living water, and why “lifeless church” is a non-sequitur

For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour my Spirit upon your descendants,
and my blessing on your offspring. Isaiah 44:3

This week’s Wednesday evening men’s Bible study provided the usual mixture of wit, wisdom, insight, and great questions. Guys shared from their hearts as well as their heads, and – once again – I was taken by the sense of belief and expectancy that seems to be permeating every facet of life here at WFPC.

once again I was taken by the sense of belief and expectancy that seems to be permeating every facet of life here at WFPC.

Rebekah and I have been involved in ministry in three locations: At Trinity Presbyterian Church in Cordova Park, Pensacola; at First Presbyterian Church of Brandon, near Tampa; and here in Wake Forest. Every situation has been completely unique; but one thread of consistency stands out (and this is why today’s scripture speaks to me so clearly) – God always pours water on thirsty land. God always pours out his Spirit.

IMG_5058NON SEQUITUR: To be honest, I believe that a lifeless church is a non sequitur. Non sequitur is Latin for “it does not follow.” “Lifeless” and “church” together in the same sentence comprise what is known as a contradiction in terms.

The church is – by definition – a community of faith; it’s a place where disciples gather together for worship, to encourage one-another, and to be the Body of Christ; church is a community of followers of the Living Way of Jesus.

Therefore, the equation is fairly simple. The answer for dying churches is Jesus. If people are thirsty for God, then it’s not some snazzy new program that’s needed, it’s Jesus; it’s the Spirit, poured out; it’s hungry, thirsty people drinking from the well of living water and then offering a cup to their neighbor because you just can’t keep a lid on that kind of life!

CONSISTENT LIFE: Every faith community where Rebekah and I have made our home has included more than enough genuinely thirsty people. Thirsty people make great disciples because they understand that Jesus will satisfy their thirst. Remember the woman at the well? Jesus offered her living water, and then she immediately told her friends and neighbors, “Come and see!”

Jesus said: “Those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” – John 4:14-15

Thirsty people come to Jesus, then there are “streams on the dry ground,” and God “pours out [his] Spirit…” – Isaiah 44:3

Author Derek Maul – find a list of books at – “click here”

Every time I walk onto the campus here at WFPC (like Wednesday evening) I can hear the gurgle of the spring of water gushing up; I can see the light of life in people’s countenances; I can sense the motion of people refusing to sit still, moved by the Spirit of God to share the good news.

The presence of life at a church is no mystery! It’s God pouring out his Spirit when we give ourselves over, nothing held back, to the Gospel of Love.



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