Living Stones: on Christ the solid rock we stand…

  • Above – Some of the wonderful people at our goodbye party in 2013

We are Living Stones! “Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God.” (1 Peter 2:5)

Sunday evening was Rebekah’s “Big Party” at First Presbyterian, the largest of the events in a week of dinners, receptions, acknowledgements and more. All I can say is, “Good thing we built that new wing and expanded the fellowship hall.” Otherwise I don’t know where everyone would have fit.

DSC_0075The official reservations count was somewhere north of 350 people. We know that because Tim sent Rebekah a text Sunday afternoon saying, “Tell Rebekah she needs to bring 38 more stones.”

The explanation to Tim’s text is also the Big Idea in today’s Monday morning blog post.

LIVING STONES: The most important part of Sunday evening’s event was the fact that so many of the people we love were able to attend. The food was plenteous and delicious; the atmosphere was festive and celebratory; the program was both serious and entertaining.

What transpired was, essentially, a series of skits designed to both roast and pay tribute to Rebekah’s unique gifts and unmistakable personality traits. It was a hoot. We laughed, we cried, we sang hymns, we prayed.

Then Rebekah had the opportunity to speak (The vision team gave her the construction hat after one of the skits). She talked about how rocks/stones are an important metaphor for who we are as a church, and she pointed out how the imagery has been such a key element of how First Presbyterian of Brandon has moved forward to the strong place where the church is today.

She went out and purchased around 320 smooth stones and placed them at each table setting for people to take with them as a reminder. That’s why Tim texted her Sunday afternoon to say we needed to bring a few more!

We are Living Stones! “Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God.”

DSC_0078GIFTS: Rebekah had four much larger paper-weight stones, each with a key word stenciled on the surface. These she presented to the people on staff who have been her closest colleagues, and who are so vitally important to the ministry here:

  • Pastor Tim Black: “GRATITUDE…” because Rebekah is full with it for Tim’s friendship and ministry.
  • Music director Mark Prater: “CREATE…” because that’s what Mark does so eloquently and with such grace.
  • Praise director Don Zegel: “LIVE…” because the life-charged life is what God calls us all to embrace.
  • Office administrator Joyce Allen: “PEACE…” because that is what Joyce has gifted Rebekah with for 17 years.
Rebekah and Derek Maul; Kelly and Tim Black.
Rebekah and Derek Maul; Kelly and Tim Black.

FOUNDATION: We closed the evening by singing, “On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand…” Because that is the only message that counts in the long run, and Rebekah wanted Jesus to be the final thought on people’s minds as they went away.

But there’s also the rock that is First Presbyterian Church of Brandon. It’s a faith community that has all the qualities you need in a rock if it’s also going to be a church: Strength; dependability; integrity; rootedness; resilience; a sense of permanence; a firm foundation in Christ; a future that is sure….

In love, and because of love – DEREK



  1. It was a wonderful time for celebration of God’s work among us and the spiritual leadership of both of you.


  2. Reblogged this on DEREK MAUL and commented:

    Today, August 11, it is five years since we said goodbye to First Presbyterian Church of Brandon, Florida. This weekend I will be highlighting two posts from 2013 that point to the amazing and vibrant faith community that gathered there. Love, blessings, prayers, and peace to all the Saints in Brandon, from both of us…. – DEREK


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