Schedule Time with Jesus

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Schedule Connection
God has called us to be responsible to take care of ourselves and the people around us; that is a godly thing to do. But we tend to add on things and responsibilities to our schedule without really paying attention to how much we have truly added. We don’t feel like adding more makes any difference when we do it little by little, but it makes all the difference.  Consider this question when analyzing your current schedule: What takes up your time that is not important and not urgent? What has taken up your focus and your attention that is neither important, nor is it urgent? Many of us likely have hours and hours and hours of time that could be put into that category. So, the challenge here is to schedule relationships, schedule connections, and schedule your time with Jesus. Challenge yourself to have a standing appointment with Jesus that you're not going to miss and you make sure you keep that appointment every day. It's on the calendar – you schedule it, you keep it, you prioritize it because that's really what matters. All of your production and the complexity of your schedule may pay off for a little while, but at what cost? Was it paid for by sacrificing connections with people you love and your Heavenly Father? We have to stop and think about the simple truth that Jesus says to Martha about Mary in Luke 10. “She has chosen what is better and it won't be taken from her.” In his response, Jesus is saying Mary’s decision is better because it lasts forever. What she's doing here is better than what Martha is doing because her time with Jesus is something that she will experience benefits from the rest of her existence in this life and in eternity. Jesus doesn't want more and more from you. Jesus wants more and more of you.  Reflection/Discussion Question: When will you schedule and prioritize your daily time to connect and listen to Jesus?
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Eliminate Distractions
Microsoft researcher Linda Stone described the impact of our screens this way: “Continuous, partial attention is the new normal.” It's just how we live now. We accept it in ourselves, and we accept it from one another. We have settled for this continuous state of partial attention in our relationships with one another. We are too distracted with our distractions to think about how distracted we've become.  So, which is longer for you: your prayer list or your to-do list? It becomes so easy for us to be distracted by our distractions, instead of thinking about what is eternal and what really matters. Even after reading this, we have a tendency to turn on the TV or we get out our phones, and we start thinking about all the pressures of today and tomorrow. Challenge yourself to sit and think about eternity and how long forever is because it's a really long time. Consider your life and ask: Are you giving yourself to what is best? What is eternal? What will last forever?  Prioritizing what is best might require setting some new boundaries and asking for some help and accountability with the people around you. We also need to pray to God to help us to schedule and prioritize connection with him above anything and everything else no matter what. We want to sit at the feet of Jesus more than anything else in life. We want to love him and know his love more than anything else in life. We want be close to him.  Reflection/Discussion Question: What distraction(s) do you need to eliminate from your life to spend more time with Jesus?
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Distracted, Worried, and Upset
We've never had more options of things that can keep our attention in our everyday lives, and, as a result, we've never been more distracted than we are now. We've never had more access to information, but yet we have never been more worried and have never been more anxious. We've never been more aware of the fact that our questions don't have satisfactory answers. We've never been more connected, and yet, with all that complexity, we have been left strangely disconnected. We seem to be more upset, more easily bothered than ever before. In our world of complexity, we have so many options for how we will spend our money, time, and resources, so in Luke 10, Jesus makes it abundantly clear what should drive our decisions when it comes to choosing between all these options.  The tree of complexity grows the fruit of distraction, worry, and being easily bothered or annoyed. And so at the end of Luke 10, Jesus tells Martha that only one thing is needed and he makes things really simple when she begs for him to make Mary help her with all the tasks at hand. Jesus says that Mary has chosen what is better; spending time with Jesus is always better. But what about all these things over here that need to get done? What about all these preparations that need to be taken care of? What about all of these responsibilities? She's chosen the one thing that always is better – staying connected to him. Reflection/Discussion Question: What have you put ahead of staying connected to Jesus this week?
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Distracted and not Present
In our hectic and overscheduled lives, there always seems like there a lot of work to be done. Some of these things are good and right in their right place, but the problem occurs when we make them more important than spending time in the presence of Jesus. We focus on production and preparation rather than presence and connection. Mary prioritizes this connection with Jesus in Luke 10, even though the activities that are occupying Martha aren’t bad, unhelpful, or wasteful things; they just can’t take priority over time in the presence of Jesus.  Martha becomes increasingly annoyed that Mary is not helping out with everything that needs to be done to accommodate Jesus and the disciples. Verse 40 says, “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”’ Martha assumes that Jesus is going to be on her side, and see things the way that she sees things – because she figures that doing something is better than just sitting there and listening. Verses 41 and 42 tells us how Jesus responded to Martha’s pleas to make Mary get up and help with all the tasks. “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Jesus doesn't answer like Martha expects, instead he ensures that he makes it known that time with him is the most important things Mary can be doing.  Reflection/Discussion Question: Can you recall a time when you found yourself annoyed with someone who was prioritizing connection over production?