Kairos Moments

I came across a term I was unfamiliar with this morning while doing a Google search. That term is “kairos moment,” and I wondered what it meant. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines“kairos” as: “a time when conditions are right for the accomplishment of a crucial actionthe opportune and decisive moment.”

GotQuestions.org provides a longer definition on the meaning of the Greek word “kairos”:

The word kairos was an ancient Greek word meaning “opportunity,” “season,” or “fitting time.” Another Greek word for “time” was chronos. A sequence of moments was expressed as chronos, emphasizing the duration of the time; an appointed time was expressed as kairos, with no regard for the length of the time. Thus, chronos was more linear and quantitative, and kairos was more nonlinear and qualitative.

The Bible uses the word kairos and its cognates 86 times in the New Testament (e.g., in Matthew 8:29Luke 19:44; and Acts 24:25). The word often includes the idea of an opportunity or a suitable time for an action to take place. When we “seize the day,” we are taking advantage of the kairos given to us. Kairos is related to the Greek word kara (“head”). A kairos is a time when things “come to a head,” requiring decisive action.

In Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares, the Lord refers to the coming judgment as a harvest: “At that time [kairos] I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn” (Matthew 13:30). By using kairos here, Jesus emphasizes the fact that Judgment Day is an appointed time, and at that time will occur certain things appropriate for the day.

There was “an appointed time” for John the Baptist to be born (Luke 1:20). The Lord promises to reward His servants at “the proper time” (Luke 12:42). Jesus predicts that Israel will be judged “because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you” (Luke 19:44, emphasis added). Each of these uses of kairos denotes a unique time in which something special was to happen.

The Bible warns that we should take full advantage of the opportunities God gives us. Unbelievers have the responsibility to respond to opportunities to believe the gospel. Jesus’ first recorded sermon was simple: “The time [kairos] has come. . . . The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:8). When the people of Galilee were confronted with Jesus’ life-changing message, God expected them to believe.

Governor Felix was listening to Paul speak, and “as [Paul] reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, ‘Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity [kairos] I will summon you’” (Acts 24:25, ESV). Felix wanted to pick his own opportunity to respond to the gospel, ignoring the opportunity of the present. In so doing, he did respond—he rejected the gospel.

Paul communicated the urgency of the gospel: “I tell you, now is the time [kairos] of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). There is a window of opportunity to accept God’s salvation, and we do not know when that window will close.

The believer must take advantage of opportunities to serve the Lord. “As we have opportunity [kairos], let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10). We must bemaking the most of every opportunity [kairos], because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). And “let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time [kairos] we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). (Quote source here.)

In an article published on November 13, 2014, titled, KAIROS = God – Time,” by Pr. Michael Jannett, pastor at Advent Lutheran Church, he uses the acronym “SOAP” to describe a kairos moment:

S (Scripture): John 14:2b [Jesus said,] “I am going away to make ready a place for you. 14:3 And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that where I am you may be too. 14:4 And you know the way where I am going.” 14:5 Thomas said, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 14:6 Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 14:7 If you have known me, you will know my Father too. And from now on you do know him and have seen him.”

O (Observation): Thomas hears that Jesus is changing course again. That is a “kairos” moment for him–a time to listen and pay extra attention to what God (Jesus) is saying. So Thomas chimes in, and wonders how the disciples are to make their way without Jesus?

A (Application): I’m sitting in an airport (as I type), awaiting departure for Detroit, MI, for an ELCA Youth Gathering training event. My flight was delayed a half hour. That was a kairos. A moment that catches my attention.

We all have lots of kairos moments. Sometimes we call it: coincidence, providence, happenstance, chance, aha moments, light bulb moments…I call them Kairos moments.

Kairos is a Greek word that essentially means “God-time.” Every moment that catches my attention is a moment for me to reflect on what God is saying to me, and to reflect on what I should do about what God has said to me.

Being delayed a half hour reminds me that rushing from one place to another is not healthy. “Abide, Michael. Sit. Wait. I have come to sit with you awhile as you write your devotion.” Cool. So I sit and reflect and share with you, now.

Thomas had a kairos. Jesus said he was leaving. “So where to, Jesus? We don’t have GPS. Or an iPhone.” Jesus responds that he is the way.

So maybe Thomas starts to realize (like we do, maybe) that following Jesus is not just a physical journey, but a physical AND spiritual one. That it’s about being shaped in a way of “being” that effects our actions and thoughts and beliefs, wherever we head…like Detroit, or home, or work, or school.

Next time a thought/event/whatever stops you in your tracks…pause…ask yourself, “What is God Saying?” And then ask yourself, “What would God have me do now?”

