Broken Watch

broken watchMat 24:42 KJV – Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

From my earliest memories I have heard numerous messages that Jesus is coming soon.  The preachers would stress that Christ could return before the service was finished.  There was always such urgency in the preacher’s voice like it might happen that very minute.

Then every New Year’s eve there would be a service that was called “watch night” service”.  The message would be based on the scripture found in 1 Thessalonians.

1Th 5: MSG
2  You know as well as I that the day of the Master’s coming can’t be posted on our calendars. He won’t call ahead and make an appointment any more than a burglar would.
3  About the time everybody’s walking around complacently, congratulating each other—”We’ve sure got it made! Now we can take it easy!”—suddenly everything will fall apart. It’s going to come as suddenly and inescapably as birth pangs to a pregnant woman.

After the message there would be a communion service where everyone would be encouraged to search themselves and take stock of their life.  If there was anything in our heart that stood between Christ and us to get it under the blood of Christ.

Then after the preacher finished he would encourage the congregation to gather around the altar and kneel down in prayer while waiting for the clock to strike 12:01.

After the resurrection on the mount of Olives while Christ was ascending to heaven the angels of heaven gave this message to the disciples and followers of Christ:

Act 1:  (MSG)
11  They said, “You Galileans!—why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly—and mysteriously—as he left.”

Christians have been looking for the blessed appearance every since the angels made that promise.

Every preacher since then has believed it could happen in their life time.  It was always a message of urgency and conviction.

As I stop and listen to many preachers, teachers, etc., I do not sense any urgency in their message.  They are relaxed and complaceny has taken its place.

Church services now are but a place of entertainment.  Auditorium lights are off the platform equipped with strobe lights, loud music, smoke machines.  Music that would be called “rock” if you didn’t have any lyrics.

The message of the Gospel now replaced with a message of steps to feel better or how they can have the wealth of the world in their hands.

Let me remind you what Christ spoke to his disciples:

Mar 11:  MSG
17  And then he taught them, quoting this text: My house was designated a house of prayer for the nations; You’ve turned it into a hangout for thieves.

I find no place in todays church services for prayer or the things of God.

Oh how far society has strayed from the Gospel road.  No power in the message because there is no Gospel in the message.  Todays church has become drunk on the appetite for things of the world.  This drunkeness has driven out the place where faith once dwelled.

Luk 18: KJV
8b  …Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

While I am writing this I can almost hear the critics saying this is judgemental, harsh.  No, it is the sound of a clarion call.  A call to the backslider to come back to the cross of Calvary, be washed in the blood of the lamb.

A trumpet call to the weary, weak, oppressed and those that are bound by sin that there is safety in only one man, the man Christ Jesus!

Oh the clock is almost ready to strike midnight and many do not have their lamps full of oil trimmed and burning.

Like the prodigal son they have sold their inheritance for a bucket of pig slop.  It’s time for those to get up out of the pig pen of the world, return back on the road that leads to home where the father’s arms are outstretched waiting for his lost son to come back to him.

I can hear the gospel song in my mind,

“Come into the ark, the sky grows dark

There’s a storm called God’s great judgement day”

Reader what are you waiting for.

Mamma, dad, don’t quit praying for that child who has wandered far from home.  Believe God to put a hook in their jaw and bring them back to the fold.  We have the promise:

Pro 22:  MSG
6  Point your kids in the right direction— when they’re old they won’t be lost.

Child of God keep that love one before the throne of grace, trust God that He will turn that one around.

Be like the widow who bothered the judge day and night until he grew tired and weary for a change in the sentence.  God is faithful.  It may grow worse before it gets better but do not lose faith, place it in the hands of God.

Maybe, you are blessed and your family is in the ark of safety, then start believing God for your neighbour, neighbourhood, and the very town, city, village you live in.  From there we can see a move of God that will encompass the whole earth before the Lord comes back.


Slow Down, Stop Hurrying!

Isa 40:  (MSG)
31  But those who wait upon GOD get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.

Mar 6: (MSG)
31  Jesus said, “Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.” For there was constant coming and going. They didn’t even have time to eat.
32  So they got in the boat and went off to a remote place by themselves.

Act 1: (MSG)
4  As they met and ate meals together, he told them that they were on no account to leave Jerusalem but “must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from me.

Maybe it’s my age but I have made some observations about the generation living now.  Everyone rushing about, yet, not really going anywhere.  

We have fast food, microwave ovens, and even popcorn you place in that oven that pops within minutes.

The generation of a family all sitting down together for a meal seems like a distant memory.  Every person in the house on a different schedule with the only contact made between each other is passing them in a hallway or the kitchen grabbing a meal bar.

Sometimes while I am shopping I can grow frustrated watching people staring down at the little palm size thing called a “cell phone”.  Not watching where they are going and at times almost run you over getting to the place they are in a hurry to get.

It seems no one has the time to actually get all the facts of an issue before making an informed decision.  They get there information in bits and pieces and most of it from people that always think like they do.  I sometimes wonder and would like to ask some when is the last time you actually took time to read an actual physical hand held book.

I still have a land line phone, yes, no cell phone.  I tell people if you cannot reach me on the phone or by email, it usually means I am not available.  Just recently I saw a report on television how this generation actually takes their cell phone to bed, waking up intermittlingly through the night to check social media websites.

I have a relative who thought when he applied for a job he should start at the top.  I once told that person, ‘if you start at the top you have a long ways down to fall’.

The same is true among evangelicals in North America.  They want their pastors to have them in and out in one hour.  It has been a long time since I have witnessed an actual altar call where the people of God gather around and pray for one another.

Young ministers and pastors think that if they don’t have large congregations at the beginning of their ministry that they are a failure.

I was one of those young ministers and a good friend told me one time ‘slow down, your ministry will wait for you’.

Those who want to be a lawyer, doctor, or other professional life realize that they will have to spend many years in study, then as a law clerk, or an intern in some rural emergency room.

I now have more years behind me than in front of me.  I have learned a valuable lesson that being, you really never know it all.  Somehow, when were young we have the thought that we have the world by the tail, we know everything there is to know about life.  To that I say, poppycock!

I cannot say how many time I have read the Bible, maybe a certain chapter or verse thinking I have gleaned every thing there is from it.  Yet, somehow every time I take the time to wait on the Lord and read that chapter or verse some new nugget of truth seems to leap from the pages.

Your prayer life is the same, it takes waiting.  Sometimes that means no talking on our part, just quiet listening to what God has to say to our heart.

The upper room experience would have never happened if the disciples and followers of Christ would have hurried just to get to the temple market.

Christ spent the whole night in the garden of Gethemane.

Mar 14:32-34 MSG
32  They came to an area called Gethsemane. Jesus told his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”
33  He took Peter, James, and John with him. He plunged into a sinkhole of dreadful agony.
34  He told them, “I feel bad enough right now to die. Stay here and keep vigil with me.”

He returned some time later only to find the disciples asleep and He asked them couldn’t they have not at least prayed for an hour.

At the turn of the twentieth century a simple prayer meeting turned into one of the greatest revivals that America ever experienced.  It was on a street in Los Angeles called, ‘Azuza’.

The great preacher John Wesley had great meetings, but it started with John Wesley waiting before God.  They asked him why he saw the crowds like they saw during his meetings.  His response, 

“I set myself on fire and people come to watch me burn.”

I am not quick at preparing a sermon, nor I am writing on this blog quickly.  I take time and wait until I know I have something that needs to be said, something that is relevant.  I do not write to receive a paycheck.  I am not trying to profit on preaching the Gospel.

I truly want to say if you want to be a firebrand for God, please, it would behoove you to learn to wait on the Lord.  Waiting is a difficult tool to master.  I truly believe it will take a life time.

So, starting today, slow down, get before the Lord, wait until you are endued with power from on high.

The Handshake & The Fist

The Handshake & The Fist

Mar 8:34-38

Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how.
Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self.
What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?
What could you ever trade your soul for?
“If any of you are embarrassed over me and the way I’m leading you when you get around your fickle and unfocused friends, know that you’ll be an even greater embarrassment to the Son of Man when he arrives in all the splendor of God, his Father, with an army of the holy angels.”

During the past several weeks I have had the pleasure of seeing something I have not seen in my lifetime.

On social media I have witnessed many Arabic speaking citizens joining me.  Some who privately acknowledged they like what was being done.

Late me state all who reads, I believe that Christ died for all people, including those in the Arab countries.

Somehow, men have created barriers that separate into ethnic groups, religion, and country of origin.  I call this “the fist”.

Evangelicals in North America have had their part in this.  Instead of conversation they preach of message of condemnation that separates people.

I may not agree with Islam and it’s teaching, I do however believe that Christians need to start a conversation with other faiths.  I call this, “the handshake”.

Several days ago I had an appointment with a doctor who was of the Islamic Faith.  While sitting in his office I noticed a picture, a picture of Mecca.

MeccaWith that picture in mind I asked the doctor if he had been there yet.  You see in the Islamic faith they are taught if possible they need to make the pilgrimage to Mecca called “The Hajj”.  The doctor turned to me and asked how I knew about Mecca.  I responded that  I love learning about all different religions and faiths.

With that questioned I created a “handshake” and for the next following twenty minutes, after he closed the office door, we shared back and forth about our faiths.  During that conversation I learned Islam has a teaching similar to what Christians would call tithing, called “zakat” the third pillar of Islam.  They are taught that charity to the poor is essential.

That handshake was something to behold even for my best friend who was sitting beside me.  I had never seen the doctor with that much enthusiasm.

 Now let speak to the issue of “the fist”. That is what keeps people apart.  We hammer what is unacceptable.  We thunder sermons that they are wrong. With all that we create walls and barriers.  Somehow, we have decided that they are not worthy to hear the Gospel of “whosoever will may come”.

There are two ways to approach a person:

1. A handshake of welcome.

2. A clenched fist.

I choose the handshake.  I truly believe that is what Christ would do if He were to walk the earth today.  I extended a handshake to the little children and then to the woman caught in adultery.  He did not push them away with the fist, but rather, welcomed all with a handshake.

During these several weeks I have had the pleasure of speaking to those in Kenya, India, Russia, and many more.

If Christians are going to win this world they must put down their preconceived ideas of who we should share the Gospel with.

Christians need to open the fist and welcome people with the handshake that opens the door for conversation and witnessing.  Stop trying to clean the fish before you catch them!