I attended a Baptist church for about 3 and a half years while in college called UBC in Waco, TX. I had been raised in the Methodist church, but did not really connect with my university’s Wesley Foundation or anything like that at the time. My time at UBC was very influential and in many ways actually helped me to discover God’s calling on my life for pastoral ministry.
While at UBC, I learned about one of the founding pastors of the church, Kyle Lake, who had such a passion for reaching people disconnected from the church. I remember hearing stories about him asking various Baptist organizations for money to start this church plant, and the older pastors (dressed in very formal suits) who were in charge of these committees broke down in tears because they realized what a passion he had to reach younger generations–perhaps even their own children and grandchildren who had drifted away from Christianity.
Kyle died during an electrocution accident while performing a baptism on Sunday morning in 2005. This was before my time at Baylor and UBC, but his legacy obviously lived on in the life of the church. After his tragic and untimely death, someone from the church found a copy of what was supposed to be the sermon he was planning to preach that day. Here’s how that sermon was going to end:
Live. And Live Well.
BREATHE. Breathe in and Breathe deeply. Be PRESENT. Do not be past. Do not be future. Be now.
On a crystal clear, breezy 70 degree day, roll down the windows and FEEL the wind against your skin. Feel the warmth of the sun.
If you run, then allow those first few breaths on a cool Autumn day to FREEZE your lungs and do not just be alarmed, be ALIVE.
Get knee-deep in a novel and LOSE track of time.
If you bike, pedal HARD… and if you crash then crash well.
Feel the SATISFACTION of a job well done—a paper well-written, a project thoroughly completed, a play well-performed.
If you must wipe the snot from your 3-year old’s nose, don’t be disgusted if the Kleenex didn’t catch it all… because soon he’ll be wiping his own.
If you’ve recently experienced loss, then GRIEVE. And Grieve well.
At the table with friends and family, LAUGH. If you’re eating and laughing at the same time, then might as well laugh until you puke. And if you eat, then SMELL. The aromas are not impediments to your day. Steak on the grill, coffee beans freshly ground, cookies in the oven. And TASTE. Taste every ounce of flavor. Taste every ounce of friendship. Taste every ounce of Life. Because it is most definitely a Gift.
In John 10:10 we find the same kind of idea in the words of Jesus Christ. He promised that he came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Jesus wants us to come alive and see the world through the beautiful lens of God’s everlasting love. That means savoring each and every moment and realizing the true gift God has given us. God’s grace can be found in so many places.
As we saw with the church of Sardis in Revelation 3 this past Sunday, God wants us to wake up. God is all about waking us up and allowing us to come alive in Christ. When we truly embrace God’s love, our entire world is flipped upside-down. Through that precious relationship, we discover what it means to live well.