I met Keith in Chicago when the Wesley Covenant Association was formed. He says a lot here, and he says it with a lot more grace than I have in my heart right now. Maybe later I will add my 2 cents worth….
We are looking at 2 Greek words that translate time, Chronos and Kairos. We have only 1 word for “time”, but the Greek has these 2 words. Let’s give this simplified way to describe the 2 Greek words. Chronos is the unchanging ticking of the clock—a measured duration that consumes all.
Kairos Is The Wonderfully Unique Moments Where God Steps Into Our Space And Time—To Renew And Restore Human Hearts And Lives. Chronos Is Ordinary Time—Kairos Is Holy Time.
So that we can recognize Kairos Time and insure that we are living in Kairos Time, there are certain steps we need to take. First, we need to remember that God is in control of Kairos, not us. We simply need to be involved where God is involved in order to see it. Then we need to listen to God, not just hear Him—by being alert, sensitive and ready to move with God.
There is another step for us to take. It’s by Being Obedient. Obedience is a word that isn’t well received in our Chronos Culture. Our culture has replaced Obedience with holding onto views, beliefs and opinions that confirm whatever it is we want to believe. It’s designed to relieve people of responsibilities for their choices and actions.
And even in the Church Culture, obedience is seen much in the same way. I want to introduce you to a new word, a word I picked up from fellow blogger InsanityBytes. That word is Churchian. A Churchian is someone so deeply entrenched in the status quo of church that they reject everything contrary to what they believe and want. They look for confirmation for what they already believe and typically—what the average Churchian believes is something that makes them comfortable and is easy to follow. For example, “The Lord wants us to help those who are worthy of our help.” Or, “The Lord never puts more on us than we can bear.” But you won’t find those anywhere in the Bible.
Obedience is a word that is presented by both sides in a negative way. But it’s a word that we cannot avoid if we are going to seriously follow Jesus in life. It’s a missing word that we need to reclaim—but reclaim it the right way. Let’s look at today’s passage from 2 John 1:5-6 (TPT)
5 Dearest woman, I have a request to make of you. It is not a new commandment but a repetition of the one we have had from the beginning: that we constantly love one another. 6 This love means living in obedience to whatever God commands us. For to walk in love toward one another is the unifying commandment we’ve heard from the beginning.
If you can remember only 1 thing today, this is it: Obedience That Honors God—The Obedience God Demands From The Followers Of Jesus—Must Come From The Relationship, Not From The Rules.
Thanks to the Legalists and Modern Day Pharisees, obedience sounds harsh, difficult, and quite honestly, it is unfulfilling. Modern day Legalists and Pharisees present obedience in such a way that it puts more emphasis on the external than the internal—and all at the expense of the heart.
Obedience to God doesn’t mean that we give up the freedom of the heart. To the contrary, there is a real freedom that we find in the new heart—and this new heart calls us to obey. It’s this freedom that draws us in the direction of what Eugene Peterson once called in a book he wrote, A Long Obedience In The Same Direction.
Obedience Is Not The Relationship God Offers. But You Cannot Have The Relationship God Offers Without Being Obedient. And here in John’s letter, we have the way obedience works the way God has designed it—obedience that develops both maturity—and a life of holiness that pleases God.
1. Obedience Begins As A Decision
And the first decision we need to make is to admit our need for The Savior. Here are the first 3 critical decisions we must make about this need:
- We Are Sinners cut-off from God. We can’t save ourselves. If we bypass this step, we will never be able to have The Relationship God longs to have with us. Obedience grows from the heart that knows it is dead without being forgiven and delivered from our sin by the atoning work of Jesus on the Cross. None of us are exempt from it—that we are sinners. No sinner is any worse than any other sinner. We are equally sinners needing Jesus to deliver us from the penalty and dominion of sin.
- The Second Step Is To Confess. Confession means being of the same mind. It means we cannot follow Jesus into the life of holiness until we are of the same mind about what God says about our sin—For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. (Romans 3:23) Confession isn’t the same thing as admitting you sinned. Simply admitting you’ve sinned is like a child admitting they took a cookie from the cookie jar when confronted by Mom, acting like they are sorry and won’t do it again. But deep down, they really want another cookie, so when Mom isn’t looking the next time, they will get a cookie. Confession starts the process of changing how we see ourselves in light of God’s Truth.
- The Third Step Is To Repent. Repent Means That You Turn Away From The Old Life, And Move Into This New Life. Repentance doesn’t mean you have to feel miserable and cry your eyes out. You might need to do that—but tears of remorse are not enough. It’s like Peter preached in Acts 3:19-20—“And now you must repent And Turn Back To God so that your sins will be removed, and so that times of refreshing will stream from the Lord’s presence. And He will send you Jesus, the Messiah, the Chosen One for you.” Without turning back to God and His Ways, we haven’t repented, we’ve only admitted we are sinners. There has been no transformation—and transformation will NOT happen until we turn back to Him. Repentance is not repentance unless it includes the desire to turn back to God and live like He wants us to live.
God has only one plan for Salvation, and that is in Jesus Christ, through confession and repentance for those who will admit they are sinners. We obey God’s plan because we have been saved through His grace. If we try to have a relationship with Him in any other fashion, it becomes a negotiation—and God doesn’t negotiate.
2. Obedience Becomes The Choice
Every morning and all day long obeying God is a conscious and intentional choice. Every situation we face becomes a moment where we choose to obey God or disobey God. Everything in your life, everything you face, from ordinary moments to even painful moments, are moments we choose to obey God or disobey Him.
I think about Joshua’s retirement speech to the Hebrews in Joshua 24:15—“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.” Once you come into the Relationship, there’s more. Obedience Is Doing What God Wants Done—More Than What YOU Want Done.
And so you make a choice, every day and all day long. That’s what Peterson meant in his book—it’s a long obedience in the same direction. Your Choices Are Based On The Values Of The Land You Are Living In OR Based On The Truth Of God.
