(In The Life Of The Church)
Further Up and Further In by Brad Rettler
Over the course of the summer, UBC will say goodbye to four families that have been part of our community for some time. I've asked each of them to write something for the newsletter about their experience at UBC and something they learned. This third entry is by Brad Rettler.
When we got married, Lindsay had been living in Columbus and I had been living in South Bend. We were both content with our lives, our lodgings, our friends, and our churches. Lindsay was at an Acts 29 church in Columbus that sang hymns with updated instrumentation and was really involved in their community, and her small group was kind and intelligent and supportive. I was at a Southern Baptist church in South Bend whose pastor was an avid reader despite never going to college, and where I played drums and helped in the nursery. Lindsay moved to South Bend and joined my church after we got married, and came to love it as well.
When it came time to move to Waco, we were certain that we wouldn’t ever find another church that we loved as much as our former churches. But that was okay, we thought, because you can’t always get what you want. Sometimes God gives you good things, and other times you have to learn to be content with lesser things.
But then we visited Waco in April to look for an apartment, and the Tweedts brought us to UBC. It was Palm Sunday, and Josh preached on Jesus’ triumphal entry. He suggested that we are supposed to see ourselves as accompanying Jesus into Jerusalem, because the story invokes a number of pairs – two apostles, a donkey and a colt, two cloaks… (I may be getting the details wrong.) We learned something, and we liked the atmosphere. When we discovered that Josh is a Green Bay Packers fan, we were sold. We stayed, and we’ve never regretted it.
When I was an undergraduate, I assumed I’d meet my wife during college. There were hundreds of women who were my age, I had a lot in common with most of them, we were hanging out every day… it just made sense. When graduation came and went and I wasn’t married, I was certain that I wouldn’t ever be in as good a position to find the right person as I was. Five years later I met Lindsay. She was brilliant, kind, godly, funny, and beautiful, and I was sold. We’ve been together five years, and I’ve never once regretted it.
Sometimes we’re at a point in life from which we can’t wait to move on. We work long hours at a job we hate, or we live in a dirty and cramped apartment, or we don’t have any friends. Anywhere seems like a step up.
But sometimes we’re at a point in life from which we don’t want to move on. Life seems perfect – as if nowhere we could go from there could compare. Every possibility seems like a step down. And sometimes this is worse than having a bad life, because it seems like there’s nowhere to go but down.
There’s a Sara Groves song that captures some of this nicely. She says, “I’ve been painting pictures of Egypt, leaving out what it lacks. And the future feels so hard and I want to go back.” Of course, Egypt was terrible was the Israelites. But it was familiar, unlike the desert. I am sure some Israelites walked out of Egypt in faith and confidence. But I’m equally sure that some were longing for their beds and huts. If they could do that with Egypt, how much easier is it, I’m sure, for us to do it wherever we are.
It’s easy to look forward when things are bad. Maybe it’s even easier to trust God when things are bad, because it just seems more likely they’ll get better anyway. But it’s much harder to look forward when things are good. When things are good, I look backward. I dwell on what I think of as the good life I used to live, and I don’t want to plan ahead for the life I’m sure won’t be as good.
UBC, may we be a people (I’ve always wanted to say that) who take each step forward in our lives trusting that we’re moving further up and further in the good that God has for us.
Our quarterly town hall meeting will take place after church on July 16th.
Work is Worship
Greeters: Will & the Richardsons
Coffee Makers: Jobson
Mug Cleaners: McNamees
Money Counter: Doug M.
- Sunday Sermon: Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 "The Generous Sower"
- Please be in prayer for our next leadership team meeting which will be on Sunday July 30th.
- Tuesday Dives Location: The Eatery
- 7-?? Summer Event Dos ... more info to come
- 7-21: UBCYP cookout at McGregor's House
- 8-6 OOTP Pool Party After Church @ Baylor SLC
- 8-13 OOTP Parent Meeting After Church @ UBC
- 8-23 OOTP First Meeting!!! (Welcome 5th graders!) 6-8 P.M. @ UBC
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