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The Future – Brighter Then We Thought

The Future – Brighter Then We Thought

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Once upon a time I was listening to a teaching tape by Loren Cunningham. I think it was called “Let’s Turn the World Around.” I remember him sharing about how he didn’t believe everything he’d heard about the “End Times.” I remember him saying something really close to “the anti-Christ can hold his international convention in a phone booth if we work hard enough.”

I don’t know if that was the first time I doubted the negative, apocalyptic vision of the end of the world I’d heard of my whole life, or if it was something else that started me thinking.

I spent years after that around people who spent their energy on preaching the gospel and planning to influence every area of society for God.

One day I was walking by an announcement cork board at a mission center on the West Coast. A piece of paper hanging by a pin caught my eye.

The letter told a story about how supposedly, years before, some important people in Hollywood sent out a letter to churches and denominations around the country. The letter called for pastors and spiritual leaders to move to Hollywood in order to influence the growing movie producing industry. The letter alleged that Christian leaders merely scoffed at the letter and wanted nothing to do with the great evil of producing wicked films.

So what happens when Christians don’t stand in the gap? What happens when Christians say that everything in this world is just going to burn when Jesus comes back anyway, and then neglect the institutions and influence centers of this world?

Someone will occupy that territory! If not the Lovers of Jesus than who? Well… Those who don’t know Jesus will!

I recently heard a message in a church about how the antichrist is ready to take over and the one-world-government is almost here. Once again I was assured that now is the end of the world! One father asked with anguish “what about my children and their future?”

What about his children? What about their future? What will his children do if they are taught that it is most certainly the end of the world?

What they won’t do is try to make a difference in the world, except for trying to “get people saved.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer lived in a time that looked like the end of the world. A madman was running his country and trying to take over the world. This madman was slaughtering Jews by the millions. The world was in a state of war and chaos. Bonhoeffer himself ended up dying in prison shortly before the end of the war.

Yet Bonhoeffer saw an optimistic future for mankind, both eternally and on earth now. He wrote in a letter to his “family and co-conspirators” the following words:

It is wiser to be pessimistic; it is a way of avoiding disappointment and ridicule, and so wise people condemn optimism. The essence of optimism is not its views of the present, but the fact that is is the inspiration of life and hope when others give in; it enables persons to hold their heads high when everything seems to be going wrong; it gives them strength to sustain reverses and yet claim the future for themselves instead of abandoning it to their opponents. It is true that there is a silly, cowardly kind of optimism, which we must condemn. But the optimism that is willing for the future should never be despised, even if it is proved wrong a hundred times; it is health and vitality, and the sick person has no business to impugn it. There are people who regard it as frivolous, and some Christians think it impious for anyone to hope and prepare for a better earthly future. They think that the meaning of present events is chaos, disorder and catastrophe; and in resignation or pious escapism they surrender all responsibility for reconstruction and for future generations. It may be that the day of judgment will dawn tomorrow; in that case, we shall gladly stop working for a better future. But not before.”

If anyone had a reason to believe that he was living in the end-times it was Dietrich Bonhoeffer! If anyone had an excuse to cry “it’s the end of the world” and run to the hills, it was him. But instead he chose optimism. He chose hope. He chose to believe that the future could be brighter than today. Brave Man! On this, at least, I want to be like him.

I hope that Christians everywhere involve themselves in the Great Commission of Jesus Christ – to go into all the world and Preach the Gospel! I hope they also don’t forget to “make disciples of all nations” as well.

Disciple the Nations! Yep. We’re supposed to be engaged in that as well.

So let’s keep the fire and passion for evangelism burning red hot.

But here are some other ways that Christians can make disciples of the nations:

  • By Finding new sources of energy to fuel man’s activities on the earth.
  • By Developing better ways to produce, ship, care for, and deliver quality foods
  • By Leading the way in medical research and development
  • By Teaching young people around the world how to be an entrepreneur.
  • By Creating beautiful art.
  • By Excelling in all kinds of excellent music.
  • By Starting all kinds of sports leagues for youth that are spending too much time on video games (or writing blog posts).
  • By Serving as mayors, council members, school board members, sheriffs, judges, senators, congressman, governors, presidents, and diplomats.
  • By Joining and Beginning idea “think tanks” to solve political problems, water problems, economic development problems, education problems, crime problems, unemployment problems and all other kinds of problems from a Biblical Christian Worldview Perspective.
  • By Helping and Loving the people around about in practical ways.
  • By Writing thrilling and exhilarating stories, novels, and poems about everything pure, holy, just, encouraging, virtuous, and praiseworthy.

