Break, it was hard to start packing again, and I couldn’t find most of the things that I normally keep in my case ready to go. But before Christmas, I’m under orders from my wife that every suitcase has to go into the basement. So it went to the basement and then I had to go looking for it. But she was going to be here as well. Two days ago, I came back from work about 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon, and she was completely.
Horizontal, worn out sound asleep on the couch. You see, we had the grandkids for four days. That is the most exhausting expression of love you can ever have. You know, they say some people bring happiness wherever they go and others bring happiness whenever they go. And grandkids accomplish both of those things. When you see them coming in, you are ecstatic. And after they leave, you sit down and look at each other. And for about 30 minutes, you say absolutely nothing of worn out.
So I just saw that poor thing so worn out. And I said to her, you don’t need a trip right now. Just get some rest and don’t tell anybody you’re staying home. Just get. So she apologized. And as I was leaving, I said, you know, it’s strange. I told you you didn’t have to go, but you never told me that.
I do have to go. She said, you better explain that to Robert Morris or I’d be in trouble.
So here we are, delighted to be with you. And if you’ll allow me a couple of personal words, please. Does two things. It allows my vocal cords to get worked up a bit, otherwise I run into trouble. Some of my colleagues are here to on my Dallas based colleagues. Dan Wrangell is you’re darn right on the second row and Chris Dunnam next to him. Both of them are fine apologists globally. They do a marvelous job. One of our beloved board members is here, Victor Abraham and his wife.
So nice to have you all. And Krisha’s with his wife, too. Dan is not married yet, so pray for him. We’ll be looking for a partner for him. And then one of my Cleveland based colleagues is also here, where you, Sanj, in the second row and Vince Vitale’s here. I’ll say a word about him later. And Thomas, who covers the globe with me. We were on the road for over 200 days last year.
I could never, ever have done it without his help is an amazing young man and never leaves even one thing uncared for. Thank you, Thomas. I as we just celebrated, you know. He and I had a long talk before Christmas. I said, you know, you don’t have to keep doing this. It’s extremely exhausting. You never know how many hours of sleep we lose on the road, sometimes two or three nights in a row in these long halls where you think you should have celebrated a few birthdays on the way.
And yet Thomas has been right up to the mark and I deeply appreciate his commitment to all. My favorite preachers are here, of course, James Robison, whom we love so much. Delighted to welcome the. And Robert, your whole team, what he said is true, the launching of that institute, if you remember when I was here last year, I was talking about it and we had a steep climb, a really steep climb three days before the deadline, the last of the gifts came.
And we are in the process of moving into that building. It’s a five story. One hundred and twenty five thousand square foot building will be training the world, the world’s apologists there. Please pray for us. Vince Vitale is going to be the executive director of the institute, highly educated with his master’s work at Princeton, his doctoral work at Oxford. He was a tutor at Oxford on our staff give up that prestigious position for him and his wife to come and direct the institute.
His wife, Jill Vitale, also got her doctorate from Oxford just a few days before they left. And now Atlanta based and this book that Robert talked about, Jesus among secular gods, he really is about 60, 70 percent of that book. He does all of the groundwork we deal with humanism, relativism, pluralism, scientism, all of the isms that should have been Muslims but are still very much with us. I wish I could claim that humorous line from myself, but it isn’t.
Every Hill was the one who used to say, I’m tired of these isms. That should have been Muslims, you know. But all of these isms that we face today, if we collaborated on the book just released, in fact, I only saw the first copy today myself get a hold of it. If you have students at university or high school, give it to them.
It deals with all of these challenges and presents the uniqueness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s already rated as the number one on Amazon for Christian apologetics with numerous reviews that have come in. I take those few moments to tell you we label long and hard to deal with these subjects. And I can assure you it’s really not for personal gain. It’s to wrestle with the issues of our time. May God bless you and you have a wonderful New Year.
May 2017 bring you great joys and great opportunities to serve the Lord. So in the light of that, my message tonight is entitled The Passing and the Abiding, The Passing and the Abiding. What will always come to Pass and what will abide forever. I’ll never forget some years ago, quite a few years ago now, when my first daughter, my oldest child, Sarah, will be live in Atlanta and she was heading to Covenant College and Lookout Mountain.