Too many are making choices based on the land they are living in—a land filled with idols and false gods. The land we are living in has declared war on the Rule of God! Our choice is either to surrender to the culture or to step into the realm of God’s Rule and join in the battle against Satan by living in obedience to God.
J.D. Walt, a powerful writer, teacher and preacher reminded me the other day of something very important. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day focused on the Rules of God because they thought God was in the Rules. Jesus came to proclaim God’s Rule! To experience Kairos, Our choice needs to submit our heart, mind, soul and life to God’s Rule over us.
3. Obedience Builds Into A Process
God created life to work for us and not against us. And life does work for us when we live it the way He designed it to be lived. To successfully and abundantly live this life He created, we live in His way, not our own way. Obedience Is Doing What God Says, How God Says To Do It And When God Says To Do It.
We learn to obey God’s Law—God’s ONLY Law—and that is to love the way He loves. We don’t obey so that God will bless us. We obey God because we Love Him! The difference is in these 4 words: Have To or Get To. Your heart and mindset will be the you either have to obey or get to obey! The New Heart God gives us responds with the joy of “get to”–you get to obey God because His heart and strength now lives in you.
I want to close out with this quote from Eugene Peterson’s book, A Long Obedience In The Same Direction, and it’s about obedience:
“We need roots in the past to give obedience ballast and breadth; we need a vision of the future to give obedience direction and goal.”
Obedience must be rooted in both—the Past AND the Future. Obedience without God’s Word is living without roots to hold us steady and strong in the winds of change. Obedience without the Future—that direction and goal—leaves us stuck in the past—and we miss out on God’s future.
Obedience is about becoming whole in Jesus. It is through obedience that we become whom God made us to be—the reflection of His Image.
Here Are Your Next Steps:
- Focus On The Relationship Not The Rules. This was where Satan began with Adam and Eve—The Rules. They forgot about the relationship because they were so focused on that Rule. Had their focus been on The Relationship, they would have made a different choice. Choose God’s Rule over the Rules of God.
- Start With One Area Of Your Life Where You Know You Are In Disobedience And Work With The Holy Spirit To Change That. Have you become someone else’s judge? Are you holding onto a grudge? Is there a bad habit? Align that one area of your life with obedience, and the others will begin to change, too.
Here is something I think is worth sharing. Cliff self-identifies as a centrist–meaning he’s not liberal and he’s not fundamental–yet even this centrist recognizes the fallacy of what is being pushed upon our Tribe… He makes some great points….
“We never talked about belief, we just shared our lives and spoke of the divine feminine in ourselves and in the world. The goddess we spoke of never felt to me like a substitute for God, but simply another aspect of the divine. Just like God’s aunt.
When I tell other Christians of my time with the goddess, I think they expect me to characterize it as a period in my life when I was misguided, and that I have now thankfully come back to both Jesus and my senses. But it’s not like that. I can’t imagine that the God of the universe is limited to our ideas of God. I can’t imagine that God doesn’t reveal God’s self in countless ways outside of the symbol system of Christianity.
In a way, I need a God who is bigger and more nimble and mysterious than what I could understand…
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The real problem centers around The Bible and deciding what amount of authority it holds over our faith and conduct.
I do not choose this Title without understanding it may well bring up painful memories. I have sat with family members who were facing this most difficult decision. I have seen firsthand the angst in their faces. Long before we met, my wife Debbie had to make this choice after her youngest daughter was in an automobile accident. When she talks about it, I hear and see that angst again. Regardless of how right that decision is, there is something that lingers within the heart of the person who made the decision. So, you see, I enter into these thoughts sensitive to the memories it creates.
Beginning today, Saturday, 24 February 2019, marks the most important gathering of the people and Tribe known as Methodists since the 1784 Christmas Conference in Baltimore. That Conference formed the “Methodist Church” independent of the Church of England. Today’s Conference may mark (notice I said “may mark”) the beginning of the end of the United Methodist Tribe.
We are a Tribe in turmoil. In the U.S. we have been a Tribe in a steady decline and it’s starting to look like it’s entering into a spiral. In other parts of the world our Tribe is growing, but here, it’s on life-support. In an attempt to resuscitate it, it was decided in 2016 to form a Commission (which was just another name for something us Methodists seem to have perfected–a committee) whose sole purpose was to find a way forward out of this turmoil induced chaos. The question, beginning today, is this: “Can there really be a way forward in light of the chasm that exists?”
Truth is, we have reached the Yogi Berra “fork in the road”. This special called General Conference is convened in the hope that this fork in the road will magically form a single road, or that we can miraculously make another road appear between the fork in the road. All of the media and comments are focused on a single issue: The rights of the LBGTQI in the United Methodist Tribe. However, that focus is only a symptom of a deeper problem.
The real problem centers around The Bible and deciding what amount of authority it holds over our faith and conduct. At some point by the end of the day Tuesday, they will either make a choice to follow Biblical Authority, be our own authority, or allow the chaos and turmoil to continue by doing nothing; which will be a choice that it will make if it happens. Unfortunately, in my Tribe it seems the choice most often made is NOT to make a choice; and that is a choice, a poor choice.
In the last 3 years, I have been praying, seeking and listening. Praying to God, seeking His wisdom and plan, and listening to both sides of this issue, especially to those on the opposite from me. And here is what I have learned: that we who identify as Orthodox, and those who identify themselves as Progressives, each hold positions that are incompatible.
You see, the real issue facing our Tribe isn’t the rights of the Gay Community, but the authority of Scriptures. At this point let me say that no person should be discriminated in the secular workplace because of their sexual orientation. This is plain ol’ wrong. And allow me to also say that under our current laws, same gender weddings are legal and that no one should stand in the way of that marriage BECAUSE it is the law of our land. I will not perform those ceremonies nor allow them to occur in the churches I serve, but I will respect their rights under the law, and I will discourage anyone who tries to deny them that right under law. If there should ever be a federal law that demands I perform such ceremonies or be sent to jail, I choose jail.
