if our church looks perfect it’s likely been photo-shopped

WFPC-001I’ve been playing with the idea fitting two images side-by-side in order to get the entire span of Wake Forest Presbyterian Church in one frame. Obviously there are some lighting issues, but as you can see I’m close. Close enough that I can pretty-much guarantee that next time (if I find a suitably overcast day and remember to put my tripod in the car) I’ll be able to post something really cool.

Of course we all know that there is no such thing as a perfect church, and any church that looks perfect – or sounds perfect – has to have been in some way photo-shopped. The photograph above is exactly how WFPC looked when I stood in the parking lot at 8:15 Saturday morning. I tilted one way for the image on the right, and the other way for the image on the left.

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday

PERSPECTIVE: Somebody else, standing in a different spot, could have an entirely different view. Not just could, but certainly would. Because what we see is contingent on such a wide variety of variables that it couldn’t possibly all be the same.

What we’re looking at in the opening photo (above) is – moving from right to left – the sanctuary, the main entrance, the preschool wing, the courtyard, and the CLC (Christian Life Center). Out of sight are adult education classrooms, the children’s ministry area, the youth room, the office wing, and more.

Looking at the panoramic photograph, and thinking about all the different views and perspectives, reminds me that the members of this church own – between us – at least 800 different points of view.

  • 800 views – but one Jesus.
  • 800 ways that we think about how God is working in our lives – but one Savior, one Lord, one great love for God.
  • 800 honest thought processes when it comes to social issues, politics, and the fine details of doctrine – but one unified commitment to love one-another, and to encourage one-another, and worship as a big, boisterous, multifaceted, 800-members-and-growing family.
  • 800 variations of being wrong about at least something – but one huge pile of grace in which to find forgiveness, to rest in God, to learn from one-another, to bounce ideas around, and to grow as disciples.
worship

worship

I just love the rich color-palette of this community; they way the light bounces around off the various facets; the way Jesus appears so uniquely in individuals, yet with the clarity of an image in stained glass or an impressionist painting when we are viewed as a body; the way our unity finds such traction in love; the way this church is a lighthouse to the world rather than a fortress standing against it.

Today is Palm Sunday, and we’ll be making a lot of noise about Jesus. If you come – and I pray that you do – you will find a church family that’s hard to describe in just a few words. And, if you take a photograph, you’ll never be able to get the whole thing in.

Nobody could, not without some serious photo-shopping… But we don’t tidy up that easily; we don’t need to – we’re just not that kind of a church…

- DEREK

 

 

Jesus defies convention (connecting with the source for the best wine)

IMG_8656-002When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!”John 2:9-10

Just a short post for today. I simply want to share an impression that touched my heart from the wedding Rebekah and I attended Friday evening.

Rebekah was asked to do the ceremony because of a connection through our church. However – other than meeting the couple when they came in for their sessions with Rebekah – the bride’s mother and Karen Pettyjohn (who played piano with her usual mastery) were the only people we knew.

IMG_8654The location was a sumptuous country club over in Cary. Brooke and Sam were married on a magnificent stairway in the grand ballroom with a chandelier the size of a baseball diamond.

It was a beautiful ceremony. Rebekah connected with the crowd in a way that put everyone at ease; she won them over instantly, and she invited the presence of God as if the ballroom was a sanctuary.

And she wasn’t about to pass up an opportunity to share the Good News with 175 attentive people. She read three challenging passages of scripture, and preached about the fact that every relationship must depend on faithfulness to God, the indwelling of the Spirit, and the power of the presence of Jesus if it is to engage its full potential.

And isn’t that what we long for, when we stand in front of a room full of witnesses and pledge to love each other with our very best, and for the balance of our lives?

Later, during the reception, I looked to the grand staircase, overflowing with young adults who were there to encourage their friends in this new commitment; and I wondered about how equipped any of them are to face the interval between where they are, and where Rebekah and I stand, enjoying the richness of 35-plus years of love and faith and struggle and unrelenting life.

My heart went out to them; beautiful, young, enthusiastic; bubbling with joy and anticipation; vulnerable; on the brink of so much.

Rebekah with Brooke and Sam

Rebekah with Brooke and Sam

Jesus defied convention, Rebekah pointed out, by demonstrating that the best wine – the best of everything – isn’t served first, and it doesn’t ever have to run out. So long as we invite the source of life, light, creativity, and purpose into the epicenter of our relationships and our future.

Life is difficult. Marriage is an epic adventure. God intends to accompany us on the journey. How can we communicate the truth of that promise to such a secular world?

- DEREK

 

 

what to do with a great story?

birthday dinner at Winston's Grille

birthday dinner at Winston’s Grille

Typically my issue with this space is not so much “writer’s block” as “writer’s filter.” In other words, I have so much I want to share, but it’s a question of “how?” “how much,” “when,” and “where?”

  • “Is this story something for the new book… or can I use it for today’s post?”
  • “Should I save this idea for my Christian Voice column in Tampa?”
  • “I was thinking of running this in FOCUS magazine, but I’d love to share it with my blog readers too.”
  • “If I write up this thought for my AllProDad.com article then I can’t use it in today’s blog…”
  • “My Wake Forest Today deadline is in a couple of hours, so I guess I know where this story is going!”

Sometimes it crosses my mind that I should make my choice based on who is paying more! But then – wait a minute – I remember that I’m a FREE-lance writer, and this blog happens to be the epitome of gratis!

TEST-DRIVE: Truth be told, I test-drive a lot of ideas through this medium, musings that end up elsewhere later on. This space is a kind of experimental garden, where thoughts, questions, convictions, stories, and revelations are planted, watered, trimmed, and kicked around. Sometimes they end up little more than so much mulch, fertilizer that helps the next story grow, or germination for cross-pollination; other times these blog posts become seeds, roots, grafts, and even transplants.

Today I’d like to send you to my Wake Forest Today article at Reading Between the Lines. Wake Forest Today is our local on-line news magazine. For the editor/publisher WFT is the fruition of a dream she’s had to launch a cutting-edge publication. For me it’s my best opportunity to develop a long-term conversation with the people of this wonderful town.

This week’s column is titled, “Palm Sunday – what kingdom are you living in.” Please click on the link and give it a look; I believe you’ll be glad that you did.

Meanwhile, here are a handful of photos from my most excellent birthday #59 yesterday.

Peace to you all, and God’s rich blessings – DEREK

 

 

“for the sake of his great name…” – musings on fifty-nine

“Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own. As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right.” - 1 Samuel 12:21-23

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this morning – freshly minted 59

59! The interesting thing is that – as of this morning – I have now been kicking around on this good Earth for a full 59 years.

No, I’m not fishing for birthday greetings (I’ll take all I can get this time next year!). But events such as birth anniversaries do tend to facilitate personal reflection; and I tend to be a naturally reflective person anyway.

I’ve shared before how Bible study nurtures and enhances my thinking. We are all created in the image of God, and I believe that creativity not only honors the image of God in me, but that creativity can only reach its potential in the context of a relationship with the One who is the author of creation.

And God was at work again Wednesday evening at WFPC, as we discussed several more chapters from 1 Samuel in my study group for men.

The things that we value, the prophet Samuel points out – the priorities, the possessions, the wealth, and the power that we believe we need in order to be “successful” – are essentially useless – “they can do [us] no good”. But there’s no call to be discouraged, because the Lord, for the sake of his great name, has not and will not reject us. Why? Because – he says – the Lord is pleased to make us his own!

JESUS: This is what I love so much about Jesus. Jesus reached out (stepped in) through time and space, so that – for the sake of God’s great name – I can accept, own, and live into the fact of God’s specific and personal love for me!

And what has this to do with turning 59? Everything, it turns out. Because, rather than grinding through middle age with growing weariness and looking over my shoulder at a nostalgic past, obsessed with how well I’m doing vis-à-vis the world’s checklist for “success,” I find that I am more complete, more vital, more engaged, and more passionate for tomorrow than ever before.

I am more complete, more vital, more engaged, and more passionate for tomorrow than ever before.

"official" 59 portrait

“official” 59 portrait

GRAB HOLD OF LIFE! If only we could all grasp the transformational meaning of Samuel’s words: “The Lord is pleased to make you his own… for the sake of his great name!”

And if only we could all grab hold of the powerful invitation of Jesus: “I came so [you] can have real and eternal life, more and better life than you ever dreamed of!” – John 10:10

Looking at this past year with gratitude, and into the coming twelve months with anticipation and joy – DEREK

 

don’t waste time being busy: “there is a river…”#Psalm46

IMG_8626-001God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
    though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble with its tumult. - Psalm 46 (1-3)

It’s another ordinary day at Maul Hall. It begins in the kitchen, with coffee and a devotional time, together in God’s good word.

Of course there’s a lot going on, there always is. We’re part of a vibrant faith community; Rebekah’s responsibilities as pastor are legion; I always have writing work that needs to be done; maintaining a home takes a great deal of attention; there are many other demands on my time.

Invariably, we tend to wake up with a sense of anticipation and excitement about the coming day. Not because the hours ahead are guaranteed to be easy, or smooth sailing, but because life is good.

IMG_8632BALANCE: For me one of the most fundamental principles of effectiveness is maintaining a sense of balance. That’s why I included this photograph, taken yesterday in the middle of the afternoon (I’m making tea; Rebekah is in the garden taking a deep breath; Scout is on the deck waiting for potential crumbs), when the last thing either of our schedules recommended was a 30-minute break and a pot of tea out on the deck.

But nothing in the long list of important things we’re involved with will work, or be the least bit effective, if we don’t maintain the kind of balance we were designed for.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
    God will help it when the morning dawns.
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
    he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our refuge. – Psalm 46:5-7

We don’t do things like this – and this is critically important to understand – because we have all the time in the world to play with; we do them because we don’t.

IMG_8591PRODUCTIVITY: Now we don’t do this (dog picture, left)! But, seriously, both Rebekah and I have learned that balance actually makes us more productive.

Here’s an example. Once in a while – mostly due to the fact that I’m a slow learner – I will skip my morning devotional time “because I’m too busy.” So I’ll jump directly into work which “can’t wait.”

Always, without exception, I will have accomplished less productive work by lunchtime than I would had I set aside the first 15-20 minutes for deliberate, intentional time with God.

Come, behold the works of the Lord;
    see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
    he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God!
    I am exalted among the nations,
    I am exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:8-10

Balance, then, isn’t the result of having a loose schedule and few demands on our time. The discipline of balance actually increases productivity, multiplies effectiveness, and facilitates the quality of quiet, centered, connected-to-God self that is better equipped to deal with demands, distractions, and overwhelming circumstances when they do occur.

The critical question in terms of productivity is not “how busy can I be?” but “how connected am I to the fountainhead of knowledge, peace, creativity, and purpose?”

DSC_1145And the answer, my friends, is always going to be, “Jesus.”

Be still, and know that I am God!
    I am exalted among the nations,
    I am exalted in the earth.”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our refuge. – Psalm 46:10-11

- DEREK

PS – Here are four bullets you might want to take from today’s post:

  • Nothing in the long list of important things we’re involved with will work, or be the least bit effective, if we don’t maintain the kind of balance we were designed for.
  • But – and this is critically important to understand – we don’t do things like this because we have all the time in the world to play with; we do them because we don’t.
  • The discipline of balance actually increases productivity, multiplies effectiveness, and facilitates the quality of quiet, centered, connected-to-God self that is better equipped to deal with demands, distractions, and overwhelming circumstances when they do occur.
  • The critical question in terms of productivity is not “how busy can I be?” but “how connected am I to the fountainhead of knowledge, peace, creativity, and purpose?”
making afternoon tea... Rebekah in the garden... Scout waiting on the deck

making afternoon tea… Rebekah in the garden… Scout waiting on the deck

 

 

 

“titled,” “recently dead,” or a regular Joe – we are all welcome at this table

Derek Maul

Derek Maul

If you’re a student of television shows such as “Downton Abbey,” then you are likely familiar with the way people are introduced at a formal dinner or reception. They pause at the door, the butler makes some noise to command attention, and they are “announced,” often along with title, relationship to the host, or some accomplishment.

  • “Lord Jones of Kent; Ambassador to China.”
  • “Mr. Smith of Atlanta; cousin to our host.”
  • “Dr. Love of Paris; winner of the Nobel Prize.”

Maybe you’re an actual “important” personage, and have been announced that way yourself? Or maybe you’ve wondered how you might be introduced if the occasion arose? It would be an interesting exercise to write out our own introduction, and to ask someone else to write one for us, then see how they compare.

LAZARUS: The title of today’s reading in Reaching Toward Easter suggests an introduction for the New Testament character Lazarus. If you recall, Lazarus is the man Jesus had invited back into life from the grave. When the Great Teacher returns to Bethany, you-know-who is there among the guests.

Can you imagine the announcement? “(Cough, cough…) Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce Lazarus of Bethany; until recently, dead!”

Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. – John 12:1-2

bread and wine

bread and wine

I’ve often imagined being a guest at dinner with Jesus. Of course the Last Supper always comes to mind; simply absorbing the presence of Jesus, drinking from the cup, breaking off a chunk of that bread, feeling the profound weight of the moment, listening to the Master deliver some of the greatest sound-bytes offered in the entire history of human thought.

But this gathering at Bethany – just before Jesus walked into Jerusalem with his heart wide open, understanding what was about to transpire, one last deep breath before the coming storm – it must have been something special.

There is peace around the table; good friends hanging out with Jesus, enjoying the Master’s presence. And look who’s there! Lazarus; until recently, dead!

This Easter story is all about living completely, radically and consummately; it’s about living faith out loud. Living as if we mean it is a theme of mine at the moment. That is, after all, why Jesus was willing to give absolutely everything for the very people he was with as he reclined for that meal.

He did that for me, and he did it for you. We are welcome at his table.

PRAYER: We know how important it is to be still and tune in to your voice, God. Help us to re-prioritize and schedule more time at the table with Jesus. Amen

- DEREK

Read more from “Reaching Toward Easter” by purchasing the book:

 

singing with the birds #springtime

DSC_0177All creation shouts the glory of God;
    the skies advertize the work of God’s imagination.
Day after day the heavens declare the wonder;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.Psalm 19

DSC_0122

neighborhood color

Happy Monday, friends! Here in North Carolina we enjoyed a perfect spring weekend. The trees are beginning to burst with color, the temperatures have been in the 60’s, and the birds are singing their hearts out.

It’s as if all creation has picked up the signal, and life is pushing through with insistence, with conviction, and with ebullient celebration.

Listening to the birds:

Sunday afternoon, while Rebekah returned to church to work with a new class of small-group leaders, I sat out on the deck, took deep breaths of fresh life, got into a good novel, and took a few more photographs of the evidence.

DSC_0101I wondered about the birds, and what makes them so much fun to watch? I think part of it is the fact that they always look so enthusiastic! They swoop in at breakneck speed, stop on a dime, gobble up a little seed, then look up as if to say, “Thank you!” before darting off to circle the garden a few more times. They seldom stay in one spot long enough for the camera to focus, but when I capture an image they always appear to be grateful.

That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”Matt 6:25-27

Listening to my heart:

I felt that way at church, yesterday (singing praises with a smaller crowd because everyone seem to have cleared out for Spring Break). I was struck by the spirit of gratitude, of celebration, and of embracing the spring-like quality of new life in Christ.

Women's chorus, yesterday at WFPC

Women’s chorus, yesterday at WFPC

It is pretty-much the same song that the birds have been singing. It’s a song we are all invited to sing – every day.

What a great way to launch this new week – singing our hearts out with the birds, with all of creation, and with the ebullient, insistent, grateful Presbyterians at 12605 Capitol Boulevard in Wake Forest!

(Enjoy more new bird photos:)

 

success: maybe it doesn’t mean what we think it means?

Available at Upper Room and Amazon

available at Amazon and Upper Room Books

Today’s post is has two parts. First, a summary version of this Sunday’s reading in my book, “Reaching Toward Easter.” Then, a few fun photographs from Saturday’s “Love Your Church Work-Day” here at WFPC.

Jesus redefines everything!

March 22 – The fifth Sunday in Lent: Are you one of this man’s disciples?

Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” – John 18:16-17

Peter and the other disciples had still not managed to grasp the essential idea of Christ’s teaching.

  • Jesus wasn’t concerned with creating a “successful” movement according to the world’s definition of the word success.
  • Instead, the Master was intent on re-casting the meaning of a whole bunch of words; ideas like “revolution”, “kingdom”, “peace”, “freedom”, “abundant life”, “success”, and “victory.”
Spring is coming here in Wake Forest

Spring is coming here in Wake Forest

Maybe, in that singular moment there in the courtyard, Peter really wasn’t one of Christ’s disciples. Maybe he wasn’t following Jesus at all when the girl asked the question. Maybe Peter was thinking something else; something like, “What can I possibly do for a dead leader?” or “How can I follow someone who is not going exactly where I want to go?”

It’s quite plausible that Peter wasn’t afraid at all. But, instead, that he was disillusioned and confused. I’ve been there myself. I think we all have. And we already know the rest of the Easter story.

PRAYER: Purposeful God, please visit us with your spirit of assurance and encouragement. It is easy for us, still, to tragically misunderstand your message. Amen.

Wake Forest Presbyterian Church

Wake Forest Presbyterian Church

IMG_8585

Work-Day Photos: A good number of hardworking Presbyterians came by the campus Saturday morning to get their hands dirty on a number of projects. Here are a few fun photos – including this truly inspirational shot of Rick Mayo on the lift in the CLC, sporting what can only be described as a halo…

I’ll see you in church – DEREK

foodie-friday meets theology-saturday

IMG_8557But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
    and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
    with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
    or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
    and they never stop producing fruit.
- Jeremiah 17:7-8

GOD THOUGHT: Every day I seem to be learning more about what it means to think theologically, and not just think, but to actually do theology.

Theology, of course, means “God thought.” And this blog is the venue where I do a lot of my thinking out loud. It should not surprise me, then, when even a classic foodie-friday post turns out to give me more insight about what it means to live faith out loud, and to invite God into every detail of my living.

This week Rebekah picked two menu items from our new World Kitchens: Italian cookbook. The meal was, in a word, amazing. In retrospect we can say that either one was rich enough to be the star of the meal; but – at the same time – the overwhelming richness went a long way toward helping me understand Saturday morning’s Bible-study.

IMG_8531

getting the ball rolling Friday afternoon

THE MEAL: But first, the meal. Rebekah and I have a lot of great cookbooks, but she still keeps going back to the Italian.

Maybe it’s because of Andrew and Alicia’s love affair with Italy (and ours), or maybe its because the food in this cookbook is simply so darned good. Either way, Rebekah picked out Piccata al Limone (Veal in Lemon and White Wine) and Zucche e Patate Gratinate (Squash and Potato Gratin).

The gratin started with peeling and slicing, then moved in to layering, seasoning, and an unbelievable amount of heavy cream. Butter, too. So it was like a big casserole dish full of artery-destroying goodness. But, oh my, how good.

IMG_8544

capers

I was immediately reminded of a “Business Profile” interview I did with one of my favorite restauranteurs back in Florida. She owned a place called The Brunchery, and the menu was top-heavy with her interpretation of all the good cholesterol-enhanced brunch standards.

I asked if she had a “heart-friendly” selection. Her answer was priceless:

“No,” she said. “I have to count on my customers being smart enough not to eat here more than a couple of times a week.”

She cooked amazing food. Then she expected us to be responsible consumers.

This brings me to the veal piccata. The preparation sounds simple enough, but the intense work is in the reduction sauce – ten minutes of constant attention. Cook the meat in olive oil and butter for just two minutes each side. Reserve the meat on a warm plate. Add white wine to the drippings; reduce. Then add stock and reduce. Then add lemon juice, and capers; reduce. Return the veal to the sauce and heat for one minute. Serve, spoon on the gravy, and garnish with parsley.

veal in the reduction sauce

veal in the reduction sauce

RICH: So rich. Paired with the gratin, out of this world rich. Serve with some fresh vegetables, sour-dough bread, and a full-bodied wine. Round out with fair-trade coffee for desert; so, so good.

