the art of family, and the joy of celebrating life

Roy, Rachel, Jesse, Rebekah, and Joe

Roy, Rachel, Jesse, Rebekah, and Joe

Don’t misunderstand me when I say that I really enjoyed Saturday morning’s memorial service for Myrt Hubbard Alexander. The occasion was sad, poignant, and memorable, yes – but it was also a celebration full with joy.

First Presbyterian Church of Apopka was packed to overflowing with people, and the participants all shared wonderful stories that told the truth about a life well lived, and detailed the transformational effect such a witness to love can have on the world we live in.

In other words – and from one of my favorite stories in the book GET REAL – if you want to have a great memorial service, then live a great life.

Lindsay

Lindsay

PHOTOS: 100 years and more in the past, professional photographers used to show up at funerals and offer to take family photographs. The practice made perfect sense, because funerals mark a signal moment in family history and – practically speaking – when else is everyone going to be together at the same place and time?

Nowadays we rely on someone to remember to pull out their phone and who hopefully has a long enough selfie-stick to grab a group picture! Or – if you’re lucky – a family member like me actually remembers to throw their tripod in the car and bring along a good camera.

All Alexanders present

All Alexanders present

Here are the best of this weekend’s images, taken around the huge oak tree in the courtyard at First Presbyterian Church of Apopka. The story these photographs tell is one of faith, of faithfulness, of commitment, of discipleship, of caring, of being deliberate about family, and of the joy found in celebrating a life well-lived, a faith well-practiced, and a family well-loved.

In love, and because of love – DEREK

Florida family – worth the drive in the rain…

Cracker-Barrel fun

Cracker-Barrel fun

Rebekah and I drove down to Central Florida Friday, having visited with cousin Zandra in Greensboro, Georgia, and then dropping off a television in Athens for Alicia’s twin sister, Stephanie (who is at the University of Georgia, working on her PhD in clinical psychology).

My Golf TDi was equal to the task, squeezing well over 600 miles out of the first tank. Then we hit a wall of rain around Gainesville, Florida, and it didn’t let up till we arrived in Orlando. Interstate 75 was jammed with traffic, and a parking lot at times with no functional visibility beyond 25-mph; of course this didn’t stop many people from barreling along at well more than 50.

But eventually the white-knuckle driving was over (and a couple of well-timed Cracker Barrel stops), and we relaxed at the Olive Garden with family, catching up till the late evening, sharing stories (and fabrications) and laughing till we closed the place down. Our waiter kindly spilled a large glass of wine over both Rebekah and me (it wasn’t even my wine, we were both drinking coffee), resulting in an entirely comped meal. He was genuinely surprised that his tip was so huge.

Rebekah with our daughter-in-love's twin - Stephanie

Rebekah with our daughter-in-love’s twin – Stephanie

So this morning, instead of my usual post, I’m going to try to drive some traffic to the Wake Forest Today news site where they host my weekly “local” column.

This week’s piece – What’s the Reading on Your “Life-O-Meter”? – is, I believe, worth taking the time to read.

Love, peace, and God’s rich blessings – DEREK

around the table with family at The Olive Garden

around the table with family at The Olive Garden

look at the birds of the air… can any of you by worrying add a single hour?

DSC_0072All of a sudden, after several weeks without much activity, the population of local birds is all over our feeders. We’re not sure if it was the drought, the migration patterns, or the two-month presence of a very active hawk family (my money is on the hawks), but – other than a pair of cardinals – the birds had all been gone for most of the summer.

I’d have been happy for the hawks to stay around if it would have meant the end of the squirrels, but they’ve moved on now and it really is good to finally have the birds back.

In addition, some hummingbirds have discovered the splash of red color in the corner of Rebekah’s garden, and it’s been a delight to watch them dance around.

