Q&R: Pastor Luke Uran
We spoke with Pastor Luke Uran about the Book of Joshua sermon series, and some exciting developments around church this fall.
Jim Killam
October 11, 2023

It’s been obvious lately that you’re excited about what God is doing in our church.

Yeah, I am. I’m excited that we’re regularly seeing new faces. I’m excited that the Lord is providing for a lot of these staff positions to be filled. I had no doubt that he would, but in the waiting, it’s hard. I’m looking forward to gaining traction and momentum with them all being here. 

I’m also excited about some of the fun new things that we’re trying. The meet-and-greet again during services. As silly as it sounds, I’m excited about donuts in the lobby. It’s fun to see the church family sitting at tables enjoying a donut and coffee together before they go to their adult community or the second service. I’m excited about sponsoring 65 kids through Global Fingerprints in one Sunday. That’s huge, because I know there are lots of families out there who are already sponsoring a kid.

You wouldn’t have been human if you had not felt hopeless at times during this past year with all of those staff vacancies.

Oh, yeah. And exhausted. I’ve really got to hand it to Meredith in Student Ministries (where we’re still searching for a Young Adult/Middle School Coordinator) and Erin in Adult Ministries (where we’re still looking for an Administrative Assistant). Renee and Amy did a wonderful job in Worship Ministries while we were searching for the Contemporary Worship person. Even Dave Peterson coming in as he transitioned out, to program lights and schedule people to run sound and lights. The entire team really stepped up and took on a lot more than what they normally would have. But it’s so great to have those roles filled now by some awesome people, and sensing how the Lord is going to use them.

Does all that’s going on around church influence your choice of Joshua as a sermon series? Or where does that come from?

A lot of what I’m preaching is coming out of things that I am personally learning, where the Lord is showing me to lean into him more. Joshua has always been a book that I’ve really enjoyed in the Old Testament. It was primarily because of those words, “Be strong and courageous.” We are living in times where that applies as much as it ever has. 

So that’s part of it, but then also part of it is, God’s character is the same today as it was then. When I think of Joshua and being strong and courageous, knowing where you’ve come out of and where God is taking you. In chapter 2, about Rahab and understanding God’s amazing grace—what’s so interesting is that Rahab comes in later in the story where we see God’s judgment, but again it highlights the grace that God had. And all along, he is keeping every promise that he made. The same is true for us today.

Joshua is also an easy read. Some parts of the Old Testament are definitely not. I tend to get bogged down. But as someone mentioned, Joshua could be a movie.

There’s something about that narrative that’s so inviting. It parallels so much of our own lives. We have our own walls in life that are like Jericho, where the Lord is telling us to do certain things and we’re like, “Wait, What? You’re telling me to do what?” We are unsure about it and yet God fulfills his promise and follows through on what he’s going to do. There are so many lessons to be learned in that for us today. Hopefully the Lord gives us fresh eyes to see just how much this book does apply to us.

We’re heading into a very full season. What are you looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to this fall and heading into the Advent season with several different things we have coming up. Child dedications, baptisms, Membership Matters. There are so many great things. And then of course Christmas Traditions and our Christmas Eve services. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Lord does in and through all of those.

Jim Killam
Jim Killam is a journalist, author, teacher and terminal Cubs fan. He and his wife, Lauren, live in Rockford and work internationally with Wycliffe Bible Translators.


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