Then this morning, studying God’s good word with some of my friends at WFPC, we were challenged with the idea of richness in our manner of living. We were created to live flavorful, meaningful, rich lives.

Jesus referred to us not only as “light,” but also “salt.” Salt brings out flavor. This Christian faith doesn’t understand rich as more so much as flavorful, nourishing, meaningful. satisfying.

sourdough and cabernet

sourdough and Cabernet

And not just rich for me. Jesus wants us to be invested in flavorful, nourishing, meaningful, satisfying life for the world.

His world, by the way; a world that Jesus still wants us to reach – to reach for real life.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.Matthew 6:33

 

 

 

good traffic jams and the “buzz” of real life!

IMG_8437They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.Acts 2:46-47

GRIDLOCK! I’m starting out with a photo of Sunday’s beautiful traffic jam at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church. I was walking out of the church office, a good while after the end of worship, and was surprised to see cars still lined up in all directions, stretching into every parking area. I had fully expected the campus to be clear. The light changed on Capital Boulevard, 15-20 cars got out, then it started to back up again.

IMG_8438So I took a quick photo. “There’s a story here,” I thought, wishing I’d come outside twenty minutes earlier.

The best way to tell the story is to pass on something one of my friends shared:

“I’d been sitting in a line of cars for what seemed like forever,” he said, “waiting to get out. I was running late, impatient, and feeling annoyed. I sighed with exasperation and was just about to mutter something unsavory under my breath when it dawned on me what a blessing it is to be at a Presbyterian church where so many people show up that I get stuck in the parking lot!”

He makes a really good point. Of course, attendance numbers aren’t the only way to measure effective ministry, but it sure does feel good to be surrounded by such an animated crowd of noisy, enthusiastic people every Sunday.

DSC_0079-001WHAT’s UP AROUND HERE? Fact is, there’s a real “buzz” in the air when you walk into the sanctuary and get ready for worship. I remember talking about something similar back at First Presbyterian Church of Brandon; at WFPC it goes something like this:

It’s like experiencing life in an extra dimension; it’s like having not five senses, but six or seven; it’s like a charge of electrical energy; it’s like an intuitive understanding that the spiritual is as real as the air we breathe. Last week I described the kids leading worship for Youth Sunday as, spilling life all over the place. It’s hard to put your finger on, so I’ll tell you a few things that it’s not.

  • It’s not the preacher. Don’t get me wrong, Rebekah is one of the most life-saturated preachers I’ve ever heard; she’s animated, she’s passionate, and she bubbles over with enthusiasm and joy. But the buzz of life around here is more than Rebekah.
  • It’s not the music. Oh, we have an amazing Praise Band and a superb choir. The music at WFPC represents high quality, deep love, and genuine praise. But that’s not the answer.
  • It’s not the friendliness of the congregation. Our people most certainly are friendly, in fact they’re some of the most naturally welcoming people I know. But that doesn’t account for the excitement.
  • And it’s not the kind of excitement generated by overwhelming numbers. We enjoy really good attendance, and both services are comfortably full – but there is certainly room for growth.
Singing "Our God is Alive"

Singing “Our God is Alive”

SATURATED WITH GOD: So then what is it? What is the source of the tingling, electric, animating buzz that permeates the campus here?

Well the short answer – of course –  is God. But it is God animating the worship, the generosity, the adult education classes, the children’s ministry, the staff, the preschool, the discipleship initiatives, the countless small groups that meet throughout the week, the mission ventures, the outreach, the youth, the meetings of ministry teams, the one-on-one encouragement, the fellowship, the counseling, the Wednesday night offerings, the koinonia gatherings, the __________ (you fill in the blank, I simply can’t keep up)….

This campus is literally saturated with God, via ongoing initiatives of grace and self-giving love – disciples living out loud what it means to be faithful followers of the Living Way of Jesus.

worship

worship

THE BUZZ: That buzz, then, the charge of life and energy that permeates the sanctuary on Sunday morning, is the cumulative evidence of everything that goes on here during the balance of the week.

It takes the preaching, the singing, the worship, and the fellowship to another level. It’s all God.

Beyond grateful – DEREK