Remembering 2011

As the calendar turns one more round on the spindle, and we make our way toward another year, I have a question.

What stands out in your past year, or so, as moments where God has broken through “time on a clock” (chronos time), to get you to recognize “opportunity time” (kairos time) in your life and for those in your family?

These are some of our family kairos moments where we sensed God’s presence more clearly in our life. It’s like the atmosphere between God and us became “thinner places” and we knew God was getting our attention:

10. Coming home from a mission trip to Guatemala with our youth group from Pine Lake Covenant, when Pastor Chris asked me to meet only to tell me he was resigning as our lead pastor (June 2010). God began to ignite a passion inside me that would only fan into a flame a year later that I might become a lead pastor.

9. Attending the Pacific Institute’s 3-day conference to learn about how our brain is wired to see opportunities that come our way. I sat in the first-day of opening session and Brad, the instructor said, “Ok, take a moment and write down where you’d like to see yourself in 5 years.” I took pen to paper, and heard a voice in my spirit, “Reid, you’re ready to be a lead pastor now.” (12/12/2010 at 10:00am). Could this be God’s way of getting my attention? Is God really up to something new in my life?

8. Feeling a bit demoted when Pine Lake hired an interim pastor (no offense) to lead the staff and preach more while searching for a full-time lead pastor. I had taken on the role of leading the current staff, preaching a little more and feeling like my leadership gifts were growing. (Feb.2011) What could be God’s intention with ‘not being asked’ to lead more at Pine Lake? God must be up to something that I just can’t see.

7. Mission trip to Soldatna, Alaska to speak for a friend’s youth group for a week. (April 2011) I love speaking to youth & young adults on mission, or at camp, or in leadership. God is growing a gift of speaking in me and I love to express it whenever, and wherever I am able. I’m at Mission Springs, CA (near Santa Cruz) speaking this week for an end-o-the-year winter Young Adult retreat even now as I write this. God is using my speaking for His good for some reason. I don’t even think I’m that good at it.

6. “Reid, you’re the one we’ve decided to release from Pine Lake staff.” What???!!! “Why me?” I was at a loss for words and could hardly process what was being said. “We keep praying for how to move forward as a Leadership Team, and no kidding, we keep hearing your name when any of us are in prayer.” His words didn’t make sense then (May 2011), but it’s all making sense now. I cried out to God, “God, why would you let this happen now?” “What are you thinking? God… where are you?” God gently said to me, “I’m with you and your family, Reid. Just wait… you’ll see, it’s going to be better than you could ever have imagined. I know what I’m doing. You don’t see it, but I do.”

5. We packed our things as a family of 4 and headed to Estes Park, Colorado for a week at the FEAST with the Evangelical Covenant denomination and were on retreat with 400 some Covenanters and saw God at work (June 2011). This is where we cried out to God for His leading in our family through all the dark questions of our soul. “What could you actually be doing in our family that could include career change at this point?”

4. PANAMA – our little family took a 2 month sabbatical time in Playa Blanca, Panama at a friend’s condo on the beach.
We were overwhelmed with “peace” in the summer; nothing to do, no agenda to keep, nothing to accomplish, no time limits, no traditions to keep, nothing that hindered our decisions for better family time. We taught our kids how to drive a stick-shift car, we tried new foods, swam in 80 degree waters, slept in till noon… “God, thank you for meeting us here in another part of the world. You were here the entire time, and we have failed to notice how you were orchestrating our lives.” (July-August 2011)

3. Trip through the Zion National Park “Narrows” with 10 of my best college buddies from Biola University. We hiked the slot-canyons of the park, and outside the park and were met by God’s beauty of creation, God beauty of relationships and communication, God’s intention of speaking truth into one another’s life as men, God’s idea of community and we relished in laughter and memories as we pushed our physical 40-yr-old bodies to the limit. (August 2011) God you are with us all along.

2. “Hello, this is Crossroads Greeley Church in Colorado. Can we talk about you becoming our next lead pastor?” Wow, only 4 days after coming home from Panama and the trip in Zion, and I’m already being recruited. (September 2011) God began a conversation between the search committee of Crossroads Greeley and our family in WA. Our conversations flowed easily and clearly through the Holy Spirit. God is up to something and He’s letting us in on His great plans. Thank you God for taking us through the kairos moments of this year, so we could get to this one.

1. “The member vote is unanimous. Welcome to Crossroads Greeley as our new lead pastor.” (November 13, 2011) God is clear about moving us from one amazing ministry to another. Saying goodbye to 7 years of formative youth ministry has been one of the most painful experiences this year, but being welcomed to lead a growing, vibrant, alive church of faith in Greeley is going to be a fresh expression of God’s kairos moments in our faith history.

If you were to take a snapshot of 2011, looking at your kairos “opportunity” moments… what would you see? Where is God in your moments of crisis, loss, grief, success, failure? Do you see where God may be leading in your life through kairos moments in time as opportunities for growth in your faith with God?

One of my all time fav verses in the book of Acts comes from Apostle Paul’s encounter on Mars Hill in Athens (Acts 17:24-28). Paul says, “Rather, he [God] himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” God created us to be born in these days, at these locations, and times so that we might seek him and reach out for him.

God is not far from any one of us. God has given us “kairos” opportunity moments so that we might ‘notice’ His activity in our lives, and so that we might reach out for Him and find Him. God is not far from any one of us. Are your eyes open? Are you looking for God in your moments? My challenge for you in 2012 is to practice “noticing” God’s activity in your life. Write them down, it’s a great reflection.

Happy New Year.

Published by Reid Olson

I was a pastor who still knows a personal connection with God and I like to share thoughts and insights to make God's Kingdom a little more tangibly, while sharing conversations on leadership insights. Now I'm a funeral director, still seeking to share about Jesus.

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