Tuesday morning I got up extra early and drove through the rain to the Panera Bread restaurant at Westshore and Kennedy, to meet with a small group of men who gather weekly for breakfast, coffee, and conversation about faith.
A few weeks ago they started reading “GET REAL: a spiritual journey for men,” and when they realized the author was fairly local the leader shot me an email and asked if I’d be willing to stop by. I’m glad I did.
Royalties are nice, speaking fees are gratifying, big events are a lot of fun… but what always turns out to be encouraging beyond measure are the opportunities to sit down with small groups of men, and to hear their stories, and to realize that – in however small a fashion – my voice has managed to work its way into the conversation, and that my heart (poured into a short book and waiting on a warehouse shelf for just the right time) has been opened up and finds a common place with disciples meeting in the name of Jesus.
And so I spent 75-minutes in holy communion, on the edge of a busy Tampa thoroughfare, as the rain pelted down; and the busyness of a restless city was kept at bay for one more hour as six men shared their hearts and prayed for one-another, and set the trajectory of the coming day according to the imperative of the Gospel of Love.