The end of the world is supposed to happen tomorrow, December 21, 2012.
It has been called the "Mayan apocalypse". According to the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, December 21, 2012, is the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle.
It will usher in the catastrophic end of the world as the earth is swallowed by a black hole at the far end of the galaxy, or in a collision with another planet.
Others say that it will usher in a new era of spiritual transformation.
Many, many people around the world are taking this seriously, even in the United States.
I read an article today by James Emery White who writes, "In a blog post on USA. gov. the U.S. government announced that the "world will not end on December 21, 2012, or any day in 2012."
Why this emphatic declaration? "Apparently NASA officials are getting messages from children as young as 11 who say that they are ill and/or contemplating suicide because of the coming doomsday."
How are we as Christians to respond?
Mr. White helps us with this.
First of all we are to get the facts.
The Mayans did not view time as linear, but cyclical - meaning that whatever was meant to be fore casted for December 21st was simply the end of one cycle and the beginning of another.
The "fact is" that the concept of "apocalypse" is not in the Mayan culture at all.
Secondly, know that the date itself has been disproved.
Mr. White writes that, "an excavation of a Mayan timekeepers' work room in Guatemala recently revealed calendars that destroy any notion that the Mayans predicted the end of the world in 2012."
"Many speculate it is little more than profit. It sells books, has created a booming tourism industry in Mexico, and is fostering a demand for survival kits, insurance policies and reserved seating in "doomsday-proof" bunkers."
Cultural historian Paul Boyer notes, "the more people feel marginalized or alienated from society, the more apocalyptic ideas will find fertile soil.
Thirdly, understand how we has Christian view time.
The Christian view of time is linear. We had a beginning (Genesis 1) and we will have an end (Revelation 21).
Many Christians believe (as I do) that we are living in the "last days" and the the end is imminent. A 2011 Pew Center poll found that 41% of Americans believe the rapture will occur before 2050.
Maranatha, even so, come Lord Jesus!
Finally, be prepared, no matter when the world ends.
We as Christians don't need to fear the end, or be anxious about an apocalypse, but rather we are to be spiritually ready and full of hope.
We are to "watch and be prepared", as Jesus teaches in Matthew 24 and 25.
We are to have hope. Psalms 46:1-4 shares that "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging."
So, yes, ultimately, this world as we know it will end. The real question is whether or not it will be met with faith in the living God.
Do you have faith in God today? Is your heart connected to Jesus Christ? Are you a Christ-follower?
Why not come to one of our morning worship services this Sunday (8:30 A.M. or 10:30 A.M). You will hear a clear presentation of how you can connect to God - and have hope for the future.
And....if we are not here.....for those who are Christians....I will see you in heaven!
Chinese Christian leader Brother Zhong tells this story:That is the power of a song.
"I was attending a training course for my house church network's council members and youth leaders. The Public Security Bureau (PSB) raided us the first day. All the leaders were arrested.
The prison authorities shaved our heads and interrogated us. We were warned that the hardened inmates would beat us. So with much trepidation, another brother and I entered our cell.
We were greeted by the sight of 16 other inmates, lined up in two rows and thumping their fists. My heart beat rapidly as I sent prayers up to God.
The leader of the gang asked, "Why are you here?"
"Because we are Christians," I replied.
"You don't beat people up?"
"NO," I assured him.
"Do you sing?"
"Yes," I answered.
The leader ordered me to sing a song. I wept as I sang. The Holy Spirit moved in our midst, and b y the time I finished singing, every prisoner was also in tears. To my shock, the gang leader than asked to hear the gospel.
After that, my cellmates hungered to hear the gospel every day. One Sunday, we held a worship service. The prison guard demanded to know who was behind it. He threatened to punish everyone if no one spoke up. I stood up and confessed.
I was forced to remove my clothes and stand at an inclined angle to the wall. The gang leader couldn't bear it anymore. He asked to be punished with me. All the others volunteered to do the same. The infuriated guard stormed out. I was moved by my clelmates' act. One of them, who had been there for three years, became a believer that day.