Thursday, April 29, 2010

It Comes Down to This...

Today I'm thinking hard about the following question: "What is my essential, bottom line message?" Or, "At the heart of everything, are there a handful of foundational concepts that drive everything else that I have to say?"

I'll put it this way, for those of you reading ("Google Analytics" assures me that - once in a while - a few people really do log on!). Imagine yourself at an intimate gathering, maybe a dinner party for a few of your closest friends and family. There are ten, maybe as many as twenty people, sitting around a long table.

At the end of the meal, over coffee, you stand up and pull out a sheet of paper. Maybe it's your 50th birthday... maybe you're about to move to a new home in another city, another state... maybe you know for some other reason that this occasion is special and this is a unique opportunity to share your heart with the people you love.

So you clear your throat, smile self-consciously, pause, and look at all the people who mean so much to you. It's only five-ten minutes of material - but you've thought it all through very carefully. You glance at the paper again, and you begin...

"I love all of you here so much that I don't want anything this important to be left unsaid. So I've been thinking; I've been thinking about what really counts; thinking about what - deep inside - really makes me tick; I've been thinking about what makes this life - my life in particular - worth living, worth getting up for each morning, worth engaging with enthusiasm and with intention. So I'm going to tell you -"....

What would you say?

The reason I'm thinking this way is my preparation for this coming weekend. I'm flying to Texas, I'm driving up into the hill country, north of San Antonio, and I'm speaking to a group of Presbyterian Men at the Mo-Ranch Conference Center. There will be around 500 men in attendance, and I expect anywhere from 25-50 to show up for my workshop.

Here's what they want me to talk about; it's the class description the organizers put in the catalog. "Faith in 4-D: Living Like We Mean It - Because God Most Certainly Does."

It references, essentially, the contents of two of my books! A couple of weeks ago, up in Virginia, I covered the same material over six one-hour lectures plus one 20-minute Sunday morning message. Up in Mo-Ranch I have 60 minutes, that's one hour - plus ten minutes for questions!

So you can appreciate my dilemma. What on earth should I talk about in such a short amount of time?

I'm more inclined to make this post interactive than to answer my own question just yet. So please post a comment... send me an email... or make contact through facebook.
  • Let me know what is foundational for you...
  • Write about the passion that defines you...
  • Let me know what you wish you had the courage to tell your dearest friends - and are now challenged to deal with...
  • Tell me what you wish someone who loves you had shared a long time ago...
  • Share the heart of what you know to be true...
  • Pass on the essential wisdom that's at the core of your life.
Peace and blessings - DEREK

11 comments:

Pastor Tim said...

Great food for thought for today. I'll do that and try to respond. . .

rcowie said...

I know now why our mutual friend wanted us to be friends on Facebook. Reading your blog brings up alot of topics that reside deep within me on how to reach men that just dont get it. I have a colorful background to say the least, so for me it would be not to give up hope and that just because your a Christian doesnt mean your not going to suffer. Its part of the requirement I think to carry your own cross. If we are to walk with Him I dont think most men realize what that is actually saying.

Instead of accepting things as they come, they either give up or do their own thing instead of waiting on God for the answer. We spend so much time trying to do things our way instead of slowing down and waiting for Him. I get frustrated myself on this, not having enough patience to ride out the storm, I mess up when I try and fix it myself instead of seeing it as a test. Then I only make matters worse. I know there is a mens ministry out there for me too. When, where, and what is to be determined by Him and His timing. Its the patience part that gets me, faith I have.

Deborah said...

It's love. I'm really not that close with most of my friends anymore, due to my own estrangement as I have tried to deal with my home situation. However, I haven't really missed many of them much. I yearn to be with people who really MEAN IT! There will always be newer cars, better gadgets, prettier or richer folks, but who cares? We're all gonna die someday and all that stuff won't mean a thing!
I think of the kids my daughter is working with in San Francisco. Kids who don't have much or any, as far as family and privilege goes. They're just normal teenage boys, but they sure know love when they experience it. That's life to me...giving and receiving something that matters!
Kids have such deep souls and so much to learn, including how to trust. And oftentimes older folks have so much experience and depth to share. (Not saying others don't too...) But those are the types of people I want to spend my life on. Real people, who have love, and consequently, life.

Ronda's Rants said...

I think as I have gotten older and older...and older still, I think what is essential is sharing God's love with others. I think by sharing God's love with others we have a way of knowing, really knowing what love actually is. I am now very grateful for my 52 year old knowledge of love...that's what I would say.Hopefully, it wouldn't be a surprise to any of them because my actions would have shown that love long ago.

kpulford said...

I think it comes down to trusting God. For me it's difficult to "let go and let God".I am thankful for God's grace and the love of family and friends as I falter along my journey. It is faith, family and friends that bring joy and meaning to my life.

kathy k said...

I would simply say "I love you and I am thankful for you."

beadisciple said...

1 Corinthians 2:2 "For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified."

Pete said...

Luke 6. "I say to you, 'Love your enemies and do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you and pray for those who mistreat you'". It doesn't come naturally, but it's the way Jesus lived and it has the power to change the world.

Janet Frenkel said...

The essence of my life is to love as Jesus loved. That is not always easy to do. Of course I love my children, my parents, my sister and brothers. But I must love all - those who have hurt me, those who have done me wrong, those who do not show love to me. Strangers, criminals, people who have hurt me or my family. I must show love to all. That is what drives me and what continues to push me to do more, do better. Everything else...integrity, friendship, loyalty, trust, compassion, faith - all stems from love - it is the root that holds us firmly to our beliefs even when the world is trying to tug on us and pull us in other directions.
Thanks for getting me to think about this as I begin my day!

cshmkh said...

Derek,

I am sure I would say it with much more eloquence and blend in stories and experiences, but in the end it would center around these three things:
Surrender (to Christ)
Service (to Others)
Spiritual Sight (Of those things that are unseen)
I hope this is what my life would testify to.

Chris Howard

Tim & Kelly Black said...

" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22:36-40

I try. Some days I'm more successful in loving as I want to be loved (as Jesus loves) than other days, but I believe this is foundational to life.

Oh, and I hope you get home soon. Rebekah was all pouty in church this morning without you!