Sunday, May 29, 2011


I remember the conversation I had with my ten year old on May 21stshe asked me; Papa do you think the world would come to an end today at 6:00 P.M? Deep in her heart she would not want the world to come to an end that day; at least not as yet. She wasn’t enthused by my Biblical response to her question. I could see a tensed look on her face as she romped around the house waiting for the clock to turn 6:00 P.M. The moment the clock turned 6:00 P.M she screamed saying; “Yeh’ the world did not come to an end”. What a relief! I am sure not only her but many others who are easily deceived may have had such anxious and tense moments.

The apocalyptic, doomsday, judgment day or the end of the world has been the subject of great fascination as well as controversy over the centuries. The apocalyptic theme is like “the golden goose” to the Hollywood film directors. They are minting millions by cashing in on the fears of man. Movies like, “The road, the Mummy fame, The Book of Eli, The day after tomorrow reflect Hollywood’s obsession. This obsession is also seen among certain religious groups known as “The doomsday cult” like the branch Davidians led by David Korish. And there are other End time prophetic ministries who seem to play with the ignorance and the fears of people. I wonder what is the true motive behind all this?
Recently the self made prophet and evangelist Herald Camping and his campaign spent, rather wasted $100 million dollars on advertising spreading a false prediction of the end of the world. Is it justified, during these economically hard times? I wonder do we stop crying wolf! Wolf? In the midst of such failed predictions and controversies about the end of the world whose words should we believe? Is the end of the world really going to happen? What does the Bible have to say about the end of the world and how are we to live our lives in light of it?

God has not left us without any prophecies and signs to look for the end of the age or the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, among them are two clear cut prophecies by Isaiah and Daniel. They both prophesied during 680-605 B.C. Isaiah 26:19, “Your dead will live; their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy,…and the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.” Daniel 12:1-3, “At that time Michael the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people everyone whose name is found written in the book will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.” Though these two prophets were separated by span of 75 years they both said the same.

These two scriptures are referring to the climax of the world where God will bring about his judgment on mankind and on the earth. A day of disaster unlike anything we have ever seen or heard is imminent. On that day the dead will be raised from their graves and the living will be caught up alive, some for eternal punishment and others for eternal life. They also tell us that there are going to be rewards to those who win souls and those who disciple the saved. That much of the prophecy has been understood by many scholars and ardent bible students but what had been rather confusing over the years is that the timing of when these things will happen. Herald Camping got it right up to that point but he had been wrong at least on three occasions one of them being May 21st 20011. When will these events unfold? Is there a definite set time and date in the Bible? Whose words are we to believe? Who is telling the truth? Let’s find out.

History tells us that time and again man has gotten it wrong when it comes to predicting the end of the world. In recent years from 1990-1994 alone there were twelve failed predictions not to mention the one we have just experienced. Why is it man so fixated with end times? Well this is not a new phenomenon but goes back to 2000 years. Jesus’ disciples wanted to know when would the present evil world end and Jesus establish his kingdom on earth, so they asked, “Tell us when is this going to happen? What sign will we get that things are coming to a head? Jesus began, “Watch out for doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities claiming I am the one.” They will deceive a lot of people….Fake Messiahs and lying preachers are going to pop up everywhere… But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven’s angels, not even the Son. Only the Father. So keep a sharp lookout, for you don’t know the time table. (Mk 13 The Message)

When the Bible is clear in saying that no one knows the day or the hour how foolish is for any one to set an exact date? And how naive are those who believe such false predictions? In his own words Jesus said he was going to come back some day and take us to be with him in heaven forever,( John 14:1-3). Jesus never said when he is going to come back, but he told us what to signs to look for and how he was going to come back. Among many signs of wars, earthquakes, famines, and unrest one sure sign we should look for is found in Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations and then the end will come.” That is what we should be busy with, preaching and doing of the gospel. We spend our monies to support the missionaries and ministries that are reaching the world and not to put up Judgment Day” billboards. Our concern is saving souls, we will leave our Lords return to God because he knows when to bring an end to this world.

