California nutcase preacher Harold Camping has predicted that Judgement Day is coming May 21st 2011.  What should we do?  Plant a tree.

Allegedly when Martin Luther was asked some 500 years ago what he would do if he knew the world was ending tomorrow, he said, “I would still plant a tree today.”  The simple point he was trying to make was the importance of always living with a mind for tomorrow.  It is not easy especially when overwhelmed by the needs of today.  We just had a team return from Haiti where we helped build an orphanage.  (That’s a cool story in itself. Last year Hollywood producers asked us if they could use our church parking lot to shoot a movie about a murder at an ATM.  We said they could if they gave us $20,000 to build an orphanage in the 3rd world.  They did and we did.)  The country has of course been devastated by last year’s earthquake, but that only compounds an already desperate situation.  The forest has been slashed and burned to produce charcoal for resale.  The exposed soil has eroded and blown or washed into the sea where it killed the coral.  Not only have they destroyed their farm land but also their fishery.  The sense of hopelessness and distress is palpable on the streets.  Yet in the midst of it the gospel is advancing like no other time in history.  Our team visited an outdoor church with over 10,000 members. Some believe that as many as 50% of Haitians are now Christians.  Their Voodoo religion has not been kind to them holding them in fear and bondage.  Christ is the only hope in a country that has literally lost everything.

The kids have distended stomachs from malnutrition and you rarely see them smile.  All kids should be able to at least smile.  With so much work to be done in the world to tell people about Jesus it actually annoys me that any self-righteous preacher would even propose that they know when the world is ending.  Harold Camping’s group has put up 20,000 billboards across North America with 85 of the them in Canada.  At an average cost of $1500 each that would be $30 million.  That money could have built 20,000 churches or orphanages in the 3rd world but instead it is wasted because the world is not going to end on May 21st.  How do you know Pastor Mark?  Well for one thing I am scheduled to take the weekend off, my first in months and months, and I pretty sure God would not deny me my day off.  But seriously, the scripture is quite clear on the matter.  “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” (Matt 24:36)  Let’s see, if the angels don’t know, and Jesus Himself doesn’t know, I am pretty sure Harold Camping doesn’t know.  He even says he knows the hour…  6 PM.  Although I am not sure of the time zone.

The 90 year old Camping is the founder of a ministry called Family Radio.  This isn’t the first time he has predicted the end of the world.  He said it was supposed to end September 6th 1994.  The day came and went and now he is at it again.  In the Old Testament they used to stone false prophets.  Unfortunately, many of his followers have sold all their goods and have given the money to him to buy billboards.  I wonder what they are going to do Monday May 22nd?  I hope McDonald’s is hiring.  Apparently Camping himself has not liquidated all his  assets and Family Radio will still be in business the next day.

We actually have a sure fire marker as to when Jesus will return.  He said “And this gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matt 24:14)  There are still at least 2 billion people on the planet that have not heard the gospel.  We should not even be wasting our time debating the subject.  We have a huge job to do.  Want to know what I am doing on my weekend off?  First I am going to put in the garden and then… plant a tree.