And my wife and I took Sarah to drop her off there. And I was heading straight from there to Hartsfield at the airport in Atlanta to fly out. We helped her unpack and put all of our boxes together. Margie was staying on an extra day, but because I was flying out for some meetings, I left. I was totally unprepared for the emotions. Completely unprepared. And as I pulled away from the front of her place where she was going to stay in the dorm, I still vividly remember her standing behind the screen door.
And as I got onto Interstate 75, I couldn’t last more than about five to seven minutes. I had to pull over onto the side and let my heart just express the emotions. And one of the songs that came to my mind was that one is this the little girl I carried? Is that the little boy at play? I don’t remember growing older. When did they how did she get to be a beauty? How did they get to be so tall?
All those beautiful lines and how seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers blossoming even as we gaze. It was a moment to remember a hinge moment in your life that changes come and they are emotionally laden. Yes, it is a change we had to expect. And no, it was not a grievous change, but it was an emotional one to remind us that time inexorably moves on. Only the eternal word abides forever, God has given us a calendar, and I often must by somebody sitting in an audience to be very philosophical and they see what is time.
And I give them a very simple answer. It is this it is a collaboration of change.
You measure change, whether it’s the clock or whether it’s the calendar, time goes on and we measure change and time is that necessary component in that. But as I ponder the whole reality of change, I keep thinking of how the swirling emotions take over through those first process of changes. America is in a process of change. Many are not willing to accept it because they want things the way they’ve always wanted things. But time moves on, change comes, and God reminds us that the glory of the Christian life is knowing how to handle change.
And I want to talk about three of those changes. But one of those attitudes towards change can be very fatalistic or a pie in the sky by and by when I die. It was James Whitcomb Riley in his poem A Life Lesson, who says This dear little girl, don’t cry. They have broken your doll. I know. And your tea said blue. And your playhouse, too, are things of the long ago. But childish troubles will soon pass by their little girl.
Don’t cry, dear little girl, don’t cry. They have broken your slate. I know. And the glad wild ways of your schoolgirl days are the things of long ago. But life and love will soon come by their little girl. Don’t cry, dear little girl, don’t cry. They have broken your heart. I know. And the rainbow gleams of your youthful dreams are things of the long ago. But heaven holds all for which you say their little girl don’t cry.
But it’s the doll or the slate of the broken heart, we seem to keep pushing it forward, maybe heaven, heaven, heaven will have it all and the brokenness will always follow us in this world. But God gives us a perspective of how to leverage and how to harness the. Now, I would like to bring to you three of the greatest changes that God brings into our lives, one or two of them in which we had absolutely no choice, and a couple of them in which we will have a choice.
I remember years ago coming back from a cruise in Alaska and you go through the same war narrows. And the captain of that cruise ship had gotten to know me as we were taking that cruise. And so he brought me over to the bridge. And at that point he takes over. No second in command is piloting that huge vessel at that time. And he told me why he saw the tallest mountains from below. The waters are right here. It is a Mariners nightmare.
And he was showing it to me on the radar screen. They are almost at a standstill, space moving and navigating very carefully every person at their station as the captain moves it along. And I thought of the him in my younger days as we used to sing Jesus Savior, Savior, pilot me over life’s tempestuous seas, unknown waves before me roll hiding rock and treacherous show, chart and compass come from the Jesus savior pilot named. Some of you may have lost some loved ones last year, and Christmas was not the happiest of moments for you.
We will be if the Lord spares us celebrating Christmas next this coming year, but none of us knows who will be with us and who will not be with us. That’s the chart and compass that to which we look. In fact, straight from here. Tomorrow morning, I’m flying to Houston, my colleague Nabeel Qureshi. Many of you may have read his book Seeking a Law, Finding Jesus in his early 30s. Strapping, handsome, powerful conversion story.
Such a persuasive speaker just a few months ago was shocked literally to his very bones when he found out he had stage four cancer of the stomach. And the doctor didn’t give him very good chances of surviving that. He’s at the M.D. Anderson Clinic in Houston, and I fly from here tomorrow morning to go and spend the afternoon with him. We never know. What news lies ahead, and this is not to paint a grim picture just to remind us that time inexorably moves on, we have things that come and go and the chart and compass must come from our savior who will pilot us through the most treacherous areas of life.
