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…
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
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!
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…
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.
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.
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!
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?)
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.
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.”
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.
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?
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
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.
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
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?
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
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.
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
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 logicare 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
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
In one person’s hands it brings hope and in another person’s hands it
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.
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
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 MomentsAre The
Moments That Will Shape And Determine Your Character, Your Attitude, Your
Altitude And Your Future.
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?”
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?
we step into this moment of Holy Communion—it can be for you a Chronos
Moment—where you step in and do something.
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
Are You More Interested In Counting Your Days, Or Making Your Days Count?
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.
Well, back to the Book of Acts. 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 2:22…
People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. (emphasis mine)
What caught my attention was the way the New Living Translation put that verse together with that word: endorsed! Famous people such as actors and athletes give their already considerable incomes a boost through “endorsements”. Companies that seek out said endorsements believe that the value of their product or service is enhanced by the status and life of those who give their face for advertisement.
Well that got me to thinking. I know, that is sometimes a dangerous thing. But think about that verse. God publicly endorsed Jesus as The Messiah. God’s endorsement was in the form of His Presence and His Power in the ways that Jesus touched human lives. Here’s a random thought I just had: “Since Jesus already has God’s endorsement, He doesn’t need mine, nor does He need yours.” In other words, it’s an already established fact because of God’s endorsement, that Jesus is The Messiah.
Jesus doesn’t need US to prove He Is who He says He Is. However…..what about us? Do I have God’s endorsement on my life and what I am doing for His Kingdom? What about you? Do you have God’s Endorsement on your life and what you are doing for His Kingdom? Unlike human endorsements that’s established by the money, God’s endorsement has more restrictions. God doesn’t endorse just anyone.
To receive God’s endorsement we have to be faithful to God’s purpose for our life. Each day now I am thinking: Do I have God’s Endorsement In What I am doing? I long for God’s endorsement, not for myself, but that He will be exalted and honored. The way it happens for us is the same way it happened for Jesus: Do what He calls for us to do. Jesus did. I’m trying. What about you?
Remember, love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to Him!
As we close out this Blueprint For A Brand
New You, I wanted to find the word that brings all this together. When it comes to following blueprints for a
house, each specialist looks only at their part. But for the home to be built everything needs
to come together in the right way at the right time, otherwise there is chaos
and confusion. I want you to be able to
see clearly how thinking in a new way, having eyes that are open, and learning
to step out in faith can transform you into a brand new person.
Neither God nor I want you to just become a
different person, but to become the person that God Created And Redeemed
you to become. God takes the
junk out of our lives but He also gives us a reason and a purpose in life.
This God-Created, God-Honoring Purpose
is where we truly find the life that our hearts are hungry for. More than just you being a different person
from last year, God Wants Us To Become Who He Wants Us To Become By Going And Doing
What He Has Designed For Our Life In Christ. And the only text that God would allow me to
use is from Matthew 28:16-20 (The Message)
the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain
Jesus had set for their reunion. The
moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some,
though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.
Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission
you: Go out and train everyone you meet,
far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold
name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Then instruct them in the practice of all I have
commanded you. I’ll be with you as you
do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
Anyone here ever heard of the Kodak
Company? At one time it was one of the
top corporations. Where is it now? On Jan. 17, 2012, it filed for bankruptcy. It took them years to get out of
bankruptcy. Why? They forgot their purpose. They thought their purpose was to produce
film for cameras. In 1975, one of their
researchers developed the first digital camera, but company executives told him
to keep it quiet. In 2006 they stopped
manufacturing Kodachrome Film after 74 years. They thought their purpose was
making film—when their true purpose was creating images.
Ever since then, they have been playing
catch-up instead of being the leader in their industry. Imagine people going to work day after day
without knowing their company’s business, yet that’s exactly what happens when churches
don’t know where they should be going and what they should be doing.
Rather than try to find out what they should
be doing, they keep doing the same things, expecting different results. To become the Brand New You that honors God
and gives us that life of purpose and meaning, then we need to know where we
need to be going and what we need to be doing.
In the beginning of the Church, it was clear
to them—they knew where to go and what to do.
It was going into their world and doing the very thing Jesus told them
to do. They didn’t have anywhere else to
go or anything else to do, but the One Thing Jesus told them to do: Make
Disciples Of Others Through Loving Them And Sharing With Them What Jesus Had
Done In Their Life!
The One Thing that EVERY Church and THIS
Church must be is that Community of Believers who GO into the world and DO what
Jesus wants, and what Jesus wants is for the lost to know they are loved by the
Father and can have a relationship with Him!
We need to know that our One Thing, the ONLY
Thing Jesus wants is for us to Make Disciples By Showing Them God’s Love,
Sharing What God Has Done For Us, And Inviting Them Into That Most Important
Relationship Of All. It is
about becoming The New Creation by The Blood Of Jesus Christ.
