Well, this morning I’m waiting to leave to take my lovely wife, Debbie, to the surgery center for some minor surgery. You do know the difference between minor and major surgery, don’t you? Minor surgery is what someone else has–major surgery is what I have! No seriously, I do not take what is about to happen to her lightly. I’ve read those “disclaimers” about all that can go wrong. Really, no surgery is minor. But let me quickly get to the point.
Debbie has been having chronic sinusitis. And it’s not only affected her sinuses, but also fluid has built up behind her right ear drum, making it difficult to hear. Besides, everyone knows how annoying it is to have all that stuff behind an ear drum, am I right? Scans revealed a small cyst on the right side of her sinuses that is causing that sinus fluid back up, all the way to her ear. Dr. David told us that by removing that small cyst, it should allow all that fluid to drain out. Her body will function as it is designed, and hopefully this works. Otherwise, it may require the insertion of tubes to keep that nasty and annoying fluid from impairing her ability to hear.
Well, what does all that have to do with the Kingdom Life? I’m so glad you asked. The fluid behind her ear, that feeling of her ears being “stopped up”, started somewhere else. Her sister and I offered to put a vacuum cleaner up to her ear and see if we could suction that fluid out. She didn’t go for it.
You see, the problem isn’t in her ear. The source of the problem is somewhere else. Can you see a spiritual truth developing here? Until the cause is fixed, the problem persists. It’s easy to get fixated on what others are doing wrong. The chaos of my Tribe right now is being caused by this very thing. By pointing the finger at what others are doing wrong, it’s easy, so very easy to ignore what’s wrong with us. We think that the ills of our culture can be fixed if we can just get all those others “fixed”
Well, guess what. Treating symptoms will not cure the illness. Ask Debbie about this. Multiple shots and rounds of decongestants, antibiotics and multiple shots haven’t done a thing for all that fluid behind her ear drum. The problem is somewhere else–something growing where it shouldn’t be growing. So Dr. David is going to remove that “shouldn’t be there foreign object” so that her sinuses and ears can function like they are designed. Until that cyst is removed, nothing will be as it should.
Have you had your “AHA!” of where all this is going? If you haven’t, then let me draw you a picture; and explain it with a passage, actually a song written by one of the most prolific song writers ever: Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Without Dr. David having ordered the CT scan, without the radiologist knowing how to interpret the results, Debbie’s only hope would be more of the same–meds and shots. But those will not solve her problem. That foreign-it-doesn’t-belong-there object needs to be removed. I wish I could take her place and let the doctor work on me–but that won’t solve her problem.
Truth Time: I’m good at hiding the truth about me from myself. I’m better at hiding the truth about me from others. And so are you–unless we follow the advice of this song: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you.”
But don’t stop there. That next line is the all important one: “and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” The truth is that for God to lead us along that path of everlasting life, sometimes there are things that get in the way of us following. There’s a technical term for those things that get in the way of following Jesus. It’s called SIN. Sin is that foreign object that gets in the way of us living the way God designed us to live.
So, today, focus on this Psalm. Ask God to point out those nasty, annoying “cysts” that’s getting in the way and causing problems, lots of problems. Then yield and submit to that Divine Surgical Procedure we called “Redemption”. Allow Him to remove that sin in your life. Oh, and be sure you go back for regular “scans”, the struggle against sin isn’t over, yet. But it will be some day–it will be!
Love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to Him!
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.
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 HearingGod 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.
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.
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
When we are alert to God’s presence, Ordinary Chronos Time becomes ExtraordinaryKairos 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.
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
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.
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
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
knows what impact 1 person will make down the line, when we are Listening to God!
Here Are Your Next Steps:
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.
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.
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.
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!
Well, here I go again on another Journey. It seems I’ve become a bit slack in my spiritual discipline of reading the Word. I was looking at my Bible on the desk and it was like I heard, “You know, it’s been a while since we talked. Don’t you think it’s time to catch up?” So I reached over and took it; then I found me a journal to write in, and an ink pen. That’s all: the Bible, a clean sheet of paper and a pen. No commentaries and not even Google to help me look up words and thoughts. Just me, The Book, and of course, the Holy Spirit.
Speaking of which (the Holy Spirit, that is), I’m wondering right now why did I have to have all those commentaries (because I started this journey with Jesus before the internet was so readily accessible)? And why do so many today have this book, that website, that author along side THAT Book? Over the past several years, I discovered to my amazement, that the Holy Spirit actually helps me understand what I’m reading! Who could have ever imagined such a thing? Well, God could.
Back to The Book. Where would I ever begin such a journey? There are so many books to choose from. One would think I would have to spend a lot of time deciding which book to begin with. This time, I had no trouble. He, the Holy Spirit, whispered, “The Book of Acts.” So that’s what I’m doing. I’m not reading a chapter a day–nothing against people who read the Book that way–just reading until I sense Him saying, “Let that sink in for a while.”
