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Posts Tagged ‘present’

The popular pastor and New York Times bestselling author Rob Bell, of Love Wins and What We Talk About When We Talk About God, shows us how to pursue and realize our dreams, live in the moment, and joyfully do the things that make us come alive.

Each of us was created for something great—we just need to figure out what it is and find the courage to do it. Whether it’s writing the next great novel, starting a business, or joining a band, Rob Bell’s book How to Be Here encourages us us make those dreams become reality. Our path is ours and ours alone to pursue, he reminds us, and in doing so, we derive great joy because we are living our passions.

 

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“Are you breathing? Are you here? Did you just take a breath? Are you about to take another? Do you have a habit of regularly doing this? Gift. Gift. Gift. Whatever else has happened in your life—failure, pain, heartache, abuse, loss—the first thing that can be said about you is that you have received a gift. Often” – Rob Bell

How to Be Here lays out concrete steps we can use to define and follow our dreams, interweaving engaging stories, lessons from biblical figures, insights gleaned from Rob’s personal experience, and practical advice. Rob gives you the support and insight you need to silence your critics, move from idea to action, take the first step, find joy in the work, persevere through hard times, and surrender to the outcome.

Being here is really the only place we can be.  May you this week remind yourself how to be present if only for 10 minutes, and notice the lack of striving.  May the present gift you back your life in all its fullness.

 

Grace and Peace

 

Being Here

Have you walked to the edge of today
Only to find that tomorrow
Is still a unformed dream
Of history about
To repeat?

At the edge of today did you
Achieve all that you had hoped
While regret held you back
From your dream of the
Future

If tomorrow’s friend never called
Would the end of today
Be any different than
The past failed
Friendships

It seems always the same
Forever unchanging regret
Betrayed by hope
Abandoned through
Rejection

Perhaps then the present
Is the only gift of today
Worth opening now
And spending time
With

For the one friend today
Yesterday and forever
Is here now with
His arms wide
Open

Introductory content adapted from GoodReads.com 

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Here and Now

The first time God was asked to name Himself, He said, “I am” (Ex. 3:14). He is simply—and infinitely—Himself. And in the person of Jesus, He invited people to get to know Him in the context of a face-to-face relationship. This realisation led author John Eldredge to write in one of his books, Beautiful Outlaw, about the singular unchanging beauty of Christ’s often overlooked personality and how it can transform us.

Scripture shows that Jesus continuously astonished the people who knew Him. What are some of His personality traits that would change our relationship with Him and how we understand His work in our lives, if were we to recognize and embrace them?

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His disruptiveness. For far too long we have portrayed Jesus as kindly and loving in a soft way. Think “elevator music.” It’s music . . . kind of. Well, we’ve done the same sort of thing with the word love. We’ve made it a very sweet, sappy, two-dimensional kind-of love. We’ve made elevator music with the personality of Jesus.

But Jesus was radically disruptive. Not obnoxious, but unnerving and massively unsettling. He had the courage to say things we would never say. Love is not always a get-well card; sometimes it’s an intervention.

His trueness. Jesus is so true to Himself. How much of what we do is motivated by fear of man? To be entirely free of false guilt, pressure, and false allegiances would be absolutely extraordinary. This is what gives Jesus the ability to say such startlingly honest things to people. It is what enables Him to be so scandalous. This is the secret of His ability to navigate praise and contempt. Neither success nor opposition has power over Him. One day, the crowds love Him; the next, they’re shouting for His crucifixion. Jesus is the same man—the same personality—through the swirling tempest. Jesus is free from the fear of man.

Hebrews 1:3 says, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (NIV). That’s why Jesus came—to be incarnate, to live before us. He said, “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father” (John 14:9). And “I and the Father are one” (10:30). If He’s “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8), then His personality hasn’t changed.

May you this week know that Jesus hasn’t changed and will always be the anchor to your soul.  May you experience this constant in all the changes of life and may this give you hope.  May this hope bring you wonder and contentment.

Grace and peace.