(Hint: if “what God says” tears you down and demoralizes you…that’s not God, that’s the devil. God brings life. God can bring anger or disappointment, but that message should be to a constructive end.)

Challenge: Share a kairos moment that you had today. If you feel really bold, answer the two questions:

1. What is God saying to me? And,
2. What would God have me do?

P (Prayer): Lord, you have spoken to us through the prophets of old. Now you speak to us through your Son, Jesus Christ. Help us to listen to your voice and believe that you have called us to do greater things than “these.” Amen. (Quote source here.)

In an article published on July 24, 2020, titled, How A Kairos Moment Changes the World,” by Chris Walker, Director of Spanish Ministry and Director of Ministry Development at PRMI, he provides the following definition for “kairos”:

Kairos: Now Time

“Kairos” (kairos) is one of two Greek words used for time that is used in Scripture.

Greek dictionaries give the meaning in terms of

  • due measure,
  • a fixed and definite time,
  • the time when things are brought to crisis,
  • the decisive epoch waited for,
  • opportune or seasonable time,
  • the right time (Thayer’s definition).

Kairos moments are not measured by minutes or hours but by what is happening.

Examples from Scripture of where Kairos is used of time.

The time has come, the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!Mark 1:15 (NIV) 

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.Romans 5:6 (NIV) 

And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.Romans 13:11 (NIV) 

A kairos moment occurs when it is God’s time to act in human affairs.

The Holy Spirit is present and moving in a person, situation, or group to accomplish some specific work for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. (Quote source here.)

The following statement comes from the opening  paragraph of an article titled, Your Kairos Moment,” on OneChurch.family (the author’s name is not mentioned):

We’ve all come to these points in our life when a decision is made that changes every day that follows. Many times, you weren’t even aware that you, in fact, were standing in such a moment. A tipping-point or a kairos moment is usually discovered behind the scenes of an ordinary day. It’s the moment when desperation and courage collide. It’s the moment when great opposition threatens all that you know and you choose to remain unmoved by fixing your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. It’s the moment when a choice of faith catapults you into divine destiny.

KAIROS… (Quote source here.)

So be on the lookout for kairos moments, and it all boils down to exercising our faith. GotQuestions.org states the following regarding faith (as found in Hebrews 11):

The writer of Hebrews opens chapter 11 with a brief description of faith: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1, NKJV). This statement should not be regarded as a complete definition of faith. Instead, the author focuses on two critical aspects of a much broader theological concept to introduce a famous gallery of Old Testament heroes of faith. The first vital facet of faith is that it is “the substance of things hoped for.”

The word for “substance” (KJV, NKJV) in the clause faith is the substance of things hoped for, is alternatively translated as “assurance” (ESV), “confidence” (NIV), and “the reality” (NLT). In the original Greek, the term conveys the idea of “a firm foundation,” “the real being,” “the actual existence,” “the substantial nature,” and “a resolute trust.” One sense of the word refers to a title deed or a legal document guaranteeing the right to possess a property.

According to Moulton and Milligan in Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament, “faith is the substance of things hoped for” could be translated “faith is the title-deed of things hoped for” (Robertson, A. T., Word Pictures in the New Testament, Nashville: Broadman Press, 1960). Another commentary suggests that faith, as described in Hebrews 11:1, “apprehends reality: it is that to which the unseen objects of hope become real and substantial. Assurance gives the true idea. It is the firm grasp of faith on unseen fact” (Vincent, M. R., Word Studies in the New Testament, Vol. 4, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887, p. 510).

The clause faith is the substance of things hoped for describes a conviction that already takes custody—here and now—of what we hope for and what God has promised us in the future. This present-day ownership of things hoped for and promised in the future is an inner reality. Right now, amid a global pandemic, financial crisis, and social unrest, as our world seems to be falling apart, we can stand on the rock-solid, unshakeable  promises of God’s security, rest, peace, provision, mercy, grace, and salvation. His Word can be trusted. We can have full confidence in the Lord’s promises because they are real and a firm foundation for this life.

This “substance” or “assurance” describes our inward response to God’s trustworthy, unfailing nature. We can be sure of the Lord’s promises because, as the writer of Hebrews goes on to show, biblical heroes of every generation have proven them to be true: “By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead. By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death” (Hebrews 11:4–5). On and on goes the list. By faith Noah built the ark, saved his family, and became an heir of righteousness (Hebrews 11:7). By faith Abraham obeyed God and moved from his homeland (verses 8–10).

The writer of Hebrews presents example after example of those who demonstrated faith as the substance of things hoped for: “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth” (Hebrews 11:13). From the patriarchs to King David to anonymous champions of faith, believers have trusted in God’s promises despite enduring unimaginable challenges (verses 17–38).