All this being said, let’s get back to the issue at hand. Can the United Methodist Tribe be resuscitated or, is this the moment to pull the plug and take this long time Tribe off of life support? This is, to put it mildly, a difficult decision. In times past it has been easier, far to easy, simply to bail out and jump ship that to stay in and fight the good fight of faith. This is the reason why I’ve stayed, and the reason why I have been disappointed in my colleagues and fellow congregations who I believe gave up way too soon.
When all this began to happen in 2016, I prayed about, to borrow a line from a song of my era, “should I stay or should I go?” And the answer was clear as a bell: “No, not YET!” Before the answer was always a definitive NO, NO, NO! So for these past almost 3 years, I have focused on that word YET. The way God wanted me to focus on the YET was to pray and listen. I have prayed and I have listened; listened to God and to others on both side of the issue.
And now, now I sense the question that the doctor would ask a family member in a dire situation: “Do you think the best option is to disconnect your loved one from life support?” is the question facing our Tribe. So, where am I? Well, let me tell you where I am!
- I am longing and praying for the wind and fire of the Holy Spirit to fall
at the Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis, Missouri that turns the hearts of the delegates and observers back to God and His Word.
- I am praying that the need for accountability will be seen as that necessary part of following Jesus.
- I am praying that eyes will be opened that Truth (homosexuality and all others sins are not part of God’s design) AND Grace (that His grace helps all of us overcome our propensity to sin) EXISTS together in tension, and in that tension (thanks Caleb Kaltenbach for this gem) is where true love happens.
- I am praying AGAINST fear, anger, and resignation.
- I am praying that fellow Orthodox hearts will remain gracious and kind throughout this Conference, and long after it adjourns.
- And I am praying something I’ve been adding to my messages over the past few years: What’s The Next Steps?
I am not hopeless, but am more hopeful now than ever. If the delegates hearts are closed to another Pentecost at The Dome, God will not give up on His Kingdom, and that He is prepared for the outcome, even though none of us know that outcome right now. I am both hopeful and confident that there is a new path opening up for us right now. It will be either in that Tribe called United Methodist, or it will happen in the formation of a new Tribe.
If the Bible is rejected as the final source for doctrine, faith and conduct, then the answer to that painful question is rather clear; at least to me: It’s time to pull the plug. But, if the Bible is affirmed and faithfully followed for all doctrine, faith and conduct, then get the patient out of ICU and unleash her on the world! Either way, Satan is trembling with fear, and that’s always a good thing when the Enemy trembles in fear!
All that is left for me to do–and for you like-minded Wesleyan hearts–is to keep praying and not think about whether or not to pull that plug. Come Tuesday evening, God will give us the answer, the answer that is both right and timely.
Jesus went the distance for us who were far away. Let’s follow Jesus and go the distance, do whatever it takes, to let those far away know that they can be forgiven and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Who did Jesus die for? Well, if you listen to the Calvinists, He died for the Frozen Chosen. If you listen to the Universalists He really didn’t have to die because if we all get in, why did He die? If you listen to the Churchians and Tenured Pew Sitters He died for the good, honest folks. If you listen to the Unitarians, “Who’s Jesus?”
The death of Jesus was the first step in God’s wonderful design to take back what The Enemy has stolen from Him. There had to be another step, otherwise people would fall back into the trap of legalism. In my reading of The Book of Acts Of The Holy Spirit In Surrendered People, I came upon this in Chapter 2, Verses 38 and 39.
Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” (emphasis mine)
For many it’s easy for them to comprehend that Jesus died for them. After all, they aren’t all that bad; at least not as bad as most. But for many more it’s difficult because they are beaten back and beaten down to a pulp by guilt and shame. And if that’s not bad enough, they are beaten down by self-promoting, self-righteous ingrates who forgot they are sinners, too.
I love that inspired line of Peter’s message that in Jesus we are both forgiven and receive the Holy Spirit–to those near–and hear this–TO THOSE FAR AWAY! The Cross can step across any length of chasm to reach anyone and everyone. Here’s some of my personal observations about many churches today:
- Some won’t cross the street and get to know their neighbors
- Some are consumed with only reaching folks who are like them
- Some are more interested in preserving their traditions and Tribe
- Some are more concerned about keeping buildings open
- Some are afraid of the future, that “their” church will close its doors
My friends, it’s time to remember both the “near” and those “far, far away”. If you are one of those who are “near”, meaning you’ve been in church most of your life, then start reaching out to those “far away” by getting to know them and become their friend. And if you are one of those who are “far away”, then please, please know, Jesus wants you,too! Hope is available for everyone, so we need to stop saying that anyone is ever “hopeless”. Remember….He came for both the near and the far away…..
Jesus went the distance for us who were far away. Let’s follow Jesus and go the distance, do whatever it takes, to let those far away know that they can be forgiven and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
And remember…Love God with all your heart. Love others the way that Jesus loves you. And make sure that all the glory goes to HIM!
Words of wisdom that challenge us to a different path—the path of holiness.
I get all kinds of ideas while walking through Target. Things just jump out at me like you wouldn’t believe. Recently it’s been the vast array of ‘kindness’ merch in their dollar section. Cute mugs and cups, napkins and cups all reminding us to be kinder people. The kindness campaign is out in full force.
“Kindness is free, sprinkle that stuff everywhere.”
“Kind people are my kinda people.”
“Be a kind human.”
It’s all very cute and sweet. We should be kind. It’s like the new commandment of our culture… ifyoucanbeanything,bekind.I wonder if it’s because we have actually lost so much of our decency toward one another that we now need this reminder. Is it possible to just wake up and sprinkle kindness around?
