SPEED!December 4th, 2013
Twin holiday tragedies this past weekend have preoccupied both the news media and the nation. We’ve all seen the pictures. The Metro-North Railroad train, its locomotive and seven cars upended, splayed and flung beyond the tracks and nearly into the Harlem River. Four dead, 60 injured. Just as tragic was the fiery crash of actor Paul Walker, star of the “Fast and Furious” movie franchise. A security camera captured the Porsche Carrera GT’s explosion after slamming into a tree and concrete pole, killing both the actor and his friend and driver Roger Rodas.
Investigations are ongoing, but preliminary evidence suggests that excessive speed was the cause of both accidents. The Metro-North train was traveling 82 mph in a 30 mph zone around that sharp bend in the Bronx. Whether either accident was the result of human error or mechanical trouble is yet to be determined.
Definition of speeding—the accelerating velocity of an object. Even a society, a culture, a civilization can speed with acceleration toward an unintended end, can’t it? The speed with which poverty is overtaking the human race is breath-taking. The speed that natural disasters now spread carnage across communities and countries is stunning. (BTW, Paul Walker, a practicing Mormon, formed the Reach Out Worldwide relief organization with his friend Roger Rodas to provide aid to global catastrophes—they were returning from a fund-raising event for the Philippines typhoon recovery when both were killed on Sunday.)
Speed. Given the velocity of national and global change—economic and social, technological and ecological—not to mention personal change, consider these two admonitions. First, slow down. Real life is both fast and furious. Which means it takes will power to intentionally slow down your pace. Slow it down at times even to a crawl—locking the door to your room or your office—and crawling into the corner of your chair, your bed, your private space and closing your eyes, catching a nap, or simply savoring the quiet. Fifteen to 20 minutes—that’s all it takes, as research shows, to revive your spirit, energize your mind and boost your productivity. During this frenetic but joyful holiday season, slowing down can be a life-saving strategy.
Second, stay alert. Reports indicate that the train engineer may have fallen asleep at the controls early Sunday morning. Spiritually speaking, falling asleep at the wheel is a disaster. “Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping” (1 Peter 5:8 Message). Naps work in the physical realm, but in the spiritual realm, Peter is clear—you snooze, you lose. The stakes are exponentially higher. So stay alert. Especially in this season of good food, great friends and lots of fun—it’s easy to drop your guard and lose your spiritual edge.
That’s why I recommend for the holidays adding some time to your daily conversation with Christ. Another fifteen minutes beyond your usual—just you and Jesus alone in the Gospels—one story a day to relive with Him (click onto the “New Way to Prayer” banner here at this website). So go ahead—slow your pace, catch your breath, calm your heart. “Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest” (Matthew 11:28 Message). What better Gift this Christmas than Him?
PILGRIMS ALL ARE WENovember 27th, 2013
Nathaniel Philbrick, in Mayflower, his acclaimed history of the Pilgrims, recounts how William Bradford, the intrepid leader of that courageous band of Puritans, years later described “that first morning in America.” Recalling with wonder their landing on the salty, windswept shores of Cape Cod Bay on November 15, 1620, Bradford wrote: “But here I cannot stay and make a pause and stand half amazed at this poor people’s present condition. . . . They had now no friends to welcome them nor inns to entertain or refresh their weather-beaten bodies; no houses or much less towns to repair to, to seek for succor. What could sustain them but the spirit of God and His Grace? May not and ought not the children of these fathers rightly say: ‘Our fathers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness; but they cried unto the Lord, and He heard their voice and looked on their adversity’” (46).
His words are appropriate, not only because we celebrate the nearly four-century tradition of the Pilgrims’ thanksgiving this week. But in Bradford’s description—“they cried unto the Lord, and He heard their voice and looked on their adversity”—perhaps we also hear the faint hint of a day of adversity yet coming upon this land of the Pilgrims. Who wants to be a naysayer on such a blessed and bountiful holiday weekend like this? But the gyrating marketplace, the mad scramble of consumerism, the insufferable political debate over this proud nation’s responsibility to the weakest and poorest (and sickest) among us, the yawning chasm between the haves and the have-nots in America—one perhaps could be excused, even on a holiday weekend, for wondering if this Land of the free has already seen her best days.
