Blog Archive

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Power of Presence

This is the message I shared with the Parkrose Nursing Home Church on 11/3/18

I want to talk today about the Power of Presence.
1. On our presence with others (ministering by our presence)
2.The experience of our coming into God’s presence,
3. on our presence with God and resting in His presence.
Ministering by our Presence
Some few years ago now, I was going through a real dark period in my life.
I was in the grip of a serious depression.
I was a Christian and in fact this is only going back about 8 years.
I was having trouble functioning as there was this so called “black cloud” hanging over my head.
At the peak of this a friend of ours had to move out of her quite small flat into care in a nursing home.
It took several months for the decision to be made that she was not well enough ever to be able to go back into her flat and live independently.
To get me out of the house and trying to function, rather than wallow in my thoughts, we decided, Lesley suggested, that I would go and feed Bronte’s little cat daily in her flat.
This was until the decision was finally made that she wouldn’t be coming home and her flat would be sold.
The little black and white cat was very timid and frightened of me to start with but because I was feeding her, she came to trust me and accept me.
I would spend about an hour there each time daily, in mainly darkness, just me and the cat.
I tried praying in this time about the things that were troubling me but God seemed miles away.
The depression was not lifting.
The walls seemed to be closing in on me.
I was praying like mad all this time but the problem was my praying was really only reminding me of my despair.
That caused a worsening depression.
I was focusing on the problem not Jesus.
For people in this situation it is sometimes wise to tell people that you will pray for them.
And actually do so in their presence on occasions.
Eventually the decision was made to sell the flat so I stopped going.
I don’t remember who took the cat over.
In that time we didn’t speak much,
 the cat and I.
Many of us talk to Pets and Animals as if they are human , don’t we?
In fact any conversation was only one way.
I am sure though the little cat took some comfort in my presence and in a strange way I looked forward to my daily visit.
I felt I at least was doing something useful.
I was ministering to the cat and in doing so to myself.
I am sure many of you believe in ministering to your pets.

This is one of our cats who we minister to daily

I longed for God to heal me and the situation at that time but God seemed remote.
Any visits I had from friends or relatives during that time of depression did not seem to help me.
I could not communicate very well.
I was very stand offish.
Their presence didn’t seem to help although I knew they meant well.
Sometimes people even seemed to be talking about me as if I wasn’t present.
Thinking because I was not responding to them they probably thought I could not hear them.
How often we are so insensitive and guilty of that sort of thing.
During this time we went on a 2 week holiday to Central Australia.
Our 2 best friends, husband and wife came with us.
I was barely on the same wavelength as Lesley and our friends.
I loved the trip but at the same time was a lot of the time overwhelmed with depression.

On the 2009 trip to Central Australia

I was really quite a kill joy most of the time.
They were incredibly gracious and understanding.
Our friends did not try and fix me, they just were there for me.
When  we minister to others sometimes its better just to listen and be there rather than try and come up with our own recipe for how God can fix it.
I was being ministered to by their presence and love and their prayers.
I don’t know if any of you have heard of Merril Womach.
He died in 2014.
This is from his obituary,
“Merrill is as well known for his amazing vocal artistry and four-octave tenor voice as he is for his creative entrepreneurship that built a national music service for funeral homes designed to minister to families during their time of loss. Years ago, while his fledgling business was growing, a private plane he was flying crashed in the woods upon take off. Merrill not only beat the odds of surviving the fiery plane crash, he also continued to sing and inspire others with his strong faith in God.”

A documentary was made about his recovery called “He Restoreth my Soul”.

Merrill received severe burns over his whole face in that crash.

His whole face was terribly scarred.
When in recovery he become very depressed.

In the documentary he said the thing that helped the depression lift was when a friend came to his house one night and they just sat and talked and reminisced about good times in the past.

There had been much prayer and medical help before that but the simple presence of his friend was the catalyst to finding the joy of living again.

This is the reality of the ministry of our presence.


It’s never too late to come into His presence.
We come into His presence because of His Grace and outstretched hands.
“As many as received Him to them He gives the right to become Children of God.”
We can come within the veil, into His presence, because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross.
At the time of the crucifixion the veil in the Temple in Jerusalem was ripped from top to bottom signifying we can now enter the Holy of Holies.
I got the idea for today’s sermon from the title of the latest book by Neil Anderson.
It’s called “the power of presence”.

Neil has had a very active ministry as a seminary professor, pastor and author and founder of Freedom in Christ Ministries.

He has written this book and shares some wonderful insights as he daily spends time with his wife who suffers from dementia.
Our reading today from Psalm 95 he speaks about in his book.

Psalm 95:1-7 King James Version (KJV)

95 O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.
The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.
O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.
For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,

It emphasizes coming into the presence of God with thanksgiving.
It also finishes “Today if you hear His voice”
We have been giving praise to God with a thankful heart.
What will happen in our lives if today we hear His voice as we come into His presence?
Will it affect our own behavior?
Will it be encouraging us to minister by our presence to others?
Coming into His presence is responding to the call of Jesus.
When we became Christians we invited and accepted Jesus to be our savior.
Coming into His presence we can grow into our full salvation.
Our Maturity as Christians.
Now we come to
The other day we were doing some babysitting at our place.
Indy who is 5 asked me to help him put together a lego thing he was making.
I said I have trouble getting down on the floor Indy so I might not be much help.
So I sat there for about 20mins.
He did not really need my help.
But he was very pleased I was in his presence.
Little kids often like to check you are still there and on their team.
We go about our lives quite independently from God but we are comforted by knowing He is always with us.
He is always present.
In the good times and the tough times.
We practice the presence of God when we walk in the light.
“ If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another,and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:6-7.
God has promised to never leave of forsake us.
His Holy Spirit has come to indwell us as the Comforter..
He will ensure we can rest in His presence.
He is here with us both personally and as a congregation today.
Let’s make sure we continue to rest in His presence
 if we are able to,
minister to others by our presence.



  1. Hello Bro. Geoff Thompsons. I am a Pastor from Mumbai, India. I am glad to stop by your profile on the blogger and the blog post. I am also blessed and feel privileged and honored to get connected with you as well as know you and about your faith in Jesus Christ. I am blessed to go through your post on The Power Of Presence". I love getting connected with the people of God around the globe to be encouraged, strengthened and praying for one another. I have been in the P astoral ministry for last 39 yrs in this great city of Mumbai a city with a great contrast where richest of rich and the poorest of poor live. We also encourage young and the adults from the est to come to Mumbai to work with us during their vacation time. We would love to have your young grown up children to come to Mumbai with their friends to work with us during their vacation time. I am sure they will have a life changing experience. In the past we did have many young people coming to Mumbai to work with us through YWAM. Looking forward to hear from you very soon. God's richest blessings on you, your family and friends also wishing you a blessed and a Christ centered rest of the year 2018. My email id is: dhwankhede(at)gmail(dot)com and my name is Diwakar wankhede.

    1. Thank your for your comments Diwakar.It is good to hear of your work in Mumbai.Thank you for the offer to my children but they are not in a position to visit India.Blessings to you and your family.