Sometimes that is possible. There are days when we can take the high road, smile at ourselves in the mirror and just push through with…
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The truth that many today refuse to handle is that before Jesus can become your Messiah, your Savior, He must first be your Lord.
Good morning and welcome to some more insights from the Book formerly known as The Acts Of The Apostles but now known as Acts Of The Holy Spirit I Surrendered People. I’m still in chapter 2 and what caught my attention is Verse 36.
“So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!”
I’ve read this so many times and have believed its truth with all my heart. But this time when I got to the end of verse 36, the Spirit said, “Stop!” So I did, carefully reading each word slowly so as to take in every breath. Then it hit me. Immediately I started thinking about my culture, my Tribe, and the issue facing this Tribe. It was those last 6 words: “to be both Lord and Messiah”.
I see a lot of people in our culture who love the idea of a Messiah–someone who will come to help us out of our messes we’ve made. After all, who doesn’t want to get out of the pain, despair and everything else that goes along with the messes we make of life. It’s a new way of saying what I heard a long time ago: “Some people just want Jesus to save them from hell, and nothing else.” The crowd of Churchians and Tenured Pew Sitters definitely fit in here. Can you blame them? I mean, who wants to spend an eternity in fire and brimstone.
And I seen this among the Progressives (formerly known as liberals) in my church Tribe. They advocate a new definition of sexuality and insist (may I add without scientific evidence and solid exegesis) that God created some to be gay. They add that the birth parents even gave them the wrong physical gender. So, to get rid of the mess, they want The Messiah, The Savior, but not the Lord.
To want only the Messiah but not the Lord??? That’s like ordering a deluxe bacon cheeseburger but saying, “I want the Deluxe but hold the onions.” What makes it the Deluxe is all that other stuff they add to that burger and bun. You’re denying yourself the full experience of “The Deluxe”.
But here, when the Body of Christ was born, Peter insists (under the inspiration of the Wind and Fire of the Holy Spirit, I might add) that it is not enough to declare Jesus to be the Messiah. Jesus must also be Lord! In this good old U.S. of A. that just doesn’t sit well. We are a democracy, not a nation of lemmings. Actually, we are not a democracy–we are a representative republic. I’ll let you do your own research on this statement.
Even as I’m writing, I see something else. It’s the order of those words, “Lord” and “Messiah”. Here’s the truth that Colonel Jessup (A Few Good Me) would say to so many today: “You can’t handle the truth!” The truth that many today refuse to handle is that before Jesus can become your Messiah, your Savior, He must first be your Lord.
It’s difficult to admit that there are some things–correct that–many things we cannot handle on our own. And unless we acknowledge and surrender to Jesus as our Lord, we will never find Jesus as our Messiah. We can find warm fuzzy feelings of love and plenty of ways to justify our lives, and if we are told that enough times, say it enough times, we will believe the lie–and miss out on the Savior.
But in order to enter into that realm of God’s Grace, we must first acquiesce to the fact we NEED The Lord. Let unto our own devices and logic, it is a train wreck about to happen. The only way He can be our Lord, is that we surrender to His Authority and Rule. Not just once. Not just every day. But every moment of every day choose again to make Jesus you Lord. And unlike absolute rulers today and throughout history, Jesus is a Good Lord. He’s trustworthy to make the best decisions for your life. After all, in order to show that we can trust Him to be our Lord, He allowed Himself to be crucified on That Cross–for me…..and for you…..
Don’t forget, my friends….Love Jesus with all your heart. Love others the way He loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to Him.
Before His Resurrection, Jesus pushed the down button, twice! First, when He left Heaven to enter Mary’s womb. And then as He died on the Cross and was placed in that tomb.
It took going to the funeral of a friend which lead to a dear friend reminding me to write, and the phone call of a close friend telling us she was dying, to kick me in the butt to get back to writing. So here I am, more resolved to not set His gift aside; rather to use it even more.
Since it’s been a while since I’ve written, allow me to explain the purpose of these, call them insights. I’m reading the Book of Acts every morning. As I read, I’m looking and listening to The Spirit for those things I’ve overlooked over the years. Today I want to share something else I’ve missed all these years. It’s Acts 2:32-33
“God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today.”
I call this Elevator Truth. Think about an elevator. I find here a microcosm of life, and a spiritual truth. What do you see and hear? Of course, Elevator Music! Music that rarely if ever moves the heart and stirs the soul. My hypothesis is that they use that kind of music so that you will quickly get off so the elevator can go to its next assignment.
Face it, sometimes life is as boring as Elevator Music. But that’s not the truth I want to share. It’s those 2 buttons outside the elevator door: Up or Down. Unless, of course, you are on the bottom floor (or the top floor). Elevators will take you up–elevate you–or they will de-elevate you–take you down.
In life, you have the choice to elevate your life or de-elevate your life. The News of the Kingdom of God is countercultural and revolutionary. Our world thinks that to elevate your life you need to push the up button (thus, my elevator analogy). But here in Peter’s sermon, elevation comes through the example of Jesus.
Before His Resurrection, Jesus pushed the down button, twice! First, when He left Heaven to enter Mary’s womb. And then as He died on the Cross and was placed in that tomb. Because Jesus was willing to push that down button, and because He did it out of love for the Father and love for us, The Father then elevated Him. And what an elevation it is! The world changed then, and it continues to change now, all because God elevated Jesus.
And remember WHEN that elevation occurred–after Jesus died! If you want your life elevated–lifted above the muck and mire of this culture–then you need to do what Jesus did: DIE!
- Die to guilt
- Die to fear
- Die to sin
- Die to self promotions
- Die to your agendas
- Die to self-importance
- Die to who others say you are
- Die to ________________ (you fill in the blank)
In order to be elevated, then you need to surrender–anything and everything–in your life. The good, the bad, the ugly–ALL OF IT! In an age of self-promotion this is radical and revolutionary–but it works. It worked for Jesus. It will work for you.
