Written Spring 2003
I began writing this Journal in Sofia, Bulgaria. A pastor and I were teaching at the Extension Bible School there. Pastors, leaders, and students from all over the country came for intensive Bible training. I continued to write this journal at the Munich airport as I was heading home. The TV monitors were continually airing reports from CNN on the chance of a global disaster. The staggering acceleration of unfolding events daily reminds us "...this world is not my home..."
The intense globalization we are experiencing and the worldwide desire for peace and security cannot go unnoticed. The widening influence of a World Court, the desire for a world economy, and the unification of a world political system all point to a New World Order. More and more, the European Union is gaining economic power and political dominance, and a military ascendance with its own RDF (Rapid Defense Force). We are moving swiftly toward the Biblical scenario as found in the books of Daniel and Revelation, and the reviving of the old Roman Empire! We need to ask ourselves the question: What is our response to the obvious movement toward a cataclysmic, divine intervention?
Matthew, Mark, and Luke give us some broad prophetic strokes of end-time events. All three Gospel records give us our marching orders. The message is clear: take heed (be on guard), watch (give strict attention to, be alert, be active, be cautious), be ready, and work (the faithful servant is serving the Lord). The Scripture never intimates going up to a mountain to retreat and passively wait. All four Gospel records and the Book of Acts give us the vision and passion of God. He sends His Church to the world to be His witnesses (martyrs), empowered by the Spirit. What is our response to the events ... especially to the climactic event of all history--the Return of Christ?
The Bible says that we are to be filled with hope. We are to "comfort" one another with the "Rapture" of the Church.1 We are to be looking for Him with earnest expectation. As the world becomes less and less attractive, the Bride of Christ is filled with an anticipation to be united with the Bridegroom.2 They were all "virgins," but only five had oil. All were invited to the wedding feast, but one did not have his "wedding garment".3 He is coming to "those who are looking for Him ... who with eagerness wait with patience" for His return.4
To have this Hope is to separate ourselves from anything that detracts or defiles the body, mind, or spirit. The "world" is first within us.5 The Parable says, "the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust for other things" choke out the Word.6
In Luke 19:13, the word used in the Parable of the Pounds is "trade"--to buy and sell until the Nobleman returns. The word is pregnant with meaning--no laziness or slaking off with the gifts ... no burying them with fear, hurts, disappointments, age, neglect, or a misunderstanding of the Nobleman. We are to use whatever God has given us to its fullest potential--be a "good and faithful steward." We may not have the gift of leadership or a title as in Ephesians 4, but we can all be "good and faithful stewards"! We will be rewarded accordingly. We are to abide in Him that we be not ashamed at His coming.7
As the message is clear, so is the mission. Acts 1:8 is God's clear mandate to the Church to wait UNTIL ... "But you shall (not if) receive power from on high ... and you shall (not should or may) be My witnesses." In Acts 1:6, the disciples were concerned about the Kingdom to come. Jesus was concerned about the world for which He came to die! Jesus, in the Great Commission, states "... as you are going ... disciple the nations ..."8 We are told by Christ, "... as the Father has sent Me, even so send I you"!9
We occupy UNTIL! We work UNTIL! We proclaim UNTIL! We speed His return while we wait.10 Christ, our Hope, will never disappoint us.11 Why does the Lord wait so long? The Lord waits with longsuffering, not willing that any should perish.12 When the Lord completes His Bride, then the Lord will return as the conquering Lamb and prepare for the wedding! Glad reunion! Heaven shouts with glad "Alleluias." Then "the kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdom of our Lord and Christ"!13 Worship is the culmination of all mission endeavors!14
1 I Thessalonians 4:15-18
2 Titus 2:13
3 Matthew 22:11
4 Hebrews 9:28
5 I John 3:1-3; 2:15-17
6 Mark 4:19
7 I John 2:
8 Matthew 28:19
9 John 20:21
10 II Peter 3:12
11 Romans 5:5
12 II Peter 3:9
13 Revelation 11:15
14 Revelation 4-5