May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. – 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
Anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis knows how much I enjoy playing golf. I don’t get out that much – probably ten times a year – but when I do I have enough natural hand-eye coordination to make things work fairly well. But, regardless of how I score, it’s always a great experience because I’m out in the fresh air, I occasionally hit a really good shot, and – most importantly – I’m with friends.
So Saturday morning, after what has been far too long, I met my Richmond friend Ray halfway and we played the Lake Gaston golf course just a few miles inside the Virginia border.
The day was beautiful, the golf was shall we say interesting, and the conversation was epic. We got together for fun, yes, but more importantly we were there to encourage each other and to make plans for how we can encourage other men as faithful, intentional, active, effective disciples of Jesus – followers of the Living Way.
To that end, Ray and a small group of guys have chartered an organization they call “Ecumentors.” It’s an initiative designed to bring together men from all denominations (and those who are not involved in a church) to mentor one another in faith and to facilitate health and wholeness in other men.
FALL RETREAT: Long story short Ecumentors are planning a fall spiritual retreat at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia and I have been asked to come as keynote speaker.
I’ll write more about this later, but my essential point – the key to the keynote – is going to be the idea that we are all called to not only be but to make disciples. In fact, I don’t believe anyone can actually be a disciple if they are not also discipling somebody else.
I’m not saying everyone should be leading a men’s ministry… I am saying everyone is called to be a leader. Look around. Is there not someone who you could encourage? Look around. Is there not someone who could encourage you? There is always this balance between what we can learn and what we can teach. We must be involved in both sides of the equation.
So Ray and I hacked around 18 holes, we encouraged one another as followers of Jesus, and we conspired to inspire.
Listen; I’ve said this before and I will keep on saying it while I have the ability to write: As men we need a band of brothers to encourage us, support us, and hold us accountable as we do life together. This cannot be accomplished via a monthly gathering that meets maybe eight times a year. I’m talking about small groups (anywhere from 3-15) meeting weekly, sharing honestly, reading scripture, praying together, being connected during the week.
If you’re interested in the retreat, check the info on the flyer below. Regardless, search your own heart and see where and how and with whom God wants you to grow as a disciple. It is imperative that you do.
Peace, love, and promise – 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.