And that’s the promise he holds for us. And so what are the three changes that come to us that bring to us this reminder? The first you may think is obvious. It’s so obvious that we miss it. It’s coming from nonexistence to existence. That once was a time where you are not, and then there was a time where you came into being only of the son of God, it says unto us, a child is born unto us.
A son is given. The son was not born. The son eternally existed. He was given. The child was born. But you and I had a time where we were not and then were called into being. It is David who says this remarkably for you created me in my innermost being. You need me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I’m fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before even one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts? Oh God, how vast is the sum of them? You and I are in the thoughts of God. How vast to me are these thoughts, how precious, how fearfully and wonderfully we are made? David said that he and his son Solomon said God’s ways are as mysterious as the past.
We have the wind and as the manner in which a human spirit is infused into the little body of a baby while it is yet in its mother’s womb. David goes on to say, Or Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the Earth who has set thy glory above the heavens out of the mouths of babes and sucklings? Have you ordained strength when I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you’ve ordained.
What is man that you are mindful of him or the son of man that you visit him for? You made him a little lower than the angels, and you’ve crowned him with glory and honor, or Lord our Lord. How excellent is your name in all the you see your name is of value because of the name of the one who formed you. His signature is on your soul.
His signature is on your soul and mind, this forming that God gives to us for a purpose. Just think about it for a moment. You know, an amoeba has a single little eye that is much more a mechanism than it is even. To properly called and I oneself, there are a hundred and seven million cells in the human eye. From that fertilized ovum over nine months, it comes to about a trillion cells, one single strand of the human DNA.
If you were to put it into print and you put 500 words per page and 600 pages for volume, it would take a thousand volumes. Put it to put your DNA in there.
Six hundred thousand pages. He made you so beautifully unique that he made you for a purpose, he brought you from not being into being you are not the random collection of atoms or accidentally on this blip of time, you were designed specifically for a purpose by the living God who brought you into being for a purpose. And if there’s something that I think you ought to do for yourself this year, pause and ask God, what is it he’s made you for?
Wasn’t it Mark Twain who said two of the greatest days in your life? Number one, the day you were born. Number two, the day you find out why. Why were you born? When he’s put his signature on your soul, when I was a young lad, a family of five kids, my dad at that time pretty hard on me, pretty tough on me, and he had reason to I wasn’t going anywhere. In fact, my mother used to talk in a Tamil phrase, I won’t give you that language, literally, if anybody speaks Tamil has done just that, I’m not going to put it literally means this wandering rama goes all over the world.
But at the sound of food being put on the table, he’d show up, you know. That was me not to say that I’m not going to put a lot of you know, you put the food on the table and he shows up. And my dad, when they looked at me and he wasn’t being funny, looked at me and he said, you’re going to bring the greatest shame to this family of. You’re heading nowhere and in a shame oriented culture, I knew that was my death knell.
And then I’ll never forget the first honorary doctorate that it was given to me some time, I don’t know when it was late 70s, early 80s at in college in New York, my mother had passed away by then. She died in her 50s. My dad came for that and he was sitting on my left. And he had gone and bought my hood. We said we’re going to drop on me and I still remember him sitting there with his head thrown back saying, is this for real?
Is this really happening? And it was not at all surprising literally a day before he died, but he didn’t know he was dying, then he opted for open heart. And I live in Niagara Falls, New York. He lived in Toronto. All my brothers and sisters still live in Toronto, the closest with my older brother. Ten minutes away from me for me, Niagara. Said, Son, I want you to take me to the hospital, I’m not feeling well.
I said, Dad, Ajith is near. He said, I want you to come. So I got into my car, drove the 75 miles, headed to Toronto, picked him up. I didn’t realize why all the way to the hospital. Talk to me about the premonition that he didn’t think he was going to come out of this. But there’s one story needed to settle before he passed away. He said, I need to ask your forgiveness.
For all that I thought of you. And mentioned to you see, we as parents make a lot of mistakes, we all do it. Our Heavenly Father doesn’t make those mistakes. His signature is on your soul. He’s called you fashioned. You brought you from not being into being about it. Two years ago, the man who led me to the Lord, who brought the Bible into my room. Some of you here know him from David. I spoke to him is in Los Angeles.