DSC_0099I’m pleased to have a few photographs to share, but there are a couple of reasons my images are not the best. 1) – Patience: I simply don’t have it. Typically, I see a bird while I’m walking through the kitchen, or cooking; so I run upstairs for my camera; but usually they’re long gone before I get back. 2) – I need a more appropriate lens for my Nikon. I simply can’t get close enough with the one I have. But the lens I need runs considerably more than $1,000, so I guess I’ll have to work on my stealth instead!

I think what attracts me about the birds is the sense of freedom and of joy they seem to embrace. They swoop in at tremendous speeds, stop on a dime, then launch themselves effortlessly into the trees. They project an almost lighthearted orientation, as if every day is theirs to enjoy, as if they were made to live on a wing and a prayer.

DSC_0108-001Jesus must have felt the same way, because he pointed them out as an example for his most essential teaching:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?” – Matthew 6:25-27

Just look at them! It’s like they know something that we’re supposed to understand, too. What a beautiful world we live in; what amazing lessons if only we pay attention.

  • DEREK

King David and men’s ministry (don’t be a train-wreck)

NOTE: If you are looking for yesterday’s post on the passing of Rebekah’s step-mom, “Grand-Myrt,” then click on the following link – “the grace of a great story: “goodbye” to Myrt Hubbard Alexander.

sharing from my heart

sharing from my heart

TODAY: Many of you have been following my occasional commentary on the King David story. My Wednesday men’s Bible-study has been reading through the books of Samuel, and it has been an interesting ride to say the least.

Yesterday evening we concluded our discussion of the long, sordid, Absalom affair (2 Samuel 13-19), and I learned – again – how differently scripture reads when you move away from what I call, “sound-bite mentality” and remember to look at the big picture.

Over the long haul, King David’s reign as king is one long train wreck. But the narrative account is also an epic drama punctuated by multiple instances where the nature of his heart is revealed time and again. The Bible describes David as “a man after God’s own heart,” and his struggle is the same as ours; and that is, “how can we reconcile the inner calling to follow God’s way with our place in the tragic, broken world we live in?”

The king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” 2 Sam 18:33

WITH GREAT POWER… David was a great man, no doubt, but he failed time and again, and the reach of his failure was magnified by his great power (In this instance, for example, the consequence of his unwillingness to stand up when his daughter was raped led to murder, dishonor, rebellion, war, and the death of at least 20,000 people). Likewise, the positive influence of David’s genuine love for God, his repentance, and the authenticity of his struggle has been huge.

For us – a group of men journeying through life with some amazing gifts and resources at our disposal – it is obvious that we need to put things in the correct order. Unless we engage our day to day – first – from the perspective of humble servants of God, always seeking to follow the Living Way of Jesus, we can make a terrible mess of the opportunities that come our way.

Like David, each one of us has the charge to take what God has given us, and to make a difference in this world. As husbands and fathers; as friends and neighbors; as professionals making a living; as citizens; as members of a faith community committed to making disciples, and sharing God’s invitational love with the world…

The benefits.. the consequences… the repercussions… the results of how we live our faith out loud are commensurate with the level of giftedness and resources God has trusted us with.

the author

the author

OPPORTUNITY: This is both an opportunity and an intimidating reality. But this is why we gather in groups for accountability, encouragement, and inspiration. Because Christianity is best understood – and practiced – as a team sport.

In love, and because God wants to take the Gospel of Love to the world through us – DEREK

the grace of a great story: “goodbye” to Myrt Hubbard Alexander

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

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collage of Myrt pictures by Naomi Campbell (with Andrew, Naomi, Rebekah, and various great-grandchildren)

This post is in remembrance of – and with great respect for -Rebekah’s step-mom, Myrt Hubbard Alexander.

As an official Story Collector, I often ask the question, “Where does a story begin?” The answer is not always as clearcut as you might think.

A lot depends on exactly where the story intersects with our own. In the case of Myrt, for example (“Grand-Myrt” to our children) my apprehension of her story doesn’t begin until that sweet moment around 2001, when the family realized she was in all likelihood dating Rebekah’s dad, Bob Alexander.

