Sunday morning I got a great lesson in the connection between what we choose to do and how we feel in general. In fact, I got two.
The first was the improvisational rock prelude I did with the Praise Band before 8:30 worship. I already wrote about this in advance (Friday’s post, “Rock-‘n-roll, baby…”), but the reality on Sunday morning so far exceeded my expectations and I was pretty much blown out of the water.
I gave the band a heads up during rehearsal:
“Around 8:20 I’m going to lay down twelve measures of a standard rock sequence on my guitar,” I said, “then I’ll simply repeat the pattern till it’s time to stop. Tim will drop in fairly soon on lead guitar, then Roland on the drums. After that I want any or all of you to join us as you feel led.”
That was it. What it turned into was Spirit-filled improv. Trumpet, base guitar, trombone and more. The music literally drew people into the sanctuary and – by the time we were done – the whole church was full with anticipation and smiles and the desire to worship together
Wow! I chose – we chose – by a deliberate act of the will, to “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise” (Psalm 100:4). The result was awesome, and it had a profound effect on the entire hour of worship.
Then – and this is #2 – something similar happened in my Sunday Morning Class:
It was my turn to teach. I did my usual pre-class reading and general preparation, but I wasn’t really connecting with the material and I showed up to teach without any clear sense of direction.
The story for the day was the Battle of Jericho, where Joshua had his people march around the city one time for six consecutive days, and then seven times on the seventh day, completing the parade with a great shout.
Then, in a moment of inspiration, I asked the class to think about what words (we’re not told in the text) might possibly have been used in the great SHOUT. We finally settled on an appropriate sounding phrase and I had the participants first speak the phrase in unison, then SHOUT the phrase. We rehearsed a couple of times and then sang the classic Sunday-school song, “Joshua fought the battle of Jericho…. and the walls came tumbling down….”
At the end, the class shouted – and I mean SHOUTED – the phrase, “THIS DAY BELONGS TO THE LORD!!!”
It was only a dozen or so people – maybe 15, and most of them middle-aged. But let me tell you, when we shouted like that the adrenalin ran and we were all animated. Immediately, the spiritual temperature of the room rose. The sharing was better, the stories more poignant, the interactions more meaningful…
… All this, simply because we had applied deliberate enthusiasm to something that we did out loud.
The experience was life-charged! I believe that one of the key secrets to living the life-charged life is to make a decision for life, to act on that decision with enthusiasm, and then to live as if that decision has the power to change us. Once we begin, then life flows naturally: Then the trajectory of this particular day; this unique moment; this specific project, or relationship, or meeting – is set in motion.
Life, if we want it to acquire and to retain a real “charge”, requires commitment, it requires a choice fin favor of enthusiasm, and it requires follow through.
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.