ITLOTC 10-10-14


(In The Life Of The Church)

Ordinary Time

Dying Well

I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better

Philippians 1:23

I'm listening to Science Friday this afternoon.  Today's show features guest Atul Gawande, who wrote Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.  Most of what he and Science Friday host Ira Flato are talking about has to do with what medicine can vs what medicine should do.  More particularly they are discussing the quality of life those have who have it extended by modern medicine.

This reminded me of a learning moment I had back when I was attending seminary at Truett.  I took a CPO class, which in case you don't speak seminary curriculum, means I spent a semester at Hillcrest in a quasi-internship doing chaplain work.  This was back in 2007 when Hillcrest was still at its old location on 30th.  One day in a debriefing session our supervisor Ross was talking to us about the possibility of Hillcrest moving to a new location out towards the highway. He explained that ever since Providence had moved out of the area, Hillcrest, then geographically closer to economically challenged areas, began servicing the majority of ER visits.  In that year alone he explained, Hillcrest did $65 million worth of unpaid healthcare.  Ross was making the point to have an ethical discussion about healthcare, but we were stunned by the numbers.  As we began talking healthcare numbers he pointed out that (I might not be remembering these figures precisely, but it was something like this) 1/3 of health care costs are accumulated in the last 3 months of a persons life and 1/3 of that from the last 3 days.

I'm concerned that as a society we don't know how to die well and even more concerned that the church is complicit in the problem.

In last few weeks I've written about Christians & ISIS and Christians & Ebola.  It is worth pointing out that in both of these posts the potential conclusion I was drawing comes with costly results.  Namely, death.  The subtle presupposition at work in both of those entries was that death is the not the worst thing.  And even more poignantly, for Christians death is a comma, not a period.  This summer when I was on sabbatical I assigned myself Karl Barth's book on baptism.  In the book Barth said something that jumped out at me: "the baptized never die."

It's takes that kind of courage ... that kind of faith to do what Christ calls us to do.  To go the places that Christ calls us to go.  I'm reminded of Paul who when awaiting a potential death sentence so casually wrote to the Philippian community, "I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better."

Lest I seem too detached from the reality of death's sting, let me confess that I still fear death.  Maybe not dying, but losing.  Losing my family and departing and moving into the unknown ... or maybe the uncontrollable.  But those fears are not reasons to avoid talking about death or more importantly to speak truthfully about death.  And the truth is, Jesus has laid death in its grave.

Stanley Hauwerwas says that it's too late to begin preparing for death when you are dying.  So as a disciple, I do work on preparing for my death, even now at the vibrant ripe age of 33.  Part of that formation means looking to the saints who have died well.

Mike Toby is the former Senior Pastor of FBC Woodway.  Mike passed away in December of 2012.  He died of an aggressive form of brain cancer.  Almost two years ago to the date, October 14, 2012, Mike woke up with a numb hand.  A few days later he was diagnosed with cancer.  Though I never knew Mike, I, with the masses, mourned his suffering and death.  But I also admired him.  Mike chose not to treat his cancer at all.  He had decided that he had a good life, and that he wanted to go quickly.  From time to time in that brief two month period Mike would offer updates to his community through family, messages or a video.  In his messages, something became starkly clear.  Mike was testifying to the truthfulness of the gospel through his thoroughgoing commitment to dying well and dying without fear.

I'll never forget that.  I leave you with a video he posted that I found especially moving.


Made In Waco

It's time for UBC's second annual Made in Waco: Handmade Market! Made in Waco wants to celebrate the amazing artisans that our city has to offer by giving them a place to display and sell their creations and gives the rest of us a chance to buy them! Last year we had a fantastic array of jewelry, soaps, clothing, baked goods, knitted items, stationary, decor and more! Perfect for those one of a kind Christmas gifts and indulgences!

If you are interested in being a vendor, please go to for more details on how to get involved and to download an application. Vendor applications and payment are due by October 31st! For those of us who are more appreciators of handmade goods, join us on November 15th for this unique and exciting display of the best of what is Made in Waco!


UBCYP (University Baptist Church Young Professionals)

 We are having our first ever UBCYP event, Friday October 17th, at the Griffin’s house, at 7pm.  If you are a young professional, grad student, or just want to come hang out, this event is for you.  There will be snacks, drinks, games, etc….  We would love for you to come and meet other UBCYP’ers at UBC!  The Griffin’s address is:
Byron and Maggie Griffin
2301 N 52nd St.
Waco, TX 76710
If you have any questions, email or call toph (254-498-2261).


Guys Night ... TONIGHT!!!!

We our having our first annual (or first in a long time) Guy's Night this Friday.  We are heading out to a lease just outside of town, and we will be out there starting around 5pm.  We will have drinks, plates/napkins/etc..., and stuff for smores.  Bring whatever you want to grill and your own sides.  There will be a large bonfire, a place to fish down by the river, and we will hang out till the cows come home (or run as off the property).  Bring a camping chair, if you have one.  If you need directions, email .  This is for guys of all ages: dads and sons, grad students, college, etc...  Hope to see you all Friday night.  If you decided at the last minute to come, call Toph (254-498-2261) for directions.

Guys Night

Work is Worship 10-12-14

Mug Cleaners: Sarah & Vince

Coffee Makers: Kayla & Michael

Greeters: Linda and Paul

Shut Down Team: Golden Glitter Girls



  • Sermon Text: John 15:1-7
  • The UBC youth group will be going to Jump Street in Dallas on October 25th.  Interested persons should contact
  • UBC Girl’s Day, Saturday, October 25th @ 11am: Meeting at Farmer’s Market, getting pumpkins, then heading back to UBC for pumpkin carving and fellowship
  • Wednesday, October 29th, UBC partners with South Waco Community Center for Halloween Festival. Those interested in volunteering should contact toph@ubcwaco.
  • Friday, October 31st Jesus Said Love Outreach … more information to come.
  • MADE in Waco will be Saturday, November 15th more information to come.


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: Teri Walter:

Jana Parker

Kristin Dodson:

Kaley Eggers:

David Wilhite:

Jamie McGregor:

Byron Roldan:

UBC Finance Team

Do you have a question about UBC’s financial affairs? Please feel free to contact any of your finance team members.

Tom Haines:

Paul Taft:

Josh McCormick:

Chris Kim:

Tom McCarty:


If you have concerns about staff and would like contact our human resources team, please feel free to email any of the following members.

Lacy McNamee:

Callie Schrank:

Jeff Walter:

Michael Heins: