“Thanks-Gratitude” Message

Happy Thanksgiving, friends and family! My plan was to link my Wake Forest Today column in today’s post, but I’m not sure it will be up in time. So – with apologies to my editor – here it is (and please visit the excellent WFT site anyway…). – DEREK

Thanks-Gratitude and Peace
– DEREK MAUL (for Wake Forest Today)

This week marks the first Thanksgiving in over thirty years that Rebekah and I have not hosted a wide assortment of family and friends in our home.

We’ll be celebrating with family in Greenville, and part of me is looking forward to the shift from overworked host to relaxed guest. But at the same time I’m going to miss the deep joy of standing in our kitchen, every square inch of counter space covered with amazing food, welcoming 25-30 people, asking the crowd to bow their heads, and giving thanks for our many blessings.

That’s why, over the past three decades, I have been calling this week “Thanks-Gratitude.” It’s a theme that continues to define my life.

Florida Thanksgiving
Florida Thanksgiving

FLORIDA: Back in Florida we’d borrow three long tables from the church and put two end-to-end on our screened porch. That would seat 20-ish, then we’d set one more on the grass. The meal would last all afternoon.

The highlight, of course, was the moment – usually between the main courses and dessert – when we all took turns sharing one thing (but usually more) we were thankful for during the past year. At this point there was always laughter and tears pretty much in equal measure.

And there would almost always be unexpected guests. Like the year Rebekah told an “open table” story from the pulpit and several people showed up unannounced. Or the Thanksgiving I drove to the Navy base to pick up a sailor, and he asked if his three friends – standing right there – could come too.

One unique feature at a Maul-Hall Thanks-Gratitude has always been the hard and fast “no television” rule. I know, the idea of no football is hard to swallow! But seriously, people, can’t you watch football pretty-much non-stop at least four days per week somewhere from late August through early January? But when else do we have a house-full of people we love?

PEACE: For me, there was always a point in the late afternoon where I would stand still for a moment, lean on the kitchen counter, and take in the overwhelming understanding of peace and blessing. Here’s what it looked like:

I’d be in the kitchen, doing dishes; pots, pans, fine china, crystal, sliver wear, leftovers; mess upon mess. In one corner, four people are engaged in a lively conversation. On the floor by the bookcase, various grandchildren and cousins play a noisy game. To my right, in the front room, Jesse is pounding out a song on the guitar. On the porch two more groups are sharing stories. On the dining room table, another handful of guests work the 2,000 piece puzzle that will take the rest of the evening.

Two of my sisters-in-law are nosily gathering plates and helping the assembly-line action in the kitchen. Somewhere, a baby is crying. The house is a soundboard and there is a cacophony of noise.

It is the sound of peace.

Peace is often misunderstood as a negative value: no noise, silence, the absence of conflict, having everything neatly in order. But it is not; peace is so much more than that.

Peace is the presence of love, and good intentions, and tolerance, and understanding, and goodwill. Peace is the confluence of family, friends, faith, and noise. Peace is disagreeing, but in love; it is loud, but respectful; it is wrestling, not fighting; it is disorder, yet working together; it is unity, not uniformity.

DSC_0007-002So I will miss the particular iteration of Thanksgiving we have come to know as Thanks-Gratitude. I will miss standing at the epicenter of peace in our home. But we do plan on bringing a carload of it with us over to Greenville.

And I don’t plan on doing any dishes, not this year.

Peace, Thanks, and Gratitude – DEREK

the A-B-C’s of Ferguson, Missouri

When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” -John 5:6

image from Boston Herald
image from Boston Herald

My heart is sad, today, as I think about the terrible mess that is “The Ferguson Situation,” and how that torn community stands as a microcosm of what’s gone wrong in so many places around our country.

Worse still is the outpouring of cynicism, judgment, stereotyping, political posturing, racism, finger-pointing, character assassination, and polarization that seems to be the knee-jerk reaction of so many people on social media. Why do we click “like” and “share” so often when we see something hateful or hurtful, but ignore voices of reason and reconciliation that speak with truth and with love?

What happened in Ferguson was a tragedy. It was tragic for everyone involved: for the young man who shot Michael Brown; for Michael Brown’s family; for the Ferguson police department; for the Ferguson community.

A-B-C: Every tragedy, however, can provide a new opportunity to address the factors that led to that moment. In education, we call it an “A-B-C” analysis. Antecedent; Behavior; Consequence. We – and by “we” I mean everyone with a stake in the situation – take a long, hard look at what led up to what happened, the event itself, and then what happened as a result.

In Ferguson, it’s critically important that all parties get involved in what is now nothing less than a prime opportunity for forward progress as a community.

The last thing they need is for the rest of us to pour gasoline on the fire.

It’s time to get over ourselves, and our petty personal prejudices; it’s time to look at the A-B-C’s, and see what we can all learn from a terrible tragedy that should never happen again.

There is no social problem that can’t be solved if the parties involved really want to move forward. But then that’s the question, isn’t it… Do we want to be healed? Do we? And that applies to all of us, doesn’t it?

When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”

Peace – and I mean that – DEREK

 

well moored… or stuck?

Thinking out loud…

You may have noticed a few changes on this site. I’m trying to keep the blog home-page “look” fresh, while maintaining enough consistency for it to remain recognizable.

As I write that paragraph, it makes me think about relationships. It’s critically important that the relationships we cherish remain fresh, alive, and challenging – but at the same time consistency is equally important.

Relationships that mean something over the long haul are consistent, and they are constantly changing… they are solid, and they are malleable… they are rooted in commitment, and they dare to move into new territory.

STUCK: There’s a difference between being “moored,” and being “stuck.” And, to be honest (and in my work especially) lately I’ve been feeling kind of stuck.

Newness doesn’t have to threaten the comfort of the familiar; but – quite often – the fear of loss can stifle newness at the expense of the very life we dig our heels in to protect.

This principle holds true in friendships, in our relationship to faith communities, in marriages, and – yes – even in the way that we relate to our work.

  • I am a writer, who became an author, and I am more excited than ever before about what I feel called to share with the world – but traditional book publishing may of may not continue to define my contribution to the 21st Century Faith-scape.
  • I love God, I am a stumbling disciple of Jesus, I am a committed member of the local church where we have been planted, and I am rooted in Christ – but my experience and my expression of faith looks very little like it did twenty-five years ago.
  • I am a husband, I love Rebekah with every fiber of who I am (and who I am becoming), my commitment is not only unwavering but it is growing – but that doesn’t mean our relationship looks the same as it did before we had children… or while the children lived at home… or before we were grandparents… or when we lived in Florida.

FEAR AND STUCK-NESS: So what is it that I am being called to do, in terms of dealing with stuck-ness? Our fundamental commitments do not – should not – waver. But there are so many variables at play in all of our relationships, and these variables are the evidence of life. Celebrations, stressors, moves, health, priorities, finances, difficulties, successes, sickness, blessings, missteps, triumphs, changes… the list could go on.

I know I am well moored – in my faith, in our marriage, in the gifts God has given me to share. But sometimes I get stuck – I am beginning to conclude – because I am afraid of the missteps, the stressors, and the difficulties. If I let fear of the missteps and the difficulties keep me stuck, then I have cut myself off from the celebrations, successes, blessings, and triumphs as well.

This is a “thinking out loud” post today. No pithy, tidy, or conclusive final paragraphs to share. Just this one thought, and it’s helpful for me.

Don’t confuse being stuck with being well moored. Fact is, if we’re well moored in Christ, then we’re much less likely to be stuck in any area of our lives.

- DEREK

 

more joy, encouragement, and exciting news from Wake Forest

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KEEP THE LID ON! Monday a week ago I wrote (2 Prayers and a Small Miracle) that I had to wait 24-hours before I was allowed to say anything about a particular moment of joy from Sunday Nov 16 at WFPC. Then it turned out I had to delay this post for an entire week!

Well, the week has passed, so now I have the “all-clear” to share the latest God-saturated news from our wonderful Wake Forest faith community. After more than six months of diligent searching, the APNC (associate-pastor nominating team) presented a recommendation that our congregation call an outstanding young man to work alongside Rebekah on the pastoral staff. John Fawcett will be beginning his work here in early January.

