Yesterday, making my way from the Tampa Convention Center (left) to the parking garage, I peered over the walkway and into the street. (Yes, the scene looked exactly as colorful as my photograph!). I had the surreal sensation that I was – in effect – looking into day-to-day life but not a part of it. It was as if the meeting hall – full with Christians talking about Jesus stuff – was a kind of parallel universe.
The feeling reminded me of a statement made by one of the featured speakers. He said that the church is not called to be a fortress, or an escape pod, but a lighthouse. I’d go a step further and say a lighthouse with a big, wide-open, welcoming lobby.
I like the concept presented in scripture that we are “in the world but not of the world”. That means we most certainly live here, yes, and it is our home. But, we live here both as ambassadors for and current residents in the Kingdom of God. We’re not living in the world as foreigners, or as an occupying force that maintains an “outpost” here. This is our world too.
I’ve never liked the concept – from the old hymn – that “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.” I vigorously reject that theology. Because God’s Kingdom is not pie-in-the-sky-when-we-die, it is a present reality. And it’s not a present reality where we live separately from, or at war against, the world around us.
That’s why it felt a little weird, a little wrong, when I peered over the walkway and felt as if I was on the outside, looking in.
So here’s the “life-charged life” tie-in… I believe that God intends for us to be life-generators, moving in and through the world we inhabit. It’s not enough for us to feel plugged in to the power-source; I suspect that it’s required of us to go around and emanate. In fact, I believe this life-charged life demands it.
Kind of like that old bicycle with the “dynamo-charged” headlight I used to ride home from church late in the evening after youth group in England. The harder I pedaled, the brighter the light.
So, pedal harder!
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.