Heaven Pt. 31

“And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass:” Lev. 26:18,19 KJV

I was talking with another member of our staff today about the lengths God will go to in order to get our attention.

Contrary to what many people think God is not out to get us. What He really wants is for us to get Him or to “hearken unto Him.”

People think judgment is all about God’s wrath but really it’s about His mercy in the midst of wrath. God does not desire to shut up Heaven against anyone. He is not especially pleased to swipe away the blessing from a person’s life. Nevertheless, He will do it if somehow that will bring us back onto the pathway that leads to Him. When it comes to a choice between a person’s eternal destination and their comfort eternity wins out every time.

While we are quick to believe the level of our pain indicates the level of God’s callousness more often it indicates the level of His love in reaction to our callousness.

As people around us become harder to the things of God we can expect that God will reflect his love and mercy in their lives through hardship and judgment. Let us be a voice that urges people to return to the sanctuary of God for a future and a hope!

Let’s pray: God I know you never shut up Heaven in judgment against a person without a reason. We know that in judgment you do remember mercy and that mercy is your goal continually. Use me God to encourage those I see struggling because of sin to come into your merciful and loving arms once again through repentance! In Jesus name A-men!

Look Up!

“Teacher,” they asked, “when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to take place?”

He replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’  and saying, ‘The time has come!’ But don’t believe them. And when you hear of wars and insurrections, don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place first, but the end won’t follow immediately.”

Then he added, “Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and plagues in many lands, and there will be terrifying things and great miraculous signs from heaven.

“But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followersBut this will be your opportunity to tell them about me.  So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you!

Even those closest to you—your parents, brothers, relatives, and friends—will betray you. They will even kill some of you. And everyone will hate you because you are my followers.  But not a hair of your head will perish! By standing firm, you will win your souls. And when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you will know that the time of its destruction has arrived.

Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. Those in Jerusalem must get out, and those out in the country should not return to the city. For those will be days of God’s vengeance, and the prophetic words of the Scriptures will be fulfilled.

How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. For there will be disaster in the land and great anger against this people. They will be killed by the sword or sent away as captives to all the nations of the world. And Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles until the period of the Gentiles comes to an end.

“And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory.  So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!”  Luke 21:7-28 NLT

 Lately I have been looking up! What have you been looking at?

Passion: Holding The Fort!

      “I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith. For you will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God. This is because they have never known the Father or me. Yes, I’m telling you these things now, so that when they happen, you will remember my warning. I didn’t tell you earlier because I was going to be with you for a while longer. ” John 16:1-4 NLT

         My Dad was none too happy when I started going to church with my Uncle Tom. Uncle Tom was and is a dyed in the wool Pentecostal, blood bought, Spirit baptized, Holy Ghost sanctified Christian. In Dad’s estimation a nice nut but a nut none the less.

     When I decided to become a Christian and was born again Dad threatened to forbid me from church if I didn’t start thinking through my philosophies in life. From that point on Dad and I had lots of “lively discussions” about faith. I never considered it persecution really but it was definitely opposition. Dad made room for my Christianity but was sure to point out it was only because he was free thinking enough to let me make my own mistakes in life. He was sure it was all just a phase I would grow out of.

      As I reflect on my situation I am so thankful my Dad was a free-thinker.  The extent of my persecution has been some jocular ribbing from family members who think me the next generation of “nice nut”. Meanwhile brothers and sisters around the world are giving their lives for the cause of Christ.

      This week we received word that Christians in Laos were raped and murdered while their families were forced to watch. Churches in India were burned to the ground and our denominational headquarters in the Ivory Coast was pillaged.

     Paul in writing his second letter to Timothy said “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. ” II Tim 3:12 NLT

      As the church in America faces these last days we need to recognize that we are in a blessed position that is not guaranteed to continue. In fact Scripture pretty much assures us that if we do our job of sharing Jesus it will not continue. It is an oddity that a gospel of love and hope should elicit a reaction of violence but that’s the way our world operates.

     We used to sing a song in the church called “Hold the Fort” The chorus says ““Hold the fort, for I am coming,” Jesus signals still;
Wave the answer back to Heaven, “By Thy grace we will.” (Hold The Fort, Philip Bliss)

      These are good words for the church to grasp hold of in these days. It’s time to trust in God’s grace to help us endure and more than that to powerfully spread the Good News that Jesus has died and risen again to save the lost! Any price we might pay will be made up as souls are added to the kingdom!