Scribbled on the page of Revelation 13 in my Bible are these words written a century ago: “The Lord has done more for the United States than for any other country upon which the sun shines” (Ms 17, 1906). Hardly a prideful claim of superiority or grounds for national arrogance, this quiet observation simply declares a common truth that this country has enjoyed the uncommon blessings of Providence. And in the sunlight, how easy is the spirit of thanksgiving. But should the days turn dark and the supernal blessings wither away, what shall we be grateful for then?
A year after their landing, the Pilgrims gathered for that first thanksgiving—half of their band already buried beneath the Massachusetts sod. Yet they gave thanks to God. And so must we—no matter the uncertain voyage that spreads before us, nationally or personally. The Almighty is still that. And in the darkest storm His mercy will yet triumph. Just look at Calvary. “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 136:1 NKJV).
DOES HEAVEN HAVE A “HUH?”November 21st, 2013
Can you believe it? Earth may boast (according to wiki.answers.com) 23,259,475,120 dialects, but researchers have discovered in a new study that when it comes to confusion, we all speak the same language! No kidding. It turns out that our English word, “Huh?”, is about as universal as it gets.
The so-called “Huh-hunters” (linguistic anthropologists) headed to remote villages on five continents and examined ten very different languages. After weeks of trust-building and observation, these scientists discovered the startlingly similar sounding “Huh?” in all the languages and dialects. In English when we interject the word “Huh?” into our conversations we are inserting a word that “plays a crucial role in conversations, according to Herbert Clark, a Stanford University psychologist who studies languages. When one person misses a bit of information and the line of communication breaks, there needs to be a quick and effective way to fix it, he said” (South Bend Tribune 11-11-13). And so we interrupt with a “Huh?” to ask for clarification or to offer our incredulity, our disbelief.
Guess what—we’re not alone. These researchers found a tonally equivalent and remarkably similar word in all ten languages. “All the words had a single syllable, and they were typically limited to a low-front vowel, something akin to ‘ah’ or ‘eh.’” And “every version of ‘Huh?’ was clearly a word because it passed two key tests . . . : Each ‘Huh?’ had to be learned by speakers and [had to] follow the rules of its language” (ibid.). For example, when we English speakers ask a question, our voices rise at the end of a sentence—and that’s exactly how we speak the word “Huh?” But when Icelanders ask a question, their voices drop at the end—which is precisely how they treat “Ha?” (their equivalent of “Huh?). Confused yet?
As Amina Khan put it in the Los Angeles Times, “Humans speak many languages but we may be united in our confusion” (ibid.). Indeed!
So does Heaven have a “Huh?” Does God ever listen to you or me praying and find Himself having to interject a “Huh?” into our monologue? In this season of thanksgiving and gratitude, I suppose it could be a head-scratcher to be the Creator and Sustainer of the universe—who provides for our deepest needs 24/7—but who listens in on prayers that are utterly unmindful of all His blessings and are totally preoccupied with all my wants. “Huh?”
“The soul may ascend nearer heaven on the wings of praise.” “We should keep in our thoughts every blessing we receive from God, and when we realize His great love, we should be willing to trust everything to the hand that was nailed to the cross for us” (Steps to Christ 104). This Thanksgiving why not take that hand in gratitude and turn our “Huh?” into “Amen.”
THE POWER OF PORTENTNovember 14th, 2013
The scenes have been all too familiar—and tragically so. The photographs could have come out of the monster earthquake tsunami that leveled swaths of the east coast of Japan in 2011. Or the pictures could have been taken in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy that obliterated entire communities on our own eastern seaboard in 2012. But now for the third year in a row another eastern coastline has been reduced to broken match sticks in the furious wake of Typhoon Haiyan. And the death toll is agonizingly too high once again.
Just another random act of Mother Nature out of control? Perhaps. One more nail in the coffin of global warming? I’ll let the scientists argue their points. But I can’t shake the nagging suspicion that, contributory factors aside, we are witnesses to a ratcheting up of (un)natural calamities whose message to the human race is more than simply a scientific one. Millennia ago an ancient prophet observed: “The LORD is slow to anger but great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet” (Nahum 1:6). Nobody, least of all this prophet, is suggesting that all natural calamities are divinely targeted earth events to punish the guilty. By the tens of thousands, it is the innocent who suffer. Nevertheless, we mustn’t miss the prophet’s point—haphazard and seemingly random meteorological events may be divinely permitted portents to warn the human race of impending judgment.
