Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus, “Rabbi, eat something.”
But Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.”
“Did someone bring him food while we were gone?” the disciples asked each other.
Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. – John 4
This is my “sitting in a hotel room trying to get some work done” situation. I’m here in Greenville, South Carolina, after a remarkably busy but all kinds of wonderful Sunday.
The day launched with a flat-out powerful worship service at WFPC. The CLC was full with vibrant life, with enthusiastic Presbyterians, and with dynamic evidence of God’s presence. The Praise team was pitch perfect and Rebekah’s message challenged people in just the right ways.
During the church school hour so many people came to my class I had to send out for more chairs three times, and it was a story repeated throughout our campus. Our time together was both holy and invigorating, and I pray everyone felt as positive and connected as I did.
I missed traditional worship at 11:15 because I needed to get on the road and drive to Greenville. Rebekah tells me the hour was equally loaded with life.
Making Noise with South Carolina Methodists!
So I am here in Greenville because I was invited to speak at the fall kickoff event for the Buncombe Street United Methodist Church men’s ministry.
The men in attendance were exceptionally engaged and responsive, and the vibe I picked up was that the event went well. I certainly enjoyed the evening tremendously.
Pastor Roy had 31 firm reservations but at least twice that many men showed up. The room was packed full and they ran out of food!
But when it comes to reaching people with a message that is important, an unexpected crowd is nothing but good. They pulled in more chairs and everybody stayed. We enjoyed a short time of worship together and then I was introduced. I shared from my heart how important it is for men to “do life together” in the context of faith. I talked about how the combination of Desire, Discipline, Devotion, and Daring add up to a powerful journey.
And, importantly, I talked about how the most significant progress we make as disciples in when we make our commitment, and encourage each other, and hold one-another accountable, in the context of community.
It really was a miracle:
This is how miracles happen. Apparently, pastor Roy had a couple of copies of my book GET REAL gathering dust on his bottom shelf. Then, during a time of prayer regarding “what’s next in ministry with men”, he glanced down and picked one up. By the time he was 20 pages in, he said, he knew this was the answer to his prayer.
One casual glance down and – fast forward a few months – I get to come to Greenville to pour my heart out to a roomful of hungry men. We may have been short on barbeque, but – as John wrote in chapter 4 of his gospel – Jesus has food a lot of people don’t know anything about.
This is the hunger. Growth in discipleship, as men of faith, is the only thing that is going to satisfy.
Getting together with a bunch of church guys and swapping sports stories may be fun but it only hints at the kind of connection we need with one another and is possible in Christ. It is in going deeper, in mutual commitment, and walking together in faith that we are satisfied.
I believe this Sunday evening in South Carolina was an encouragement to a lot of men.
Like I told them in my introduction, “I’d have come down here anyway, because I love to spend five hours on Interstate 85 so much – especially the driving through Charlotte part…”
I really like the way my time with them ended. “Hosanna to the King!” they rose to their feet and shouted, “Hosanna to the King!”
I sure know they encouraged me – 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.