The Power of Being Present

It has been rare in my life, especially growing up in the church, that I have met genuine Christ-Followers who I know I can trust and who I know are not a bunch of talk; people who genuinely love Jesus and love people. I count it a privilege every time I get to hangout with my brothers from other mothers, Shane and Drew. I got to do that last night.

Last week, Shane spoke at the Bible study for the substance abuse program I manage. Shane was raw and genuine with the men and he connected with a lot of them on a personal level. Shane had the opportunity to talk with some of the guys after the meeting one-on-one as well. As early as the next day some of the men were asking when Shane was going to return to speak for them again. This group is made up of non-believers, Christians and followers of other faiths (i.e. Islam). These men are not worried about style or appearance or professionalism; things that a lot of us get caught up with in the modern, American church; these men care about being cared about and about others being real with them. Shane made an eternal impact for some of these men because he chose to be present and he preached Jesus.

Last night, Shane and Drew took some time out of their day to play flag football with these same men. We all had a blast, especially since our team destroyed our opponents. Shane tweeted this following the game, “Felt more like a Christ follower tonight playing flag-football than in a long time. #Jesusandfishermen” We didn’t sit down with the men and have a Bible study and we didn’t preach them a message, we simply chose to be present. It is my hope that through our presence these men know that they are loved and cared for, that they are no less of a person than the guy who seemingly has it all together. We laughed with them, we high-fived them, we cheered for them and bragged on them. We communicated through our actions that no matter what they have done, they were still important enough to play football with. Isn’t that how God responds to us? No matter what we we have done, God stepped into our field and put us on his team through his Son, Jesus.

Shane has already shared that message and I can’t wait until Drew gets to share that same message with these men as well. Some would criticize us for not sharing the gospel on the spot, but that’s okay, because we lived it and we have an open door to keep living it and in those moments we speak it, these men will be hungry to listen because they know we love them and our words are supported with loving actions. Drew’s testimony is awesome and I know he is going to reveal Jesus in a powerful way. Drew has already opened the door for these men to hear him out because he made a choice to be present. That’s just one of the reasons I am thankful for my buddies, Shane and Drew, because I can trust them (except for Drew, I don’t trust him around my family and that’s why he has never met them) and they genuinely love Jesus and other people.

Join the ConversationHow can you impact people’s lives eternally by choosing to be present? When is the last time you chose to be present in someone’s life and it led to a great eternal impact as a result of your influence?

Anderson Cooper is My Hero

I’ve always enjoyed Anderson  Cooper’s reporting. I don’t particularly like CNN as a network, but Anderson Cooper always seems to shine in the midst of the toughest turmoil and crisis. I hate that much of his recognition is rooted in situations like the horrific earthquake in Haiti, or in Katrina. Today, in Haiti, looters were attacking each other for their stolen goods. Anderson Cooper was at the scene shooting video, when a young boy was apparently struck in the head with something. This video is graphic, so if you cannot handle a lot of blood, do not watch. It is impressive how Anderson drops his camera in the midst of a sea of looters to care for the wounded, bloody boy, and to carry him to safety. That is a true Hero, and you  don’t see that from reporters (typically). They are usually more interested in the story, not the people:

For the entire story, Click Here.

A Moment Like This

Have you ever experienced one of those moments where you knew from that point on your life would be changed forever? Sometimes the realization comes hours maybe days later after the moment has passed, but then there are those times that in the present moment, it hits you!

One of my moments came when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. Sure, its been several years since the hurricane devastated the Gulf Coast, but it was in that moment I saw things differently, and it affects me even today, it changed me then and the change has never subsided. I am sure the same would be said by those who survived the events of that summer and by those who spent months recovering bodies and doing the best they could to restore communities and cities and homes.

It was a Wednesday night that 6 of us embarked on a journey that transformed my life and the way I look at the blessings of God and the power that He possesses. I got to the office and was glued to the internet checking out the devastation that had wiped out much of the area. All of the staff pastors, two teenage guys, and another leader in our church decided to do something, so we rallied water and a few groceries and headed out after our midweek service, our plans were to make the 12+ hour trip throughout the night, hand out supplies and drive immediately back. Our destination was Biloxi, Mississippi. We didn’t get too far down the road and we experienced some significant problems with the RV, but we were not deterred from our goal. Fortunately we loaded up on gasoline at the last station that had it within driving distance, a couple hundred miles, we also carried numerous 5 gallon gas cans for backup. When we got to Biloxi, we were some of the first relief efforts in the area. The National Guard was there, but they were mostly scoping things out. All we had was a RV loaded with some groceries pulling a trailer full of bottled water. What was to take place was AMAZING! [Read more...]