“Beware? Be Aware”
Mark 13:1-8

cntowerHave you ever stood at the base of the CN Tower and looked up? It’s an impressive piece of engineering! You look at that great tower piercing the clear blue sky. At night it looks even more impressive as it is lit up, pointing into the darkness. And when you are at the top of the tower, looking down on the world for miles and miles and miles, it is really an impressive sight.

If you haven’t been to Toronto, I’m sure you’ve stood at the entrance to some other impressive building. Whether its soaring heights or captivating design, you are impressed with what people have designed and built.

That’s exactly what the disciples are doing in Mark today. Jesus is emerging from the temple and his disciples look around them at this great, beautiful temple. And it is. Huge stones cover the temple mount which is about the size of 13 football fields.

How does Jesus respond? “Not one stone will be standing.”

Some of the disciples gather around Jesus as they sit across from the temple and ask when such destruction is going to take place.

Jesus gives some hints as to when this might be. He warns us of threats of war. He warns of people coming, saying they are the ‘one’ and will lead us astray. Natural disasters, famines, all of these things are but birth pangs of the end times.

If this is the case, then we are continually living with the birth pangs of the end of the world.

When hasn’t there been a threat of war? When hasn’t there been famine and natural disasters? When hasn’t there been people coming and attempting to lead us astray?

The point? Be ready.

Why wait until the last second? Be ready now!

We do not know when Jesus will return to collect his people as he promised. So what if we lived each and every day as if he is going to return tomorrow?

What does this mean?

Jesus has told us he has gone to prepare a place for us, John 10 tells us this. We also know he has taught us to serve others as he served people in his earthly ministry.

Instead, we have been caught up in the man made things of our day. We are obsesses with buildings, liturgical acts we have been practising forever. We practice our own “laws” which we have developed to decide who belongs to the church.

Where did Jesus do his work? It certainly wasn’t restricted by walls. Even where there were walls, people would climb onto the roof and tear it apart so they could get close to Jesus.

Jesus walked the streets and met people where they are. When people came to him he asked them, “What do you need?”

Today we are so caught up in wondering what people think of us. We wonder if we are being ‘cool’ enough for people to like us.

And we also wonder where the people went.

This place, like every other church in the North America was bursting at the seams after the war. But what happened?

Where did they all go?

I’ll tell you where they went. The 200 kids in the Sunday school grew up and moved away for work. Their parents and grandparents aged. Many of them are now residing in the Brookside Cemetery.

That’s it. That’s where everyone went.

The church relaxed in a time when it was at its peak. It decided it was full enough and didn’t bother reaching out to new people. We stopped looking outside our walls at the harvest God was preparing. Instead the church relaxed, knowing its granary, its storehouse, was full. Well, we’ve exhausted our reserves. Churches across North America are closing at an alarming rate.

All because we stopped doing what God asked us to do a generation or two ago and stuck to the status quo, which worked when the churches were full week after week.

Now, we’re getting older. We don’t have as much energy as we used to. It’s harder to turn it around, to get back out into the fields to reap the harvest.

As a result, we’ve seen people come in and lead others astray. People come in with other ways in which to deal with the hardships of life.

Where once the church was the place people went to for help in tough times. Now it’s the liquor store and drug dealers. Quick relief from deep problems in our society.

And where has it brought us.

In Sydney Mines, we live in fear after fires and drive by shootings.

Every morning it seems there’s freshly smashed bottles on the sidewalks as we walk our children to school.

Our world is at war with itself.

This is where we need to take a stand. Our churches, once the pillars of our communities, need to stand back up and say “We are here to help!”

We need to be vocal in making people realize that we have so much more to offer than a quick fix from the local drug dealer and liquor store. We can offer life in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Next Sunday is our first step.

Next Sunday night at 7:30pm in Jubilee Elementary school the churches of Sydney Mines are calling the community together to pray.

We are going to pray for the people and community of Sydney Mines. We are going to turn our community over to God in hopes that He will bring healing to our streets.

But there’s a catch. We can speak and pray all we want, but the trick is to listen.

We need to be still and listen for where God is calling us to serve. If we want God to heal Sydney Mines, we need to be open to what He is saying to us.

There’s no doubt there’s been a growing problem lately. The news tells us what we already know as we walk our streets.

But I’ll tell you what. God is preparing a response. As I walk our streets and talk to people, I see God at work. God is starting to work within us, calling us to action. God is bringing together His people and His churches to fight the evil among us.

God is calling us to help bring people back to Him, away from those Jesus warns us about… the one’s who lead people astray, into lives of destruction and pain.

God wants us to offer love and healing.

Beware! Beware of those who call us away from the will of God.

Be aware! Be aware of how God is moving among us to bring healing to our streets.