a faith that is systemic, not merely topical

DSC_0038BIRDS and more BIRDS: Today’s photographs come from another snowy day here in Wake Forest, North Carolina. It really is beautiful here in the Piedmont, and the birds are grateful for the feeders. I hope you will enjoy the images.

In other news, I’d like to share something from my discipleship class at WFPC. This week (and through Holy Week) my Sunday morning adult-ed class is studying my book, “Reaching Toward Easter.” We are thinking of Lent as a journey, and we are pilgrims together, traveling along this pathway, making our way toward a deeper experience of faith.

Today’s reading is titled, “If You Say that You Love Me…” Here’s a condensed version:

If You Say that You Love Me…

DSC_0012-001“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.” – John14:15-16

Question: What are some of the biggest stumbling blocks that keep non-believers from ever darkening the doors of their local Christian church?

Answer: A lack of authenticity, church politics, and the hard to hide truth that the authentic Jesus kind of love is seldom central to community life.

Jesus was crystal clear regarding what he wanted to see when it came to “discipleship.” It’s safe to say that the Lord wasn’t looking for correct doctrine or outward appearances or a social political slant.

“If you love me,” the Master said, “keep my commandments” (John 15:10). Such a simple admonition; but then Jesus always has a way of cutting through the baloney and getting right to the point.

DSC_0033And so Jesus shows us the way, plain and simple. “All righty then. I’ll use small words and speak slowly. Listen up: If you love me – if you truly say that you love me, then follow my directions; demonstrate my love; keep my commandments…”

When we follow Jesus, the Christ-life becomes our life, and the application is by definition systemic, never merely topical.

When my cousin Linda was dying from cancer, and she was becoming defined – more and more – by eternity than by time, we had a long, wonderful conversation via Skype. “I’m not sure anymore,” she told me, “exactly where I come to an end and where God begins...”

So where is that place where we end and where God begins…? It turns out that there is no such place for those who follow closely.

Available at Upper Room and Amazon PRAYER: Challenge us gently, Lord; show us the way; grant us courage. Amen


Gallery of 22 winter photos from Tuesday/Wednesday:

Live Like You Mean It

derekmaul View All →

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.

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