Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Prepare for Jesus' Coming: Advent Thoughts on Zechariah and Kairos Moments

Advent is the time** specifically set apart to “prepare for Jesus’ coming.” Although Jesus won’t physically be present amongst us, this is an opportunity to know him on a deeper level than we ever have before. He is doing something new and special right now in places all around the world, and we are seeing signs of it in Washington too.

I’ve been reflecting on those who were alive when Jesus was literally “coming” through to his earthly birth: Zechariah and Elizabeth, Joseph, Mary, the Shepherds and the Wise Men, as well as Anna and Simeon in the Temple. What a privilege they had to experience all the Kairos Moments that Jesus’ arrival on earth brought forward.

What’s a “Kairos Moment?”

A Kairos Moment is anytime that God breaks through and causes us to take notice! It can be positive or challenging, but it is almost never neutral. It can be big: like the birth of our first child, or small: a new way of thinking about something. It can be a Scripture passage which pops out at us like neon lights. It can be an interaction with a friend or co-worker, or it can be a major change of life direction.

Identifying Kairos Moments are one of the first things that we can do as Jesus’ followers. As we reflect on them, we begin to think differently. Thinking differently causes us to eventually act differently, which is instrumental to patterning our lives after the life of Jesus.

Zechariah was Mary’s cousin, and he was also a priest in the Temple in Jerusalem. The priests cast lots and one priest was chosen to go into the Holy of Holies to offer incense to the Lord. It was Zechariah’s turn so he was in the Temple when an angel appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.

Can’t you just see it?

Maybe the angel just appeared casually and Zechariah happened to look up and there he stood. Perhaps the angel made a grand appearance and Zechariah knew he was present. We don’t know; but we do know that he was gripped with fear.

I’ve been pondering for a few days why Zechariah would be so surprised to see something supernatural when he was present in the most holy place that existed on earth. Are our expectations of what God can and will do so low that we literally go through life never expecting to have an encounter with the supernatural?

I guess the Lord was surprised by Zechariah’s reaction too, because when the Angel Gabriel spoke and said that “Zechariah and Elizabeth would have their long awaited child,” Zechariah’s reaction was one of “show me some proof.” Gabriel wasn’t too pleased and told Zechariah that he would be mute until the day happens to fulfill the prophecy.

A major Kairos Moment if I’ve ever heard one.

Zechariah’s mind was literally turning on an axel as he considered that he was to become a father and not just any father, but the father to the front runner to the Messiah. He was reminded of the promise every time he opened his mouth to speak, and couldn’t!

At the end of the Learning Community that a team from Missio Lux attends, each team is prayed for by the other Learning Community participants. We were given a very specific prophecy which surprised and delighted us: “You are going to have an accidental ministry in a square in the center of the city.” This was thrilling to us as we have been denied access to “Occidental Square” by those that make the permitting decisions. It seems that God’s work in us for this area is not yet complete, we are praying into this prophecy.

The man who gave the prophecy asked me to pray for him after our prayer time. He told me that he had been in Europe for several year and had amazing ministry, but when he came back to the States, no one seemed to want to listen to his stories. He made an agreement that he would stop talking about it, and when he did, his prophetic gift went dormant. When we make agreements to go against God’s plan for us, there is always a consequence.

He experienced it.

Zechariah experienced it through his doubt, which caused him to go silent.

Zechariah’s voice was restored after at least 9 long months, when he wrote on a tablet that his son’s name was John, as instructed by the angel. He was given one of the longest prophecies recorded in the New Testament when his mouth was loosed; this is what takes place when we align our lives with Jesus’ life.

How does this long ago story impact us?

Where are you experiencing Kairos Moments?

Are you taking time to reflect on them, and then talking about them with important people in your life?

Are you seeking to respond to God and understand what he may be telling you and directing you in new thinking?

Our invitation from Jesus is to be in dialogue with him.

We all have a language through which the Lord speaks to us, beyond Scripture. This makes sense as we were created to be in relationship and everyone knows that communication is the number one most important part of relationship.

Our challenge is to discover that language.

As we begin to discover it, we start to experience many Kairos Moments every day; making life with Jesus an amazing adventure each and every day.

Discover your Kairos Moment for today; and go, share it with a friend.

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