ITLOTC 6-19-15


(In The Life Of The Church) 

Ordinary Time

Christians:  You'll know us by our Facebook Posts

They triumphed over him
    by the blood of the Lamb
    and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
    as to shrink from death.

Revelation 12:11

I find myself wondering if the decade that is located between 2010 and 2020 bears a likeness to the 60's.  I think the 60's are my favorite decade that I was never a part of.  Swanky clothes and fantastic music accompanied fascinating political development and social change that seems, at least to me looking back from the future, monumental.  

What might we say of the first half this decade?  The music is not nearly as good, the clothes aren't as interesting, but we too find ourselves amidst a culture asking questions about what's sexually normative, demanding our withdrawal of military involvement in wars that have taken many young lives, with a charismatic president whose religious identity is consistently called into question and ... and there are moments that make it seem like the civil rights movement has only been able to inch forward.  

I suppose there is a drastic difference.  We have the internet.  More specifically we ingest the world through social media.  We no longer need to wait for tomorrow's newspaper or even the 6:00 news.  We have literally billions of opinions available to us, all the time.  I realize this church newsletter is one more voice adding to the noise.  In our short time conducting this social experiment that is the internet over these last 20 years some lessons seem vividly clear.  Technology offers blessings and curses.   

I have a confession that I'm guessing at least some of you share with me. I get annoyed with the onslaught of opinions that I encounter on social media.  Lately, even the opinions I agree with. Let's name the obvious, that's my problem because all I have to do is not use social media.  Touché.  I think what annoys me is subtle and probably unfair.  This is how I would describe it.  Reposting an article that identifies one's position is easier than crafting a thoughtful expression of personal conviction.  I'm not sure that's a healthy response from me.  You can share with me how you feel about if you'd like.  I deserve to give you at least that opportunity in response.  

More and more often I find that my personal response to events in the world on social media is to post nothing.  I'm not entirely sure how to use the internet anymore.  I find I much prefer to talk about these events with the UBC staff, my friends over a drink, or with my wife while we sit on the couch in the evenings.  Those are safe environments where I can learn, share insights and be lovingly rebuked when I'm wrong.  

What happened in Charleston has only complicated this for me.  Social media offers an opportunity.  We can collectively name that as brothers and sisters in Jesus we mourn with those who are grieving.  We can collectively condemn this nonsensical act of violence.  And we can name that racism is alive and well and confess our complicity in it even if not were not cognisant of the ways in which that might be true. Those are all good things that can and have happened.  And yet, part of me feels that discussion of the loss of life, even done properly, is something too precious to be tossed around on what has to be the most flippant form of communication in human history.  

I spent the last few days paying acute attention to what had been posted about Charleston and the precious lives that were lost.  What I found most comforting and profound and what proved to me the most effective antidote to the flippancy of the internet, were words found deep within our tradition.   I leave this prayer from Saint Francis as the last word of this post. 

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.

Pastoral Associate Introduction

As you may or may not be aware, we are adding pastoral associates to our team this fall.  This is our first time to do this and we are excited about what we are going to learn together.  This last weekend at the town hall we announced who has been selected as the pastoral associates.  They are Liz Andrasi, who you met in the newsletter here, and Luke Stehr.  I'd like to use this space to introduce you to Luke.  

(A picture of Luke and his awesome wife Kelsey taken in Copenhagen, Denmark where they are serving this summer)

Where do you call home?: For now, Waco, but I lived in a town called Bolivar, MO longer than I've lived anywhere else.

What are you doing in Waco?: I'm working on an M.Div. at Truett, and I hang out with Baylor's honors students and chaplain them in the HRC, and my wife Kelsey teaches at Dean Highland Elementary School.

Best restaurant in Waco?: Bangkok Royale

Favorite TV Show?: Parks & Recreation and Avatar: The Last Airbender

A bible verse/book/chapter that has been formative for you?: The end of Psalm 90 has been meaningful to me for a while, as has Luke 15.  The Voyage of the Dawn Treader has been an incredibly formative book for my life, and I love the way it demonstrates spiritual formation and life's journey.

Something(s) you might not know about me:  The only sport I enjoy watching is ice hockey, and the only ice hockey team I enjoy watching is the St. Louis Blues.  I was also, for a brief period of time, an arson suspect when the building I lived in at the camp where I worked burned down and I was the only person inside (my innocence was confirmed).

Michelle's Last Sunday


This Sunday will be Michelle's last Sunday serving as UBC's office manager.  Michelle will begin her job as a social worker in the ICU for Hillcrest Hospital on Monday.  We are excited about this opportunity for her, which celebrates her gifts, talents and calling. I'd like to share a few things I will miss the most about working with Michelle. 

1. Spunky attitude.  Michelle never failed to make an environment that she was in exciting.  She has an enthusiasm that is contagious. 

2. Honesty.  Michelle embodies authenticity in a way that I have not observed in a lot of other people. As my mom would always say about people like Michelle, "what you see is what you get." 

