January

January 7, 2010


Dear Centenary friends,

We are at our best in community.  There is something about connecting that is of God.  I am fed as I watch community happen. Here are some snapshots:

  •          In a circle we celebrated that Shaquan had passed his test and received a GED.  This is a MAJOR celebration.

  •        I thanked Donald for helping Shaquan prepare for the test.   God gave Donald the great gift of a wonderful smile.

  •          I watched as people surrounded Emory and Gregory, welcoming them to Centenary.

  •          I listened as Leslie and Shelly talked about community groups focused around interests:  movies, knitting, Bible Study, dogs, hiking.

  •          Someone told me that Shelly has 25 chickens in her backyard.

  •         Thomas told me that the city was prepared to spread salt on the streets of Macon in case of snow or ice.  (Has Kroger been cleaned out of milk and bread yet?)

  •        Gabrielle (5 years old) drew a picture of me and offered it as a present.  It is now on my refrigerator.  The best part was that she gave me a hug when she gave it to me.

  •          Henry told me about the blessings of the community in his life.  I told him he ought to read "Same Kind of Different as Me" by Ron Hall.

  •          Liz told me that at some point Jack needs to teach a series in Sunday School.  I agree.

  •         The Martin kids were disappointed that they did not get to go to Disneyworld, because Mom was sick.  Matt, the Dad, was not nearly as disappointed.  But the Martins will go later and Matt will dutifully get on a little boat to hear puppets sing ?It?s a small world after all? until it drives him mad, whereupon he will become a character in a Flannery O?Conner short story.        

  • We prayed for Ned who has been in the hospital, and for Emily's grandmother who broke her hip, and for Deliha whose grandmother died.  We celebrated with Jamie as she starts Physician's Assistant School!        

  • Rogers got teased about a College Hill Corridor commercial he is on.  Watch the commercial (which has Centenary Church in it) at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jTVTdBUkDA    Rogers wants you to know that he is available for autographs.

Worship, Wonderful Wednesdays, study groups, small groups, choir, all provide opportunities for connection.  God is present.  All of this makes my heart smile.

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Jerry Elder is birthing a School of Music at Centenary.  Here is what he writes about the idea:  We are exploring the possibility of beginning a school of music at Centenary that will connect children and adults who are interested in learning to play instruments with some of our musicians in the area.  The vision is to have a place where we can encourage people to learn and share the gift of music with our community in an supportive environment.  Scholarships would be offered as well as opportunities for people to contribute toward the purchase of instruments.  If you are interested in this exciting opportunity as a student, teacher or supporter, contact Jerry at jerry@centenarymacon.org   

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February 27 and 28 is an incredible opportunity for Centenary and the middle Georgia area.  World-renowned musician, Buddy Greene, will be with us on Saturday and Sunday.  I have arranged for a conversation between Buddy Greene and David Dark, author of The Sacredness of Questioning Everything (which can be easily ordered through amazon.com) on Saturday afternoon, February 27.  From 2-4, David will talk about faith issues in between songs presented by Buddy.  On Saturday night, Buddy Greene and Jeff Taylor (another outstanding Nashville musician) will give a full concert in our sanctuary.  Sunday morning Buddy and David will lead worship for the Centenary Outreach breakfast at 8 a.m. and will also lead worship at 11 a.m.  You can learn more about Buddy Greene at www.buddygreene.com  Listen to a little of the music and learn more about Buddy.  Spread the word.  This will be a very large event.  By the way, a group at the church is studying David Dark's book in preparation for David and Buddy.  If you want to be a part of that discussion, contact Matt Martin (mattmartin63@gmail.com) or Dave Driggers (dave@stoneanddriggers.com)     The group will meet Sundays at 9:45 beginning January 17.

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One last taste of Christmas. This Sunday I will be preaching a sermon focused on the coming of the Magi.  The traditional date for their arrival is January 6, 12 days after Christmas Day.  So, let's talk about Splintering the Darkness.  See you in worship!

Grace and peace.

Tim Bagwell

Love God.  Love Others.  Love Yourself.  Serve.

www.centenarymacon.org  

 

 January 13, 2010

Dear Friends,

As I write this, the horrific crisis in Haiti is unfolding.  For this earthquake to happen anywhere in the world would be horrible.  For Haiti, it is devastating.  Consider these facts:

  • The average life expectancy in Haiti is 53 years old.  80 out of 1,000 Haitians never  see their first birthday.

  • The annual per capita income in Haiti is less than $400, making Haiti the poorest  nation in the Western hemisphere.

  • 50% of the population cannot read.

  •                  80% of the population lives in poverty.
  • Before the earthquake there were 163,000 orphans in Haiti.  Who knows how many more have been orphaned by the earthquake?

  •  Political turmoil and instability, along with heavily eroded natural resources exacerbates the suffering in Haiti.

This earthquake has killed unknown thousands.  The United Nations building has collapsed and more than 100 U.N. workers are missing.  More sobering news will, no doubt, come in the days ahead as news agencies begin to see the larger picture of the destruction.

You will be interested in knowing that at least two people who are connected to Centenary have served on medical mission teams in Haiti , Patrick Roche and Richard Scherer.  They know far more from their first hand experience than I am able to convey in this email.

I am grateful that our church is already present in Port-au- Prince (the capital of Haiti) through UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief).   Volunteers are serving on many different levels and we are working with the Haitian Methodist Church to figure out how we can best make a difference.  On Sunday, Susan and I are bringing a special offering for the earthquake victims.  We are glad that 100% of our gift will go to the need in Haiti because the administrative costs are covered from other directions.  If you want to join Susan and me in making this second mile mission gift, make your check out to Centenary Church and mark it clearly for "Haiti Earthquake".   We will make certain that your gift gets to those who desperately need our help.

