Friday, May 13, 2011

Is it possible to know when Jesus is coming back?

Matthew 24:36-44 declares, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father…Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come…So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.” At first glance, these verses would seem to provide a clear and explicit answer to the question. No, no one can know when Jesus is coming back. However, those verses do not say that no one will ever be able to know when Jesus will return. Most Bible scholars would say that Jesus, now glorified in Heaven, knows the timing of His return, indicating that the phrase “nor the Son” does not mean Jesus will never know when He will return. Similarly, it is possible that, while Matthew 24:36-44 indicates that no one at that time could know the timing of Jesus’ return, God could reveal the timing of Jesus’ return to someone in the future.

In addition, there is Acts 1:7, which states, "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority." This was said by Jesus after the disciples asked Him if He was at that time going to restore the kingdom to Israel. This would seem to confirm the message of Matthew 24. It is not for us to know the timing of Jesus coming back. But, there is also the question of to which return these passages are referring. Are they speaking of the rapture or the second coming? Which return is unknowable— the rapture, the second coming, or both? While the rapture is presented as being imminent and mysterious, the timing of the second coming could potentially (probably) be pinpointed based on end-time prophecy.

With that said, let us be abundantly (fully) clear: we do not believe that God has revealed (told) to anyone when Jesus is coming back, and we see nothing in Scripture which indicates that God will ever reveal to anyone when Jesus is coming back. Matthew 24:36-44, while spoken directly to the people in Jesus’ time, also contains a principle. The timing of Jesus’ return and the end of the age is not for us to know. Scripture nowhere encourages us to try to determine the date. Rather, we are to “keep watch, because we do not know on which day our Lord will come” (v. 42). We are to “be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when we do not expect Him” (v. 44). The force of Jesus’ words diminishes if at some point in the future someone will be able to determine when Jesus is coming back. If the date is discovered, we no longer need to “keep watch” or “be ready” until the date is approaching. So, with the principle of Matthew 24:36-44 is mind, no, it is not possible for anyone to know the date that Jesus is coming back.

Despite this clear biblical principle, many throughout Christian history have attempted to prophesy the date that Jesus is coming back. Many such dates have been proposed, and all of them have been wrong. Today, there are two popular proposed dates: May 21, 2011, and December 21, 2012. The December 21, 2012, date is related to the Mayan calendar, with no biblical data used as evidence. The May 21, 2011, date is proposed by Harold Camping of Family Radio. It should be noted that Harold Camping previously predicted that Jesus would come back in 1994. Obviously, Camping was wrong. This should give us yet another reason to doubt the validity of his prediction of May 21, 2011. Camping, does, however, claim to find evidence for the May 21, 2011, date in Scripture. By using a speculative date of 4990 B.C. for the Flood, and then applying the “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years” of 2 Peter 3:8 to the seven days of Genesis 7:4, and then counting down the 7000 years from 4990, the year 2011 results. Then, based on “the seventeenth day of the second month” from Genesis 7:11 and using the Hebrew calendar, the date of May 21 is determined. So, is there any validity to Camping’s methodology?

First, Camping conveniently ignores the second half of 2 Peter 3:8, “and a thousand years as one day.” Further, 2 Peter 3:8 is not providing a method for dating the end times. Rather, 2 Peter 3:8 is simply saying that God is above and beyond time. God is timeless, infinite, and eternal. Second, nothing in the context of Genesis 7:4-11 indicates that the “seven days” and “seventeenth day of the second month” are to be interpreted as applying to anything other than what God was specifically saying to Noah. Third, the Flood being dated to 4990 B.C. is speculative at best, with no explicit biblical evidence. Camping’s calculation of May 21, 2011, falls apart with even the most basic biblical scrutiny (close examination). Now, is it possible that Jesus is coming back on May 21, 2011? Yes, but it is just as possible that He will come back on any other date. Does Harold Camping’s particular dating methodology have any biblical validity? No, it does not. Assuming that Jesus does not return on or before May 21, 2011, Camping and others will surely calculate new future dates and will attempt to explain away mistakes by “errors in the formula” or something to that effect.

The key points are (1) the Bible nowhere encourages us to attempt to discover the timing of Jesus’ return, and (2) the Bible gives no explicit data by which the timing of Jesus’ return can be determined. Rather than developing wild and speculative calculations to determine when Jesus is coming back, the Bible encourages us to “keep watch” and “be ready” (Matthew 24:42-44). The fact that the day of Jesus’ return is unknown is what should motivate us to live every day in light of the imminence (closeness) of Christ's return.

"Is it possible to know when Jesus is coming back??" ~ by

Friday, March 11, 2011

Why Does God Allow Natural Disasters (Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Tornadoes & Tsunamis)?...

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." ~ Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

Why does God allow earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, tsunamis, typhoons, cyclones, mudslides, and other natural disasters? Tragedies such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the 2008 cyclone in Myanmar, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and the 2011 earthquake/tsunami near Japan cause many people to question God’s goodness. It is distressing that natural disasters are often termed “acts of God” while no “credit” is given to God for years, decades, or even centuries of peaceful weather. God created the whole universe and the laws of nature (Genesis 1:1). Most natural disasters are a result of these laws at work. Hurricanes, typhoons, and tornados are the results of divergent weather patterns colliding. Earthquakes are the result of the earth’s plate structure shifting. A tsunami is caused by an underwater earthquake.

The Bible proclaims that Jesus Christ holds all of nature together (Colossians 1:16-17). Could God prevent natural disasters? Absolutely! Does God sometimes influence the weather? Yes, as we see in Deuteronomy 11:17 and James 5:17. Numbers 16:30-34 shows us that God sometimes causes natural disasters as a judgment against sin. The book of Revelation describes many events which could definitely be described as natural disasters (Revelation chapters 6, 8, and 16). Is every natural disaster a punishment from God? Absolutely not.

In much the same way that God allows evil people to commit evil acts, God allows the earth to reflect the consequences sin has had on creation. Romans 8:19-21 tells us, “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” The fall of humanity into sin had effects on everything, including the world we inhabit. Everything in creation is subject to “frustration” and “decay.” Sin is the ultimate cause of natural disasters just as it is the cause of death, disease, and suffering.

We can understand why natural disasters occur. What we do not understand is why God allows them to occur. Why did God allow the tsunami to kill over 225,000 people in Asia? Why did God allow Hurricane Katrina to destroy the homes of thousands of people? For one thing, such events shake our confidence in this life and force us to think about eternity. Churches are usually filled after disasters as people realize how tenuous their lives really are and how life can be taken away in an instant. What we do know is this: God is good! Many amazing miracles occurred during the course of natural disasters that prevented even greater loss of life. Natural disasters cause millions of people to reevaluate their priorities in life. Hundreds of millions of dollars in aid is sent to help the people who are suffering. Christian ministries have the opportunity to help, minister, counsel, pray, and lead people to saving faith in Christ! God can, and does, bring great good out of terrible tragedies (Romans 8:28).

"Why Does God Allow Natural Disasters?" ~ by

Friday, March 4, 2011

God's Will or Your Will?

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, who would we go to? You have the words that give eternal life.We believe and know that you are the Holy One from God.”
~ John 6: 68-69 (NCV)

Even if we don’t understand God’s plan, we need to respond to his direction. In fact, when we don’t understand God’s plan, it is even more important to do exactly what he directs us to do.

Often, God asks us to make the choice to do his will before we know the specific details of his plan. That’s because part of God’s plan is to develop in us a trust of his character and his benevolence.

But this is where many of us get into a battle of wills with God, wanting him to reveal his plan to us first and only then will we decide whether or not to do what he tells us to do.

But that’s not the way it works. God wants you to decide in advance, trusting him and believing that his will is the best plan for your life, believing that he will strengthen you to do all that he asks you to do.

One reason God doesn’t give you the full picture of his plans for your life is that you may be overwhelmed by what you see. For instance, it may appear impossible for you to complete everything he plans for you during this Decade of Destiny. But that’s the point—there’s no way you can fulfill your mission without God empowering you.

Peter was in a constant battle with Jesus over what to do, but he also realized that there was no one else to trust but the Holy One of God, the Word of God in the flesh, Jesus Christ.

Do you still think there is someone else to go to find out what direction to take? Perhaps you still believe you know best? Tell God, “I don’t know that I’m willing to step out in faith without first knowing everything that’s going to happen, but I’m willing to be made willing.”


