Interruptions or Opportunities: Apr 17th - 23rd

This Week & Beyond....

Just a couple reminders this week...
1. Let's pray for the team serving.
     - Tony & Lisa leading praise & worship
     - Myself preaching
     - Rob leading the service
     - Matt and the team serving in the children's ministry
2. Team night in a week and a half.  If you haven't confirmed yet, please do so at your earliest convenience.

Thanks!!
Gregory

Devotional...

Interruptions or Opportunities
by Mark Sooy, Hopkins, Michigan, www.MarkSooy.com

Jesus took the apostles "with him...so that they could be alone. But the crowds found out about this and followed Him. He welcomed them." (Luke 9:10b-11a)

 I don't know about you, but it seems to me that life gets busier with each passing day. We can have work to do, phone calls to make, children to shuttle from one thing to the next, and a myriad of other responsibilities that pull us in every direction. It is often overwhelming as we seek to care for our own needs, but also desire to care for those around us.

Of course Jesus had a busy schedule as well. He devoted Himself to mentor twelve men in living as obedient believers and leaders. He taught regularly in the synagogues, the temple, on the beach, on the mountains and in the streets. His healing ministry caused crowds of people to gather around Him, if only to touch His robe and be healed of their infirmities.

In addition to that, Jesus walked from town to town to share the Good News of the kingdom. His ministry spread over many miles and touched countless people. He seemed to be constantly moving, and noted at one point that He had "no place to lay His head."

As the twelve began to be more involved in ministry, Jesus recognized their need for rest and time alone. After an especially demanding time of preaching and curing the sick, Jesus "took them with Him to a city called Bethsaida so that they could be alone" (Luke 9:10b). Jesus knew that the excitement and stress of ministry was great, and He attempted to provide for their refreshment.

This was an excellent plan -- until the crowds found out about it. In the middle of this important retreat, throngs of people started showing up. They had many needs, and they knew that Jesus was the answer to their problems. They could hear the Good News to nourish their souls, be cured of their diseases to fix their bodies, and -- if they were lucky -- they might have a picnic lunch provided by Christ and the apostles!

Each time I read this story I am surprised at the response Jesus has to these demanding, self-interested crowds that come at the most inconvenient of times: He welcomes them! He opens His heart and draws them into His love. Unlike my automatic response of irritation at the inconvenience, His consistent response is to reach into their lives. He talks to them about the kingdom of God, He cures their sickness, and in this instance, provides lunch! Jesus responded out of a gracious heart in every situation.

This brings me back to the busy lives that we lead today. We all need a break from the grind of daily responsibilities, and often the rest that we plan for a weekend or some other time gets interrupted. We lie down for a nap, and the phone rings. We sit in our favorite chair to read, and our spouse wants to talk (or a friend, or son, or daughter).

Even in the worship ministries of our churches the demands can seem overwhelming. We may have a tight schedule for rehearsal; we can't afford any interruptions. And when the rehearsal or ministry time is over, we're out the door, headed to the next all-important whatever.

But... what if we took the time to care for one another? How might we respond in a more Christ-like way when inconvenienced by someone? Are there people in the worship ministry of your church who need a touch from Jesus that you could give? Are there folks in your church who need to feel loved after the Sunday service? Do we really need to be in such a hurry that we ignore such people?

Of course, it's vital that we rely on the Holy Spirit's prompting to respond appropriately in each situation. Yet Jesus gave us a great example and His Word tells us to do likewise, bearing one another's burdens. So maybe part of our planning should be to leave some extra time to respond and, like Jesus, be aware of the people around us. We have something they need -- Jesus! Let us give freely of Him with an open and loving heart.

GOING DEEPER:
1. In what way(s) do you find this particular devotion challenging?
2. Tell of a time when you were "too busy" to help someone -- a time that you wish you could rewind and do over.
3. Have you ever been an "interruption" in someone else's life and met grace and compassion?