GOOD STUFF! I met John briefly on one of his “under the radar” visits, and I was impressed with his positive, people-oriented witness to faith in Jesus. He is obviously deeply committed to serving God in the context of the Presbyterian Church, and he is genuinely excited at the possibility of working here with our congregation.

IMG_6058Then, last Sunday, I was likewise impressed with the presentation made by the APNC. The group, co-chaired by Sharon Kucyk and Ed Pulliam, were faithful witnesses to the work of the Spirit in their selection process. Their determination, their joy, and their unwavering belief in what is possible here over the next few years, was – and is – truly inspirational.

After the team’s presentation, the motion to call John Fawcett was put to the congregation. That’s when, instead of requesting a show of hands, or asking people to say “aye,” or calling for a ballot, Rebekah instructed the congregation cast their vote by standing.

I’ve got to tell you, the moment was moving. I witnessed a sanctuary full of people come to their feet as one; it was a beautiful display of unity, affirmation, and enthusiasm, and it made my heart sing.

I’ve got to tell you, the moment was moving. I witnessed a sanctuary full of people come to their feet as one; it was a beautiful display of unity, affirmation, and enthusiasm, and it made my heart sing.

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the moment of call

UNITY IN CHRIST: “Here we are,” the people seemed to be saying; “We’ve come through a lot in the past few years; but today we want to make this positive witness to our belief in the power of the Gospel of Love. We are trusting that God will continue to heal us, and that God will continue to lead us – is already leading us – into a future defined by unity, by mutual encouragement, and by joy in believing.”

As for John, he wrote about his calling this way:

“I feel God is calling me to Wake Forest to help shepherd and participate in the rich spirit of discipleship that is in the hearts of the church family… [WFPC] is a place where the Spirit is certainly on fire and at work.”

I’m really looking forward to getting to know John, along with his evidently vivacious wife, Madeline. And I’m continuing to grow in excitement about all that God is doing here, all that Rebekah and I are privileged to be a part of.

IMG_6107So, welcome to Wake Forest, John and Madeline; may WFPC’s vibrant spirit of faith, enthusiasm, and belief draw you in, affirm your calling, and leave you both no other choice than to fall in love with this beautiful community.

In anticipation and joy – DEREK

 

 

the best of the best of the best (because of Jesus)

…If Jesus is anywhere near what we’re up to, then it’s going to be the very best possible, nothing held back, top-notch, and beyond good. That’s just how our Savior rolls.

IMG_6097There’s been some serious cooking going on at Maul-Hall this weekend.

Not that great food is a rarity around here. Fact is, we’re doing our best to be good stewards of the amazing new kitchen. I may be still learning my way around the space, but some genuinely fine dining experiences have been making their way to the counter in recent weeks.

This weekend it’s been a whole other experience. Rebekah put her baking on and she spent the entire evening Friday “bringing it” by the way of angel biscuits and chocolate chip cookies.

The angel biscuits are her grandmother’s recipe. Melt in your mouth amazing. She made enough for Thanksgiving, a few family dinners, and the church officer party that will have Maul-Hall hopping Sunday evening.

BETHLEHEM: The cookies aren’t even for us (which is probably just as well). WFPC will be hosting some 3,000 visitors for Walk Through Bethlehem December 5-7 and we’re hooking each and every one of them up with cider, coffee, and all manner of good cookies.

“I’ll grab three boxes of extra-chewey Chips Ahoy at the store,” I said.

IMG_6091“These are our guests,” Rebekah countered; “I’m going to make twice that many from scratch.”

Well I do understand where she’s coming from. It’s a “Gospel” thing. It’s a “Jesus provided wine that was better than anything they’d ever tasted before” thing. It’s about the fact that if Jesus is anywhere near what we’re up to, then it’s going to be the very best possible, nothing held back, top-notch, and beyond good. That’s just how our Savior rolls.

So we’re going to tell the story of Bethlehem, and we’re going to share the Good News of the Gospel of Love with the community, and it’s going to be the best possible offering we can manage – even down to the home-made cookies.

