The parking lot at the Church of Tomorrow was packed as usual. They were forced to build a bigger church six years previously for they had outgrew the old building. The new church seated up to thirty-thousand people and it was almost always filled up. Many members were from Albany, but people came from all over to hear this great speaker that had made so many happy.
Oliver McFadden got up early and went to church that morning in time to make the second service. He very seldom went; (not being a real believer), but this particular morning he had a meeting with Dr. Jack Ingram concerning who would be backed in the upcoming election for a seat in congress.
The choir finished singing the song God’s Love Will Cover Your Every Sin. Oliver was content with the way this church did not get carried away with the hellfire and brimstone like the church his great-grandparents had made him sit through when he visited them. They had him scared so much as a child that he almost became a Christian, but his great-grandmother passed and her husband placed in a nursing home and his visits to their home ceased.
The preacher there in Farrell, Pennsylvania had been what was referred to as an old time preacher. He preached the hellfire sermons and spoke a “bloody” gospel. His great-grandmother passed when he was eleven. He still remembered all the shouting and carrying on that was going on at the funeral. There lay a dead woman in a casket and they spoke of victory. He thought to himself how unintelligent those people were.
Oliver took his seat and was required to rise again as the crowd began to cheer and applaud as a young man in his early thirties took the stage. Dr. Jack Ingram was a fairly handsome man and everyone was on edge waiting for what this weeks “sermon” would be.
A huge smile beamed from Ingram’s face as he began, “Hello and good morning! I trust you have had a blessed week.” He moved down and stood in front of the congregation. “We had a bump in the road financially this week in the world, but remember God is still overseeing us all.”
“Do not let your heart be troubled in these times,” He continued, “the world will look bad before it gets better.”
He walked up to Oliver, one of the church’s biggest contributors. “Isn’t that right, Oliver?” Ingram said patting Oliver on his shoulder.
“Now, some of these preachers today want to suck you in with fear religion.” He made a mean face, “They tell you of a vengeful God that is going to rain down judgment.” He straightened his face and began laughing, and the people followed suit.
Ingram began to tell of another minister, “On the other side of town we got one of those “fanatics” about to start an end time series tonight.” He then stood back and did a pitcher’s wind up, demonstrating a pitch. “We don’t have a service tonight, the ball game is on. Make sure you pray for those Mets.” He started laughing again and the crowd roared in laughter with him.
He continued on the minister. “Don’t get me wrong, I am not throwing off on the man. My father preached the same way before he left to be with Jesus. That is the way of old, though. Here at the Church of Tomorrow we have been enlightened to know God loves us all, no matter our short comings.”
He looked at the congregation and smiled, knowing he had their attention for they were all hooked with his great charisma and charm.
“We have the truth, here. We know God won’t destroy the world for He is all love. We know that very soon this world will reach the perfect age. The Messiah will come and rule in love and peace as the ages roll.”
He spoke a little longer, but was finished by noon. He did not like to drag his sermons on for fear his congregation would shrink and his wallet as well.
“We will meet here next week, enjoy the game and do your best to serve God.” The church service was over to Oliver’s approval, and he went back to speak to Ingram.
The parking lot at the Upper Room church was not as full as the Church of Tomorrow. It had maybe three-thousand compared to their thirty thousand or more. Gregg pulled the car to its parking place amazed at how easy it was to find one.
“You ready, we should not have a hard time finding a seat.” Gregg stated.
Mark nodded his head, but did not respond. He was nervous with his mind on the service and knowing not what to expect. He wondered would this be one of those churches where they run and holler down the aisles. He hoped not and already decided to set on the back row just in case for an easy exit.
Mark and Gregg got seated as many welcomed them with a smile. They were amazed at how friendly everyone was to them. They saw Charlie and he was so glad to see them.
“Keep your mind on God, Mark. This could be the night you will never be the same.”
Mark smiled at Charlie, but he was not sure if all he said was on the level. He came being pessimistic, not wanting to get his hopes up.
The choir came out and sang a few songs, but one especially got to Mark. They sang a song called; I Wish We’d All Been Ready. It was a song about the end and he did not like hearing of that. Ingram had taught them there was no such thing and he was satisfied with that answer. He felt himself wanting to get up and leave, but forced himself to stay thinking, “It is just one service then we are gone.”
When the choir had finished Pastor Lambert came out. He came out bubbling over with happiness and proclaiming the name of Jesus. He kept mentioning the Blood of Jesus and the congregation was praising God for the Blood.
Mark was shocked for the Pastor seemed for real, it did not seem fake to him. Here was a man in his early to mid-seventies. He could have retired long ago, “Why is he still preaching?” Mark reasoned with himself.
Mark turned to Gregg but he was rolling his eyes in obvious doubt. He turned to Mark and cracked a grin, but soon put that grin away noticing Mark had not returned one to him.
