Reconnecting with Florida friends reminds us why authentic ministry is so charged with life!

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
    and with my song I praise him.

 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 28:7, Romans 15:13

“I am convinced there is not a congregation in North America that should be anything other than energized with life and joy.”

Okay, so I don’t often post two columns in one day, but this 24-hour news cycle we’re in means that tomorrow I’ll be on to something else – and this is too important to pass by.

It was just dinner, conversation long into the evening, then breakfast the next morning, but there is something about real friendship that stands the test of time and picks up – quite easily – where it left off.

This post isn’t just about friendship, however, it’s about the power of real, authentic, enthusiastic faith and what happens when Jesus becomes anything other than the main character in the unfolding story.

Bill and Julie Hellman joined 1st Presbyterian Church of Brandon shortly after Rebekah and I moved there from Pensacola. We had children around the same ages, and they joined our Parents of Teens group (POTs), then our Parents of Grads group (POGs) once we all realized our kids were now in college and POTs needed younger leadership.

The Hellmans were part of the exciting, constantly growing, cutting-edge ministry experience that made FPCBrandon such a dynamic church for the 17 years we were privileged to be there. Like us, Bill and Julie were captivated by the amazing possibilities that explode into life when we get things right, people get fired up about faith, and still the spotlight remains on Jesus.

Older (but not really):

So they parked their Behemoth RV in the WFPC church grounds and came to Maul-Hall for dinner.

Here’s what’s cool. We may all be essentially a decade older now, but what first made us friends is still as fresh, invigorating, life-challenging, transformative, and relevant as it ever was! The Good News about Jesus is still our invitation to live with energy and purpose, and so long as faith remains at the core of our lives then we will continue to be defined by both purpose and promise.

The only reason anything Rebekah and I have been involved in has thrived is the fact that our faith has remained authentic, alive, central to our work, and a constant source of renewal that can’t help but bubble to the surface and spill all over everything around us.

– North Carolina writer Derek Maul

That is why we had such a great visit with Bill and Julie. And that is why I am convinced there is not a congregation in North America that should be anything other than energized with life and joy.

We are so grateful we don’t have to make this stuff up! – DEREK


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