Center Stage – Finding Hope Through Disappointment

“I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for a hope and a future.”       (Jeremiah 29:11)

This is an incredibly encouraging verse oft-quoted in times of prayer…and rightly so!  Yet sometimes we so easily forget the context that we miss the challenge.  Missing that challenge can easily lead to disappointment.

These words come in the middle of a letter from God to His people written by the prophet Jeremiah.  They come in the middle of letter full of things the Israelites never expected to hear.  Things they didn’t want to hear.

These were God’s people.  They knew their history: chosen out of every other nation to be God’s, rescued through miraculous events from slavery in Egypt, promised and receiving a land that would be theirs forever.

Yet they also thought they understood their present: having compromised their faith wanting to be like everyone else rather than set apart for God, they were now reaping the consequences of their actions…they were now exiled by a godless nation.

So what would you expect to hear? Surely a call to repent, to stop compromise, to set yourself apart from every other nation, which must be followed by a swift victory and return to the promised land…

…that’s not what God said!  Instead Jeremiah writes: “Settle down!  Build houses and plant vineyards…you are going to be here for 70 years!  Let your children get married and rooted down…and seek the prosperity of this people for you will prosper when they do…”

Can you imagine how they felt?  “But God….you made this promise…we know we messed up, you told us exactly how…but this doesn’t make sense!  How can you want us to stay with the people you told us to leave…?!  We don’t understand!”

Have you ever faced this kind of situation?  “I don’t understand what you’re saying God!  I thought you promised one thing and now another thing is happening…  I thought I knew what this would look like and now you seem to be saying something totally different…!  What’s going on?!”

Take a closer look at the promise God makes….

“I know the plans I have for you says the Lord…”

 Too easily we hear the promise for good plans and miss the person who’s plans they are.  We hear a promise and envisage in our mind exactly what it should look like and how….we run after the promise itself and forget the one who spoke the word….when things don’t work out like we expected we struggle to understand why.  When it all seemed so clear, how could it get so confusing?

http://www.bubblews.com/assets/images/news/782225612_1365763920.jpgWe hear a word.  Make an appointment in our mind for what should happen when.  Then when it works out differently…we are dis-appointed.

 Who’s plans are we counting on?

Real hope is found, not in the wishful thinking that a particular situation takes place, but in placing all our trust in the God of Hope – in the One who makes all things work for the good of His people – in the One who has good plans for us and walks with us into them.

Why did God call the Israelites to bless Babylon?  To bless an enemy nation synonymous with immorality?

He was giving them an invitation.

An invitation to remember who they were as they remembered who He was.  God’s plan saw further than theirs.  Their focus was on their present and material place, on their circumstances and actions.  God’s focus was on who they were made to be.  God promised to make them a great nation to be a blessing and a light to every nation.  They were made to be a conduit of His love to every people on earth!  His focus was global not national, was eternal not immediate, was on who they were not what they did.

The walk of the Christian life comes with incredible promise: we are seated with Christ in victory; the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is inside of us; we are Sons and Daughters of the King of Kings; we are empowered and called to heal the sick, raise the dead, to be salt and light that changes nations.  Yet we step into these promises through an incredible challenge…do we trust God enough to enter into his plans rather than demanding that he enter ours?

 Imagine your life as a play in a theatre.  For many of us we are center stage.  Everything revolves around us.  For some, God has no place.  For others, He has a bit part – an extra in the background – He’s there but makes no difference.  Perhaps for others God is like a director shouting instructions so we either succeed or fail.  For still others He may even be a supporting actor, a co-star, essential to the show but mainly to make us look good.

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Yet the Christian life is so much more!  Becoming a Christian is like having the roof lifted off our little theatre and looking up to see a far greater stage.  A stage that stretches throughout time and eternity, that covers every nation, that has right in the center God Almighty Himself.  We are called as Christians to become part of God’s story, of His great drama of salvation.  He lifts us up and places us in something far greater than we could ever imagine.  A story with a future, a promise, a hope!

