If you’ve been reading this blog any amount of time you know that my thinking has been greatly influenced of late by a CD by Casting Crowns. The CD is Lifesong. This past week’s message was based on the song While You Were Sleeping. Several in our congregation said the song sent chills up their spine as I sang it. If you are interested in reading the sermon, click here. When it comes to Jesus’ return, we often look to Matthew 24. I suggested that we need to look the next chapter, because that is part of the continuing narrative. Jesus tells three parables about what the Christian should be doing to prepare for the last times. In the first story of the ten bridesmaids, he tell us that we should watch and pray and be prepared for His return. In the second story of the boss who goes away and leaves his affairs in the hands of his employees, we are told that we should occupy the time. In other words, we should be doing all we can to fulfill the Great Commission. In the third and final story, we hear about the sheep and the goats. In this story, Jesus separates the believers by what and what they didn’t do in helping those who were the least. One of the things that we have decided to do as a congregation this year is help ring bells for Salvation Army. My brother and sister-in-law are in their second year of training in this organization. Even here in our own community, Salvation Army is doing a ton of good. I am proud to be counted among one of their supporters. As I look around at organizations, they really seemed to have balanced what James says in 1:27. “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” So many times it seems churches do one or the other, but God has called us to do both and time is running out.