Summer Kairos Voices

“You Believe At Last!”

Over the years, I’ve struggled with understanding what faith is and how it actually plays out in my life. The question I always asked was, I know that God can do something, but how do I know if God will do something?

To me, growing in faith looked something like being able to predict with greater accuracy or certainty what God would or wouldn’t do. For example, if I prayed that God would provide for my bills, the lowest level of faith would say, God will provide for my bills somehow. The next level of faith would say, God will provide $100 for my bills. The highest level of faith would say, God will provide $100 for my bills in a week. The problem was that I didn’t feel right about trying to predict what, how, and when God would do something and it didn’t really seem like the kind of faith God wanted me to have. So the confusion continued.

Recently, I’ve begun looking at faith another way. Instead of believing in what God will do, maybe faith is about believing in who God says He is. In reading through the book of John, I’ve noticed how Jesus didn’t ask His disciples to try to predict how many miracles He would do in a day or describe the precise method he would use to heal someone. Rather, He was most excited when they finally believed that He was who He said He was. In John 16, the disciples finally declare that they believe Jesus was sent by God and Jesus exclaims in response, “You believe at last!” (verse 31)

For me, one of the ways I’ve seen my faith grow is by deciding to believe in what God says about Himself and His character. God says He is good, and though circumstances, emotions, and my flesh don’t always seem to back that truth up, making the choice to stop worrying or to proclaim that God is good or to believe that God’s plan is unfolding in my life no matter what is happening are all choices I can only make with faith.

Believing that God is good isn’t always easy, especially when circumstances are screaming the opposite. But if you can look at those circumstances in the face and say, “I know God is good,” I think you’ve got some powerful faith.

~ Sarah Holloway

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The Foolishness of the Cross

Much of my life, I’ve struggled with feelings of inadequacy in regards to being saved. No matter what I did, I was never enough to please God. Christ had freed me from the Mosaic Law, but now I was indebted to pay back His death.

I recently read 1 Corinthians and was captured by these words: “The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God…. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.” (1:18, 23 NLT).

I reflected on these verses and realized that I didn’t doubt that Christ was the only way. And I’ve had conversations where people have openly expressed their disbelief in Christ’s salvation. Many feel they are “good enough” for it. But I was encouraged to know that I’ll never be good enough. I simply have to accept the gift of salvation through Christ. And that’s all you need too!

~ Brandon Thompson

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Summer Kairos Voices

At the beginning of the summer, we wanted to launch a series of posts from different people about the “kairos moments” they were experiencing in their lives. A kairos moment is an experience that leads us to answer two questions: What is God saying to you? And what are you going to do about it? Though we weren’t able to do it each week over the summer as we intended, we are going to do it this month starting today! We hope to have a new post up each day until the first day of school. Here’s a kairos moment from Kati Williams:

One of my prayers going into this summer’s trip to Ukraine was for my heart to be more open to the emotions that God wanted me to feel.  In the past I have guarded my heart so that it would not hurt so bad upon leaving these precious children behind. This was a dangerous prayer, but I would not take it back. I allowed myself to really love the children and to really think about their lives now and what they are likely to become. This kind of thinking makes you want to shout to the world, “Please adopt these children” and to the government, “stop making it such a challenge!” This kind of thinking also made it hard not to want to escape with a child or two. Especially when one little boy can capture your heart and attach himself there.

From the moment Timothy saw me, he wouldn’t let go. We blew bubbles, played in the sand box, colored, and took many walks up and down the small little sidewalk in the orphanage. He would take my hand and lead me to the next thing that he wanted to do. Every time he had to go back in the building for lunch or dinner he would hang back so that he could be the last one to go inside. Finally, I would have to walk him to the building as he cried and clung to me. Oh, how it broke my heart to leave Timothy.

People often ask why I continue to go back to Ukraine. It’s a long way to go, a lot of work to get a team over there, and not the cheapest trip you can take.

