Come and See!

Come and See!

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” – John 1:35-39

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Introducing new members at WFPC

Good grief! Yesterday was a Sunday that left me breathless. From playing guitar with pastor John and receiving a large group of new members at 9:00 worship, to seeing a group of young people commit themselves to follow Jesus at 11:15, to driving to Rocky Mount to do my “presbytery photographer” thing in the afternoon, to covering James Taylor’s “Shower the People” at the youth dinner-theater and auction in the evening.

What it all added up to was – is – life, irrepressible life that leaves us both energized and exhausted at the same time. Sometimes, living the good story lends itself to contemplation, quietness, reflection, and stillness… but yesterday was most certainly not one of those days!

If you are one of those people who leaves your spirituality on the back burner, and who believes there are dozens of more interesting or rewarding things to do on a Sunday that make church an increasingly unlikely choice, then I have to say, simply, “Come and see.”

“Come and see,” is the essential Jesus brand of sharing the good news. The most effective way to communicate just how life-changing it is to follow Jesus is to live out the truth in a way that stands as an open invitation.

Authenticity:

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WFPC this Sunday – not a stock image!

Back in Florida I interviewed literally hundreds of preachers for a long-running series that ran in The Tampa Tribune. I researched one ministry ahead of my appointment with the minister, and the website was full with images featuring large crowds, a modern worship facility, families, young adults, a dynamic praise band, and more.

We met in the preacher’s home, and when I pressed him he finally admitted all the photographs on his website were stock images he’d found online. In actuality the church had eleven members (six were his family), eight to ten in attendance, no property, no band, and no real plan.

It turns out this man was more interested in drumming up donations than actually building the Kingdom of God.

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Rebekah charging the young people to follow Jesus

But Jesus wants us to become so filled up with his life that it spills out of us as a natural invitation to know God. This is what we’re interested in at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church; this is what drives everything that we do; this is why I can confidently say, “Come and see.”

There is a reason there is this “buzz” of excitement in the building every Sunday morning. It’s because commitment to – and participation in – this kind of faith community always leads to a deeper walk with God, a more abundant, transformational, experience of day-to day-life, and a satisfaction it’s impossible to understand in any other context.

Come and see – DEREK

 

why “normal” is meaningless and “moderate” means everything…

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Warning: this is an unedited stream of consciousness post – there are many loose ends

So I’m sure we’ve all noticed it’s a little damp today… and yesterday… and the day before that… and the day before that too. We needed the rain, I know, but this is another classic case of “enough already!”

The shift from drought to plenty has made me think about the extremes we run into every day. We say we want “normalcy” but I understand statistics well enough to know that what we describe as “normal” (and consequently expect) doesn’t really exist – it’s typically little more than the average middle point between extremes:

  • An erratic golfer could post nine eagles and nine double-bogies on a round. Par on any given hole is then the most predicable outcome but also the least likely.
  • For April 24, Wake Forest’s normal high temperature is in the low 70’s. But in 1960 it reached 93, and the low stands at 31 (1986). Yesterday it rained all day with a high of 57.

The average annual temperature here is a close to perfect 62.65-degrees, so why would we ever need heat or air-conditioning? But of course we run one or the other every single month.

Moderate is better than average:

IMG_9233The point of heating and air-conditioning is moderation. We can’t really live with average, what we want is moderation. We want to moderate the temperatures because that’s how we’re more comfortable. And we’re all fine with having to pay for that level of comfort.

  • We’ll pay to moderate temperature (our new HVAC system is a great example);
  • we’ll pay to moderate our water supply (storage in reservoirs to hedge against drought);
  • We understand we need both rain and sunshine for plants to grow;
  • we happily pay into retirement and social security plans to moderate income so we’re not destitute when we turn 70;
  • and we pay to moderate risk when we drive (rather than save a few dollars a month and then be on the hook for tens of thousands in an auto accident)….

Yet we seem unable or unwilling to pay anything at all when it comes to moderating our political climate?

Most Americans want moderate leadership, where politicians are willing to compromise for the benefit of the nation. But being politically active tends to force candidates to highlight their differences, and people with extreme views are more likely to vote. In consequence, we are governed by men and women who feel obligated to play to their politically active base and the country is held hostage to polarization, even though 90% of us don’t want it.