10470868_10204537521612106_8370897471151634242_oAnd we’re going to live. We’re going to live faith out loud. And we’re going to let the world know that, if Jesus is anywhere near who we are, and what we do, and who we are becoming, then watch out, hold on, jump back Jack, because we are going to be the very best that we can possibly be. That’s our calling; that’s what it means to follow Jesus; that’s jus how we roll.

That’s our calling; that’s what it means to follow Jesus; that’s jus how we roll.

Peace and blessings – and I’ll see you in church – DEREK

 

DTR – Define The Relationship

DSC_0680
on the summit of Mt. Washington

So this is how my brain works: “Ooooo, It’s Saturday morning; it’s not even seven o’clock; it’s as cold as the summit of Mt Washington outside; the dog won’t even get up. I think I’ll drive to the church for some Bible-study with the guys!”

I know! Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But, I’ve got to tell you, add in the good coffee that Dan brews before I arrive, and it’s a wonderful way to start the weekend.

Here’s the scripture (part of it) that we talked about today.

The seed is God’s word… The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity… Luke 8:14

We talked about a lot of things, but mostly we talked about how the Jesus story so easily gets elbowed out of our day-to-day world. Not just by the demands of our lives, but by the pleasures too.

I especially like this translation, “The message is crowed out…”

“DTR”:  As we talked, I realized that it’s not the specifics of, “Follow these rules;” Do this;” or “Don’t do that,” that get crowded out by “the cares and riches and pleasures of this life” so much as our relationship with God. In other words, Jesus isn’t talking about a set of instructions so much as an invitation. We are invited to “grow into maturity” as believers, to become deeply rooted followers of the Living Way, to live – and to think – as children of God.

But the Jesus message is choked, suffocated, crowded out, elbowed out of the way, de-prioritized.

Jay Joyner, who serves on the generosity team at WFPC, gave a great illustration in church last weekend. He talked about a work friend who was forced to have the “DTR” conversation with his girlfriend – “DTR” stands for “Define The Relationship.”

Jay went on to point out that all of us need to – periodically – have a define the relationship conversation with Jesus.

Because it’s all too evident that we elbow Jesus out of the way on a regular basis; we de-prioritize our relationship with The Living God until Jesus isn’t even a second-tier consideration as we make our way from day to day.

IMG_0398Coffee, God’s good word, prayer, a handful of good brothers, and a roomful of encouragement. Now that is a most excellent way to roll out the weekend.

Peace – and I’ll see you in church tomorrow – DEREK

 

 

I believe men can be better than that…

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

IMG_0398The older I get (and I am getting considerably older…) the less I believe in coincidence and the more I see providence at work.

Or maybe it’s that I have just become more sensitive to particular issues and am consequently better equipped to see relationships between events?

Regardless, a huge “snap” moment hit me this morning.

It was in the area of “men’s ministry”; or “men’s issues;” they’re pretty much the same thing.

STUFF I DON’T AGREE WITH: The first leg of the providential coincidence was a blog post forwarded my way by a friend. I did not like what I read! It was another one of those “Things aren’t the way they used to be” articles, contending that “real men” have become a rarity, and that church is being “feminized.”

The writer opined that “stranger-danger” is overplayed, complained that “good-natured teasing” by men is no longer appreciated, argued that “young girls” need to learn to spar with older men, suggested that background checks discourage too many guys from volunteering and “cut godly men out of the lives of kids,” and laments that church is becoming a “man desert” where kids are overly shielded.

“Even as childhood gets safer,” the post reads, “parents and society get more worried about child safety. Authorities are now arresting parents for letting their children walk to a park or for leaving them in a locked car for five minutes… Today’s highly managed youngsters no longer have many chances to mix with men they do not know.”

You can read the entire piece at “How Men Became Scary.” Then, if you want to really understand scary, browse through some of the comments posted by “Christian” men who buy this kind of thinking wholesale.

