The last few months have been anything but normal. Have we been interrupted or disrupted? In this message Pastor Josh will share four spiritual lessons from quarantine and what we can learn from God “stopping us” in Act chapter sixteen.
Watch the Message Here:
When did you first realize that the pandemic was going to change your life? For me, it was March 13. I had a full ministry morning and was under a deadline to turn in my book to the publisher. With every passing moment, through news stories, text messages and conversations with Molly, I was getting a clearer picture that life was about to change—drastically.
Do you remember when you used to be watching analog TV—the kind with the old antenna wrapped in aluminum foil—and suddenly the show you were watching was “Interrupted” for “A test of the emergency broadcast system?” It always seemed to come at the worst time, and it always seemed to last forever. That is what life felt like to me when the coronavirus started to tramp across our lives. It was a major interruption.
Around noon that day I called my publisher to tell them I wasn’t going to make the deadline. I called Ryan, our video producer, to see if he would record a video with me to tell the church we couldn’t meet for one or two Sundays J… and it seemed that life was “interrupted.” We quickly made plans to broadcast church from the Sims’s home—and in two day’s time we advanced our church by several years and were now “online only.”
All of this, I thought, was just one major ‘test of the emergency broadcast system. This is only a test.’ I thought it would go away quickly and there is no way it would stop our plans—plans to renovate this property, to launch new programs, for me to get a sabbatical with my family… but with each passing day, I realized this was not just a short interruption. This was a disruption.
An interruption stops you. Interruptions are more like annoyances; they happen often but are easily forgotten. A kid asking a question during an adult conversation; a phone call in the middle of a meeting; a commercial break right at the cliff hanging moment—these are interruptions. Life is full of unexpected moments, we get that, but when the moments last days, months, or even years, they are no long interruptions, they are disruptions.
A disruption reorients you. This is more than a nuisance and defiantly more than a moment; or even if it is a moment, the effects of it are longer-lasting. Life doesn’t snap back to the way it was and there are going to be something you never do again after a disruption and there will be other things you do for the rest of your life. For example, 9-11 was a disruption that left behind a metal detectors and departments of homeland security; having a child changes the way we plan or day, or sleep at night; losing a spouse or loved one takes routine interaction or favorite vacations and changes them. Disruptions happen less often than interruptions in life, but when they happen, we realize things will not be the same again.
Was quarantine an interruption or a disruption for you? For most of us, if not all of us, the pandemic we are coming out of was much more of a disruption. The true effects of it may still remain to be seen. However, it was longer than any of us may have guessed, it was something we didn’t see coming, and it has changed the way we do life — just look around… this is not how we did church before. We have been disrupted.
Disruptions in Scripture
We are not the only humans to ever experience a disruption. Ever generation has been disrupted at some point, just think of the generations over the history of our country: Fights for freedom, Plagues, Famines, Civil wars, World Wars, The Spanish Flu, The Holocaust, The Great Depression, other wars, market crashes, corrupt leaders, and more.
Think about the disruptions we read about in the Bible: The flood, the plagues of Egypt, the 40 years in the wilderness (The Bible’s great depression), Babylonian exile in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, we see unprecedented persecution, Alexander the Great, Nero, and other who changed the face of the church, the reformation and many other events has caused Christianity to be disrupted since God’s first creation of man in the Garden of Eden.
There is one story that stands out to me in Acts 16:6-11 where we see a disruption happen amid the movement of God’s great mission. Open with me to this passage, Acts 16:6-11. Paul wanted to go to Asia but God stopped him.
 And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.  And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.  So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.  And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”  And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. (ESV)
There are two primary lessons we can learn from this passage:
- They responded to the disruption with mission.
- When there is a divine disruption, the only correct response in obedience.
So how do we respond when there is a moment of disruption in our life? First we must understand what kind of disruption it is. There are two words used for “Time” in Ancient Greek:
- Kairos — καιρός, which means “Right, critical, or opportune time” – a significant point in time where everything changes.
- chronos — χρόνος. This is the development of events over time.
When we find ourselves in a ‘kiaros’ moment, we must react appropriately in order to stay on mission and respond in obedient.
Our Reaction to Kiaros Moments:
- Observe — What has happened?
- Reflect — Look into the emotions. Bring internal external.
- Discuss — True friends, God’s children can speak on His behalf.
- Plan — We must do something! What do I need to do? Please God?
- Account — Get help.
- Act — Follow through with the plan God called you to.
Spiritual Lessons from Quarantine:
- God uses disruptions remind us who is in control.
- God uses disruptions to reprioritize our life.
- God uses disruptions to speak to us.
- God uses disruptions to show us that what we thought was impossible is possible with Christ.
The Spirit of Christ may allow us to be disrupted, but in our disruption, He is strengthening us for what we can’t comprehend.