Reflection Guide: A People of Presence

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KEY POINTS FROM SERMON:

  • By God’s grace, we hope to be a people of Presence in a culture of disconnection.
  • Presence - When we say we want to be a people of presence, we don’t just mean a people who are physically present (just showing up). We mean a people who are wholeheartedly present with others, a people who are lovingly present to God and others. It is this kind of presence that cultivates loving relationships.
  • We often get stuck in Patterns of disconnect. Two ways I see this often playing out: 1) PRIDE - When we share the table with a prideful presence, we often experience their need to control us, correct us, and ultimately pass judgment on us. You can see how this kind of presence leads to a disconnect in our relationships. 2) PREOCCUPATION - There are others who fail to connect due to their preoccupation with work, sports, or something that puts their mind in one place while their body is in another.
  • What are the PRIDEFUL or PREOCCUPIED patterns that keep you from being lovingly and wholeheartedly present to God and others? Consider Colossians 3:5-15. What patterns needing to be put off do you see at work in your relationships? What patterns do you long to put on more often?
  • The good news is that Jesus offers us forgiveness, hope, and shows us a way forward. When our relational connection with God was fractured by sin, God sends his son Jesus to reconnect us to God. Our sin kept us disconnected from God, but God loved us so much that at the cost of his life he dies to bring us back to God.
  • The Apostle Paul was a man who encountered the loving presence of Christ and was now sent to share of this presence and teach churches how to live in this way. In Romans 12:9-18, Paul lays out a treasury of ancient wisdom that lays out a path towards loving presence, of relationally connecting not disconnect. Practically, the table provides a great space for us to practice being lovingly present.

Here is a link to this weeks sermon if you missed it - LINK

SCRIPTURE TO MEDITATE ON THIS WEEK:
Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 1 Peter 4:8–9 (CSB)

MC/DNA DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What kind of presence are you in the life of your spouse, children, co-workers, and friends? What patterns of pride or preoccupation have caused relational disconnect for you (your own patterns not others)?
  2. What people in your life have modeled a loving presence to you? How has this impacted your love for Jesus?
  3. Stop and read Colossians 3:5-15 together. What is one-way area of the relational qualities we are to “put on” that you desire to grow in? What is one negative aspect that you need the Spirit’s help to put away? Confess this to God and pray for one another.
  4. How might the Spirit be leading you to extend the loving presence of Christ through hospitality? Who are the lonely or isolated people whom you could invite to your table?

Practice - Cultivate presence this week by having undistracted meals where you focus on engaging with others in conversation.