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The power of right now

By Sam S. Rainer III

I am a planner. Much of my life is organized around a schedule. I think of my daily activities as timeslots in a column on my computer calendar. For the most part, it helps me stay timely and keeps me from procrastinating. And yes, I’m that guy who plans out an entire vacation. My wife, Erin, likes to joke that I enjoy planning our vacations more than the actual vacation time.

Erin and I laugh about our different personalities. She’s usually in the here and now. I’m always thinking way ahead. She’s action-oriented around what needs to be done today. I’m visionary for the next 20 years. She embraces spontaneity, and I have to plan when I’m going to act on a whim. Perhaps such is the reason that we make a good team.

One of my personal struggles as a pastor is maintaining an eye for the here and now. I can have church far-sightedness at times, seeing the future but being fuzzy on today. In reaching the culture for Jesus, a grand vision is important. But just as important is a grand appreciation for the moment at hand. God can greatly use people who take hold of the power of right now. Let me share with you five lessons I learned by loosening the grip on my calendar and joining God’s work in the moment.

Life becomes illustrative. People can make a right-now moment an urgent crises or an opportunity for fun. Some of my favorite stories about friends and family come from life’s spontaneous instances. When God’s people live in the moment, their lives become lights for the world to see His joy.

Levity is let loose. A good laugh helps strengthen relationships. Christians can be salt by adding a little unprompted humor into the mix. And Christians who laugh and joke spontaneously can be accepted as more genuine, authentic and enjoyable.

Creativity is encouraged. Many of my most creative moments come by accident, when I experience something unplanned or unexpected. Living in the moment can encourage and stimulate creativity. And believers who utilize their creative gifts for God’s glory can inspire and motivate people around them.

Connecting trumps work. One of the biggest hurdles in connecting with people is the perception that work is more important than them. Most people plan to work. Few people intentionally reach out to others. A great way to squash this perception is to accept spontaneously when people ask you to join them for dinner, coffee or fellowship at that moment.

Sharing opportunities appear. Most importantly, when God’s people embrace the power of right now, God can provide incredible opportunities to help connect people to Jesus. As believers, we should pray daily that God will put people in front of us who need to hear the only message of true reconciliation ad joy.

Life requires plans. In order for people to function, a level of organization is required. While schedules and routines keep people focused, a little spontaneity can add flavor to the daily grind. And by embracing the power of right now, we might just see God work in the moment.

Sam S. Rainer III is president of Rainer Research and senior pastor of First Baptist Church Murray, Murray, KY. www.rainerresearch.comwww.fbcmurray.org

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