A persistent question that people ask me is, "Do you think we are living in the end times?" To which I say, yes. I believe the end times began when Christ ascended into heaven. Many of the New Testament writers felt they were living in the end times. Paul certainly thought Christ would return at any moment. In every age Christians have believed that the return of Christ would be in their lifetimes. Yet the Lord tarries.
The follow-up question is usually, "But...with everything going on in the world right now, all of the signs of the fulfillment of prophecy, don't you think Jesus will come soon?" And my answer is, no, or at least, I don't know. I long for the coming of Jesus and hope for it each day. But scripture tells us we cannot know the time of Christ's return. It will, in fact, come on us unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. We are told to long for it, and watch for it. I do those things everyday.
While Bigfoot searchers were disappointed by the gorilla suit fiasco this past summer and are hiding somewhere licking their wounds, it seems our Japanese friends have made progress in proving the existence of Bigfoot's Asian cousin, the Yeti.
By saying that if I know God, then all the news is good does not deny the existence of my pain, suffering, loneliness, fears, and so forth. I am not viewing the world and my experiences through the lenses of foolish rose-colored glasses that deny the reality of pain and suffering in the world. Nor am I some wide-eyed optimist quoting appropriate scripture inappropriately at inopportune times ("Well you know, God works all things to the good of those who love him!").
By saying that when I know the Lord and walk in His ways then the news is always good, I am saying that my experience with God is better by far than all the pain I have had to endure and all the good things I think I have missed out on in life. I have God, and that is more than enough.
To say that means I am standing on something deeper and more solid than the experiences of this life alone. I am taking hold of a timeless truth and allowing it to shape the way I view this world and all that happens to me. God …
Here's something the Lord is teaching me right now...when I walk with God, the news is always good. Either God is at work in my long term best interests, bringing about what is right and good, or He isn't. Either I let Him have His way with me, or I try to bring about what is best for me and my family on my own. Some of us have the tendency to focus on what we have lost, how we have failed. We ponder and meditate on our regrets, our wounds, and our questions. We can be haunted by what might have been instead of celebrating what is. In scripture, those who really knew God never mourn what they have missed, instead they celebrated all they had gained. Does your knowledge of God - of His grace, His mercy, His love, His goodness - outweigh all the pain and hard times you have had to endure? If we are not able to say that, can we truly say that we have known God?
We are back in north Texas now and will be in Rockport Friday night. We have had a relaxing time away in some beautiful country. We stayed at The Inn of the Mountain Gods just south of Ruidoso, NM. It was a nice place, but the scenery was gorgeous. Every afternoon while Michael slept I sat on the balcony and read and spent some time alone with the Lord. Here are some pictures I took with my cell phone showing the view from our balcony. The mountain in distance is, of course, Sierra Blanca, and they got the season's first snow the night before. It melted by the next day, but still.
One day we drove up into the mountains and hiked to the peak of one where there is an observation tower. Here's a picture of Michael and Kim hiking. The sun was out when we reached the summit, but then a cloud came up behind us and completely covered us. I have never had that happen before. Here are some pictures I took of the cloud coming around us.
These pictures don't do it justice. Oh well. It w…
Here are some pictures from our trip to the State Fair of Texas. These sculptures were done in sand. The King Tut exhibit just opened in Dallas, so everything around here has an Egyptian theme.The following pictures are of the sculpture done in butter. Very impressive, and cold!
And of course, here's Big Tex..
And here are some pics of Kim, my brother and me eating Chicken Fried Bacon. And yes, it was good.
OK, so I confess that since Hurricane Ike I have had little time to update my blog. But I haven't been goofing off either. Let's sum up things going on...
Here is a snapshot of life at FBCRockport: The Winter Texans are making their way back into town these days and it is good to see so many familiar faces. Welcome back everybody!We have started two new adult Sunday School classes this year, and both are doing well.We have baptized 25 people so far in 2008. I baptized 15 of those, and more than half of the folks I baptized have been adults. The ones I didn't baptize were mostly students baptized by Ray.There are SEVERAL adult Bible Studies offered throughout the week. I am especially excited about the one for men on Thursday nights called "Wild at Heart."AWANA has started off well, averaging just over 60 children at the start. We have folks driving the church van to pick up children who otherwise wouldn't be able to come. We need as many adults as we can get to…