Pastor’s Pen


SIGNS

Lakeside is in the process of identifying intersections where we might install directional signs to our campus. It’s our hope that by placing these signs at strategic points those looking for our campus will be able to find us with greater ease and perhaps those previously unaware of our presence will become aware. Of course, our desire is that these signs will be one way, among many, that we can reach our community with the Good news of Jesus Christ.

I was recently asked if we were one of those churches who constantly saw SIGNS of Christ’s return in every event. My answer was simple, “No, not in every event. But there are specific signs that can not and should not be ignored.” For those of us, who believe and trust Christ’s promise that He would return for us, these specific signs give us hope and encouragement and are an integral part of who we are in Him.

In general, signs come in all shapes, sizes and types. Some give us direction and encourage us to proceed while others caution us to stop and warn of the consequences of continuing in the direction we are headed. The same may be said of the SIGNS of our time identified through God’s Word. Unfortunately, many of us become so focused on accomplishing our daily rigors we never look up or around and we miss them. And if we do see them it’s often no more than awareness and not really a comprehension of the message that’s being conveyed. In that sense, I guess, we’re no different than those in Jesus’ day.

One day Jesus was confronted by the Pharisees who asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. Here was Jesus’ response in Matthew 16:2-3…

But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘it will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ “And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?

The signs of Jesus’ return are abundant today. Perhaps the greatest though is the exodus away from church. A recent issue of Faith and Family Values indicated that the importance of religion by generation is in decline. When asked “How important would you say religion is in your life?” the percentage who answered “very important” was:

Greatest Generation (-1928) 75%
Silent Generation (1928 – 1945) 67%
Boomer Generation (1946 – 1964) 60%
Generation X (1965 – 1980) 52%
Millennial Generation (1981 – ) 40%

I believe it’s important that we ask, “Why is this?” I’m sure we could list a number of reasons beginning with the decline of importance in the previous generation and the inherent affect. But, that still doesn’t answer the question, “Why”. Perhaps the answer is already found in Paul’s second letter the young preacher, Timothy, in 2 Timothy 4:3-4:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

The SIGNS tell us we are experiencing this today.

Listen, it may surprise you but I’m actually not a fan of “religion” either. I am however, a major fan of my relationship with Jesus Christ. So, how do we respond to the SIGNS today? Do we give up? Do we say, “Oh well, there’s nothing we can do because it’s written in the SIGNS”? NO! Because the SIGNS also tell us that we need to be urgent in the proclamation of the LIFE-GIVING message. Bottom line… every time we see a sign it brings us to the point of decision.

Listen to what Paul continued to write to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:5…

But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Do I see Christ’s soon return in every event today? No. But I see the signs sufficiently to tell me that time is short, the need is great and soon the opportunity to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ will be past.

Perhaps you’re someone who has missed those signs up until now. They haven’t meant much to you up to this point but now you’ve begun to look around and what you see concerns you. If so, allow me to make a suggestion…

First, please understand that being “religious” will not make you “righteous” before God. So, rather than being religious make sure that you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. By that I mean that there is a point in your life where you have asked forgiveness for your sins and invited Christ into your heart. This is more than just believing that He exists, this is surrendering your life to Him and living for Him.

And second, if you have really and truly made that commitment then Jesus intends that you grow in and through Him. To do this you must be involved in a church based on the principles of God’s Word. Involvement in a sound study group will help you understand and experience your new found freedom in Christ.

Perhaps you’re not ready to commitment yet… you’ve got more questions. That’s okay, I understand, questions are good. If that’s you, would you send those questions to me and allow me to help you in your journey? Just e-mail me at pastor_hendershot@msn.com and I will be glad to help.
I hope to see you at Lakeside soon!!

Pastor Larry