Trusting God’s perfect timing

Published / by Dave

I’m sure you’ve used the old cliché “perfect timing” or you’ve taken it a step further if you believe that “God’s timing is perfect.”

I’ve been reading a small book recently (I finished it quickly and am in the process of slowly rereading it) entitled God’s Timing for your Life by Dutch Sheets. In the book he writes about different New Testament Greek words for “time” that are used in the Bible: chronos and kairos.

Chronos is that period of life (and there may be many) where you just seem to be plodding on. Not much is changing, it’s the same old same old, and very often you want something if not everything about your situation to change. You may be aware of a promise that God has given you a long time ago, and in your mind it’s about time that promise came to pass! You may even be starting to doubt that promise, or even worse, you may be trying to make it happen for yourself. Abram and Sarai did that with Hagar – not recommended.

Kairos on the other hand is when things start moving – often fairly quickly. Kairos is that time when God begins to put into action that which he promised. Sometimes things happen that we’re not expecting – but so often God works and brings things into being in ways that are incredibly different to our ways. We wouldn’t do things like God does them, which is a very good thing.

I have recently had a chronos period in my life lasting around six years, if not longer. I have always been very aware of God’s promise to me, given in December 1998 when he brought me into his Kingdom, that “one day I would be working for him full time.” Over the years that calling became more specific and it turned out to be the pastoral ministry that God was preparing me for. The last six years then, from 2010, was a chronos period for me. I was teaching in a primary school, and from 2013 was a minister-in-training at the same time. During those years it was an almost constant prayer of mine for God to get me out of teaching and into a full-time, paid ministry post. It wasn’t happening, and I could see no way of it happening.

And it’s often the way that in chronos periods of life, you just can’t see any way of that period ending. There is often no solution, and it would take a miracle for something to change.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

Fortunately, because God is the author of time and sees time as a whole, from the beginning through to the end, apparent miracles do certainly happen. At just the right time, God causes shifts in events and circumstances to happen, where we have no power to do anything, and things start to change. This is the kairos period. Kairos may bring the unexpected, but it’s God. Be aware of his Spirit in these times. Pray hard in these times. Know what he’s doing. In the kairos time God is changing things and bringing a shift which will ultimately, if you keep following him, bring you into the fulfilment of what he promised, of what he has for you.

Above all, know that the chronos period you may well be in right now will not go on forever. Keep faithful to God in this time, because even though you may well have no idea what’s going on, God certainly does. He has the perfect timing in mind – he has had all along. Don’t be impatient. Wait. Trust. Pray. And don’t take matters into your own hands. God is faithful to bring about what he promised and all that is good for you – in his way, in his time.

Imagery

Published / by Dave

It wouldn’t be too bad a thing if this turned into some kind of photo blog. Which it won’t, but it could, but it might. But won’t.

Ministry questions to help stay fresh in Jesus

Published / by Dave

A pastor friend, someone with many years’ experience of pastoral ministry behind him, posted these questions on Facebook. They are worthy of spending time over, especially if you are involved in ministry. Here they are, copied and pasted.

1. Am I growing in my knowledge of God? Is God shaped in my image or His image? Am I following Him or negotiating with Him?

2. Do I have a quiet centre to my life? Can I be still? How long does it take to become still? I I was to be still and know God is God, how would that look in my Life?

3. Can I point to current areas that God is transforming in my life? Am I at a standstill since conversion or do I see God changing areas in my life today. Continual stop start leads to no motion, spiritual barrenness and spiritual emptiness.

4. Am I maintaining freshness in my walk with God? Water that flows is fresh. Am I more like a lake or a river? How am I to keep what I am receiving and letting it flow out to others?

5. What are the characteristic of me in the ministry? Can I live with, not second guess myself, and enjoy them? What is my passion? Am I allowing the Holy Spirit to inspire and empower my ministry?

6. Am I growing in my awe as a worshipper of God? Is worship just a ritual or does God give me goose bumps? “When God is glorified I am most satisfied.” John Piper.

7. Is my spiritual diet a healthy one for me? What changes do I need in my spiritual diet? What are my attitudes and personal narratives, are they true?

