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The End of the World is Coming

Laura, the kids and I watched a Steve Carell movie the other night called, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012). Spoiler alert: If you don’t want to know what happened, you can skip the next two paragraphs. You have now been properly warned.

Steve Carell plays his typical non-descript, bland character who meanders through life looking for love (which he does quite well). In this movie, however, his character finds love right before the end of the world. He and his new-found love gaze romantically into each other’s eyes as the world is destroyed and . . . the movie ends.

Maybe some viewers come to the end of the movie and say, “How romantic. They found true love, and that’s what’s most important.” Right? Wrong. I’m not intending to sound like a dull, unromantic, but if the end of the world is coming, we’d better find a lot more than just mere human besotted affection.

But guess what? The end of the world is coming. No, I’m not going to carry a sign and shout through a bullhorn while I parade around Monument Circle. But the facts are the facts. This life is temporal, and either we’re going to “age out” or the earth is going to “age out,” but whichever comes first, we’d better get ready. I’m here to tell you that readiness is far more than seeking a friend for the end of the world. That’s a nice thought, but it’s not long-term thinking. We need to seek the Friend who will help us get through the end of the world, and His name is Jesus. He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die” (John 11:25, NIV).

I’ve been dwelling on this lately in light of COVID. This pandemic most likely will not bring about the end of the world, but it has brought a LOT of disruption, chaos, pain and death. The question I’ve been asking myself is, How am I living differently as a result of what’s happening? Am I seeking Jesus in a daily practice of prayer, reading of Scripture, silence, solitude, and engaging in deeper relationships?

Rich Mullins wrote a song many years ago that said, “Live like you’ll die tomorrow. Die knowing you’ll live forever.” Hmm. That’s what I choose. COVID or no COVID, the end of the world in fourteen days or long after I’m gone—I want to live like I’ll die tomorrow and know that I’ll live forever.

Is eternity just a religious concept left behind by our less-enlightened forefathers and mothers? Whatever you believe, are you willing to stake your destiny on it?

The Teacher writes that “God has placed eternity in the human heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Let’s choose to live as eternal beings in this temporal world, so that whatever comes—a resurgence of the coronavirus, an economic recession or worse, or if things begin to return to “normal”—we’re living like we’ll die tomorrow, knowing that we’ll live forever.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

Spiritual Battles Are Real

Over the past few months, I’ve become increasingly aware of the reality of the spiritual realm.  I’ve always believed that there is more to life than just the physical, tangible, temporal world, but I’ve functioned in many respects with a secular, rather than spiritual, worldview.

I’ve tended to recoil when people dive into conversations about spiritual warfare, demons, spiritual oppression, and spiritual attacks.  In my mind, I’ve often been judgmental of those who put too much stock in “the devil made me do it” and those who see demons hiding behind every rock.  When the devil or his legions are blamed for all marriage conflict, disobedient children, and church divisions, I skeptically respond with, “Well, could it be that you have some culpability as well?”

It’s easy for us to blame the devil every time something goes wrong.  And it’s easy to “demonize” those with whom we disagree.  I’m much quicker to conclude that someone else is being influenced by the dark side than to see any such devilish mischief reflected in my own attitudes and behaviors.

But not anymore. 

Over the past few months we have been bombarded with one of the worst global pandemics in history, and national division and unrest are paralleled, perhaps, only by the Civil War.  On a personal level, I’ve seen more attacks, confusion and chaos in ministry than in any other season of my life.  I’ve scratched my head on numerous occasions as of late and thought, Why is this an issue now?  Why is this person reacting this way now?  Why has this conflict emerged now? 

After five or six of such happenings, I’ve come to heed the Apostle Paul’s words that much more: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). 

This morning, Laura and I read the chapter titled, “The Supernatural,” in Mark Moore’s book, Core 52.  In it, Moore describes how there are multiple levels of demonic influence: Temptation, Oppression, Influence, and Possession.  He goes on to suggest three quick steps to minimize demonic influence: Scripture (reading or quoting aloud), worship music, and praying aloud in Jesus’ name. 

Herein lies the good news: “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).  In fighting spiritual battles, we know who ultimately wins.  God is greater, Jesus is the Victor, and “He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

But this doesn’t mean we sit back and do nothing.  Spiritual battles are real and must be fought with spiritual armor and our spiritual weapon—“the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). 

In C. S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, the demon-mentor, Screwtape, says to his protégé-nephew, Wormwood, “It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.” 

Let’s make sure we’re keeping the right things in and the wrong things out.  “Your word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11).  Whatever spiritual battles you may be facing right now, know that you are not alone.  You have the strength of God’s indwelling Spirit.  You have the church, Jesus’ followers who are with you.  And you have the angels of heaven by your side, those “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14).  Fight we must.  Fight we will.  Let’s just make sure we’re fighting the right enemy.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

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