Imagine for a moment an asteroid similar in megatonage to the one that exploded near Chelyabinsk this past February. Only this time what if such an asteroid, undetected and unexpected, would strike a populated center somewhere on this planet? The reaction of this civilization would border on the edge of panic and “revival.” “An act of divine judgment” would be the message trumpeted from a thousand pulpits, mosques, synagogues and temples. The point? Catastrophic (un)natural events instantly, universally suggest divine judgment.
That was the prophet’s point. It was Jesus’ point, too: “‘There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken’” (Luke 21:25-26). Roaring and tossing of the sea? Heavenly bodies shaken? Portents of random obliteration or signs of impending divine judgment—either way Someone will have the rapt attention of the entire human race.
My point is twofold. First, we must not become calloused to these crescendoing natural disasters. Text the American Red Cross for a donation on your phone bill for the Philippine crisis. Go online to ADRA.org and contribute to their Leyte disaster relief. Don’t allow your emotions to be aroused without acting in response. Our GROW Group made a contribution to AFIA, the Filipino American club on campus. Second, wake your heart up! We no longer live in natural cycles on this planet. “More and more, as the days go by, it is becoming apparent that God’s judgments are in the world. In fire and flood and earthquake He is warning the inhabitants of this earth of His near approach” (9T 97). Go deeper in your walk with Jesus—linger longer in His presence each morning. Ask for a new boldness to share the urgently good news about Him and His soon return. Step outside your comfort zone—share your faith with a stranger or a friend. After all, if Heaven is ready to go, shouldn’t we be, too?
WE’RE NOT ALONE!November 7th, 2013
You could certainly draw that conclusion, given the findings released this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Astronomers with data from NASA have for the first time calculated that our Milky Way galaxy “is teeming with billions of planets that are about the size of Earth, [that] orbit stars just like our sun, and exist in the Goldilocks zone—not too hot and not too cold for life” (South Bend Tribune 11-5-13). They have calculated that out of the 200 billion stars in the Milky Way, 40-50 billion of them are like our sun. Of those sun-like stars, scientists estimate there are at least 8.8 billion of them with at least one Earth-size planet in orbit. Thus astronomers conclude there may be up to 11 billion planets able to sustain life like ours in this single galaxy!
“Geoffrey Marcy, a professor of astronomy at Berkeley, extrapolated the findings across the open void of space, adding: ‘With tens of billions of Earth-like planets in each galaxy [i.e., not just in our own galaxy], our entire universe must contain billions of billions of Earth-like planets” (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/11/04/kepler_earth_like_planets_habitable/). Billions of billions?
Please note, however, that while there may indeed by eleven billion other planets able to sustain life in the Milky Way, astronomers are not yet suggesting they have found life on any of these potential cousins of Earth. And yet it would no longer be so farfetched to suggest that we are not alone in our galaxy—there may very well be other intelligent (more intelligent?) life forms out there. In fact the nearest sun-like star with an earth-size planet is only about 12 light years away and can be seen with the naked eye at night—leading one British commentator to quip—they’re probably getting our TV programming from 2001 (perish the thought)!
The ancient book of Job opens with a scene from the divine headquarters of the universe: “Now there was a day when the sons of God [“heavenly beings” NRSV] came to present themselves before the LORD” (Job 1:6). Is it so implausible to find in this ancient line the suggestion that there are other inhabited planets in God’s vast universe, and that here Job describes representatives of these Earth-like planets assembling in the throne room of the Creator? Such a notion is not quite as farfetched as it would have been a few weeks ago, is it? No wonder The Great Controversy observes: “God’s government included not only the inhabitants of heaven, but of all the worlds that He had created” (497).
Thus, if we’re not alone and there are intelligent beings sharing our home galaxy with us, can you imagine the vested interest they have in the cosmic struggle between Light (Christ) and darkness (Satan) for the allegiance of this planet? If only one of the Shepherd’s sheep is lost, imagine the intense concern of the ninety-nine others. No wonder the story of Calvary—the glorious narrative of the Creator Himself incarnating into our human family to rescue Earth from the savage dominion of the fallen rebel Satan—will become “the science and song” of the universe one day when the enemy of all life is eradicated. “Tens of billions” of other planets? Can you imagine the Hallelujah chorus when the Family is reunited at His nail-scarred feet!
