Brothers and sisters, I myself don’t think I’ve reached it, but I do this one thing: I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me. The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 3:13-14)
This weekend marks two years since Rebekah’s first Sunday as senior pastor here at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church. We feel amazingly blessed to be in this community, and we’re grateful to God for leading us to this remarkable, creative, life-charged congregation.
Anniversaries are good for celebration, but they are also great opportunities for reflection, evaluation, and visioning. So – 24-months into this journey – it doesn’t hurt to ask, “So, why are we here?”
JESUS, JESUS, JESUS! You see, God had (and still has) a very specific reason – or series of reasons – for inviting Rebekah to lead this particular congregation, and to do it at this particular time in WFPC‘s 25-year history. I believe it is clear that we’re here because – other than Jesus – nothing else even comes close to answering the question; because, “The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
- God did not call Rebekah to WFPC because of her position regarding the divisive religious politics of our time… she was called because of her position regarding Jesus.
- She was not (is not) called to lead people to uniform viewpoints on controversial social issues… but is called to lead the church toward unity in Jesus.
- She did not come to Wake Forest to create a better or more entertaining show during worship… but so that we could all walk humbly, together, in the presence of God.
- God did not bring her to this place to hand out neatly packaged answers… but to create a community equipped to ask better questions.
- This church did not call Rebekah as senior pastor to tickle anyone’s ears with what they want to hear… but – simply and most importantly – to invite every believer into a renewed relationship with God, via intentional discipleship as followers of Jesus.
“So proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple. You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy… [So] keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.” – (2 Timothy 4: 2-7, The Message)
TWO-YEARS! Today – exactly two years into this relationship with a faith community we have fallen in love with – we see renewed life, deepened faith, inspired vision, remarkable energy, confident steps into our future together, and a shift in focus from membership in a church to intentional discipleship as followers of Jesus.
For me, I can’t get enough of this wonderful community, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store over the next few years!
Because, bottom line, it’s all about Jesus. This congregation likely runs the entire spectrum when it comes to politics, and social policy, and varied opinions regarding every possible issue (issues many people the world over waste precious time and resources arguing about).
But that’s okay. Because for us, and for the Christ-centered ministry God has invited Rebekah to lead here at WFPC, it’s all about Jesus. Nothing else even comes close to answering the question, “Why are we here?”
In love, and because of love – DEREK
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.