Chapter 1: Living In The Present
Imagine that we could walk through the new year always listening to a voice saying to us: “I have a gift for you and can’t wait for you to see it!” Imagine.
Nouwen, Henri J. M.. Here and Now: Living in the Spirit (p. 16). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.
This is the first week or our online book/Bible study! I’d like to welcome everyone to the “table”! As near as I can tell, there are about 20 participating. What better way to start than through prayer?
Gracious Father, it’s such a blessing that you have called together this special group who share on Your passion. The more we learn and internalize, the more fulfilled we are in Your Kingdom. Help us to understand your message for each of us. Helps us to contribute our insights to help each other through this experience. May Your Holy Spirit soften our hearts and open our minds. Amen.
As we open our study, I woke up with our first deep snow! While digging out our driveway, I’m picturing the reactions of different people I know. The comments would range from “I hate snow” to “I can’t wait to try out my skis for the first time this year”!!! One thing about this reality, is that God is right in the middle of it!!! We often become so buried in our own reactions, we fail to see God. God shares in these reactions, good and difficult, that we experience. We prayed to soften our hearts and open our minds so we can really “know God”!
You will see that we are all set to read one Chapter per week! This may seem like a snail’s pace for the avid reader. We are NOT reading this book with a goal of turning the last page! We WILL be trying to experience and grow through insights!
You will notice that the 1st Chapter: Living In The Present is comprised of 7 sub-titles, thoughts or “meditations”.
One: A New Beginning;
Two: Without “Oughts” and “Ifs”;
Four: Here and Now;
Five: Our Inner Room;
Six: With Others;
Seven: The Hub of Life
A person may read all of these at one sitting per week… or one section at a day to digest slower.
In reflection of what we read…
Is there any one idea that really reached me?
What is God revealing about Himself in this reading?
What is God revealing about me in this reading?
I had a mentor in Seminary who is still a very close and dear friend. When we would meet, among other things, he would always ask where the “bottle neck” was during a particular time. The term bottle neck began during the early production lines. If one section didn’t keep up, product would either go flying all over the place or stop!
Reflecting on the chapter, ask…
Where was the “bottle neck” in my past that kept me from realizing God to His fullest?
Was it a person, or maybe an event? Could it have even been me?
Upon realization, ask God for healing and an example of His perfect love.
Where am I “bottle necked” now in my relationship with God?
What can I recognize, or handle differently to increase “flow” in my Spiritual life?
Here are some questions for this particular chapter:
How does the constant drone of life numb me to the point of missing God’s special gifts?
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
How does thinking about ourselves in this light of becoming God’s own child, change how we feel?
How can opening gifts from God bring excitement???
How might God feel if He gave a gift… and we never bothered to unwrap it?
There are pondering points for each chapter beginning on page 176!
Finally, Pray, pray and then… pray some more!
Feel free to share insights, experiences, significant songs or poetry to further discussion among this group! It’s the shared experience that God utilizes the challenges and victories of others to make this special group unique!