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 Jerry Elder is birthing a School of Music at Centenary.  Here is what he writes about the idea:  We are exploring the possibility of beginning a school of music at Centenary that will connect children and adults who are interested in learning to play instruments with some of our musicians in the area.  The vision is to have a place where we can encourage people to learn and share the gift of music with our community in an supportive environment.  Scholarships would be offered as well as opportunities for people to contribute toward the purchase of instruments.  If you are interested in this exciting opportunity as a student, teacher or supporter, contact Jerry at jerry@centenarymacon.org   

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February 27 and 28 is an incredible opportunity for Centenary and the middle Georgia area.  World-renowned musician, Buddy Greene, will be with us on Saturday and Sunday.  I have arranged for a conversation between Buddy Greene and David Dark, author of The Sacredness of Questioning Everything (which can be easily ordered through amazon.com) on Saturday afternoon, February 27.  From 2-4, David will talk about faith issues in between songs presented by Buddy.  On Saturday night, Buddy Greene and Jeff Taylor (another outstanding Nashville musician) will give a full concert in our sanctuary.  Sunday morning Buddy and David will lead worship for the Centenary Outreach breakfast at 8 a.m. and will also lead worship at 11 a.m.  You can learn more about Buddy Greene at www.buddygreene.com  Listen to a little of the music, but then click on ?enter the site? and learn more about Buddy.  Spread the word.  This will be a very large event.  By the way? a group at the church is studying David Dark?s book in preparation for David and Buddy.  If you want to be a part of that discussion, contact Matt Martin (mattmartin63@gmail.com) or Dave Driggers (dave@stoneanddriggers.com)     The group will meet Sundays at 9:45 beginning January 17.

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This Sunday, I am preaching on ?A More Excellent Way?.  Many of us have come to Centenary because we are sick to death of the church wars all around us.   Paul had a lot to say about the non-sense that goes on in many denominations and churches.  At times the church is its own worst enemy!  So, how can we live so as to be the church that the New Testament envisioned?  Hope you will be present on Sunday!  Bring a friend.

Grace and peace.

Tim Bagwell

Love God.  Love Others.  Love Yourself.  Serve.

www.centenarymacon.org    

 
January 29, 2010 Dear Centenary friends, Who is Jesus ? Really? The author of the Book of Hebrews states that ?Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.? Luke states that ?Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and humans.? One implies a static understanding of Jesus while the other implies a dynamic understanding of Jesus. At one point Jesus asked, ?Who do people say that I am?? The disciples listed some of the heroes of the faith to whom people were comparing Jesus. Jesus? follow-up question was ?Who do you say that I am?? Christians, for the most part, seek ways to attract others to Jesus. Some of what I hear Christians say about Jesus gives a picture of him that bears little resemblance to the picture I see in the Bible. Some Christians portray Jesus as a ghostly being who could not possibly do or feel what real people do and feel, yet Christians supposedly believe that Jesus was fully human, along with being fully divine. Others make him seem like a sticky-sweet, wet-blanket type of a person that few people would want to have around. Still others portray him as a fierce big-brother-is-watching-you dictator whose main concern is making sure that everyone must accept and believe certain doctrines, observe certain religious rituals, and obey a list of rules. To me, these commonly held understandings of Jesus do not come close to capturing the Jesus of the Bible. Over the next 12 weeks I will be preaching a series of sermons titled, ?Who Is Jesus ? Really?? Here is a list of sermons to be preached: Jan. 31 ? Who is Jesus - Really? Misconceptions of Jesus Feb. 7 ? Jesus the Jew Feb. 14 ? The Politics of Jesus Feb. 21 ? The Scandal of Jesus? Message Feb. 28 ?David Dark and Buddy Green ? A theological and musical conversation at Centenary Mar. 7 ? Jesus and the Message ? Parables Mar. 14 ? Jesus and the Message ? Miracles (Beth Dunwody preaches) Mar. 21 ? Jesus and the Cross Mar. 28 ? Palm Sunday - Jesus and the Kingdom of God April 4 ? Easter ? Jesus and Resurrection April 11 ? Jesus and Doubt (Helen Willoughby preaches) April 18 ? I Love to Tell the Story ? Final sermon in the series Take a journey with me? one of exploration. I hope you will be present for as many of these sermons as possible ? starting with this Sunday! And by the way? this Sunday Molly Stevens is singing at Centenary. Molly is a part of the Centenary community of faith. She is an outstanding vocalist and actor. Spread the word that Molly is singing! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The response to the Haiti offering at Centenary has been incredible. More than $5,300 has been raised. Thank you for your generosity. 100% of your gift will be used to fund ministry and aid to Haiti through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Administrative costs are covered from other directions in the church, so all of your money is used to touch the lives of those suffering in Haiti. If you wish to participate in this offering, make your check out to Centenary Church and mark it for Haiti Earthquake. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ New Sunday Study Group ---Join Teri Hatley as she teaches a 6-week course titled "Learning Discipleship from the Disciples." This study will include the apostles as well as Christians in the 1st and 2nd centuries. What formed these early disciples? What was the spark? How were they alike? How were they different? How do we catch that spark? The class will meet downstairs below the sanctuary each Sunday at 9:45. See you Sunday! Grace and peace, Tim Bagwell Love God. Love Others. Love Yourself. Serve. www.centenarymacon.org