"God's Will or Your Will?" ~ by John Walker (

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Who Is the Real Jesus?

"Jesus said, “I came into this world so that the world could be judged. I came so that the blind would see and so that those who see will become blind.” ~ John 9:39 (NCV)

Why is a real relationship with Jesus so difficult? Why is it so challenging? It is because we tend to create a quasi-relationship (unsure about relationship) with a made-up Jesus. We create a version (image) of Jesus in our minds, one who makes few demands on us. This made-up Jesus basically does what we expect, and then leaves us alone.

Here’s the problem, this made-up Jesus doesn’t care about us. He doesn’t care if we succeed or fail, if we’re blind or able to see, if we live or die. But the real Jesus cares deeply about you. He loves you passionately (deeply). He’s been pursuing you since the day you were born. You can ignore him; you can curse him; you can refuse to believe he exists. But Jesus he passionately (deeply) pursues you.

Jesus says in Revelation 3:20, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you, and you will eat with me." (NCV).

He loves you passionately (deeply in His heart). He doesn’t want a relationship of rote (memory) prayers, rule keeping and formulas (method). As the apostle Paul says, “Christ's love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with the fulliness of God.” ~ Ephesians 3:19 (NCV).

This is a messy, uncomfortable, passionate relationship. It’s rich and deep and ultimately fulfilling. That’s why Jesus won’t leave you alone, because he wants you to experience real and eternal (lasting forever) life. This real relationship is with the real Jesus who hung on a cross for you. Picture him there, looking across through time and into your eyes saying, “I love you. I’m willing to die for you. I’m willing to give everything so that you can know me and have a real life of passion, love and eternal life.”

Where are you at? Are you content (happy with) to live the life that you’ve lived? Or are you ready to cross that line to live a passionate (deep in heart), messy, real relationship with a real Jesus who loves you?
"Who Is the Real Jesus" ~ by Geoff Suratt (

Friday, February 11, 2011

True Follower of Christ...

The true follower of Christ will not ask, "If I embrace (accept) this truth, what will it cost me (worth)?" Rather he will say, "This is truth. God help me to walk in it, let come what may (whatever may happen)!"  – A.W. Tozer

Monday, January 24, 2011

Without Jesus Christ...

"Without Jesus Christ man must be in vice (bad habit) and misery (torture, miserable), with Jesus Christ man is free from vice and misery; in Him is all our virtue (honor) and all our happiness. Apart from Him there is but vice, misery, darkness, death and despair." ~ Blair Pascai

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Honduras Deaf Children...

Happy Saturday!

I hope this post will touch your hearts like it did to mine. My hope is to try get you in my shoes to what I see. At the end, we all can see God’s emotional love for the poverty Honduras deaf children who many do not have hopes for future. Few years ago, I had the opportunity go to Honduras on a deaf mission with another deaf pastor and friends. Upon arrival, I met many deaf children who had scarce food, few clothes, no shoes, or toys. What was worst was there were no water to provide showers or bath, no clean drinking water, no doctors or no medicine were available to deaf children. Even a $5 pizza from Pizza Hut (yep, there’s a long line of American branded restaurants in nearby town what they call a “Rich City”) is a luxury food to them!

Many of the deaf kids have suffered a lot through gang wars, drugs and prostitute. It was practically survival of the fittest. Everyone had to fight for their lives every single day. For many years, the area did not have schools for deaf children until 5-10 years ago. They built couple deaf schools to help them succeed in life. It was a great God-sent gift to the area! However, many deaf children still struggle going to school because of live far away and some couldn’t afford to go there. It breaks my heart to see this and sad to see their struggles. Compared to our lives in the USA, we take everything for granted. The Honduras deaf kids need our help more than anything…“Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Get for yourselves purses that will not wear out, the treasure in heaven that never runs out, where thieves can’t steal and moths can’t destroy.” ~ Luke 12:33 (NCV)

Honduras boy praying
One of the many extraordinary experiences I’ve seen was many deaf children were very happy and playful. Even they don’t have everything, even toys. These little precious kids absolutely changed my life and perspective. I’ve became more humble, caring and compassionate. I never saw “complain” or “whine” in their words (sign language). I feel like such a fool because I used would complain about everything at home and they were living their lives as if it was no tomorrow. It is an mind-boggling experience. As I mentioned the pizza earlier in the post, one day I asked the kids what they like to eat. Many didn’t know what to answer. I asked them what food places they had, they gave me a list. Pizza Hut was on the list, I asked them if they like pizza. They said, “Too expensive! Too expensive!” I asked my pastor friend how much they cost. I was told a large pizza was only $5. My jaw dropped. So we ordered 10 wonderful pies. The kids were so thrilled and ran home and all came back with face and hands all washed up, wore their best outfit (even several wore ties) and hair combed. I couldn’t believe it. I was so choked up and teary, tried not to cry. They were absolutely awesome kids.