8. Am I more genuine in my love for others? Do I see people as problems or someone to listen to, or love as God might do?

9. What influence effect I have to others? Neutral, negative, salt or change agent. Does my life challenge people?

10. Do I have joy? The kingdom of God has three characteristics: righteousness, peace, and Joy. Are they there?

Hull

Published / by Dave

I’m not going to comment every time I miss a day on the blog, but yesterday I missed a day. That’s two missed so far, but only due to forgetfulness, which is due to busyness. For example, we drove 300 miles up the country yesterday.

So we are currently in Hull, staying for three nights in the house in which I grew up. Always nice, but slightly strange as I now have a wife and two young children. It doesn’t feel like I should be a teenager again but the memories are fairly vivid.

In other Christmas news, I have received/will receive some lovely presents. Bill Hybels’ book Simplify being among the highlights. Another highlight is a set of Palomino Blackwing pencils. And tomorrow I’ll be receiving (from my friend Amazon) a delightful A5 Leuchtturm journal with pen loop, and a sharpener for the aforementioned Blackwings.

“Pencils? You got pencils? What are you going to do with pencils?”

“Umm… write with them?”

Back to the homeland

Published / by Dave

Tomorrow begins a “holiday” up north, back in the homeland. Our first trip home since we relocated down to Christchurch. We’re really looking forward to it although not envisioning much rest!

That was Christmas

Published / by Dave

Happy Christmas to my thousands of readers.

It’s been a day of celebrating Jesus, coping with over-excited children, eating food and opening presents. In that order.

And now, sleep.

Christmas Wookiee

Published / by Dave

A couple of weeks ago we drove up (we now drive geographically UP to London instead of down!) to see Uncle Phil in his church’s pantomime. Good job, Life Church Chelmsford! Uncle Phil had a small but significant part to play in the show, as a Wookiee. Eva loved the costume, Noah wasn’t too sure.

We’ll be seeing you tomorrow evening, Uncle Phil!

That’s really all I have to say about that, apart from in the interval I brought sausage and chips back into the auditorium.

What’s the truth?

Published / by Dave

The following quote from C.S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength is very much linked with what I wrote about yesterday:

“I suppose there are two views about everything,” said Mark.

“Eh? Two views? There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there’s never more than one.”

When I wrote about different viewpoints in my previous post, I was firstly thinking about stories that people tell about their situation. Almost always somebody else is involved, and you can’t get a complete picture of that particular story without talking to all parties involved. Then I was thinking about the four gospel accounts in the Bible. Without thinking very much, and at first glance, the different gospels appear at times to contradict each other in places. But after a deeper reading and doing some research and proper thinking (whatever that is!), the differences in the accounts only prove to strengthen their validity.

Lewis’s quote above is about truth. His point is that the “dozen views” in question are different opinions on a matter. Whilst we are all free to believe whatever we want about anything, ultimately there is only one truth. By definition of the word, there can only be one truth.

With that said, I find it very interesting that the Oxford Dictionary’s 2016 Word of the Year is “post-truth”. This blog post by Ravi Zacharias, published yesterday, explains the why the word matters. It’s very much worth reading the whole article, but here’s a paragraph taken from it:

A soft side to the meaning of post-truth suggests that objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief. But the hard meaning of the word is that in this culture we willfully and justifiably convey something false because it accomplishes a personal or end goal: the end justifies the means, which do not need to justify themselves.

To some, the truth is objectionable. Disagreeable. Offensive, even. But that doesn’t stop it from being the truth. Most importantly, truth is a person.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, ESV)

[Jesus said] “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)

If you are truly a disciple of Jesus – a follower of Jesus – then not only has the truth been revealed to you, but you also know the Truth.

Different sides to a story

Published / by Dave

A die has six sides, and all its sides are different. You can’t possibly know all the facts about the die unless you know what each side displays.

There are always at least two sides to any story. Where one person tells you their opinion of something, there is always someone else who has a different viewpoint on the same subject.

To listen exclusively to the first viewpoint and to come to a final conclusion from it alone causes one to have an incomplete understanding of the situation. Seek out another viewpoint, another perspective, to get a fuller picture.