Weekly message from Cypress Church: Practice presence – the art of being all there

Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

I was out for a quick bite to eat one day at lunchtime. I did not have much time, and though I usually try to enjoy a meal with someone, I was eating solo. Well, kind of eating solo, as in times like these I try to multi-task reading and answering emails. This particular lunch I did not feel much like interacting with email, so I just enjoyed my fish tacos and did a little people watching. There was one particular group of people that was sitting so very close to me in this crowed dining area, I felt like I was at their table. I noticed most all of the people were eating their food with one hand and other was on their phone. While they were talking together a few would look up from their phone and chime in. Some others would not respond at all, even when directly addressed. They were not present. Their attention was focused elsewhere. However, there was one person in that group who was completely engaged in the conversation and drawing others in by asking questions, looking them in the eyes, giving out affirmations, and nicely invited them away from their phones. Soon, they all were present and involved in the conversation, laughing, and from what I observed, they were all there.

In a day and time where there is so much pulling us away from personal/real time interactions with others, there is a great need to practice presence, to develop the art of being all there. I greatly admire and feel so blessed to be with people who practice presence. They make you feel like you are most important person in the world! Maybe you are that kind of person. I know I want to be more that kind of a person. My son-in-law, Jericho, is like that. People feel so affirmed, so accepted, so loved around him. He is everyone’s best friend. When you are with him he gives you focused attention.

God calls us to value those people around us.

Leviticus 19:18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Jesus called this the second most important commandment of all. The first is to love God and…

Matthew 22:39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

To love is to act in a loving way towards someone (see 1 Corinthians 13:4-8) and to be involved being present, practicing the art of being all there. To practice presence is to give our full attention to those around us and discipline our minds to put aside other competing thoughts. I know when I am with my grandkids, even though I love them so much, I am constantly drawn to my ever growing email, text feeds, and to do lists. I can choose to put down my phone, that portal to my work world, and give them my full attention. One time my grandson came up to me, gently put his hand over my phone, and said, “You’re not watching me, Papa! I am trying to show you something.” Ouch! I needed to let my love for him push that phone back in my pocket!

Yes, life is so busy and it’s tough to have this focused attention, but how much better we will be and how affirmed others would be if we would be all there. So, yes, lets love others as we practice presence.

1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
John 15:12 This is my (Jesus’) commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
1 Corinthians 13:13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Romans 15:2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.

Church can be a great place not only to practice presence but to learn the art of being all there. If you don’t already have a church you regularly attend, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or any of our branch churches. Our website has more information: http://www.cypresschurch.net. You can even attend one of our live-streaming services on line (see http://live.cypresschurch.net/).