Nobody is always right!

IMG_9234So why won’t we compromise? Why aren’t we willing to pay (and by “pay” I mean balance, cooperate, trade-off, give and take, quid pro quo) in order to guarantee a tolerable “normal” for everyone in America?

Take medical care, for example. I’m very healthy, and over the past thirty-five years my insurance company has made literally tens of thousands in profits because all my body parts are still working fairly well; I understand that’s extreme – it makes me an outlier. At the other end is someone who has gone through several major surgeries, struggles to stay healthy, and also deals with a chronic disease. They are another outlier – someone who fiscally puts medical insurance profits in the hole.

Do I begrudge the medically challenged individual the money I could have saved if I wasn’t in the program? Not at all; not if I am intelligent! Resentment would be ludicrous. There is no moderation without the extremes; and there is no normal without people on the statistical margins.

When it comes to medical cost, the average American simply does not exist. This is why the only way to provide any kind of moderation for any one of us is to put one hundred percent of our population in the same risk pool. The alternative is much the same as removing the new HVAC system from my house and hoping we’ll be comfortable. But we wouldn’t be comfortable for a minute; we’d be anxious, stressed, irritable, immoderate, and unproductive probably 90% of the time.

Unwillingness to compromise isn’t just impractical, it’s un-American:

  • Our amazing Constitution wasn’t framed because people stood their ground! No, it was perfected via epic compromise.
  • This nation hasn’t endured because those who were so right refused to give an inch! Not on your life, it has endured because those who are smart have understood how arrogant, unsound, incorrect, imprecise, and mistaken we are when we insist everyone else is wrong.

Okay, so I watched it rain for three days, then these eight hundred words spilled out!

Bloggers! They’re so wordy! What are you going to do?

(everything is saturated around here)

Grandkids: packing a full week of action into twenty-four hours!

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This is how we were awoken Monday morning!

But the Lord’s faithful love is from forever ago to forever from now
        for those who honor him.
    And God’s righteousness reaches to the grandchildren. – Psalm 103:17

Rebekah and I enjoyed a full Easter weekend here in Wake Forest. Church, of course, was amazing; then Naomi drove down with the grandchildren Sunday afternoon and we went full-tilt for another twenty-four hours.

  • David: “Grandaddy! Let’s play hide and seek!”
  • Beks: “Grandaddy! Can we go to the park… please?”
  • “Sorry, bud, I’m making lasagna from scratch here and the kitchen requires my full attention!”

IMG_9082So out they go with Rebekah to “water the plants” in the back garden. And there is joy multiplied, mixed in with squeals of delight, and the house lights up with exuberance much the same way the church lit up earlier in the day when we celebrated the amazing life and vitality of Jesus – so strong that even death could not hold it in.

There were four particular elements of the visit that made it extra special this time. Watering with grandmama; storytelling by grandmama; the children’s love of books; and simply walking around Wake Forest’s downtown together.

Half today’s images were captured by Naomi – who has a wonderful eye for a story; you can see her name in the bottom right of the pictures she took.

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listening to Rebekah’s stories

The children (David is five, and Beks is well on the way to four in a couple more months) love nothing more than to sit with their grandmama Rebekah and listen to stories. Right now they’re in the middle of an epic saga where the main character – “The Old Woman” – and her dog – “George” – are making their way across the United States to visit the Golden Gate Bridge. So far, after five or six adventures, they’re still well east of the Mississippi.

The children are rapt with attention, remember everything, and ask great questions. They’re constantly curious, inventive, independent minded, opinionated, and on the go – balancing the tightrope between exuberant discovery and remembering to listen and behave.

Wake Forest:

IMG_9045So I took them into Wake Forest’s marvelous little town center Monday morning. We walked to the bank, made our way down White Street, and ended up at Page 158 Books, where I let them both pick out a story to bring home.

Other than church, bookstores are pretty much their favorite places on earth. Beks gravitated to the puppets, princesses, and anything about cats. David – the budding engineer – immediately got busy at the wooden train table, then found a Lego reference book as well as something on trains.

