Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fully Present

Have you ever been the recipient of someone who was fully present with you? It might have been a few minutes or several hours, but this person was totally focused on you, not interested in other things that are going on in the room, not interested in where s/he is going to next. The only thing that mattered to this person at that moment was attending to you. I tell you, it feels good to be the recipient of those moments.

It is actually an aspiration of mine to be fully present with every single person I encounter in a full day. I forgot that it was an aspiration until I received it last night. I guess this is a re-aspiration of sorts, if that is a word.

I have a ways to go, but I will start tonight with my wife and kids. I long to have the attitude that everyone I encounter needs my full, undivided attention for however long it is. That God has somehow led us together for a little exchange...sometimes giving something and sometimes receiving something, but an exchange nonetheless.

If I am able to do this, I think I will look a little more like Jesus. It seems like he was fully present with those especially who tended to get no attention. Jesus was drawn to them seeing them like sheep with no shepherd to lead them. His compassionate presence went out to the crowds. His disciples received his full presence. Jesus was attentive to the blind, the crippled, the lame, the mute, the deaf, the women, and so many more. He was even fully present with his mother and the disciple whom he loved as he hung on the cross.

And he continues to be present when I choose to be fully present with those to whom God has allowed me to encounter.

Lord, bring to my heart the desire to be fully present with everyone I contact. I want to give what you have given me. Help me to see as you see and hear as you hear. Amen.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Kiev Video

Last night, Zach and I presented our Let's Start Talking report at Huntsville Church of Christ. To give people a taste of what it was like on our project with only two workers to do everything, we decided that we would be the only ones doing everything for the entire service. We did the announcements, singing, prayers, preaching, communion...everything.

While this might be more regular for a smaller congregation, it is a quite different for our church. In all though, I think everything went well. Kirby Logan even put Christ on in baptism. (I guess a few others helped with that.) At the end of services, we showed our LST video that is included below. (In order to view the video, you may have to visit my blog directly). I hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

God's Power

Well, I wish that I'd had more time to write posts about the project while I was there. The last post was one that I had written while in Kiev but didn't post. The time went by so fast that I hardly had time to process what was going on.

Since being back however, I've had more time to think. Looking at this year's project, I think that I saw God's power at work more clearly than I had in the past.

At one level, I am amazed at my energy level. It was as if God gave me what I needed to do his work for the day. I was able to stay focused, be attentive to what the readers were saying, and look for ways to connect to the conversation. I think I got a rare glimpse into Paul's world as he expresses in Colossians 1:28-29:
"We proclaim him [Christ], admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me."
I notice the repetition of "everyone" and "all." He teaches everyone to present everyone perfect. He does it with all wisdom. Everyone...all. Same word. Its as if the people whom God has chosen are sent to those who are sustained by his energy. Its like you are being carried along doing the things that God has called you to do with the resources that God has given to you. Amazing isn't it?

[Now, I must admit that my trip was a mere glimpse into Paul's world. My energy hasn't been the same even though I have been a little more diligent since being back. Paul certainly found God's sustenance through a lifetime of service to the Gentiles (as Paul affirms just before the text mentioned above).]

There is another place where I saw God's power too! In the lives of our readers God's power was there. The power of God to open a person's heart to a stranger amazes me. That's exactly what he did. We were only in Kiev for two weeks (and that includes traveling days!). Yet, our connection with many of them was deep. Certainly spending a whole hour having a conversation with someone one-on-one had something to do with that. How many times do we do that with people here!? But, God used this opportunity to make his power known. All praise goes to him!

God's power truly does sustain us! It has been a blessing to experience it firsthand. My prayer is that you put yourself in a situation where God's power can shine and sustain you. Let me know how he works too!