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Friday, December 30, 2011

An Alternative End Time scenario..Launching NEW Video WayfarersQuest

     Since the beginning of the year, I have been increasingly aware of books, videos, websites, and teachings that opened my eyes to some new possibilities as to how the end of days would actually pan out. Even though it was not in line with what I had been taught in Church for the last 20 + years, I did find that it lined up with more scriptures than the current end time scenario did.  I know that this is a controversial matter.
       There are several  major scenarios as to how the world will end  according to current eschatalogical thought .  After spending the better part of 2011 learning about what I have come to believe is a real possible theory based on scripture;  I have had the opportunity to start teaching it in Church.  Because I am not a theologian, simply someone who wants to know the truth and know that my faith and eschatology are based on scripture and not conjecture, I searched and researched my current way of thinking until I felt that it was just as viable and sound as that which I had been taught for so many years as viable and sound.
    As with any teaching, I challenge you to search, research, and study what it is that YOU believe about how time as we know it comes to a close.  As a Christian, you will have to take a position because Jesus left you no alternative.  I have entitled this whole series, "An Alternative End Times Scenario", simply because it is NOT what you have been taught for the last generation or two.  Yet, I hope that you will at least be stimulated into putting on your thinking caps and maybe rehash and reevaluate what it is that you do believe in this arena?
     Again, when I started on this journey to establish Wayfarers Quest I wanted to not only provide great testimonials about God's grace, love and power in todays' world.  But, I wanted to create an overall site that would be a large repository of tools for Christians to use and to be stimulated to share with others about God's grace, love and power.  If our faith is to mean anything it should be one that helps usher in God's Kingdom on this Earth so that He is glorified.
     This teaching series as others in the Wayfarers Quest video casts will be tools to share as well as stimulate thought and maybe even cause some to awaken from spiritual slumber.  I hope that you will enjoy our efforts, this being our pilot episode.  Current Caliphate NEWS!
    

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

God Cares

     I want to share a story with you that contains both facts and faith.  It involves two separate incidents that occurred almost 30 years apart, yet are tied together with a knot of love and eternal hope.  Life always is good at throwing us curve balls, or even leading us down dead end roads.  But, there are also those times when God's presence shines upon us, and it all seems to make sense.  Even, in it's randomly disjointed patterns.  I think that this maybe one of those stories that let us take a peak at the grand scheme behind the great patchwork quilt of our lives.
     Answering a heavy knock at the door, and opening it only to see two uniformed police officers is not comforting to a little girl.  Then, comes the overhearing of the heart wrenching inevitability voiced through compassionate tones as the officers make their pronouncement.  They tell your mom that your brother has been fatally injured in a car wreck. 
     The world seems to slow and become a hollow place all around you.  The once festive Christmas holiday trappings that decorate your warm home lose their color, joy, and effect.  Life as you know it can change on a dime.
  You walk through the next few days as if on some kind of unreal conveyor belt.  Just going through the motions, while being hit at times by both the sharp pain of a broken heart, and the empty blackness of unending loss.  Christmas itself, is only days away.  The presents under the tree are still there, ready, waiting to disclose his last gifts of familial love and caring.  It will be one of those extremely few days in a life that will have to be  both endured and cherished.
     That year her brother had bought her a soccer ball.  She played with it all of the time.  So much so, that more than likely it became too much for her mom to handle.  Torn between letting her daughter keep this last treasure and her internal nagging fear that she may have an obsessive attachment to the toy.  It wouldn't be long before the ball simply disappeared.  Allowing time to make it more of a memory, instead of a sports item made of rubber, air, and love.
     I must make a point to stop us here.  So that you will know all of the facts before we begin our leap into the unknown.  First, I am not saying that the soccer ball magically disappeared.  It was more than likely human action that caused it to happen.  Secondly, my wife had told me once before about this story from her childhood long ago.  But, it was never something other than a fleeting story that she had shared from her past.
     Now, lets fast forward the timeline to a period about 30 years later, to a time quite unlike that of the one in the beginning of our tale.  It was when our church was immersed in the gentle, loving, moving of God's Holy Spirit presence upon the congregation as a whole.  It was to the uninitiated, a Holy Spirit revival.  A time where it seems that the very essence of Heaven touches Earth.  A period of weeks, and months, where hearts are changed, bodies are healed, and everything just seems to be right with the world.
     The only way to really relate to you what a revival is like is for you to have to experience it.  No amount of verbal articulation can describe what you see, hear, know, and feel.  Whatever your spiritual temperature is, you will be challenged, convicted, and yes maybe even offended.  But, hopefully when the Spirit moves you will have been changed, and the love of Christ will burn within in you more than it ever did before!  It is a spiritual thing, that's all I can say.
     It was during this move of God that I found myself on the floor.  Laid down gently by the overwhelming presence of God that left me too weak to stand.  In the past this has been called being "thunderstruck", but today it would be referred to as being " slain in the Spirit".  Whatever it may be called, it is a time where He seems to speak directly to our hearts with peace, love, power, affirmation, revelation and change.
     Here now is where faith will become your guide.  In this state, I sensed myself surrounded by white.  Bright, warm, comforting white light; yet it also had a sense of softness to it, dare I say fluffiness?  I also saw people motioning towards me.  I did not see detail, by that I mean everything was soft, not focused to crystal clarity.  I wouldn't say that I was, "in Heaven", as much as I was seeing a vision of heavenly things.
     Two of the people who stood together were my grandparents, Nana and Gran.  they were both Christians, so I assumed that they would be there waiting.  They smiled, and radiated warmth. The third person there I had never met.  He was tall, thin, young and standing just ahead of my grandparents.  At the end of his long lanky arms, pressed between his hip and his hand was a soccer ball.  He brought it up in one hand, holding it out to me, and seemed to say, " tell my sister that I am waiting to give her her present".
     Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, this young man was my wife's brother.  Emotion gripped my reposed body.  I found it hard to grasp and accept all that I was seeing, and how I was feeling.  My reaction pulling out of that state was one of profound tearful emotion.  I stumbled out of the sanctuary to find my wife, and somehow share with her this event.
     Moments later, I found her with an associate Pastors' wife.  Through tears, I shared my experience with her.  She knew something had happened to me, but exactly what she couldn't tell.  Yet, she treasured the comfort and reassurance I was able to share with her about her brother.
     Now, you may think that my tale is now all told, but I must share the most important feature, so that you may know the rest of the story.  You see when my wife's brother died in the car wreck it occurred in a secluded mountain canyon.  The officials said that he could have been there for up to 3 days, and was not killed instantly.
     He was by no means a Christian.  He had had a smattering of church upbringing.  He even had a short stint as an altar boy in the Lutheran church.  But, due to his current lifestyle and religious beliefs, it was assumed that he passed away being lost.
     Yet, we did have the knowledge that he had survived the sudden crash.  So there was some period of time, which could have been just enough for God to share Spirit to spirit, and remind him of what Jesus had done for him.  A glimmer of hope, no matter how small it may have been.
     What we do know, and can see, is that his death changed his family for generations after him.  For you see, in the weeks and months after the funeral, and that sad Christmas day; one by one his siblings all came to know Jesus as their saviour.  Whereas before church and faith were simply part of the of their cultural background as it is with most Americans.  Not living and real, just "church". 
     The first, the next eldest child of the family, went from being a drug using, rebellious young man to a sold out radical disciple of Jesus.  Then another brother, and finally my wife herself, all turning to Christ in the hope of salvation and eternal life.  Eventually, even his parents would be baptized for all of the children and grandchildren to watch.
     It wouldn't be long before the eldest was married to a similarly radical Christian girl.  They would in turn raise their family with that new found faith. My wife and I would round up the last tail end of marriages and our children the third generation to be open to the living Christ.
     So as our nephew just recently observed; Could his death have started the chain reaction that panned out over time?   Was there some kind of divine purpose?  Could the tragic loss of one so dear have been the door that gave three generations of family the opportunity to come into the Kingdom of God?  I don't have any of the answers to those questions.  those are for you to wrestle with in your own quiet times.  What I do know though is that God really, really does care for us in ways large and small much more than we think He does.
    