Long story short, a couple of years into his tenure as a widower, Rebekah’s dad repeatedly went AWOL from his home in Gainesville, Florida. We knew something was up when Rebekah started fielding phone calls from her siblings…

  • Sibling: “Bekah! Where’s dad? He’s not answering his phone.”
  • Other sibling: “Rebekah! We’re trying to reach dad, and he’s not picking up!”
  • Third sibling: “Hey, Bek! Do you know where dad is?”
  • Rebekah: “I have no idea. No, I can’t ‘pop over and check on him!’ He lives in Gainesville and we live in Tampa. Yes, I’m quite sure he’s fine.”
  • Rebekah again, beginning to connect the dots: “That’s three times now. You know what? I think he may have a girlfriend over in Orlando.”

Girlfriend = Myrt Hubbard.

  • Myrt – who was a key player in the gracious Apopka Presbyterian congregation’s care of Rebekah’s mama while she was dying from cancer in 1999.
  • Myrt – who served as a faithful elder in – and deeply loved – the Presbyterian Church.
  • Myrt – the mother of two exceptional sons – Gregg and Glenn – who went on to become, quite literally, world leaders in their respective fields (country music and economics).
  • Myrt – who taught “take-no-prisoners” English at the local high school over more than four decades.
  • Myrt – who was… and is… a legend in the community.
  • Myrt – who was (unchallenged) the most celebrated “Grand Poobah” in the history of the not-so-secret society of Grammar Police; she “owned” Central Florida in that regard.
  • Myrt Hubbard Alexander – who made Robert D. Alexander smile again, and who won the hearts of all Alexanders and their extended families.
last visit - with Andrew and Rebekah in June

last visit – with Andrew and Rebekah in June

FAMILY: So Myrt and Bob were married. Rebekah and her brother Jesse had the unusual privilege of tag-team marrying their father, and Myrt was engrafted into the household. Much more than a stepmother, she became a great friend and ally. She was “Grand-Myrt” to the children, and they loved her – both for Grandaddy Bob and for herself.

Myrt loved her family with eloquence, with generosity, with faithfulness, with resolve, and with impeccably correct English. And she continued to enrich us with her wit and her beautiful, contagious, joie de vivre long after Rebekah’s dad passed into eternity in 2007. Myrt graced our family celebrations whenever her health allowed, and everything was more meaningful with her blessing.

And so yesterday evening (Tuesday, August 25), when Myrt Hubbard Alexander slipped loose from the bonds of this life and transitioned into the uncharted wonders of eternity, Rebekah and I were both sad for the family and thankful for the gift that is her story… intersecting with our story.

So, rest in peace, Myrt, and I say that with the faith and assurance of one of your fans who knows and loves Jesus too.

Your fan – DEREK

For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. – 1 Corinthians 15:53-58

the beatitudes and the personality of Jesus

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them: – Matthew 5:1-2

Blessed are you who are poor,
    for yours is the kingdom of God.
 “Blessed are you who are hungry now,
    for you will be filled.
“Blessed are you who weep now,
    for you will laugh. 
Luke 6:20-21

Skipping stones on the Sea of Galilee

Skipping stones on the Sea of Galilee

I know I know I know…. I promised regular Monday “Beatitudes” posts while my discipleship class continues to study the beginning of The Sermon on the Mount. But I’m only a day late!

I’m excited to report that, sometime during Saturday, person number 5,000 signed up to “follow” this blog. Woo-hoo! It’s a big milestone – yes – but I’ll more likely feel that I’m making an impact that means something if all 5,000 of you get hooked into this series on the teachings of Jesus!

Our approach this Sunday was to talk about two things:

  • 1) Our personal faith statements – This in response to the 12-week class I just completed on the creeds, confessions, and catechisms adopted by the Presbyterian Church.
  • 2) The personality of Jesus – to help us to lift the words printed in Matthew 5 from two-dimensional ink on a page and into the multi-dimensional perspective of a real, live, human being; a master teacher; God’s beloved son, sent to make the way clear for a renewed relationship with the Father.

