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!