And this morning my Companion and Comforter said, “You know, you’ve been talking, I mean talking a lot, about starting back to regular blogging. Why not share what you’re discovering? After all, I did give you that gift of writing.” So who am I to argue with the Wisdom of The Ages.
Today’s entry is simply about the title applied to The Book Of Acts. It’s been titled “The Book Of The Acts Of The Apostles.” For many, many years I’ve insisted that those earliest editors misnamed this Book. I wish right now I could borrow Doc Brown’s time-traveling DeLorean and go back to that first group of editors when they came up with this title and ask: “What are you thinking? It’s NOT the acts of the Apostles. It’s the Acts of the Holy Spirit in surrendered people!” Gee whiz, guys. You’re better than that! Think, man, then listen to that title. A bit short-sighted, don’t you think?”
Why do I think that it’s an inaccurate title? I’m so glad you asked me that question. To read Dr. Luke’s stories with the title “Acts of the Apostles” taints your thought processes, and it’s easy to conclude that what happened then, was “limited to a handful of select special people and not really for me or my time.” Calling it the Acts Of The Apostles limits what this Book can do in you and I.
First, it relegates it just another History Book. Now, I love History more than most. I blame it on my High School History teacher Ronald Pettus. He is a collector of artifacts, many of which he brought into the classroom. He filled my little mind with more than memorizing dates–but left me hungering to know more about the people and the times. This is a priceless tool in understand THE BOOK! If we see Acts are only a history book of a select few people, we’ve missed the point of Dr. Luke’s work.
Second, we slam the door shut to the potential of the Holy Spirit using folks like us. There’s more going on here than dates and geography. If we agree that the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are all about Jesus (and they are), then Acts MUST be all about The Holy Spirit, and it is. Each Amen on that? The Book of Acts opens up with Jesus telling those first disciples about, guess who? The Holy Spirit! And in Chapter 2, all Heaven breaks loose on earth. And it all happens because of and through the power of The Holy Spirit!
Now, I want to add a little side bar comment about the current state of the church culture. For the last century, more emphasis is put on human understanding and abilities rather than The Holy Spirit. I see it in my Tribe as Progressives try to tell me they know more about what God wants and expects than the Bible. Add to this that so many in churches want to hear what someone else says about the Bible rather than read it for themselves.
The result has been that a powerful Stallion has been reduced to a gelding. People are following today, an impotent message about an impotent life. And once again, Jesus weeps. So staring tomorrow, I will share from my personal journal some of the insights and wonder I am discovering as The Teacher, teaches me.
And remember, Love God with all your heart. Love others and way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to HIM!
Well, God just wouldn’t leave me alone about this, so here I go. Before I start, please know this isn’t about me. It is about something I did, but it’s not about me. Now that this is clear as muddy water, on to what happened to me.
Yesterday I delivered a gift from Mt. Vernon to a young single parent who is living like many single parents–under great pressure. I went to the home, introduced myself, and presented her with a gift from the Body of Christ at Mt. Vernon. As with baptisms and weddings, this is the part of my job I absolutely love. I simply told her, “God loves you and so do we.” I left and went to Wal Mart to exchange something and pick up a few more things.
I’m waiting in the refund line when my phone rang. OK, here’s where the story takes a twist. When I’m in a line I NEVER answer my phone. I consider it rude and a tarnishing of the image of me as a citizen of the Kingdom of God. The number that came up was not in my contacts. My natural response to a number not in my contacts is, “Oh, dear Lord, another telemarketer!” Usually at that point, I send it to voicemail.
But this time, I didn’t. Something, well, actually SOMEONE said, “Answer it Randy!” So, I did. On the other end of that call was that single Mom crying profusely, telling me how much that gift meant to her. She needed to express her gratitude. And God selected me to hear that gratitude. And I was overwhelmed with gratitude that I had a small part in reminding this single Mom, she was loved by God and that He remembers her every need.
But…WHAT IF….I sent that message to Voicemail? Maybe in a couple of days I would have listened to it, since it was from someone NOT in my contacts….and I would have missed the joy of her heart….and being humbled to be a part of God’s Kingdom work in even a small way.
And then I remembered….on one of those typical days when Jesus walked this earth. There was a crowd, pressing against Him. When…well just read Luke 8:45–““Who touched me?” Jesus asked. Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.” It was that woman who had run out of hope that she could ever be whole. But she believed if she could just touch the hem of that garment, it would be OK. And Jesus knew the moment she touched that hem.
And I wonder, how many people today are looking to touch the hem of hope and reach out to us for that hope, but we are unaware of it? We live in a “Way Too Busy Culture” to notice the people pressing in against us. And that is sad….too sad. So be aware of those pressing in against you. They just may be looking for Hope! You are the HEM of HIM! If you’re too busy to help someone find Hope, you’re just too busy. Jesus knew when she touched that hem, and you can know it, too–when you are tuned in to the Holy Spirit!
Love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to Him!