I don’t know if I have a good answer, but what I do know is that we have a great relationship with a church over there (Almaz) who work really hard year round helping orphans and the people who care for them. By us coming over there it really makes it possible for Almaz to continue obeying God’s command to care for the orphans. And we get to be part of obeying that command with really great Ukrainians!


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Bringing All Things Before Him

After several semesters away, I have been blessed to finally return to Virginia Tech full-time this past spring. In fact, God’s faithfulness in building me as a man and allowing me to return has been an awesome journey and is a great story itself. But, I would like to focus on more recent experiences through which God has taught me to bring all things before Him and to trust in His plan and provision during times of fear, suffering, or confusion.

In my excitement for returning to Tech, I was eager to become involved in as much as possible – and it did not take long for me to completely fill my schedule. In general, I have little interest in being an unproductive person and want to constantly be actively engaged in something. This is good in a lot of ways, but unfortunately I often overload myself.

I knew balancing my load was becoming a problem because many nights I wouldn’t get into bed before 3.00a, then wake up at 6.00a to do it all again (numerous nights were without sleep). I also knew my effectiveness was sliding in some of areas. However, as I reviewed my list of responsibilities, it was impossible to identify what could be unimportant; I decided to man up and keep going.

This all finally caught up to me. On one of the last mornings in April, I was driving to work and fell asleep at the wheel (surprise, Chris, your life is unhealthy). I opened my eyes and realized I was in the center median of 460W, barreling through the soggy grass at about 65 mph. I swerved back onto the road to avoid a VDOT sign, but the ground was saturated due to the previous night’s thunderstorms and tornados, and the truck went sideways, as if on ice. Looking back, this is probably all that saved me from barrel rolling down the road right then. Nonetheless, as the truck continued sliding, I saw I was moving straight towards an embankment – about a 20’ drop to the ground below. That’s not where you want to be heading at 50-60 mph with no control of your vehicle.

As I took off from the embankment, the vehicle went airborne for about 3 seconds and started heading nose-first for the ground: plenty of time for me to think, “Well, this is it.” To truly believe that is fairly uncomfortable, but I did have an awkward apathy about what might happen – hopefully, that was faith. Seeing the ground coming toward me, I closed my eyes and braced for impact. I still can’t quite remember the impact itself, I just know it was more like being set down than colliding head-first into the ground. I opened my eyes in confusion, unbuckled my seatbelt, and walked away without a scratch. The truck, of course, was totaled.

I want to make a few brief side notes before continuing. I had a lot of heartburn about how I would make my truck payment if I were awarded the Rotary scholarship I applied for and moved to Ghana for a year. Also, I had been in a lot of conversation and prayer recently on whether or not my job in Giles County was best for me at the time because the 40 minute drive and my gas-guzzling truck was eating my paycheck alive. Lastly, I drove illegally with no insurance for two years and never really cared to correct that. Two weeks before the accident, I felt a terrible weight of guilt and began a new full coverage policy on my truck. Sweet coincidence.

To be completely honest, I never got worked up about the accident. I did break down briefly after getting out of the car because as I walked around the battered vehicle, I faintly understood the level of love that had allowed me to walk away completely unharmed. Perhaps this is why I never worried about what would happen next. Instead, I immediately began to pray for the Lord’s guidance and direction. I knew and believed that God would somehow use this experience. I had not yet even made the first insurance payment, so I was unsure of whether they would take care of me. Still, I took everything to God and trusted in His provision.

The insurance company paid off my loan and gave me enough money to purchase a new vehicle outright. I no longer have that truck payment. Also, the new ride gets 30 mpg, compared to the truck’s lousy 17. And what’s more, the couple from whom I purchased the new vehicle are an amazing brother and sister in Christ Jesus. In my short time with them, they have inspired me in many ways to remain faithful and loving. They are even going to connect me with their worship leader in Salem who is also a songwriter.

