God is all about refreshing our settings. This is just one more opportunity!

The mind of a person who has understanding searches for knowledge,
    but the mouths of fools feed on stupidity. – Proverbs 15:14

I understand this kind of a post runs the risk of being dismissed as “one more COVID-19 same-old same-old.” But…

  1. I don’t think I’m ever that redundant, and
  2. If we can watch 12-hours of the exact same news every day for six weeks straight then I can continue to offer commentary.

As I sit here at my desk I can hear a cacophony of words drifting up the stairwell. It’s Rebekah on a video-conference call with 16 pastors and elders from around the district. They run the ministry that guides aspiring ministers through the process of discernment, inquiry, candidacy, examination, and preparing for their first call. Today’s agenda involves business, an initial interview with someone at the front end of the (several year) process, and the final assessment – including a full worship service – of a young man graduating seminary and about to move to his first church.

It thrills me to see how such critical work is still being engaged, with prayer and passion and enthusiasm and deep care.

Injecting new life into church:

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Rebekah praying for young people from WFPC

Wednesday evening, while I was meeting with my discipleship group, Rebekah was moderating a Zoom call with 18 young people who want to join our church. This photograph is of her praying for them as the meeting closed.

Elders asked the teens questions about their faith, mentors were on hand too. All in all close to 50 Wake Forest Presbyterians were gathered in our dinning room (lately Rebekah’s office) to celebrate the joy of seeing so many young people ready to make a public commitment to follow Jesus. There are going to be baptisms coming up, lots of good tears, and loud boisterous teenaged evidence of the reality of light and love active in this world.

The work of the church, still ongoing, still vital, still real.

Meanwhile in the heart of Europe:

After breakfast this morning Rebekah received a series of photographs from Andrew and Alicia in Dresden, where it was the middle of the afternoon. One of the “Old Masters” museum exhibits had reopened and the family – along with “Mr. T.” – was able to take an outing (careful social distancing in place) into the city.

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Alicia and Andrew getting cozy with the Old Masters

It has not been lost on me that the reopening of a public place in the first phrase of softening the lockdown was to see paintings that people have been looking at, in public, for literally hundreds of years. The paintings by Rembrandt, for example, had previously survived world wars, revolutions, fire-bombings, floods, the absolute destruction of the city, and decades of Soviet oppression. The sight of restricted numbers of patrons, wearing masks after just a few weeks of restrictions? Not such a difficulty after all.

And in Miami…

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Beks at school

Finally, there is this from Miami. Our granddaughter, Beks, is in First Grade, and David is in Second. They had only been in their new classes a couple of weeks when the schools closed.

But there they are, fully engaged in the online environment, doing what children do best, and that is to learn.

That’s right, learning is a natural response for children and the only reason it doesn’t feel that way for adults is the fact that some of us have walked away from it, little by little, over time.

A fundamental element of our design as human beings, I believe, is the capacity and the desire to learn, to respond positively to challenge, to rethink, recalibrate, retool, and restore.

For those of us who are no longer quite so young, we need to add a degree of purposeful intention to our need for continue learning.

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Getting ready for Bible study

For those of us who are people of faith, I believe that it is God’s desire – always – to see all of his children motivated to grow continually. For those who are not people of faith, I would like to challenge you to get together with your Creator and ask for some help in this department. Because, rather than the misunderstanding of so many that Christians are rooted in place, the opposite is in fact true. God is all about refreshing our settings.

God is all about refreshing out settings. I like this idea! – DEREK

commentary Current News life photogrpahy The Church

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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.

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