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… – Job 19:23-25
Today’s thoughts are somewhat random – but I promise I will end up somewhere!
First, yesterday evening at church served as a wonderful reaffirmation of why it is so good to be in community. Our Wednesday dinners together are on summer hiatus, so we scheduled a mid-summer “Pig-picking and covered dish” event that filled the Christian Life Center with hungry Presbyterians.
A one-hundred and fifty pound plus pig provided the main dish, supplemented by fresh North Carolina produce, and more desserts than I’ve seen in a long time.
The event was a success. Lots of fun and lots of people. Our director of food ministries and her team worked miracles; then there were the guys who took care of the pig, and who also cooked a couple of hundred ears of corn in the sweltering heat.
The attention to detail required to put on an event like this involves hours and hours of hard work by upwards of 20 volunteers. Then people like me saunter in with a salad for the potluck end of the operation, grab a plate of amazing food, and enjoy the fellowship without a care in the world.
My definition of “covered dish” is to load on enough food to completely cover the dish.
By the time Rebekah and I arrived home I had enjoyed quality visits with a dozen different people and touched base with 20-30 more. Rebekah – who works the room nonstop – likely spoke individually with close to 200 people.
REAL COMMUNITY: You can have 100 or more friends on Facebook; people cultivate hundreds of contacts via Twitter; your Instagram account can be wildly popular; your blog can attract literally thousands of followers. But relationships that are initiated, nurtured, multiplied, and renewed in the Body of Christ have the potential to completely transform us.
I had lunch yesterday with a man who says he is ravenously hungry for deep, heart-level friendships that include spiritual honesty, active listening, vulnerability, and accountability; in the evening I met with some men at church who have learned to trust one-another, and where it is safe to talk about our disappointments and fears as well as our faith, our assurance, and our hope.
I believe that connecting with one-another in this way is not only something that the church is uniquely qualified to facilitate, and is inherently good at, but it is exactly what the world needs if we are to extract ourselves from this negative death spiral and begin to move forward.
I’ll go a step more and say that this is the quality of relationship we were specifically created to enjoy; and that we do not begin to engage our potential as human beings in any other context….
As individuals, as a community, as a nation, and as a world, the only way we can move forward with any sense of confidence and promise is as a redeemed people.
– 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.