A repeated theme coming into this office by e-mail is that loved ones -- friends and family -- will not llsten when discerning people try to tell them about our world today. If a reference is made to end-time activity, people will often scoff and literally brush them away. Some just don't have ears to hear about any current issue. While this has always been the case, it seems to be accelerated today. And this is happening when issues are so serious you would think it would help people carry out their lives more effectively if they only understood the times from a biblical perspective.
Yes, the issues of the day are unsettling. A Muslim wanted to explode a WMD but was caught recently in Texas. Jihadists are everywhere. Syria is being armed to the teeth by Iran and Russia. A coming conflagration in the Middle East is imminent. America's economy is now further damaged by soaring prices. Will this country ever recover from what has been done to it by greedy and evil people? This issue alone has caused many to tune out and drop out. It is too tragic to watch this nation be eaten away by corruption and by some elected officials who do not seek America's good.
But I believe there are a whole host of reasons why folks have closed their ears. Let me list a few options and suggestions that may help those of you who feel rejected for simply sharing the truth:
* As referenced above, the news today is too violent, frightening, troubling, and even shocking. Many want their minds and hearts to dwell on safer and more uplifting issues. Detaching from reality is a coping mechanism. There are many compassionate people. To keep hearing about wars, pain, suffering, injustice, weapons of mass destruction, persecution, jihad, and so much more breaks their hearts and spirits.
* Some have programmed themselves as though they were living "in the days of Noah." Nobody wanted to listen then either. The last generation is compared to the days of Noah. Are we the last? We do not know. It would seem things are winding down and yet things could go on for decades.
* Some have an end-time theology that says all believers will experience the worst of things outlined in the Bible. We will go through the Tribulation and even be here for the battle of Armageddon. While this is debatable to many, the real issue for all believers is how much will we have to go through before these events? Many don't believe in a rapture of the church. Others believe that will take place at the very end of the Tribulation or in the middle of it. They do not have that "blessed hope." While this ministry does not believe the church goes through the Tribulation, the purpose of this column is not to debate that. It is sad this issue has become so divisive. Arguing this, and often not in a friendly manner, is one of the most frequent communications we get. Church pulpits are silent on these topics and thus confusion and doubt reign.
* The greatest sign people need to watch is Israel. Yet Replacement Theology (that the church has replaced the nation of Israel) dominates our churches today. Thus, many are left clueless that the countdown has begun. They feel life will go on for hundreds of years. There is nothing unusual about our generation. Believers who point to Israel, Middle East war, and related issues, are just "the sky is falling" people. We have always had wars and rumors of war they state.
* There are enough pleasures in this life, so eternity can wait. They cannot listen to events that may touch their loved ones. What mother wants to contemplate horrors coming upon her children?
* Many today are seduced by false teachers promising a perfect world (Dominion/Kingdom Now theology) that the church can and will bring in. Seeing and hearing about instability, the Middle East in chaos, a coming financial meltdown, and coming trials, doesn't fit their biblical agenda. Some of them believe in a global revival yet and wish to focus on that. While there are pockets of revival today, the Bible indicates judgment faces the earth some day.
* Many know they are not right with God. They figure at the end of life they may do something about this. Right now, they want to enjoy life and tune out the world's troubles.
* Some do not know the Bible well enough to understand that God takes care of His own. He will never leave us or forsake us. That does not mean, however, that we might not have to go through some serious things. John Loeffler has produced an excellent DVD we sell, The Coming Persecution of Christians in the West.
Reality can break all of our hearts. We are not weak or immature Christians because we ache for the world. But suffice it to say that all creation is groaning as we wait the return of the King of Kings to set this world free from bondage, sin, and sorrow.
In eternity, I first want to meet Noah. He preached his heart out, admittedly not with the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, or a sound system. But even in his corner of the world, mankind ignored him for 120 years. Finally, the ark door closed. Plugging the ears to the wise words of many today will bring about a disaster for some. So don't give up!
If Jesus Christ is not your Lord and Savior today, please don't run away from the truth-tellers. You only need to repent of your sins and invite Him to be the Lord and Savior of your life. This frightening world will be much less scary if you will do that. Then you can focus on eternity a lot more and deal with this throbbing planet more effectively.
Having said all of the above, one thing is certain: There is no time like the present to share the gospel! Millions of unbelievers are drowning their sorrows, fear, and uncertainty in destructive behavior. You might be surprised how open they are to hear the truth of the gospel. Or they may shun you but hide your words in their heart and act on them later when their life or the world falls apart. We are always to be ready with an answer for everyone. Their response is not your responsibility.
The Bible tells us that the world will implode eventually. It has nothing to do with the Mayans and their 2012 calendar suggestion! Everything has an end, but for the Christian, the end begins a glorious future! I can hardly wait. I hope to meet you all there! Your prayers for this ministry and me are greatly appreciated.
by Jan Markell
Olive Tree Ministries