There are positive things that come from movies and books about the end times. Although
there are misunderstandings of the end of time in many of these works of fiction, there are some Biblical teachings present that we can learn from.
- Belief in God. These stories compel you to believe in God. There is a direct appeal for people to have a dependent faith in God. As Christians we have the responsibility to develop personal faith in God and to challenge our society with God (Matt 28:18-20).
- Bible Knowledge. Stories like Left Behind insist that everything we need to know is in God’s word. Although God has not told us all we want to know, His Word tells us everything we need to know to serve Him faithfully. Of course with any presentation about God’s Word, we need to compare what is taught with the scriptures (Acts 17:11).
- Repentance. A story line about the end of time will call for repentance of those who do not have active faith. In contrast to Left Behind, there will not be time after Christ’s return to repent. The time to change is now this side of eternity (Heb 3:7-13).
- Prayer. These stories promote belief in prayer and dependence on God. We need constant reminders of our constant need to be in contact with out heavenly Father.
- The End of Time. The overall message of the Left Behind series compels the audience to consider the end of time. Although the events that happen in Left Behind are not consistent with what Scripture teaches, there is a message to consider the Lord’s return. There is a heaven and hell, we need to consider the reality of the end and ask ourselves, “Am I ready for Jesus to come again?”
There is a great day coming! Are you ready for that day to come?
About 4 years ago I heard Vance Hutton share a message entitled “Things to Remember.” I wrote his list in the back leaf of my Bible and every once in a while I look back at it. I looked at the list this morning and decided I would share it with you because, well it is worth sharing.
- You have a God to glorify.
- You have a Savior to imitate.
- You have a Soul to protect (save).
- You have a Body to “put to death.”
- You have Virtue to acquire.
- You have Heaven to seek.
- You have Eternity on which to meditate.
- You have Temptation to resist.
- You have the World to guard against.
- Perhaps today you have to Death to meet or perhaps the Lord will return today.
Get to thinking!
I remember it like it was 30 years ago . . . well it was 30 years ago. I was in high school and a classmate brought me a cassette to listen to in the car. It was a copy of a comedic routine with a religious focus. I want to remember that it was the first time I heard Mark Lowry, but it may not have been him. The comedian spun a tale of the influence his godly grandmother had on him, including hitting him over the head with a “90lbs Bible.” Then he turned serious for a moment. He confessed that he did not read the Bible as a young person because all he knew about the Bible was that it was a “bunch of don’ts” and he did not want to be told what not to do. He like most of us did not want anyone, even God, to squelch his good times. Then one day he decided to read the Bible for himself and he said he found out that the “Bible is a bunch of “do’s” and when you do the “do’s” you don’t have time to do the “don’ts.” That rang a chord with me. That made complete sense, why in my 17 years of life had I not figured that out. Now 30 years later, I want you to understand that simple truth. Jesus said the same thing using these words, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven,” (Mat 7:21).
While thinking about that comedy routine as I drove to the study this morning I thought I would share a list of things you and I can do each day to help us keep from doing the don’ts.
- Encapsulate your day with prayer. Begin a prayer when your feet hit the floor and you are still sitting on the bed. Close that prayer when you sit back on the bed at the end of the day. In other words, keep an open line of communication with God all day long. “Pray without ceasing” during the day.
- Engage your mind with the word of God. Spend 10-15 minutes reading or listening to God’s. Bible Apps like YouVersion will read to you. Reflect on that reading. Think about why it was written, what the author intended, what the first audience needed to learn, and what you need to learn from the text.
- Encourage others in their walk with God. Do this everyday as long it is called today (Heb 3:13).
- Enjoy life in Christ. Live in the joy of your freedom from slavery to sin. Live in the joy of forgiveness and Grace. Let me say it again, rejoice! (Phi 4:4).
- Evangelize, that is to say share the good news of salvation in Christ that is available to all. Tell others how great it is to live in service to God. Tell them how God blesses your life. Let them see Christ in your daily life.
If you are like me and everyone I know, you find yourself adopting some bad habits. You struggle to do what you know is right and find yourself doing things that waste your time while keeping you from investing in the work of God. Paul, that renowned apostle, understands your struggle. Notice his words, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Rom 7:15).
