Summary: Ten things to look forward to in the coming year, as the new Millennium draws closer.
TEN THINGS I SEE IN ‘99
1. I SEE THE NEW MILLENNIUM AS A SENSE OF DESTINY.
I am not one of those “crazies” that predicts that the Lord will come in the Year 2000 because we don’t know when the Lord is coming. He said, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Mark 13:32). As a matter of fact I agree with Martin Luther who said, “If a man happens to predict the right time when the Lord is come, He will change it because He said “no man knows the hour.”
The man on the street thinks that something is about to happen. The Year 2000 carries a sense of destiny. We finish a year, a decade, a century and a millennium. None of us has any idea what it means to enter a new century or a new millennium . . . but we’ll learn.
I expect a lot of new unexpected and unplanned events and benefits.
One hundred years ago in the year 1900, no one would have predicted two world wars, a world-wide movement of Communism that would threaten the world and die, that we would land a man on the moon, that we would fly a space probe around Mars, or that we would have eliminated some of the world-threatening diseases such as polio.
Think of what has happened in the last fifteen years. In 1985 there was no Internet, now it is world-wide. In 1985 there were two world powers, but now Communism has been destroyed.
I face the new Millennium with great sense of anticipation because I trust God who has given us everything. The Year 2000 will bring a sense of destiny.
2. I SEE A NEW SPIRIT GROWING WITHIN THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST.
A hundred years ago the battle between Fundamentalism and Liberalism consumed all our energies but today conservatism is “the last man standing.” Liberalism is dead, there are a few corpses around in some churches that need burying.
In my day I have seen several pastor friends with great desire to grow, with great desire to be the biggest, with great desire to be the most successful. But that spirit is changing. Today the people of God come to the house of God and what do they want? They come needy and they want help. They come lonesome and they want fellowship. They come empty and they want to be filled. They come sinful and they want to be cleansed. They come hurting and they want to be healed. People want the Church to be God’s house where they meet God . . . touch God . . . know God . . . experience God.
I sense a different spirit that is growing the Church. Churches are growing because they are good, not the opposite, i.e., growing because they want to grow or be the biggest.
I sense a deeper commitment in the Church to Jesus Christ and the Bible as God’s Word. While all churchmen are not as tenacious as I am, I’m glad they at least give outward allegiance to Jesus and the Bible.
3. I SEE MORAL AND ETHICAL DECAY ALL ABOUT ME.
Fifty years ago the hippies in Haight-Asbury sections of San Francisco began a counter-culture with a view of overthrowing our culture. I don’t like to admit it, but they have weakened our society and damaged our institutions. There were five things that were very stable when I was a boy, these were the five institutions of society:
1. the schools,
3. the family,
4. business, and
5. the Church.
These institutions are all reeling because media and the population in general question their role in society. These five institutions are also reeling with moral decay. With the growth of individual rights, we have seen the decline of institutional rights. First the schools; federal judges no longer allow school teachers to be teachers, teachers have become social facilitators. Second the home; federal judges no longer allow parents to be parents, governmental social service agencies remove children from parents. Third the government; the government is filled with people from the President down who will lie, commit adultery, perjure themselves, all with seemingly little consequences. Fourth, the institution of business has become so hampered by laws that appear to be anti-business. Today it’s hard for a business to survive. The anti-business laws protect the environment, the consumer, and society, and it seems like it’s open game on any business. We can tax business, legislate business, place fines on businesses, but we forget that the business is the engine that drives our society, provides capital to meet our needs and has given us one of the finest levels of life with the highest level of quality living ever known to man. The fifth institution is the Church. Obviously, the Church has eroded its influence on the world. Think about the scandals of pastors with misbehaviors, bringing shame on the pulpit of America.