Faith, being the substance of things hoped for, is also an outward force. Possessing the reality of hope supplies believers with the motivation to endure trials and hardships. It results in decisive obedience—the kind that caused the ancient heroes of faith to act upon their hope. Faith, as the substance of things hoped for, activates believers to preach boldly, pray unceasingly, love unconditionally, serve compassionately, and work tirelessly “as long as it is day” (John 9:4). The inward substance of faith moves our hearts while the external reality moves mountains. (Quote source here.)

With my faith still very much intact (and, hopefully, yours is, too), be on the lookout for kairos moments. I’ll end this post with the words from Hebrews 11:6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards…

Those who . . .

Earnestly . . .

Seek him . . . .

YouTube Video: “Help Is On The Way” (Live on June 10, 2021) by TobyMac:

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All Things Are Possible

Most of us have found ourselves in a Catch-22 type situation from time to time. They are awkward, frustrating, confusing, and infuriating, to say the very least. Wikipedia defines the meaning of Catch-22 as follows:

catch-22 is a paradoxical situation from which an individual cannot escape because of contradictory rules or limitations. The term was coined by Joseph Heller, who used it in his 1961 noveCatch-22. An example is:

“How can I get any experience until I get a job that gives me experience?” –Brantley Foster in The Secret of My Success.”

Catch-22s often result from rules, regulations, or procedures that an individual is subject to, but has no control over, because to fight the rule is to accept it. Another example is a situation in which someone is in need of something that can only be had by not being in need of it (e.g.: the only way to qualify for a loan is to prove to the bank that you do not need a loan). One connotation of the term is that the creators of the “catch-22” situation have created arbitrary rules in order to justify and conceal their own abuse of power.

Joseph Heller coined the term in his 1961 novel Catch-22, which describes absurd bureaucratic constraints on soldiers in World War II. The term is introduced by the character Doc Daneeka, an army psychiatrist who invokes “Catch-22” to explain why any pilot requesting mental evaluation for insanity—hoping to be found not sane enough to fly and thereby escape dangerous missions—demonstrates his own sanity in creating the request and thus cannot be declared insane. This phrase also means a dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions. (Quote source here.)

For anyone who has ever found themselves in a Catch-22 type situation, the definition above is a moot point as you know exactly what it feels like and how impossible it seems to be in order to escape from it.

In an audio file with attached transcript published on July 12, 2018 titled, When You Are Confronted with a Catch-22 Situation,” by Dr. Harold J. Sala, speaker, author, Bible teacher, and founder of “Guidelines for Living,” he states:

“From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2, KJV).

It’s a catch-22 situation, one where you can’t win. That expression “catch-22” was made famous by a book by the same title, one that came out of the war experiences of Joseph Heller. Heller was flying over France in World War 2 when shrapnel hit his plane, a B-25 bomber. Up to that time, he had been pretty well fearless, but no longer. He wanted out.

His emotions formed the backdrop of his most famous book, a 1961 novel called Catch-22. In the book, John Yossarian decides he doesn’t want to fly any more dangerous missions so he invents a mysterious liver ailment, sabotages his plane, and tries to get himself declared insane.

Here’s the predicament. Yossarian learns that in the military, anyone who really is insane has to be excused from flying dangerous missions, but the catch is that he must ask to be excused. But “anyone who is smart enough to show ‘rational fear in the face of clear and present danger’ obviously is not insane and must continue to fly.”

Yes, you’ll find Heller’s expression “catch-22” in the dictionary. It’s defined as “a problematical situation for which the only solution is denied by a circumstance inherent in the problem…” or “an illogical, unreasonable, or senseless situation.”

The fact is that catch-22 situations have been with us for a long time and are still very much part of life. That’s what confronted the children of Israel when they came out of Egypt and were trapped by the Red Sea, the mountains of Pi Hahiroth, and the Egyptian Army. That’s what confronted Daniel when he either had to bow to the image of the king or be tossed to the lions. A catch-22 situation also confronted King Jehoshaphat, who had committed to serving the living God, yet was confronted with the armies of Moab and Edom.

Sometimes people feel that they are in a catch-22 situation when a marriage goes bad.  The choice is stay there and suffer or feel that you are wrong in walking away from it. In business you face it when you know that a fellow employee is cheating on the company. Do you report the situation and face the consequences of being a whistle-blower, or do you violate your conscience by keeping quiet?

Catch-22 situations are grim apart from one thing, the one who can eliminate the hopeless feature. It is God. When Jehoshaphat faced a catch-22 situation he cried out, “We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you” (2 Chronicles 20:12). Did you hear those words, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you”? God is always enough.

