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.
- 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.”
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
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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