Year A Epiphany 3 Matthew 4b
The Powerful Moments That Change Your Life Forever
Matthew 4:12-23

I am a collector of lists. I want to share with you this morning my favorite list of all time. It's a list of answers given by English school children on their religion exams.

Noah's wife was called Joan of the Ark.
A myth is a female moth.
Sometimes it is difficult to hear in church because the agnostics are so terrible.
The Pope lives in a vacuum.
The Fifth Commandment is "Humor your father and mother."

This is my favorite of all:

Lot's wife was a pillar of salt by day and a ball of fire by night.

The point is: right answers are important, but have you thought about this – so are right questions! So the right question I want to raise with you today is this: How long has it been since you had a powerful moment that changed your life forever?

The New Testament was written originally in common Greek and the Greeks had several different words for our one word love.

Agape = unconditional love

Eros = erotic… bargaining love (I'll do this for you if you do that for me, which, if you think about it, is not really love at all)

Phileo = philanthropic, brotherly, sisterly, or humanitarian love

Storge = family love.

New Testament Greek also had two words for time – chronos and kairos. Chronos, which give us our word chronology, is tick-tock time. Each second is exactly like the one that preceded and the one that follows it. It is boring time, humdrum time, drudgery time, meaningless time, empty time. Let me paint the picture of chronos time.

Imagine a convict in a prison cell; a lawyer with insomnia, who hears the unrelenting incessant ticking of a clock; an office worker who hates his job and can't wait for 5:00 to come so he can get out of there; a college student in a 3-hour biology lab (right after lunch) all experience chronos time. Chronos time is empty time; it is a void that must be filled. It is time we must "put in" or endure. It's what we are talking about when, of all things, we talk about "killing" time. So, chronos equals tick-tock time, humdrum time, boring time, and routine time.

Thank God, there is another kind of time. It's called kairos. Kairos time is full time, vital time, crucial time, decisive time, God's time. Kairos moments are those powerful, extra-special moments that are packed with meaning. While chronos is tick-tock time, kairos is when time stands still.

How long has it been since you a moment so powerful that time stood still? Kairos is when God breaks into the routine and speaks loud and clear and you are touched so powerfully deep in your soul that you can never be the same again. A cartoonist depicts an idea with a light bulb flashing. It is a Voila! moment, an "ah ha" experience. Theologians call it the moment of revelation.

Kairos is a key word in the New Testament. When Jesus started his ministry he came into Galilee preaching and saying, "The time is fulfilled. The Kingdom is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel." And the word for "time" there in Mark 1 was not chronos, it was kairos. This was crucial time, decisive time, God's time.

Jesus' life was packed with kairos moments:

Zacchaeus – he saw him in that sycamore tree. They connected and that was a kairos moment.

Blind Bartimaeus – nobody else was paying attention to him but Jesus heard his cries, connected with him, and it was a kairos moment.

The hemorrhaging woman came up behind Jesus, touched his robe, and he connected with her, and it was a kairos moment.

Jesus had so many of those moments. We read one this morning. Matthew writes: "The kairos is fulfilled." And what did Jesus do right at that kairos moment? He called his disciples. It was a meaningful moment for them. It wasn't just another tick of the clock. How long has it been since you had a powerful moment like that, that changed your life forever? How long has it been since you had a kairos moment in a chronos world? Kairos moments are all around us if we have the eyes to see them, the ears to hear them, and the hearts to feel them. Now, this morning I want to share with you three kairos moments that I have experienced that changed my life. I am going to be very personal because kairos moments are very personal.

  1. The Kairos Moment of Encouragement
  2. The Kairos Moment of Love
  3. The Kairos Moment of Inspiration

Carbon Pure and Perfect
1 Corinthians 1:10-18

Jesus is our diamond.

Jesus is the carbon based incarnation of the divine transformed by the steady pressure of God's endless love into the brightest Morning Star Diamond ever created.

Jesus is our diamond.

Jesus is Carbon Pure and Perfect, the pure and perfect way to the Father, our only eternal security. But there are many ways to look at Jesus, just as there are many ways to look at a diamond.

This is what Paul was getting at in our epistle reading for this morning. Paul is urging the Corinthian Christians to stop their puny, petty squabbles over perceived differences and instead to embrace the greater unity that bound them together. These Corinthian Christians had benefitted from different teachers, hailed from different backgrounds, were of different generations, and drew from different social classes. They had genuinely unique histories and lives. But they all had one thing in common: they had ultimately been led to the same place of wood and water, the wood of the cross and the water of baptism.

Paul doesn't ask for Jesus' followers to give up their unique identities. Later in this letter Paul emphasizes the matchless role each member of Christ's body plays in making it strong and whole. The existence and experience of the eye is different from that of the hand or the ear or the foot. Each body part or "member" has a different perspective on the whole. Each has a different function within the body. But the body is still one whole. It is not at war against itself. When a body does begin to take on parts of itself as an enemy, for example, cancer, HIV, food allergies, the result is first disease, then ultimately death. In fact, disease is nothing more than a body turned against itself.

For the body of Christ to be healthy today, it is in desperate need of rehearing Paul's message to the Corinthians this morning... presents Leonard Sweet