 

Here and Now

Have you walked to the edge of today
Only to find that tomorrow
Is still an unformed dream
Of history about
To repeat?

At the edge of today did you
Achieve all that you had hoped
While regret held you back
From your dream of
The future?

If tomorrow‘s friend never called
Would the end of today
Be any different from
The past failed
Friendships?

It seems always the same
Forever unchanging regret
Betrayed by hope
Abandoned through
Rejection

Perhaps then the present
Is the only gift of today
Worth opening now
And spending time
With

For the one friend today
Yesterday and forever
Is here now with
His arms wide
Open

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The other day, I caught myself running up the stairs in our house. Why was I running and what for? I really can’t remember. It was nothing urgent, so why the rush?

Sometimes I rush through the day and at the end compliment myself on all the busyness I rushed through. It must have been important because I was so very busy. Did I miss something? Yes. I missed the sunrise and the sunset, I missed the wind and sun on my face, I missed so much by rushing into my busyness.

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A good friend of mine who had a baby asked me my advice on parenting once. He asked me, “If you had one piece of advice to give me what would it be”. I remember my reply, “Walk and don’t run”. I heard my own advice ringing in my ears yesterday as I rushed up the stairs to do something I can’t remember. I have made a mental note to slow down. It’s easy to rush into the day and not stop, be still, be present, and appreciate life for what it is. Do I need to take my own advice, you bet!

Simon and Garfunkel put it well in their song “Feeling Groovy”

“Slow down, you move too fast. You’ve got to make the moment last”

Being fully present here and now can be challenging. It’s something that requires patience, and a whole lot of self determination. There are many excuses not to be, but there are good reasons to live mindfully and be present.

So what are you rushing into? What are you busy with? Do you have to run when you could walk? I’m going to try spending the next few days slowing down, listening more to God, and feeling groovy in the moment.

May you this week find time to be present, be still and know God.

Right Here, Right Now

In this moment
You are here
Through my breath
In the frigid air

In this place
Where frost is due
You are the sunrise
I always knew

In this winter
Of bitter cold
You are the sweet fire
That warms my soul

Your embers heat
My cold heart of stone
Transformed – brand new
I’m here – I’m home

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Alright I admit it. I just love 1980’s Christian Hard Rock music.  There I said it. I love everything by Petra.  I saw their On Fire tour a long long time ago (1991 I think) in Auckland with my mate Rob.  It was an awesome experience!

Part of one of their songs ‘Stand in The Gap’ has always stuck with me:

Stand in the gap
Coming boldly to His throne of grace
Stand in the gap
He will hear you when you seek His face
Put your weapon to its use
And believe it will produce
Stand in the gap

I haven’t spent much time in the gap. I’m the first to admit that I’m not really that good at being present.  I find it hard to stop and be fully present. I’m not sure why.  Perhaps it’s easier to live in the past or dream about the future. Sometimes being present, really present, is something that is necessary.  Even when I write this I’m thinking about what I will do tomorrow, and replaying what I did today. It probably shows in my rambling.

Over the last few months I keep running into this verse in the bible. It just keeps appearing everywhere, like when you buy a new car (OK a used car)  and keep seeing the same car everywhere. 

In their hearts humans plan their course,  but the Lord establishes their steps.  ~ Proverbs 16:9

So I’m trying to be present in what this verse means to me.  I’ve been standing in the gap between planning what I’m doing (particularly with my writing and poetry) and waiting for God to direct my steps. It’s a curious place to be and a new experience for me. By being there and being present I’ve discovered God there too and found some opportunities for my hopes and dreams for the future, shaped by my past experiences, and honed by my present presence – in the gap.

Do you have a gap you need to explore between the now and the not yet? 

Here’s my reflection on minding the gap.

Stand in the Gap

In the gap
Between the bound and the free,
Help me see more of you
And much less of me.

In the gap
Between the now and not yet,
Let me plan my course
But Lord direct my steps.

In the gap
Between heaven and hell,
Draw near to me
As I draw from your well.

In the gap
Between souls lost and saved,
Stand with me Lord
As I live through your days.

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