Being Present in the Moment
Do you ever feel tired, disconnected, or worn out? It seems like everywhere we go, people are ready for it to be over. And it's not just the world that's living this way. As people of God, not being present in our own lives is a big deal because we've been commissioned to have the ministry of presence. If we're not present, God's presence cannot flow through us and change the atmosphere in the world around us. In a recent sermon, Pastor John Stikl noted that the ministry of presence is at the heart of being a hope carrier. We're called to go into the spaces of life carrying the presence of God with us so that the presence of God can change the environment around us. So how do we become more present in our lives and bring in God's presence? In this blog post, we'll explore the importance of being present in the moment and how it can help us carry hope and experience the fullness of life that God has for us.
Missing Out on the Beauty of Life
The sermon reminded me that in order to bring in God's presence, I need to be present in the moment with those around me. I often find myself buried in work on my computer or scrolling through my phone while my family is in the other room. But the truth is, when I am not fully present with those around me, I am missing out on opportunities to experience God's presence.
People today are often tired, apathetic, and not present in the moment. We may find ourselves distracted by our phones, work, or other things, which can lead to a sense of disconnection and unrest within ourselves.
However, in Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus offers us a solution to our weariness and burdened souls. He invites us to come to Him and receive His rest, which is a gift from Him alone.
The Solution to Weariness and Burdened Souls
In order to receive this rest, we need to be present with Jesus and focus on Him. We cannot experience His peace and rest if we are distracted or consumed by our thoughts. Thoughts like anxiety over our future or regrets of our past. Jesus wants us to be present with Him and to learn from Him. He is a gentle and humble teacher, who will guide us on the path that leads to life.
Moreover, Jesus reminds us to take off the yoke of self and the world. We need to let go of the things that weigh us down and focus on Him. He is the path and the way, and when we follow Him, He will straighten out our crooked lives.
In order to be present with Jesus and experience His rest, we need to have a heart that is willing to learn and be transformed by Him. We need to believe that He is gentle, kind, compassionate, and honest. We need to trust that He will lead us on the narrow road that leads to life.
Letting Go of the Yoke of Self and the World
So, let us come to Jesus with all our heart, soul, and mind, and receive the rest that He offers. Let us take off the yoke of self and the world, and follow Him on the path that leads to life. Let us be present with Him, listen to Him, and learn from Him. In doing so, we will experience the fullness of life that He has for us.
I realize that being present is not always easy, especially when I have a lot on my plate. However, there are some simple practices that can help us become more present in our daily lives. For example, taking a few deep breaths and focusing on our senses can help us become more grounded in the present moment. We can also try setting aside dedicated time each day to be fully present with those around us, whether it's having a device-free meal with our family or going for a mindful walk with a friend.
Choosing the Better Thing
In Luke 10:38-42, we see the story of Martha and Mary. Martha was a doer and took the initiative to prepare a meal for Jesus when He came to visit. On the other hand, Mary simply sat at Jesus' feet and listened to Him. When Martha saw that Mary was not helping her with the preparations, she became overwhelmed, frustrated, and even yelled at Jesus.
Jesus responded to Martha by gently rebuking her, saying that Mary had chosen the better thing, which was to be present with Him. While Martha was busy and distracted with many tasks, Mary was fully engaged with Jesus, listening and learning from Him.
Like Martha, we can easily get caught up in our tasks and distractions, and forget to be present with Jesus and those around us. We can become overwhelmed and weary, consumed by our thoughts and worries. However, being present with Jesus is a choice. It requires us to listen to Him, hear Him, and obey Him.
Mary is an example of someone who enjoys God and works with Him. She is an epic Hope Carrier, because she moves and works with God. She is fully engaged and present in the moment, listening to Jesus and following His teachings.
So, let us learn from Mary and choose the better thing, which is to be present with Jesus. Let us take the time to listen to Him, learn from Him, and obey Him. When we are present with Jesus, we can experience His rest, peace, and joy, and be transformed by His love.
One practical way to focus on Jesus and His teachings is to start each day with a short prayer or meditation. This can help us set our intentions for the day ahead and remind us to stay connected to Him throughout the day. Another helpful practice is to keep a gratitude journal, where we write down the things we're thankful for each day. This can help us stay mindful of God's presence in our lives and cultivate a spirit of gratitude.
I also realize that being present requires intentionality. I need to set aside time to be with my family, to engage in meaningful conversations, and to simply be in the moment. When I am intentional about being present, I can bring in God's presence and experience the fullness of life that He has for me.
Bearing Fruit in Our Lives
In John 15:5, Jesus teaches us about the importance of staying connected to Him. He uses the metaphor of a vine and its branches to show us that just as a branch cannot bear fruit without being connected to the vine, we too cannot bear fruit in our lives if we are not connected to Him.
However, Jesus also reminds us that it is not hard to bear fruit when we are connected to Him. It's actually harder not to bear fruit. This is because when we stay connected to Jesus and learn from Him, we become transformed and the things that were once hard for us become the new normal.
For example, Jesus did not find it hard to obey the Father. It was natural for Him to do what His Father asked of Him. In the same way, when we follow and learn from Jesus, the things that He asks of us are no longer hard. They become a natural expression of our love for Him and for others.
When we are present in the moment, focused on Jesus and His teachings, we can bear fruit in our lives. This fruit can manifest in many ways, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are the fruits of the Spirit that can grow in our lives when we stay connected to Jesus and allow Him to work in us.
So, let us stay connected to Jesus, like branches on a vine. Let us learn from Him and follow His teachings. When we do, we will bear fruit in our lives and become transformed by His love and grace.
Dreaming with God
During the sermon, Pastor John Stikl mentioned the concept of dreaming with God. He explained that it's challenging to dream with someone you don't have a relationship with or don't enjoy spending time with. This means that our ability to dream with God depends on our relationship with Him.
Just like a couple in a healthy relationship can naturally dream about their future together, we can also dream with God when we have a close relationship with Him. But sometimes, life can get in the way, and our relationship with God can suffer. We may face disappointments, unmet expectations, and pain that can cause us to pull away from God.
If we find ourselves struggling to dream with God, we may need to re-evaluate our relationship with Him. We need to enjoy spending time with God and cultivating a healthy relationship with Him. This means taking the time to pray, read the Bible, attend church, and participate in other spiritual practices that draw us closer to God.
When we have a healthy relationship with God, dreaming with Him becomes natural. We can start to dream about our future, our purpose in life, and how we can impact the world around us. We can dream about our relationships, our families, and the kind of legacy we want to leave behind.
In conclusion, being present in the moment is essential for carrying God's presence and bringing hope to the world. It requires us to be intentional about our time and our relationships, and to prioritize our connection with God. By being present with Jesus and those around us, we can experience His rest, peace, and joy, and be transformed by His love. We can dream with God and discover the purpose and destiny He has for our lives. So let us commit to being present in the moment and allowing God's presence to flow through us and impact the world around us.