Here’s part of what I wrote to the friend who forwarded the article:

In my experience, non-creepy guys are never rebuffed at grocery store lines, they’re not excluded from working with children, and they are never accused of being perverts. Also, “good-natured teasing” is typically a euphemism for bullying – the writer seems to want to promote the back-slapping, arm-punching, good-old-boy, sexist, chauvinistic status quo. And he’s blaming parental concern for the loss of influence his type of man is facing.

As for this “girls need to learn how to spar with grown men” nonsense… NO! Instead, grown men need to learn better manners, and to learn that sexual innuendo is not appropriate.

I LIKE MY MESSAGE BETTER!! Here’s the “providential coincidence.” Today’s “Play of the Day” email from All-Pro-Dad featured one of my articles for men. It’s titled “10 Encouraging Thoughts for Dads,” and it pretty-much sums up my approach.

My work for AllProDad.com is pretty much the opposite of complaining that bullying, creepy, sexist, patronizing behavior is under-appreciated; instead, I consistently argue that men can in fact be better than that. We need to become New Testament men, learn from Jesus, and exhibit the strong kind of love that’s outlined in 1 Corinthians 13 (above), and in Galatians 5 (below).

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness. There is no law against such things.

The more I read from the high-traffic sites that speak to men, the more convinced I am that I need to write this new book, and I need to write it fast.

Thanks for the motivation, Lord – DEREK

for fathers NOT in heaven (“harassed” is our name)

Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

Jesus said, “This is how you should pray:

“Father, may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
Give us each day the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation.” – Luke 11 (NLT)

The Lord’s Prayer:

WFPC
WFPC

Wednesday evening at church (after an amazing fellowship dinner prepared by our director of food ministries), my men’s small-group Bible-study met to talk about another chapter from Luke’s telling of the Jesus Story.

The focus was prayer. What is prayer? How do we pray? And what can we learn from Jesus? Naturally, we concentrated on The Lord’s Prayer, and the guys shared several powerful stories from their own experience, and how God continues to challenge them to be more deliberate – and personal – in their relationship with Him.

GUIDE: Christ’s words to the disciples make for a powerful guide, and they comprise a practical outline that often helps to keep me on track. I have copied out, paraphrased, and rewritten this prayer many times in my personal devotional life.

Then yesterday – likely because several of the guys are parents of young children – one of my more humorous renditions came to mind. I couldn’t find my original, but I did remember enough to re-write it for the group.

Several of the men asked for a copy. So, here it is; I hope you enjoy:

The Lord’s Prayer for Dads

- We’re the fathers who aren’t in heaven, “Harassed” is our name.

- Our kids won’t come; our will’s not done – not here on earth, not at home, nor at school, nor at the market when we’re trying to pick up groceries, not on the playground… just maybe in our imaginations.

- We need to cut back some on our daily bread, and we’re up to our eyeballs not only in debt, but in trespasses and sin (all three versions apply).

- Lead us not in to temptation, but deliver us from pizza (and Crispy-Cream donuts, and beer, and chips, and the Sports-Illustrated Swimsuit Edition).

- For we have no Kingdom, and no Power, and the closest we come to Glory is the vicarious kind we strive after via our kids’ performances in Elite Soccer and Little League baseball.

- Forever, and ever, and ever, and ever, and ever, and ever… at least until they go off to college…

- And, Lord, please save us from arrested development, 25-year-olds still living at home, and perpetual parenthood – Amen (by Derek Maul – with apologies to the original author, J.C.)

TOGETHER: Laughter aside – and most of this is only funny because it’s so spot-on true – our entire conversation was in actuality a long, corporate prayer that lasted over an hour.

Gathering together with a few friends and talking about faith, especially when we have the conversation in the context of scripture, is a form of conversational prayer, and it is one where Jesus has a chair at the table.

IMG_0398Again, all I can do is to tell God, “Thanks,” and realize how blessed I am – DEREK

PS – Check out the new Wake Forest Presbyterian Church website, rolled out this week – www.wakeforestpres.org

drinking from the well

tree at "Abraham's Well"
tree at “Abraham’s Well”

Blessed is the one…
whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water.

