…And the Crowds Followed

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings
Num 1-2; Mark 3:1-19


Jesus left with his disciples and went to the lake. A large crowd followed him because they had heard what he was doing. They were from Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and the area surrounding Tyre and Sidon. Jesus told his disciples to get a small boat ready for him so the crowd wouldn’t crush him. 10 He had healed so many people that everyone who was sick pushed forward so that they could touch him. 11 Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down at his feet and shouted, “You are God’s Son!” 12 But he strictly ordered them not to reveal who he was (Mark 3:7-12, Common English Bible).

Have you ever noticed that when something happens, that hasn’t happened before, the crowds show up? As a United Methodist pastor, I am subject to appointment by my bishop. I currently live south of Houston. My home base, where I plan to live is about three hours north of Houston. Recently the local Little League team not only went to the Little League World Series, they were the United States champions. And, when they came home, the crowds showed up. Everyone wanted to be a part of something that had not happened before and while I hope it isn’t the case, it may never happen again.

As anyone who is a baseball fan knows, last year, the Houston Astros, for the first time in the team’s 55 year history, they won it all. When the city threw the team a victory parade, the crowd was huge.

Probably the biggest crowd I have been part of was the Texas Sesquicentennial (so you don’t have to go look it up, 150th-anniversary celebration) at the San Jacinto Battleground 17 miles southeast of downtown Houston. It happened on April 21, 1986. Personal cars couldn’t be brought to the site. People were brought in by buses. There were lots and lots of buses. There was an estimated crowd of over 100,000 people there. It took Cindy, our oldest son Wayne, and I more than three hours to get home, a distance that isn’t more than 10 miles. Based on the number of people trying to get on those buses, I don’t doubt there were 100,000 people out there.

When something unusual is happening, it also doesn’t take long for word to spread. For those in Israel, word of Jesus spread quickly. It was something new. Here is this guy from Nazareth who could seem to do just about anything. He turned water into wine (not in this story), he got pigs to run off a cliff, he would bring the dead back to life, he forgave without question, he healed the sick and cast out demons. I admit it, I would go to see that. Even more, I would take all my friends who needed healing with me. The logic would probably be, “Hey, what is it going to hurt. it probably wouldn’t make things worse.”

What would be surprising is these people, people who needed healing, crowded in close to Jesus in an effort to reach out and touch him because if only they could touch him they would be healed.

It seems to me that even today, we should all be part of the crowd, reaching out to Jesus, so we too could find healing. After all, don’t all of us need healing in some way?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved



Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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