A Testimony of Transformation
On Sunday, we heard a wonderful Testimony from Bryant and Jane Christanto and their daughter Jojo. I encourage you to watch or listen to this inspiring story of grace, forgiveness and restoration. God can turn the worst mess into a message of His faithfulness, the hardest test into a testimony of His grace and the most challenging trials into triumphs of His love!
23 Sept 2017: The End of The World?
On the 23rd of September, an unusual formation of stars and planets took place. Many felt that this was the sign in the heavens described in Rev 12:1. There were claims that this was the first time this formation has happened since the Garden of Eden and that dramatic events would surely follow. Some prophetic teachers issued dire warnings that earth would collide with a rogue planet, that the rapture would take place, the great tribulation begin or that the second coming of Christ would happen on the 23rd.
Since I am writing this on 27 Sept 2017, the world is quite obviously still here. The return of Christ is still ahead of us and many end times prophetic teachers are now trying to explain why their predictions have not come to pass. Be careful about listening to date setters and their predictions of tribulation and disaster that go beyond what the Word of God teaches. Also, be careful of prophetic teaching that inspires fear rather than faith. History shows many failed predictions of the second coming, the rapture and the identity of the Anti-Christ and other events of the last days. Exaggerated and unfulfilled claims of prophetic disasters create doubt and cynicism not only for sincere believers but also among unbelievers who accuse Christians of being alarmists, escapists and fanatics.
Let me assure you that I do believe we are in the end times that Jesus described in Matthew 24 and other places. I firmly believe that Jesus is coming back to earth, that there will be a period of unusual tribulation and that the events of I Thessalonians 4:16-17 will take place: “16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
The hope of Christ’s return should be comfort-inspiring rather than anxiety-producing. The other result of the “blessed hope” of the second coming is to move us to get the Gospel to people before it’s too late! While I cannot tell when Jesus is coming back, I can say with certainty that every person on earth has a limited number of days to hear and respond to the Gospel. If we believe that the return of Christ is near, then the urgency to get the Gospel to people should move us to take every opportunity to share the message of salvation with others.
Finally, I believe that we should interpret the end times in the light of Israel and God’s promises regarding the land. We are living in the end times and the Jewish calendar, feasts and developing events regarding Israel are some of our best points of reference to interpret the many signs in the heavens and on earth. I did not expect Sept 23rd to be quite as dramatic as some were suggesting but I do believe it is another significant date in God’s timetable.
Many people (Christian and non-Christian) are sensing the uncertainty of the times we are in. Thank God for the assurance and stability that we have in Christ. There will be many opportunities to explain the hope that is in us as things unfold. Keep setting your compass to true north and keeping your eyes on Jesus. He will be back and you can be ready and standing strong when He arrives!