I want to be present like Jesus was present…

What a journey we’ve been on from before Christmas to now. We’ve been talking about Being Present…and how it beats out trying to be perfect. (check out the our past recaps)

Thank you for engaging in this series. We’ve heard so many of you share how the word PRESENT impacted you…how it even became a word and action some of you want to focus on in 2018. Very Cool.

Today is our last conversation about this – though of course, you know we will always encourage you to be present!!! Today is truly a wrap up…a take home…the application if you will.

See, we talked so much, during Advent, about Jesus being present, and rightfully so. We looked at the introductions to three gospels, and how they loudly proclaim two things:
1) Jesus came to be present in the world, with you and me.
2) We are called to be present with others.

You may remember this challenge…(read it without the word ‘christmas’)
This Christmas, try being present over perfect. Appreciate where you are instead of wishing you were somewhere else. Be grateful for what you have and stop wishing for what you don’t have. Do what it takes to present to others, as Jesus has made himself present to us.

Great. So what does that look like? Is this realistic? Is it too much work? Better yet, is it worth it? Does it really make a difference, in others and in me?

You’ve heard this before – JESUS is our best example. To understand this, let’s quickly skim through 3 gospel stories. Possibly, very familiar ones. They all have one common thread I hope we discover.

Luke 19


  • Jesus is walking through Jericho
  • Zaccheus, a short statured, wealthy, tax collector, really wants to see Jesus
  • He climbs up a tree
  • Jesus looks up and notices him and asks him to come down (ill…guy at SB looking at his phone…didn’t even know I was there)
  • Jesus invites himself over for dinner… breaks religious code and becomes a guest of a sinner, a tax collector, a thief
  • After this encounter Jesus says…“Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

John 4

The Samaritan Woman

  • Jesus goes through Samaria
  • He stops at a well to rest
  • A woman walks by
  • Jesus asks for a drink (shocking)
  • Jesus shows her that she is really thirsty for something else…living water…
  • Moves into a conversation about husbands, worship, the spirit, and who Jesus really is

Matthew 19

Feeding of 5000

  • this story follows the tragic end of John the Baptist’s life…he’s beheaded by herod…(a promise he delivered for his daughter)
  • Jesus withdraws to be alone…by boat, goes to a solitary place
  • He lands to his destination and a crowd meets him…they followed him
  • We read that he saw them, had compassion on them, and served them (healed them) and eventually fed them (ALL).




What’s the common denominator in each story?
What’s going on in these 3 stories?



Jesus is passing through or happens to be there…he shows up (Nothing planned, Every one in the stories just show up)
Jesus is observant…alert…awake…to the needs around him
Jesus takes initiative…senses an opportunity…does what he can do
Jesus is PRESENT

The question is: what can and does this look like for us…today…now…in 2018?
What does it look like to be somewhere, do something, help someone, make a difference?
What does it look like for me to be present?

Here are some practical things to think about…

TIME: We definitely need to value our time and be thoughtful of how we invest it, but we also know that an extra 5 min goes a long way in being present with others.
ATTENTION: Do we really listen to others when they speak? Do we make eye contact? We all know how we’ve felt when others give us their full attention.
RESOURCES: Being present will often require a response. Sometimes that turns into us donate funds, giving time, participating, serving, investing in community, investing in people or situations.
TECHNOLOGY: Send a text, a comment, an email, a message. We know that there is a fine line between technology robbing us of being present, but let’s win that battle by using our tech toys for good.

These may sound like small things…but it’s the small things that turn into meaningful and impactful things.

Being Present is Risky…but the rewards are worth it!!!

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Some live conversation didn’t get into this recap. However, some amazing things came from what people shared at the close of our gathering. Here are a few take aways…
– Sometimes we don’t want to be present, because the situation or circumstances are difficult. Actually being present is the furthest thing from our mind. But it’s in these moments that we must be present.
– Some moments we will enjoy, others, because of pain or struggle, we must embrace, both require our presence.
– When working within our comfort zone or usual space, we can let the moments pass us by. It’s especially in these moments that we must be present.
– Someone shared a story from their neihbourhood about a young girl (from a refugee family) who came to their door. She just walked into the house and took her coat off. This couple had been getting to know this family. They had a decision, kindly ask her to leave…or…creatively spend some time with her. The latter happened. They baked cookies together for the next 2 hours.
– Finally, from one of our older members, we were challenged to be present to those who are younger than us, kids, teens, young adults, etc. We have an opportunity to invest in people’s lives. Don’t let the moments pass you by without discerning how you can make a contribution in someone’s life.

