June 11, 2014

Dear Centenary family,

A couple of weeks ago I issued a new challenge – writing your spiritual autobiography in six words.  There were some great responses.  Here are some of them:
Trust your faith.  Release your fear.
From despair into ever-growing hope.
Sinner.  Blind.  Awakened.  Christ.  Forgiven.  Hope.
You love hard.  You hurt hard.
His grace is more than sufficient.
Trust.  It hasn’t failed me yet.
Meaningful living search requires God’s intervention.
And here is mine:
God is larger than I thought.
Thanks for sending your ideas!

Have you checked out the new podcasts?  Talisa Hanson, Philip Elder, and Jerry Elder have been working on this.  Each Sunday’s sermon is now on our website.  To listen to a particular sermon, visit our website at www.centenarymacon.org   On the right side of the page, you will find the podcasts under “News”.  
Plan to make worship a priority this Sunday!
Manna and Mercy,
Tim Bagwell
Love God.  Love Others.  Love yourself.  Serve.

June 4, 2014

Dear Centenary friends,

They are family.  You might not recognize it at first glance, but they are.  There is dump in Macon which my friends from the street call “The Hill”.  For decades, Macon Iron heaped scrap on the site and eventually it became a hill.
It occurred to someone about 7 years ago that there might be some stuff with value on and in the hill.  My homeless friends tell me that when people first started walking the hill, you could make up to $30 a day by picking up copper, aluminum, or brass.  “The Hill” is very close to being mined out now. The return is closer to $5 per day and that comes only with very hard work.

If you visit “the hill”, you will find people who are trying to earn enough so that they can live by honest means.  The hill is a small area.  It has been excavated and dug through many times in recent years.  Those who dig regularly in “the hill” tease each other about finding gold.  “The hill” looks like a archaeological site.  There are patterns in the digging.  There is a sifting process that occurs as scavengers dig through the dirt, hoping to find something of value.  The excavation must go deeper with successive years in hopes of finding something that can be sold to a recycling business.

While some choose to be solitary in their search, others are in groups.  There is honor among these honest scavengers.  If one of them is particularly in need, they will put some of their “find” in his or her bucket.  They feel compassion for each other because they are all in the same boat, for the most part.

The day I visited “the hill”, I was there at the invitation of a “gate keeper” who knew everyone by name and was a regular scavenger on the hill.  I was safe.  But even with my borrowed credentials which came through my gatekeeper, those digging were hesitant to talk to me.  I can understand that.  I was a strange man wandering around and why should they trust me?  I am sure that for them I represented unwelcome authority.  But Mr. George talked with me a little… He was methodically digging on the crest of the hill.  Another guy was sitting close by.  I had a hard time understanding everything that was said.  And then there were two guys who had dug much deeper on the side of the hill… several feet down.  They laughed and teased each other about searching for gold.  Occasionally one would pick up something that looked absolutely worthless to me, would brush it off, and would drop it in the bucket with a smile.
Family happens on the hill.  There is a bond.  Some have been digging side-by-side for years.  Look at it however you want, but they are working hard, trying to earn their money.  And there is a very real sense in which they take care of one another.  Family can happen in all sorts of ways and in various places.

One of these days I am headed back to the hill, but this time I will be carrying a big bag of Krystal Burgers to share.  I hope to catch a glimpse of Jesus because I have a sense that he shows up occasionally at the hill.  Then again, come to think about it, I may have already seen him at the hill.

I hope that you will come to worship this Sunday.  I am anticipating the rush of a mighty wind!  It is a day of great celebration – Pentecost – the day when the church focuses on the Spirit of God.    Red is the color which is symbolic of the Spirit.  Do your best to wear something red when you come to worship – shirt, pants, socks, hat, scarf, gloves… whatever you have.  My sermon is titled “Celestial Fire”

Manna and Mercy.
Tim Bagwell

Love God.  Love Others.  Love Yourself.  Serve.