And he was literally a few days away from breathing his last. And he phones me and with a broken voice on the phone, he tells me, Ravis said, Sometimes I think I came into this world just to bring that Bible to you. I said, Fred, you did a lot more than that, but you see the purpose that God will use you for, you have no idea how he can use you as salt and light in this world.
Whether you realize it or not, you are an influencer. You influence people and he brought you from not being into being. Lewis Thompson is Medusa and the snail talking about the marvel of life. He makes this an incredible statement. The mere existence of this cell should be one of the greatest astonishment on the face of the earth. People ought to be walking around all day, all through their waking hours, calling to each other in endless wonderment, talking of nothing except that cell.
If anyone does succeed in explaining it within my lifetime, I will charter a Skyrim writing airplane, maybe a whole fleet of them, and send them aloft to write one great exclamation point after another around the whole sky until all of my money runs out the exclamation mark. This thing we call life. Spoken into existence, by God, you are brought into being from not being on being there was a day where you were not and all of a sudden you were find out the purpose for which he created you.
That changed from nonexistence to existence is wrapped up in your individual entity. You are not a quantity. You are an entity. God has a specific purpose for you to fulfill. When you find that out, your last breath will be one of delight and saying I’m waiting for the divine accolade. Well done. Well done. That’s the first change, but in the midst of that change, there may be numerous disappointments, the brokenness, the struggles. When I broke my back in 1985, I didn’t realize what changes it was going to bring upon me.
I was a cleric. I was a sportsman. I loved the sports field. I loved tennis. I loved cricket. All of that had to bid bid goodbye in the day when I when I herniated two or three discs of mine and now had those titanium rods at the back. The writer has put it well, our life contains a thousand springs and dies if one be gone. Strange that a half of a thousand string’s can stay in tune so long.
Our life contains a thousand springs and dies of one bigon. Strange that a half of a thousand strings can stay in tune so long. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. There’s a wonderful, this wonderful ness to it. There’s a fearsome ness to it. That’s the first change that I wanted to address. The second is the change of transformation. First is your formation, then is your transformation that God takes you from mere existence to meaningful existence. He brings you into a new set of hungers, a new set of delights, a new set of wants, and new paradigms by which you measure your life.
This is so unique in the Christian life. It almost can take place in the moment. But, you know, it is spread across time. You ask anybody else of any other world view, I don’t care what worldview it is, what religious worldview it is. It is only this Judeo-Christian worldview that talks about the new birth and the new life. They make fun of it in terms of being born again. But it is not only the greatest mystery, it is the greatest astonishment when you realize you are not exactly who you used to be.
The new desires, the new changes, the new longings, the new habits that he puts into your heart, you know, the one that captured the soul. Well, I think one of the greatest books ever written was written by a thinker, by the name of John Bunyan, and it is called A Pilgrim’s Progress, translated into more languages than any other book outside of the scriptures. And you if you have not read Pilgrim’s Progress, you picked your own pockets.
Get a hold of it. Well, I remember going through his old man in the in the United Kingdom, my wife was with me and there was a lady at the desk and the people from Japan and Korea and all over the world visiting. And I said to the lady, it’s amazing, this little book. Think of the millions of you know, what she said to me. I’m not making this up. I have a witness and my wife standing next to me.
She said, I haven’t read it. She was the receptionist. I said, you haven’t read it. She said, well, I’m not into allegories. I said, get the children’s version, please. Even the children’s version is so remarkable, so beautiful. If you haven’t read it, your kids start reading it to them. Does the whole gospel and the climactic moment comes when Pilgrim has got this burden on the back and is coming out to meet the coming up to the hill and he meets three angels.
The first is the Angel of Dawn. And when the Angel of Dawn meets Pilgrim coming, he just says to them, you know, that they sins be forgiven and the whole back comes rolling down the hill and it says how the tears were just pouring down his face. I really believe Bunyon had read the story with the woman of alabaster ointment to find the terminology for this, because the tears flowing just like the woman, peace be unto you, just like the Lord said to her, and he was just not willing to leave that moment.
The Angel of Dawn. And then you get the angel of DAYBREAK. The Angel of DAYBREAK takes away the old garments and puts on the new ones and puts the mark on the forehead. And then there’s the Angel of Dusk, which gives a scroll to give you a map for the journey. What more do you want? I sense to be forgiven the the new garments that you now wear and the map to lead you on and guide you into the future.
