“Every day, they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:46-47
PAPARAZZI! Yesterday, shortly after our near freeze-out at church, this photograph appeared on the WFPC Facebook page, along with the following caption: “Sending a giant Thank You to Derek Maul, our one man WFPC paparazzi, for his tremendous work to highlight the wonderful life of our church!”
All I can say is, “Busted!” Mitchie Griffin caught me taking a photograph of the beautiful iced-over tree branches coming in from the parking lot. Most people were hurrying inside to get out of the freezing rain, but I wanted to pause long enough to capture some of the signal beauty that always comes along with the hardships of winter.
THE STORY: And that really was the story today. We probably had less than half of our typical attendance (the National Weather Service had issued a “treacherous conditions” travel advisory), but the experience of being together was rich, nourishing, and beautiful
You see, there’s a good reason I take so many photographs: We have a wonderful story, here – and great stories need to be told.
We have a wonderful story, here – and great stories need to be told.
Today’s story is that my parents, Grace and David Maul, joined the church. “We were members at The Tabernacle in Sarasota for 30 years,” my mum said, “and members at Folkestone Baptist for 30 years before that. So we plan on being here for a long time.”
I love that spirit of commitment and possibility. Rebekah shared the email conversation she’d had with their previous pastor. “I’d be happy to send a letter of transfer,” he wrote, “if you’ll just mail a $10,000 check for our building fund.” “I must have misread your message,” Rebekah replied. “Didn’t you say you were making a $10,000 contribution to our building fund (if we’d take them!)?””
BLESSING: But what a blessing, after almost 33 years of ministry, to have my parents make the commitment to become active members in the church where we are serving.
We sang Be Thou My Vision, and I thought about how my eyesight may need progressive lenses, and reading glasses, and soon a new prescription; yet I can see so clearly – more clearly than ever before – when I look at this life, and at the transformation faith makes possible, through the eyes of Jesus.
We are a young church (WFPC will be celebrating 25 years in Sept 2016), and the predominant demographic is families with elementary aged children and teens, but God is also enriching our identity through people like my parents, who were already 60 years old before this congregation was even organized.
Four moments marked the morning like the beauty of the ice-clad branches.
- One: Listening to Zara Gregory’s offering of special music during the 9:00 Praise service.
- Two: Singing songs of worship. My heart lifted, even though my voice is croaky.
- Three: walking into Rebekah’s office to witness my parents meeting with the pastors and elders.
- Four: standing in front of the congregation, watching Rebekah hug my mum and dad as they made public their commitment to the life of WFPC.
Hold still… shift just a tad to the left… let me get a picture of that…
“And that’s what happened. God saw everything he had made: it was supremely good. There was evening and there was morning: the sixth day.” – Genesis 1