The end of the world as we know it

By now you’ve heard of the guy who’s “proven” that the end of the world is happening tomorrow. I’d link to the website but I really don’t want to glorify them anymore.

Announcements like this awaken the sarcastic and (I think) witty person in me. I want to laugh and chide and share in the general mockery.

I could even use Scripture to mock these people. After all, Jesus clearly said no one would know when the return would happen (Matthew 24:36).

But I can’t. Like the restraining bolt on R2-D2, something is holding me back. Here’s are some thoughts on what that might be.

  • People will be really hurt on Sunday

    When I was in college, some folks went to a church that “knew” Jesus’ return was going to be on a certain date. They earnestly believed it. Their whole faith in Jesus was invested in it.

    And it didn’t happen. I’m not sure these people ever got over it.

    I hate seeing people taken out like this. Jesus gets blamed for someone else’s…what do you call it? A lie? A misguided teaching? A heresy? Whatever it is, good, sincere people get hurt deeply.

  • Crack pot announcements like this discredit the Gospel for years afterward

    As a follower of Jesus, I would that all would encounter Him. As I’ve grown in my faith, I have moved away from the “I have all the answers to the questions you’re not asking.” Instead, I want my life, actions, words, and deeds to be so different that is screams “This guy knows Jesus.” I think it’s St. Francis who’s credited with saying, “Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.”

    We Christians already do enough to give Jesus a bad name. Crazy stuff like this is like proclaiming that bad PR through loudspeakers.

    Sometimes I think it would be better if we were taken out of the way so people could experience Jesus without having to go through us! But for some reason God keeps us here and still chooses to work

  • There really will be an end…at some point

    Hebrew and Christian Scriptures both point to an end. A Day of Reckoning. The end of the world. “That Day.” Jesus even talks about it in the chapter I referred to above, Matthew 24. As a follower of Jesus, I believe this to be true.

    So, in theory, the world could end tomorrow. Or today. Or Monday. There’s just as much chance of it ending before I finish typing this sentence as it ending in another 1000 years.

    Having people publicly proclaim the end, however misguided, reminds me of one of the strong teachings of my faith. And that, like so much in Scripture, makes me a bit uncomfortable.

    It gets me thinking about my life, how I’ve lived it, if I’m doing all I can for God, loving Him with all that I am. Or not. Bracing stuff.

So I do snicker when I see signs like the one above on the streets of Portland. But not whole heartedly.

Perhaps I’ll play R.E.M.’s “It’s the end of the world as we know it” and pray for God to use even this for His glory.

Prepare the field

Preparing the field

I love watching Facing the Giants. Tonight, my son laughed, “We’re not even 35 minutes into it and dad’s already bawling!”

Tonight, the part that really hit me was an exchange between the football coach and Mr. Bridges, a guy that had been praying for the school for years.

Mr. Bridges felt God gave him a word for Coach Taylor. It was a good word.

Then there was this exchange:

Mr. Bridges: 2 farmers who desperately needed rain. And both of them prayed for rain but only one of them went out and prepared his fields to receive it. Which one do you think trusted God to send the rain?

Coach Taylor: Well the one who prepared his fields for it.

Mr. Bridges: Which one are you? God will send the rain when He is ready. It’s your job to prepare your field to receive it.

How about you?

What have you been praying for? For a really long time? Some situation where you really need to see God move in your life?

Are you preparing the field?

Are you living off God’s call on someone else?

Chris Forbes just posted a link to a great blog post: “Bootleg Faith”.

As a pastor, I’ve become highly aware of the tendency of other people to live their faith off of what I say to them. Scary, isn’t it?

Sure, what I say and do should lead people closer to Jesus.

But it’s scary when people forget that the pastor isn’t God. Each of us need to be hearing directly from God. We definitely need to do that in the context of a community of faith with great pastoral leadership. But simply being in a community of faith with great leadership is no substitute for hearing from God.

In the blog post, Ginger (the blogger) compares her using someone else’s WiFi signal to access the web with the way we often slip into “accessing” God. In it, she says:

But when it comes to my hearing directly from God, I admit, I’m guilty of sponging off other’s signals, from pastor to friends, even shaky two bar signals from popular TV evangelists.

Read the whole post. It’s good for your soul.

(Who wouldn’t want to read a blogger that calls Bible reading “the caffeine of Christianity”?!) 🙂