Apologies to everyone waiting for part three, but last week was very busy :-) By the way I hope those of you who were there for Father's Day or Young Guns encountered God in the meetings.
So here's the first point I felt God showed me in Zambia, and it may seem blindly obvious, but it was this.
There was a huge need!
Although we know the story as the feeding of the five thousand, as Eileen Scott pointed out last night at Young Guns there were far more than five thousand people as that count only included the men, not the women or children. The need was huge.
We need to open our eyes to see that the needs around us are huge.
That's true on a global scale. I read in the paper this weekend that one billion people throughout the world now suffer from hunger. That makes the problem the disciples faced seem tiny. We're not likely to meet many of those one billion people today, but that's more than one in seven of the world's population who won't have a proper meal today, tomorrow, this week or this month. Then there are the estimated 15 million children who've lost one or both parents to an AIDS related illness. That may seem just to huge for us to comprehend, representing the equivalent of one quarter of the UK population.
But there are very real needs in our neighbourhoods too. The single mum doing her best to bring up young her young children, but desperate for some practical help and someone to babysit so she can get out for at least one evening. The young couple struggling with debt as one of them faces the risk of losing their job wondering how they're going to keep their home and being kept awake at night with worry. The couple who are desperate to have a child, but despite all the medical help available just can't conceive. The elderly person facing the agonising decision as to whether to put their life long partner into a home because they can no longer cope with the 24 hour care they require. The teenager desperately trying to work out who they are and how to win the acceptance of their peers.
Why not take a moment today to think about the people in your street, your workplace, your school and your family. What are some of the needs you see there?
Point two later this week :-) Hope you're having a great week.
ps Please don't forget the prayer meetings on Wednesday and Thursday and the Gift Day on Sunday.