Friday, May 20, 2011

End of the World

In spite of Jesus' own words, "no one knows about that day or hour..."(Matt 24:36) 89-year-old televangelist Harold Camping has figured out that May 21,2011 is THE day the world will end. Actually, according to Camping, following what is referred to by many Christians as the "rapture," i.e. believers suddenly disappearing:

That will be followed by five months of fire, brimstone and plagues, with millions of people dying each day and corpses piling in the streets. Finally, on Oct. 21, the world ends exactly as the Book of Revelation says it will — with a bottomless pit, a lake of fire and, at last, a new heaven and new earth.

This view (in a nutshell) is commonly known as a Pre-Millennial view of the "end times" spoken of in the Book of Revelation. Basically, the Christians disappear, there is world-wide famine, wars, etc. and a new world leader known as "the Beast" who requires everyone to take a mark--the number 666-- on their forehead and hands in order to buy or sell goods. After seven years--during which time the Jewish temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem, Jesus Christ returns, the world-leader is deposed, Satan is defeated and God creates a new heaven and earth.

I tend to lean toward what is know as an Amillennial view: one day Jesus simply returns. Christians go to heaven; non-believers don't. No "beast." No rapture followed by pestilence, no 666, etc.

Regardless of what you believe, or don't believe, about the Book of Revelation, Jesus is coming back. I believe that with all my heart. The how and when, could and has been argued from multiple angles, but it doesn't change the end result. Frankly, I don't think Camping has guessed anything. What I do believe is that life on this earth could end for me--for any of us--at any given moment, whether it's "the Rapture" or an accident or my earthly body simply breaking down.

I have a friend that got up one morning, ate breakfast with his family and went to work. The rest of the family went to work and school, just like they had every day before. By noon that day, his entire life was turned upside down. One of his family members was involved in a horrible accident which left them with an irreversible condition for the rest of their life. As I sat with him in the emergency room that evening, he said: "Life can change so fast. I never imagined I'd be sitting HERE when I left for work this morning."

He's right. There are no guarantees in this life. Tomorrow may be our last day on earth (whether Camping says so or not). Tomorrow may be the day life deals us an unexpected blow. That doesn't mean we live with a "doomsday" attitude, though. In fact, it should spur us to live each day as it it were our last, making the most of every opportunity.

So today, say "I'm sorry." Say "I love you." Hug. Laugh. Enjoy. Thank God for the gift of another day. Consider where you will spend eternity. Tell someone about Jesus. Pray. Read God's promises. Keep the faith. Call an old friend. Revel in the fact that God is a God of grace who saves those who put their faith in Jesus Christ.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I'll just warn you from the beginning: I'm probably going to tick a few people off with this post.

I recently saw a news story where a mother had gone back to school and earned her Bachelor's degree. She was obviously excited about that achievement in her life, and rightly so. However, her celebration was short lived when she learned her graduation ceremony fell on the same day as her son's. She was now faced with a decision: attend her own graduation and miss her son's or miss her own graduation and be there to see her only son cross the stage to receive his diploma. She made the decision to attend her son's graduation...his KINDERGARTEN GRADUATION where they both were their cap and gowns!!!

I have two sons, one in college--the other headed there this Fall. I am very proud of them. They are both very intelligent; both scored low 30s on their High School ACTs and both had 3.5+ GPAs. The youngest will be attending college on a full-ride, academic scholarship. But, one thing they never did was "graduate" from kindergarten.

I'm sorry, but I think Kindergarten Graduation is just silly. And it doesn't stop there--there's Sixth Grade Graduation, the Sixth Grade Spring Dance (Prom), the Eighth Grade Spring Dance (Prom), the Junior/Senior Prom, and finally High School Graduation. Seriously, by the time a kid actually graduates from High School, it's become old hat. None of the things we used to look forward to as kids (I'm talking back in the 70s) are any big deal today. Nothing special.

What is it with us as a society? Why can't we wait to experience certain special events? "It's cute! They look like the big kids," some will say. Buffalo bagels, I say! Most of them won't even remember it.

Kids grow up fast enough as it is. And, frankly, they don't need to "graduate" from every stinkin' grade they pass. What's wrong with having just one or two special formal/type events IN YOUR ENTIRE schooling, i.e grades K-12? What in the world is there to look forward to if it's a yearly event?

I was talking with an individual the other who volunteered at a clinic some time ago. She said they actually had an ELEVEN-YEAR-OLD come in for a pregnancy test...and she was!!!
(It wasn't a case of rape or incest, either) Let that harsh reality sink in for a moment.

We push our children to grow up too fast. Consequently, they sometimes do "grown-up things" (like get pregnant at 11) and then we're all upset, wringing our hands, hollering "how did this happen?!" I'm not saying that every kid that goes through Kindergarten Graduation is going to get pregnant, but you know what, maybe if we just let kids be kids and quit dressing our grade-school daughters like two-dollar hookers, maybe...just maybe, we'd be dealing with fewer situations like the 11-year-old Mommies.