UBC Staff

7 UBC staff members: Val, Toph, Dilan, Josh, Jamie, Taylor and Kim have favorite movies.  

They are: Elizabethtown, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Interstellar, Straight Out Of Compton, The Tree of Life, Cast Away, and Remember The Titans.  

Be the first person to email josh@ubcwaco.org correctly matching 7 movies to the corresponding staff members and win a gift card to the local cinema.  Email subject line should read "the movies."  

Work is Worship

Greeters: Walters 

Coffee Makers: Emmy & Caroline

Mug Cleaners:  OOTP

Money Counter:  Anna Tilson 

Announcements

  • Sermon Text: Genesis 38 "Good Biblical Family Values Part 1"
  • finance team meeting 12-11
  • "Christmas Eve Morning Service/Advent 4" 12-24 @ 10:30 AM.    Carol sing and candle lighting at 5:00 PM. 

Setlist 11-26-2017

Yesterday was Christ the King Sunday, and the songs were selected with that in mind.  Below, you’ll find the list of the songs and artists. Clicking the song titles will take you to the lyrics.  Below the songs, you can find a brief example of one way you might think of these songs. If you want to talk about any of these, feel free to comment at the bottom of this page or email me at jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Songs:

Crown Him With Many Crowns

Mystery by Jameson McGregor (adapted from Charlie Hall)

Pulse by Jameson McGregor

Rise Up by Bifrost Arts

Inbreaking by Jameson McGregor

Chariot by Page France

Doxology

How They Fit In:

There are many ways to think about the significance of songs and the way they fit together–-this is simply one way you can look at these songs in light of this week’s theme. 

Crown Him With Many Crowns: We sang this song because it was basically made to be sung on Christ the King Sunday.  It speaks both to a conceptual crowning of Christ in one's life, and also to a more eschatological vision of the Kingdom.

Mystery: This song proclaims the story of what kind of king Christ is--the kind that would suffer and die for his people. In singing this song, we began to pose a question to ourselves of what Christ's reign might mean for the way that we live and move in the world.

Pulse: We most often refer to the Holy Spirit as the Breath of Life undergirding all of Creation when we sing this song. But Pulse can also be taken to refer to the way in which all of Creation holds together in Christ, which is the angle we took yesterday.  At the bottom of everything, we are connected to the people least like us by our mutual connection to the grace of Christ.

Rise Up: This song is a petition for the King who stands with the oppressed to rise to their defense, and a charge to those who claim to be formed in the way of Christ to do the same.

Inbreaking: This song is a plea for the coming of the Kingdom and the re-Creation of all things.

Chariot: We sang this song to look over our shoulder at last week's songs.  This is what we said about Chariot then: This song is a looking ahead toward the re-Creation of all things.  This looking ahead in some way embodies the posture of Ordinary Time, insofar as we allow this looking ahead to motivate us to live as though the Kingdom has already come in fullness.

Doxology: We close our time together each week with this proclamation that God is worthy of praise from every inch of the cosmos.

-JM

ITLOTC 11-24-17

ITLOTC

(In The Life Of The Church) 

Ordinary Time

Thank God

In the beginning God said ... a whole bunch of things and out of nothing come something.  But it wasn't sterile prose God spoke in, Genesis 1 is a song. 

We sing because were first sung.  We came into the world that way.  Doxology has always been the way of the human, even when we refuse to sing.  We just vibrate inside, stifling what we want to do ... even if we don't know it. 

And what should we sing?  You can sing all kinds of things, but theologically speaking they should all land somewhere in the neighborhood of "thank you." 

Annie Dillard said it best and most honestly ... "I think the dying pray at last no please, but thank you."  

Sing ... even if just in whisper all day, every day.  Yod, Hey Vav, Hey.  Hebrew letters spelling theme of God.  Yahweh.  We supply the vowels.  Breathe in and breathe out.  Confess God's name when you emerge from the womb and right before you die.  

Let me translate the work of your respiratory system.  "Thank you, thank you, thank you."  

I have regained a version of a quiet time.  It's in the morning.  I have two books I'm working through.  One of them a book of sermons.  Always, at least one of those books, is a book of sermons.  I read one sermon a day.  I'll tell you about one of them a minute. 

I have a friend one Facebook.  Know her in real life too.  She's in Wisconsin.  She posted and reposted an image that gives her 30 directives.  One for each day of November.  Each question starts the same "What ______ are most thankful for."  

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I pride myself on being above what I consider kitsch meme's and quizzes, but i was taken in.  I revel in my daily question.  It's part of my November quiet time.  As I write I'm pondering, "which song am I grateful for?"  Such a precise question.  How have songs shaped me?  What songs have formed me?  Isn't music beautiful?  What would life be without music?  Silent I think.  God thank you for music.  So many songs take me to places.  I'm like Ellen.  Life has a soundtrack.  Auchtung Baby takes me to car trips back and forth from Milwaukee to Tomahawk, WI to see my brother at Marquette University. The music always takes me somewhere.  I love the music.  Thank you God for the music.  

Which song?  I don't know.  I'm have trouble choosing.  But I love trying to pick because ... so many memories.  Such much to be grateful for. 

The sermon now.  

The book: The Collected Sermons of Fred B. Craddock

The text: Philippians 4

Here's what Fred says in conclusion: "I have never known a person grateful who was at the same time small, or mean, or bitter, or greedy, or selfish, or took any pleasure in anybody else's pain. Never.  ... I was thinking that if I were on a search committee, looking for a miner for the church ... I would ask 'Is there any evidence that this person is grateful?'"

Yes, that's it Fred Craddock!  Being grateful matters.  It's the way of the Christian.  It's the way of the human.  We were created for doxology.  I must say thank you now and always.  It's what I'm created for. 

Thank God. 

Amen 

Meet Our Newest UBCer

Silas Fisher Ward

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Birthday: 10-29-17

Birth Weight: 7 lb. 1 oz. 

Birth Height: 19.5 inches

Enneagram Number: 1

Random Picture So This Blog has a Thumbnail and a Greater Chance of Being Clickbait

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UBC Parishioner of the Week

Karen Carney ... for cleaning all the dishes from the Thanksgiving Love Feast. 

Study Hall

Do you love pancakes?  Do you love snacks? Do you love groovy atmospheres to study in?  then study hall might be for you.  UBC will open it's doors to studiers of all stripes on December 5/6.  Doors will open at 10:00 AM and close at midnight.  

Advent Workshop

On Sunday December 3rd, UBC will be having our annual children's advent workshop.  If you would like to sign up please email josh@ubcwaco.org.  

Backside

Champions! are you awesome at art, music, stand up comedy, or some other talent that might be put on display?  Well then, the backside event might be for you.  It will take place on November 30th 2K17 at 7.  Please email jamie@ubcwaco.org if you want to participate.  

Work is Worship

Greeters: Blaylocks

Coffee Makers: No One Signed Up for Coffee

Mug Cleaners:  No One Signed Up for Mugs 

Money Counter:  Justin Pond

Announcements

  • Sermon Text: Matthew 25:31-46 "sheep sightings" 
  • finance team meeting 12-something 
  • Christmas Eve Morning Service/Advent 4 12-24 @ 10:30 AM 
  • Christmas Eve Service 12-24