ARE YOU READY?

4 03 2020

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I gave my heart completely to Jesus back in April of 1975. I was in High School at the time and was so mesmerized by this new relationship that literally saved my life. One of the first events that I was invited to was the Youth Group Bible Study held on Wednesday Nights in the Green Room. It was called this because of the famous shag carpet, which was “green,” that engulfed the floor. When I entered for the first time, to say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. There were kids with their arms raised in the air, many not wearing shoes and all fully engaged in praising Jesus. Growing up in the Catholic Church, this was a whole new experience for me.

The Youth Pastor’s name was Warren Was and we were encouraged to call him by his first name. He certainly made the Bible come alive to me. I had questions for him every week and he never got tired of answering them for me. Each Wednesday would open up with singing. There was not a plethora of contemporary Christian music available at the time so what we ended up worshipping to was called Jesus music. These were tunes written and recorded by the young long-haired hippies coming to faith in California. The Calvary Church movement pastored by Chuck Smith out of California thrived by discipling these new converts that weren’t welcomed into any conservative Congregation. The music birthed here laid the foundation of my walk with God.

Larry Norman was one such pioneer of this new Christian Rock and Roll music that we blasted from our record players and sang from the top of our lungs. Songs like, “Sweet, Sweet Song of Salvation,” “I Am A Servant,” “Righteous Rocker,” and his iconic tune about the second coming called, “I Wish We’d All Been Ready,” were staples of our praise gatherings. Come to think of it, many of the themes had to do with the subject of Jesus coming back. I was so excited about the Book of Revelation that I truly expected our Lord to return at any minute. Every time I saw the sky filled with majestic clouds, I wondered if the trumpet blast was going to occur within the hour.

I’m not sure that we talk enough these days about getting ready for the Rapture. The Bible calls it, “The Blessed Hope,” and the early church would be reminded of it daily by greeting one another with the words, “Maranatha,” or “Behold He Comes” in all of their comings and goings. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, Jesus was going to come back and the dead in Christ would rise first to be quickly followed by those who are alive to be snatched up to meet the Lord in the air and so forever be with Him. When was the last time you woke up wondering, “What if Jesus comes back today?” We talk about our present struggles and the future Heaven, but not necessarily encouraging each other enough with the next advent of the Christ.

When I was a Youth Pastor, I used to conduct, “Rapture Practice” with the young people I was shepherding. Run much like a “Fire Drill” in a local school, I would shout, “Rapture Practice,” and all of a sudden, every one of us would climb up on our chairs and after a count-off of, “1, 2, 3!” everyone would jump! If Jesus came back, we would be off soaring through the air. If not, we would hit the floor with a thud. After much laughter, the point would be made and understood. We need to be ready when it was all going to be for real!

Let me finish today’s article with a wise word from a very young theologian who just happens to be only 5 years-old. Remember, it was Jesus who said that we all need to become like little children when it comes to faith and wonder. This fair-haired young lady went to Sunday school one day and her teacher told her that Jesus would be coming back. When she got home, she went right to her parents and asked, “Mommy, is it true that Jesus is coming back?” Her mother said, “Yes, honey, it’s true.” “Do you believe that?” “Yes, honey, I really do.” “Could He come back this week?” “Yes, He could come this week.” “Could He come today?” “Yes, He could come today.” “Could He come at this very moment?” “Yes, honey. He certainly could.” “Mommy, could you please help me comb my hair? I want to make sure that look my best for Jesus!”

This little girl understood the vital truth of the Scriptures better than most adults. She wanted to look her best when Jesus came back to take her to be with Him. When He returns, and He will, she wants to be sure her hair was combed. I don’t have much hair but I do have a yearning heart and I want to make sure that nothing gets in the way of my waiting for God to keep His promise. How about you? Is your hair combed, spiritually speaking? Are you ready for His appearing? That’s the urgent question confronting us as we learn to face tomorrow. Because He lives, we should never get so comfortable on this planet that we wouldn’t trade it all in immediately when the cry goes out that it’s time to come to our eternal home.

Let me close with the lyrics of Larry Norman:
          “Life was filled with guns and war and all of us got trampled on the floor;

          I wish we’d all been ready.

          Children died the days grew cold;

          a piece of bread could buy a bag of gold;

          I wish we’d all been ready.

          There’s no time to change your mind,

          the Son has come and you’ve been left behind.”

You won’t be left behind if you take care of the matters of your heart right now. God so loved you that He gave His only Son to die for your sins. If you would open your heart fully to Him and receive Jesus as your Savior and Lord, you will never have to worry about your future again. Are you ready?


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