September

September 5, 2013

Dear Centenary family,

There is glory in being ordinary.  Being ordinary opens doors that the extraordinary cannot open.  Tragically, culture overlooks the ordinary.  The extraordinary gets the attention and the press.  But even the extraordinary is almost entirely dependent on the ordinary.

My case in point is Andrew, the disciple of Jesus.  Andrew was, well, kind of ordinary.  He isn’t one of the stand-out disciples.  Three instances in which Andrew’s ordinary life had a major impact:

1.      In the first chapter of the Gospel of John we read that Andrew brought his brother, Simon Peter, to meet Jesus.  Peter was the extraordinary leader… but he might not have ever met Jesus had it not been for the ordinary action of his ordinary brother Andrew. Andrew was an introducer.

2.      Andrew was the disciple who brought to Jesus 5 loaves and 2 fish.  (Read the story in the 6th chapter of John.)  Given the crowd that needed to be fed, this gift was hardly a drop in the bucket.  Andrew, however, was one who understood that no person’s gift was so small or insignificant that it could not be used.  The story says that Jesus took this gift and used it to feed the multitude.  Andrew, the ordinary, enabled someone to make a gift that changed everything that day.

3.      In the 12th chapter of John’s gospel, a group of Greek foreigners come seeking Jesus.  They were Gentiles – unclean, uncircumcised, non-Kosher and non-Torah-observing people.  Ordinary Andrew, we are told, brings them to Jesus.  He is their guide. 

There is a glory in the ordinary.  When you think back over your life, I suspect you will remember some ordinary men and women who blessed you greatly.  Ordinary people are called and used by God.  Don’t stand by, thinking that history is written just by extraordinary people.  There is glory in being ordinary.  Ordinary people can have an extraordinary impact. 

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Are you interested in the discussing Centenary’s microloan program and Centenary’s bakery possibility?  (Tim mentioned these possibilities in a recent sermon.)  If you are intrigued and want to be a part of the conversation, there is a meeting on Sunday, September 29, right after church.  If you plan to come, please email Tim at TBagwell@cox.net so that we can order enough sandwiches for all who attend.

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And…

I will be teaching a course called Manna and Mercy beginning September 15.  It is sort of a survey of the Bible in 5 weeks… How do we understand the whole movement of scripture?  How do we read the Bible?  What is the framework for understanding the Bible?  You are invited to join us on Sunday mornings at 9:30 beginning September 15

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I am preaching this Sunday from Jeremiah 18.  A study by the Harvard Business School found that when doctors tell heart patients they will die if they don't change their habits, only one in seven will make the changes necessary to save their life. The authors said, "Even when it's literally a matter of life or death, the ability to change remains maddeningly elusive." By watching a potter work with his clay, Jeremiah gave us a dramatic image of the way God changes our lives. It raises the elusive question: Is your clay moist?  My sermon is titled “A New Hope” and we will be talking about clay, and God, and change.  Plan to be present.

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And don’t forget Wonderful Wednesday Fellowship Supper tonightBeth Dunwody is leading us by introducing “Ted Talks”.   You are invited and welcome – with or without a reservation.

Manna and Mercy,

Tim Bagwell

 

Love God.  Love Others.  Love Yourself.  Serve.

 

www.centenarymacon.org


 

September 11, 2013

Dear Centenary family,

We were both pumping gas at the same time.  He was on one side of the pump island while I was on the other.  Our eyes met for a fraction of a moment and he said, “Are you still at Centenary?”  I confess that I did not recognize him, but responded, “I am.”

“I came to breakfast there during a season in my life.  My life is better than it was then”, he said.

“I can see that you are doing well.  I celebrate with you”, I responded.  At that point I almost let the conversation go.  Something inside me wanted to push further so I asked him, “What made the difference in your life?  What prompted the change?”

He answered, “The VA (Veteran’s Administration) in Dublin made a difference.  That program got me off the streets.  I am clean and sober… one day at a time.  I’ve been sober for awhile.  The Good Lord and Centenary also were a major part of my turnaround.”

“What is your name?” I asked.  “My name is Michael.”

“Michael”, I responded.  “My name is Tim.  Thank you for telling me part of your story.  I am praying for you.  And I want you to pray for me.”

“I will,” he responded.

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Are you interested in discussing Centenary’s microloan program and Centenary’s bakery possibility?  (Tim mentioned these possibilities in a recent sermon.)  If you are intrigued and want to be a part of the conversation, there is a meeting on Sunday, September 29, right after church.  If you plan to come, please email Tim at TBagwell@cox.net so that we can order enough sandwiches for all who attend.

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And…

You Are Invited to Manna and Mercy    How should the Bible be read?  How can I understand such a broad amount of material?  Is there a “right” way to understand the Bible?  Am I crazy to think that parts of the Bible are boring?  Does the Bible contradict itself?  What is God trying to say in the Bible?

These are some of the questions that will be explored in the Manna and Mercy class which will be taught and facilitated by Tim Bagwell over the next 5 weeks, beginning September 15.  The class will be using easy-to-read material written by Daniel Erlander.  There will be very short DVD interviews on various ways to read and understand the Bible with Alan Storey.  (Alan’s father, Peter Storey, was a Methodist preacher who served as Nelson Mandela’s chaplain while he was incarcerated.  He was a strong voice in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.)  Tim will weave Erlander’s written word with Alan Storey’s brief spoken word.  We will be taking a journey of discovery and conversation together.

