Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promises. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another… – Hebrews 10:23-25
For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. – 2 Corinthians 4:6-7
Later this month I have been invited to speak at a South Carolina event designed to kick off a new ministry year with men. My responsibility is to engage, inspire, encourage, and invite participants into a more intentional spirituality as men of faith.
Instead of talking for 45-minutes I wish I could simply share a video of yesterday’s meeting with the men who attend the Wednesday evening covenant group here at WFPC. If that were my message I would be communicating something both powerful and persuasive.
Faith-strengthening and Life-changing:
All my men’s group does is to read the Bible, talk about how we have felt God’s presence during the past week, share what is going on in our lives, explore what the scriptures are teaching us, present our personal need for prayer, and pray for one another. But I’m telling you it is faith-strengthening and life-changing.
I have shared this general idea before but it’s worth repeating. Here is how the men’s ministry groups I am involved with play out:
- We all do a little pre-class reading,
- Each man thinks about his faith during the week and tries to stay alert for “God-sightings,”
- I usually prime their thinking with a reminder email a couple of days before we meet,
- Some guys do extra study or research into the topic,
- Everyone is “working on” their relationship with God from day to day,
- We all experience seven days of real-life between meetings,
- Most of the guys participate in various mission and service initiatives through the church,
- Then – of course – there is worship and the pastor’s message on Sunday…
“BOOM”!!! – So we gather, we review our covenant, and we open with prayer. All I have to do is to underline two or three things I believe are important and ask a handful of good questions. That’s when the Holy Spirit takes all that we are and everything we bring to the table (numbers 1-8 above), stirs it around, seasons the mix with love, and – “BOOM” – insight happens, and revelation, and conviction, and encouragement, and a profound knowledge of the presence of God.
So who are we?
This particular group – an account manager, an insurance executive, a coach, a builder, a couple of scientists, an inventor, three small-business owners, several IT engineers, an IBM consultant, a horticulturist, and a writer – encourage one another to be better followers of Jesus, better husbands, better members of this community… better men.
It is called Doing Life Together. But we don’t rely on the happenstance of friendship, or the chance of nodding a greeting in the parking lot after church, or a hurried conversation because we coincidentally waited in the car repair shop at the same time. No, we come together with the intention of helping each other be the kind of men Jesus invites us to be. Regular, every Wednesday plus connections during the week, intentional. Rooted in Christ, growing together in faith, reaching out to others.
This is you!
If you are a man who is trying to follow Jesus and to be a faithful disciple then I cannot think of a better way to make progress and to grow in faith.
That is – essentially – what I say every time I am invited to speak.
Maybe I should just rent a bus and take the guys with me?
Grateful – 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.