Love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to Him! And the next time you stand outside an elevator and see those 2 buttons, remember which button Jesus pushed, TWICE!
Listening To God Leads To Learning And That Learning Leads To Holiness. Hearing God doesn’t accomplish that. Hearing only captures the sound. Listening Captures The Listener. We need to Listen to God for Kairos Time to invade this Chronos Time culture that surrounds us.
Quick review: We have only 1 word for “time” but the Greek has these 2 words. Here is the difference between the 2:
Chronos Time is Time measured by the ticking of the clock. Kairos cannot be measured by the ticking of a clock, But By The Beating Of The Heart. Kairos Is When God Steps Into Our Time And Space And Does Something Incredible. Chronos Is Measured by Quantity. Kairos Is Measured By Quality.
We live in a Chronos World—but God offers us more than the ticking of the clock kind of life. He offers us the Kairos Life, and it’s found when we recognize Kairos Moments. So today we look at another way we can be in a place where the Kairos Time invades and overwhelms our Chronos Time. Turn in your Bibles, tablets or phones to Hebrews 1:1-3 and I want to share it with you in The Passion Translation. It spoke to my heart and I hope it speaks to your heart.
Here’s one of my personal observations: Most People Tend To Be Listening Impaired Rather Than Hearing Impaired. There is a difference between Hearing and Listening. Hearing is simply the act of perceiving sound by the ear. Unless you are hearing impaired, Hearing just happens. However, Listening is something you Intentionally choose to do. Listening requires concentration so that your mind can process those sounds.
How we live each day is rooted in what we choose to listen to. Hearing is simple enough: the ears register the sounds produced and the brain interprets them. But in the act of Listening, we must be paying attention. Sometimes we may be distracted by something we see, or we may be lost in our own thoughts and we are Hearing but not Listening.
Think about this worship service. Do you Hear worship in Chronos Time or do you Listen to it in Kairos Time? Here is an easy way to tell if you are Hearing or Listening. If you are waiting for the service to end—then you are Hearing in Chronos Time and your worship happens As Chronos Time.
But—if you wish the service wasn’t over because you have been captivated and caught up in this moment of Worship—then you are Listening In Kairos Time and your worship becomes a Kairos Moment.
If you can remember only 1 thing from today’s message, this is it: Listening To God Leads To Learning And That Learning Leads To Holiness. Hearing God doesn’t accomplish that. Hearing only captures the sound. Listening Captures The Listener. We need to Listen to God for Kairos Time to invade this Chronos Time culture that surrounds us.
To remember this, we need to intentionally cultivate some Holy Habits that will move us from Hearing God to Listening To God. What I am about to share with you is not natural, nor is it easy. But when we do them Intentionally it opens our hearts and minds to the invasion of Kairos Time. To help you remember how to Intentionally develop this, the Spirit has reduced it to only 3 words: Each word comes with its own example from the Bible.
1. Be Alert
Become Aware Of Your Surroundings With A Sensitized Heart, Not A Desensitized Mind. Do you understand the difference between being sensitized and being desensitized? Sensitized means to quickly detect and respond to even the slightest changes in the moment. It’s being tuned into your surroundings. Desensitized means we are emotionally insensitive or detached. It numbs us so much that we fail to act for the sake of The Kingdom. Be aware of what is ordinarily going on around you.
When ordinary surroundings change, then it is likely to be a Kairos Moment. Moses is a great example of this. One day he was taking care of his father-in-law’s sheep. He would have been in that area many times, taking care of those sheep.
He walked by that mountain so often that his mind could have become desensitized to any changes. But on that day—Moses knew something was different. A bush was burning, but not burning up. He was alert and he went to investigate. And because Moses was alert and went to investigate, here’s what God said in Exodus 3:5—“Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.”
When we are alert to God’s presence, Ordinary Chronos Time becomes Extraordinary Kairos Time. An Ordinary Place becomes Holy Ground. Alert means to be on the lookout for what’s happening—and if in your ordinary day-to-day life, you do not expect to find Holy Moments and Holy Ground, guess what—you won’t find it. But, if like Moses, you are alert to your surroundings, any moment will become the place that Kairos invades the Chronos.
2. Be Sensitive.
Love God So Deeply That Whatever Moves Him To Act, Causes Your Heart To Act. One of the things Jesus manifested in His daily life was His sensitivity to the people around. He was so sensitive that one day He knew when a woman touched the hem of His robe. Jesus was sensitive to Zacchaeus, sensitive to the lepers, sensitive to the hungry crowds. He’s sensitive because He knows the right time to move. Samuel is a great example. After King Saul had turned against God, God sent Samuel on a quest—to find the next king of Israel. God led Samuel to the family of Jesse.
And we read in 1 Samuel 16:3—“Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you which of his sons to anoint for me.” But God doesn’t tell Samuel which son. Samuel is ready to pick the tallest, strongest, oldest and most handsome son to be the next king.
But that wasn’t the one and God said in Verse 7—“The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
God thinks, plans and operates on a different level than us. He wants us to know and to see what HE knows and sees, so we need to be sensitive to God because He is aware of what lies within people—both their needs and their potential. We need to be sensitive to God because He is on the move and working in the hearts and lives of the broken and fallen All The Time.
3. Be Ready
When God Steps Into Our Time And Space He Is Ready To Act—And So Should We. God steps into our space and time Intentionally. Readiness on our part needs to be Intentional, too! Being ready means that we seek and anticipate the movement of God—in the culture and in the lives of people.
Isaiah is a great illustration on the importance of being ready. In chapter 6 we find Isaiah grieving the death of King Uzziah. Naturally he goes to the Temple to grieve. And in that moment of grief, Isaiah sees God—but he thinks his goose is cooked—that he is about to die. Isaiah admits his condition—that he’s a sinner surrounded by sinners. But God redeems and purifies Isaiah, and then He asks this question in Isa. 6:8—“Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.”
