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Archive for October, 2009

Where is America in Bible Prophecy?

Saturday, October 31st, 2009 Posted in essentials, Pastor's corner, sermons | 3 Comments »

Have you ever wondered why we cannot find the most powerful nation on earth, the United States of America, in the prophetic scenario? Where are we? Our very absence is noteworthy.

I will address that, the coming world leader known as Antichrist, and more in my message, “The Antichrist, America, and Armageddon” this Sunday at Harvest Christian Fellowship.

This weekend

I have a regular column at WorldNetDaily that you might want to check out. This week’s article deals with pain and how to not waste it. To read that, click here.

Also, my weekend long-form devotion is on the topic of discernment in these last days. To read that, click here.

The devil wears Prada?

Friday, October 30th, 2009 Posted in essentials, Pastor's corner, sermons | 1 Comment »

Antichrist. The very name sounds ominous, scary.

He has generated a lot of attention—from both Christians and non-Christians alike. Hollywood has portrayed him in Rosemary’s Baby, The Devil’s Advocate, and The Omen.

Marilyn Manson has an entire album calling him a superstar, and Googling his name generates almost five million results. There is even a film out now with his name as its title . . . Antichrist.

But this coming world leader is not who you might expect. He won’t be dressed in all black, with 666 tattooed on his forehead and steam rising from his body.

He will be suave, intelligent, engaging, magnetic, and charismatic. Perhaps he will be well-dressed, gracing the covers of Time and GQ.

Think “The Devil Wears Prada.”

But’s all a mask that hides who he really is–the most evil man who ever lived. If Satan ever had a son, this would be him.

But he will be clearly defeated by Jesus Christ, the One who he seeks to be a pale imitation of.

I will deal with this and more in my message this Sunday at Harvest called “Antichrist, America, and Armageddon.”

P.S. I promised a blog post about my recent lunch with Billy Graham. I will post that sometime next week.

The Cove, Billy Graham, and the last days

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 Posted in essentials, family, OC, Pastor's corner, sermons, stella, travel | 9 Comments »

Stella300

Here’s a photo I took of Stella in North Carolina.

On Tuesday, my wife Cathe and I had the privilege of sharing lunch with Billy Graham. What a wonderful time that was, and I will blog about that on Friday.

We were in Asheville, North Carolina, speaking at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove on the theme of the Lord’s return. It was a thrill to meet so many people who follow our ministry, and I even met a couple of my Facebook friends in person. BTW, if you want to check out my Facebook page, click here.

I was joined by my friends Don McClure, Levi Lusko, Pedro Garcia, Dennis Agajanian, and Marty Goetz. Plus, our whole family made the trip–Cathe, Jonathan, Brittany, Stella, and Lucy–and we took some photos for our Christmas card as well.

While in North Carolina, I also shot a series of eight videos for the holidays (one for each week), focusing on the real message of Thanksgiving and Christmas. We will post the first one in the first week of November.

A good time was had by all!

Thursday in Orange County

Tonight, I will continue my last days series in Orange County with a message titled, “Israel, Magog, and the Rapture.”

We all have questions about these last days events, and I will address them Thursday night.

Looking ahead, I am working on a message for this weekend at Harvest on the Antichrist, America, and Armageddon.

Well, that’s all for now. On Friday, I’ll tell you about my lunch with the greatest evangelist who has ever lived, Billy Graham.

Wake up, sober up, and suit up

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009 Posted in essentials, Pastor's corner, sermons | 3 Comments »

How are we, as followers of Jesus Christ, to live as we await His return? There are three things: we need to wake up, sober up, and suit up.

We need to wake up

Scripture tells us, “Let us not sleep, as others do” (1 Thessalonians 5:6). The Encyclopedia Britannica defines sleep as “a state of inactivity, with a loss of consciousness and a decrease in responsiveness to events taking place.”

There are people in the Church today who have gone to sleep. They are not watching the signs of the times, nor are they observing the “times and seasons.”

There is a lethargy and passiveness, even a laziness. There seems to be a disconnect between their so-called “spiritual life” and real life. Instead of “walking in the Spirit,” they are sleepwalking.

What Paul is saying in this verse is “Wake up and be ready for the Lord’s return!”

The excitement of Christmas Eve

Remember when you were a little kid and it was so hard to fall asleep on Christmas Eve? Maybe it was the excitement of opening your presents the next day. Or perhaps it was the hope of seeing Santa Claus. But it was a joyful anticipation that kept you awake, not some kind of dread or fear.