The more we share stories about Lord Jesus Christ, the more happy and joyful they were. Our deaf mission group brought some supplies and toys to give to the poverty deaf children. They had the biggest smile, extremely excited, some even cried, and were inspired. One of the best moments was when I saw a boy had some kind of an injury to his knee. He couldn’t walk very well on it. We all prayed for his knee. God gave us the Holy Spirit and his knee was healed. With the biggest smile on his face, he got up and ran as fast as he could! He was able to play soccer. Another boy suffered from shoulder problems. We also prayed for his shoulder and it healed, too. He loved swimming, and was able to get back to swimming. This whole incredible experience made me cry. It was a blessing to see their joy and God was so GOOD!

Back in the homeland, after many prayers in the past few years, God opened a door for me to start deaf ministry, Operation Jesus Christ Deaf Ministries, to allow us raise money to help the poverty deaf children in Honduras. Our goal is to provide supplies such as clean drinking water, food, clothes, better education, job training skills, schools, and build deaf churches. We also have plans to develop visual deaf Bibles and donate them. If we all can join together in raising money to help the deaf children, God will bless all of us. We read somewhere no too long ago that if one donates $25, it will feed one child for the entire year….yes, one whole year! Imagine how we can help many for the whole year?

We are still working on the donation program and we will let you know soon when we will be able to start accepting the donation as soon as we become registered as 501(3). We’ll have a new website soon and keep you posted. Even Jesus said poverty deaf children are very precious to Him and they belong to Heaven!... “But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to people who are like these children.” ~ Matthew 19:14 (NCV)

Please continue help all of us at OJC Deaf Ministries through prayers and please do consider helping us to make God’s dream come true! Thank you for taking the time to read this. God bless you, brothers and sisters in Christ.

Andrew Lower
President – Operation Jesus Christ Deaf Ministries

Monday, January 17, 2011

Changing Your Life Will Require Focus...

"Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect." ~ Romans 12:2 (NCV)

If you want to have lasting change in your life, you need to refocus your mind. Specifically, you need to change your thought patterns from focusing on what you don’t want -- to focusing on what you do want. And this is why: Because what ever you focus on is what you move toward. Today’s verse gives us the blueprint to change our thought patterns --
  • “Do not conform …” How often do we let other people shape our lives? God doesn’t want you to be like someone else; he wants you to be the person he made you to be. So don’t copy, don’t conform, don’t try to be like anybody else.
  • “… any longer …” There are a lot of things you start off doing by copying others but then they turn into a habit.
  • “… the pattern of this world.” Pattern means the model of everything you’ve learned in life. If you want to change, you have to change your pattern or model of living that you learned in your life. You need to replace the old, unhealthy pattern with a new one modeled after the life of Christ.
  • “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Transformed is the same as the word we use for metamorphosis, the process a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly. In the same way, God wants to transform you into a completely new person by renewing your mind.

How does this happen? The Bible tells us in
 Ephesians 4:22-24, "You were taught to leave your old self—to stop living the evil way you lived before. That old self becomes worse, because people are fooled by the evil things they want to do. But you were taught to be made new in your hearts,to become a new person. That new person is made to be like God—made to be truly good and holy." (NCV)

This means you are going to have to do some putting off and you are going to have to do some putting on. And the putting off has to happen before the putting on. It’s just like trying on clothes in a department store. Before you can try on the new stuff, you have to take off the old stuff.

You’re going to have to let go of the old attitudes, the old thought patterns, the old images that you’ve been living with so you can put on the new garments God has for you to be renewed in a changed mind.

"Changing Your Life Will Take Concentration" ~ by Rick Warren, senior pastor at Saddleback Church (