Dr. E. Dale Locke
Sermon Series: Start: Start Now, Start New, Start Over
Sermon 5: Singular Moments
- In this series, we’re talking about how to begin important new things in our lives. In past few weeks, we’ve looked at the big rules of starting:
- Awareness – Know where you are. What area of your life is not what you want it to be?
- Begin with the end in mind. – Know what you’re aiming for.
- Embrace the gift of perspective. – Listen to the wisdom of God and of others who are ahead of you on the journey.
What has been one of the most helpful ideas for you so far in this sermon series?
- The teacher that Robin Williams played in the movie Dead Poet Society told his class: “Carpe Diem” which means, “Seize the day!” What does that mean? Why do people sometimes hesitate to seize the day?
Big Rule 4: Seize the Important Moment
- Sometimes one moment can be especially important in your life. This was the case for Esther. Read the following passages from the Old Testament book of Esther:
This is what happened during the time of Xerxes, the Xerxes who ruled over 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush: 2 At that time King Xerxes reigned from his royal throne in the citadel of Susa, 3 and in the third year of his reign he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. The military leaders of Persia and Media, the princes, and the nobles of the provinces were present. 4 For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty.
Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, 6 who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jehoiachin king of Judah. 7 Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.
(Esther, though secretly Jewish, had been chosen as the Queen of Persia as a result of a beauty contest. Haman, one of King Xerxes’s top servants, convinced the King to give orders to annihilate the entire Jewish people living in Persia. Esther’s Uncle Mordecai asks her to use her position as queen to rescue her people. Esther sends Mordecai a message that the King hasn’t asked to see her for a long time, and no one is allowed to approach the King unless invited.)
When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
What ideas or questions come to your mind when you read this passage?
- Even though the book of Esther doesn’t actually mention “God” even once, we see God’s activity all throughout the book. Tell about a time when you sensed God was working behind the scenes in your life.
- Talk about how we can see both God’s sovereignty and human free will working together in this story of Esther.
- There are different words in Scripture for “time”.
The word “chronos” means “a space or measure of time” and is used in Galatians 4:4-5: “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.”
The word “kairos” means “a divine opportunity” and is used in Mark 1:15: “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Explain the difference between “chronos” and “kairos” in your own words.
- The word for “time” in Esther 4:14 is “kairos” – “for if you remain silent at this time.” – and means “an appointed time” or “a divine opportunity”. Every once in a while God brings moments into our lives that aren’t just “chronos moments” – they’re “kairos moments.” God wants us to be attentive to these important moments, so we don’t miss out on what He has for us or for someone else through us. Tell about a “kairos” moment that you’ve experienced in life.
Esther’s story teaches us some things about our own divine moment:
- Often, the circumstances will be less than ideal.
8. Esther’s circumstances were far from perfect. She and all the Jewish people were in exile. She wasn’t where she wanted to be. Unlike Esther, some people wait for perfect circumstances before they’re willing to break out and do something with or for God. Why is that? What causes that tendency? What happens if a person waits for the perfect circumstance?
- Personally, it might not be an easy season.
9. In Esther 2:7, we learn that Esther’s parents had died, so she was an orphan who had been raised by her uncle. Often God gives you a “kairos moment” right in the place of the most pain in your life. In fact, our biggest personal pain may be where God especially wants to do something brand new. When have you seen this principle lived out?
- Usually, there will be risk involved.
1o. Tell about a moment in your own life when you sensed God nudging you to take a risk in order to serve His purposes. Did you do it? How did it turn out?
- God uses these moments to accomplish His purpose in my life and in the world.
11. Esther courageously stood up to the King, and God used that to save the Jewish people. God can do great things through people who are fully committed to Him. Read 2 Chronicles 16:9a: “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”
What is the message behind this verse? What do we learn here?
12. Is there currently a “kairos moment” in your life? If so, what is it? And how are you responding to it?