Dear family and friends:
Japan's March 11 earthquake marked the 14th magnitude 6 or greater earthquake in only 70 days of 2011. Whether or not the number of mega-quakes is truly increasing statistically, (with Haitian, Indonesian, Kashmir and Chinese earthquakes still fresh in our minds), it certainly seems to focus our prayerful attention on some questions:
Muslim Clerics declared that the 2005 Sumatran earthquake and tsunami was evidence of their god's wrath on Westerners and nominal Muslims. By contrast, it's well-known that Christians are the first responders when such disasters occur worldwide. So well-known, in fact, that anti-Christian propaganda labels it an opportunistic way to spread our faith. (This means that it is an effective way to bring both spiritual and physical salvation to other cultures!)
If we're going to be known for something, I like the idea for being known for helping those in need rather than condemning them. I don't apologize for looking at events like this with an eye on the eastern sky and an ear open for a trumpet call. The Bible promises a crown of righteousness for all those who love his appearing! I'm not setting dates like some are doing with May 21, 2011 or December 21, 2012, but though Christ refers to his coming as being “like a thief” (Revelation 16:15) the Bible also says we are “not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” (1 Thessalonians 5:4) We cannot remain faithful to that warning if we become jaded to the very signs he predicted would increase before his coming!
The Japanese people are some of the best-educated, wealthiest, least-reached people in the world. Unfortunately, they're not even in the top 25 countries in terms of response. Please pray for their spiritual awakening as you pray for their protection and survival.
My friend “Mary,” who lives in Japan, came to Christ in March of 2009 through personal e-mails after we met in the chat Bible study at LookToJesus.com. When I wrote to check on her, she responded: “Please will you pray for people’s eyes and hearts to be opened and see how temporary and unreliable this life here in planet earth is. Most Japanese have their own gods which have been swept away together wth other belongings. It’s high time they realized that a god which can be swept away by a tsunami is no god to put your hope in. May the Gospel reach them at this terrible moment. How? I have no idea but nothing is too difficult to God. Pray for me too.”
In a planned initiative that was not related to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, Global Media Outreach will be greatly increasing our work to reach a million visitors per day between March 24 - March 25, something we're calling “March Millions.” We'll also be sponsoring a 48-hour prayer vigil by telephone during those two days. I know that in our staff prayer sessions leading up to this event, Japan has been very much on our mind and I'm sure that will continue to be the case, as news continues to come from Japan.1
In addition to earthquakes in various places, wars, rumors of wars, famines, false Christs, offenses and betrayal, Jesus also predicted that the love of many will grow cold. (Matthew 24:12) The word for “love” in this verse implies Christian love, so that's one of the most shocking details of Jesus’ Olivet Discourse about his return. What is the defense against this effect? I Peter 4:7-8 says, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”
If you receive our letter in time, would you please join us in prayer for Japan and for our increased outreach March 24-25? Watch the progress at http://www.greatCommission2020.com or join in for an hour at (712) 432-0075 (http://bit.ly/hBASp6).
Love, in Christ
P.S. Please see our latest photos!
Mike and Cindy Skinner
“One day closer!” (Romans 13:11)