Bulletin for Sunday 12/04/2011
With Robert Prater
Are Earthquakes a Sign of Jesus’ Return?
Well if you were waiting to have Thanksgiving dinner last Thursday in Oklahoma with your family and felt a rumbling, it wasn’t your stomach. It was just the latest in a series of earthquakes that has shaken our state in the last month. This one was a small 3.7 magnitude but comes on the heels of the strongest one ever recorded in the state about four weeks ago. We are used to our Oklahoma tornadoes, but apparently we are now going to have to get used to earthquakes it seems. All of this can be a bit unsettling to say the least.
When the earth moves, we quickly consider the one who holds the earth in his hand and how we are all accountable to him (cf. 2 Cor. 5:10). Such natural events can be good spiritual reminders. Many want to even say that this is a sign of the end of time. However, there is no Scripture to back this up.
The early followers of Jesus were taught to “watch” for Jesus’ return (Luke 12:35-40), and they lived in a constant state of preparedness. (1 Peter 4:7; Rev. 22:20) Jesus spoke of his second coming in terms of its abruptness when he said, “You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Luke 12:40) Likewise, Paul confirmed that it would be unexpected like a thief. (1 Thess. 5:3)
However, it is popularly believed that there are “signs” that a person can watch for that will signal Jesus’ return. What about the “wars and rumors of wars” and the “famines and earthquakes” that Jesus warned about in Matthew 24:6-8? Does the seeming increase in more and more earthquakes around the world signal Jesus’ return and Judgment Day?
Notice carefully the context of Matthew 24. The apostles essentially ask two separate questions of Jesus (in verse 3) as they observe the large stones of the temple. (Matt. 24:1-3) The first question: “When will these things be that is, when “one stone” (of the temple) will not be left upon another” –vs. 2?” The second question: “And what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?”
Jesus answers the first question in verses 4-35. Jesus says that “this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (vs. 34). “All these things” describe everything prior to verse 34, which includes the “wars, rumors of wars” and the “earthquakes.” Jesus gave these “warning signs” that would signal the Temple and Jerusalem’s destruction. Luke in his account is even more clear that when armies start coming around Jerusalem, that’s the sign; not wars, earthquakes, and famines. (cf. Luke 21:20) This did occur in the lifetime (“this generation”) of Jesus’ hearers in A.D. 70. Wayne Jackson points out that ancient historians recorded the occurrence of earthquakes around the time of Jerusalem’s destruction such as were recorded by Josephus (Wars, 4:4), Tacitus (Annals xii58; xiv27; xv22), and Seneca (Epistle 91).
Jesus begins answering the question of what would be the “sign” of his second coming in verse 36. It is there that Jesus plainly says, “But concerning that day and hour (of his return) no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”
While earthquakes can be a good spiritual “wake up call” there is no evidence in Scripture to indicate that such are “signs” of Jesus’ return. His return will be unexpected and without any warning. Therefore, we must be constantly ready and watching.
Sermons for Sunday
AM The Arrest (Mark 14:12-72)
PM Exchanging Lies for the Truth
We extend our sympathy to Royce & Kathy Peerson in the loss of their sister-in-law, Freda Peerson on Friday of last week. Services were conducted on Monday in Holdenville.
Linda Carpenter’s sister, Betty Caldwell, of Tulsa was scheduled to begin tests and treatment at M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston this week Linda appreciates your prayers.
Fay Truesdell requests your prayers in behalf of Don Zielenski, a friend of her grandson Will. They have both been serving in Afghanistan Don has been critically injured and is hospitalized in Germany. Fay used to pick up Don for Sunday School and church when she lived in Pleasanton, Texas.
