If you missed our teaching with the children on Sunday, here are the notes:
At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry he calls people to “repent and believe for the Kingdom of God is near.” This week we followed Jesus’ early ministry through the Sermon on the Mount to the parable of the wise and foolish builders to ask the question, “how do we build our lives on the word of Jesus?” We can summarize the whole process with Jesus’ 2 words, “repent” and “believe” but they need just a small comment first. These words can have connotations for us that make it difficult to put them into practice. These words can make us feel like we have failed and so we expect from God a telling off and a hard consequence. Jesus is clearly teaching through the beginning of Matthew that we need to relearn these words from the position of the Kingdom of God rather from the position of the “religion” of the Pharisees.
Repent means “to turn around.” If we have been trusting in something other than God it means we are going away from God. That is essentially the sin – making a good thing into the ultimate thing in that moment. (Example: Why did I steal? In that moment, the money was what I believed I needed to save me rather than God.) A “kairos” event can shake us up enough to recognize we are making something other than God most important. We are invited by God to:
notice it (“Whoa!”)
reflect on it (“hmm…”)
discuss it (“yada, yada, yada”)
We do all 3 of these because we 1) have a tendency to go straight to the plan to pull up our own bootstraps or 2) because it seems too _____________ (fill in the blank – introspective, difficult, time-consuming, frustrating to think about) or 3) we are really good at talking about it but we don’t expect anything to change. Going all the way ’round the first half of the circle helps us to look for God’s invitation to “repent”, that is, turn back to him. It will be a word of grace.
By turning back to God with the help of another we are much more likely to go beyond our initial reaction that we’ve “got to do better” to the word of grace God is extending to us. Also, your friend will be directing you to examples from scripture to back up the word of grace.
Once we have heard that word of grace, we are motivated to faithfully respond. This response is concrete, manageable, and something you are going to do within the coming week.
You all know what it is like to make a grand plan because you “should” do something. For example, “I will pray every morning at 5 am.” This is more like a New Year’s Resolution than a kairos plan. A kairos plan is a small thing for that week that will help you practice whatever word of grace God has spoken to you.
Example: In response to a “kairos” about your fear at work, God shows you he is your Father, not because of what you have done but because of what he has done. So, what is a faithful response? There are probably a thousand. What makes sense in your week? It could be prayer, journalling, meeting with a mentor, singing a worship song every day, being brave in a meeting, praying before the meeting, taping the bible verse that spoke to you on your computer screen, and so on and so on go the possibilities.
This is the opposite of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. You are looking to literally build your life that week on the word that God has spoken to you.
If we can learn to do this with one another, it will eventually spill over into all of our relationships. We will parent in God’s grace, we will be good neighbours in God’s grace, and we will serve “out” in God’s grace.