Week of 2/21/16 - The Gift of Interruption

Stretch Marks -  Week 3

THE GIFT OF INTERRUPTION

Week three of Stretch Marks, Pastor Bryan used the parable of the Good Samaritan to illustrate how the interruptions in our lives can actually be God’s invitations to stretch.  

SCRIPTURE REFERENCES

Luke 10:30-37 Romans 8:28 Luke 1:26-38 Luke 1:46-49 (KJV)  

Recap

- In Luke 10, Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan, where a man was beaten and left wounded in the middle of the road. Both a priest and a Levite (a temple worker) saw the man and avoided him by walking on the other side of the street. However, a Samaritan man saw him and took pity on him. He took him, bandaged his wounds, and took him to an inn to care for him. After he was well, he even gave him some of his money to account for any additional needs.

- Jesus asked, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” It was the Samaritan man, and Jesus commanded them to do likewise.

-Where two men saw an interruption, one man saw an invitation. Bryan taught that sometimes, God’s greatest opportunities come packaged in the form of interruptions.  

Here are three things we can do to begin to see our interruptions as gifts:  

1. MAKE SOME ROOM  

- Bryan pointed out that the priest and the Levite weren’t necessarily bad people because they avoided the man in the road. Perhaps, she suggested, they were busy because they had to get to their work in the temple. 

 - Bryan taught that we too can become so busy doing good things that we miss the opportunities that arise unannounced. In order for God to stretch us, we have to make some room for Him to stretch us. This means creating margin in our time, our minds, and our wallets.  

- If we want to be able to act at a moment’s notice, we have to free our schedule of the demands that over- burden us. If we want to make room for God to guide our thoughts, we have to make room in our minds to focus clearly on Him. If we want to live generously, we have to make room in our budgets to do so. God cannot stretch us until we make room for Him in our lives.  

2. OPEN MY EYES  

- If we want to see interruptions as a gift, we have to ask God to open our eyes to see them as invitations.  

- We all come to a point in our lives that life hits us hard with an interruption.  

When that happens, Bryan taught that what we see will determine how we feel. It’s all about perspective. If you see disappointment, you will feel inconvenience. If you see frustration, you will feel annoyed. But if you see a gift, you will feel gratitude. If you see opportunity, you will feel anticipation as you believe God for what only He is capable of. -Are your eyes open to the everyday situations that God wants to leverage as invitations to see Him move?  

3. MAGNIFY THE OPPORTUNITY  

- Luke 1 recounts the moment an angel told a virgin Mary that she would give birth to Jesus, the Son of God. Everything in her life was interrupted in that moment by a very difficult task that would bring much pain and opposition. However, her response showed what it’s truly like to magnify a God-given opportunity.-In Luke 1:46-49 (KJV), Mary’s prayer was to magnify the Lord. What does it look like for us to magnify God through even our most difficult interruptions?  

- Sometimes, we can feel like we’re not qualified for the opportunities God brings into our lives. Bryan shared that being a mother to three young children has its overwhelming moments, but she encouraged us all not to look solely at our opposition, but to magnify the opportunity before us.-Bryan also shared the story of the day her parents discovered that Joy, Bryan’s sister, had a developmental disability. Bryan’s dad asked the doctor, “Why us?” He replied, “Why not you?”  

- Even when we are intimidated or hurt by our interruptions, God has placed something unique inside of each of us that is designed to magnify the opportunity within every situation.  

Group Guide

  • If you selected someone last week for the "Team Stretch" activity, open your Life Group by allowing them share how God is stretching them.  

  • Not all interruptions are divine invitations. What are your least favorite interruptions?  

  • Give an example of an interruption you've experienced that wound up becoming an invitation to see God at work. As your Life Group begins to share the different ways their faith has been stretched, ask a few follow-up questions to help them apply this week’s message to their lives.  

1. MAKE SOME ROOM  

  • Bryan taught that we can't stretch our faith if we don't have room for God. What do you believe it means to "make room" for Him?  

  • Like the priest and the Levite in Luke 10, it's possible to be too busy doing good things to miss out on God's daily invitations.  

  • What good things fill your schedule? How do you keep them from becoming burdensome?  

  • It's okay to have busy seasons, but it's not okay to never be able to come up to breathe. How do busy schedules affect you, both internally and in your relationships with others?  

  • Have you ever felt overwhelmed by your schedule? Talk about what you had to do to make enough room to breathe.  

  • Do you need to make any changes to your schedule to make more room? How are you going to make those changes?  

2. OPEN MY EYES  

  • The priest and the Levite both saw the wounded man on the road, but they both avoided him. What kind of situations or people do you typically avoid because you know they will interrupt you?  

  • Bryan taught that the way we see something will determine the way we feel. Give an example of a situation where you saw this play out.  

  • Finish this sentence with either a person or activity:When I'm frustrated with someone or something, I know that _____ will change my perspective.  

  • As believers in Jesus, we have a unique hope to offer those around us. Think about the people you interact with on a daily basis. What can you do to help them open their eyes and see their daily struggles in a different light?  

3. MAGNIFY THE OPPORTUNITY  

  • In Luke 1, Mary's life was interrupted with a uniquely challenging opportunity. Yet it was her reaction to this interruption that made all the difference. When you're interrupted, what is typically your first reaction?  

  • Interruptions can make us say, "I've got to..." Invitations cause us to say, "I get to..." With that in mind, finish these sentences: Every single day, I've got to _____.Every single day, I get to _____.  

  • What is one "got-to" that you want to change to a "get-to"?  

  • Do you ever feel like you're not equipped to handle what God has put in your life?  

  • Magnifying the opportunity involves not asking God, "Why me?" but saying, "Why not me?" What unique characteristics has God given you that will help you magnify life's difficult opportunities? Life Group leaders, use this time to specifically encourage your Life Group members.  

CLOSING ACTIVITY

One of the quickest ways to shift our perspectives is to recall Scripture that we've memorized. Challenge your Life Group to stretch their faith by memorizing Scripture this week. Leaders, you can either select one for the group (i.e. Romans 8:28) or give your Life Group members a few minutes to choose their own, making sure they are able to pick one before you leave. Then, close your Life Group with a time of prayer.  

WHAT’S YOUR NEXT STEP?

Help your Group identify and take their next steps with Jesus. Pray with them and for them. Ask them about their Next Step(s) later this week.  

Are you a 100% sure there you will spend eternity?  

Today may be the day you need to make the stretch to take your first step into a new relationship with Jesus Christ. Stretch out to him, trust in Him and receive Him as your Savior your life.

Is your schedule so full that there is no margin for God’s invitation in your life? Your Next Step is to evaluate your schedule to trim away the the time munchers.  

When God does give you the opportunity do you receive it with joy(Invitation) or as a burden (Interruption)? Your Next Step maybe a change in your perspective.  

PRAY

Pray for you group, that God stretch us to be more than ordinary. Pray that we all will reveal to us the time munchers in our schedules. Ask God to give us eyes that see the invitation he gives us and receive them as an opportunity to magnify Him.