“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord…” – Jeremiah 29:11-14a
Tuesday lunchtime Rebekah and I headed over to Durham for a preacher luncheon. The event was organized for graduates of Columbia Theological Seminary (Decatur, Georgia), where Rebekah earned her MDiv graduate degree. The school has a new president, Leanne Van Dyk, and this was an opportunity to get acquainted.
Dr. Van Dyk introduced herself, she shared her vision for the future, and she made it clear that (referencing the same commitment to the power of the Gospel that fuels my work and Rebekah’s too) she has absolute confidence that God’s purposes for our denomination – PC(USA) – and the work of Columbia Seminary look to a future defined by growth, by excellence, by continued reformation, and by the anointing of God’s Spirit.
INTRODUCTIONS: All the attendees were asked to introduce themselves, both professionally and in terms of their relationship to the Seminary. Answers ranged from, “I graduated from Columbia in 2006 and serve as youth pastor at such-and-such church,” to “I’m campus minister at Duke University; I graduated with my MDiv in 2012,” and, “I’m pastor and head of staff at Tall-Steeple Presbyterian Church, I recently earned my Doctor in Ministry degree from Columbia.”
As the only spouse able to attend, I was also the only person at lunch without clergy credentials. So I had to think about my introduction.
“My name is Derek Maul,” I said. “I’m married to Rebekah. I was one of the pioneer clergy-hubbies at Columbia in the early 1980’s. The best way to explain what I do is to read the front of my business card: ‘Derek Maul – author; speaker; blogger, disciple.'”
My new business card was designed by my son Andrew this past Christmas. He scored huge points for the best business card ever!
The card, it turns out, made for an excellent conversation starter. More than one person wondered aloud what four words would be on their card if they borrowed the idea.
It’s a good question.
Pick four words that you believe describe not only what you do, but who you are. Write them down, set them aside, then look at them again in a couple of days. Then write another list; words that match your ambition, your ideal, or maybe what you believe God purposes for your life. See where the two overlap; note where they do not.
“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord…”
Peace, blessings, grace, and promise – 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.