The Angel of Dawn, the angel of DAYBREAK and the Angel of dusk. He calls them the three shining ones. How beautiful. An ordinary tinkers seeing the beauty of the gospel. And he takes you through all of Vanity Fair and all of that stuff and brings you right to that mountain where the sight of the cross the back just falls down. You know, recently, when Cliff Barrows passed away, I told the story of a memory with Cliff and his wife, and they lived in Atlanta for some time after his first wife, Billie, had passed away.
Married, beautiful and Behrouz, and they made their home in Atlanta, Georgia. We used to meet quite often. Cliff is an amazing was an amazing man, absolutely an amazing man. He got the world singing. This is my story. This is my song praising my savior all the day long. But Cliff didn’t know that my world view changes at nine p.m.. So he came to our house for dinner and about nine or five, the lights started to go out in the house, he was still telling me all of the memories of his years with Billy Graham, what flight they missed, what they had in northeast India and so on.
And as these lights are going off and says to him, darling, I think. We have our state, our welcome, the lights are going out in this house, so I said, so get left. Your stories are more interesting. I’ll turn the lights back on. And before he left said I said, Cliff, I want to tell you one story that you probably don’t know. Is it what is it? I said there was a man who came to meet me when I was speaking for James Kennedy once he walked up to the front and he shook hands with me and I said to him, What’s your name?
He said, I’m. I said, Where are you from? He said, Romania. So what’s your name? He said, Dwight Barrows. I said, Dwight Barrows from Romania. I said, how does a Romanian get a name like Dwight Barrows? He said, it’s a long story. He said, you know, during the days of Ceausescu, I wanted to escape. I sprang up from across the border as I arrived in Vienna. And I stood outside the American embassy day after day begging them to let me and I wanted to meet the ambassador.
They wouldn’t let me do it. So I kept sitting outside the embassy and said, I’m going to leave, not going to leave till you allow me to meet the ambassador. So he comes in to the embassy. Finally, the ambassador says bring him in is so what do you want? He said, I want to move to America. I said, I don’t want to go back to Romania. And the ambassador looked at him and he said, You know what, I like you.
I’ll give you the visa to get to America, but you’re going to have to promise me to read two books, he said. Which books are those who gave given the Bible? And he gave in the biography of Dwight Mahmoody said, Read these two books, I’ll get you into America. And they came here, he said. So I arrived in Detroit. I started working for the automotive company, but I got into alcohol and drugs. I was basically making a mess of my life.
Periodically when I was sober, I would read Barrass, redeclared Dwight Moodies story and so on and so forth. And he said one night I was so down I started to walk way towards the Pontiac Stadium. I said thousands of people coming out and I thought it was a football game. I found out it wasn’t it was some kind of religious meeting that was going on and they were leaving and it was over. So I walked up to the platform to find out what it really was about.
And there was a man there folding chairs. And the man looked at me and said, Can I help you, sir? Am I late for the meeting? He said, Yes, it’s over, but come on up, let’s talk. And he said, that man led me to Jesus Christ. His name was Cliff Barrels. Cliff looked at me and his eyes got so flooded with tears, he said, Ravi, I remember the incident, you got to be kidding me.
I said, Cliff. After he came to know the Lord, he got baptized and he took do I tell Moodies first name and your last name. And he was baptized as Dwight Barrows. About five or six years ago, Cliff phoned me and said, do you know how I can get a hold of him? I said, Well, you know, why don’t you just Google? His name is not a common name. You know, you’ll find it out.
And then he did. You tracked him down. You tracked him down. And Cliff in his book of memoirs, was going to put the whole story down. You see, when a transformation comes, there’s always a series of events and a series of people involved. You never do it on your own. God bring somebody into your life. Just before I came here, Pastor Son James came and asked me if I I’d sign a copy of that book for a friend who in the audience tonight who said he was an atheist, read the book.
I don’t know whether this can man live without God or which one. One of the programs we done and gave his life to the Lord. He’s in the audience here tonight. If you went from story to story to story, you’ll find out the power of the transformed life, the power of transformed hunger’s, how it is that God really brings changes and changes not only what you do, but changes so marvelously what you want to do. And ladies and gentlemen, if you don’t know Christ as you enter 2017, make this the moment of the year where you invite the savior to transform your life and give you the new hungers and the new desires.