So Rick led off with the devotional. He shared his personal statement of faith; it was a seriously powerful set up for the discussion that followed.

QUESTION: Then I asked the question, “Who is your favorite Jesus?” The idea comes from a chapter I’ve been working on for my new book, and it’s designed to invite us to look at the life of Jesus, and see what aspect of his ministry meets our deepest need at this time.

  • One man said, “The Jesus who prayed at Gethsemane. He was staring death in the face, and he chose to put my need for redemption ahead of his own apprehension concerning the horrors to come…”
  • Another participant volunteered, “Party-Jesus! The Jesus who loves to attend dinner parties and who brings depth and meaning to everything he is involved with.”
  • One of the women said, “Healing-Jesus. Touching lives exactly where they need his calm, and peace, and his wholeness.”
  • We also discussed, “The Jesus who felt power go out of him when the woman touched the hem of his garment,” and “The Jesus who has time. Time for children to hang all over him, time for the woman at the well….” and many more.
looking for water in the wilderness

looking for water in the wilderness

The point of all this conversation was more “deep background” for the coming conversation on the Beatitudes. What the class members do not know yet (unless they’re reading this blog) is that this coming Sunday we’re going to talk about the people who were there to listen. Who were they? What were their life circumstance? What did they know of God? What were they looking for in a potential savior?

Likewise, who are we? What are our life circumstances? What do we know of God? What are we looking for in a potential savior?

Do we know Jesus at all? Are we willing for Jesus to know us, at the deepest level?

RESPONSE: So – and not unusual for this blog – many more questions than answers in today’s post. If you’re still reading, if you’re curious, and if you think you’d like to be a part of this conversation, then either comment below, email me (contact details at www.derekmaul.com) – or make a Facebook comment.

In love, and because of love – DEREK

“4-photo-Monday” – celebrating life with joy!

From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise. Practice these things: whatever you learned, received, heard, or saw in us. The God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:8-9

There is simply way too much life and energy going on around here to keep up with! So this morning I’m offering the tried-and-true “Four-Photo-Monday” format. Plus I’ll throw in a few extra images in the slide show at the end.

Rebekah leading worship at the 11:15 service

Rebekah leading worship at the 11:15 service

#1 – CHURCH ROCKS! First, Sunday morning at WFPC was a wonderful affirmation of why we’re passionate about this faith community, and how our first two years in Wake Forest have been such a blessing. There is a lot written about “people leaving church…” but our experience is one of encouragement, growth, faithfulness, and a culture of discipleship – it always has been.

GOSPEL! The good news about Jesus is still good news, it still reaches people at the heart of their need, and it still finds its most creative expression in the context of the community of faith. Rebekah and I have been part of three consecutive “good news” congregations, and we are still thrilled to be part of God’s ongoing initiatives of grace and love through the Presbyterian Church (USA).

(I seriously wonder about people who can only gather, tell, and then retell stories of “what’s wrong” with The Church – any and every denomination. We are called to share the good news, the gospel – that’s our job as disciples. If your focus – and the stuff you like to “post” on-line – is always to share bad news, then you’re obviously not working on behalf of Jesus. And, if you’re not working on behalf of Jesus, then you must advancing the cause of something else….)

on the steps of the Campbell home

on the steps of the Campbell home

#2 – THE GRANDKIDS ROCK! Friday I took advantage of the “reachable” proximity of Richmond, and zoom-zoomed up the highway to take our daughter Naomi out to lunch for her birthday. Of course, David and Beks came too.

The grandchild “cuteness factor” seems to have ramped up exponentially over the past few months. Beks spent the entire meal grinning at me and reaching out to hold my hand. David was full with inventive games. There’s really nothing much I can say here other than, “Here’s another reality Rebekah and I are deeply thankful to be enjoying right now.”

Life is good. Life with grandchildren is even better.