Then, when we got home, they both immediately got comfortable in the big chairs for some serious reading time. It makes my heart sing.

Age and more age:

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Downtown Wake Forest

When our children – Andrew and Naomi – were this age, Rebekah and I were just thirty-one. In some respects, looking over our shoulders, 1987 seems like it was just yesterday. Then in others, looking over our shoulders hurts too much because our necks are over sixty years old!

I have to admit it, I simply don’t have that level of durability anymore. Mentally, I feel as young as I ever have; spiritually, I’m actually adding capacity, flexibility, and facility; but physically I simply can’t grandparent at the speed I’d like to.

But maybe that’s the point; maybe it’s part of the balance and the design of it all. My job as Grandaddy Derek is to love David and Beks with the cumulative love of all these decades, to nurture them spiritually in ways I’m only now beginning to grow into, and to share with them the stories I couldn’t possibly have known thirty years ago because I had yet to live them.

My job as Grandaddy Derek is to love David and Beks with the cumulative love of all these decades, to nurture them spiritually in ways I’m only now beginning to grow into, and to share with them the stories I couldn’t possibly have known thirty years ago because I had yet to live them.

IMG_9054It’s all good. And though it won’t be too long before I have to say, “I believe you’re a little big for me to carry up the stairs to bed,” my aching back managed it again this time, and – just as soon as I’m recovered – I’ll more than likely do it again…

…. And by then maybe Rebekah’s Old Woman Stories will have to expand a little to accommodate an old man.

– DEREK

spring beauty in Wake Forest

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To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. – Isaiah 61:3

DSC_0347It’s not only the children who are singing praises this week (“Sweet Hosannas“), it’s all of creation. Springtime here around Wake Forest is continuing to be this picture-perfect combination of 60-degrees, exploding color, sunshine, light rains, and promise. I honestly couldn’t make this any more wonderful if I tried!

So Monday, still aching from gardening Friday and Saturday, we spent a few more hours outside, finishing up a screening project to visually improve the underside of the deck. Rebekah did most of the work, while I walked around to capture some images of North Carolina in early April.

If you live around here, you already know how fortunate we are; you can just poke your head outside your own house to see something similar; but the rest of you may want to peruse these photographs. Then you’re probably going to want to move here; all this beauty, plus WFPC every Sunday – it’s win-win!

This past week we’ve seen an explosion of color, and I’ve been completely blown away by the power and the intensity of the seasonal transformation. This is our fourth Wake Forest April, so I thought by now it would be routine; but it turns out that – just like the way each new chapter of my life renews me – the seasonal shifts invigorate my spirit too.

It’s our fourth April in North Carolina, and this past week we’ve seen an explosion of color – I’ve been completely blown away by the power and the intensity of the seasonal transformation.

DSC_0334I’m thinking this is maybe an extension of the spiritual growth I’ve been experiencing during Lent. Self examination has been a more natural extension of my identity as a disciple this time around. So, you never know, maybe – just like the garden here at Maul Hall – I’m finally beginning to grow into some kind of maturity.

Wherever you find yourself today, take the time between now and Sunday – Palm Sunday – getting yourself ready for Holy Week and Easter. Beauty for ashes; new life all around us; the promise of resurrection; the constant invitation to grow.

– DEREK

from the lips of children (sweet hosannas!)

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The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David.” But the leaders were indignant. They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?”

“Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.’” – Matthew 21:15-16

IMG_8759Sunday a week ago I took my Nikon DSLR to church and took a lot of great photographs. I’d been asked to document Youth Sunday, so I came prepared (you can see the results at “Go Light Your World!“).

This week, however, I simply showed up for a regular communion service. But before long, and once Rebekah started handing out Bibles to the seven-year-olds who had competed “Prep for Worship” training, I scrambled to pull out my iPhone so I could capture a few images. I’m glad I did.

For Rebekah, this is one of the more meaningful events on the church calendar. She says that “placing God’s word in the hands of our children,” is at the heart of everything we do in discipleship ministries.

And the kids respond to her passion with theirs. She takes the time to tell each child what their name means, and to encourage them to walk with God. The association between taking these steps of faith with such love, care, joy, and in the context of an encouraging community is not lost on these children.