When Rebekah and I lived in Florida (and it still sounds strange, talking about Florida in the past tense) it wasn’t very difficult to grow stuff. The best example was the 10-inch pencil-sized cypress Rebekah’s mamma gave us when we first moved in; it pretty much became a Giant Redwood within a couple of years.

our Florida cypress (60 ft tall and growing)
our Florida cypress (60 ft tall and growing)

The challenge in Tampa was always more about not growing stuff: not growing trees in the gutters; not losing your mailbox in an outbreak of Philodendrons; not growing mold in the house; not growing shrubs on the window-sills.

We’d go on vacation for a couple of weeks, return home, and just about have to hack our way through a jungle to get to the front door. Many of Rebekah’s plants didn’t even need soil, there was enough moisture in the air to keep them quite happy.

DSC_0544_2HOLY-LANDS: But in the Middle East, where the Bible-narrative plays out, water is at a premium. The Sea of Galilee, for example, is pretty much the fresh-water supply for Israel. Wars have been fought over interruptions to the Jordan River. Wars have been fought over something as rudimentary as a reliable well.

If you plant a tree in Israel, you had better know for sure where the water is. Otherwise the tree is simply going to shrivel up and die.

This was the reality the psalmist had in mind when he penned the words at the top of this page. Someone who takes in God’s Word on a regular basis, someone who takes pleasure from knowing God, someone who meditates, contemplates, ruminates, deliberates, cogitates, reflects; that person is connected to the nourishing, refreshing well of truth and wisdom in the same way that a tree (like the one at the top of this page, planted by Abraham’s Well) draws life from a reliable source of water.

In Israel - look what irrigation can do!
In Israel – look what irrigation can do!

And it’s not just about visiting the well. It’s about planting ourselves there; it’s about putting down roots in God’s good Word.

Kind of like the first part of our mission statement here at WFPC. “Rooted in Christ.”

Delighting in the Word – DEREK

 

 

 

health, exercise and “a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over…”

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“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” – Luke 6:38

Other than being an “attention-getter,” the dog picture (Scout Labradoodle, taken yesterday evening) is also a health tie-in. Scout has been my personal trainer for eight years now, and she continues to make a huge difference.

That’s what I told my doctor this morning, when I went in for a follow-up consult after a round of routine blood-work. I haven’t established a history yet with this practice, so this first time around she wanted to talk about everything in detail.

KUDOS! However, instead of being in trouble, or getting one of those, “These numbers are a real problem” lectures, Dr. S. gave me kudos all around.

“Your numbers are really good,” she said. “I’m very happy. So all I’m asking you to do is the same, only more.”

“The same, only more.” That’s good.

What she was talking about was keeping my weight below 180, eating a lot of fresh vegetables, cooking more chicken and fish than red meat, avoiding too much fried food, not wasting my calories on sweets, and maintaining a healthy exercise regimen.

In other words, my doctor reminded me that health is a life-style, not something I can check off a list.

SPIRITUAL HEALTH: And I couldn’t help but think about my spiritual health, and all the conversations I’ve been having about being a disciple of Jesus. Spirituality isn’t about taking a pill, or getting a shot: – “I go to church every couple of weeks;” “I read up on my Bible-lesson for Wednesday nights;” “I say a blessing before I eat dinner;” “I go to this big-name evangelist conference every year.” Check; check; check; check.

IMG_6029No, not what we’ve been talking about. Spiritual health is a complete diet, a daily discipline, a cumulative exercise.

My mainstay is exercise and diet; walking and nourishment. I walk 8,000-10,000 steps a day (that’s where Scoutie is a BIG help); I try to make all three meals healthy and balanced (or at least 18 of the 21 in a given week). That’s not a pill, that’s a lifestyle.

Following Jesus is a lifestyle. It’s likely several hundred small steps per day, that’s the exercise. Jesus explains the nourishment part in the following way:

“The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” – John 4:14b

“Jesus said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work.” – John 4:32-34

My food is to do the will of him who sent me…” I may be doing OK. Jesus may even tell me he’s happy with my spiritual health. But one thing I know for certain, even if I am registering fairly good on the faith scale: “Derek, I’m asking you to do the same, only more so.”

IMG_5993“A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”

All right, Lord; I hear you loud and clear – DEREK