Too much of what happens in many churches
today is about consumerism. We think
that the church is all about meeting our needs.
Have you ever heard anyone say, “Well, I’m not going back to that church
because it’s not meeting my needs.”? They’ve
made the church about what they want more than what Jesus wants!
Purpose Is God’s Gift To Us, Not Our Offering To God. This Means We Exist To Show The Real Love Of God To Real People In Real Ways So That They Can Become A Real Disciple Of Jesus.
To be the person that God created you to become, to live the life that Jesus died to give you, there are two steps to take and one thing to remember: Step One
1. Make The Commitment
To Go Into This World!
It is a world that is not very nice. Sometimes it’s dirty and ugly. It’s a world that is filled with a lot of
pain. It’s a world that is scary. It is a world that is unfair and
unreasonable. It is a world that is selfish
and narrow minded. It is a world that is
torn apart by disasters and wars. It is
a world that is filled with darkness and sin.
That’s what Satan is doing with God’s creation.
But it was into this same world that Jesus
left heaven and entered into. Jesus
Entered Into The Pain, The Filth, The Brokenness And The Sickness Of This World. Sometimes, people came to Him wherever He
was; but Jesus didn’t wait for them to show up.
He went to them. Jesus sat and
ate with the worst sinners of that day—Tax Collectors.
He reached out to everyone who was called
unclean—the prostitutes, the adulteresses, the lepers, the poor—by those who
thought themselves to be religious and godly.
Anyone who had been pushed aside by the world, Jesus reached out to
them. And if we are going to be His
Disciples, then we follow his example!
In order to be a Brand New You, we stop going where we want to go and
start going where Jesus goes.
commitment to go into this world. Now
2. Make The
Commitment To Do Something Only Jesus Would Do!
Do you know what Jesus is doing in our world
today? He is loving every single
person. When Jesus walked this earth as
a human, He came to show a world that for some who wondered if God loves them,
and for others who felt like God didn’t love them—to show that God has
unconditional love for everyone!
It is really clear what Jesus wants us to do—To Love Others Like Jesus Loves Us! Jesus loves us completely, unconditionallyand sacrificially. None of us deserves this. Yet Jesus shows us how much God loves us at the cross.
And He wants us out there showing others how much God loves them. We love others with our actions and not our words. We show our love for Jesus when we give food to the hungry, clothes to those who have little or none, when we offer care to those who are sick or lonely, when we care for those who are in prison. It’s not what we talk about that shows our world the love of God, it is what we actually do to help those who are among the least, the last and the lost. Your world will never see how much God loves themuntil they see AND experience how much you love them. Do Something Only Jesus Would Do!
3. (And Here Is
The One Thing You Need To Remember:) Go
And Do Because Jesus Is With You!
When we are going our own way and doing it
our way, Jesus isn’t with us. But, When
We Are Going And Doing What Jesus Wants, We Are Never Alone. He is with you.
Did you hear how The Message translation puts it? “I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day.” He has never asked you to go and to do it alone. In fact, He Insists That You Don’t Go Or Do It Alone. In order to be a Brand New You, it takes confidence, the confidence that what Jesus said to those disciples, He really meant it and He really means it for you, too.
And You Must Believe That It Is His Presence
That Will Make The Difference In Our Life, And In Those Lives We Are Called To
Go To, And To Love. Our Life Purpose is to make new
disciples for Jesus, by going to them, by doing for them in love, sharing with
them all that God has done for us, And Then Inviting Them Into The Relationship
With The Father.
Churches that close their doors when there were people around them without Jesus, didn’t know what their business was. To be a real disciple of Jesus, to be an authentic Christian, to be a real church, we have to remember that our business is all about bringing people into a relationship with Jesus. You have to know why you are here. Do You Know?
Is Jesus Living In You? Galatians
2:20—“My old self has been crucified
with Christ. It is no longer I who live,
but Christ lives in me. So I live in
this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself
for me.” I’m not asking how much you
know about Jesus. I’m asking: Is Jesus living in you? The only way He can live in you is that you
ask Him and surrender everything in you to Him—your will, guilt, fear, your
days, your relationships, ALL that makes you who you are.
Ask Him To Give You This Week and Every Week The Opportunity To Show The
Real Love Of God To Real People In Real Ways So That They Can Become A Real
Disciple Of Jesus. You can do this
in many ways:
Don’t judge them. Sinners know they are sinners without you
Forgive Someone who has hurt you. The best way someone can know that God will
forgive them is to see that same forgiveness in you.
Help Someone who needs help.Open a door, give up your place in line, help change a tire, share an
unexpected gift, encourage someone with your acts rather than your words, take
someone to lunch—do you get the idea?
Tell someone what God has done for
you, especially if you didn’t deserve or earn it. The world sees us who follow Jesus as a
people who feel superior to others, or that we never have problems. This just isn’t true. Change that perception by being honest about
your issues and struggles—and how Jesus came to you in the middle of those