Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. – Hebrews 10:23-24
Busy, busy weekend! This morning I drove to Lynchburg to speak at the Disciples of Christ Regional Assembly men’s luncheon. Right now I’m getting ready for my Sunday afternoon talk at the Institute of Islamic and Turkish Studies in Cary.
The drive was beautiful, up through the piedmont of North Carolina and Virginia, and the VW Golf not only performed admirably (not just fast, but quick), but I managed over 51 miles per gallon for the round trip.
JOKE! The Disciples held their meeting on the lovely campus of Lynchburg College, and I opened my remarks by saying that, “As a Presbyterian, this was likely the closest I’d ever get to being invited to speak at Liberty University!” The audience started out laughing, and seemed to respond positively to everything I had to say.
My topic, in a nutshell, was discipleship. “Disciples of Christ is the coolest, most appropriate name of any Christian denomination in the entire world,” I said. “You’re more than halfway there before we even start!”
My challenge – once we had cleared our way through the encouraging stories I shared – was that of making disciples. “It’s about being disciples… to make disciples… to be disciples… to make disciples…” I said, using one of Rebekah’s favorite ideas. “If we’re not actually making disciples,” I said, “then I’m not sure that we can say that we really are disciples.”
I used the quote from Norman Vincent Peal I highlighted earlier this past week to tie my talk together. “People are defeated; churches are discouraged; men’s ministry becomes stagnated,” I paraphrased Peale, “not because of lack of ability, but for lack of wholeheartedness.”
My friend Ray, who has headed up Virginia Disciples Men for nine years, introduced me and – at the same time – resigned his position, explaining how God is redirecting his life. He’s not sure exactly how God is going to use him over the next few years, but he does know that it ‘s going to be all about being the kind of disciple who actively follows Jesus.
“Derek is my spiritual and writing mentor,” Ray said. “He always puts a positive spin on everything…”
“It’s not spin!” I said, interrupting my friend! And I believe that with all my heart. I knew that’s not what he meant, but it was too good an opportunity to pass up! Walking with Jesus, working to invite others into the kingdom, interpreting all of life through the prism of faith; this makes for a wonderful life. Not easy, necessarily, but good, so good; positive; worth living with the kind of wholeheartedness that makes all the difference.
Peace and blessings – DEREK