We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life. – I John 1:1
We shared a lot of excitement and joy at WFPC this weekend. There was a real sense of celebration at church, and it’s a perspective on being together as God’s children that – more and more – I’m coming to believe is critically important to the core idea of what it means to be a community of faith.
In worship we celebrate God, we celebrate what God has done and continues to do for us through Jesus, and we celebrate the fact that we are a redeemed people, called to love one-another and to stand as a collective witness to the beauty of Christian community.
To that end, a young family presented their youngest two children for baptism at the 11:15 service. The children’s grandfather participated in the baptism, and joy spilled all over the congregation.
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS: In the afternoon, over 90 youth and advisors fanned out all over the community to model God’s unconditional love, via “random acts of kindness,” leaving trails of love, and joy, and laughter, and hugs, and the good kind of tears in their wake.
Then, during the evening, Rebekah and I were invited to attend the Christmas party for the “Stumbling Disciples” Sunday-school class (WFPC’s resurgent and enthusiastic young families ministry).
The party was fun, loud, boisterous, engaging, heartening, and deeply moving for us.
ENCOURAGEMENT: We worked the room, and we talked with as many people as possible, but what kind of washed over us like a wave of encouragement was the simple fact of the evening.
We listened to young parents talking enthusiastically about how being a part of a vibrant church has reengaged their lives of faith; we listened to the leaders enthuse about the growth, and the new life, and the sense of purpose they are feeling; we listened to men and women share stories about how they are growing as disciples of Jesus.
GRATEFUL: When Rebekah and I got home we were exhausted in the way that you are when you get off a raft that’s careened through several miles of rapids on the Colorado River. Just carried along by the fullness, the torrent, the flow; the boisterous, enthusiastic, overwhelming flood of authentic, nourishing, life.
We don’t just celebrate a memory of what God did at Christmas – we celebrate the impossible to deny fact of the unstoppable flood of life the incarnation has become!
Enjoy it! – 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.