When Daniel faced a catch-22 situation, he chose to either die with integrity or to allow God to bring him through the difficulty.

There were lots of times when David faced catch-22 situations, but he learned that God makes a difference. He cried out, “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2, KJV).

One of the reasons that God allows catch-22 situations is so we learn that He can roll back the waters of the Red Sea, and stop the mouths of lions, and turn marriages around.

Joseph Heller–not God–is the one who invented that phrase–catch-22! The good news is there is nothing too hard for God. Have you learned this?

Resource reading: 2 Chronicles 20:1-30. (Quote source here.)

In another article using that same passage found in 2 Chronicles 20 that was published on April 2, 2020, titled, Praying in Impossible Situations,” by Greg Laurie, author and senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, he writes:

Do you feel like you’re in an impossible situation right now? Maybe the “what if” has become reality for you, and there’s no apparent way out. Maybe a national crisis has quickly become a personal crisis.

I recently read that nearly half of the country believes the deadly coronavirus is a wake-up call from God. Perhaps you’ve had this kind of “wake-up call” in your own life, and you’re looking for answers.

If so, it’s crucial to recognize the power of God that can take place through urgent, storm-the-gates-of-Heaven type prayer.

We find an example of this in 2 Chronicles 20, where the bottom had suddenly dropped out for Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah. He received the devastating report that a vast army was coming against them.

But Jehoshaphat responded with three things that we can also do when crisis comes our way.

1. He Prayed with His Family

Where did Jehoshaphat begin? He prayed with his whole family. He said, “O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You” (verse 12). Then we read, “Now all Judah, with their little ones, their wives, and their children, stood before the Lord” (verse 13).

That is such a powerful scene. Here was a multitude of vulnerable people with an invading army coming against them, and King Jehoshaphat was saying, “Lord, we are depending upon You. We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”

Humanly speaking, it is a picture of weakness. King Jehoshaphat was saying, in effect, “Lord, here we are. We have the kids. We have an army coming toward us. What am I going to do here? Our eyes are on You.”

Many times we think of prayer as a last resort. After we have exhausted every other possibility, all we can do is pray. But that is what we should have done in the first place. It has been said that if you are swept off your feet, it is time to get on your knees.

Jehoshaphat shows us the importance of united, family prayer.

God answers the prayers of His people and can turn around radical, hopeless situations when His people go to Him in prayer.

2. He Recognized that the Battle Was the Lord’s

Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, faced a dilemma. His enemies greatly outnumbered him. To make matters worse, his enemies had joined forces with the other enemies of Israel and were coming to destroy him.

It was hopeless. There was no way that he could meet this army with what he had. He was going to be destroyed. What did Jehoshaphat do?

The Bible says that he “set himself to seek the Lord.”

Take another look at the content of his prayer: “O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You” (2 Chronicles 20:12 NKJV).

The Lord answered Jehoshaphat, “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. . . . Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you” (2 Chronicles 20:15–17 NKJV).

He prayed, looking for an answer. And God answered Jehoshaphat’s prayer, intervened, and rescued them.

Jehoshaphat recognized that this crisis was out of his control. God turned an impossible situation around.

3. He Led with Worship

So Jehoshaphat and his army went out to meet their enemies, but they put the worship team out front.

We read that Jehoshaphat “appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: ‘Praise the Lord, For His mercy endures forever’” (2 Chronicles 20:21).

The Bible says that when they began to sing and praise the Lord, the enemy started fighting among themselves and destroyed each other.

Something supernatural takes place when people worship, more than we may ever realize. Even the enemy’s power can be broken through worship.

When we don’t know what to do, we can always pray and worship.

Maybe you are facing what seems like an impossible situation right now. You may not be able to see a way out. But God can. Call on Him. Then stand still and see what He will do.

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Faith

Here is a picture of a vulnerable people who don’t know what to do, who are completely dependent upon God. It is a great picture of what to do in time of need.

God answered the prayer of the king and dramatically altered his circumstances by destroying his enemies. Remember, you can turn to God in prayer in desperate circumstances, and He will hear your cry. (Quote source here.)

On April 15, 2019, I published a blog post on my second blog, Reflections,” that is also titled, All Things Are Possible (click here to go to that post). That post goes into great detail regarding what is meant by all things.” I’ll end this post with same reminder from that post that includes a verse found in Romans 8:28 which states: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” “All things” include our Catch-22 and impossible situations that seems to have no solution from a human perspective.

Therefore, let us never forget in the midst of our difficult circumstances no matter how impossible they may seem to be, to pray, worship, and give thanks to God, and remember that…

With God . . .

All Things . . .

Are Possible . . . .

YouTube Video: “The God of the Impossible” by Lincoln Brewster:

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