Balance was a critical component of both Rev. Cattenhead's and my sermon yesterday. Without using the word, I talked about how we're to be both Martha and Mary-balancing service to and for Jesus with sitting at his feet and in his presence. It is, I think, the time spent in his presence that makes the serving on his behalf faithful.

Derrick had another emphasis that was helpful, too. He spoke of seizing time with Jesus.

That image has stuck with me. To seize something is take hold of it. Mary took hold of an opportunity to be with Jesus.

We often associate seizure with a use of force, perhaps militarily. If an army is going to seize a city, they strategize. Knowledge from previous battles, about the enemy, and about the area where the fight will occur are all brought into the planning session. Only overconfident or foolish soldiers would storm in without any preparation.

When Derrick spoke of seizing time with Jesus, it occurred to me that we can be overconfident or foolish in our discipleship. Too often we don't strategize, make a plan, or draw on the accumulated knowledge and practices available to us. Many of us say we would like to do better in this area of our lives, but not enough of us think about an actual plan for doing better.

Fortunately, the church has come through for us again. Conveniently, the gospel lesson for this coming Sunday is when Jesus' disciples asked him to teach them to pray. We'll give that some thought Sunday.

It is also a good time of the year for us to be strategic about our Bible study plans for the year ahead. There are many options detailed in the next bulletin. Can't wait? Read about it here.

Of course, you don't have to wait for those classes to start. We have Sunday School year round (learn about our classes here). We also have a Healing Service every Thursday at 12:15 p.m. that centers on scripture, prayer, and Holy Communion.

Be strategic. Seize on the desire you have to deepen your relationship with Christ by seizing on the many opportunities afforded to you.

Seize the faith.