Well, another year has come and gone. Unbelievable. Alvin Toffler, author of "Future Shock," was right. Time does skip by at an ever accelerating pace. At least that is the perception we have of it. Time itself remains (for the time being) constant. The hours and minutes are not getting faster, rather, our perception of time changes as we get older. Lately I feel like I've been flying the Concorde.
On a more serious note, the Bible reminds believers: "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:15-16, NASB95). The Contemporary English Version puts this verse, "Act like people with good sense and not like fools. These are evil times, so make every minute count."
We do not know what lies ahead. This is the year our Lord could come so live ready; live expectantly. Even if he doesn't come, if we as God's people live ready, I believe he can and will come in the form of revival. What a change that would make in our world. Revival is like a candle - it's flame begins one light at a time and lights others until the flame is so bright everyone notices.
Unfortunately, there is a problem. The greatest hindrance to the Gospel message is professed Christians who are not living like believers ought. The late Vance Havner once observed, "Most church members live so far below the standard, you'd have to backslide to be in fellowship. We are so subnormal that if we were to become normal, people would think we are abnormal."
He wrote, "There was a time when sin shocked us. But as the brainwashing progresses, what once amazed us only amuses us. We laugh at the shady joke, tragedy becomes comedy; we learn to speak the language of (the fallen world). We are not here to learn how to live in the dark but to walk in the light. We are not here to get along with evil but to overcome it with good."
To this he adds, "My concern is not that most of our people are such wordlings that the cause of Christ does not attract them; it is rather that they are such weak Christians that anything else attracts them!"
I fear I am guilty as charged. Let's change that in 2008. Let the redeemed of the Lord begin to live like the redeemed. Let us begin to live worthy of the title we hold - Christian. Let us who call ourselves by that name begin to live Christ-like lives.
Allow me to quote Dr. Havner once again, "Roger Babson well said, 'Our churches will never get to first base by imitating popular service luncheon clubs.'" The person of Christ is easily lost in a program about him. We have emphasized programs and propaganda and pep and personnel, when we need most passion and power. We are trying to make church members do a lot of things they don't want to do anyway. When the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, it will not be necessary to encourage the saints by prizes and picnics and periodic shots in the arm to do the will of God. Churches like Samson, have gone to sleep in the lap of Delilah, and though they go forth Sunday after Sunday and shake themselves, the Spirit of the Lord has departed. Samson may have looked better after his hair was cut, but he lost his power. The world, the flesh and the devil have given churches a haircut. We have renounced our separation and have become conformed instead of transformed. And unless there is repentance and humbling before God and confession of sin from top to bottom in our major church bodies, God may use some irregular means as he has done before to call men back to him.
Let's pray and live and plead that in 2008 God will send forth his spirit in another great awakening and let it begin in me (that is each individual).
Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church. Write him in care of the church at 11677 Brown Bridge Road Covington, GA, 30016. Send e-mail to email@example.com