It’s a little funny and a little sad how an event like this can open my eyes and help me to feel the true love of God, when every day I should readily carry that same feeling in the knowledge of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. But, I’m weak and God knows how to open my eyes. As a result, I’ve had an amazing experience by which I have learned a very important lesson: seek and trust God’s Will in all circumstances. In fact, this past year, especially the past few weeks, has been a season of God teaching me to bring all things before Him: sufferings, doubts, questions about the future, big decisions, questions and desires about relationships, fears, etc. And the most important part of this lesson: TRUST in His love and provision (Philippians 4:6-7, Romans 8:28).

As for the overloaded schedule, the wreck has initiated a lot of thought about how I live my life. I believe packing my schedule can sometimes be an effort of self-justification. I truly feel it is important to be actively engaged in pouring love into the world and leveraging our own blessings to that end. However, I have to be honest with myself as I look at that schedule and admit there isn’t a whole lot of time for sitting quietly with God. Reading the Word as I fall asleep is a nice try, but it’s no way to truly honor the Lord. Also, am I even focusing on glorifying God through all of those activities or am I trying to fill myself up instead of allowing Jesus to do that? And what about spending time and emotion on the people around me that God has put in my life for a reason? No one who runs from sun up to the next sun up without stopping is giving God the attention He demands and deserves, nor are they staying in tune with the lives of those around them. I have concluded that not everything I want to do with my life has to be done yesterday and all at once. In addition to the above lesson, I have learned that it is important – no, required – that we live manageable lives that are first built upon intentional relationships with Jesus and the people around us (Luke 10:38-42).

– Chris Cooke

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“The Time Has Come!”

At the very start of Jesus’ ministry when he was calling his first disciples, Jesus announced, “At last the time has come! The Kingdom of God is near! Turn from your sins and believe this Good News!”

Reading this, we get the sense that Jesus was pretty excited. Just look at all of those exclamation points! The people had been waiting and Jesus was there to tell them that their waiting was over.

There are two words used for time in the Greek language: “chronos” and “kairos.”  Chronos is the tick-tock, tick-tock kind of time; a time that moves forward in a linear fashion. This isn’t the word Jesus is using here in the first chapter of Mark.  He’s using another word for time, “kairos.” Kairos refers to a moment when everything is quite possibly about to change because it is the right time. Jesus is saying, “this is the moment you’ve been waiting for!  It is the right time.” You might refer to this as a “kairos moment.”

We all have kairos moments. Most likely they happen more than we recognize. They are moments that come when we’re moving along in our day and something happens that feels different. It seems bigger. It catches our attention. Some examples could be a movie that makes you cry or makes you angry, or starting a new job and the thought of moving makes you nervous, or getting a flat tire and the pouring rain and you having some pretty interesting thoughts run through your head just before you open car door.

When these kairos moment occur, we have a choice. We can either roll on over it as we would any speed bump and keep on moving, or we can slow down, stop, and take notice of what God may be trying to reveal to us.

This summer we’ll be having weekly discussions right here on! We’ll hear from different individuals as they share their kairos moments. We’re calling these posts Summer Kairos Voices. We’ll hear about a variety of moments I’m sure, but in each one they’ll get to answer two questions. The first is, “What is God saying to you?” God doesn’t always speak in an audible voice, but that doesn’t mean that He’s not trying to communicate something to us, or help us learn some sort of new-to-us truth.  We all hear from God in different ways at different times. No matter how he communicates, it’s always good for us to take time to hear what He’s saying, reflect on it, and then dialogue with Him and others about it.

The second question is, “What are you going to do about it?” Sometimes it’s easy to just sit and meditate on some truth or lesson God wants us to bring into our lives, but when it comes to taking that truth and moving in some new direction, well… we might be slow to get going.

On the other hand, for some of us, we hear something and before we can even recognize what God is fully trying to say, we charge forward. We don’t take enough time to reflect. Asking the question, “Now that I know what God is saying, what am I going to do about it?” is a big step. It involves putting feet to something we’ve heard. It’s about believing and acting in faith that God has something for us not only to learn, but also to do. Something to change. Something to pursue.

So stay tuned with us this summer as we post new “kairos moments” each Monday as the summer goes on. And feel free to leave comments! For now, I just wanted to give you a little introduction.

– Steve Englund

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