The entire sanctuary was filled up with life, and with the beauty of what it means to walk with Jesus. This is a place where life is experienced, encouraged, nurtured, literally regenerated, and then sent out into the world as a witness. What a privilege.

A Powerful Story:

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listen to this message

The message – and it’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted a link here – was short but extremely powerful. During Lent our congregation has been focused on some of the questions Jesus asked his followers (and asks us), and this time around it was, “Do you see this woman?” ((Luke 7:36-50)

Rebekah shared a very poignant personal story that illustrates how routinely we all tend to close our eyes to people, and to situations, we don’t want to see – or won’t allow ourselves to see. If you want to listen (and I’d recommend it), the message runs from around the 16-minute mark to 32-minutes on the live feed, linked here: “Do You See this Woman” – Rebekah Maul.

She concluded with a very direct invitation to follow Jesus. Jesus doesn’t just give us the eyes with which to see, Jesus gives us the heart with which to love. We can’t hope to make the kind of a difference in this world that these beautiful children need to witness outside of a dynamic, forward moving, personal relationship with the Living God.

Jesus doesn’t just give us the eyes with which to see, Jesus gives us the heart with which to love.

And Jesus is The Way (and the truth, and the life) to enter into that kind of faith.

  • “Have faith enough to acknowledge, to recognize, and to accept Jesus as the one who forgives all our debt,” Rebekah said. “And be freed…. be saved… be at peace.”

Be saved, be at peace – DEREK

good questions are an invitation to the great journey

 

amazing views

As Jesus continued down the road, a man ran up, knelt before him, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to obtain eternal life?” Jesus replied, “Why do you call me good?” – Mark 10:17-18

“fait accompli” – a thing that has already happened, or been decided, before those affected hear about it, leaving them with no option but to accept.

Yes, very precipitous!One of the more interesting aspects of being a writer is fielding – and, very occasionally, answering – people’s questions. I say “occasionally” answering because I don’t see myself as an answer guy so much as a more nuanced questioner. I’m okay with that, though, because “more questions” is pretty much how Jesus ran his operation too.

But here’s the thing, and I find myself leaning completely on Jesus for this, I’m finding out that this kind of honest wondering leads to better questions, and the questions become another sort of journey, a kind of treasure hunt, where the treasure turns out to be the path taken. And many of the people who yell “only we know the truth” along the way, the ones wearing tags saying Arrived, and You’re wrong, we’re right, or We have the answers, turn out to be essentially sitting in halls of mirrors; and, while they peddle exclusivity and look pleased with themselves, thoroughly convinced that they’ve arrived and that you are the one missing it, they are in fact looking out at a limited, uninspiring, view of their own construction.

So forgive me if, sometimes, I answer your question with one of my own.

Mountain Story:

Yes, it was cold!This conversation reminds me of the morning I climbed Mt. Sinai (details in “Destination God” or the introduction to my 2015 book, “Pilgrim in Progress“).

When I answered “yes” to the invitation, I thought it meant drinking coffee just before dawn, finding a viewpoint, and watching the sun rise over the summit.

But when the guide woke me up at 1:00 AM, I realized Mt. Sinai was not about the view, but the journey, and certainly more about the journey than the destination.

There was a new question at every turn, a new adventure at every crossroads. Yes, I drank my dark coffee, but then I had to haggle with a Bedouin for a camel; the camel didn’t come with a manual, so when he took off at speed – without the guide – I simply held on for dear life; the animal eventually slowed down to a walk, and I learned to trust the journey in the dark; I learned to listen to the mountain before I could see it; I learned to recalibrate my eyes to see by starlight; I understood that silence and meditation were their own path up the mountain; I experienced wonder when the moon finally rose to wash the precipitous path in light; when it became too steep for the camel, I climbed in the dark by keeping my eyes on the shoes of the guide in front of me; and so on… There is so much to learn because of the journey.

brilliant colorsWe attained the summit well before the dawn. Then, when the most spectacular sunrise I have ever experienced crept steadily across the Sinai desert until it reached our vantage point, I realized exactly why God had invited Moses to have their conversation in that particular place.