You may be a slave to certain habits. You may be in bondage to certain affections. You may be trapped. And you say you don’t know my story. I am so bound in chains. And that’s what the writer once said, Denty. The intense as the agony. When the eye begins to see, the air begins to hear, the heart begins to pound. When the soul feels its flesh and when the flesh feels its chains. When the flesh fields its chains.
And you find this one who breaks those chains and gives you the new desires and the new birth within your heart. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the gospel message at its core that the cross of Jesus Christ is provided for your redemption, for your salvation, for your restoration. And it is the glorious message of the Christian gospel alone. Nowhere else you ask about this, how do you attain nirvana? Stop desiring, stop desiring, pull yourself up by your own metaphysical bootstraps.
You ask the Islam Muslim, how do you attain paradise? His answer will be very simple, that your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds. You ask anybody from the pantheistic worldview, the way you break karma is by heaven, allowing your goodness to outweigh your badness and what it is that Christ does for you and me. He takes his goodness to overcome our unworthiness. Yes. And so you have it bringing you from not being into being bringing you from the whole story of your your transformation of giving you new hunger’s, giving you new desires and giving you a marvelous.
Marvelous new life. I don’t know if you know the story that Dr. Sangster tells us, Dr. Sangster tells us that this preacher who had come from leads towards the north, way down toward the southwest in Plymouth in those days gone by. And he was preaching in that one small town there and he decided to make a trunk call, as they call it, back home. And the telephone call would weave through its way through its operators and ultimately get to its destination point.
And while he was waiting, he began to mutter the words of a hymn where he said, My knowledge of this life to small the eye of faith is dim, but is enough that Christ knows all and I shall be with him. My knowledge of this life to small the eye of faith is dim, but it is enough that Christ knows all, and I shall be with him. One of the operators listening and said, Sir. Sir. Will you repeat those words for me, please?
And he repeated it. My knowledge of this life to small, the effect is dim, but it is enough that Christ knows all and I shall be with him and he heard her starting to weep and then sob and say, You’ll never know. You never know what those words mean to me right now when I needed them the most. So a preacher making a telephone call from Plymouth to Leeds motto’s the words of a hymn, not knowing that somebody else is listening in and the transformation that comes in the life from those four simple lines.
The gospel story is beautiful. My formation, my transformation and lastly, we come to my translation. What is that translation? That translation is simply this. The day comes where we bid this earthly world goodbye. And we are welcomed into the heavenly house where we are getting that glorified, that new body, that incorruptible body, we must all be there at some moment. I look back upon this year and think of the friends at whose funerals I have spoken.
Friends who loved us, who did so much for us, who have gone on to be with the Lord and I know many in their younger years, my colleague Michael Ramsden, his father in law from diagnosis to death, was a few days in the month of December, very suddenly diagnosed with a sudden form of cancer and within a few days was gone. And so Christmas begins to look back at one empty chair, but we realize that the translation comes and it’s a moment that we do not know of, but it will come.
My good friend Paul Valentine, who preached in still Ohio, was speaking at his funeral. I was that I was attending. And he tells the story of his father, who had passed away some time before. He said, I remember being in the ambulance and driving to the hospital and his father leaned over and said, Paul, I recognize where we are. We’re right by the bank, can’t we? And he said, Yes, Dad. So, you know, I have something in their.
I have some accounts in there. Paul, I want to tell you something all of a sudden, it doesn’t mean very much. Take it, use it yourself. And the grandkids, but it doesn’t mean very much anymore. I’ve never forgotten that. You can be on your way to your own death and go past all the institutions that your trusted. And you say doesn’t mean very much anymore, so what abides, wherever it is, that relationship that God has promised you, the relationship that he wants to give you, and that’s why Paul says, listen, I tell you a mystery, we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable and we will all be changed.
Then the same that is written will come true. Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where death is your victory. Varo grave is your sting. C.S. Lewis says this Most of man’s psychological makeup is probably due to his body when his body dies, all that will fall off him and the real central man. The thing that shows that made the best or the worst out of this material will stand naked. All sorts of nice things, which we thought were our own, but which were really due to a good digestion, will fall off for some of us.
All sorts of nasty things which were due to complexes or bad health will fall off others. We shall then for the first time see everyone as he really was, and there will be surprises.
And there will be surprises as we see each other as we really are. I want to tell you a couple of stories as I close and stick to my just go up a minute or two of my time. Nick Charles was the first sports broadcast of the CNN ever higher. I remember seeing him come to the Lord some years later, he was a playboy, by his own admission, beautiful mop of hair, handsome guy, all the women fancifully and imagined them having a nice evening with Nick Charles, handsome follow.
And he knew it and used it. All of a sudden, you know, he said he needed to settle down and. Got married, officiated at his wedding. Right, married to a beautiful girl, they had a lovely baby. Long story. A few years ago, he contacted me, said Rovi. I’m in trouble. I need to see you, I thought, what’s happened? So I arrived at a restaurant and I looked and looked for him and he put his hand up, he said, Rovi.
Cernik. The hair was all gone. The face was sunken. He had been diagnosed with cancer and he was dying. Not that far advanced in years. I said, Mick, when did all this happen, he said, man, it’s been a miserable journey, I’ve got a little girl now and that’s all I can think about. He moved over to New Mexico. And Santa Fe and a few days before he died, he said, Can I see you?
I said, Nick, I’m about to make a trip, but I’ll come, so Margie and I went to see him and Corey, he was completely worn down to the bone and skin and he said, sit down here on my bed, please. So I sat down with him. He said, I want to tell you something. He said, Rovi, the world will mock what I’m going to tell you, but I’m going to tell it to you.
So a few days ago, I was lying with my little girl beside me and my wife, Cori, and I was in such pain. I said, God, I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough. I don’t want to say goodbye to my family, but it’s time for me to go take me home. He said, Rovi, I want to tell you something, I promise you, this happened a light shone in the corner of my room and a figure that I could imagine only to be Christ.
Walked over towards me, sat exactly where you are sitting, took me by the hand and said, Nick, I’m going to call you home, but not tonight, just hang in there. Harvey. I put my hand on his forehead and prayed for him and I said, Nick, all I can say to you is this God will always meet you in the near where you need him to meet you, especially when you are totally helpless. And I’ll take your story at face value a few days later.
I was in Singapore when Nick passed away. And the CNN producer phoned me and he said, Can I talk to you? He said, Yeah. I said, yeah. He said, Nick Charles, you knew him, I said, you said, and I love the guy said we’re doing a story on him on CNN, he said, but the story about Jesus coming into his room. So what do you make of. What do you think?
So what do you know of Nick said he was for real? I said, why don’t you take his story as that which got New Nick needed and gave it to him when he was at his most helpless state. So I can’t get that story out of my mind. What I say to you is this God will give us enough hints along the way. As she did my father in law. Minutes before he died, he looked up to the ceiling and spoken for days and he looked up to the ceiling and said, amazing.
That’s just amazing. And then he looked at his wife of 60 some years and said, Jeanne, I love you, and he was gone. Handel’s Messiah was playing in the background. I believe it is Wordsworth who wrote this, Sisters and brothers little made how many may you be? How many? Seven and all, she said and wondering looked at me. And where are they? I pray you tell, she answered seven. Are we two of us?
Second, we dwell and two are gone. To see two of us in the churchyard lie my sister and my brother and in the churchyard cottage I dwell near them with my mother. How many are you then? Sedigh, if two are already in heaven. The little maiden did reply. Well, Master. We are seven. Death doesn’t change the reality. I was 10 years old when my grandmother died, and I’ll close with this. All I remember about that, July nine, I was nine.
All I remember about the funeral was a hymn they sang Abide with Me. Phosphors, Eventide. The darkness deepens, Lord, with me abide. One of those verses says Swift to its close heads out life’s little day, oh, its joys, Grodin its glories pass away change and decay in all around. I see. Or thou who changes not abide with me. The passing and the abiding. Our formation, our transformation, our consummation, three of the greatest changes that God brings into your life, may you know him so that you will eternally dwell in his presence, for his word abides forever and the scriptures cannot be broken.
He has promised to prepare a place for you and me. If it were not so, he would have told us enter this year, knowing that swift to its close, absolute life’s little day, its joys wrote in its glorious pass away change and decay in all around. I see. Or thou will change us, not abide.