CONTINUING PRAYER CONCERNS
Ruth Autrey, Chad Beard, Fred Bowers, Betty Caldwell (sister of Linda Carpenter) Harold Carothers, Blake Carter (great grandson of Sue Merritt), Juanita Combs, Harold Decker, Herman Guin, Norma Holt, (sister-in-law to Carl Holt), Louise Honaker, Mariella Jacobs, John Johnston, Joe & Nadine Magee, Carletta Moore, Thearlene Morris, Gene & Dorothy Norton, Rachel O’Neal, Alice Rice, Sue Riedel, Frank Romberg, Sarah Smith, Dorothy Strickland, Marlene Wadkins, Emma White, Iva Williams (Mother of Cathy Rose) and Jewel Wills. All these members and friends have continuing health concerns or other special circumstances. They appreciate your interest and prayers
ADULT HOLIDAY PARTIES
Dwyane Dennis’s Sunday morning class will have a holiday party at the home of Craig & Michelle McKnight, 18 Piney Ridge, on December 9 at 6:30 p.m. Please come and bring your favorite snack or dessert along with a dirty Santa gift for each person. People who attend this class and those who ought to attend it are invited to come.
Robert Prater’s Sunday morning Young Adult/Families class will have a holiday party on Saturday, December 10 at 6:00 p.m. at the home of Kari Canard at 6400 Acme Road. Please bring finger foods and pop. Also, bring a $5 Dirty Santa gift.
CHILDREN’S HOLIDAY PARTY
There will be a children’s holiday party on Sunday, December 11 immediately following morning worship for all our teens and children in the fellowship room. There will be fun singing, ornament decorations, and pizza!
December 4, Search: “No Need to Worry”
December 7, Ladies Class meets at 10:30 a.m.; monthly luncheon follows class.
December 11, Search: “Forgiving Others”
December 14, Last ladies class until Jan. 4, 2012
December 18, Search: “How Jesus Viewed Scripture”
January 1, Shawnee Area-Wide Service, “Praise Him 2012”, @ Heart of Oklahoma Expo Center, Sunday 5 p.m. Tim Lewis, guest speaker
The youth are having a couple of slow weeks right now. It’s just that time of the year when everyone seems to slow down. We are still digesting Thanksgiving meals and some of us might still be eating left-overs. Unfortunately our lives don’t slow down with us. I just want to send out an encouragement to all the youth as they finish up their semesters. Procrastination time is over! Time to finish strong!
December 4, Sunday; AWTG @ Chickasha, leaving at 3:30. Dress Warm!
GIVING THANKS FOR ALL THINGS
It’s easy to list the blessings in life: good health, family, a satisfying career, a comfortable home. We might even be thankful for things others take for granted, such as freedom, clean drinking water, reliable transportation and food enough to eat. Then there are the little things, such as gardens, sunrises, pets and coffee.
What about life’s storms or unanswered prayers? Should we be thankful for these? Loss and hardship remind us of our dependence on God. He uses trials to draw us closer to him, to show us that he is our rock and refuge. In misfortune and grief, we discover God’s comfort and strength. Should we not, then, be thankful for the storms too?
LAST WEEKS RECORD
Bible School 120
Worship Service 190
Sunday Evening 120
Wednesday Evening 100
SERVING THE CONGREGATION
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Announcements: Ron Taffe
Opening Prayer: Bob Seikel
Song Director: Dwyane Dennis
Scripture: Keon Lawrence
Sermon: Robert Prater
Closing Prayer: Tim McGalliard
SERVING AT THE LORD’S TABLE
Austin Beard Bob Perry
Geoff Root Brandon Gober
AT THE BACK OF AUDITORIUM
Lynn Harmon Cary Leonard
Robert Perry Bob Bivins
Foyer: Jim & Cathy Pettyjohn
Elevator: Bob & Ann Bivins
ASSISTING OUTSIDE ELEVATOR DOOR
EVENING WORSHIP SERVICE
Opening Prayer: Jim Walling
Song Director: Dwyane Dennis
Sermon: Robert Prater
Closing Prayer: Jim Cross
AT THE LORD’S TABLE
Jim Carpenter Dennis Brodersen
WEDNESDAY NIGHT SERVICE
Classes for all Ages
Song Leader: Paul Harris