Nobody Knows

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Deuteronomy 16-18; Mark 13:1-20

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Jesus said, “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many people will come in my name, saying, ‘I’m the one!’ They will deceive many people.When you hear of wars and reports of wars, don’t be alarmed. These things must happen, but this isn’t the end yet. Nations and kingdoms will fight against each other, and there will be earthquakes and famines in all sorts of places. These things are just the beginning of the sufferings associated with the end (Mark 13:5-8, Common English Bible).

Harold Camping was a radio broadcaster, evangelist, and author but that is not his claim to fame. Yes, because of the radio broadcasts that went on more than 150 radio markets nationwide. Still, Camping was best known for his more than 12 predictions of Jesus’ return and the end time prior to his death in 2013. In 2011 he predicted Jesus would return on May 21st of that year. What that didn’t happen he said he had made a math error and the new date was October 21, 2011. He was obviously wrong again.

Camping, an extreme case, and others are exactly who Jesus warned us about in the lesson today. “Many people will come in my name…They will deceive many people.” In my lifetime alone there have been 72 predicted dates for the end of time. There are another seven dates predicted still resting in the future between 2020-2280. We can safely assume that at least six of those will also be wrong. It would also be a safe assumption there will be more predictions in the future.

Over the years, people have asked me many times what my prediction might be. I am not interested in being one of those people who come in Jesus’ name and deceive people. That is not my job. I fail to understand why some people are so obsessed with these predictions when Jesus said, “But nobody knows when that day or hour will come, not the heavenly angels and not the Son. Only the Father knows (Matthew 24:36, Common English Bible).”

My usual answer is, “I don’t know and in my opinion, it isn’t the real question. The real question is, ‘If you knew the end was coming tomorrow, would you live your life differently today? If the answer to that question is yes, then you really need to change how you are living because the truth is, for any of us, the end could come tomorrow or even today.”

To me, being the person who comes in Jesus’ name and mislead the people around me is counterproductive to my call. The world doesn’t need a person who is prediction number 73 or 80 or however many there will have been by the day in question.

What God did call me to do is to share God’s love in word and deed the people God brings into my life. Jesus didn’t say the most important commandment was to predict the His return or the end of time. The most important commandment is to love God and love neighbor. That is the center of my call and I would argue, it is the center of your call as well. May we all demonstrate to the world what is truly important.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

 

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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