Isaiah was ready to go! And here’s the thing you need to really pay close attention to in Isaiah’s response:
- He didn’t know where he would be sent,
- didn’t know what he would have to do,
- and he didn’t know what that message would be.
- But he was still ready to go!
If he was only Hearing God I don’t believe he would have been excited nor even wanted to go. But because he was Listening to God, Intentionally processing that Kairos Moment, he was ready to go implement that plan of God. God is looking for people to implement His plan without their corrections or additions. God doesn’t need us to improve his plans. We need to respond like Isaiah:
- We must be ready to go not knowing where it might be
- Ready to do not knowing exactly what we will be doing
- Ready to speak not knowing exactly what He wants us to say.
- Just be ready.
God is always looking for ordinary lives through which HE can do extraordinary things. I mean, if it takes being extraordinary to do what God wants—then how would the world know that it’s God doing it? They would think it’s the result of extraordinary people.
Sometimes things you may not even want to do can open the door for the Lord to use you to impact the life of another! Let me tell you the story of John Egglen. John had never preached a sermon in his life—until that morning. In January 1850, snow buried his town of Colchester, England. He thought about staying home. Who would go to church that day? But he reconsidered. He was, after all, one of the leaders and if leaders didn’t go, who would?
He put on his boots, hat, and coat and walked the six miles to the Methodist Church. Only thirteen people were present: 12 members and 1 guest. Even the pastor was snowed in. Someone suggested they go home. John would hear none of that. They’d come this far; they would have a service. Besides, they had a guest; a thirteen-year-old boy. But who would preach? John was the only leader there, so it fell to him. His sermon lasted only ten minutes.
It didn’t make a lot of sense, he struggled to make any point at all. But at the end, a Kairos Moment stirred him, and He looked straight at the boy who was that guest and said: “Young man, look to Jesus. Look! Look! Look!”
Did the challenge make a difference? This boy grew into a man and when he told this story he said, “I did look, and then and there the cloud on my heart lifted, the darkness rolled away, and at that moment I saw the sun.” The boy’s name? Charles Haddon Spurgeon—England’s prince of preachers.
Tens of thousands of people came into a relationship with Jesus, and even more deepened their commitment to Jesus through the life and preaching of C.H. Spurgeon. It would not have happened, except that John Egglen recognized his own Kairos Moment. And If You Don’t Have This Hope And Belief That You Can Make A Difference, Then Chronos Time Has Devoured You.
John Egglen was Listening to God. Could it be, that somewhere around here, is the next C. H. Spurgeon, Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, E. Stanley Jones, C. S. Lewis, Charles Swindoll, Charles Stanley?
Who knows what impact 1 person will make down the line, when we are Listening to God!
Here Are Your Next Steps:
- Are you hearing God or Listening to God? Make an intentional decision to Listen. This is a decision you need to make each day and several times during the day.
- Partner with someone with whom you can deepen each other’s spiritual life. Have 2, 3, 4 no more than 5 who will love you enough to tell you the truth about yourself, and who will allow you to do the same.
- Look around here to see what needs to be done, and volunteer. There’s always something to do, something that needs to be done. These are Kairos Moments waiting for you.
- Allow your complaint to become your job description. Look around this community to see what needs to be done and do something to help out. Whatever is wrong, work to make it right!
I’ve decided to share some of my random thoughts about Mysteries Of The Universe. I will be sharing them as I think about them or as I experience them. They are in no particular order of importance….well maybe except for this first one. If you can explain this mystery to me in a plausible way, please share in the comments. But…if you have some implausible way to explain it, share that, too. Sometimes the best explanation is the implausible one…..(remember that Cross?)
When We Are Controlled By Chronos Time, It Limits, Even Eliminates, Our Ability To See God’s Time Of Kairos.
Remember from last week that Chronos Is Measured by Quantity. Kairos Is Measured By Quality. Kairos Time reveals and expresses quality moments that First Changes Us, and then Changes Our Surroundings.
Our passage today is taken from Habakkuk 2:1-3. Here’s the background you need to understand before we read it. Habakkuk was a prophet just before the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem. He senses doom is just ahead, and he does a very human thing: He complains. First he complains about his culture and why God doesn’t do something to change it. God answers his complaint with the truth.
Because they have been unfaithful, just as Habakkuk complained, He’s about to send Babylon to bring judgment. Habakkuk doesn’t like God’s answer, so he complains again—complains about HOW God is addressing the problem. All of this is chapter 1. Now let’s look at the heart of God’s reply to Habakkuk’s complaining in Habakkuk 2:1-3 (NLT)
I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guard post. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he will answer my complaint. Then the Lord said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,
for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.”
This passage talks about the impending judgment on Jerusalem. But it also says something about God’s Time and Timing, especially that last sentence: “It will not be delayed.”
Now here’s the one thing you need to remember today: When We Are Controlled By Chronos Time, It Limits, Even Eliminates, Our Ability To See God’s Time Of Kairos.
The life that God offers us is The Kairos Life—moments full of God’s Kairos Time. And as I said last week, we live IN a Chronos World. We are surrounded by Chronos. Until we die or unless Jesus comes back there’s no escaping Chronos Time. And there are demands that Chronos puts on us. To deny this truth is to live in a fantasy land. It’s unrealistic and untrue.
And as God’s messenger, I’m not going to deceive you into thinking that Chronos Time is no longer real once we become a disciple of Jesus. There’s no way around it; but we do not have to be controlled nor limited by Chronos Time, because God has another Time and it’s the Life called The Kairos Life. So, how can we thrive in a Chronos World with a Kairos heart?
If give our heart to Jesus and throw our life into the Kingdom of God, Chronos Time remains for now. But we do not have to live in Chronos Time the same way. It’s all a matter of the mind and heart—and where we hitch our hearts and minds.