How do you think persecution will come to American Christians?


Pastor Wrinkle’s Corner: The End


1. Tell me what it mean in your own words to be born again




2.  Tell me why you would want to be baptized in the Holy Spirit



Tonight we are finishing up the Book of ___________________.

We are covering the __________________ part of the book or the part that has yet to happen.

In Your groups: Read Revelation 20:11- 22:21

Discuss what you think the end of time looks like. Who do you believe you will see there? Why?





In your small groups tonight you talked about the end of __________ and Heaven. Now we are going to talk about the judgment that leads up to the wonderful time in Heaven.

The judgment of Earth is yet to ______________ and we don;t really know when it will happen.

It takes seven years and is three ___________ of seven judgments.

It is all kicked off by the rapture of the church. Tell me in your own words what that is.



Seven seal judgments:








Seven Trumpet judgments:








Seven Bowl judgments:








After this comes the ____________________ reign of Christ and then the Battle of ______________________ and then eternity.

This has been the story of God’s bargains with mankind.

Do you accept the bargain?


Psalm 36

Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.

Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O LORD, you preserve both man and beast. 

How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.

They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. Continue your love to those who know you, your righteousness to the upright in heart.

Dear Readers, These were taken just after the string of thunderstorms that came through MA last week. How nature can bring such destruction and such beauty together I do not understand. It seems to be only another indicator of the “creation groaning in eager expectation for the revealing of the sons of God.”


Pastor Wrinkle’s Corner: Which Church Are You?

Let’s Review:

1. What does it mean to be born again?


2. What does it mean to be baptized in the Holy Spirit


Tonight we are going to begin with the last book of the Bible _________________.

What is a revelation?


This is the Revelation of _____________      ____________.

In this book John reveals who Jesus is and _____________ in the future.

The Book of Revelation was written on the Island of _____________, where John was imprisoned for the faith. On ____________ John was praying when he saw a vision of Jesus.

Listen to this description:

“which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”  I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands,and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,”  dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. ” Rev. 1:11-19 (NIV)

      So Revelation is a book about what John has seen what is __________ and what will take place later. Everyone thinks the book is only about the end but tonight we are going to talk about the part of the book that is happening now.

In Your Groups:

Read Rev. 2 and 3:

1. Write here the names of the seven churches and as you go along list their problems and what will happen if they overcome.

Church Name           Problem               If Overcome









Now back together.

If the church of America was any of these seven churches which would it be? Why?



If you were one of these churches which would you be? Why?

So What’s A Saint To Do?

     I have been a Christian since 1981. I never thought the day would come when I’d say I’ve been __ANYTHING_______ for thirty years. But here it is and I can actually say I have some hindsight which can serve my foresight.

    In all my thirty years as a Christian I have never heard so much end of the world talk as I have in the last few years…. And I come from “pre-trib rapture, Bible thumpin’, say it like you mean it, the end of the world is coming, so don’t get left behind” Christianity! So when I say I have never heard so much end of the world talk that’s sayin’ somethin’.

      It’s coming from pulpits, politicians, and goodness knows even pushers on the streets. We’ve seen Katrina, tsunamis, earthquakes, the reaching of the debt ceiling on Wall street, and renewed persecution of our Christian brothers and sisters across the globe. We’re experiencing the break down of the family and the rising tide of wickedness. As knowledge increases wisdom seemingly flies out the window. Meanwhile the spirit of anti-christ looms palpably just off stage. We know it. Even pagans know it.

So what’s a saint to do in light of coming events?

    Well God has given several words I think are cogent here.

1. Don’t panic – Christians are never to be driven by fear. We are the people whose inheritance is “righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Ghost”.  How many times does the Bible tell us to “fear not”? 62 times! and that doesn’t include the times God told us not to worry or not to be anxious.

    But fearing not doesn’t just happen we have to work at it. Paul wrote to his protegé Timothy , “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.2 Timothy 1: 7 KJV  Yet in the verse directly preceding this, Paul indicates that if we are to walk free from fear experiencing power, love, and a sound mind we have to actively stir up the gift of God inside of us. We do this in two ways:

2. Pray more – Christian, we are not praying enough. The Daily Bread is great and The Word for Today is awesome. But let’s stop thinking that because we pick it up and read it as the car is warming or the coffee is brewing that we have success in our prayer life! We need a prayer movement in the church like unto the Moravians. Nothing short of prolonged daily prayer by the body of Christ as a whole will keep the church covered and free from fear and despair.

