The Interruptions are the Ministry

This is something that I came across today while preparing for this Wednesday night.  

 

The Interruptions Are the Ministry

A minister once observed that sometimes “interruptions are the ministry.” In the book, Before Burnout, the authors point out that Mark’s Gospel provides many examples of Jesus handling interruptions well. After he healed a man with an unclean spirit (Mark 1:21–26), Jesus was suddenly interrupted by an entire city who demanded his attention (1:33). He was then interrupted in the midst of his teaching by four men carrying a paralyzed man (2:1–5).… Later Jesus was pursued and interrupted by a large multitude (3:7–9). At one point, after being interrupted by Jairus, Christ was almost immediately interrupted again by a woman with a long-term illness. The Savior compassionately handled all of those interruptions well.

A study of the way Jesus handled these kinds of interruption can teach us several things:

1. Christ always responded graciously. He never conveyed the attitude that people did not have a right to interrupt Him.

2. He made people a priority. For the most part, those who interrupted Him were not prominent individuals, yet Christ treated them as important.

3. Although frequently interrupted, Christ did not allow those interruptions to deflect Him from His ultimate purpose. For example, after dealing with the woman with the issue of blood, Jesus immediately went on to raise Jairus’ daughter.

4. On occasion, the Savior actually initiated an interruption himself. He interrupted His teaching of the multitude to call Levi the tax collector to follow Him.

5. Fifth, when important priorities made it necessary, Christ isolated Himself from interruptions.

“Learning to handle interruptions in a Christlike fashion,” say the authors, “will take us a significant distance down the road of handling life’s circumstances.”*

Friday is for Family

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“Daddy, can we please leave. I’m bored.”

Doctor’s office visits. If you have children then you will understand what I am talking about today. With children it can seem like our little “walking copays” spend more time at appointments for their well-being than they spend in school. As parents we can arrive at the appointment more worked up than they are because of leaving work, fighting traffic, checking kids out-of-school, and et cetera.

Here are a few simple ways to enjoy these days:

These moments are temporary
We often say it, so now is a good time to remember it. They are only this age and size right now. As troublesome as the appointment can seem, God has given us this time with them so make the most of it. Take the time to ask how school is going or enjoy a special treat after the appointment. It’s a getaway from work for you too so make the most of it.

Make Conversation
We’ve already touched on it but use the time to connect with your child. Look at a magazine together. Sit in the children’s area and play together. Intentionally ask questions about their lives.

Be thankful together
We all know that some appointments can end with life-changing news. Use regular check ups or appointments to celebrate the health that we have and discuss how that is a gift from God.

Who knows. Annoying appointments can seem more like a fun fiend trip when the day is done.

Ordinary Christianity

Every other crime touches God’s territory, but unbelief aims a blow at his divinity, impeaches his veracity, denies his goodness, blasphemes his attributes, maligns his character; therefore, God, of all things, hates first and chiefly, unbelief, wherever it is.—Charles Haddon Spurgeon*

Yesterday at Sonrise we shared how God is bigger than the ordinary. Nothing may cause one to remain in ordinary Christianity than doubts and fears. There are doubts that God is unwilling and powerless to deliver His people. Doubts that God has no divine plan for them. We arrive at points where we feel as though we know these thoughts are not true yet we still cannot seem to completely remove them from our thinking. Then there is fear.

Fear will cause us to remain in ordinary Christianity as well. We used the acronym of False Expectations Appearing Real for fear. Fears of dreams and dreams unrealized. Fears of natural phenomenon. Fear of the unknown. Even fears about the future. There is nothing ordinary about the daily walk with Jesus Christ. Look around you this week at how God is working in the middle of good and not so good circumstances. Regardless of how we feel He is truly bigger than any situation that you are in right now. Do not lose hope or dwell on doubts and fears. Dwell on the goodness of God!

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Psalms 43:5

Until then, Go and Make Disciples of all Nations.

PK

The Bigger Picture

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I’m not really sure where my love for amazing sunrises and colorful clouds originates from but it is there. Part of me wants to believe that it’s something deep inside that reminds me that there’s always a bigger picture. A more grand scheme. They remind me that I am but a small piece of a puzzle that an Eternal God has woven for us all.

Got 5 Minutes?

Leadership Topic: When they “just don’t get it.”

“Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, so honor is not fitting for a fool.” (PROV. 26:1)

If you have ever left a conversation shaking your head and saying to yourself (or openly) “they just don’t get” then this post may or may not be for you. With this said people wired to go from 0 – 60 mph on the impatient scale in a flash may always be asking this question. However, over time you will (not if but when) encounter someone that will cause you to react in this way.

Well, what if they really do not get it. You have to break down what, in fact, is “it.” “It” may be a concept in business, a philosophy in ministry, or as simple as a difference in personality. The point is that it would be wise to define what the “it” is before moving to the actual intent of this post.

What do you do in an organization in which an individual or group of individuals just “doesn’t get it.” Any good leader that has concern for the organization will more than likely put the time necessary into making sure communication barriers are in place to make sure the goals and mission are clear. However, there is a phrase (I have a much longer post about this being prepared as well.) that to many comes across as harsh. That is to call someone a fool. Sadly, there are a number of words or phrases that no matter how hard one tries they cannot make it politically correct or soften its blow. Today, a website that I regularly read for various articles placed an emphasis on this subject.

James MacDonald writes:

“I have come to believe that failure in the season of conflict—failure to deal with it, failure to learn from it, failure to move beyond it—prevents entrance into a new season of joy. For that reason alone, I have tried to handle conflict in the best possible way.