Though Jesus did not tell us when he would return but he made it amply clear how he is going to return. The second coming of Christ will not be a secret event but it will be a spectacular event. Listen to what he said about it in his own words. Jesus did not tell us when he will come back but how he will come back. Mark 13: 24-26, “Following those hard times, the Sun will fade out, moon cloud over, Stars fall out of the sky, cosmic powers tremble. And then they’ll see the Son of Man enter in grand style, his arrival filling the sky none will miss it! He’ll dispatch the angels; they will pull in the chosen from the four winds, from pole to pole.” ( The Message) Rev 1:7 “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. He also said, “Behold, I am coming soon! MY reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”(Rev 22:12) He said he was going to come back coming soon then why is the delay? Why haven’t we yet seen him come back?

From the time Jesus was taken up to heaven over two thousand years have passed, many of God’s children beginning with his disciples have eagerly awaited his return. But he hasn’t yet come back. Don’t you think that would give room for scoffers and skeptics to scorn at his second coming? Of course it does; God knew that it would happen so he inspired Peter to write these words, “In the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this coming he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation…With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting any one to perish but everyone to come to repentance.” His patience means our salvation.
A friend of mine once said, “thank God Jesus did not come back last year otherwise I wouldn’t have been saved.” Christ is delaying in returning to earth in order to give many a chance to repent and accept him as His savior and Lord. Sooner than later Christ will come back to judge this world, in that light how are we to live our lives?

Several scriptures in the Bible allude to the fact that Christ’s return is imminent and it could happen at any time. All could change in the twinkling of an eye and Christ could make his return. Therefore since we do not know the date of his return we want be prepared and get ourselves ready. If you are a born again Christian you have nothing to be afraid of, only those who do not know Christ will have to worry. In the light of Christ’s imminent return Peter gives us some pointers for us to live by, 2 Pet 3:11-14, “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming…..make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.”

What do these scriptures mean? Firstly, the present world and everything in it will be destroyed so let’s not pin our hopes on it. Secondly, we are not to compromise with sinful life styles but live a pure and godly life. Daniel says that many will purified, made spotless and refined, do we allow God to do that work in our lives? Thirdly, we are to make every effort to live in right relationship with God. Fourthly, we are to be diligent in reaching the lost isn’t it interesting the way Peter seems to indicate that we can actually speed the day of his coming by getting intentionally involved in building His Kingdom.

In closing, Jesus Christ will come back sooner than you expect. So let’s not be carried away, believing anyone who gives you a particular day or date. Don’t take his patience for granted, surrender your life to Christ before it is too late. We have so much to look forward to, the best is waiting for us when see Him in His glory and His Power. Amen!

Sunday, May 15, 2011


The story is told of a farmer in a Midwestern state who had a strong disdain for "religious" things. As he plowed his field on Sunday morning, he would shake his fist at the church people who passed by on their way to worship. October came and the farmer had his finest crop ever--the best in the entire county. When the harvest was complete, he placed an advertisement in the local paper which belittled the Christians for their faith in God. Near the end of his attack he wrote, "Faith in God must not mean much if someone like me can prosper." The response from the Christians in the community was quiet and polite. In the next edition of the town paper, a small ad appeared. It read simply, "God doesn't always settle His accounts in October."

Some people think they can get away by humiliating God’s people. Don’t worry! God knows when and how to settle His accounts. Just like in the story we come across people who are bent on ridiculing our faith or the righteous stand we take. They find ways to humiliate tarnish our reputation, cause emotional, if possible physical damage. It is not that they try to kill you but in more subtle ways they want to trap you. Isn’t it painful when you are unduly criticized and accused? Some times the opposition comes from close quarters; from those we love the most.