I wonder what happened to the people of America who once filled their hearts with thoughts like:

“O beautiful for patriots’ dream that sees beyond the years Thine alabaster cities gleam undimmed by human tears! America…”

I’ve been having a rough time as of late. My dreams didn’t happen the way I thought they would. In the last several years a couple of very key relationships to me entered some very painful stages. People came into power in my country that are trying to enact policies that will destroy my country. I was (and am) very directly impacted by the economic fears that are plaguing almost everyone. More fear and less faith equals less funds in real ways for me!

So here is the question. Can I be a patriot who sees beyond the years? Better yet, can I be a Lover of God and a Passionate Follower of Jesus Christ who can see the glorious future that God has for all of His people and then put my hands to the plow to “salt, light, and yeast” that Kingdom into eternity, as well as into the natural world around me? In short, can I maintain a Godly optimism even if all my natural circumstances seem to say nothing good could be in the future?

Here is my answer: When I see Jesus returning in the sky (or when I die, whichever comes first), on that day I will stop dreaming about a bright and glorious future here on planet earth. But I will not stop dreaming before then.

So friends, let’s turn the world upside down in the Name of Jesus Christ!

What is the Future of Christianity on Earth?

What is the Future of Christianity on Earth?

When you think of the future of Christianity, do you see a horrible end of time, or a glorious victory of the church?

Tom at Tom’s Journal had this to say:

Is earth a hopeless place that
Christians should neglect
because “it’s all going to burn anyway?”

The few camps that fight and quarrel about, Pre- Trib, Post-Trib, Mid Trib, etc, seems like a childish grade school game played at recess. I have out grown that goofy stuff. As my wife and I attended the Baptist church in our small town, I asked some older brothers about this stuff about Left Behind, etc., and they agreed with me that we THINK that we shall be Raptured up BEFORE the Great Tribulation. But if it doesn’t happen that way– we are still servants and followers of Jesus Christ and will obey and worship Him forever! Duh…. I simple don’t have the time or space to express every word, idea and scripture that it took me 30 some years to absorb. I know how to be SAVED and can explain and share that great thing with any of my readers… and that means your ever lasting life!
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This was my response over at his blog:

Does God have a bright future
for His Bride on earth?

Hi Tom!

I can certainly relate to the whole “why sweat the small stuff” idea.

I also think that anyone who is a brother or sister in Christ remains so even if we see some things differently. If we are disagreeing, we should remember that it is in the family! 🙂

I used to tell people I was “Pan-Trib” (It’ll all “pan out” in the end.) 🙂

However, I always questioned some of the basic stuff that I was taught about the end times when I was very young. As I have grown the questions have gotten louder and louder in my head and heart.

I began to observe that Christians in general seemed so convinced that everything was going down hill until Jesus returned that they were almost “self-fulfilling” the going down hill part by neglecting their duty to promote revival and reform in the world.

If we are so convinced that there is no hope for society, we’ll just sit back and let it burn.

I submit that this is not consistent with the Character of God.

Of course, I cannot go into the details here (you may find lots of details over at American Vision).

A different way of viewing “the end times” and the second coming of Christ has been unfolding in my life for quite some time. I read about an ever increasing Kingdom of God in the book of Daniel (Daniel 2:29-45). I am taught by Jesus to pray “Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done, on earth as it is in heaven! (Matthew 6:9-15)”

I have begun to see a picture of a victorious church being salt, light, and yeast into every area of human life. Starting with salvation, but flowing out into art, science, law, history, labor, creativity, love, etc.

God gave us dominion over everything in the earth.

My “pan-trib” philosophy did not stand up. Our view of the end times does matter (not in the “salvific” sense). It motivates us either to withdraw from or engage and conquer (with humility) societies issues.

I submit that it would be well worth your time to carefully investigate some of the stuff that Gary Demar and company over at American Vision are teaching.

Whatever you do, brothers and sisters in Christ remain brothers and sisters in Christ!

God Bless Your Socks Off!

A Time for Cool Heads and Critical Thinking

A Time for Cool Heads and Critical Thinking

The following article was written by Ben Gilmore and is posted at with his permission. Enjoy!

The music plays nostalgic Christmas carols. The traditional joy of the season is all around us these days. We should enjoy it! The environment (economy, income, misuse of civil authority,…) all present a cause for gloom. This is NOT a time to consider the “half empty glass.” We MUST focus on the half full glass!

If you permit the externals to influence your internals, you are on a downward spiral. GET OFF THAT TRAIN! To quote the closing lines of Rudyard Kipling’s well known poem, “If”.

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

There is one God working, The glass is NEVER empty!