Two verses tucked away in Proverbs 26 have been very helpful to me, and I have been reminded about them again just recently. On the page they look like a contradiction, but in real life they work together like hand and glove, if you let them. Here’s the first one to master:

Proverbs 26:5 “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.”

Answer the fool—he thinks he’s so smart, has it all figured out in his brashness and needs to be set straight. Do your job, don’t fear the fallout. Tell him directly and with kindness what his folly is and why his insolence or block-headed pride or denial are destroying him. Step up to the plate and take one for the team.

There is nothing worse than a fool on the loose, and they can devastate any organization or ministry. Do your job, stop the fool in his tracks and set the fool straight. OK? Just do it!

The problem is, fools do not like to be set straight. Which leads to the all-important balance of the proverb in closest proximity.

Proverbs 26:4 “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.”

Fools are fools for a reason, and it’s not because they are deaf or blind; it’s because they are dull of hearing. Just one verse earlier we are told, “A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the back of fools.” And knowing that we cannot bring the rod to bear upon a fool in our churches, we try to ‘bring the rod’ with many words.”

(You can read this article in its entirety by following this link.)

Now, it is difficult to find an individual that walks around on a crusade looking for a fight for pure enjoyment. When you find one you may want to encourage them to find a new hobby because they may have too much free time. The sad truth is that in any organization or profession moments arise that require confrontation. Confrontation sounds negative but it does not have to be negative. It means being direct. Positive or negative these moments are critical in an organization. You know what I mean.

The person in the Bible that just does not nor will not seek understanding or cooperate is called a fool.  A foolish person, when left alone, will destroy your organization.  Look again at Proverbs 26:4 in the statement above.  In addition to slowing progress if we try to argue with a fool we may run the risk of lowering standards and halting services to our communities simply from allowing them to have their way.  Each person individually and corporately within a church or organization will arrive at the place in which they ask “How long will we allow this to go on here?”  This question is never fun to ask but it is necessary.  Sadly, a foolish person will never learn.  Do not fail to deal, quickly, lovingly and directly, with a fool.  Dealing with one may be the catalyst to move your organization to its next great level of growth and development.

Hutchens Elementary Award Day

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We are so proud of our two boys. Though our move has been somewhat difficult on them, they both have done a great job of trying to adjust to an entirely new life.

Our little “Alligator Man” or “Smiley Jack” as some call him received two more awards today. Great job Jack of meeting your Accelerated Reader goal for the last quarter.

Are you making your organization better? It’s up to you!

Below is a quick email that I sent to our staff and lay leaders at Sonrise Baptist Church to simply challenge them and encourage them.  It is from Seth Godin and you can subscribe to his posts as well by using the link.  I hope that you find it useful as well whether it be in ministry, your office, or in everyday life.

“It’s completely up to you”

… and that’s the problem.

I was picking out the mat for a framed photo and there were a thousand colors to choose from. The framer uttered the scary invocation, putting the choice back to me.

So many things are now completely up to us, more than ever before. Where and how and when we work and invest and interact and instruct and learn…

If you think you have no choice but to do what you do now, you’ve already made a serious error.

It seems to me that passing the buck on this merely because it’s easier than choosing is precisely the wrong strategy. It enables an abdication of power that will be very hard to reverse. It’s up to you, and that’s part of the power that you’ve got.

Back to the framer: I picked, because that’s my job.”

 

So.  Yes we obviously depend on the leadership of the Holy Spirit but there is a tendency to use this as a spiritual “cop out” to run from responsibility or cover up for laziness.  This is not to insenuate  or point fingers.  (Relax…)  But, throughout Scripture God uses obedient people.  Obedience says:  I hear the call and it’s up to me!

So are you really making your church or office a better place to worship and make disciples for our community and for the nations?

Be Encouraged!

Question: Church in the Next Ten Years

Thank you again for your help.

Morning Shot from Psalm 11

1 In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain, 2 for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; 3 if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

4 The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord ‘s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. 5 The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. 6 Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. 7 For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.  Psalm 11: 1-7, ESV

Psalm 11 is a song written from a heart filled with confidence. One can hear the assurance of a person that knows a God of justice. The writer is confident that the Lord hears his cries, answers his prayers, rewards obedience and is also the avenger of the evildoer. He writes, “In the Lord I take refuge…” to begin his song of thanks.

What a word refuge is when you think about it. Think about this for a moment. When you are driving home from a long day at work would you say to someone else “I am going home for the day” or “I am going to my place of refuge.” Look at this question from a relational view. If you are afforded the opportunity of having an evening out with your spouse would you say to another person, “I am going out with my wife or husband tonight” or say “I am having an evening alone with the one that provides me refuge.” The simplicity alone of changing this one word stirs the heart.

Let’s take a brief look at a refuge. You see on one level a refuge is a place of safety, a shelter or dwelling place that is secure from harm. At the same time, it is something that offers a peaceful shelter from dangers and anxieties. As husbands, wives, parents, or as the one that others depend on for the needs of life the Lord has called us to provide and be a refuge for our families. What an incredible thought to feel like our spouse looks at us like a place of safety and doesn’t hide in fear. What a blessing to think that our families have no greater desire to come not just to a house but a “home” where it is a refuge. How thankful we should be when we are allowed to worship together with other Believers at a local church where we can take refuge!

What an encouraging reminder this morning that the Lord is our refuge. He is truly the Ultimate Refuge. When emotions tell us that there is nowhere to turn we are reminded that we can turn to Him.

Think about this today as you go about your schedule. Where is your refuge? In whom do you turn to as a provider of refuge? Turn to Him.

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