Monday, April 26, 2010

The idea of Pilgrimage

Here's an excerpt from page 11. I've included it here because it's a great place to move forward from, especially on a Monday morning.

I always feel renewed and challenged after a wonderful Sunday at church. I'm all about "engaging the rich meaning and the lavish possibilities of life before death." I really can't wait to see what each new day, new week, new month, or new year offers in the way of life-charged challenge!

  • Traditionally, the concept of pilgrimage suggests some kind of a journey, along with a meaningful destination. For my part, this pilgrim path we are navigating is much more about the expedition phase than the arriving part. Although the two are bound together and I certainly anticipate all the promises God speaks regarding eternal life and the joy of unbroken relationship with my Creator.
  • I remain convinced that in the here-and-now our life as pilgrims is primarily concerned with capturing and engaging the rich meaning and the lavish possibilities of abundant life before death. God’s kingdom is already available, and our opportunity is to live this kingdom life; and to live as if we really do mean it.
  • In a sense pilgrimage is an experience designed to take humankind full circle. Because, if this pathway is to lead us any place at all, then that place is the garden.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Interface with facebook!

I'm excited about "No more part-time Christian"'s new connection with facebook. Last week I created a facebook page for the book, The Unmaking of a Part-Time Christian, and the page has started to pick up some fans.

This morning's status update was a phase from page 9: "This life is far too important not to embrace it with absolutely every ounce of enthusiasm we can muster."

I believe that thought is a good word for Monday morning! It's the beginning of a new week, many of us were refreshed with a dynamic worship experience over the weekend, and now it's time to put our life where are words are (our money where our mouth is), step up, and live as if we mean it... because God most certainly does.

Here's the supporting scripture, from Philippians 3:14. "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus."

The question is this: "What does pressing on look like for me this morning, today, this week?" Is pressing on an act of religious ritual? I don't think so. Pressing on is an act of commitment to The Way, the way of Jesus.

I'll be referring to our life of faith as "The Way" a lot in this blog. In the early days of the church, believers were know as "Followers of The Way." I like that concept a lot, because it moves us away from practiced religiosity and toward being disciples of Jesus.

Enjoy this new day, this new week, this opportunity to live as if we mean it.

Last week in Virginia, a man included the following phrase in his prayer: "Thank you for this day, Lord, a day we've never had before and that we'll never see again..."

Amen - DEREK

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Trying to connect this blog with the new "Unmaking of a Part-Time Christian" facebook page...

This is an experiment... I have spent some technically frustrating hours setting up a facebook page for "The Unmaking of a Part-Time Christian". Step 2 is having this blog automatically upload to the "notes" section.

So, I'll just write a few perfunctory words here, add a photograph, and then see what happens. My guess is - nothing! I did, however, successfully plant a similar RSS feed that links my daily blog to my Derek Maul facebook page. But that was a long time ago, and I don't remember what I did!

All things are possible, the Bible suggests, for those who believe. Problem is, this is technology, and I'm not sure that I believe.

Grace and Peace - DEREK

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Trying to start a conversation

Picture - at left - is of me with a couple of the 75 plus men at the Disciples of Christ (Virginia) Men's Retreat this past weekend. We had an awesome experience of fellowship and spiritual growth. Maybe you'd like to contact me about speaking at such an event? If so, let's talk. Go to my website at : there's a "contact" page that works just fine.

Well I finally bowed to all the peer-pressure and set up a facebook page for The Unmaking of a part-Time Christian. The thing to do, apparently, is to maximize on-line presence while simultaneously working hard not to annoy people with too much info!

It's a tough balance. It also kind of reminds me of one foundational principle from the book. That is, to live as an obvious Jesus-follower without being an annoying "odd for God" person who more likely turns people away from the gospel than offering a compelling invitation.

There should be something compelling about the way that we live that says "Jesus" all over the place. Or, as many people have repeated and paraphrased, "Preach the Gospel daily; if necessary, use words."

My next task is to attempt to link this blog to the "my Notes" section of the page. Don't hold your breath!

Meanwhile, if you are a fan of The Unmaking of a Part-Time Christian, then I urge you to become a fan, pass the word around, and see if we can make a difference for the Gospel. Let's live gospel lives in such a way that the world can't help but wonder, "What is it that's motivating these people? And why are they so darned full with life?"

More to come - check in weekly - DEREK

Monday, April 5, 2010

Not Part-Time Christians but Eighth Day Believers!

When Rebekah and I got home from church yesterday I grabbed my camera and said, "Let's get an Easter picture." So I balance my camera in a plant, set the automatic timer thingy, and ran over to where she was standing with Scout Labradoodle.

Scout jumped up (you can see she's eating my tie), the camera clicked, and the battery died - all at the same instant. It turns out we had one shot at an Easter photo.

Today's a little like that. We have one shot at living the day after Easter like Easter People, like "Eighth Day Believers." No rehearsals, no posing, no re-do. This is it. What you see is what you get....

Of course, we have the same opportunity again tomorrow. But I'm more interested in today. It may well be all we have.

MEDITATION: It’s the day after Easter… Or is it? “After” is such an unsatisfactory word when talking about everything Jesus intended and accomplished via his heroic journey.

So I’m going to discard “after” in favor of the thrust of my wife Rebekah’s Easter message in church, yesterday. “Easter is the Eighth Day of Creation.”

Fact is I’ve never bought in to the idea that God has ever stopped creating. Creation limited to six days followed by “I’m done” simply doesn’t work. Rebekah’s concept of “We’re participants in Eighth Day re-creation – it’s part of what it means to be truly alive as Jesus followers” dovetails nicely in terms of where I think the observance of Lent has been taking us.

INSIDE KNOWLEDGE: I’ll let you in on some inside knowledge… I’ve spent a lot of time during the last forty-plus days outlining and writing my new book. It’s an Easter book (no cover design or title as yet) a series of essays/devotions designed to read between Ash Wednesday and Easter. It will be available before Christmas of 2011 – targeted for Lent, 2012.

It was never my intention to have the book wrap up on Easter Day, a nice, tidy ending with no loose ends. I’m more interested in where our Easter momentum is going to take us.

Easter Sunday has thee potential to be supercharged and electric; a life-saturated experience. But I’m concerned that the "charge" might be more static than empowering.

Last year Rebekah talked about how easily we consign Jesus back to the tomb come Monday morning. He’s a little safer there and he doesn’t bother us so much - especially if we roll the stone back. Then, later, we open the tomb up, just a crack, to take a peek at the Christ-life – but only every week or so.

Eighth Day Believers: This year’s idea takes it a step further. Eighth Day Believers live in the life-changing truth of resurrection. There’s no tomb visitation any more. It’s not about merely listening to the story; now it’s about taking part.

It turns out that Easter Sunday wasn’t our destination during Lent; Easter Sunday is a staging area for what comes next. If we really left the church as confirmed Eighth Day Believers, then we’re signed up to join Jesus in the re-creation business.

God is up to something significant, and we get to be participants.

Christ's plan - Part II: Interestingly, the physically risen Jesus was only a temporary factor, coming and going with brief appearances for a few days and weeks once Eighth Day set in. Jesus then “Ascended”, and he was gone. Resurrection Day set the new order in place – then Jesus moved on because part two of the plan was – and remains – his followers.

We’d better be Eighth Day Believers, because unless we’re participants in the new creation then we don’t have a prayer of accomplishing anything significant. Easter Sunday opened up the door to the possible. The journey has only just begun.