If we want to enter, we cannot be the center…

…if we demand God enter our plans we will be disappointed.  Yet every disappointment is an invitation to look up, give up having to control, and bring ourselves to God completely.  He is faithful, He is good – will we walk with Him?

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Keeping Time with Jesus: Chronos, Kairos and the Second Coming – Part 2

http://theworldofmore.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/world-of-more-time.jpegChronos and kairos.  Tick tock and catching the wave.  If you missed the last post have a look now.  If you read it, then think again about your answers to the last questions:  have you ever had a kairos moment?  Was the working and waiting worth it?

I said we’d have a look at the point of understanding chronos and kairos today.  The first point is this: understanding kairos let’s us maintain hope in the chronos.

It isn’t always easy being a Christian.  Sometimes it can feel like we are doing all the right things but not seeing the results we expect.  We hear from others and read in scripture the promises of what God wants to do through us, how He loves and wants to move in the world to free, heal and redeem, how He has already filled us with the power of His Spirit and how we can expect to see all of this happen if we simply step out.  Then we finally pluck up the courage, step out, and….nothing…or worse….we’re misunderstood, demeaned, rejected, kicked out…we find trouble.

What’s going on?

If you resonate with that sentiment, whatever it may look like for you, then take heart.  You’re not forgotten, failing, getting it wrong, or unlucky.  You’re living the normal Christian life, but….you may have taken your eyes off the wave.

As Christians we’re called to live in the chronos with out eyes on the kairos.  We’re called to work and to wait, it is the shape of our lives, but with eyes fixed on the extraordinary intervention of God – His presence in the midst of us.  When we understand how Jesus tells time we can work and wait without stopping hoping.

Danielle tells how part of her role is to visit massage parlours in her local town.  These are not innocent places, more goes on here than massage, but they visit taking cakes simply wanting to show God’s love and build relationship.  She described knocking on the door of one parlour and being greeted by the manageress.  She only just managed to introduce herself when she was told, ‘We don’t want you here’ and the door was slammed in her face.  She managed to blurt out ‘See you next week!’ as the door closed.

Next week she visited and the same happened again: ‘We don’t want you here!’…slam!  The next week was the same, and the next, and the next.  Six times she visited, six times she was told to leave, six times the door slammed shut….

The seventh week she went again, cakes in hand, and knocked on the door.  This time the door opened wide, the manageress cried out ‘Thank God you’re here!’ and led her straight away into the back room.  A young girl was there obviously distressed.  The manageress told the girl to say to Danielle exactly what she’d just said to her.  The girl cried out, ‘I need forgiveness, I need to be healed, I need to be free!’  Danielle introduced her to Jesus and right then and there she gave her life to him.

Danielle caught the wave.  6 weeks of working and waiting.  6 weeks of rejection, slammed doors, seeming pointlessness, obstruction, no way through.  6 weeks of chronos.  The one moment of kairos.  She couldn’t predict it or make it happen.  She didn’t do it – only God could.  All she did was kept on paddling to where the wave must break and waiting, ready to catch whatever wave came passed.

When that wave broke, do you think she counted up the weeks before to work out whether it was worth trying again?  No way.  She just experienced kairos, God moving and breaking in, a young girl’s ilfe being changed, her self-worth returned, a young girl discovering that she’s not a failure or messed up, but is loved and valued by the One who made everything.  Danielle went straight back out hunting waves.

God is always faithful.  He is always moving.  The wave is going to break.  The biggest danger we have is that we become the surfer who gave up and went home.  The wave may not always be exactly what we expected.  We don’t control it, we don’t make it happen, we simply put ourselves in its path, wait and get ready to surf.  If you are working and waiting based on what you’ve heard God say and promises he’s made, then be encouraged – he is always faithful, his timing is impeccable…but he won’t ask our permission.  Let’s not get discouraged but encourage one another to keep our eyes on him, remembering what he has already done, and trusting for what he has promised is to come.

This is how we live in present moment.  It’s a reflection of another time to come, a kairos moment to not only invade but to end all chronos, a wave that will not stop flowing.  This is what we’ll talk about next post.  For now, be encouraged, God is always moving.