IS THIS AN ANSWER TO PRAYER?October 31st, 2013
For ninety days this summer this campus and congregation claimed God’s promise, “I will do a new thing. . . . I will pour water on those who are thirsty and floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring” (Isaiah 43:19/44:3). And then at the end of the summer, we drew a large circle in the sand, stepped into that circle together and declared to God that we would not leave this circle until He fulfills His promise to send rain.
Did He? Has He? I am firmly convicted that in fact He has already begun to answer our collective prayers. How else shall we explain the overwhelming response of this campus and community to the preaching/teaching of David Asscherick last week? Except for NET98, we have never seen the sanctuary so filled every evening of the week. Last Friday night there were so many eager students and seekers in attendance, that not only our sanctuary and balcony were filled, but so was our youth chapel, which then spilled over into our earliteen loft as well. Everybody crowded into this church to listen to a series, “This Is My Church?” A series title that ended with a question mark, but a series on campus that ended the same sentence with an exclamation mark!
“I will do a new thing,” God has promised. And I am convinced that what we experienced on this campus last week was a divine down-payment on that promise. “I will pour My Spirit on those who are thirsty.” And by the hundreds the thirsty showed up each evening. And when it was over, 58 individuals made the decision to follow Jesus in baptism—hundreds of others renewed their commitment to Christ and pledged their lives in covenant relationship with Him for the rest of life’s journey.
But I believe last week was only a down-payment. Which means there is more to come! You and I can be sure of that. More of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, more of decisions for Christ and baptism, more—many, many more—of lives now willing to place their all on the line (or the altar) for the call of Jesus to “go into all the world” on His behalf. Many, I believe, will trace their soon-to-be-made decision to become a Kingdom missionary (in this land or abroad) to their covenant with Christ last week.
Which is why our autumn worship and pulpit series here at Pioneer takes a sudden and unplanned turn today. “Don’t Cry but Do” will connect our worshiping hearts with the passion of the God whose bouquet is now in the center of our table (what’s that “bouquet?”—listen to the recordings of David Asscherick’s presentations that will be made available—details for acquiring those recordings will be announced in our worship bulletin).
And that is why, in the words of Lord Admiral Nelson in the Battle of Trafalgar, “We have only begun to fight!” Meaning, we must not diminish our prayers for the fulfillment of God’s Isaiah promise even for a moment. Rather, we must pray even more now. Now that we have seen that indeed our God is able to mightily answer the prayers of His thirsty children. After all, isn’t it also His promise: “He who has begun a good work in you will bring it to completion by the Day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Then let us pray on!
Q & A WITH GODOctober 23rd, 2013
I’ve been amazed at the quality and depth of the questions that have been texted in each evening for Q & A with David Asscherick this week. True, there were the frivolous and trite ones—“How fast does David run a 5K?” “Can you have a class for your sound effects?” “What is your tattoo of?” etc.
But the vast majority of questions that Pastor Rodlie and I sorted through in real time were earnest, thought-filled and even challenging ones: “Doesn’t this self-disclosure of God and this internal, personal knowledge of God’s reality become a sort of fideism [a school of thought that faith is, in some sense, independent of reason or even adversarial to reason]?” Think that one through. Here’s another: “Dawkins would reply to your question about the plane [the Air France crash at Toronto airport that prompted motorists to stop, race across the field and risk their lives to save the trapped passengers] with an explanation of the herd instinct [a tenet of psychology describing the inborn tendency to associate with others and follow the group’s behavior]. What explanation do we have for the herd instinct?” Hmmmm. “Are those denying God merely denying their false perceptions of Him?” Good question. “I believe all u have said…But I want to [know] isn’t Darwin correct? Isn’t the essence of our existence selfishness? i.e. Born in sin shaped in iniquity?” And one more: “I know that [if] I had the capacity to intervene in the holocaust I would have. What is God’s excuse?”
