And I will cause wonders in the heavens and on the earth—blood and fire and columns of smoke. – Joel 2: 20 (NLT) The date was November 13, 1833. The world was surely coming to an end many thought. Those in Christ rejoiced while those who thought they knew better suddenly doubted. When the reaper comes there are not many brave atheists willing to pay the fare. Across the sky for nearly four hours it seemed as if every star in the sky was coming unhinged and hurtling towards earth. What would become known as the great meteoric shower of November 13, 1833 was underway. Like so many “B” movies we have all seen, people were teeming into the streets shouting that the end was not only near – but it was here. I use this as a backdrop because I understand that every generation has always assumed they were living in the end times, as I believe today. This morning a meteor the size of an Olympic swimming pool entered earth’s atmosphere and exploded over Russia causing a rain of fireballs and a sonic boom. When I read this story this morning immediately the Spirit brought me to the Prophet Joel and his warnings for us in these end times. I will cause wonders in the heavens and on the earth – blood and fire and columns of smoke. Yet despite these things we do not act as the residents of America did back in 1833. No, the devil has lulled is into a far deeper and more dangerous sleep. The world continues to pursue its own end oblivious to the signs all around them. Worst however, the church stands in equal ignorance, pursuing the latest fads for Christ while Scripture screams out at us: Then Jesus turned to the crowd and said, “When you see clouds beginning to form in the west, you say, ‘Here comes a shower.’ And you are right. When the south wind blows, you say, ‘Today will be a scorcher.’ And it is. You fools! You know how to interpret the weather signs of the earth and sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the present times. – Luke 12: 54-56 (NLT) Quite frankly, it doesn’t appear that we have gotten much better at predicting weather either but at least we are trying. It seems whenever something like this morning happens, the church shrugs it off and gets back to planning the next big Easter Egg Hunt for Jesus. Our Lord says here plainly that we do not know how to interpret the signs of the times. In modern churchianity we dismiss anything negative with worldly excuses and assign anything positive to a move of the Holy Spirit of God. The result is a backslapping church that thinks it can simply do no wrong and serves a God that is only there to say “attaboy!” So what convinces me that this morning’s wonders in the heavens are different from what people saw 180 years ago? Because all of the other signs Jesus warned us about are simply getting worse and worse. The birth pains are coming closer and closer together beloved. Wars and rumors of wars? Yep, we got them. More breaking out every day all for lies and illusions. Millions of people killed without the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God weeps for them beloved. The Bible says that He does not want to see any perish but all to come to eternal life. I know this is a culture shock for us but God did not only bless America. Christianity is not easy because it forces us to drop our own prejudices and hatreds and nail them to the cross upon which our Savior bled and died for us. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come. – Matthew 24: 10-14 (NLT) It is not just the meteor show this morning that reinforces for me the times in which we live. If anything, it merely confirms for me what I already know. Sin and wickedness is simply everywhere. We hear about crimes so horrific that the people living in 1833 would never even have imagined. We see things on television routinely that they never would have seen or heard about in their lifetime. The love of many has indeed gone cold – in the world and in the church. If a modern church boasts a 5% missions budget it is a source of pride. We have become more concerned with entertaining the saints than saving the lost. We argue over minutia like Obama versus Romney, as if either is pursuing God’s agenda. We chase after best sellers using numerology and misinterpreted Scriptures to prove what the signs of times already tells us – Jesus is coming back and it won’t be long now. I do not need a harbinger to tell me that – the meteor shower over Russia this morning only confirmed what the plagues and famines already showed us. What the senseless wars and loveless church already showed us. I may not be able to tell if it really will snow tomorrow but I can read the signs the Bible tells me to read. Which only leaves one question – what do we do then with the time we have? Back in 1833 there was a traveling preacher named Samuel Rogers and he provided a first hand account of the events then. In his account he discusses the propensity for men that day to suddenly find God in their fear. Here are his words from nearly two centuries ago… “We may learn of this that, when men are in a high state of excitement, their testimony must be taken with many grains of allowance. I heard of a few who professed religion under the influence of these lights. In that day, for the sinner under conviction to be able to say that he had seen a light, whether he had heard a voice or not, furnished a ready passport into almost any church in the land. I suppose the reformation produced by these meteors was like the appearance of the meteors themselves -- of very short duration. I have no faith in any repentance grounded upon objects of sense. The gospel only is the power of God unto salvation. Love to God and hatred for sin, only can work a permanent change in the life of a man; and nothing short of this can be trusted as permanent in its effects.” We need to read that carefully and act accordingly. Enough with quick and dirty salvations that endure until the first crucible experience. Enough trying to reach as many for Christ as possible with a watered down Gospel that avoids the very discussion that must be had for the salvation of the sinner to occur. Have no faith in any repentance grounded upon objects of sense. Only the true Gospel is the power of God unto salvation! Not the side show, slick marketing, repeat after me trifle we have turned it into in our zeal to build our private kingdoms upon the shifting sands of this world. I have watched entire altar calls proceed without so much as a mention of love to God and hatred for sin – without which there is no permanent change in a man. Sure we may have convinced this person to come to church every week and maybe even give up 10% of their money in the process. Possibly we can even convince them to serve in a ministry. We cannot however make up for the fact that unless they came up to that altar call under the unbearable weight of their own sin then it is very likely that they will come to the last day only to discover they didn’t even know the one they claimed to save. The church has no power to save – only God does. Jesus is coming back soon and while that gives many Christians a reason to celebrate I still have too many friends and family on the outside looking in. I cannot celebrate because God has charged us all with bringing the uncompromised Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world because He does not want to see any perish. Forget the weather beloved – read the signs of the times and act accordingly. I do not know about rain or snow but I know there is a 100% chance of Jesus coming real soon. Rev. Anthony.