Bad news seems to be the theme of our times. Each evening the television news is full of stories of violence, corruption, greed, immorality, financial crisis, and the loss of freedom. Our society seems to be disintegrating before our very eyes, and it is, all in fulfillment of end time Bible prophecy.
In February, the Calvary Chapel in Chino Hills, California, hosted its annual Bible Prophecy Conference. The pastor, Jack Hibbs, expected the attendance would be off due to the financial crisis. But exactly the opposite happened. The church experienced a record turn out of over 4,000 people, 1,000 of whom had to be put in an overflow hall!
Pastor Hibbs concluded that the theme he had selected for the conference was the reason for the incredible number of people who showed up. The theme was "Finding Hope in the Global Crisis." The interesting thing about this theme is that it was selected many months before the collapse of the stock market in September of last year.
The relevance of the theme was impressed on Pastor Hibbs a couple of weeks before the conference when two families came forward for prayer at two different services on Sunday morning. The first was a lady and her small children who were grieving over the loss of their husband and father who had hanged himself because they were about to lose their home to foreclosure. The second was a woman and her children who were also grieving over the suicide of the head of the family. He had shot himself over the loss of his job.
These tragic situations impressed upon the pastor how much people were hurting and how desperately they needed to sense some hope.
I had been asked to speak on "What Happens When You Die?" But after hearing these stories, I decided to focus on the hope we have in overcoming death and living eternally in a perfect new world, free of pain and suffering.
I experienced one of the most enthusiastic responses to my presentation that I have ever received. It obviously spoke to the congregation's need for hope.
Normally at such conferences, invitations are never offered, but because I was the last speaker on Saturday afternoon, before the break for dinner, I decided to offer an invitation for people to come forward for prayer. The response was absolutely overwhelming. The church's prayer team joined with me in praying for people for the next one and a half hours.
I ask that you, too, share the message of hope — the soon return of Jesus Christ — with everyone you come across today. Maranatha!