In the same way, looking for Christ’s return is not a miserable, repressive, or confining way to live. It’s a happy, joyful, purposeful way to live.

It detaches you from the world

Let me close today with the words of C.H. Spurgeon, who said, “It is a very blessed thing to be on the watch for Christ, it is a blessing to us now. How it detaches you from the world! You can be poor without murmuring. You can be rich without worldliness. You can be sick without sorrowing. You can be healthy without presumption. If you are always waiting for Christ’s coming, untold blessings are wrapped up in that glorious hope.”

Jesus is coming! Are you ready?

Monday, October 26th, 2009 Posted in essentials, Pastor's corner, sermons, travel | 5 Comments »

Yes, Jesus Christ is coming again.

As a student and teacher of Bible prophecy for 35 years, it is my belief that the next event on the prophetic calendar will be the rapture of the Church. That is the event when we will be “caught up to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

I will be speaking on this topic at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove today through Wednesday.

So, in light of all this hope of Christ’s return, how are we to live? What are we to do as we await His return?

Three things come to mind: We need to wake up, sober up, and suit up.

Paul tell us, “Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8).

We should welcome His return

The teaching of Christ’s return is real litmus test of where you are spiritually.

For the person who is right with God, it motivates and purifies them. For the person who is not right with God, it frightens and alarms them.

For the believer who is watching and waiting, Christ’s return is welcomed. For the person who is not where they need be spiritually, He will come as a thief.

So how are we to live in light of the fact Christ could return at any moment? More on waking up,sobering up and suiting up tomorrow.

Israel,Magog, and the Rapture

Friday, October 23rd, 2009 Posted in essentials, OC, Pastor's corner, sermons, stella, travel | 3 Comments »

Today at Harvest, I will give the second of a five-part series on the last days. We will talk more about the amazing modern-day miracle of the return of the Jewish people to their homeland of Israel.

The Bible warns that after she is re-gathered again, a large force from the north will descend on her, determined to destroy this nation. The Bible calls this force Magog (Ezekiel 38-39), and it will march with allies that come right from the front pages of our newspapers.

We will also talk about what I believe is the next event on the prophetic calendar, the rapture of the Church. You won’t want to miss this message.

The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove

Then this Monday, I fly to the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove to join my friends Don McClure, Levi Lusko, and Pedro Garcia, as we all teach on the topic of the last days. That conference will conclude on Wednesday, and I will return to California in time for me to speak in Orange County for our Thursday night Bible study.

For more information on that, click here.

Whew! I get tired just thinking of all of this! I do appreciate your prayers, and I pray that God will bless all of these messages for His Glory.

Israel: a sign of the times

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009 Posted in essentials, Pastor's corner, sermons | 8 Comments »

This Sunday at Harvest, I will be speaking about the events of the last days I will share with you reasons why I believe Jesus could come back at any moment.

As I pointed out in my last post, a key to understanding Bible prophecy is to see the role of the nation Israel.

God promised that she would be established in the land in the first place, scattered, and then regathered. And when the Jewish people returned to their homeland of Israel, that would be a “sign of the times,” telling us that Jesus is returning.

In his book Israel Under Fire, John Ankerberg points out that this was all predicted in Ezekiel 37:21-22:

  1. He “will take the sons of Israel from among the nations. whererever they have gone.”
  2. He “will gather them from every side and bring them into  their own land.”
  3. He “will make them one nation in the land.”

So has this happened?

1. God promised that, in the last days, He would gather the Jewish people from all over the  world, from the different nations where they had been scattered.

Check.

2. God promised the Jewish people that He would gather them to a specific place: the land of Israel.

Check.

3. God promised the Jewish people that not only would  He gather them to Israel, but He would make them into a nation once they arrived in the land.

Check.

4. God promised the Jewish people He would give them back the city of Jerusalem.

Check.

A modern-day miracle

All this, of course, became a reality on May 14, 1948.

This was against all odds. After losing six million Jews to the Nazis in World War II, the Jewish people returned to their homeland.

Today, the modern state of Israel stands as a monument to fulfilled biblical prophecy. As Israel’s first prime minister, David  Ben-Gurion, stated, “If you know the story of Israel and what happened here, and you do not believe in miracles, you are not realistic. Something is wrong with you.”‘

I’ll have much more on this tonight and next Sunday at Harvest in Riverside.

Are we living in the last days?