At every given moment, our minds and hearts are attached—tethered to either Chronos or Kairos time. Chronos remains dull, boring, and a difficult thing to endure without being connected deeply and strongly with Kairos Time. But, When we are tethered to—fastened to The Kairos Life, it changes how we live in the Chronos Time.
Kairos changes our perception to see beyond times and appointments and duties. Kairos opens us up to the true power of the Kingdom of God that redeems and transforms anything and anyone—that brings God’s glory into everything and everyone. You just have to be in that place to see Kairos Time. To make sure you can thrive in The Kairos Life in Chronos Time, allow me to share some steps you can take so you will Thrive In The Kairos Life:
1. First, Check To See If What You Are Doing Really Matters To God & The Kingdom
Luke 17:21—“You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.”
When your focus is on what you are doing it’s hard to focus on what God is doing. (Allow me to repeat this: When your focus is on what you are doing it’s hard to focus on what God is doing.) Our focus tends to be on the external trappings of what we see with our eyes, hear with our ears, touch with our hands. It’s not that way with the Kingdom of God. And what matters to God and His Kingdom?
Your salvation! Your spiritual maturity! Speaking to each other rather than about each other! Helping others! Getting to know people, their hurts and their hopes. Caring about others more than yourself! How much more time do I have? Well, obviously not enough. Let me put it this way—God cares more this community than He does about this building. And if you want to live in Kairos Time, then you need to do the same.
2. Second, Kairos Is Planned By God’s Time And Not Us
Ecclesiastes 3:11—Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
Kairos is that Moment where God is making a move—in the hearts of people and at the center of communities. It is all about trusting in God’s timing. I have moments where I have issues with that timing. But God sees farther ahead than we do.
This requires us to make a mental shift. Instead of looking at our time as grains of sand slipping through an hourglass, we view our time as opportunities that God has been planning. Trying to control as much as possible is living in Chronos time. We need to live into time by seeing it as Kairos time, God’s time. Instead of viewing our time as seconds ticking by, we can see God’s grace at work.
3. Third, Kairos Time Is Big Picture Time
Isaiah 55:8-9—8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. 9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
In Chronos Time we get locked in our stuff—our abilities, our limitations. Human reasoning and human logic are under both the influence and the control of Chronos Time.
Kairos Time Is Under The Influence And Control Of God. “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts.” God’s thoughts are rooted in His Power and His heart, not our abilities nor our desires. God knows what He can do while we think about what we can’t do.
And look at that other part: “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” As wild as my imagination can be at times, it’s nothing compared with God’s imagination! Our perspective is always limited by time and space—so we imagine in ways that are limited by Chronos Time. So we use time selfishly—what we want and desire.
God’s perspective is unlimited because there are no boundaries to eternity. Kairos Time reveals that unlimited perspective and unlimited opportunity that God sees because of Eternity. When you lock God into Chronos Time, you deny yourself Kairos Time! Last, but by no means least—
4. Kairos Is An Invitation Time
Matthew 28:19-20—“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Some moments are more valuable than other moments. The five minutes that I have to share the gospel with an unsaved stranger is more valuable than the five minutes of listening to people complain. I must take advantage of my opportunities—and so must you.
Kairos Time is when we accept God’s Invitation to be involved with Him, rather than us asking Him to be involved with what we are doing. (I need to say that again) Chronos Time is doing what we want. Kairos Time is living in what God wants. Chronos Time is killing the church. But Kairos is bringing the Kingdom that will never die!
God is looking for those of us who are sick and tired of living with a Chronos Heart—and who long to live with The Kairos Heart–to lean in and step into what God is doing, unlike what King Asa did. The story is in 2 Chronicles 16. King Asa saw his Chronos as what Chronos ends up being: HOPELESS! So he made a treaty with his enemy. But the prophet Hanani calls Asa on this and gives us hope:
2 Chronicles 16:9 (The Message) – God is always on the alert, constantly on the lookout for people who are totally committed to him.
Asa saw his future as Chronos time but Hanani saw it as Kairos Time. Your current situations are the direct result of your past decisions. Your future situations depend on your current decisions. It comes in the moment of opportunity.
The perfect moment is perfect because God has been planning it and now invites you into a moment that can never be measured. When you realize the Kairos moment, take a breath and pause before you exhale. If you do this your life will be changed. We only have such a brief opportunity to shepherd our kids and grandkids when they’re still young children. When a friend is experiencing pain, we have a brief window of time in which to reach out to them. You never know when the Chronos Time you spend with any person is in reality—a Kairos Time for both of you.
- Each day this week invest some of your Chronos Time in
prayer. Specifically in 3 areas:
- Someone who has been on your heart
- The upcoming General Conference
- Our future as a church
- Get involved in our new Bible Study Group that begins Feb. 27 on the Book of Acts
I have a riddle for you.
- It’s free, but it’s priceless.
- You can’t own it, but you can use it.
- You can’t keep it but you can waste it.
- Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.
- In one person’s hands it brings hope and in another person’s hands it brings pain.
- It can crawl or it can fly, but it has no hands, legs or wings.
Think you know the answer? It’s Time! Let’s take a look at today’s passage found in Ephesians 5:16-17 (NLT):
Today we begin a new series called Kairos Living In A Chronos World. The 1 thing you need to remember from today’s message is a question: What Are You More Interested In–Counting Your Days, Or Making Your Days Count? Let this question roam freely in your mind this week. In fact, I will beg you NOT to answer this question until you have spent a lot of time thinking about it.
Have you ever slowed down enough to do serious reflection on time? When it comes to “time”—what thoughts do you have? What effect does that word “time” have on your emotions? Are you overwhelmed? Frustrated? Fulfilled? Stressed? Fearful? Anxious? Happy? Joyful? Depressed? Discouraged? How do your emotions respond to “time”?
Think about how often we use that word “time”: What time is it? What time is the next doctor’s appointment? I can make it on time. There’s not enough time in a day to get everything done. What time is practice? What time does the movie start? It’s time to move on. It’s time to give up. And, my favorite, TIME OUT!
