Living the simple witness of light and joy

  • You are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are Christ’s letter, delivered by us. You weren’t written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God. You weren’t written on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:2-3

I absolutely love live music. Like most people I have specific tastes in terms of what genre I like to listen to on the radio, or from my own collection, but none of that really matters when the experience is live.

I wouldn’t say I’m an opera fan – but the three live opera events we attended in Italy were amazing and I loved every minute. You won’t typically find me listening to Bach or Beethoven around the house – but we became huge fans of The Florida Orchestra at the Performing Arts Center when we lived in Tampa. Then you won’t see any bluegrass records/tapes/disks/albums/downloads in my collection – but then again the concert we attended Friday night in downtown Wake Forest was one of the most enjoyable musical experiences we’ve had in a long time.

To be more accurate, this was a “New-Grass” concert and the band – The Fireside Collective – presented a nuanced, complex, hybrid sound. It was a bluegrass, country, light-rock, jazz, blues fusion that brought five virtuoso instruments together with free-flowing movement, tight harmonies, joyous spontaneity, and enthusiastic abandon. The experience was, in a word, remarkable.


Super-cool venue:

I can’t say enough about the venue. The Magnolia Roots Music Lounge is in the basement of the Sugar Magnolia Cafe on White Street downtown Wake Forest. An intimate venue – probably 125 people crowded it out – the lounge is part of an ongoing initiative to bring more live original music to the heart of our community.

For Rebekah and me this was our first visit. And for many reasons – the quality, the hospitality, the convenience and the atmosphere – we will be back.

Another serious plus for us was the presence of so many friends from our church. I didn’t count but I’m guessing there were more than twenty Wake Forest Presbyterians sitting together, making enthusiastic but polite Presbyterian noises, having a great evening.

1-img_2879Saturday morning in the men’s Bible study I mentioned Paul’s observation that we are all “Living letters” about Jesus, that we are all the time – consciously and unconsciously – communicating the truth about the story we say we are committed to living. Saturday night at the Magnolia Roots Music Lounge was kind of what we’re supposed to be doing. Living our lives to the fullest in conspicuous joy, fully engaged with every opportunity we have to live like we mean it.

“Live like we mean it” – because God certainly meant something special when we were imagined, created, and put into circulation here on this good earth.

Light, Grace, Invitation & Promise – DEREK


culture kingdom of God leadership life Live Like You Mean It Living Gratefully photogrpahy 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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