New Year’s Letter 2013
“When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near”
– Luke 21:28.
The highlight of 2012 for us was on October 3rd when our son T. R. suddenly had to function as the midwife in the birth of our second grandson, Timothy Robert. The midwife arrived five minutes too late! T. R., Annette and Toby moved to Tennessee on March 25th. They now live on their little farm in White House, less than fifteen minutes from Rex and Melissa. So in 2012 we have our entire family near Louise and me. How kind of God to do this!
Louise and I are very well, considering we are getting up in years (73, 77). Her back is completely healed from the injury that resulted in an operation 18 months ago. She frequently travels with me. We have so much to thank God for. Next June 28th will mark our 55th wedding anniversary! I have traveled and preached this year more than ever – 170 times in 50 venues in 4 countries. In February I will visit Qatar, Dubai and India. Despite a worsening arthritis and occasional dizzy spells I am doing quite well. I continue to write books (over 60). God has been so gracious to me to let me have such a wider ministry. T. R. keeps the website current, helps with the social media and is always giving me wise and timely input. Melissa has earned her Master’s degree from Trevecca Nazarene University (my alma mater). All our family need your prayers for continuing good health and energy, especially for a greater anointing of the Holy Spirit but also for wisdom in knowing when to say Yes and No to various opportunities.
Some of my friends have lovingly criticized me for implying that President Obama might not be a Christian since I have committed to praying for him daily to be saved (see my blog and Facebook for November 7). Perhaps I got it wrong. But I have yet to be convinced that the man who wrote his books is a Christian. He himself admitted that his reason for joining a church was that it would help him politically. I know some who won’t pray for President Obama at all. This is surely wrong. “I urge”, said Paul, “that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving me made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority” (1 Tim.2:1-2). I pray daily that God will bless our president but also save him. I won’t give up. John Wesley said that God does nothing but in answer to prayer. If that is true, someone was praying for Saul of Tarsus (who became the greatest Christian of his day). So I am hopeful. And yet I worry for our nation and fear that bad things are coming down the road. But to quote the king of Nineveh: “Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish” (Jonah 3:9). My very first book was Jonah.
In my little book The Day the World Changed (meaning 9/11) I predicted that things would get both worse and worse and better and better. The worse and worse is being fulfilled; but the better and better? Not yet. However, the better and better refers not to the economy and peace in the world but rather to the spiritual condition of the Church in many places. Jesus said that that the church in the last days would be “asleep” (Matt.25:5). The scary thing about sleep is, we don’t know we were asleep until we wake up! We do things when we are asleep (as in our dreams) we would not do when wide awake. I fear that a sleeping church is tolerating things that were once thought disgraceful. Where is the outrage? You tell me. And we hate the sound of an alarm.
Jesus said there would be a Midnight Cry just before the Second Coming. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’” (Matt.25:6). Midnight in this case does not mean 12:00 o’clock midnight but rather is a translation of a Greek word that means in the middle of the night – when we are in a deep sleep. I have wondered if the Midnight Cry of Matthew 25:6 could be in two stages, or two realms – to the world generally and to the church: (1) a general wake-up Call – which may have happened on September 11th 2001. If so, the awakening was short-lived. Most people rolled over and went back to sleep. To the people of God there will be (2) an amazing, astonishing and sudden Call that will emerge clearly and unmistakably. How? I don’t know. But it will happen prior to the Second Coming and – if I were to be totally honest with you – in my lifetime.
Two things will change
I’m sorry, but I fear that things will get much, much worse in the world. Call it “the beginning of sorrows” or whatever. I don’t mean to be unfair, but I fear for those who hold that the Rapture will usher all believers out of Great Tribulation. This viewpoint sets many sincere Christians up for huge disillusionment. In my opinion, two things will change. First, many will sooner or later have to abandon their cherished eschatological theory – that Christians will be snatched away and spared of extreme suffering. This view is not only far from convincing but I’m afraid it encourages Christians to stay fast asleep. The truth is, we can expect the worst right before our very eyes. Second, those holding to “cessationism” (the view that miracles “ceased” long ago and there is no hope for signs and wonders since we have the Bible) will also have to abandon this hopeless perspective. We should pray for and expect an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that will restore power and authority as in the days of the early church. The Trinity for too many is, as Jack Taylor puts it, “God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Bible”. We need the immediate and direct coming of the Spirit to make people see the infallibility of Holy Scripture and the integrity of the Gospel.
This outpouring, then, is in my opinion not far away. And yet it could be that the recent tragedies – whether Hurricane Sandy in New York or Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut – will be part of God’s way of driving us to our knees. I pray for this while we all equally pray for those families who have been so bereaved by recent events.
God bless you. Thank you for turning to our website and reading this.
From me, Louise and all our family, warmest greetings and best wishes for 2013.
R. T. Kendall – Romans 8:28 AV: “We know that all things work together for God to them that love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose”.