Success! Our first “in-person” men’s ministry gathering

Blessing and honor and glory and power
    belong to the one sitting on the throne
    and to the Lamb forever and ever.

Revelation 5:13

This morning I want to share a moment of real joy. The Saturday morning men’s group met “in person” for the first time since February.

(Actually, even though we’re only one of four, we like to call ourselves THE Men’s Group. Kind of like “The” Open Golf Championship, which recognizes “The” champion golfer of the year, even though it’s only one of four majors.)

The church re-opening task force has outlined certain protocols, guidelines for such events, and we were very happy to show up with masks, folding chairs, coffee, and donuts. We arranged our circle at social distancing intervals and it was simply brilliant – as they say in the UK – to be together.

Emotion:

I have to admit to being almost overwhelmed with emotion when I gave the opening prayer. I told God how grateful I am for these men, and for this opportunity to actually be together; and as the words came out of my mouth they tried to flow out through my eyes too, and I had to pause for a moment to catch my composure.

– look, we’re wearing masks!

I asked the guys to share what they has missed the most during these past six months, and then I asked about what – especially over past couple of weeks – is giving them hope, going forward.

There were some great answers, from simply being there together this morning… to attending a wedding with 50 people and feeling safe because everyone honored the guidelines… to observing the resiliency and the can-do attitude of so many young people.

But overall, the sense of hope from the whole group was best summed up by the guys – more than one – who talked about the spirit of invention, and innovation, and purpose, and belief demonstrated by so many people around them in terms of applying their brains and their creativity to the task at hand.

And that task, a task that is at hand for every one of us, is the imperative to live. Not just to live but to thrive, to move beyond “making the best” to actually making things better.

This is the world we live in. And we are charged, by God, with Jesus alongside us and the Spirit inside us, to live in abundance and fulness.

Nothing held back. Everything help up. Held up before God and blessed. Blessed in order to be a blessing. Blessing and honor and glory and power…

And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang:

“Blessing and honor and glory and power
    belong to the one sitting on the throne
    and to the Lamb forever and ever.”

14 And the four living beings said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped the Lamb.

Revelation 5:12-14

Writer Derek Maul lives, thinks, writes, speaks, and listens – a lot – from his home in Wake Forest, North Carolina. You can check out (and hopefully read) Derek’s books on his author page at the Amazon Book Store.

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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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