Monday, October 15, 2018

Tim's Toolbox: FOLLOW - Orient, Act, Repeat

Tool #4 lets you see the central message of Jesus in visual form. It's a rich symbol with a lot of depth to it. God is up to something wonderful and you can be a part of it. That's good news.

To find the full set of tools, go to Toolbox Central.  Sermons 5-9 in the Road Trip series unpack the Follow symbol and the message of Jesus.

The message that Jesus preached is summarized in this verse: “The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God has come near; repent and believe in the good news.” Mark 1:15 Understanding that message is key to following Jesus. There are four words to unpack, each one represented in the Follow icon as well.

Time – Jesus uses a special word for “time” in his message which is “kairos” in the Greek language. It refers to the moment when something is ripe or ready to happen. It’s not the “scheduled” time, but rather the “right” time, like the way we say “It’s time!” when a baby is about to be born. The message of Jesus is not just general information. It’s always an announcement of something that is happening now, because this is the moment when life is changing.

Kingdom – God wants all of life to be right: good, whole, beautiful and joyful for everyone and everything. Whenever life moves from the way it is into the way it should be that’s a little bit of “Kingdom come.” So to say; “the Kingdom has come near” means that we are standing on the edge, ready to step into a better world.

Repent – We usually associate “repent” with the emotions of shame and regret, even fear. But it simply means to turn, to change your mind, to change your direction. There is always a turning from and a turning towards. Jesus invites us to turn towards something wonderful (Kingdom come) which is why his message is called “The Gospel” (good news) rather than “The Warning.”

Believe – To “believe in the good news” means more than just accepting it as true. It means acting on it as well because “believe in” is a statement of trust. When you believe in a person you put your life in their hands. When you believe in the good news you put your life on its pathway.

With those understandings we can rephrase Jesus’ message into more familiar language in this way; “You have arrived, right now, at a moment when something wonderful is happening. Your life and the world is being set right, repaired, restored and released into joy! So drop what you’re doing, pay attention to this, and become a part of it.” To act on that message is to follow Jesus.

The Follow icon represents this message of movement and moment in this way. A timeline enters from the left and arrives at the “kairos moment” marked by the X. From there, we can keep going just as we were on our current path (dotted line arrow.) Or, we can notice that a new pathway is possible (arrow bending upwards) leading to a better future (Kingdom come.)

Changing directions is a process. First we “turn around” (repent, shown as the curved arrow going down) which involves turning from the direction we were going. Then we continue by turning towards the new path, not only in our intentions but also in our actions. The result is that we emerge from the kairos moment going in a new, Kingdom-ward direction.

Luke 19:1-10 (Zacchaeus arrives at a “kairos moment” and follows Jesus into a new life); Mark 10:17-22 (Another man chooses to stay on his current path.)

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