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Some books that influenced this series would be…
Liturgy of the Ordinary, Tish Harrison Warren
How to be Here, Rob Bell
Remarkable Ordinary, Fredrick Buechner
Present of Perfect, Shauna Niequist

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Sitting…as your main New Year’s resolution?

This first week of the year, people have been trying to figure out what they should change in 2018.

How do we decide what gets onto our resolution list?
– We look at what’s not right in our life: our finances, our health, our relationships, our schedule, our calendar, our work situation, whatever is not as perfect as we think it should be gets the nod.
– From that list we create a list of changes that must be made – and we resolve to make changes, create new habits, start new routines, etc.

I heard two bits of advice about resolutions this week that were helpful and interesting:
1) It’s going to take you 3-6 weeks to start a new routine, so don’t expect this to be easy. Your brain takes 60 days to recognize and activity as normal and not take as much effort to do. Good luck. It’s gonna take some work.
2) Don’t make resolutions. Instead set goals; things you want to achieve, and move towards those goals with strategy, wisdom, and of course effort/work.

What if I told you that your only resolution this year should be to sit down more? You’d think I was crazy. You’d think I’m promoting unhealthy living. You’d tell me that no one would publish my idea (if in fact I’m looking to promote this idea to the public). No one wants to hear that. Who actually thinks that sitting more can change your life? No one.

BUT…it’s not the sitting that changes things, but who you are actually sitting with.

Spiritual Directors would encourage us to develop a discipline in our life called ‘sitting with Jesus’. How does that sound? Sitting with Jesus? How? Why? When? With what purpose in mind?

Well…we’ve been talking about being present over perfect. God being present with us & Us being present with others. We’re going to close this series off next week (in our next post). But before we get there, can we simply remind ourselves that we can and should and desperately need to…be present with Jesus – sit with Jesus?

Anne Lamott, the spiritual writer, grew up in an Atheist home. Her Father even made her siblings sign a contract to that effect as early as 3 year old. One problem, she began to backslide into faith. She said “Even as a child, I knew that when I said hello, someone heard.” This of course led to a life of hearing Jesus and being with Jesus.

Ruth Barton, a spiritual director, writes about a woman sitting in a catholic church. A preist discovered her with her head in her hands. After an hour or so, judging her to be in distress, he said, is there anyway I can help you? She replied with, “No thank you Father” “I’ve been getting all the help I need until you interrupted me”

Ruth goes on to say (in her book Sacred Rhythms)… “Being with Jesus isn’t the same as problem solving or fixing, because not everything can be fixed or solved. Rather, it means allowing God to be with me in that place and waiting to do what is needed…or for what only God can do”

Henri Nouwen says, “God is a God of the present and reveals to those who are willing to listen carefully to the moment.”

Sitting with Jesus is the one thing you must add to your plate this year!

Some of us are too afraid to do this. We’re nervous about opening up to God; scared to let him in. Thomas Merton’s response to this is… “To be unknown to God is entirely too much privacy.”

One prayer that can help us purposefully sit with Jesus is St. Patrick’s prayer from the late 3rd century. We need help and inspiration to do this sincerely. St. Patrick’s words are compelling, essential, as well as helpful and useful. Our challenge? Use these words, learn these words, memorize this prayer, as you attempt to add this discipline to your daily life.



You can find a more complete version of this prayer HERE. For our purposes we will use an abridged and shortened version. Read each line with the words in parenthesize in mind.



Some ideas to help us sit with Jesus
(1-5 from @richvillodas)
1) befriend silence.
2) normalize boredom.
3) embrace the truth that prayer is not something we master, but an act that forms us.
4) pray the words of scripture and others who have gone before us.
5) trust that God is always waiting for you with open arms.
6) sit down…or walk…or run…or whatever helps you be present with Jesus.