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What have you been waiting for?

     This year I have the opportunity to portray Simeon in our Church's Christmas program.  Now most people would not naturally link Simeon or Anna, both who were prophetic people, with Christmas.  Even though, the fact is that in as far as the Christmas narrative goes, they both appear upon the scene after the actual birth of Jesus.  But then again, if we are looking for biblical accuracy, the Three Kings ( the Magi) didn't show up to the actual event either.  Yet our traditions have them there.  Then there's the little drummer boy, who knows where he came from?  ( though I must admit, "The little drummer boy is MY favorite Christmas show, though I hate it when the lamb gets hurt)       In Luke 2: 25 -38, Mary and Joseph are at the Temple giving the proper offering for a first born child, and dedicating Him to the Lord.  This is only days after the actual birth.  This is where Simeon comes upon the scene.  For most of his adult life, the Holy Spirit has told this man that before he dies, he will get to see the long awaited Messiah ( Christ) . He is now very old, and has waited for all of his life holding this promise in his heart.
     Simeon lived quite some time never having the opportunity to see even a hint of what God had shared with him come to pass or full fruition.  Can you relate to him?  Imagine living 60, 70 years or more,never seeing what you believe will happen because God told you it would happen?  He spoke it to your heart.  Yet, year in and year out, never seeing it come to pass.  That is living by faith and not by sight!
     As I play this individual in a few days, I will have to convey both the longing and the actual fulfillment of seeing prophecy come to pass before your very eyes.  The joy of 60 years of pent up hope released by seeing and holding a baby. The scriptures speaks his words this way,

                                 "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.
                                  according to thy word:
                                 for mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
                                 which thou hast prepared before
                                the face of all people.
                                 a light to lighten the Gentiles
                                and the glory of thy people Israel"

     Simeon's words fill my heart with both joy and sadness.  He was able to endure and apprehend what he had lived his whole life not seeing.  Facing the possibility of ridicule every time he would share his innermost faith with others.  Wrestling with unfulfilled desires as each year passed by with no new hope in sight, while tyranny's oppressive shadow blotted out the sun of a bright future.  Lingering doubt, bearing hard upon the solid rock of an inner knowing; that only a Spirit spoken word can create within your heart.  Imagine, living a long life with these feelings weighing upon your psyche?  That is Simeon.
     Then that day arrives.  The Holy Spirit spoke to his heart , and told him to get down to the Temple that morning.  How many false starts had he had before, when his mind had gotten ahead of his spirit?  But today was not one of those promptings, it was different!  This was the day that he would see, speak to, and handle the promise of all the ages.  Yet, deep down he knew that he would not live to see the Messiah in all of His earthly glory, that that day would come for him in the far distant future.  How would you handle that?
     When I look at Simeon I see all of us.  I am challenged to wonder if I would have lasted as long holding on only to a longheld promise with so little forward momentum to show for it?  Would I have aquiesced, and become absorbed into the futility  and despair of the world around me?  How about you?
     May I suggest that you take the time this year to start a new tradition ?  This year begin to add Simeon and Anna into the calvalcade of characters that you bring into your Christmas traditions.  Two faithful people who came just days after the birth, to bear witness that the babe was the fulfillment of prophecy.  Two people who show us that sometimes the wait is just as much a part of recieving the gift, as the gift itself.