Rebekah's cobbler

Rebekah’s cobbler

#3 – KOINONIA: The experience of community is probably the single most important aspect of what makes life here so good. Community with one-another, community with family, the town of Wake Forest, and the community of faith. One of many deliberate “people-initiatives” we enjoy through our church is the koinonia dinner group we meet with monthly (groups break-up, mix-up, and re-form twice a year).

This time it was our turn to make dessert. Rebekah was inspired to put on her chef’s hat, delved into family recipes and more, and then produced a remarkable peach cobbler from scratch. I was most impressed: she not only made something delicious, but she also managed to cover pretty-much every square-inch of the kitchen with flour and other random cobbler ingredients!

IMG_2093# COMMUNITY-PLUS: Then, celebrating the fact that I am making so many authentic, meaningful friendships here, and also celebrating North Carolina’s gift of a mid-80’s day with low humidity, I managed another round of golf Saturday morning.

I actually played fairly well, but – more importantly – I simply enjoyed the beautiful “North Carolina Piedmont” with a friend.

To my point, life is more beautiful, more meaningful and – I believe – more authentically represented when we tell the good story, when we engage every experience in the context of the good news, and when we live like we mean it – because God most certainly meant something remarkable, and something good, when we were imagined and created. “And that’s what happened. God saw everything he had made: it was supremely good. There was evening and there was morning: the sixth day.” – Genesis 1:31

It was – and it absolutely is – supremely good. – DEREK

(Now, enjoy more than four-photos!)

two years today! thankful to be here at WFPC (God’s “upward call”)

 Brothers and sisters, I myself don’t think I’ve reached it, but I do this one thing: I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me. The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 3:13-14)

First Sunday at WFPC!

First Sunday at WFPC – August 2013!

This weekend marks two years since Rebekah’s first Sunday as senior pastor here at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church. We feel amazingly blessed to be in this community, and we’re grateful to God for leading us to this remarkable, creative, life-charged congregation.

Anniversaries are good for celebration, but they are also great opportunities for reflection, evaluation, and visioning. So – 24-months into this journey – it doesn’t hurt to ask, “So, why are we here?

JESUS, JESUS, JESUS! You see, God had (and still has) a very specific reason – or series of reasons – for inviting Rebekah to lead this particular congregation, and to do it at this particular time in WFPC‘s 25-year history. I believe it is clear that we’re here because – other than Jesus – nothing else even comes close to answering the question; because, “The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

  • God did not call Rebekah to WFPC because of her position regarding the divisive religious politics of our time… she was called because of her position regarding Jesus.
  • She was not (is not) called to lead people to uniform viewpoints on controversial social issues… but is called to lead the church toward unity in Jesus.
  • She did not come to Wake Forest to create a better or more entertaining show during worship… but so that we could all walk humbly, together, in the presence of God.
  • God did not bring her to this place to hand out neatly packaged answers… but to create a community equipped to ask better questions.
  • This church did not call Rebekah as senior pastor to tickle anyone’s ears with what they want to hear… but – simply and most importantly – to invite every believer into a renewed relationship with God, via intentional discipleship as followers of Jesus.

“So proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple. You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy… [So] keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.” – (2 Timothy 4: 2-7, The Message)

IMG_9052-001TWO-YEARS! Today – exactly two years into this relationship with a faith community we have fallen in love with – we see renewed life, deepened faith, inspired vision, remarkable energy, confident steps into our future together, and a shift in focus from membership in a church to intentional discipleship as followers of Jesus.

For me, I can’t get enough of this wonderful community, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store over the next few years!

Because, bottom line, it’s all about Jesus. This congregation likely runs the entire spectrum when it comes to politics, and social policy, and varied opinions regarding every possible issue (issues many people the world over waste precious time and resources arguing about).

summer 2015

summer 2015

But that’s okay. Because for us, and for the Christ-centered ministry God has invited Rebekah to lead here at WFPC, it’s all about Jesus. Nothing else even comes close to answering the question, “Why are we here?”