Our word “time” covers a variety of settings, each with its own unique “ambiance”. Verse 16 says, “Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.” Some of you may be more familiar with the KJV: “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” While our language has only 1 word for “time”, the classical Greek has 2 words—words that have different meanings:
Chronos and Kairos. Both words are accurately translated as “time”—but they are diametrically opposite in meaning. So, let’s spend the first Sunday in this series looking and exploring at those 2 words. Bonus information, the word in this text is Kairos:
Here is definition for Chronos: Chronos is a duration that can be measured. It has a certain set of values. Seconds, minutes, days, weeks, month, years, decades, centuries, millenniums, is how we measure Chronos. Chronos Is Quantitative Time. A second here has the same quantity as a second at the Beach or in the Mountains. It just seems longer here. The duration of a second in the U.S.A. is the same duration in every other country.
Chronos Time is the ticking of the clock. Chronos is where we get our word chronological. To keep up with Chronos we wear these things on our wrists called a watch. Do you know why it’s called a watch? It’s so we can watch Chronos go by.
Chronos Time Is Found In Our Agendas, Calendars And Bulletin Announcements. Chronos gives identifying labels to those measured durations. The labels are not just the units of measurement, but about the power that Chronos Time has to drain and debilitate those held captive by Chronos Time. Chronos is driven by very human-centered sets of values.
Each day contains 86,400 seconds of time—which represent 1,440 minutes—which equal twenty-four hours each day. It never fluctuates or varies. And truth is we live in a Chronos World. You have appointments, places to go, bills to pay, TV shows to watch, church to attend, practices, games and recitals to attend. And all of this happens in that measured duration of Chronos. Now let’s look at that other word:
Kairos cannot be measured by the ticking of a clock, but by the beating of the heart. Here is the definition for Kairos: Kairos is when God steps into time and space and does something incredible. Kairos are the moments that are Right, Ripe and Rich with meaning. Think about each of these:
Kairos are the moments that are RIGHT. They fit into the rhythms of life as The Creator intends. Debbie and Sandy love to work jigsaw puzzles. And there’s the truth about jigsaw puzzles: Each piece will only fit where it is made for. Kairos never contradicts God’s Design and Purposes—It fits perfectly.
Kairos are the moments that are RIPE. They are moments designed and prepared by God for His Image Bearers. Have you ever read something or had someone call you and it was words that you were needing in that moment? This is what Ripe means.
Ripe means it is the perfect moment. The Time was Ripe when He called Abraham. Ripe when He called Moses. Ripe when He anointed David to be King. Ripe when Jesus was born in that Manger. Ripe when He died on that Cross. And Ripe when He conquered death!
Kairos are the moments that are RICH with meaning. These are the Epiphany Moments, when the Light Bulb comes on and clarity happens for us. Epiphany Moments—Discovery Moments that define and redefine us—that shape and reshape us—that form and transform us—only happen in Kairos Time.
Kairos are the moments provided by God to know Him more deeply. Kairos is about seizing the opportunity God provides in that moment. Chronos drains life and hope out of us but Kairos enriches our lives with hope, love and grace.
Understanding these differences, what you need to decide is this: Will You Live ON Chronos Time Or IN Kairos Time? Where Chronos Is Quantitative Time, Kairos Is Qualitative Time. Chronos Time measures seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks and years. Kairos Time reveals and expresses quality moments that first changes us, and then changes our surroundings. It is easy to think that our time is the most important time. It is easy to be controlled and consumed by Chronos Time. But What Are You More Interested In–Counting Your Days, Or Making Your Days Count?
Every one of you will face multiple defining moments in your lifetime. Defining Moments Are The Moments That Will Shape And Determine Your Character, Your Attitude, Your Altitude And Your Future.
It changes your future course by changing how you see your life. Defining Moments happen in both Chronos Time and Kairos Time. But Defining Moments that will transform your life into that life marked by holiness are never found in the Chronos Time of schedules and calendars, but only in Kairos Time of following Jesus. The reason why your life will remain empty and dead in Chronos Time is that Kairos can’t be planned, and it certainly can’t be forced.
Kairos Time does not wait for you to fit it into your schedule. It simply happens, and if you miss one—it’s gone and won’t come back. This doesn’t mean that there will be no more Kairos Moments. More Kairos moments will indeed come, but they are new and different ones. Kairos Moments happen one at a time. Unlike network TV there will not be any reruns of what you missed. This is what makes them priceless.
The “Kairos” Opportunities we face in 2019 speak into what is God calling this church to be! And with this in mind, it’s important to ask—are we a community of people who simply gather each Sunday with good memories to celebrate—or
Are We A Community Of People Who Are Willing To Listen To The Stirring Of The Spirit, Who Are Ready To Explore New Ideas And Who Are Prepared To Embrace Where Change Needs To Happen And To Be The Church In New, Creative And Even Uncomfortable Ways?
The decision you make today about time—is a decision only you can make. Your Next Steps will be your answer to this question.
“Where Do I Need To Change So That I Will Experience More Kairos Time And Less Chronos Time And Am I Willing To Do It?”
The answer is as unique as you are. Perhaps it’s spending more time in the Bible. Maybe it’s having that dedicated time to pray. Maybe even change HOW you pray. Maybe it’s getting to know your neighbor better. Maybe it’s in stopping your voice of fear about our future. Will you live BY Chronos Time, or will you live IN Kairos Time?
As we step into this moment of Holy Communion—it can be for you a Chronos Moment—where you step in and do something.
Or—it can be for you a Kairos Moment where God steps in and He does something. It all depends on that 1 Thing You Need To Remember:
Are You More Interested In Counting Your Days, Or Making Your Days Count?
When Jesus walked this earth as one of us, He was more interested in making His days count. And we see it here on This Table.