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009 Posted in essentials, OC, Pastor's corner, sermons, travel | 9 Comments »

I believe that Jesus Christ is coming back again.

In my understanding of Bible prophecy and what theologians call eschatology, the next event on the prophetic calendar is the rapture of the Church. That is the event where Christ Himself will call all true believers to join Him in heaven.

It will happen, as the Bible says, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” I hope you are ready for that event.

I will be speaking this Thursday night in Orange County on this topic. The title of my message will be “Signs of the Times,” and it is the first of a five-part series on the last days.

I will also be speaking on this same topic next week at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in North Carolina. Joining me will be my friends Don McClure, Levi Lusko, and Pedro Garcia.

There is still time to sign up for that. For more info, click here.

Israel is the key

The Bible is very specific in saying that a sign of the times would be the re-gathering of the Jewish people into their homeland of Israel. When that happened, the prophetic clock would be ticking.

The Bible tells us, “When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory” (Psalm 102:16). So it is  not just a sign of the times, it is a “super-sign.”

Never had a nation been able to regain its national identity, 300-500 years after being removed from its homeland, until Israel!

Today, you will look in vain for the descendants of the Hittite and Babylonian nation, even though both were major powers in the ancient world. In fact, if it were not for the Bible, the Hittites would never have been remembered by history, so far had they sunk into the sands of time.

At one time, scoffers used to ridicule the Bible for even mentioning the Hittites. It was thought that they were fictional. But archaeologists in the 19th century eventually confirmed the accuracy of Scripture when they uncovered irrefutable evidence of the extensive Hittite Empire.

Still, you won’t find any Hittites today or Assyrians or Babylonians.

Not so with the Jews!

Why did they survive, while the mighty Hittites, Assyrians, and Babylonians have vanished? Because God promised they would!

That prophecy came true on May 14, 1948, when Israel became a nation again.

I will talk about this more tomorrow, but here’s a closing question for you: If Jesus came back today, would you be ready?

You are loved by God

Monday, October 19th, 2009 Posted in encouragement, Pastor's corner | 4 Comments »

God loves you. We have heard it a thousand times, but it’s true. He loves everyone, everywhere, all the time.

Jesus put it best when He said “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son” (John 3:16).

Now, although it is true that God loves us as we are, He does not want to leave us that way. He wants you to turn from your sin and believe in and follow Him.

When you do this, you become one of His adopted children. He refers to us as “in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6), meaning that we come into a special relationship with Him because of Jesus’ death for each of us and our acceptance of Him as both Savior and Lord.

God loves you more than you may realize. Now don’t rush over that. You who have trusted Christ are now the beloved of God.

You are precious and dear to God

Remember, when Jesus was baptized by John, God said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased . . . ”

You might respond, “Yes, but that was Jesus, not me!” Listen! Here are the words of Jesus Himself.

“I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are–I in them and you in me, all being perfected into one. Then the world will know that you sent me and will understand that you love them as much as you love me” (John 17:22-23).

It’s hard to believe God loves me that much. If it was not right there in that verse, I don’t know if I would believe it. But it is there.

The truth about the Christian–the one who is in Christ, who is adopted into God’s family and made accepted in the Beloved–is that God the Father loves him as He loved His own Son.

Let that sink in. It’s an a-ha moment, for that is indeed an amazing thought! And a good way to start the day, don’t you think?

So have a blessed day, you who have trusted in Christ. Know that you are His dear beloved children.

Weekend thoughts

Saturday, October 17th, 2009 Posted in essentials, Pastor's corner, sermons, travel | 4 Comments »

Are these the end times? Are we seeing Bible prophecies fullfilled before our very eyes? Are we close to the return of Jesus Christ?

The short answer to those questions, in my opinion, is “Yes!”

This Sunday, I am starting a new series on this very topic. It’s part of our Essentials series, and we’ll start by taking a “big picture” look at the order of events in the last days.

I hope you can join us, as I believe it is information you need to hear.

Back from Chicago

I just got back yesterday from Chicago, where we had a great time. I was able to hang with my buddy James McDonald, and sample some killer
Chicagoland cuisine. That would be deep dish pizza and the very unusual but delicious Chicago hot dog.

But the real reason I was there (besides getting heartburn) was to speak to a group of more than 400 Chicagoland pastors. I’ll be making more trips to the “Windy City” in the months ahead as we prepare for our first Harvest Crusades event in Chicago.

This and that

You may want to check out my column at WorldNetDaily, as well as my long-form weekend devotion.