Following Christ’s invitation – along the pathway and in through the gate…

“Look! I’m standing at the door and knocking. If any hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to be with them, and will have dinner with them, and they will have dinner with me.” – Revelation 3:20

1-DSC_0331I like pathways – especially meandering barely paved walks through fields, woods or gardens. Trails too, and winding roads. I also like gates and doorways and windows. And archways in garden walls, paths under canopies of trees, avenues.

I love that paths lead somewhere, that windows let in light and open up views, that doors are open and that gates stand as an invitation.

  • “I am the gate,” Jesus says in John 10, “people come in and they go out.”
  • Behold I stand at the door and knock,” the Lord observes in Revelation 3:20. “Just open the door and I’ll come in and have dinner with you!”
  • “I am THE WAY, and the truth, and the life,” Jesus tells his friends in John 14:1-7.

In Genesis God set an armed angel at the door of paradise to guard the entry. “He drove out the human. To the east of the garden of Eden, he stationed winged creatures wielding flaming swords to guard the way to the tree of life” (Genesis 3:24).

But now – today, for all of us – Jesus comes along and he invites, “Follow me, friends, I am the gate; I am the way in, I am the way home.”

Invitational Garden:

1-IMG_0008If Rebekah and I had the time (and the strength) we’d lay out more pathways in our garden here at Maul-Hall. As it is we are making some progress.

This weekend I ressurected the welcome path we made to connect our back yard to friends who live in the neighborhood behind us. Last month my friend Larry helped me finesse the path that makes our house accessible to my parents next door. Next we’d like to lay pavers around the other side of the house, and eventually we hope to put some invitational wrought iron gates in the fenced area behind the deck.

Church is that kind of invitation:

1-IMG_0025Church is like that. Church is an open door, a meditative pathway, a gateway, an invitation to come into the garden.

If that is not how you experience the community of faith, then Jesus is not being presented in the right way. “I am the gate,” Jesus says; “I am your wide open invitation. Don’t pay those angels with flaming swords any mind if they look at you sideways, because you’re with me now.”

And don’t pay those naysaying judgemental finger-pointing legalists any mind either. Jesus has already nullified their false message. Jesus is very clear when it comes to this invitation to walk with him along the pathway; Jesus simply wants to take our hand and to welcome us home.

So come on in. Jesus says “Welcome.” Jesus says “Come.” – DEREK




culture garden God life message Our home photography The Church

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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