I have some advice for you. Those thing you know are wrong, those excuses you make for not doing what is right. STOP IT! Quit now! For example:
- Stop blaming others for your decision not to be a Christian.
- Stop using the hypocrisy of others as an excuse for your lack of commitment.
- Stop listening to Satan’s lies.
- Stop refusing to live in God’s Grace.
- Stop putting your wants (yourself) above God.
- Stop focusing on the world and start focusing on God.
As motivation consider the advice of Bob Newhart in this “therapy” skit.
Worship this past Sunday Morning at Central
This past Sunday we looked at the concept of becoming a contagious church. We want to:
- Connect People with Jesus and His Word.
- Have a Contagious Positive Attitude
- Be United as a Church Family
- Show Compassion – Care
- Work Together for God’s Glory not Our Own.
- Contagious churches are Churches that Sing Praise
- Contagious churches are Churches that Provide Physical and Spiritual Care
- Contagious churches are Churches that Pray
- Contagious churches Reconcile People to God through Christ
But there is more. In our LIFE Group we were discussing these lessons and someone brought up how we can become contagious. They pointed out that as Christians we have God in our lives, that Christ is in us, and we live according to the Spirit that dwells in us. This spurred some thoughts.
Consider these very attractive, well CONTAGIOUS qualities:
In Galatians 5:22-25, Paul calls these the fruits of the Spirit in our lives.
R U Contagious?
Why do bad things happen to good people? This may be the most commonly asked question about God. One which some refer to as the “Achilles Heel” of Christianity. Why does a loving, all-powerful God allow suffering in His world?
First this is not the bell toll of death for Christianity that some make it out to be.
Here are my answers:
- We are mortal and live in a diseased and death environment. Mat 5:45b “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
- We are foolish and make poor decisions. Jam 4:1, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?”
- We are connected to and injured by others. Mat 2:16, “Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.”
- We are vulnerable and suffer from man’s inhumanity to man. Gens 4:8b, ” . . . Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.”
- We are righteous and darkness hates light. 2Ti 3:12, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
When God’s children suffer, we can trust that God will always do what is right (Gen 18:25). We can know that God will always work things out for the best, not always immediately, not on our time table, but in His infinite wisdom. Remember to “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Pro 3:5).
Why Does the Church Meet?
Many NT passages refer to churches assembling together for regular worship. The word translated church (Ekklesia) means called-out or assembled. Just by definition I cannot be a part of a called-out, an assembly if I am not there. But why is assembling important? Why do I need to attend assemblies?
- We Assemble to Worship God (Joh 4:23-24). When we understand that we are “saved by Grace” we desire to praise the God Who Saves (Rom 15:9-11). Our mentality changes from “Do I have to come every time?” to “I GET to come worship.”
- We Assemble to Receive and Give Instruction. A chiald of God will hunger and thirst for righteousness (Mat 5:6). She will want to edify, encourage, and build up others (1Th 5:11). When church leaders set times for us to assemble for these purposes, we should participate.
- We Assemble to Set a Good Example. Whether we are older Christians or younger ones (1Ti 4:12; Mat 5:16) we set an example to others. Consider this thought, “If others followed the example I set by my assembly habits, would they learn enough and receive enough encouragement toward eternal life?”
- We Assemble to Follow the Faithful. Paul says to imitate his life in Christ (1Co 11:1). Can you imagine Paul failing to assemble with the church? What would we think of elders or the preacher if they neglected attending? Would Jesus neglect an opportunity to study with others or to worship the Father?
- We Assemble Because of God’s Place in Our Lives. We Belong to God not self (1Co 6:19-20). Christ does not want first place, He is our life when we are His (Col 3:4). Am I willing to rearrange my schedule for the One who saves me, the One who gave six hours on the cross deserves more than just a few hours of my time?
- We Assemble to Prepare for Heaven (Rev 5:11-14). The one thing on earth that will be in heaven is our public worship. It willl be perfected in heaven. But if I do not want to worship now, why would I expect to enjoy heaven?