THE POWER OF PRESENCE

FACE TO FACE DOGS.jpg

by Art Greco

Lead Pastor: Outreach

 

ENCOUNTER

“We need at least one week together every year.” It was my brother, Lenny on the phone several years ago and he was expressing his desire for us to connect for an extended annual event. He didn’t care if it was a hunting trip, a golf week, or even digging ditches together In the Sacramento sun, but brothers needed to find ways to be face to face.

Actually, I’m writing this particular devotional as Lenny sits across the table from me during our 2017 version of that “face to face” trip. It’s going to be an embarrassing week for me since it’s a golf outing. Let’s just say, “He’s good and I’m not.” But that doesn’t matter. The point is not to compete, it’s to tell favorite stories about our parents; relax; cook meals our wives won’t usually let us eat; smoke cigars we don’t actually enjoy all that much (it’s a guy thing); argue theology, bake in a hot tub each evening, and simply relate to each other.

Lenny and I talk all year long. We even face-time occasionally (he’s not as good at technology as he is at golf), but there’s nothing like that week we get to actually get to BE with each other. Picking him up at the airport is a joy and dropping him off for his trip back up to Oregon is like taking a punch in the gut. Our “brothers week” TOGETHER is just that precious and powerful.

BE REFLECTIVE

Jesus REALLY valued being together. In fact, it seems to have been right up there at the top of his list of values. Read the following passages, reflecting on Christ’s commitment to being with his followers.

  • Matthew 28:18-20
  • John 14:17-19
  • John 17:1-26

Jesus wasn’t ALWAYS with EVERYONE. His larger group of disciples got much of his time, but not as much as the twelve, and not NEARLY as much as Peter, James, and especially John. But the thought of having to depart from his friends was clearly on his mind – and it obviously troubled him a bit. He valued being with his people above just about anything else.

Neither, of course, can we be face to face equally with everyone we know. But who are the people that God might have put in your life that deserve the Lion’s portion of your time? How might you value and enhance the gift of “presence” with them?

BE TOGETHER

Think of three persons that might make that list above who stand out to you as people you want to actually see, touch, get some face-time with (and I don’t mean the i-phone kind of face-time). Purpose this week to get lunch, coffee, ice cream, take a walk, go shopping, try a new recipe, play golf – anything that gets you together to share life “face-to-face.” Then go and DO IT!

BE A BLESSING

There is obviously a reason you chose the folks you did. When you get together, share with them why they are so important to you. We all experience competition for our time, and it’s a blessing for someone to know that you would choose to share such a limited commodity with them.

My little brother owns a small, service industry business in Portland. Anyone who is self-employed knows how much being away from a business like his costs him. Knowing he insists on doing that in order for us to have time together … well … I can’t think of anything he could do that would mean more to me. And I’m betting there’s someone in your life who could say that same thing about you. SO GO AND HAVE FUN PRACTICING THE MINISTRY OF PRESENCE WITH THOSE SPECIAL PEOPLE GOD HAS PLACED IN YOUR LIFE. THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT JESUS WOULD BE DOING TODAY.