This morning I’m sitting on my back porch with a fresh cup of joe. This is one of my favorite places on earth. I love spending time out here in the cool open air and looking at the beauty of the trees and sky. This is where the Lord and I meet.
Over the last two years He and I have had some sweet times on this porch. His Word and His presence have been both soothing and comforting. We also have had some blunt conversations. King David has taught me to be honest with My Heavenly Father. Honest with my praise and worship, but also honest with my hurt and sorrow. He longs to hear both sides of life. He loves the sweet aroma of my worship and prayers of praise. But He is also strong enough to handle the emotions I feel in life. And boy, over this past year, there has been a boat load of emotions, both positive and negative.
As I reflect on these past months, two ideas have been confirmed over and over again. One is a global idea and one is a personal idea. Maybe you have had these same ideas running through your mind as well.
First, I’m amazed at how quickly humanity became a tight knit global community. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that uniting the entire world around a singular topic does not take years, but literally only weeks. I was surprised how few weeks it took for the nations of the world to unite in a plan to address Covid. Whether we agree or not with the plan that was enacted, we have to agree it was impressive how quickly it was instituted.
If there was a singular world figure that could have resolved Covid, the world would have followed that leader. I can now totally see how a one world leader could rise to world dominance in a very short time. It’s a simple formula: create a global safety issue and then present the solution. Fear will unite the world behind a solution giver.
Conclusion: The Anti-Christ’s rise to world power will not take years in the making, but under the right set of circumstances, it would take literally weeks. This idea gives me a real sense that the end times are near, and when it comes it will be thrust onto the world stage quickly.
Secondly, followers of Jesus need to be prepared to be marginalized even more than we have been these last few decades. With the rise of ‘self’ as the basis of authority and truth, with the move to demand others accept everyone’s ‘self’ and shouting down those that don’t accept anyone’s interpretation of ‘self’, it’s going to get more and more tough to stand on His Word and publicly love Jesus. It’s going to be rough.
Conclusion: We are going to need our personal place of spiritual refueling and refreshment. We are also going to need one another more than ever. It’s going to be more like first century Christian community; house to house, ministering to one another. We are going to have to more deliberately train up our kids and grandkids.
To sum this all up I think we are all going to need a back porch place. Where do you escape to be with the One who sees all, knows all, and is able to sustain you? Find your own personal ‘back porch’. Carve out more time to spend there with Him. He is worthy of our worship and praise. He is strong enough to take our honesty and still refuel us with His strength and presence.
Written by Pastor Phil Sparling. Phil is senior pastor at Grace Community Church in Auburn, Calif. Phil has served as executive director of the Charis Fellowship since August 2019.This article was originally published in the 2021–2022 Year in Review.