COVENANT COMMUNITY: There was an interesting moment Wednesday evening at church, right after the closing prayer at my men’s small-group Bible-study.
We all said “Amen;” but then nobody moved. The circle remained unbroken, and I could see faint smiles on several faces, even a couple of silly grins. Eventually one of the silly grins tried to articulate the moment, and he did a pretty good job.
“This is it,” he said, “This is why this is so good. It’s the camaraderie, the being together, the fellowship; it’s the fact that we can share all our different opinions and ideas, and be honest, and feel encouraged. Every week the stuff we talk about bounces around in my head for several days. It makes a real difference in the way that I live.”
There were nods, more smiles, and even a couple of “Amens.” You see, we love one-another, and we need each other, and we learn so much from listening, and we’re not afraid to admit it; in fact – rather than pretend, and bluster, and posture – we embrace our need for community.
LIFE! So I look around our church, and see the huge number of small groups that get together for support, and encouragement, and accountability, and it’s no surprise that there is vibrant life here.
We were created for community! Our need for one-another isn’t a weakness, it’s at the core of what it means to be fully functioning human beings. Fact is, if we want to move towards living at capacity, we cannot afford to deny the power and the efficacy of covenant community.
Embracing our identity as God’s children comes with a responsibility to live as disciples; the community of faith is where we learn how. Worship together is our corporate celebration; but it’s in the nurture and challenge of the small group, and of “doing life together,” that we begin to breathe life and passion into the practice of following Jesus.
JOB: This week we talked about the Book of Job, and we were all drawn to the passage from chapter 19, where – despite the calamities, the loss, the pain, and the stinging criticism from his “friends” – Job stands firm in his identity as a child of the Living God:
“O that my words were written down!
O that they were inscribed in a book!
O that with an iron pen and with lead
they were engraved on a rock forever!
For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that at the last he will stand upon the earth;
and after my skin has been thus destroyed,
then in my flesh I shall see God.” – Job 19:23-26
My brothers at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church encourage me in so many ways, and they are a key part of how “I know that my Redeemer lives!”
I know this blog is read by both women and men, but these particular words, this morning, are for the guys: “Listen up! We need one another. Not because we are weak, but so we can become more strong. Not because we are insufficient, but because we are exceptional when we stand together. Not because of what we can do, but because of what Jesus will do through us.”
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.