But – in a broader sense – I still had not arrived in terms of a fait accompli (nothing more needed). God met me there in order to equip me for the next stage of the journey, and – for me – that has been the invitation to go deeper, to become a more effective bearer of such an invitation to others, and to continue asking the questions that get us moving, up Mt. Sinai, sometimes on a camel, sometimes in silence, and sometimes in community – but always moving…

The point is the journey – DEREK

Living with enthusiasm and joy! (The Grandaddy Letters)

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Hide and seek with Great-grandma Grace

“Do good, be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for yourselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that you may take hold of the life that really is life.” – 1 Timothy 6

This morning I had planned to launch a potentially far-reaching conversation about Lent, but I’ve decided to wait for tomorrow morning; Sunday provides the perfect opportunity to hit “reset” spiritually, and I have a couple of questions I’d like for all of us to carry forward with us between now and Holy Week.

Today I’d like to share a few more thoughts from the week with our grandchildren. We took them back to Richmond Friday evening so I’m in a better position to reflect with a little more concentration. I’ll frame this post as one of the, “Grandaddy Letters” series that’s been running since a few months before David was born.

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Dear David and Beks:

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we fed the birds.. now where are they?

Wow! That sure was some four days of fun we had together, wasn’t it! You’re both so bright, and happy, and inquisitive, and loving, and full of energy. I’ve got to tell you, you wore me out!

I don’t know if you realize this, but the kind of life you have – the quality of “aliveness” that just spills out from you, all over the place – does more than give your grandparents a lift, it actually regenerates us.

This is what, in the grownup world, we call a paradox. A paradox is when something looks like it should do one thing, but it turns out to do something quite the opposite. Yes, we’re tired; and, yes, we’re not so young as we used to be; but the life that flows out from you – the ebullience – gets all the way into who we are. Your life fills us up, it lifts us up, and it stays with us after you go home.

In the Bible, Jesus teaches about how people who love God and follow him are supposed to live; it turns out we’re supposed to live with the kind of light, and energy, and belief, and creativity, that we see in our beautiful grandchildren. You, David, and you, Beks, teach us about the Jesus quality of life.

img_8248So here is my word for you, dear grandchildren. Don’t ever let go of that kind of life! Don’t ever let the world around you put out the light you carry; don’t ever trade in your creativity, your inquisitive minds, and your thirst for learning.

God – who loves us so very much – put each one of us on this Earth to not only enjoy the world but to serve God by loving each other with God’s kind of love. That means you, David, and you, Beks; God has big ideas for both of you, and those ideas involve shining brightly and loving with enthusiasm.

So thanks for another great visit. We love you both, and we love your parents too. We can’t wait to see how brightly you continue to shine for God.

In love, and because of love – Your Grandaddy Derek.

(check out the before and after haircut pics!)

 

love, Legos, stories, and imagination at “Camp Grandparent”

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This has been a classic “host the grandchildren” week here at Maul-Hall. Four days in Wake Forest while their parents remodel the nursery at their church home in Richmond. I love the way our daughter Naomi is harnessing her creativity, her crafting, and her commitment to serve God in such an imaginative way.
Meanwhile, I’ve been enjoying the creativity, the imagination, and the over-the-top enthusiasm of two extremely energetic children! The challenge is to provide constant opportunity for them to remain engaged and learning, while having fun at the same time.

img_8081The challenge is to provide constant opportunity for them to remain engaged and learning, while having fun at the same time.

That’s why I love to see them involved in so much self-directed play. They build, make up stories role play, read, and invent their own games. Then there was making bread with grandmama, heading to the park with grandaddy, and – the big project of the week – putting together a 700-piece Lego rendition of Tower Bridge in London.

At five years of age, David is eager to accomplish tasks well beyond his years. So we went through the 99-page instruction guide one step at a time, and all I did was to ask questions and drop hints: “How many of those pieces do you need?” “Remember to assemble what you need before you put that part together.” “Does that look like the picture or should you try again…”

After maybe six hours over three days we were done. I love to see the concentration, the complex spatial awareness, the problem-solving, the sense of satisfaction when things fall into place, and the willingness to try difficult things.

