preparation is 75% of the result

Wake Forest winter landscape

imageshis weekend is turning into a kind of concentrated personal retreat as I immerse myself in several separate but overlapping projects. I’m looking at three distinct foci in terms of study and preparation vis–à–vis the spiritual life.

COVENANT: First, my men’s group is beginning a conversation around Paul’s letter to the Philippians. We’re particularly interested in the distinction between happiness and joy, and in the role that struggle and challenge play when it comes both to joy and spiritual maturity.

Not only is this going to be an illuminating journey, but it’s one I’ll be taking with two separate groups, as our Wednesday evening edition gets going this week. The core team is committed to seeing this ministry grow, one group at a time, until there are multiple opportunities for Wake Forest men to meet together, pray together, walk together, struggle together, and grow together into a mature faith.

I’m excited!

IMG_2041LENT: My second focus is Lent. Ash Wednesday is just a week and a half away, and my Sunday Morning Class – The Daily Walk – wants to study my recent book, Reaching Toward Easter.

The purpose of the book is that we take Shrove Tuesday (March 4, the day before Ash Wednesday) as a beginning point, and intentionally journey toward Jerusalem and the passion of Holy Week through the eyes of John’s Gospel, using the text of The Last Supper as our guide.

This weekend I’m writing a “highlights” summary of each chapter, so that I can be saturated in the words of Jesus as I prepare to teach.

If you haven’t experienced Reaching Toward Easter, please consider accepting this invitation to walk the dusty path to Jerusalem along with me, the Daily Walk class, and possibly thousands of others throughout the U.S. between now and Easter. Here’s the link: Reaching Toward Easter.

RETREAT: The third focus is to prepare for my next retreat. This time next week I’ll be in the panhandle of Florida with 25-30 men from Trinity Presbyterian Church.

It’s been seven years since my last visit, so we have a lot to talk about. But the best part of such preparation is what it does for my own heart and soul. It’s impossible to read, and study, and write, and pray in anticipation of such a weekend without being filled myself. If anything that I share next weekend has any positive impact, then it’s only because God is already working on me.

DSC_0025So today I find myself both grateful and full with anticipation.

And tomorrow, when we gather for worship at whatever church we attend, I pray that the kind of encounter each one of us has with God will leave us both filled, and thirsty for more.

In love and because of love – DEREK

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