and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”John 2
August 18, 1979 seems like another era. In many ways it was, and when I look back sometimes I am amazed at what Rebekah and I were able to do as a brand new family. We were two young (really young) idealists, baptized in promise and saturated with hope, committed to making everything work, and with no real clue as to what we were up against.
We fell in love, we wanted to do life together, we hitched our wagon to Jesus, we lived into our dreams, and we simply believed.
Belief was/is key:
“Belief” was the answer Rebekah always came up with whenever anyone challenged her and cast aspersions as to what we were up to, trying to dampen the fire with doubt and cynicism. “You’ll learn to lower your expectations…” or “Women can’t lead congregations…” or “You need to get over your obvious naïveté…” or “Your marriage won’t survive…” or “You can’t be this positive about life and ministry…” and “Your church will never grow…”
Well, first off it was never our church – it has always belonged to Jesus. Second of all this is The Gospel we’re living here, and the good news is always about life and growth and passion and vitality.
And here we are, 43 years into this adventure together and I’d say we have never been limited by the obstacles, the doubts, and the unbelief the world has tried to put in our way.
Challenging and Joyful:
This life we carved out has always been challenging and at the same time joyful. Marriage, children, the church, our careers, health… everything has come with a tremendous amount of work and need for creativity and unbelievable rewards and unremitting grace and constant reasons to celebrate.
43 years of God using us in powerful ways despite – or probably because of – our weaknesses, and because we continue to believe.
Rebekah and I want the story of our life together to be a witness, a living testimony to what is possible when we respond to the invitation to live abundantly.
And we are still excited about being in love, and we are still idealistic, and we still hitch our wagon to Jesus, and we are still living our dreams, and we still simply believe.
In a sense we are back at the wedding in Cana, and we are the ones saying, “Master, it’s been forty-three years, and you have saved the best wine until now…!”
In love, and because of love… and grace… and mercy… and promise – DEREK
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim…John 2