What if you took a class and the teacher said on the first day, “As we meet together, I am going to tell you all the questions that will be on your final exam in advance. All you have to do is learn what they are and how to answer them.”
How would you respond? I’m sure that you’d be excited, listen carefully, and thank the instructor for caring enough for you that he will do all he can to help you ace the test and get an “A”! Nothing could be better.
One day, we will all die. Amazingly, despite the fact that everyone knows this, few people make any serious investment into understanding what they need to do to prepare for it. They say things like:
“I still have years to go until I die.”
“There are so many ideas out there, who knows which one is right?”
Or “I’m good, it will all work out in my favor.”
Despite the fact that God gives us the answers to the final exam, people put so little effort into hearing His answers. The majority of people take this approach. My hope is that none of you reading this are in that number.
As always, we’re here to help you. On Sunday, as we continue our really popular and well received “How It All Ends” series, we’ll help you get ready for the exam. You just have to make sure you’re here for the “class.”
This October, I’m finding it easier to enjoy life despite all that’s happening in the world that can bring us down. I hope you are too. For me:
- The weather’s been nice and will be for at least another week! (I won’t tell you what I heard about the forecast this winter… I’ll keep it positive).
- We’ve seen more people make a first-time faith commitment to Christ than we have in a long time!
- The series “How It All Ends” has attracted more people to church, and I especially appreciate those of you who are inviting people!
- My wife is safe and doing well after giving blood and passing out. Thank God it didn’t happen while driving.
- I’ve received some nice cards and kind words lately, but really all year long! (You’re such gracious people.)
- The Bills and the Saints won on Sunday and are both doing well! (When the Saints beat the Bills on Thanksgiving night, please don’t come to church crying).
I could go on and on, but let me ask you this, “What are you finding all around you to enjoy life a little more?” Admittedly, sometimes it’s easier than other times, but I’m convinced God provides these moments if we seek them, see them, and then seize them. God is love, and when we make Him our first love, it’s so easy to see His expressions of love toward us. They’re all around us.
I hope you experience God’s love as fully as possible and that you have a great week.
So many things that are happening today are really flying in the face of what’s good and pleasing to God. There’s not one news channel that can go 30 minutes without sharing some bad news that suggests the days ahead will be more difficult, apart from a radical change in direction.
Will that radical change happen?
Globally, only God knows that.
But is there a big change that we can make individually? I think so. We can make a radical shift by turning our focus from a horizontal perspective to a vertical one that focuses on God and doing his will. If we focus on what He wants, we can turn these worldly obstacles into spiritual opportunities to impact our family and friends for the better.
I get that from John chapters 1 and 8 where we see light overpowering darkness, and where we see that the “darker the darkness,” the brighter the light shines in it. When we turn our focus from how the world is doing to what God wants us to do, we can change our own direction and start living above the negative news cycle by living instead for the Good News.
We can’t change the news and we can’t change the world. But we can change our perspective and through God’s help, we can be used to change the lives of people in our circle of influence.
If the last 19 months have left you wondering about what is happening in our world, you wouldn’t be alone. Things have changed so quickly in this short period of time…. and not for the better. It’s raising serious questions for those of us who know how the story ends for life as we know it on planet earth.
So, how will this all end? The Bible gives us a clear picture of how, and we will study the details for the next seven weeks as we begin a new series on Sunday that I am calling, “How It All Ends.”
I think this is the most interesting series we have ever done at Lakeshore, and the most timely as well. Pretty much every week people are asking me questions about what this all means. But finding specific answers isn’t that easy. The reason is that while the Bible is clear in what it says about how the world ends, it takes careful work to understand it accurately (that’s why there are so many crazy things said about the future by so many). That’s because to understand prophecy, you must understand every book of the Bible and every other discipline of theology. No easy task.
But having studied prophecy for nearly 35 years along with graduate training from some of the top biblical scholars in the world, I will do my best to help you answer the key questions about the future. When I am sure about something, I’ll tell you why I am sure from the Bible. When I am less sure about something, I’ll tell you where the boundaries lie for the possible answers in the Bible. I enter into this series as humble as ever because prophecy will humble us like few other subjects can.
I hope that every single one of you who receives this email will be here this Sunday at 9 am or 11 am to hear it live and in person. I also hope that you will invite anyone and everyone you can who has even a little interest in this subject to join you. I have been inviting people and will do so all this week.
Because this will be the most fascinating and timely series I can imagine teaching right now.
There is power in having a vision! It’s important for our lives, for our families, for our careers, and for our church too. Without it, we lose the focus we need and life becomes a daily grind without clear direction.
On Thursday, we will hold Vision Night (7-8pm in the Auditorium) and I hope you’ll be here to learn about our plans for the upcoming ministry year and beyond. My desire is to help you hear our vision and how it impacts what we’re doing to fulfill it in the next season. While many see obstacles, we need to see opportunities because that’s what God wants us to see. After all, He’s in control! Vision helps us look up and see God more clearly.
We have an exciting future ahead of us if we seize the opportunities God has given us. I hope you’ll be here to hear it and be a part of it.