How can you respond to such hostility and hatred? When people oppose you for no apparent reason? One day as I was wrestling with my emotions regarding these things, God directed my thoughts to Psalm 56 where I read about David, who was hunted down by his blood relatives, close friends and enemies a like. He lived under constant threat. He lived in caves because of the pursuit of his enemies. When I read Psalm 56, I was struck by David’s gut wrenching honesty about his situation and the way he connected with God who in the end lifted him from the pit of despair to praise. Let me read Psalm 56.

BACKGROUND: The book of Psalms has been called the Hebrew Prayer and Praise book of Israel and later of the early Christians. Out of 150 Psalms 73 of them were written by King David. Some of them are national in scope, and some are intimately personal. Some are exultant and some are depressing. Psalms carry a tremendous range of human emotion; it is no wonder that Psalms have been so popular through the ages. Jesus loved the Psalms. Even while dying on the cross he quoted from them. Whenever, I am challenged, depressed, anguished and frustrated. I turn to Psalms. It is like being in good company; they have been where you are.

Psalm 56 was written in the context of threat and perceivable danger. I Samuel 21, 22 give us the historical background. Here we read of a hero who once faced and killed the giant from Gath, single handedly. After several years he found himself running for his dear life because his father in law was trying to kill him. He came to the city of Gath where he was seized by the Philistines and brought before King Achish. You might remember this story, “where David acted insane before the King and was eventually driven out from his presence. From Gath he went and hid himself in a cave called Adullam. In that cave David, did not feel like a hero any more, in fact he was a zero, a nobody. In that dark place he felt humiliated, crushed, and alone in other words he was at rock bottom. There in that despondent situation he wrote Psalm 34 and Psalm 56.

When you face all kinds of troubles, and are falsely accused by people what should be your response? How can you deal with your adversity? Psalm 56 would help us to respond wisely instead of reacting irrationally. I would like to divide this chapter into five sections: 1. My Prayer (1-2) II. My Confidence (3-4), III. My Complaint (5-7), IV My Consolation (8-9) V. My Resolution (10-13).

I. MY PRAYER: (Psalm 56:1-2) “Be gracious to me, O God for man has trampled upon me; Fighting all day long he oppresses me. My foes have trampled upon me all day, long, for they are many who fight proudly against me.” One thing we learn from David’s life is that whenever he is in dire situations the first thing he would do is to run to God in prayer. This Psalm is no different. He appeals to God’s grace. This verb is used a total of seventy-eight times, often in the context of the strong and the weak in negotiation. Here David recognizes how weak he was and how strong God is. He was surrounded by many enemies; some of them were his close friends, and companions who went to the house of God (Church) with him. They had one aim that was to make his life miserable. In that context David cries out saying, “Be gracious to me O God.”

In like manner we too may have enemies, they may not necessarily be from outside they could be close friends, family members, colleagues, business partners, or even church members. In my years of ministry I came to realize that some people’s life’s mission is to oppress and intimidate others. At times we feel like we are being kicked around by others for no reason. When we face such situations what should be our response? We could either retaliate and fight back or go to God in prayer. Over the years many difficult and challenging circumstance drove me into God’s presence. When we come to God in prayer we must come with confidence.

II. MY CONFIDENCE: (Vs 3-5) “When I am afraid I will put my trust in you O God, whose word I praise. In God I have put my trust I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?

Similar words are found in Vs 10-11. David knew when he was afraid where to turn and who to trust. He turned to God’s word and he put his trust in God. Where did he get that confidence from? Has it happened over night or has he learned to trust in God from a very young age? Is it possible for us to place our trust in God in the age of science and technology?

Do you remember as a young boy when David faced the giant said, “You come to me with a sword, a spear and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted?” What courage it takes to challenge a giant? When he became a mighty warrior himself; his trust in God never diminished but it only increased so he said; “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” (Psalm 20:7) David exhibited unwavering confidence in God.

These words of confidence, “In God we trust” have been a source of encouragement to many weary souls over the centuries. Interestingly they were adopted as the official motto of the United States in 1956. The phrase, “In God we trust” has appeared on U.S. coins since 1864 and on paper currency since 1957. Ironically, where do we place our trust in these days? Is it in our intelligence, the mighty dollar or in the almighty God alone?

For the modern mind the thought of trusting in God is rather crazy. Some, would rather trust their cool gadgets, technology, own wisdom and wealth, but trusting in God? They might say it is for the sissies not for me! But for David it was the only thing left for him; he was at rock bottom in his life; there was nowhere else for him to go to or nothing else he could do other than trusting in God and his word. I can tell you by my experience God is absolutely trust worthy therefore I would rather go to him with confidence and bring my complaint to Him alone.


When we face troubles and horrible situations our emotions become raw. It is absolutely OK to let God know exactly how you are feeling about a particular situation or a person. The right place to vent our feelings and frustrations is God because he can do something about it. David brought his complaint straight to God in no unclear terms.

David said, Oh God look, “They don’t let up, they smear my reputation and huddle to plot my collapse. They gang up, sneak together through the alleys to take me by surprise, wait their chance to get me. If you are facing such evil people in your life, whoever that may be don’t worry, tell it to God because he knows how to deal with them and he will see to that they are dealt with properly. When I bring my complaints to God only then will I find consolation in my desolation or anguish. What is my consolation?


When I go through heartache, face disappointment, experience failures I often wondered does any one care for me; does God even care for me? It is human to feel that way. When we grieve over the loss of a loved one or a lost dream, it is OK to cry, there is nothing wrong with it. Crying can be great therapy. However some men who think they ought to be tough, crying is not cool, rather it is considered as a sign of weakness. But is it? God has emotions. His heart is grieved over the wickedness of evil men. Hebrew 5:7, tells us that, “Jesus During the days of Jesus' life on earth, offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.” There is a whole book in the bible called, “Lamentations” When you go through tough times; don’t try to be cool and tough, and be sophisticated, don’t hold back your tears, let it go! CRY out to God for help. That’s what David did over and over again. Here are a few scriptures where David cried out to God for help.

“Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I have cried out to you; but let the wicked be put to shame and lie silent in the grave.” Psalm 31:7


As in many of the other Psalms it is as if we see the tone of the song change from a B major flat Key to a C sharp key. In other words David starts out with just putting it all out on the table before God all the mess and misery he is in, but as we see here after all is said and done and tears have been cried. He comes to a place of resolution, his emotions no longer dominate instead he knows where his strength lies. David says in verse10 and 11 he reaffirms his faith in God saying, “In God whose word I praise in the Lord, whose word I praise in God I trust I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? He has regained his footing; he has got the right perspective then he goes on to say, “I will present my thank offerings”

In the same way when we come to God we begin to see things from his perspective. He can change our situation if not; change our hearts so that we can handle any situation with his help. I encourage you today not to hold back from being brutally honest with where you are at. Share your heart with the Lord. Spend time with Him don’t rush through this, allow God to assure you of His presence so that you too will regain your footing, gain your perspective and come out of the pit of self pity and begin to give him praise and thank him for all that he has already done for you. Amen

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Without a doubt the 9/11 terrorist attack shook the core confidence of Americans unlike any other event did. It made us think of the brevity of life and posed questions such as what is beyond life? Is there life after death? After those attacks one would have liked to think that we have learned our lessons and it is time we have returned to God. Rightly so the emotional pain and search for answers after Sept. 11 had many flocking to religious services like never before. In the same week after 9/11, over 20 thousand people showed up, at Fellowship Church in Dallas. It was the largest crowd in the history of this Church. The senior Pastor Ed Young, said, “When I walked on stage I looked around and said, 'Where have you guys been? It takes something like this for you to show up to church?'" But, like many of the initial post-attack phenomenon, church attendance has since returned to normal." The pastor said, “the pews were soon a bit roomier. "I was disappointed somewhat that more didn't stick because we dropped, the next weekend and then the weekend after that to about 14, 500,"By some estimates, on the Sunday following the terror attacks roughly half of the adult population in the United States attended a religious service. But the attendance dropped off starting in November.[1]

