For we live by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. – 2 Corinthians 5:17-20
My big job over the next couple of days is that of creating the slide show that documents yesterday’s day-long meeting of the Presbytery of New Hope, the local association of Presbyterian congregations.
For this post, however, I’m going to include just a handful of images as I try to convey the rich tapestry of experiences that made the gathering such a powerful testimony to love and grace and enthusiasm for the Gospel.
The bottom line is this (and I’m especially addressing those people who love to traffic in fake news concerning our denomination): The Presbyterian Church is alive, strong, blessed by God, full with the Holy Spirit, passionate about following Jesus, rooted in scripture, and joyful about proclaiming the good news to the world!
The Presbyterian Church is alive, strong, blessed by God, full with the Holy Spirit, passionate about following Jesus, rooted in scripture, and joyful about proclaiming the good news to the world!
Wake Forest Presbyterian Church hosted the gathering, and the people of our congregation went all out with extravagant hospitality. Everything went smoothly – from registration, to breakfast, to workshops, to the amazing lunch, to every detail involved in moving more than 250 visitors around the campus from 8:00 in the morning through 3:00 in the afternoon.
We started the day in worship, and our sanctuary at WFPC was filled with prayer and praise. Rebekah had the privilege of preaching; and – not a surprise – she didn’t let the opportunity pass without giving it everything she had and then some! She pointed out how easy it is for us get stuck, and to resist God’s invitation to move forward. We trust our traditions and we fail to trust Jesus, we are fearful, and we want to walk by sight rather than faith.
Then we shared communion. It is so powerful to be in the sanctuary when the bread and the wine is offered, and people wait in line to be served, and the background noise is a murmur of repetition of phrases such as, “Christ’s body, broken for you;” “Thank you;” “The blood, of Jesus, shed for you;” “Peace be with you;” “Thank you;” “Peace to you;” “And also with you…”
And all are welcome. And all are equally forgiven. And all are free because of Jesus…
The balance of the morning included workshops on prayer, and study, and pilgrimage. Lunch was a long celebration of fellowship and gratitude. Then the business session in the afternoon was a series of reports on what God is up to, and commissioning of people called to serve in specific places, and testimonies about exciting ministry initiatives, and the coming under care of those called into ministry.
By the time the meeting ended we were all filled with hope, and gratitude, and more of Jesus.
This is the work of the Presbyterian Church, and we are doing it with joy, and I am so blessed to be a part of this body – DEREK
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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.