January 5, 2012

Dear Centenary family,

As the calendar turns over to a new year, I find myself thinking about ministry at, in, and through Centenary Church.  I will tell you this – On my busiest day, tired as a dog after a long hunt, running to different meetings, listening to different voices that need and deserve to be heard, answering emails, taking phone calls and sinking wearily into my favorite chair at my house at the end of the day, I find myself deeply grateful for Centenary Church.

AND on my worst day, when I feel that I may not have done my best, or when a sermon I preached felt "off the mark", or when someone becomes angry because of a decision I made, or when I listen for God's word and it is not readily heard, or when I have to moderate disagreements or hurt feelings between personalities or when I feel worn out or stressed...  I find myself deeply grateful for Centenary Church.

There are four things that mark our fellowship – first, we are known for radical hospitality.  All means all.  But if we stopped there, then our ministry is solely invitational.  The whole message is this:  "You are welcome just as you are as you are as you come through the door.  For us, all means all.  But when you enter, we invite and challenge you to reflect on God's call to wholeness and to join us in seeking to live a faithful life, for we believe that God calls us to transformation and advocacy." Centenary is about more than invitation and inspiration.  It is a place of transformation and advocacy because God is at work.  Four key words to understand Centenary:  invitation, inspiration, transformation, and advocacy.   

"The Torn-Apart Door of Heaven" is the title of my sermon this Sunday.  I will be preaching from Mark 1:4-11.  I hope that you will be present in this place of invitation, inspiration, transformation, and advocacy.  Plan to bring friends and family.

God is at work.  No doubt about it.  I feel it in my bones, observe it with my eyes, and hear it with my ears.

Grace and peace.

Tim Bagwell

Love God.  Love Others.  Love Yourself.  Serve.


January 26, 2012

Dear Centenary Family,

Many of us divide the world into sacred and secular.  Over the last several years I have become convinced that the divide between sacred and secular is not only obsolete – it never existed in the first place and was a figment of imagination.  Look at Jesus – for him, everything was sacred, thus there was the possibility of redemption.  Redemption implies that something had value in the beginning.  True? 

Jesus confronted the profane in the world, reminding the world of its sacredness in the first place.  Jesus did not make things sacred – he jarred the memory of those who were unaware that they were sacred.  Reminding people of their sacredness when they do not want to be reminded can get you into a lot of trouble because sacredness carries with it certain implications for living in the world.  Jesus died because he reminded people that they were sacred and belonged to God.  Some folks, particularly those of us in positions of power and comfort, just don't want to hear the truth. 

The lines we have created between secular and sacred don't exist in the heart of God and the mind of Jesus.  In the words of David Dark,"There is not a secular molecule in the universe."  Everything ultimately belongs to God.  No doubt that some sacred things can become profane... they get off track... people make bad decisions and are overwhelmed by circumstances... but that does not mean that they don't belong to God!  They are still sacred --- they either have forgotten it or never discovered it.  So our role is to remind them of what they already intuitively know:  They are of sacred worth. 

Therefore, the role of the faith community is not to avoid what has traditionally been called "secular".  Jesus didn't.   Our role is not even to "engage secular culture".  God has already done that because God created all things.  God does not make junk.  God is in the business of redeeming that which he has created holy. 

 Three questions:  What would it mean to live as if everything is sacred in 2012?  How would that awareness change your actions, words, relationships, work, and leisure?    How does knowing that you are sacred impact your self-esteem?


"Jesus In His Own Voice"....  This class deals with the earliest picture we have of Jesus, the picture presented in his life and teachings, and what that says about his mission and ministry related to the world in which he lived.  The class is led by Phil Brown on Sunday morning at 9:30 in a classroom below the sanctuary.  You are invited!


1st Annual Chili Cook Off.....  Wednesday, February 1,  6 p.m. – Join us for Wonderful Wednesday!  If you would like to enter, emailtalisa@centenarymacon.org or call 478-742-8926 ext. 101.   Bring a pot of your best chili and we will all share in the judging.  There are prizes to be awarded! 


This Sunday I will be preaching a sermon I have titled "My Back Turned Towards the Sun".  We will be looking at the life of Elijah from I Kings 19:1-10.  I hope that you will be present!  You might even find yourself in the midst of something very special.    Come and see this Sunday morning.

Grace and peace.

Tim Bagwell

Love God.  Love Others.  Love Yourself.  Serve.