Isn’t it amazing that even after seeing such dramatic growth following 9/11 the church in the USA somehow couldn’t sustain the growth? What happened to the eagerness showed by Christians immediately after the attack? Last week we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. One would have imagined that the whole Jerusalem would now turn to Christ after that spectacular event. How was life right after the resurrection of Christ? What were the disciples doing? We read about the life after the resurrection of Christ in John 21:1-18.


One day my wife and I drove passed by a huge funeral. I thought to myself some prominent person of the city must have died. Many driving by may not have given a second thought to what was going on in the church. On our way back I said to my wife let’s avoid going back the same way lest we get stuck in the traffic jam. She said, you may be surprised the funeral procession may be gone by now. Reluctantly, I followed her suggestion low and behold not a single car was left in front of the Church. Within twenty minutes everything was cleared up and life was back to normal. If any one passed by the church at that moment they would have had no clue as to the fact that half an hour before a huge funeral service took place there. In the same way, we witness catastrophes, the deaths of our loved ones and for a brief time we may be shaken, feel sad and grieve but after that life becomes busy as usual isn’t it?

Life after resurrection of Jesus was somewhat like that. Here the whole city of Jerusalem and Jesus’ close disciples had witnessed a super spectacular event. But only after a few days it looked like as if the whole world had forgotten it including his beloved disciples. For seven out of eleven, life became normal. They have pushed all the miraculous events surrounding the resurrection aside and went about on their own business as if nothing has ever happened. Peter the ring leader said, I am going fishing and the rest said “We will also come with you” so off they went that night to do what was familiar to them. They went back to their old usual business.

After witnessing the mighty resurrection of Jesus one would imagine that the disciples would say to each other, “let’s carry on the great mission of our Lord” instead they said, let’s get back to fishing. Have you ever wondered what must have made Peter to say I am going fishing?

One could only imagine several reasons that may have triggered Peter’s decision. Peter probably recalled his own actions that brought Jesus to such a horrible end. "First I bragged about my undying loyalty to him, and then I betrayed him. He may have struggled with a sense of failure and unworthy to continue to be his disciple. Or he might have doubted whether Christ would ever trust him again. Or he may have imagined, “life without Christ would be challenging, difficult and he didn’t know whether he could handle it. Whatever may be the reason he wanted to get back to what was familiar, and had always enjoyed doing.

Let me put this into our context, like Peter; we all have made boastful statements about our lives or about our faith at one time or another. And we all have been embarrassed when reality confronted these claims. While following Christ some times things get tough and when that happens we tend carry negative view of ourselves, we want to quit and throw in the towel quickly and get back to what is familiar, and comfortable?

How does God look at us when we mess up? He will by pass our failures and looks at our heart that wanted to do the right thing. That’s what Jesus saw in Peter; he passed right through his failures and weaknesses and saw a broken and contrite heart. Jesus didn’t want to leave Peter in a discouraged and disillusioned state so he came to Peter. In the same way Jesus doesn’t want us to remain in our failure, neither does he want us to get back to what is familiar and lead a normal and boring life. Life with Jesus is more adventurous and exciting. He comes to us in our troubles and wants to walk with us the rest of the life’s Journey.

The disciples thought they could get away from the Lord by going fishing. They wanted to settle down in life and be like any one else. But God has other plans for them, boy little did they know that God was about to embark them onto an exciting journey with Him.

