The economy seems to be doing well these days. In the world of real estate they say it is a seller’s market. Precious metals are holding steady. People are building, buying, partying, playing, and the list goes on. Regarding religions and worldliness, there are both perversions and purities depending on which side you live. I suppose that it’s Business As Usual.
Business as usual is the interpretation that most give to the words of Jesus found in Luke 17:28, “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded.”
People were going about the daily duties of life. They were living from paycheck to paycheck; vacation to vacation; putting in time and enjoying the accumulation of things. Sin, of course, was the order of the day as they followed the whims of their carnal nature. It was all typical until the day that Lot left Sodom. Jesus made a comparison in verse 30: “the world will be going about their lives. It will be business as usual right up until the day, the moment, when the Messiah returns.”
Jesus said that right before His coming there will be an unawareness. Few will be watching for His return. Many will be engrossed in their daily grind and chores; filled up with personal ambitions and goals. Politics and entertainment will fill every empty moment of the day. Making money and paying bills will dominate the thoughts of people. Getting over the next hurdle; a birthday party; a deadline to make; an interview to prepare for… life will consume the mind of believers and sinners alike.
It will all be the same as the day before UNTIL the Trumpet sounds and Jesus is revealed. Then everything will stop. The change that is coming will be so profound that nothing else will matter. The entire world will shift in a single second of time. It will be so extreme and overwhelming that no one will be able to explain it or dismiss it. All that is typical will be transformed into abnormal. The Righteous will be gone and their preserving power will be removed. Like a rotting meat, society will instantly begin to decay. The Church is the Salt of the Earth and when that preserving salt is taken away, the world will abruptly devolve into chaos and confusion.
I write to say: Be sober, be vigilant. Don’t allow the cares of this world or Business As Usual cloud the soon coming of the Lord. Flee the lusts of the flesh. Find friends that love truth and reject anyone who leads you away from commitment and consecration. Stay faithful to the House of the Lord. Finally, give away what you cannot keep to gain what you cannot lose.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
There may not be much conflict among the greater Christian population, but I’ve never personally been interested with the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) Campaign. Having watched the devaluation of holy things and holiness in our society, it seems odd to superimpose the Savior onto automobiles, foods, and houses. The WWJD crowd went from asking about His nature to His preferences, e.g., “what would Jesus drive?” or “what would Jesus eat (meat? dolphin?)” or “what would Jesus wear?”
These speculations have clouded our intent to be like Him. I would rather ask, “What Did Jesus Do?” and “What Did Jesus Say?” The beautiful part of these questions is that they don’t call for opinion or hypothesis. They don’t depend on cultural settings or the outcome of a religious focus group. The Bible tells us exactly what He did and exactly what He said. Matthew 9:35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
Jesus went about doing good. He loved people; rebuked the self-righteous; and commanded us to be born again of the water and the Spirit (John 3). Jesus fellowshipped with the low class and the high class. He was a friend to the friendless and was the self-proclaimed Door of Heaven. He made bold statements to repent or perish. He prophesied of the end of the world and ordained a Church that the gates of Hell could not penetrate. Jesus loved people from every walk of life and He promoted His Kingdom above all other things.
The amount of scripture devoted to Him in both testaments is so rich there is no need to reinterpret Him. He needs no explanation, just an introduction. A few Greek men revealed this in John 12. They came to a festival and approached Philip saying, “Sir, we would see Jesus.” John 12:21, i.e., “Don’t tell us what you think about Him. Just lead us to Him.”
They were not there for a social event. They were not interested in a commentary or opinion about what He might do. They simply wanted to see the Master, Teacher, and Healer for themselves. In doing so, they removed speculation and found out Who He was.
I cannot tell you what kind of car He might drive if He lived on earth today. Who knows what His recycling habits might be or what type of food He might eat. What I do know is what He did. He came to build a church. He came to set the captives free. He gave liberty to them, which were bound. He was the Perfect Lamb of God sent to take away the sins of the world. I’m after His nature, not a presumption.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
The first chapter of Exodus seems so far away. The world was in chaos. Spiritual leadership had been drowned out by the plethora of lifeless gods. Egypt was both a powerful economy and a hedonistic civilization. The leaders of Egypt had forgotten the blessing of Joseph and were now firmly set against anything that might include Yahweh. The people of God had been marginalized and then enslaved. There was all-out oppression toward anyone who might confess their beliefs in the God of Israel. In light of all of it, I suppose that maybe the commencement of Exodus is not so far removed from us.
The second chapter, however, features the heart of Jochebed, the mother of Moses. If for a moment, I wish we could forget about the Red Sea-parting Moses or the Rock-striking Moses. He was none of those things when Jochebed decided to save him. He was a baby with an unknown future, born into a whirlwind of confusion and death. The Nile had already boasted of a human graveyard to thousands. Pharaoh was moved by fear and hate, resulting in the murder of the Hebrew male offspring. It was a dangerous time to have a son.
Nevertheless, Jochebed decided that Moses was worth the cost of her own life, even though she had no knowledge of his future. Moses would become Israel’s greatest leader. He would communicate with God in a way unknown to common man. Even God would one day say, “I speak to others in visions, but to Moses I speak face to face.” Yet Jochebed knew none of it. She wasn’t saving the future leader of Israel. She was just saving his potential. She wasn’t preserving a prophet; she was preserving the possibility of the anointing.
We cannot always predict what the future may hold, but we can preserve the potential. The Church is the mother of us all and it is incumbent upon us to protect the future of each other. God is not finished with us yet and that is enough for each of us to show mercy and grace upon one another. Our potential is the thing held in the balance. The possibility of a great revival; tangible miracles; blessings of every kind are all held in that realm of potential.
The heart of a mother knows what I speak of when I say, “We must Protect the Promise.” Who knows that what we build through mercy, grace, kindness, and love might actually save the one who will lead us into a mighty promise land.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
Joshua’s battle at Jericho is perhaps one of the Bible’s great military victories of all time. In historical reflection it was Israel’s first conquest after they crossed the Jordan and the city was its era’s most fortified city. Israel’s defeat of Jericho would set the tone for every other battle that lay ahead of them, of which there were many. All they had to do was obey the voice of the Lord and follow the leading of Joshua. Seems simple, right?
Curiously, the scripture gives two orders in Joshua 6. God told them to march around the city; when and for how long. God told them to blow the trumpets and have the people shout. However, when Joshua repeated God’s command, he added one more thing: Josh 6:10 “Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout.”
Joshua added, “don’t speak.” I submit the reason Joshua forbade them to speak was that he had firsthand knowledge of the power of a negative word. Joshua had walked aimlessly in the desert for 40 years by virtue of the negative words used by the ten leaders of Israel, which also spied out the land of Canaan. He was acutely aware of the damage a negative report could bring and he was not willing to risk losing his first battle on the chance of a loose tongue.
James wrote of the deadly power of the tongue. NIV James 3:5-6 “Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” New Life is marching onward toward a great revival. However, God’s purpose in our lives and church can be foiled by foolish conversation and negative language. Prov 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”
What a tragedy to think that the harvest could be unreached; the battle forfeited; the lost remain hopeless all because the wrong thing was said at the wrong time. I believe that our revival is contingent upon what we say as we march forward. Walls are about to come down if we obey, pray, seek, and become a unified body! Yes, we are on the verge of a powerful move of God, but it is not contingent upon His power. It is resting in our hands and maybe, on our tongue.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole