ITLOTC 3-7-14


Holy Ground

Two qualifying statements:

  1. This is more about me and less about the church.  An apology on the front end for self-indulgence.
  2. I might suggest this as an auditory companion for your reading.

“Each place is the right place--the place where I now am can be a sacred space.”

- Ravi Ravindra

Lindsay and I spent our honeymoon on the north shore of Lake Superior.   Married just one week we returned home eager to pack and move to the whimsical Waco, TX.  After we put the last thing in the moving truck we said goodbye to her parents.  Lindsay cried.  I did not and not because it was my in-laws.  I didn’t cry when I said goodbye to my parents a week earlier either.  I don’t cry at a lot of things that most people do.  It’s part of my enneagram 3ness.  It’s difficult for me to connect to what I’m feeling.  On our way out of town we stopped by the house I grew up in.  My excuse was that I needed to grab something … an item I can’t remember anymore.  It was empty.  My parents were out of state for my cousins wedding.

I entered the house one last time.  I say one last time, but I’ve been back a few dozen since then.  But it was goodbye.  It was the last time my relationship with that house was what it was.  I wouldn’t return to that as my “home” ever again and my heart knew that even if I had failed to process it with my head.   I hadn’t planned on this trip being a sacramental moment, but it was. Time slowed down and everything became vivid.  I noticed blemishes that had become part the houses character in the 18 years that I lived there.  Stains in the carpet.  Loose bricks in fireplace.  Chips in the paint.  Each of those scars … a marker of memory full of what felt like limitless meaning.  Objects would remind me of stories, which would remind me of people.  That house held so much and was so full, and I had to let it go.

As I was guided through that house and towards the door by the Holy Spirit (I really believe that), I flicked off the lights and I collapsed.   Literally collapsed.  Lindsay rested her hand on my shoulder and cried with me because she’s good at compassion like that.  I gathered myself and made my way to the picnic table that sits on the top of hill overlooking the Thomas Kinkaid lake that my parents three acres rest on (Lake Mabel by the way).   And there I mourned the end of that relationship.

We moved to Waco.

Our first apartment was God-awful, the perfect environment for exacerbating year one marriage fights. Our second year we lived an apartment in North Village on Baylor’s campus because I was a resident chaplain.

After that year was up, with ambitions to start a family, we decided to roll the dice and buy a house.  And we did, a brand new brick home on N 14th St. with 3 bedrooms 2 bathrooms and 1,400 square feet.  We felt like millionaires.

Our house is in a neighborhood that a lot of people would not be comfortable living in.  It’s part of why we could afford it.  I’ve watched over the years as polite friends and acquaintances have bit their lip or subtly winced as they’ve discovered where we live.   I don’t think my neighborhood is rough, but that’s because I live here … but I also understand why other people do.

I’ve always thought that those opinions and a few of my own have kept me from falling in love with this house.  I’ve appreciated this house, but never felt attached to it.  I didn’t think twice about it when we listed it a year ago.

A few weeks ago we got a call from our realtor that our house of eight years had an offer.  We negotiated and found a price that worked for both parties.   Our house is under contract.

On that evening when I got the call with an offer and old friend came to visit me.  Someone whose presence I hadn’t felt since I fell apart in the foyer in the house I grew up in.

This house which I have spent the last eight years and dismissed as “just as a house” on so many occasions became vivid.  It was about 8:30 PM when I got the phone call.  I moved to the bedrooms in which my children slept and watched them.  I remembered.  I remembered a million memories that came together to make this place so special to me.

I brought three children home from the hospital in this house.

I watched my dad fight and overcome cancer in this house.

Lindsay and I received phone calls telling us that that grandmas and grandpas had died … in this house.  (don’t misplace the modifier :) )

I got my first job living in this house.

We held parties to celebrate new life and say goodbye to old friends in this house.

On March 20th this will no longer by my house.

And I am sad.

In Exodus three Moses meets God in the form of a burning bush.  At one point God tells Moses to kick off his sandals because Moses is standing on holy ground.  Holy Ground.  In a world that is already good because it was created by God, God told Moses something like “this place you are standing is set apart for the time being.  Different than the dessert that surrounds it.”

Do you know why it was different?  Because God was uniquely present there.  Before that moment that bush as just a bush and after that moment it was the place Moses talked with God.

In Matthew’s gospel the curtain in the Holy of Holies is torn.  A symbol communicating that God’s bush burning presence has now been proliferated.

After the curtain tore you could find God’s presence all over the place.  In crazy places like N10445 Pine Shore Ln. Tomahawk, WI.   And 805 N. 14th St. Waco, TX.  And I have found the presence of God in those places.

S. Kelly Harrell says that “Sacred space” is another way of saying “with intention.”  I think that that’s probably correct.  The bricks in mortar that hold my house together are no more special than yours, but here in this place my family has found God.  With intention we have looked for Him, and He was found.

And I trust that He will move with us again.


