With each passing day, time continues to tighten its grip on
all aspects of life.
It seems these days the clock controls everything and people
have more gadgets than they know what to do with to remind them of this fact.
From wristwatches and alarm clocks to clocks on computers and cell phones,
clocks are everywhere.
“Every moment of my day is mapped and planned out. I live by
the clock,” Anne Graham Lotz said to those gathered at Calvary Baptist Church
for the North Carolina Baptist Missions Conference. Lotz is founder of AnGel
Ministries and daughter of Billy Graham.
But what happens when time is up? With each breath, every
person on earth draws one day nearer to the day when his time on this earth
will be up. When that day comes, every person on earth will stand before Jesus
Christ. Are Christians living in light of that reality?
These are the questions Lotz pleaded with North Carolina
Baptists to keep at the forefront of their minds.
Lotz spoke about how many of the signs mentioned in
scripture that signal the end of human history and Christ’s return seem to be
not only evident in the world today, but are increasing in frequency and
intensity. For example, one indication of a spiritual sign that signals
Christ’s return is near is the persecution of believers. Last year 200 million
Christians around the world were persecuted for their faith.
National and environmental signs are also mentioned in
scripture. Lotz said more than 130 wars are going on in the world today, 10 of
those considered major.
The last century saw more wars than all other centuries
combined. Earthquakes and tsunamis and natural disasters are dominating the
Lotz believes the signs indicate Christ is returning soon.
But regardless of whether or not people agree, the reality remains: Christ is
still returning one day and everyone will stand before Him.
“One day, at any moment, could be my last,” Lotz said. “Live
your life expecting to see Jesus any moment.”
Lotz said this means believers live in such a way that they
are aware of the needs of those around them. Believers should work hard as unto
the Lord, diligently and faithfully serving Him in the work in which He has
“Your overarching purpose is to reveal the glory of God,”
she said. “Watch for opportunities to tell someone about Jesus.”
Lotz challenged the audience to live holy, blameless lives
and to live in unity with one another. She asked believers to strive to make
all they say and do a reflection of God’s love and glory.
Love God, Love Others
This year’s conference theme was “Love God, Love Others,”
based on Mark 12:30-31. “First, we must love God. Then, we can love others,”
said Richard Brunson, executive director-treasurer for North Carolina Baptist
Men (NCBM). “You can’t love others if you don’t love God. If you love God,
you’re going to want to love the things of God — which is other people.”
The April 1-2 conference featured worship led by the Annie
Moses Band, break out sessions and testimonies from North Carolina Baptists
about their involvement in missions through NCBM.
Testimonies came from people
who served in places like Vermont, Ukraine, Kenya, Haiti, Cuba and South
Africa. North Carolina Baptists also gave testimonies about their involvement
in mission efforts such as Deep Impact, Operation Inasmuch and Disaster Relief.
Author David Nasser spoke during the plenary sessions as
well as during the youth conference.
Another keynote speaker was Gary Chapman, author and speaker
about marriage and family. Chapman also serves as senior associate pastor at
Chapman spoke about how believers can gain a new perspective
on life when they commit to “love as a way of life.” Drawing on research from
his book Love is a way of life, Chapman explained seven ways believers can
commit to loving others.
Christians can show love by simply showing kindness — even
when others do not initiate or reciprocate that kindness. Love is demonstrated
when people are patient and accept the imperfections of others.
impatience never changes reality,” Chapman said.
Believers must be forgiving, doing unto others as Jesus
Christ has done unto them. “If you hold a lot of anger inside it will come
out,” Chapman said.
Chapman encouraged the audience to begin thinking of every
person they meet as someone who is valued and loved by God, and to show
courtesy and humility toward people.
“Life’s deepest meaning is found in relationships: with God
and with others,” he said. “The most satisfied people are those who have
invested in the lives of others.”
For more information about North Carolina Baptist Men
ministries, visit www.baptistsonmission.org.
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