You are invited to share in the journey!   The class will meet at 9:30 beginning September 15 in the room downstairs below the sanctuary.  How in the world can we cover the Bible in 5 hours over 5 weeks?  Let’s give it a shot together.

BUT this Sunday plan to come at 9 a.m. for Coffee and Conversation.  You can get your coffee and buy some baked goods and then join us for Manna and Mercy.  (Coffee and Conversation happens every third Sunday downstairs.)

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We could use some helpers to run the Centenary parking lot during the Mercer football games.  Last week the church made about $500 on this project.  The dates of the remaining games are September 14, 21, 28, and October 12, 19, and November 9 and 23.  Are you willing to help with one or more games?  We ask for a two hour shift.  Contact Stacey at Stacey@centenarymacon.org if you are willing to help.

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Movie night at Centenary – Wednesday, September 18, 6:30.  Popcorn and drinks available.  The movie is “The Way” starring Martin Sheen.  Not to be missed!  Here is the central quote from this movie:  “We’ve been expecting you.”  Come see the movie to discover the context.  Great movie!

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Coming Soon:  Men’s Breakfast at Jerry Elder’s farm.  Saturday, September 21, 8:30 a.m.  For more information contact Jerry@centenarymacon.org   

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I am preaching this Sunday from Luke 15.  The sermon:  “God’s Promise for You: I Love You.”  Hope you will be present!

 

Manna and Mercy,

Tim Bagwell

 

Love God.  Love Others.  Love Yourself.  Serve.

 

www.centenarymacon.org


September 18, 2013

Dear Centenary Friends,

Facing the Mystery is the beginning of knowledge.  This thing called knowledge can be divided into fourths: 

1.      Things you know you know. 

2.      Things you don’t know you know (i.e. what you’ve utterly forgotten but your subconscious still hangs on to). 

3.      Things you know you don’t know (like how to build a hovercraft). 

4.      Things you don’t know you don’t know.  (This is the most humbling of the 4.)

Now, it seems to me that we are all pretty comfortable in #1.  That is our comfort zone.  #2 can be serendipitous for us.  #2 can be a wonderful and pleasant surprise.  BUT the really good stuff in life is in #3 and #4.  Numbers #1 and #2 summon us to their safety.  #3 and #4 call us to the future and beyond.  #3 and #4 are where the Mystery lies.

So I ask a Wesleyan question:  How is it with your body and soul?  Are you playing it so safe with #1 and #2 that the Mystery is pushed to the fringes of your life?  God inhabits all of knowledge, but is particularly to be found in the revelatory paths in #3 and #4.  During the Exodus, the people of Israel walked into the unknown, leaving that which was known, following God… a pillar of clouds in the day and a fiery pillar at night. 

So, if we seek to live into #3 and #4, then where is God?  God is with us!  We are not alone!  Thanks be to God!

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Are you interested in discussing Centenary’s microloan program and Centenary’s bakery possibility?  (Tim mentioned these possibilities in a recent sermon.)  If you are intrigued and want to be a part of the conversation, there is a meeting on Sunday, September 29, right after church.  If you plan to come, please email Tim at TBagwell@cox.net so that we can order enough sandwiches for all who attend.

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You Are Invited to Manna and Mercy    We started last week, but you can catch up!  How should the Bible be read?  How can I understand such a broad amount of material?  Is there a “right” way to understand the Bible?  Am I crazy to think that parts of the Bible are boring?  Does the Bible contradict itself?  What is God trying to say in the Bible?

You are invited to share in the journey!   The class will meet at 9:30 in the round room by the sanctuary.  (Please note the change of room – we had so many people we are changing to a larger room so everyone will be more comfortable.)  How in the world can we cover the Bible in 5 hours over 5 weeks?  Let’s give it a shot together.

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Movie night at CentenaryTonight - Wednesday, September 18, 6:30.  Popcorn and drinks available.  The movie is “The Way” starring Martin Sheen.  Not to be missed!  Here is the central quote from this movie:  “We’ve been expecting you.”  Come see the movie to discover the context.  Great movie!

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You are invited ----  Men’s Breakfast at Jerry Elder’s farm.  Saturday, September 21, 8:30 a.m.  For more information contact Jerry@centenarymacon.org   

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Regina Davis is one of our own.  She and her daughter Leah are very active in their involvement at Centenary.  Regina coordinates the nursery, teaches Sunday School and is simply one of those people we look to for leadership.  Most of you know that Regina ran for the 8th District Macon/Bibb County Commission Race.  She did not win, but she had many supporters and ran a great race.  Centenary Church is proud of Regina.  If you would like to jot Regina Davis a note of support, her address is rydavis1000@yahoo.com  Our world needs people like Regina who are willing to serve.  She blesses us all.

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I am preaching this Sunday from First Timothy 2:1-2.  The sermon:  “The Door of Prayer.”  We will be praying many different kinds of prayers.  Come pray and worship with us.  And how about a prayer right now?  Click here for a very meaningful 2 minute mini-film sharing The Lord’s Prayer - http://www.theworkofthepeople.com/the-lords-prayer   

Manna and Mercy,

Tim Bagwell

Love God.  Love Others.  Love Yourself.  Serve.