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Volcano research

David is also a big fan of volcanoes, especially Mount St. Helens. Yesterday, while I was preparing dinner, he sat at the counter and watched the entire National Geographic special detailing the geology behind the massive 1980 explosion.

Lastly, one of my favorite things is to watch the children sitting with Rebekah and asking for, “The Old Woman Stories.” Rebekah is a master storyteller; she doesn’t just captivate the children, she draws me in too. I’m thinking I should start to record her and use the stories as the basis for a book.

The kids need some attention now, so I’ll leave you with a few photos and get on with another exiting day of grandparenting.

Peace, and more peace, on your Lenten journey – DEREK

10-photo Thursday

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Early morning walk in Wake Forest

I’ve been struck this week by how complex and varied North Carolina is this time of the year. Sunday afternoon the temps reached 81-degrees, Monday night featured a good freeze, Wednesday was the more typical wintery 45 and rainy, then – today at 10:00 in the morning – it’s a picture perfect 41-degrees with brilliant sunshine.

It’s easy to forget that “average” regional temperatures are nothing more than a statistical construct, with little or no bearing on what any actual moment in time might look like.

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morning around Ashvillle (Kim Altman)

One of the great themes of my writing is that of constantly inspiring anyone willing to listen to be anything but average in the way they live. However, and a lot like believing a climate model should be able to predict today’s weather, we allow ourselves to become consistently conformed to the expected, to the extent that “the way things are” unreasonably limits us, dulls our imaginations, and often holds more sway than our commitment to live as followers of the living way of Jesus.

We allow ourselves to become consistently conformed to the expected, to the extent that “the way things are” unreasonably limits us, dulls our imaginations, and often holds more sway than our commitment to live as followers of the living way of Jesus.

So I’ll wrap this short post by quoting Paul in his letter to the Colossians. He, too, was concerned that his friends were forgetting their primary commitment to follow Jesus. “If you died with Christ to the way the world thinks and acts, then why do you live as if you still belonged to the world?” (Colossians 2:20-23)

Our opportunity – as disciples – is to move out of the restrictive, constrictive realm of “normal,” and to live truly extraordinary lives as followers of Jesus. Our calling is to be subversive for Jesus.

In love, and because of love – DEREK

(So here are a few fun photos from this week – enjoy!)

 

There is a season (turn, turn, turn)

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“To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven.” (The Byrds/Pete Seeger/Ecclesiastes 3…)

Thursday evening I drove Rebekah over to our church campus for a couple of meetings. As we walked from the parking lot to the Christian Life Center I looked up to see the last remaining light seep out of the western sky. I almost felt a sense of the movement of the earth, as our portion of North Carolina moved away from the sun, dipping into the darkness on our journey away from February 2 and toward another new day.

img_7631The fluidity of time, spread out across the sky on the big screen in an animation that spoke also of timelessness. It made me look at our church – also moving hundreds of miles per hour and into tomorrow – as both my fixed point in eternity and my mode of transportation into the next part of this adventure.

A couple of weeks ago, introducing some new members to my adult Sunday-school class, we went around the room making sure everyone knew everyone else. People shared their name, their occupation, and how long they have been at WFPC.

Some were brand new members, some had joined since we arrived three and a half years ago, and some folk have been around a decade or so. But the best answer by far came from a couple who introduced themselves this way: “We’ve been church members since around 2006,” they said; “disciples for the past year.”

“We’ve been church members since around 2006,” they said; “disciples for the past year.”

Wow! I wish everyone understood the distinction (and practiced it) well enough to introduce themselves in that way.

But following Jesus is a continual journey, like the earth moving through time and space. We may stand outside of time in terms of our relationship with eternity, but we live here on this beautiful planet as we live into God’s purposes for our lives, and our relationships to one another. As disciples, we must never stand in place, but always move into tomorrow.

Our calling is not to stop the world from turning, but to reconcile the world to God.

All of these new things are from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and who gave us the ministry of reconciliation. In other words, God was reconciling the world to himself through Christ, by not counting people’s sins against them. He has trusted us with this message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20

It really is amazing sometimes what you see when you stop for a moment and look up – DEREK