In love, and because of love – DEREK

peaches, tomatoes, and other farm-to-table blessings

IMG_2041I’ll admit to still owning the “newcomer’s view” of North Carolina. I love everything about this state. And, while I’m still capable of complaining about heat and humidity, at the same time I’m deeply grateful we’ve only been seriously hot for a couple of months – and then it will be fall in just a few short weeks.

One thing I do love, love, love about the summers here is the abundance of local, flavorful, fresh fruit and vegetables. And if anything at all says, “summer” in every way that is good, then it is picking up local tomatoes and peaches from the roadside stand just a short walk from our home.

Every morning, right after I bring Rebekah a mug of fresh, perfect coffee, we cut up a Carolina peach and put it on a bowl of cereal. There, looking out at the morning as it makes its way through the trees and into our kitchen, we launch the new day with conversation, devotion, and thankfulness to God for the simple pleasures of life.

breakfast

breakfast

Lunchtime, likewise, is brought to perfection with the flavor of fresh, red, ripe, locally grown tomatoes.

Then, completing the summer trifecta of farm-to-table goodness, Rebekah and I have enjoyed abundant herbs, cascading out from the tower of pots on the deck. Sweet basil; oregano; rosemary; thyme, sage; parsley; mint; purple basil; lemon balm. It is the taste of summer, and it does a lot to compensate for the heat and the humidity.

THANKS: This is just a short, uncomplicated post; but I wanted to get across my abiding sense of gratitude and appreciation for the essential goodness of day-to-day life. Just a bowl of cereal, a good cup of coffee, and some fresh peaches, shared in a spirit of thankfulness with the amazing, creative, loving woman I share my life with.

Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow: James 1:17

Thank you, God, I really do feel blessed to the very bottom of my heart – DEREK

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morning makes its way through the trees to the east

nourished, encouraged, and equipped by God’s good word…

We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up. But God will not take away a life; he will devise plans so as not to keep an outcast banished forever from his presence. 2 Samuel 14:14

IMG_2026The Bible is an amazing book. My “go-to” copy, a 1993 NRSV study edition with really helpful notes, cross-references, and all the cool maps, has 2,355 pages. It’s not as worn as my old NIV, but we’re getting close to the day when the big NRSV is going to have to stay on my desk. My next “carry-around” edition is either going to be an NLT, or a CEB, but I haven’t found quite the right one yet.

On line, BibleGateway.com is my source. It’s exceptionally well organized, and I appreciate having countless translations at my fingertips; plus – quid pro quo – my daily writings are linked via Bible Gateway’s Blogger Grid. However, even with all those choices available I still tend to default to the above four translations, plus the occasional reference from the KJV and The Message.

IMG_2027GOOD STUFF! But back to Samuel, and the tie-in to my “the Bible is an amazing book” observation. My Wednesday evening men’s summer Bible-study is reading the story of King David in the Samuel books. We often make note of the brutality of the era (circa 1,000 BC), and have to remind ourselves that the Old Testament is the narrative account of how a nation became a chosen people, and how they struggled in their relationship with God. The Bible tells the story: good and bad, ugly and beautiful, faithful and unfaithful, following God’s way and – repeatedly – completely missing the mark.

But there, right in the middle of the mess that was David’s era, we see moments of redemptive connection to the great love God has for all his children. So I’ll quote the 2 Samuel 14:14 passage again, this time from the NLT:

 All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.

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2 Samuel 14:14

God “does not just sweep life away!” But – instead – God “devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.” We covered a lot of ground in our discussion, so I am grateful to my friend George, for making sure we didn’t summarize our way beyond that verse without taking a good, long, look.

GOD IS SO COOL! Like I say, the Bible is an amazing book. The Creator is in the business of reaching in through time and space, and God’s Spirit touches us in many different ways. But – time and again – it is the words of scripture that the Spirit uses to stop us in our tracks, and to teach us the depths, the breadth, and the reach of that tender love.

DSC_0018When we gather together to encourage one-another as disciples, to grow as followers of the Living Way, it is always God’s Word that brings the truest wisdom, and insight, and grace to the table.

Grateful – DEREK