How to stay engaged with faith – so it’s already there when we need it

[Jesus] is about to break into the open with his rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple. – 2 Timothy 4:2

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Rebekah recording her video blog

One of the serendipities associated with this COVID-19 lockdown (and I’m sure there will be many, even though the whole thing is driving us nuts!) has been Rebekah’s decision to send out a short devotional video-blog every morning.

It’s a very basic exercise. She puts her phone in a tripod, she takes a sip of coffee, and then she offers a two-three minute word of inspiration and encouragement.

She’s done it from her office, from the deck, from the front stoop, and – most recently – from a corner of our living room by the window. The tech folk then post the “shorts” on the Wake Forest Presbyterian Church Facebook page.

Typically (and this is the essential point of today’s post) Rebekah’s words flow out from her personal devotional time. We always share a short reading together at the end of breakfast (currently we’re working through a book by Henri Nouwen), then we dive in a little more deeply as individuals, as we get our morning work under way.

DSC_0832Between us, Rebekah and I read a large amount of scripture and cover a lot of devotional ground – both privately and together, plus our ongoing conversations with other people. This answers a question I field quite often: “How is it that you (and Rebekah) can talk (or write) so easily about faith?”

Because it is real:

You see it’s a lot easier to improvise – or “riff” – when we are already saturated with discipline and practice. If you ask me an off the cuff question about fishing I may stand there and shrug my shoulders because I don’t have the background, the knowledge, the experience, or the passion. Jesus, on the other hand, is a constant, a companion, a guide. It is no stretch to talk about someone you already talk with on a regular basis.

This time of uncertainty and of shutdown, of isolation and of shelter in place provides us with the opportunity – the imperative – to retool spiritually. Maybe one great serendipity of this “hit the pause button” time will be a world full with people of renewed faith, people who want to be “instant” to “be prepared” to “be ready” in the way the New Testament writer suggested in 2 Timothy 4:2.

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author Derek Maul lives, writes, and worships in Wake Forest, NC

I love the way Eugene Peterson paraphrased this in his Message. “[Jesus] is about to break into the open with his rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple.”

Don’t ever quit. Keep engaged with your faith. Keep Jesus front and center. Then it won’t be so difficult – or feel so strange – to live the message out loud.

In love, and because of love – DEREK

pictures from recording live video blog:

faith leadership photogrpahy

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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.

5 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Derek, this is so on spot with the sermon I’m writing for this Sunday (March 29)! I’ve been doing a series on spiritual disciplines and this is to the last one, probably titled “When We Walk with the Lord” and will tie together some of what has been in previous sermons, especially about how we grow as we spend time with God in prayer, meditation, study, worship, etc. Do you mind if I quote some of this, with attribution? We will be online, as most of us will be I’m sure. By the way, one of the members of my congregation is “Aunt Velva.” Blessings to you and Rebekah.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Derek AND the azalea is beautiful – so white and pure God bless Gwyn PS: George is on his 1st ever conference ‘phone Elders meeting downstairs !!! xx

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    Liked by 1 person

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