Thursday, September 30, 2010

Morning has broken/ is breaking

Good morning! First, if you haven't read my previous post, then scroll down and do that - I believe it's worth the read.

Second, simply a prayer for today:

Morning has broken (will soon be breaking, at this writing) like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing
Praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word...

I like it when my mornings spring fresh from LOGOS. New and full with promise because the Creator of all life has spoken promise into my new day.

This is both the promise and my prayer - that the emerging experience that is Thursday, September 30, 2010 will be a God-saturated, Grace-charged day.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

On the road with some awesome Baptists!

This week's post is a simple look at this past weekend in the Atlanta area. I enjoyed the privilege of an invitation to speak at the First Baptist Church of Decatur.

I was given the opportunity to share a few words at each worship service, I taught Sunday school, and then I led a men's mini-retreat during the afternoon.

Events like this always serve to encourage, inspire and animate me! They bring home the fact that this idea of honing our discipleship, and being deliberate in our commitment to follow Jesus, is a very real concern and an ongoing goal for many Christians, all around the world.

Any time I am able to be a part of the process of encouragement for others, then the opportunity is worth the time and travel. And always, and without exception, I receive as much if not more inspiration than the participants who are gracious enough to listen to me speak.

Of particular note from my weekend with the Decatur Baptists is the fact that the lead pastor, Julie Pennington-Russell, reminded me so much of my wife - Rebekah. Her experience, pastoring the large and influential Southern Baptist congregation, has likewise been fruitful and full with abundant blessings. I especially enjoyed getting to know her husband, Tim.

So, here are a few images from the weekend. It is always my joy to serve The Church in any way that I can. I'd love to spend some time with your congregation, to visit with you and to share the increasingly clear message that God has placed on my heart.

Peace - DEREK

Saturday, September 18, 2010

On the Road Again...

Free Internet access at Tampa International Airport! One of the many benefits of possibly the best organized travel terminus on the planet. There's a lot about living in the Tampa area I'm not too jazzed about - but it's a great place to live if you need to travel.

And travel is happening a lot, nowadays. I often open speaking engagements by pointing out that it's interesting how so many people think I can speak in public just because I penned a few books. I go on to joke that I only accept the invitation as a public service - designed to disabuse them of their false assumptions...

The truth - hopefully - is that I really can get up in front of a large group of people and be both interesting and inspirational at the same time. At least that's what I keep telling myself! Fact is, after years in the classroom, working with severely emotionally disturbed children (grades 6-8 the last few years), a room full of adults who actually want to be there is significantly less than intimidating.

This week's event should be a great experience! I'm flying to Atlanta (take-off in 40 minutes) to spend all day Sunday with the First Baptist Church of Decatur. I'll be meeting with some of the leaders this evening, then speaking six times tomorrow!

Yes, that's six. A five minute testimony at both worship services, 40 minutes with combined adult Sunday-school, then the men's retreat after lunch. Two 45-minute lectures followed by break-out groups, then a 30-minute conclusion/wrap up.

I'm excited about the opportunity, and I've been saturating myself in writing and general preparation for the past few days. The content will be organized around "GET REAL: a spiritual journey for men", my first book. The event is titled "Faith in 4-D: living like we mean it."

I'm advancing the foundational proposition that following Jesus is "about the ending of half-measures." God has in mind for us to live with passion and purpose and meaning. Jesus is the way and - most certainly - the life.

So please pray for me this weekend, and for the good folk at Decatur Baptist.... Grace and peace - DEREK

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Getting the message across...

This evening (Saturday) I've spent several hours preparing the message I intend to share at Trinity Presbyterian Church of Seven Springs.

I feel good about the content. But the exercise has given me a renewed sense of admiration for preachers who create new material every weekend... and even more admiration for those preachers who do that plus make the message interesting, inspirational and instructive.

Rebekah especially. She never fails to encourage me, to make me laugh, to bring home incisive truth, and to teach me something about faith in a new way. Her messages are not only relevant, but loaded with good news. Her passion is authentic and compelling. She believes with her whole heart, and she puts her whole heart into the message.

So my main focus tomorrow is going to be to make sure that I remember to bring some enthusiasm into the pulpit. I know that my writing is - typically - loaded with much more than just words. So I pray that I manage to bring that kind of applied joy to what I say when I open my mouth.

I am convinced that the core message I need to get across - wherever and whenever I speak - is the amazing opportunity that we have, as believers, to live the kind of life we've always wanted to. Jesus is the key. He has given is the word of life - our opportunity is to live it in a way that communicates the truth of God's generous love.

Monday, September 6, 2010

From the Hummingbird

I'm still not sure if most visitors here are unique, of fans of "A life Examined", just seeing what else I've got! Regardless, I believe this post is worth a look. It's certainly on track with the central theme of "The Unmaking of a Part-Time Christian".

From Earlier: Good morning! Because of the unprecedented response to yesterday's post, I'm going to start by encouraging you to go back and read "Messy - Impractical - Loved" if you missed the story previously.

This morning is the most beautiful Black Mountain First day in September. Cool temperatures, clear skies, generous light. I have spent the past hour sitting, patiently, on the front porch with my camera, waiting for a repeat performance by the hummingbirds who entertained so generously during breakfast.

Every movement of my camera, however, startles the birds and they zoom off to circle the neighborhood frenetically, eying me with suspicion before initiating a new landing pattern only to abort at the last possible moment.

Eventually - about fifteen minutes ago - my patience paid off, and I was able to snap a few close-ups. But I like the above image best; wings in motion, poised just so, the moment of decision still in balance: "Do I feed, or do I continue the dance?"

It's a good question.

Sometimes the dance is enough. Sometimes the periphery is the appropriate place to be. Sometimes all we have in us is the ability to circle, curious, watching and waiting.

But eventually we must take in nourishment. Or we begin to lose the strength even to seek. So we take a deep breath, we approach the source of all life, and we drink the sweet refreshing nectar...

Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:13-14)