After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” – Mark 1:14-15
Well, Rebekah survived her first Sunday back in church! She not only preached twice, and taught the, I’m interested in becoming a disciple at WFPC class, but she talked a whole lot in between. So much for easing her way back in!
But I understand entirely. Ministry may be demanding and difficult, but for Rebekah it has also always been a joy. To be back, exactly where she belongs, exactly where the people want her to be, exactly where God has called her to serve, verged on pure bliss.
She told the congregation she had whittled the sermon down from, “A good two and a half hours of material!” Then she shared directly from her heart for thirty minutes or so – and her voice remained surprisingly strong.
By the time Rebekah had hugged the last neck after the second service, it was close to 1:00, and she was completely exhausted.
Pain? Yes. Voice still compromised? Absolutely. Not nearly her usual complement of energy? You bet. Still feeling weak? That’s right. Ready to continue giving it absolutely everything she’s got, and then some? You’d better believe it!
Christ’s Good News Message:
Then, and here’s the most important thing about being back in church Sunday morning, Rebekah leveraged the opportunity (rapt attention from 400 people seriously happy to listen to her preach again) to talk about how important it is that we share Christ’s Good News message with the world.
Rebekah read passages from Mark 1 and Matthew 28, quoting both Christ’s first official words in ministry and his last official words. “Jesus launched his ministry by announcing that his purpose was to tell the Good News,” she said: “Now is the time! Here come’s God’s kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news! Then he concluded his ministry by commissioning us for our purpose. And our purpose is to be disciples… in order to make disciples… to be disciples…”
“Now is the time! Here come’s God’s kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!”
Listen to Rebekah’s message via this live-stream connection.
Unbroken Chain of Leadership:
Sunday morning we also ordained and installed a new class of deacons and elders – chosen, set aside, trained, and charged with the responsibility of being leaders in our corporate life of discipleship.
The most moving part of this service is – always – when these men and women are surrounded by elders (past and present), who then place their hands on them and pray the prayer of ordination, connected one to another – and to the saints throughout history – in an unbroken chain of faith and leadership spanning 2,000 years of witness.
Yes, we’re excited about 2017. We can’t wait to see what God has in store for us, and for this wonderful church!
let the Great Adventure continue! – 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.