And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11)
I'm offering this Maundy Thursday post against the backdrop of a very successful (to my mind) gathering with my Men's Room small-group yesterday evening.
Typically, we don't meet the Wednesday of Holy Week. With additional events scheduled Thursday and Friday, and along with the fact that half the church education space is now unavailable due to construction, the prevailing wisdom was "Don't meet."
However, my group has picked up some positive momentum of late, so I wanted to keep the ball rolling. Additionally, and most compelling of all, we had planned to begin a study of Rob Bell's new book, "LOVE WINS". And - think about it - what better time to consider the triumph and the promise of love than during Holy Week?
I've gotta say, something is afoot with the men's ministry here. It's a small group - that's the design. And, by definition, a small group ideally involves anywhere from 5-12 members. However, because of the nature of this new study and because I want to give a few more guys a taste of what such a group can involve, I've restructured the format for LOVE WINS.
It's just as well that I did, because 21 guys showed up and we used literally every available chair (because of the construction, the buildings and grounds ministry-team have been stashing/hiding furniture in all kinds of places!).
But it's not just the raw numbers. What I'm sensing is a positive move forward in terms of grasping hold of the implications of faith with more enthusiasm. It's as if several years of prayer and conversation and meeting together has finally coalesced. I honestly feel that I'm meeting with a group of faithful disciples, men who are open to being defined as Followers of The Way rather than, merely, members of First Presbyterian Church of Brandon.
My prayer is that LOVE will WIN a profound victory in the hearts, and the minds, and the actions, and the families, and the workplaces, and the priorities, and the prayers, and the commitments, and the lifestyles.... etc. etc. of these good men. In the name of Jesus, who came to be with us because love is - first and foremost - a faithful commitment.
So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God
With love and for love - DEREK