3. Prepare Completely– So many people hear about the end times and start stock piling food and water as though somehow tuna and Poland Springs will stave off an earthquake. Preparing completely is first spiritual, then mental/emotional, then physical.

      Spiritually we need to know we are ready to meet Jesus should He call for us today or a decade from now. We need to have clean consciences. Fear is averted when the child of God knows that nothing stands between them and the love of God. Frankly many of us have piles of sin between us and the Father that we have never let Jesus clean away. 

    Secondly we have to be mentally and emotionally prepared to bear whatever cross may come. Are we truly prepared to join with Jesus in the fellowship of his sufferings so that we might somehow attain the power of the resurrection? I have been really astonished at my own  misunderstanding about suffering. I can talk pretty glibly about it but going through it is another matter. It really hurts. I am learning though that even “take your breath away” pain won’t kill me. It can’t. I have eternal life. While I know that, I have had to learn that suffering will never be anything other than…suffering. I have stopped expecting it to be great or enjoyable. I have come to understand it will always stink. I have begun to learn that the best I can do is ignore it and focus on the good things and there are always good things. I have also come to an understanding that suffering is not forever; It just feels like it when your walking through it.

     Finally have prepared spiritually and mentally THEN I am ready to prepare physically. I am planning for famine. I hope it doesn’t happen but I am learning to ” grow my own”. Mostly I am trying to train myself to live simply. In America we have grown very used to our luxuries. I have begun to ask, “What can I do without?” I have begun to practice living with less. Preparing physically does not mean making it so I can keep my current standard of living. It means rethinking my standards and bringing them in line with what the Word says (and I have to tell you Americans have a skewed view of what prosperity really is). Preparing physically means listening to what the Lord says we should do to make ourselves ready and doing that. For some its paying off debt. For others it’s getting into better physical condition. For others it is building up a food supply. For all of us it is learning that God has always provided for His people in times of need even if it meant He had to supernaturally drop bread from Heaven every morning.

So what’s a saint to do? I guess really it’s just what we should have been doing all along.


Passion: Who’s Patting Your Back?

    Jesus spent three years in public ministry establishing the fact that he was the Messiah. He healed the lepers. He gave sight to the blind. At his touch the deaf heard. Christ delivered the demoniac. He raised the dead. He publicly proclaimed the message God, the Father, gave him. Yet he came to the end of his time among us and John testified of him, “Despite all the miraculous signs he had done, most of the people did not believe in him… Many people, including some of the Jewish leaders, believed in him. But they wouldn’t admit it to anyone because of their fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than the praise of God. ” John 12:37,42,43

      Let’s face it the political odds were stacked pretty thickly against Jesus. It seemed the whole world order, every political influence was positioned in diametric opposition to Jesus’ Messianic rise. Truthfully not much has changed. Oh, the powers that be might put a more politically correct face on it today…but the whole world order, the social and political influence of the day is in diametric opposition to Jesus Messianic rise in our lives.

     We criticize the men in the Sanhedrin for wanting the praise of men more than the praise of God. But are we so different? When push comes to shove how many of us choose just to keep silent in order not to make waves with our faith?

     I am guilty of it. I remember a time when I was a student in an evangelistic class. Our assignment was to go with a partner and witness for Jesus in a public location. My “lab” companion was a dyed in the wool zealot. Our assigned location for the witness was the King of Prussia Mall. The night of the assignment I thought of calling my class mate and telling him I was sick. I would rather have taken a bath in lava. I didn’t want to look stupid. I wanted to appear cool. I wanted people to go to Heaven as long as they approved of me along the way. If in order to help them down the pathway to eternal life I had to get out of my comfort zone maybe even cause a bit of a stir I guess I was O.K. with people going to Hell. It’s a sad admission but it’s where I was.

     I was willing to hide my faith in Christ for a pat on the back by my fellow-man. I have traded my faith for silence and approval more times than I care mention. Had I lived in Jesus days I am quite sure I would have been the target of Jesus response to his nation’s unbelief.

” Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are really trusting God who sent me. For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the darkness. If anyone hears me and doesn’t obey me, I am not his judge—for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. But all who reject me and my message will be judged at the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. ” John 12: 44-48

      I wonder how many times Jesus actually shouted in his life. The unbelief of the Jews because of peer pressure brought on a shout. I know he is just as angered with me when I settle for a pat on the back from men in exchange for hiding my own faith. I know for me it’s time to serve God more boldly not less.

How about you? Who’s patting your back?

Pastor Wrinkles Corner: To Be Caught Up

Let’s Review:

1. What does it mean when I say Jesus is Savior?

2. What does it mean when I say Jesus is Healer?

3. What does it mean when I say Jesus is the baptizer?

4. What does it mean when I say Jesus is the soon and coming king?

Tonight we are going to talk about _____________ more of Paul’s letters 1st and 2nd Thessalonians. These were letters written to the church in the Greek city of __________________.

In Your groups:

1. Paul said other churches talked about the Thessalonians in this way “They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” 1 Thess. 1,9,10

What’s and idol? Why did the Thessalonians need to turn from them in order to get to God? Do we have idols today?

2.  1st Thessalonians 2: 19 says, “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?”

Paul also writes in 1st Thess. 3: 13 “May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.”

What coming of Jesus do you think Paul is talking about in these verses? What do you think that is going to look like?

Now Come together

Tonight we are speaking about the ______________ coming of Christ which the Bible speaks about in many places. Every ______________  but the very last in Thessalonians has a reference to this time in history.

You have already read three of them. Let’s look at the others.

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” I Thess. 4:16,17

“for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” I Thess. 5:2,3


“God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.” 2 Thess. 1: 6,7

“Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness [fn] is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.” 2 Thess 2:1-3

The church has given many names to the events described in these chapters: The _______________, the ______________ coming, the tribulation, the _____________ of the Lord.

These chapters do not refer to one event but a _____________ in history which is yet to happen. You see the verses we just read are about the _____________ of the world as we know it.

Do you think the world will come to an end?

How do you think it will happen?

The Bible says that first there will be removal from the ___________ of all God’s faithful ______________. This is called the Rapture of the church. see I Thess. 4

Then there will be a _______________ in which an evil _____________ will take over the earth and deceive the ______________. See 2 Thess. 2:1-3

Then Jesus will return to _______________ with all his _____________.

We will learn more about the second _____________ when we study _______________. For now we see that when Jesus _____________ he will judge the wicked with ____________.

To escape this judgment you must be part of the ______________. How do you make sure you are part of the rapture?

Let’s go back to question 1 you answered in your groups and look at that.

You must turn from your idols and turn to Jesus! What are your idols?


In Like A Flood

     Spring in New England is a lot like winter…with mud. As the snow goes back to the storehouses God has created for it the ground here in Massachusetts become a boot-sucking quagmire.

     After snow-seasons like this last one, short periods of flooding are not unheard of (though nothing like in the South). A few weeks ago my sister and I went to the mall only to find that much of it was blocked off due to the snow-melt flooding.

So instead of shopping we parked by “Mall Lake” and took the dogs for a walk.

As we walked out onto the parking-barrier jetties  Isaiah 59:19 came to mind

From the west, men will fear the name of the LORD, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory. For he will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the LORD drives along.”

     The King James version reads “when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Lord will raise up a standard against him.” This translation makes it sound like the enemy is coming in like a flood. But the translation in context actually reads that it is the Lord who comes in like a flood to defeat his enemies.

     As I stood looking out over the waters that day I noticed a couple of things about the flood:

1. It was expected but unstoppable. The best the shopping center could do was to put up cones to keep people out of the water and off the flooded roads. When God moves nothing the enemy does will effectively hold back His power.

2. The flood came suddenly. It was evident that once the water started coming  storm drains could not syphon it off fast enough to keep the roads clear. When God moves, His work is sudden. It may be a while in coming but once He begins He will make your head spin.

3. The water followed the path of least resistance. The lowest things were totally covered by the lake while the higher spots remained untouched. When God comes in like a flood, He calls us to stand on higher ground as He destroys those things which are base and low. If we insist on remaining in a position of sin, compromise or bitter unforgiveness, we might just get swept away with the very enemies we have been praying God to deliver us from.

     The dogs and I had a nice walk that day and I learned some powerful lessons about how God is going to move in my days ahead.