Q & A with God—do you suppose He minds? Some time ago I came to the conclusion that the highest value in this universe—the highest value God Himself values—is freedom of choice. Higher even than love is the God-given, God-guaranteed capacity for free choice—for there would be, could be no love without the capacity to choose. I.e., love—in order for it be love—must not only give you the right to say YES; it must also give you the right to say NO. You have the freedom to choose. Thus, this capacity of free choice necessitates a universe where reality (and administration) can be questioned, challenged, even argued.
God wasn’t describing philosophical Q & A sessions, to be sure—but Isaiah’s rendition of God’s offer deserves repeating in this context: “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow’” (Isaiah 1:18). “Let us reason together,” or as the NIV renders it, “Let us settle the matter.” But this divine penchant for reason and reasoning? Why would the infinite God be willing to be this vulnerable and open Himself up to questioning by finite minds likes yours and mine?
Because Love’s highest value is free choice, and there can be no free choice if the capacity to question, to challenge is removed. In short, God could not be the God He declares Himself to be—a Being who engages His entire creation through self-sacrificing love—were He to outlaw Q & A in His universe domain.
So the next time a God question wells up inside of you, or a friend vehemently challenges your own faith or belief(s), remember that that very question represents the free choice Christ died to defend and preserve—the freedom to say YES or NO to the Eternal. That so many would choose to say NO is the measure of the value God still places in our Q & A with Him.
“AIN’T GOIN’ TO STUDY WAR NO MORE”October 16th, 2013
How about a break from the inane kabuki theater that Washington politics has turned out to be? Besides, by the time you read this there is hope that some sort of political compromise will have been reached to deal decisively and realistically with the government shut down and debt ceiling limit.
Consider instead this report from the engineering company Boston Dynamics. This is the company that invented the Cheetah, a quadrupedal robot able to run on a treadmill at over 28 mph (faster than Husain Bolt’s top speed of 27.78 mph!). A few days ago they unveiled their new creation, a robotic piece of machinery dubbed the Wildcat. While not as fast the Cheetah, this engineering marvel (watch a video of it in action: http://rt.com/usa/running-war-robot-darpa-754/) is able to rise, turn and run up to 16 mph on flat ground. Charles Osgood, in his syndicated daily radio column, The Osgood Report, explained this week that the new Wildcat advances the possibility of robotic machines fighting this nation’s future wars. What a happy thought! Instead of humans gunning and bombing each other to death, opposing armies could send their robots into action and let the outcome be determined by the best engineers.
Scientists are warning, however, that such potential robot wars introduce the possibility of the computer brain one day outsmarting its human creators and turning on the human race. So much for a cheerful paradigm shift in fighting history.
The only paradigm shift Holy Scripture predicts in the history of war is the eventual eradication of war from both this planet and this universe. After all, heaven itself was plunged into cosmic battle: “And there was war in heaven” (Revelation 12:7). A civil war raging still and still called “the great controversy.” No robots in this internecine fight to the death. Instead the brilliant minds of intelligent life forms that include the once celebrated but now fallen human race. And it is the latter that is this war’s quest—a desperate battle for the loyalty of every earth child. Which is why the Creator and King of the universe Himself has plunged into this deadly conflict between Light and darkness. “For God so loved the [fallen and wounded of this] world that He gave His only Son” (John 3:16).
And the stunning news is that He wins in the end! Not by a hair or through a negotiated truce—the predicted divine outcome to this cosmic rebellion is that God wins—totally, decisively, eternally. And then—and I love this line—“they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4). No more war—not in Washington, not in our souls, not on earth, nowhere in the universe. The old spiritual is right: “Ain’t goin’ to study war no more.”
No more war—the promise of Calvary—to which every battle fatigued heart can surely breath: Hallelujah and Amen.
BLESSED ARE THE SCHOOLMAKERSOctober 9th, 2013
They say the young Pakistani sixteen year old, Malala Yousafzai, has an inside track to the Nobel Peace Prize this year. We’ll know in a few days. If she wins this much heralded prize, she will become the youngest recipient in its illustrious history.
And why not? A year ago today Malala, an outspoken public advocate of the value and importance of education for young women (a notion radically opposed by the Taliban forces operating inside Pakistan), was riding home from school in the back of a small pick-up that doubled as a “school bus” for children in her town. A masked man stopped the truck, while an accomplice singled Malala out and shot her in the head.