3. Selflessness:  Michelle is very thoughtful.  Every birthday, and at some point during the Christmas season, I would come into my office and find a card and gift card from Michelle.  She did this for all of the staff, all of the time.  She was always the largest proponent of remembering and caring for people that we may have otherwise forgotten to. 

4. Humor:  Michelle likes to laugh.  She can dish it and she can take it.  

5. A Committed Friend: I suppose this isn't that sort of set up that goes into commendation, but it's honest.  As you might expect from any set of people who work together over a lengthy amount of time, Michelle and I have occasionally had good fights.  What I've come to appreciate about relationships in which I occasionally have fights is that they tend to be more meaningful.  Michelle is the sort of person who can fight and stick around as a friend when it's over.  That means something to me.  

If you see Michelle this Sunday will you take the time to tell her thank you for her service to UBC.  And give her a big hug, she will love it.  Especially if she doesn't know you well.  

UBC Summer Blast - June 28th - Playdium Pool - West, TX

Next Sunday, directly after church, we are going to head to the pool.  We are going to spend the day at the Playdium Pool in West, TX, which is the largest spring fed pool in central Texas!  They have a kids area, zip line, slides, diving boards, and floating docks.  UBC will provide lunch (pizza and drinks), and they also have a concession stand if you want to purchase anything.  The cost for adults is $11, and kids 12 & under are $8.  We need you to sign-up so we know how much food to buy; you can sign-up in the foyer after church this Sunday, or email by Thursday June 25th.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Toph.  We hope to see you at the pool next Sunday, and don’t forget to bring your swimsuit to church!

Waco Dives - June 23 - Dave’s Burger Barn - noon

This week we are headed to Dave’s Burger Barn.  They have a challenge called the Zipper Ripper, what more do we need to say!  We will see you there at noon on Tuesday.  If you have any questions, please contact

Waco PD Support

At church this Sunday I mentioned that we are partnering with other churches from all denominations to support the Waco police officers and their families who are being threatened by biker gangs in the aftermath of the Twin Peaks shooting.  We are raising $500 to send families to Hawaiian Falls for a day of normalcy and peace.  I didn't offer a formal time to give to that specific item on Sunday.  I'm trusting that those who feel compelled to give will do so.  A few people after church approached me to give and we already have $115.  If you would like to give to this cause please bring your cash or check to church this Sunday in an envelope marked "Waco PD."  You can either put it in the offering plate or give it to Michelle.  If you have any questions please email 

Leadership Team

You would be hard pressed to find a better human being than Jana Parker.  So you can imagine our sadness due to the fact that her time on the leadership team is coming to a conclusion.  We are looking for a new leadership team member to begin serving in July.  Please send nominations to  The leadership team will select a new member at the July 6th meeting.  

Here is some information from the bylaws about the leadership team:

Section 1.  Leadership Team

(A) Purpose.  The Leadership Team shall be the primary decision-making body of UBC.  The Leadership Team will oversee all the business and property of the church, as well as make the final decisions regarding hiring and dismissal of staff and the acquisition and selling of assets that are beyond budgetary provisions. 

(B) Composition.  The Leadership Team shall consist of seven members of the UBC community that are not staff, finance team or human recourses and support team.

(C) Qualifications.  Each member of Leadership Team shall have been a member of UBC for at least one year, exhibited an understanding and commitment to the mission and values of the church, and be willing to fulfill all responsibilities in the Leadership Team job description.

(D) Selection.  When a vacancy arises on the Leadership Team the congregation shall be notified immediately at a regularly scheduled Sunday morning worship service, as well as through social media and electronic communication.  At that point a call for nominations shall be made and any member of UBC will be allowed to make nominations.  Not less than three weeks shall pass before the window for accepting nominations will close.  All nominees shall then be vetted and selected by the current Leadership Team.

(E)  Term.  Members of Leadership Team may serve for a duration lasting up to three years.  While they are encouraged to remain the full three years, members may voluntarily remove themselves from their position at any time.

Work is Worship 


Coffee Makers: Logan & Allyson  

Mug Cleaners:  Sara & Vince  


  • Sunday Sermon Text: Matthew 13:24-30

  • Waco dives:  We will meet at Daves Burger Barn, on Tuesday @ noon.   Please email if you have any questions. 

  • UBC Summer Party Jun 28th - directly after church at the Playdium in West, TX - we will provide the food and drinks, you will have to pay admission.

  • School Supply Drive - starting this Sunday, we are partnering with CCMS to collect school supplies for kids in Waco.  There will be a box in the foyer through the month of June to collect the supplies, and attached to the box is a list of supplies needed.  If you have any questions, please contact

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

254 413 2611

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- Kristin Dodson:

Jana Parker:

Stan Denman:

David Wilhite:

Byron Roldan: 

Sharyl Loeung:

Jon Davis:

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:

Josh McCormick:

Chris Kim:

Hannah Kuhl:  

Justin Pond:

Lacy Crocker:


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

Maxcey Blaylock:

Mathew Crawford:

Callie Schrank:

Jeff Walter:

Rob Engblom: