Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Christus Paradox

Sometimes sermon preparation is a lot like hunting for Easter eggs- you never know where you will find the prize! Last week's study helped me find a gift that is still "working on me." We read it as the call to worship and I referenced it in my sermon but these words by Sylvia Dunstan (1955-1993) are worth a careful encounter. Read it silently. Read it again quietly. Read it a third time worshipfully.

You, Lord, are both Lamb and Shepherd.
You, Lord, are both prince and slave.
You, peacemaker and swordbringer.
Of the way you took and gave,
You, the everlasting instant;
You whom we both scorn and crave.

Clothed in light upon the mountain,
Stripped of might upon the cross,
Shining in eternal glory,
beggar'd by a soldier's toss,
You, the everlasting instant,
You who are both gift and cost.

You, who walk each day beside us,
Sit in power at God's side.
You, who preach a way that's narrow,
have a love that reaches wide.
You, the everlasting instant;
You who are our pilgrim guide.

Worthy is our earthly Jesus!
Worthy is our cosmic Christ!
Worthy your defeat and victory.
Worthy still your peace and strife.
You, the everlasting instant;
You who are our death and life.

Alleluia- you who are our death and our life.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Waiting Game

We've all prayed  something like this: "OK God, this is what's up, this is what I need. Now, what's taking so long?" We like it when God's approval of our plans comes quickly. Waiting makes us uncomfortable... and the longer we wait the more "squirmy" we become.

We are tempted to interpret a delayed answer as a "no." Sometimes this may be the case. But oftentimes our waiting is the time that God is working.

While we are waiting, God may be at work in the life of someone else. This person may be a part of the answer... or may be encouraged by our response.

While we are waiting, God may be at work in our lives. Sometimes God has work to do in us before God can work for us.

John Waller sings it beautifully:
I am waiting, I am waiting on You, Lord.
And I am thankful, I an waiting on You, Lord.
Though it is painful, but patiently, I will wait.

I am waiting, I am waiting on You, Lord.
And I am peaceful, I am waiting on You, Lord.
Though it's not easy, but faithfully, I will wait.

I will serve You while I'm waiting.
I will worship while I'm waiting.

The psalmist says, "Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." (Psalm 27:14)

And as you are waiting, remember: God is working!

Monday, March 4, 2013

24th Anniversary Thoughts

Last Sunday we celebrated the twenty-fourth anniversary of the first public worship service of what we would come to know as "Towne View Baptist Church." As with most anniversaries we took time to remember:

  • "Hall of Fame" leaders like Monroe Swilley (pastor/baptist leader), Bob Franklin (director of missions), and Bob Eubanks (layman/baptist benefactor)
  • generous, supportive churches like First Baptist Church of Marietta and First Baptist Church of Rome
  • those who provided leadership and direction through successive moves from the motel to the shopping center to the school, to the trailers, to the building, and now to Lockhart
  • God, who above all, has been faithful through all the twists and turns of the journey
In my sermon I sought to make the case that along the way:
  • we have been a mission church- the result of another's mission
  • we have been a mission-minded church- giving our money so that others could be missionaries
  • we have been a mission-supporting church- encouraging and sending members to "do" missions as an expression of their Christian faith
  • we now face the challenge of being a "missional church-" creating an environment where members see themselves as missionaries in their communities of work and leisure and where as a church we see all that we do as a part of God's mission for us.
Anniversaries are a time to look back (where have we been?) with gratitude and look forward (where do we go from here?) with hope.