A sign of the times

The end is definitely nigh

Writing about any crisis is difficult. I am not a medic, nor a scientist, nor a historian. I read a few reports, even the horrendous statistics in Spain (though thankfully improving) but have not talked first hand to someone in Spain who has had the virus. It is easy to write when it has not been in your home. I do know people who have had it and recovered, I also know (not know of, but know) people who have passed away from the virus. So at times writing seems a cheap and easy thing to do, and maybe it is.

I am glad I am not a politician. Open up, get the economy back; keep it shut down the risks are too high. It can be easy to say, typical money over people. But in this world life is a compromise. Choices are of what is the better / best choice looking forward. Or in more theological language ‘what is the most redemptive choice we can make.’ With faith in Jesus, and eyes and voice raised heavenward that is not easy, so for those who do not profess faith and probably do not really believe in any help from heaven this is a time of huge crisis that they are seeking to help steer us through.

‘It is a sign of the times’. Read Matthew 24, and that wonderful future predicting book, the last one. Read it and how can you not join the dots. The end is nigh, for sure, this time. Well it is not an unexpected response. Remember Y2k? Computers will crash, airplanes will fall. Stock up, make sure you have enough beans (did we ever get a thank you from Heinz?). I am glad for the prophets who later apologised. Yet it got many people. Add to the Y2k that the earth is 6000 years old (splutter, splutter!!!!!). 1000 years as a day and… oh yes there is that final 1000 years at the end. Quickly count the fingers. The year 2000 and a crisis.

In my youth the writer who explained all things was Hal Lindsey. His books were fascinating. But so many signs of the times, so much so that 1988 was going to be absolutely cataclysmic, and certainly he had no expectation of being around for the millennial celebrations as the year 2000 rolled in – the blessed rapture would have seen to that, the ultimate ticket out of here! [A cheap comment that is just that… but one I adhere to. The secret rapture was such a close guarded secret that not even a whisper got out to any New Testament writer.]

All of this signs of the times of course is not new. Martin Luther, Christopher Columbus… and the writers who lived when Napoleon was marching around Europe had a field day; not to mention the days of Hitler, the rise of communism… and so it goes on.

By all means refer to the Bible to get some guidelines as to how we should respond in a time of crisis, but I just don’t think it wise to try to get the pen out with a ‘look here it is, written here some x-thousand years ago’ and then draw a line to ‘and here is what was predicted’. A little reading of history and the odds are so stacked against anyone coming close to getting it right are so high.

But a sign? For sure. A sign that creation eventually calls a halt to the abuse that those who are responsible for it have messed up. Will we take note of the sign? (And I have for some time said there is something / some things combining that will have a far greater impact in 2022.

We have entered a new era, or maybe much better to suggest we are entering a new era as it is not happening in a moment, maybe over a decade there could be a clear before and after.

Scripture says that God makes all things beautiful in its time (Eccl. 3). Does not mean that all times are beautiful, but God is working to pull something through in all times. I do not see this time as some form of judgement in any sense that might suggest God has said, ‘I’ve had enough’. And it does not mean that this time is going to be easy.

For entrepreneurs it is such a new time. The journey for former entrepreneurs might be drawn on to find some pointers but the world is changing, and entrepreneurs now are not simply going to follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before, they are pioneering for a new world.

There are great surprises coming with regard to where we see the Spirit at work. A while ago I spoke of three phases of any outpouring: immediate, generational and then those ‘afar off’. I think it can also be put into the big picture of Asuza Street (and the immediate years before), the charismatic into the historic churches some 60 or so years later, and then another 60 years on and here we are. Surprises, and some of what has got us here (‘we have never eaten anything unclean’) will be challenged, and not challenged in a gentle manner.

My post then is hopefully gentle. We are not exempt from difficulty. Those who survive are not the ‘goodies’ and all other ‘baddies’. We are all contributing to the future in these days. There is an era passing and a new one here. I think it is fruitless to look back to find these days in the Bible, and as we look forward we can only see as if we are looking through obscure glass.

Move that money…

We can make too much of an event, and certainly we can claim too much, particularly if we are of the evang-elastic persuasion. (Count all the claims for salvation made in some places and the entire population has been ‘saved’ a number of times over!) But I think we can also miss the moments on the way when we do not note possible shifts.

I had not planned on writing about Mammon and about the stewarding of finances other than it has bugged me for a while, and after the previous two posts along came two emails to my inbox yesterday. I don’t write this to make great claims simply… come on let’s shift some money that is locked up by Mammon and see a few valleys raised up.

I am also positive about the emails as resources have come from city coffers to those with a kingdom vision – one of the key signs of a city moving to her destiny is that sign. Money always being a biblical sign of a shift. First disturbance, then re-balancing moving to a healthier distribution.

In June 2004 I was led to declare this to a community of believers:

“That incredible favour is on you in this city not just in answers to prayer but in buildings.” Then declared” You are going to see finance flow into you from this city, And I am declaring that whole projects, not part projects, will be paid for out of this city.”

The email was lengthy in content but the highlights in relation to that declaration:

  • Our former site valued at one million pound site was swopped for land valued at three million, plus 5.9 million pounds to rebuild and agreed to cover all our expenses (£1.5m)!! Only God could do this. It makes no sense by anybody else`s maths except the Father’s.
  • The new site has given us reach into one of the poorest areas of the city and into two adjacent schools as well as people of other faiths. We have hosted conferences particularly run by the NHS and The Police and we estimate that in the region of 15,000 people have been at a conference in 20 months!!
  • We are inundated with comments about the different attitude and atmosphere that people meet in the new building and have had many opportunities to share Christ.
  • Then in the past days the city has committed to put another 0.5 million to renovate the top floor of our building in order to accommodate more than 170 Roma Children for whom they have no other space!!

It is hard to work out the significance of all this in the BIG picture of stewarding of finances, but given that we have thought about what part can anyone play when Mammon has such a loud voice… at least let’s keep pushing… and laughing!

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