Meet The Finance Team

Meet Tom Haines


Family:  Wife of 30 years, Kim; twin 18 year-old daughters, Abbey and Caroline; 11 year-old Golden Retriever, Lucy

Vocation/Job/What I do:  I teach healthcare administration and healthcare finance in Baylor's MBA program

Favorite Movie:  the ones that I watch sitting on our couch between my daughters, eating pizza

Best Restaurant in Waco:  Lula Jane's

Chapter from the Bible that is meaningful to me: not a whole chapter, but I love how simply and succinctly Micah 6:8 tells what God wants from us:   The Message says it this way:  "But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women.  It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously—take God seriously."

Best Television Show:  I've lived through too many to pick just one, so: 60s: Batman; 70s: M*A*S*H; 80s: Hill Street Blues; 90s: Star Trek: TNG; 00s: Law & Order, Criminal Intent; now: Chuck

Favorite Holiday:  can't choose a favorite; our family has developed and enjoys traditions at Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas which make them all special

Something you might not know about me: I served in the Air Force for 33 years and retired as a Colonel in 2010

Hobbies:  whatever my daughters are involved in

A Note of Thanks from Pastor Emily

A sincere THANK YOU to all of the kids, parents, staff and volunteers who worked so hard to make the UBCKids Service happen this past Sunday!  I am SO proud of our kids…they constantly amaze me and last Sunday was no exception!  Each one of them inspired me, and our congregation as a whole, to be people of the Spirit!

Parents, thank you for your support and for allowing us to share your kids!  Thanks, also for putting in the time to listen to music endlessly, make sure your children were otherwise prepared and invest in the UBCKids program as a whole!

Our staff, as always, rallied around the UBCKids Service and each contributed their gifts to the program!  Thank you for your time and investment into this ministry!

To our volunteers, whether you teach week-in and week-out or only did your part for the UBCKids Service, thank you for your faithfulness!  You are VITAL to UBCKids, but from a more big-picture perspective, your commitment to sharing God’s love and creativity with these kids will change their lives forever!

I would also like to thank one volunteer specifically…Katie Smiley, my faithful intern-turned-friend-turned-devoted-UBCKids-Volunteer!  You may recognize her as the girl who greets the Bloom class every Sunday and who was sitting by me on stage-right, but Katie began interning with Toph and me in the fall for a class and, even after the class was finished, she has continued to meet with me weekly and to pour into the curriculum for the UBCKids Service and every single Sunday!  Not to mention her INVALUABLE help on Sunday mornings, making sure teachers have arrived, kids are happy and curriculum is prepared and delivered!  The next time you see her, give her a BIG thanks for all that she does for your UBC and your children!

All in all, I am SO blessed to be a part of the UBCKids Ministry…I love this church and the beautiful people (little and big) who make this their home!  And to the greater UBC Community, whether you spoke, sang, practiced, played, recorded, ran sound, tie-dyed, taught, drove, dropped-off, clapped, prayed, or even just CAME to the UBCKids Service…Thank You!



Lenten Ecumenical Services: For the Love of the City

I have been working with some downtown churches to put together a series of noontime Lenten services for the larger Waco community.  They will be held at Turner’s on Austin Ave (723 Austin Ave) from 12:00-1:00 for four consecutive Wednesdays.  There will be food trucks stationed outside if you need eat.  The services will be about 20 minutes.  Would love to see you there.

  • Wednesday March 19th
  • Wednesday March 26th
  • Wednesday April 2nd
  • Wednesday April 9th

Christ In the Desert Monastery Trip

As many of you also will be this week, Craig and a group of UBCers are traveling today.  This group is spending a few days at Christ in the Desert Monastery.  Please be in prayer for their formation and safe travels as well as all of those who travel over spring break.

Sunday School

A Reminder that during the two Sundays during Spring Break, March 9th and 16th there will be no Sunday School.


Work Is Worship


Coffee Makers: Nathaniel & Emily Mosher

Coffee Clean Up:



  • Sunday Sermon Text: Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7
  • John Sunday School:  No Sunday School during Spring Break
  • Christians in the Headlines: No Sunday School during Spring Break
  • Psalms of Ascent Sunday School: No Sunday School during Spring Break
  • If you feel like the music is at times too loud, we have earplugs available next to the mints out front.
  • Michelle has started a lost and found.  If you are missing an item please check in the box under the bench in her office.
  • Families: We will be having a game day at the Baylor Soccer Field after church on March 23rd.  Bring your lunches and join us for some frisbee football, soccer and many other exciting things.

Do you have an Emergency?  Do you Need to talk to a Pastor?

254 366 9779

Leadership Team

If you have a concern or an idea for UBC that you’d like to share with someone that is not on staff, feel free to contact one of our leadership team members.

Chair: Jana Parker

Kristin Dodson

Kaley Eggers

David Wilhite

Austin Tiffany

Byron Roldan

Teri Walter