She should have and would have died were it not for the quick intervention of Pakistani doctors who performed emergency surgery on Malala. Her condition still grave, the surgeons learned that a British physician, Fiona Reynolds, happened to be in the country that day. As it turns out, Dr. Reynolds is an intensive care specialist with the Birmingham Children’s Hospital—and she recommended that Malala be flown overseas for specialized treatment. The rest is history.
Today, thoroughly healed and adamantly undeterred by Taliban extremism, Malala continues—now with an international platform—to champion the right of girls and young women to full education and schooling, in Pakistan, in every village on earth.
From the beginning of time our Creator Himself has championed the value and right of education for all His Earth children. “‘Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children’” (Deuteronomy 4:10).
And His vision is no small one: “God’s purpose for the children growing up beside our hearths is wider, deeper, higher, than our restricted vision has comprehended. From the humblest lot those whom He has seen faithful have in time past been called to witness for Him in the world’s highest places. And many a [child] of today, growing up as did Daniel in his Judean home, studying God’s word and His works, and learning the lessons of faithful service, will yet stand in legislative assemblies, in halls of justice, or in royal courts, as a witness for the King of kings. . . . Millions upon millions have never so much as heard of God or of His love revealed in Christ. It is their right to receive this knowledge. They have an equal claim with us in the Saviour’s mercy. And it rests with us who have received the knowledge, with our children to whom we may impart it, to answer their cry. To every household and every school, to every parent, teacher, and child upon whom has shone the light of the gospel, comes at this crisis the question put to Esther the queen at that momentous crisis in Israel’s history, ‘Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’ Esther 4:14” (Education 262, 263).
The vision of the divine Teacher to teach the children to reach the world—what could be more radical than that? Malala is on the right path. Shouldn’t those upon whom the light of God has shined so brightly be on that same path, too?
GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN—FOR THE WORLD?October 3rd, 2013
It’s not like we haven’t been here before. Those who can remember back to 1995 recall that the government was shut down in November that year by our perennial two-party squabble. The reason I remember is because I happened to be in Honolulu for a prayer conference, when the morning news announced that the U.S. government had entered a financial stoppage of sorts. But the world didn’t end.
A major difference this time for this nation, and for the world beyond this nation, is that this government shut-down is days away from a major debt-ceiling debate in the same Congress that is now stalemated. If the two parties continue their refusal to compromise and the U.S. debt ceiling is not raised, the Treasury will theoretically be without funds (perhaps by October 17), forcing the U.S. government to begin defaulting on its ever-due debt payments to nations that have purchased portions of our national debt (China, Japan, et al). It all sounds terribly complicated, and the easiest way to deal with it is to simply dismiss it all as the game of political “chicken” or brinkmanship—but the truth is that the global economy is so jittery and unstable now that a major default from the world’s largest economy could eventually result in seismic economic tremors the world over. And what would happen next is the stuff of doomsayers.
The mission of this Fourth Watch blog is to keep a prayerful watch on the unfolding events of this nation and planet. Why? Because the quotation my blogger friend Herb Douglas cites at the end of every blog (“Red Alert”) is strikingly pertinent: “Those who place themselves under God’s control, to be led and guided by Him, will catch the steady trend of events ordained by Him to take place” (Review and Herald 8-5-1902).
Which simply means that for those of us who seek to heed Jesus’ admonition—“When you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near” (Luke 21:31)—keeping a watchful, prayerful eye on local, national and global developments is the better part of prudence. How can an apocalyptic movement like this one afford to do anything else?
But watching and praying are not enough. The compelling national and ecclesiastical needs of Japan (where I just spent two weeks), as well as the “steady trend” of unraveling developments in this nation, are a clarion call for the church to act. How? The political process hardly needs the church to dictate a solution to the government. The towering need of society here and abroad is, as Jesus prayed to the Father on the eve of His own death, “That they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).
For that reason we’ve invited my friend David Asscherick to spend a few days on campus (October 18-26), seeking to connect with those who do not know God. Because if knowing Him is life’s greatest purpose, then helping others come to know Him is life’s greatest mission and greatest joy. So won’t you please help us help Him by extending an invitation to those who need Him now? Too much is at stake.