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Summary: A call to intensity due to the fact we’re living in the last days.

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AM Sermon preached at Syria Christian Church January 16, 2005

The Last Days: Be Devoted to One Another Various scriptures...

[SHOW CRUCIFIXION SLIDE DURING COMMUNION TIME]

[SHOW TITLE SLIDE AFTER GIRLS SING SPECIAL]

Imagine---it’s New Year’s Eve and your standing with thousands of others at Times Square. It’s one minute to the New Year. 30 seconds... The ball begins to drop and the crowd shouts----10-9-8-7

Wait--- let’s change that----let’s say you’re standing on a beach in Florida---you’re as close as the public is allowed to get to a Nasa Launch pad. You’ve been waiting a few hours. But now it’s only moments away from a blast off----you see the smoke and steam rise from the base of the rocket. You hear computerized warnings sounding the countdown "8-7-6-5"

No---hold it, imagine instead you’re among the lucky ones to be in the March Madness crowd at the NCAA championship game. You’re team’s ahead by 7 points. You shout with the crowd as the final seconds tick off the clock "5-4-3"

It seems to me that we when we first realize we’re facing a countdown, when we know there’s only so much time on the clock before some event’s going to take place we start off with great excitement and enthusiasm---we’re like the team that enters the field or comes running onto the court crashing through a large hoop held by some cheerleaders---we’re gun ho and ready to go---and the crowd’s with us whooping and hollering at the start of the game-----but then about the middle of the second quarter the crowd begins to mellow out and the team seems to lose some of its intensity---nevertheless the clock moves on---soon it’s the final minutes of the last quarter and the energy begins to resurge through the players and spectators---adrenaline begins to build, hearts beat faster and much greater effort is put forth because the awareness that time’s running out is so clear to everyone.

I’ve kind of felt that something like that has been happening in my own heart and life these last few weeks. The announcement was made that Lori and I would be moving. It was an intensely emotional time for us. We had given a little more than 60 days notice. That first week was kind of crazy. Then things kind of settled down and we entered into something of a lull. Now I’m again beginning to feel the squeeze as my awareness that I have only two weeks remaining has set in. But God has been using even this to speak to my heart about my personal ministry and the ministry of His people. I feel as if God’s been saying to me---that intensity you had at the first about your moving which dwindled down but has now returned---is the kind of intensity I want from you and my people all the time. Church, ministry, evangelism these things are not games----they are matters of life and death, matters which require on going intensity. We’re not talking trophies, we’re talking eternities.

And so this morning like a coach who’s very clock conscious and who’s trying to get his team to step it up a notch so victory can be theirs I want to remind you all----keep your head in the game and stay focused because we’ve living in the last days. The clock on this world is running out.


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