Pastor Kaleb began to speak, “Tonight is a big night for the sports world. Many churches have their lights out tonight, but not here. We put God first here and the Spirit is here to honor all of you who have put God first.”
He stepped up to the pulpit. “Tonight we begin the prophesy series. Contrary to most views today; (including Christians), they don’t see the end drawing near. Those that claim to love God really don’t believe it is close or they would live like it is.”
“The subject tonight is One Flight Out. There is only one escape flight out of here before the Tribulation period sets in. Oh, many will be yelling for Jesus to come back for them, but it will be too late.”
“Jeremiah spoke of the days coming, Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it: (Jeremiah 30:7). There has never been a time like it before nor ever will be. The days that end all days will be the worst time in history on the face of the earth.”
Pastor Lambert kept his eyes fixed on the congregation as he continued. “There is not one sign left to be fulfilled for the Rapture of the Bride of Christ. Jesus could come this very second and no prophesy would come up lacking.”
Mark noticed how the message just seemed to flow from Pastor Lambert with ease. “Keep your eyes fixed on Israel, the Holy Land. The turmoil going on over there is a clock of sorts. I believe we are within minutes till the clock will strike midnight for planet earth.”
“The devil hates that land for it is the Promised Land, the promise made unto Abraham. This is why the devil uses so many people to try and destroy it; and has come close to succeeding a few times, but God would not allow it.”
“Jeremiah prophesied, Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, the Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the House of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land (Jeremiah 23:7, 8).”
“This was Jeremiah prophesying that the Jews would return to the north country; (Russia), first, and then they would return to the Holy land from countries everywhere. This started in 1921.”
“Jesus foretold of the Israel becoming a nation. What did Jesus have to say of that generation? Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. (Matthew 24:32-34).”
“The fig tree in prophesy always represents Israel. When did the fig tree bloom? It was in 1948 when Israel became a nation. Those born in 1948 up until now have a greater chance of being here when the Rapture takes place.”
“We do not know the exact moment that Jesus will come, but just like we know when the seasons change, the Bride will know it is fast approaching.”
“There are nations on every side of Israel that hate and despise them; many going as far as to say so. What will they think when God delivers all land back to Israel? In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river of Euphrates. (Genesis 15:18).”
“Many preachers today will tell you the promises of Israel are for the church, not so. The Gentile Dispensation will end when the Rapture takes place, and the final week; (or seven years), of the Jewish Dispensation will begin.”
“In closing, the world now is ready for the end and many do not know it. The world is in such turmoil economically that when the man of sin; the antichrist, the world will have no problem accepting him for he will have all the answers.”
The next statement shocked both of the brothers. “I believe the antichrist is alive on planet earth today being groomed to take his place center stage. He was no doubt born in the late sixties. The world; (this country included), has not been the same since. The days of The Andy Griffith Show were gone and Hollywood began making filth, getting worse every year. The hippies made drug use cool and they stood in the streets mocking God and their country.”
Then Pastor Lambert came to a dead stop. He seen a man in the congregation who had one eye, where the other should have been was just an empty socket.
Pastor Lambert pointed toward him. “Sir, this message has gotten your faith up there and God is moving for you. The Spirit of the Living God is moving for you.”
Mark and Gregg turned to see the man Pastor Lambert was speaking of, and they seen something they could not begin to explain. An eyeball was formed right into the empty socket.
The man jumped up shouting, “I have a new eye! I have a new eye!” The congregation began to praise God in abundance. Mark wiped a tear from the corner of his eye.
Once everyone was quiet pastor Lambert spoke. “What you have witnessed here was spoken by the prophet Joel, And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh (Joel 2:28).”
“I felt the man’s faith go way up as I was preaching. God lets me sense faith the way you sense hot and cold. With his faith high, he was ready for his miracle.”
The Pastor began to move among the people, warning them of what was coming. Mark had never heard such a message, yet he could tell this man spoke the warning in love.
“Many have taught the Holy Ghost Baptism isn’t for today, but that is false doctrine. Joel prophesied all flesh. It is like salvation, it is for whosoever will, let him come.”
He spoke a little more then the choir took their positions. “Don’t wait too late, people. The Lord will come in an hour you think not, the Bible declares. The Rapture is fast approaching, Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (I Corinthians 15:51, 52).”
The choir began to sing, I Surrender All. “Have you surrendered all?” Lambert asked. “Have you given Him everything? I can say tonight I have held nothing back. I have given my whole life to Him.”
Mark set in his seat, deep down he knowing what he was hearing was true. He was thinking it all over when he was shocked to see Gregg suddenly rise from his seat and run for the altar. He wept before God and Mark witnessed his brother become an entirely different person. For if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (II Corinthians 5:17).