From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in—we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we’re telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us. We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy! – 1 John 1:1-4 – MSG
From SpaghettiOs to homemade:
Most of my readers know by now that I enjoy cooking. I enjoy the result – great food – but I also enjoy the process. And I wonder sometimes about the undeniable relationship between the investment of time, and work, and love… and the flavor/satisfaction when it is served.
- SpaghettiOs: Open can; heat; serve.
- Homemade: I started around 1:30 in the afternoon and I was ready to serve our dinner guests just before 7:00.
The pasta I made for Friday evening’s dinner party started life as three cups of self-rising flour, three eggs, and around six tablespoons of water. So I combined my ingredients, kneaded the dough, let it rest, rolled it out, cut to size, put it on a rack to dry for a couple of hours, then cooked the noodles at the very last minute before serving.
The meat sauce involved chopping, sautéing, reducing, simmering, and lots of tasting; sixteen separate ingredients over three and a half hours.
DEVOTION: My devotional tie-in today is all about how the quality of the experience is so deeply related to the intention, the love, the hard work, the application, and the nurture that define the difference between SpaghettiOs and the food I served Friday evening.
Being a disciple is all about the journey; it’s about living like we mean it, because God certainly meant something profound when we were created; it’s about passion; it’s about intention; it’s about caring enough to do our very best; it’s about quality; and – critically importantly – discipleship is all about the experience of community.
I understand that many people experience Christian faith much like popping a can of SpaghettiO’s, then warming the contents in the microwave. But, I’ve got to tell you, that’s barely even scratching the surface compared to experiencing the rich, creative, nourishing, deep, multi-faceted, transformational, challenging, beautiful, satisfying, ongoing journey that is living moment-by-moment as a disciple of Jesus.
That’s the level of excitement, and passion, revealed in John’s writing in the quote above! We’re talking about a full-on gourmet feast of God’s love, something we can revel in, drinking deeply from the well of life, from day to day, to day, to day!
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.