I feel an URGENCY to write these words to you.
Around 4 years ago, I sent a message to family and friends and contacts, as I began feeling then that things in America and in the world were about to CHANGE. Perhaps even big changes coming in ECONOMICS, WAR and maybe even GOVERNMENT SYSTEMS. Greater PERSECUTION and NEED in America and around the world in a more widespread way. I feel that urgency just as strong now if not more.
I’M NOT A DOOMSDAY GUY. I don’t like to be negative. I PREFER INSPIRATION….AS CHRISTIANS, OUR MESSAGE IS GOOD NEWS. But we stand on and proclaim Good News in the context of the realities around us, not with our proverbial heads in the sand.
At that point 4 years ago, after thinking and praying about how to deal with what I was feeling, I began to HEAR things like this:
Respected pastor and author Chuck Swindoll had warned his congregation from the pulpit that SOMETHING IS COMING. They were stopping new building projects and focusing on preparing themselves to be a place people can come to for help.
Then, at a leadership conference I attended, Jack Hayford, respected pastor, author and leader got up after praise and worship and said this essentially, “Hold these songs in your heart because a TIME IS COMING when we will need them. Things are going to change with governments, economics, convenience with media and other things, and there will be great need. There is no need to fear, and it’s not for us to know the times, but THE CHURCH MUST GET READY FOR IT.”
Now…four years later, and the realities are even more grave.
FRANKLIN GRAHAM, Billy Graham’s son, warned yesterday that “A STORM IS COMING TO THE WEST,” referencing ISIS and Islamic terrorism. (2/16/15)
John Paul Jackson, respected church leader, has warned of the “PERFECT STORM” COMING that will affect many aspects of society.
I’ve heard MANY similar statements that I could list from many respected people in both secular realms and in the Church world.
With these and many other confirmations of what I have felt strongly in my heart, I felt a need to share again what I was thinking with people I am connected to.
I BELIEVE A “STORM” MAY VERY WELL BE COMING: ISIS AND TERRORISM MIXED WITH RUSSIA’S INTENT ON EXPANSION. GROWING ANTI-SEMITISM, CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION IN THE WORLD AND APOSTASY IN THE CHURCH. DISEASE, NATURAL DISASTERS AND ECONOMIC TROUBLE, IF NOT COLLAPSE….IN THE COMING YEARS, IF NOT THIS VERY YEAR, I THINK THESE THINGS, AND MAYBE OTHERS, WILL CAUSE US TO SEE INCREASED TROUBLE AND PERSECUTION.
Again, I don’t like sending this and I risk some things by sending it, but there is MUCH Biblical precedent for NAMING AND FACING the reality among us, for looking evil and hard times in the face and preparing: Joseph, Elijah and Elisha, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Jesus and the Early Church did, to name a few. I’m convinced we need to prepare. In naming these things and while preparing, our message and our refuge is Wonderful News.
I would love to hear your thoughts. My thoughts about the Church’s response have centered around longing for the Church to be prepared and aware, if, as I believe, the Holy Spirit is communicating things like this to His Church. But I also feel passionately that the Church must LEAD, not just react, through whatever the present or the future hold. And leaders have to look on the horizon. Great courage will be required of us, keeping the Gospel central, returning to the book of Acts, a Church unified and holy, sacrificially loving and prayerful, bold and humble.
Regarding preparation these thoughts are based on what I said 4 years ago, with a couple of additions. I’ve said many of these things the last 4 or 5 years on the TV show that EG produced, the radio spots, speaking in churches, the internet and individual conversations. But I feel I have to keep saying them. My conscience won’t let me not say them.
Here are my thoughts on preparation, rooted in the Gospel and the book of Acts 2 and 4 in its descriptions of the Church. I believe God will use the times that are coming, and us if we allow Him to, to be part of one of the great revivals the world has ever seen.
1. THE GOSPEL – “REMEMBER JESUS CHRIST” – The Acts Church broke bread continually. This was not just about fellowship. This was Communion and keeping the Gospel continually in front of them and central to their everyday lives. (2 Timothy 2:8, Acts 2 and 4) It was about remembering Christ and Who God forever is in the midst of the temporal things around them.
2. REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE – I believe in the days to come, it will be paramount to remember who we are as a nation, our true history and heritage. It will be important to remember who we are as individuals in Christ, including knowing our own calling and purpose in Him. Finally and most important, it will be paramount to remember who we are as the children of God…our rest, and protection in Him, our place, our authority and our future as His children.
3. CONNECT with one another regularly. Real, sharing and open relationships and community will be crucial. The Acts Church met together daily. In the Lord’s economy, 1 can put a thousand to flight. 2 can put ten thousand to flight. This will be a crucial concept in the days to come. (Deuteronomy 32:29-31; Acts 2 and 4)
4. UNITY will be important. Putting aside such minor issues, forgiving quickly and working and living together in unity as His Body. (John 17, Psalm 133, Acts 2 and 4 “they were of one mind”)
5. PRAY for wisdom and boldness, for the miracles of God to be displayed in the midst of it so that people may know Him. Pray as you’re led. Pray that the Lord of the harvest would send out harvest workers. The Acts Church prayed continually. (Acts 2 and 4)
6. LOVE SACRIFICIALLY in a time when there would seem to be every reason to hate or to withhold generosity. The Acts Church gave so sacrificially that no one among them was in need. (Acts 2 and 4)
7. SPEAK THE TRUTH BOLDLY – The early Church prayed for boldness. Then, they boldly proclaimed the truth. Boldly stand and proclaim the Gospel and the truth of God’s Word and the truth of the realities in the world with love in a time when “justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter.”(Isaiah 59:14) (Jeremiah, Acts 2 and 4).
8. DEAL WITH IT – Repentance is a gift. If there is sin or unforgiveness in our lives, let’s deal with it and watch God heal and restore and revive. (Acts 3:19, Acts 2 and 4)
9. PREPARE PRACTICALLY – Getting out of debt and avoiding debt. Emergency food storage. Not just for our family, but as a Church, so that we can give and help if need be. Water filtration. Generators/Solar powered generator. Just ideas. Joseph prepared Egypt when times were good for the famine to come. (Genesis 37-50)
I hope I’m wrong, Even if I’m not wrong, I don’t know the times and I don’t know the scope. But Encounter Generation will be thinking and talking through how we can prepare to be a strength to people if things do get hard.
I think things are changing…and it probably won’t just be “over there somewhere,” like Vietnam or the Gulf Wars. THIS IS NOT A TIME FOR FEAR, BUT FOR COURAGE, FOR PREPARATION AND FOR RESTING IN WHO HE IS AND WHO HE WANTS TO BE IN AND THROUGH US BOTH NOW AND IF HARD TIMES COME. In Christ, we will walk through triumphantly and He will show Himself the great victorious Hero that He is and has already shown Himself to be as our eternal King and Savior. We have the privilege to carry His Kingdom in the midst of kingdoms of this world. As Christians, we share in and carry a Kingdom that is unshakable in the midst of kingdoms that will be shaken. What a privilege.
Know that I am human. I only ask that you consider these things prayerfully, as I did 4 or 5 years ago when I sent a similar message.
To Him be glory through all of it, the good times…and if need be, even in our suffering.
Would love to hear your thoughts. What do you think?