What If Jesus Announced That He Would Return On…

Brandon J. Adams

The following scenario will not happen. “Now concerning that day and hour no one knows – neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son — except the Father only” (Matthew 24:36).

I don’t anticipate the Lord going back on such long-laid plans. After all, the prior verse says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away” (v. 35).

But humor me for a moment, and consider this hypothetical exchange:

Church: “Lord, we faint. We long for your presence. Please, please tell us when you’re coming back.”

Jesus: “Oh, very well. The Father has relented and authorized me to tell you. I will be returning on…”

Global bated breath. People in every village, city, region, and nation await the next words. One of the most significant, weighty questions ever pondered on earth is about to be answered.

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My Extraordinary Mission Trip

Wondering why (hoping?) that I’d fallen off the earth entirely?

Not this time. But I did travel to the other side of it.

For ten days this month, God called me to the unspeakable privilege of carrying his gospel to an unreached people group in South Asia. There are security concerns due to the region’s hostility towards Christianity, so I won’t reveal the exact location. I spent six days there, two days traveling each way, and six days afterwards lolling about jet-lagged out of my mind. That accounts for my absence.

It was…extraordinary.

I got to wade through ankle-high trash carrying rice bowls…and the Good News…to impoverished but smiling people living under urban bridges.

I got to pray with them as they eagerly set aside their own deities (or at least began the process) and accepted the one true God.

I got to travel to tiny tarp villages in the absolute middle of nowhere to teach and encourage brand new believers in sweltering brick huts.

I got to encourage new brethren from a fisherman’s village.

I got to lay hands on all these brothers and sisters asking God for jobs, healings, the end of family abuse, and protection against forced idol worship.

I got to share my faith, along with my team, with a confident but attentive Muslim waitress at a Hard Rock Cafe.

I got to watch out of the window at the poverty and chaos generated by false religion.

I got to speak at a Sunday morning service about, as George Whitefield said, repenting of both our sin and our righteousness (as in, repenting of our attempts to gain status before God and letting the cross be 100% of our justification).

I got to meet the beleaguered but determined brothers and sisters who are doing the gruntwork on their home soil, pleading with their countrymen to come to Christ.

It was…amazing.

And not easy. I remember being pretty freaked out as we drove to our first bridge site, asked to step out of a rental van and simply start sharing the Gospel with complete strangers. It required everything I’d ever learned (or taught myself back home). Did I trust God to back me up? Was my confidence in my identity in him? Did I know the Gospel? Could I answer their questions (I remember one young man curious to know how and why Jesus was killed)?

God was faithful. My teammates were marvelous. The prayer and financial support from my church was palpable.

And people are in the kingdom of God now, who weren’t before.

I’ll be back to my normal blogging schedule and headspace here soon, but I’ll warn you now: if talk of foreign missions makes you uncomfortable, this blog might not be the place for you anymore. We are called; we are not given the option. Thousands plunge daily, millions annually, into hell. I hope you’ll stick around and let yourself be challenged as I was.

Trusting God with Your Worst-Case Scenario — Christy Fitzwater

This post contains a Dallas Willard quote that has wrecked my life this year in the best possible way – a lesson straight out of Daniel. All I can do today is set this post before you.

They started talking about how crowded our school was back in May, and my brilliant mind told a story of how I would have to go back to my tiny classroom–no wait–maybe I wouldn’t even have a classroom and would have to travel to borrowed rooms, since I was a part-time teacher. 165 more words

via Trusting God with Your Worst-Case Scenario — Christy Fitzwater

Snow and Suffering Can Melt Fast

It’s happening again – after a short but pleasant summer (with no fires!), the cool wetness of fall is suggested again in this week’s weather. May God move quickly for us.

Brandon J. Adams

evergreen-1802157_1280The last two winters have been brutal.

More specifically, this last one was mild and forgetful of its job right up until February and then got brutal to catch up (reminds me of the Seahawks offense). Constant negative temperatures, almost daily blizzards. Considering my fifteen-mile daily commute, this was immensely tiresome. I’d say something melodramatic like “I nearly died three times a week in this weather”, except frankly we Montanans are so used to roadside near-death experiences that they’re routine now.

But I was amazed by this: weather can change awful fast.

Theoretically, fall and spring are transitional seasons. That’s not really how it works here. It’s summer, summer, summer, then BOOM maybe a week or two of something in between before the snow comes. It’s winter, winter, winter, then BOOM it’s pretty warm and the flowers start blooming.

All of a sudden, this week, the brutal cold just evaporated…

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You Will Have to Fight for Your Contentment

With this week bringing a flood of “back to school” images of others’ small children across social media, I thought my single friends might appreciate a callback to this post from 2017.

Brandon J. Adams

Let’s talk about envy a little more.

smokeIt doesn’t play nice. You’re grinding along and suddenly someone appears on the phone or television with a bigger house, relishing a career they were born for, holding someone’s hand or pushing a stroller. Boom. Envy sweeps over you like a tidal wave. Whoosh. The tabloids and self-help mags shout from the supermarket rack about everything that you’re not. Pow. You hear a story in church about how someone else has finally reached the end of a debilitating trial. Crunch.

You sigh even as you celebrate, wondering why God hasn’t delivered you. The life you have seems to darken and pale.

If envy isn’t a deluge, it’s a leak that gradually covers the floor and wreaks havoc with your soul’s drywall. Let your guard down and your day is shot. It’s a menace within the chest, forceful and unsympathetic.

How do we typically answer?

We sigh, turn to cutesy memes, count our…

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Is God Opposed to Your Dreams?

Brandon J. Adams

soldierAs I was wrapping up Air Force basic training (never have seven weeks passed so swiftly and so slowly), one of the final bureaucratic details was the chance to tell the Air Force our preference of first posting, for them to promptly ignore.

We were given a “dream sheet” on which to list eight desired destinations. We could select a base, state, region, or country.

Some of us got an insider tip: wait until tech school to file your sheet. For whatever reason, sheets filed there tended to be actually seen by someone, whereas those filed at basic vanished into the same black hole that has probably consumed all my socks.

So I waited until tech school, filed my sheet, and waited with bated breath for my posting. The sergeant announced them weekly from the podium outside the dorms, usually triggering jeers of fake sympathy for anyone getting “Why Not

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When You Can’t See Behind the Door

Letting go feels like a surrender of strength, but it actually requires strength.

Brandon J. Adams

doorMy Bible this weekend has been opened to Psalms 127-132 page, and 131 caught my eye, standing out by being shorter than its surrounders:

Lord, my heart is not proud;
my eyes are not haughty.
I do not get involved with things
too great or too difficult for me.

Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself
like a little weaned child with its mother;
I am like a little child.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forever. (Psalm 131:1-3 HCSB)

It seems as if the Psalmist is refusing to let his eyes get above his pay grade. As if there are matters beyond his rightful contemplation, things he just can’t grasp – and as if there is a holiness in refusing to try.

There is.

Only those who trust God, who trust his machinations behind the “curtain” of reality as it were, who trust him to keep…

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