Jesus came, and stood on the beach as the exasperated, expert fishermen came back after spending a whole night on the sea yet caught nothing. They could hardly believe that they couldn’t even catch a single fish. How frustrating that would be for you especially if that’s what you did all your life? I think it was God’s mercy that they didn’t catch a single fish that night, had they caught perhaps they would’ve settled down for a normal way of living. God didn’t want them to settle for a mediocre and normal living. He wanted to take them on to uncharted waters. He wanted them to be courageous and do things they had never dreamed of before. In the same way God wants us to experience his abundance as individuals, as families and as a Church. He wants us to be fruitful and enjoy the abundant life. How can we receive this fullness of life? The answer is in obeying God’s instructions, which are many in God’s word.


Have you ever been in a place no matter how hard you worked at a particular job you just couldn’t get it done? You are at the end of your rope. Peter and his gang were exactly in that place. When we come to the end of ourselves, Jesus steps into our lives. I like the way Jesus addressed this bunch of exhausted and frustrated disciples. He said, Children, you do not have any fish do you? I hear a little sarcasm in his voice just like a father scolding his children in a loving way. “So boys you thought you could go out without my help and catch fish, but did you catch any fish? Don’t you know without me you can do nothing, not even fishing?

The disciples must have replied with guilt ridden face, yes sir you are right we caught nothing! Then he said to them, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to pull the net in because of the large number of fish.

How does this apply to our church? Firstly, notice that Jesus did not say throw your fishing rod instead he said through your net indicating that the time is over for people to do their own thing for their own personal satisfaction It is time that they learn to work together in order to accomplish greater purposes. When it comes to Kingdom building we must come out of our individualistic approach. We can not afford to say “I will do my job and you do yours.” Or this is my ministry and I will do it my way and I don’t care what others think. Instead we would say how can I bless your ministry, how can I support what you are doing?

Secondly, we need to pay close attention to what God is saying to us as a church through the leadership and cooperate with them. We just don’t do a program because it sounds cool; instead we do a program because God has directed us to do so. Thirdly, the disciples did exactly as Jesus directed them they were able to catch 153 large fish. In the same way when we follow God’s instructions, we will see large number of people getting saved and discipled through our ministry. Getting back to our story; we will see how Jesus restored and reinstated Peter to his ministry.


When Simon Peter heard it was the Lord he put his outer garment (out of respect) and threw himself into the sea. He must have been struck with remorse, as he jumped into the water we may hear him saying to the Lord, "Jesus, why do you put up with me? I failed you! I am not worthy to be your disciple any more let me swim away from you. Did Jesus let Peter getaway? No! He loved him too much so he wanted to restore him back. When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said, Peter do you love me three times and Peter replied three times yes Lord.

Why three times? It could be to make up for his three times denial or it could be that Peter didn’t get it at the first time. In this passage two different Greek words were used for love. The conversation went somewhat like this. Simon son of John, do you love Me more than these means more than the other disciples (unselfishly to the point that you would be willing to sacrifice). Peter replied, Yes Lord you know that I love you (that I have a deep personal affection for you as a close friend)

Christ may have expected to hear Peter say “Yes Lord I love you sacrificially and unselfishly”, but disappointingly Peter said yes Lord you know I like you; you are my best friend. If Christ were to ask you, “do you love me” what would be your response? Would you say yes Lord I love you, and I am willing to do anything for your sake or would you just say, Oh, Yah, you know I like you let’s just be buddies?

Next time when you say you love God ask yourselves these simple yet profound questions: Is my love for God costing me anything? What am I willing to let go? Or what do I need to give up? When God loved the world He gave his only begotten son? When Christ loved the Church (that is you and me) he gave up His life so that we might live with him forever.

How are you going to express your love for God today and in the days to come? It may require for some to make a decision to follow Christ at the expense of a lucrative CAREER. For some it may mean saying sorry for hurting a fellow brother or a sister in the Lord. For some it may mean giving up their addiction, for some it may mean stop quarrelling and gossiping. Whatever it may mean for each of us let’s be sincere in our Love for God. Amen