Summary: God Opporunities come in our lives but are we awake, alert and advancing when they arrive?
Clockwork: Living in the Present
by Shannon Lewis 10/15/06
The last time we visited this sermon series we looked at the first dimension of time management: Learning from the Past. This week’s sermon of the 3 part series we’ll be exploring: Living in the Present.
Just a quick recap before we begin this morning. In the first part of the series we saw that we can learn from the past. Learn from the mistakes of yesterday. We’ve all had those times in our past that we’ve flopped, fumbled and failed. But the key to learning from the past is to get up, dust ourselves off and try again. It’s been said before that the cure for the fear of failure isn’t success, but rather it is failure.
If a person fails enough, they’ll eventually learn the process of success. Failure isn’t a death sentence; it is more like a new lease on life. You have the opportunity to attempt it again. Where failure is most damaging is when it keeps us from trying again. The surprise isn’t in the fact that we failed at something but that we are unwilling to take another stab at it.
I took Chase golfing with me last week on my day off. Chase had never spent any real time on a golf course so this was really a first for him. He refers to a golf course as the “big flags”. The reason for this is because there is a putting green there at the golf course which a couple of months ago I took him to. He was putting on the green with me. On the green the pins are only about 3 feet high with little flags attached to them. In contrast, the pins on the “big” golf course are very tall and have “big flags” on them. So it isn’t a golf course, it’s the “big flags”. Well, we went to the big flags and being his first time, besides the fact he’s only 4, he wasn’t hitting the ball exceptionally well, though I might say better than me some of the time. But when Chase was on the T box, he might hit the ball straight or he might not. When he would hit the ball wrong, he would say something like, “oh that wasn’t good”. But you know what he did? He didn’t quit and say I can’t do this; no he got his ball and hit it again. He hit it until he was pleased with the outcome. He wasn’t going to fail because he didn’t hit it right, he would hit it until he succeeded.
Many times the same is true for us. We can’t quit because we failed at something. We simply learn from it, readjust and go for it again. That’s the true difference in failure and success.
Today we consider how to Live in the Present.
I remember my school years….they weren’t that long ago! But the teachers did something everyday. They took a “roll call”. Now I don’t know if they still do this, maybe I need to ask Gracie, but the reason for the roll call was to determine if a student was absent or present. Obviously if the student was absent, there would be no response but if the student was present, the teacher would hear a response from the student of “Present”. This would indicate to the teacher that Shannon was present. I was there, in the class room, eager and ready to learn. Now we all know that’s not always the case, right? Just because a student is present in the class room isn’t always indicative of an eagerness to learn. I knew many students, including myself on occasion that were there but they weren’t present. Their bodies were there but their minds and thoughts were somewhere else. You know what I mean? It’s like I see you here but you’re not really here.
Well, that’s precisely the way many people live their lives. They’re here but they’re not present. To be present is to be aware, alert and advancing.
I want to look at these three aspects of being present.
Aware in that you’re watchful, you’re looking for God in your life. It means you’re awake! You’re not sleeping in class. When God calls on you, you’re ready to respond in willing obedience. God opportunities are missed everyday because we’re not present. We’re here, but our minds aren’t aware of what God is trying to do through us.
William James said, “Compared with what we ought to be, most of us are half-awake.”
Do you know what happens to the individual living a life that is half-awake?
They miss God opportunities! They miss divine appointments! They forfeit supernatural experiences! All of which are vital to our lives. We must capture the essence of who God is and what God is attempting to accomplish in us. But if we’re half-awake, we’re not present to capture them.