This past weekend, 19 youth and 4 adults enjoyed a wonderful retreat at Smith Mountain Lake. We played, swam, kayaked, paddle-boarded, canoed, flipped off of an inner tube pulled behind the boat at top speed, and ate a lot of delicious food. But most importantly, we took 24 hours out of the back-to-school craze and all the stressors inherent in that transition, to just enjoy life. We spent the weekend talking and playing together, and took time to rest, breathe, and appreciate the wonder of God in our natural surroundings and in each other.
Here we go! Summer is over, school is back, and so are the Sunday and Wednesday programs at UBC! In this issue, you’ll find information about our Sunday Morning Bible Study classes and our Wednesday Night Supper and programming.
Our first mid-week supper is this Wednesday night, and afterwards, there will be a Called Church Conference to vote on our Nominating Committee report and hear reports from our Personnel and Finance committees.
Will Brown and I will be away that night. We’ll be in Decatur, GA, Tuesday through Thursday, meeting with the pastors of four other “university” Baptist churches to learn how we can be more effective in reaching and ministering among college students.
The new year begins for Sunday Morning Bible Study classes September 6!
If you’re not already active in a class, this is a great time to join one. You can find an overview of our classes [here].
From this Sunday through the month of September, our Sunday morning services will focus on “Faith in Action.” I will be preaching from the Book of James, and we will explore how our life in Christ is manifest in our actions, thoughts, and words.
We look forward to an exciting fall here at UBC. I hope you will be a part of it!
~ Blessings, Michael
Faith In Action
Sermon: “Doers of the Word” – Dr. Michael Cheuk
Scripture: James 1:17-27
Beginning August 30 and through the month of September, the theme of our Sunday morning sermons will focus on Faith in Action.
Through text taken from the Book of James, we will explore how our life in Christ is manifest in our actions, our thoughts and in our words, and how our daily lives are ‘faith in action’.
8/30 – “Doers of the Word” James 1:17-27
9/06 – “Loving Neighbours” James 2:1-10
9/13 – “Words” James 3:1-12
9/20 – “Wisdom” James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a
9/27 – “Prayer” James 5:13-20
Sermon: “Be Strong in the Lord” – Dr. Michael Cheuk
Scripture: Ephesians 6:10-20
Last Thursday I attended the open house at Albemarle High School and met some of Thea and Wesley’s teachers, as they welcomed new students in their classes. The next day, I was called to UVA Hospital to pray with a church member after she decided to forego treatment for her pneumonia. Her daughter was in the room, and we talked about how her mom was ready to die and how precious this time was for her and her siblings to prepare for this earthly farewell. And just this morning, we learned of her passing.
Welcomes and farewells are a part of life, and here at UBC, we have some welcomes and farewells to recognize. This past Sunday we celebrated the baptism of Carter Groff as he was welcomed into the Christian faith and into the membership of University Baptist Church.
This week, we welcome Sarah Wilson as she joins us on staff as our Youth Coordinator.
We also welcome back UVA students as they move in this weekend.
We say farewell to Erin Brown in her capacity as our Youth Coordinator, as she finishes her service at the end of this month. Thankfully, Erin will remain as an active member of UBC.
Finally, this Sunday will be Randi McFarland’s last day with us as a Ministry Intern. Randi will be moving on to serve as a Chaplaincy Resident at Central Lynchburg General Hospital. We wish Randi the best as she begins her new ministry.
May God, who is Alpha and Omega, be with us during all these welcomes and farewells.
~ Blessings, Michael
“Singing the Great Hymns of Our Faith”
Scripture: Colossians 3:16
A woman named Mary Ann Bird tells her story:
I grew up knowing that I was different, and I hated it. I was born with a cleft palate, and when I started school my classmates made it clear to me how I must look to others: a little gift with a misshapen lip, crooked nose, lopsided teeth, and garbled speech. When my schoolmates would ask, “What happened to your lip?” I’d tell them I’d fallen and cut it on a piece of glass. Somehow it seemed more acceptable to have suffered an accident than to have been born different. I was convinced that no one outside my family could love me.
There was, however, a teacher in the second grade whom we all adored — Mrs. Leonard by name. She was short, round, happy, a sparkling lady. Annually, we would have a hearing test. I was virtually deaf in one ear; but when I had taken the test in past years, I discovered that if I did not press my hand as tightly upon my ears as I was instructed to do, I could pass the test. Mrs. Leonard gave the test to everyone in class, and finally it was my turn.
I knew from past years that as we stood against the door and covered one ear, the teacher sitting at her desk would whisper something and we could have to repeat it back…things like “The sky is blue,” or “Do you have new shoes?” I waited there for those words which God must have put into her mouth, those seven words which changed my life. Mrs. Leonard said in her whisper, “I wish you were my little girl.”
1 John 4:19 says: “We love because God first loved us.” In the midst of life’s challenges, isn’t it good to be reminded that we have a God who loves us, who tells us, “You are my child, my beloved. With you I am well pleased.”?
May you hear God’s words of love and feel God’s embrace this week!
~ Blessings, Michael
In my sermon this past Sunday, I told of a time from my childhood when I was shocked and a little disgusted at finding a bag of overripe, bruised peaches in our kitchen. Yet later that night, when we had some of those peaches for dessert, they were the juiciest, sweetest peaches I’ve ever had.
How many times do we reject God’s gifts just because, like those overripe peaches, those gifts are not presented to us in ways that are perfectly wrapped to our liking? Every day, we are confronted with people and situations that are different from what we expected or hoped for. In life, we have to reach beyond what is different and unfamiliar or initially uncomfortable to experience the rich fullness – even the sweetness – of what God offers.
Inside this newsletter, you’ll see pictures from our inter-generational mission trip last week in DC. On Sunday, youth and adults who went on the trip offered an inspiring glimpse into their week, with their mornings filled with projects to help poverty-focused nonprofits. In the afternoons, the group led a VBS for about 100 underprivileged children. Throughout the week, these UBC members worked in very unfamiliar circumstances with very different people; yet by the end of the week, they found common ground and tremendous blessing. Our mission team truly offered an example of what it means to accept God’s blessings, even when those blessings are disguised in challenge, hard work, and discomfort.
The intern at City Gate wrote to Erin Brown: “I just wanted to thank you again for an amazing week. I am just so thankful for you and your group. I’m sure I’m not supposed to have had a favorite group, but yours was absolutely it! This summer was challenging (and wonderful) in many ways, and your group made last week the BEST week of the entire summer! I regularly told my family and roommates how grateful I was!”
As part of their testimony on Sunday, Erin Brown thanked UBC for its support of the trip – financial support, logistical support, and prayer support.
Similarly, inside this newsletter, you’ll find a thank-you from missionary Paula Settle, explaining how our support has made a difference in the lives of young people breaking the cycle of poverty in Nada, Kentucky.
Finally, during her ordination service on Sunday afternoon, Randi McFarland expressed her appreciation for the mission-mindedness of UBC.
I share Randi’s sense of thanksgiving to be part of such a congregation.
Sermon: “Dressing for the Part” – Dr. Michael Cheuk
Scripture: Ephesians 4:22 – 5:2