maybe the shooter’s motive was that he had no motive not to…?

 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ urges us on. – 2 Corinthians 5:13-14

1-Fullscreen capture 1172017 94235 AMFor some reason – maybe the shock of an event like the Sutherland Springs shooting literally invading a house of worship – my post about Sunday’s horrible attack in Texas has generated a lot of helpful conversation.

So I’d like to continue today with a word of encouragement, and why I believe it is committed followers of Jesus who are going to have to stand up and make a difference. The good news of the Gospel is all about transformation, and without the Jesus kind of heart-rending, soul building love we are nothing more than – as Paul puts it – noisy gongs and clanging cymbals.

There are two places I want to go to support this point. First, Sunday morning, our church was literally humming with the excited buzz of hundreds of people coming together for worship, witness to the fact that the Jesus-story is ongoing and real.

1-Fullscreen capture 1162017 113222 PMIt’s no coincidence that we shared communion. “Everyone is welcome at the table,” Rebekah said. “If you love and trust Jesus, we really don’t care if you’re Presbyterian.”

Rebekah preached about how we can never settle for second best when Jesus is involved. She used the story of Jesus turning water into wine, and her entire persona was lit up, and she was animated with enthusiasm as she talked about the fact that God fills and refills us with living water and with the very best wine.

Run out of Wine?

Katherine Peiper talks to the crowd

So often – Rebekah pointed out – we stand around worried that our party is going to run out of wine. But that’s not going to happen, not so long as we remember to invite Jesus to the celebration!

The second place where I want us to pull back the curtain and take a look is back in church again, but this time it’s Sunday evening. Our Christian Life Center is full with somewhere around 300 youth and young families who have gathered to view the movie “Screenagers” and to talk together about living fully in this digital age.

We talked about the influence too much screen time has on all of us (not just kids), particularly when it comes to relationships. It’s a proven fact that screen time changes brain chemistry, that family life is impacted, and that relational skills such as empathy, eye contact, attention, and focus are compromised in response to the way we allow media to dominate – and make demands on – our attention.

We Must Know and Be Known

1-IMG_2969There is a lot to talk about regarding “Screenagers”, but for this post, I simply want to point out how critically important it is that we know one another and that we work to offer positive alternatives to those who drift toward social and spiritual isolation.

When mass killings occur, we always want to know about motive, and we are frustrated when it “doesn’t make sense.” Well, other than the obvious, “killing never makes sense, nor should it…” maybe we should think about this: Maybe the motive is that there was no motive not to kill all those people like they were part of a video game?

Too many Americans are growing up desensitized to people and inured to violence. I believe it’s part of our responsibility as followers of the Living Way of Jesus to invite people into relationship and to reactivate the dulled light in their dormant souls.

This is a lot of what Paul was addressing when he wrote:

 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. – 2 Corinthians 5:17-20

So, friends, “the love of Christ urges us on….” – DEREK



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derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, 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.

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