Sermon: “When Fire Reigned” – Rev. Gary Dalton
The saying goes, “Courtship is based on play; marriage is based on work.” But, ask any couple happily married for many, many years, and they will say, “Keep the romance alive!” or “He makes me laugh!” or “I don’t know, except she’s kept on loving me all these years!”
What about all the work? “Oh, yeah, there’s been some work” (they catch each other’s eye, sure, but why talk about the work? It’s what you do…you work at it, you laugh a lot, you cry some…it’s a marriage). Or, it’s a long lasting friendship, and it’s a congregation, too. University Baptist Church is in the work-at-it stage of its life together in Christ. That’s what a church’s interim time is about.
Interim times aren’t really chosen in advance by a congregation, so much as encountered. That’s when the congregation gets to choose how to respond. It’s like those tight spots in a marriage or a worthwhile friendship. No one goes looking for the tight spots, but they seem to hunt us down regardless. Tight spots make us pay especially close attention as we ask, how much do you and I value this thing we’re in together? Does the good, the joy, the love we’ve experienced together warrant some extra labor for a time?
Work-at-it conversations are not drawn from the “do you want fries with that?” genre. They demand a degree of risk-taking. Back to the marriage/good friendship analogy: somebody has to go first. So, you ask a significant question to which you don’t already have a good answer. You’re uncertain how the other person will react or whether he/she’s got a ready answer either.
You trust and hope that the two of you together can craft an answer, but you don’t know that for sure at the get-go. You simply make your wager, and bet on the other person. You bet she/he values you enough, holds your relationship dearly enough, for you to forge ahead, ask the question and, then, Lord willing, wait on her/his patient reply.
The previous paragraph may ring a Bible bell for you. It’s this truth from 1 Corinthians, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things….For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.” (1 Corinthians 13:7, 12)
You know only your part, as each of your fellow UBC’ers know only their parts, to the answers of these work-at-it, interim time questions. UBC’s interim time requires us all to put into practice the ancient and wise council of our faith, that we bear with one another, believe in one another, hope for the best for our fellowship, and endure the challenge of reaching that best. In other words, that we love one another.
Your Senior Minister in the Interim,
The Leadership Transition Team thanks everyone who participated in the congregational conversations. We had great turnout and lively discussions We look forward to sharing the results with you soon, and we will use this information to help craft the senior minister and church profiles.
If you were not able to attend, but would like to participate, please notify the church office: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks again, and God bless!
Brent Wilson, LTT Chair
Breakfast will be provided by the Youth!
This will be a fundraiser for their summer mission trip.
This program will be the same as the one last week, so please plan to attend if you were not able to come on May 29. During this conversation, we will take time to pray together, talk about the promising days ahead for UBC, and discern what God is telling us about who we are becoming as a congregation and the qualifications of our next Senior Minister.
If possible, please RSVP to the church office to indicate if you plan to attend. You can, of course, still attend even if you do not RSVP. Childcare will be provided.
UBC is again designating our offering to the work of Paula Settle, CBF Associate in Nada, Kentucky. This area is one of our nation’s 20 “pockets of poverty” identified by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship over a decade ago.
The offering this year is being focused on helping a couple in Owsley County who are living in a one-room shed. They have no running water, no bathroom, no refrigerator, and only one electrical outlet that works.
For more information about Paula Settle’s work through the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, go to www.cbf.net/Missions/Field-personnel/Settle/
Thank you to all who participated in the discussion last Wednesday night! We had a great turnout and a lot of exciting ideas shared about the future God has planned for UBC. The LTT will use that information, as well as the 2011/2012 transition report, the 2015 questionnaire results, and the 2015 leadership retreat priorities, to start the process of creating a church profile and a pastor profile.
To help us complete our work, we ask that everyone in the church please plan to attend one of the following congregational conversations. These programs will be the same, so please choose whichever works best for you.
Sunday, May 29, 12:30 to 2:00. Lunch will be provided!
Sunday, June 5, 9:00 to 10:30. Breakfast will be provided!
These events will be different from and build on the initial conversation we had on May 11, but are meant to be for everyone, whether you were able to join us on Wednesday or not. During these conversations, we will take time to pray together, talk about the promising days ahead for UBC, and discern what God is telling us about who we are becoming as a congregation and who our next senior pastor should be.
If possible, please RSVP to the church office to indicate which event you plan to attend or if you can’t make either time. You can, of course, still attend even if you do not RSVP. Childcare will be provided for both times.
This is your church, and we need to hear from you!
— Brent Wilson, LTT Chair