by Jon Dalrymple
SPOKANE, WA - Over 600 people attended the Signs of the Times Rally held by Spokane area Seventh-day Adventist churches on September 11, 2010. The event was designed to answer people's questions regarding recent events in the media that seem to be baffling world leaders and have many people concerned about the future of our planet.
"Those of us in the Adventist church leadership have sensed in recent months that many people are wondering more about the second coming," says Kevin Wilfley, pastor of the Spokane Linwood Seventh-day Adventist Church. "Many people are perplexed in light of the current state of the economy, terrorism, international relations and the environment. And because of this, we felt like it was a good time to address these issues, let people know that there is hope, and invite people to make a commitment to following Jesus."
Organizers of the rally advertised on local radio and billboards as well as handed out flyers in neighborhoods in effort to bring as many community people as possible to this event which was held at the Fox Theater in downtown Spokane. Wilfley estimates that about 15 percent of the attendees were non-Adventists, and many more were inactive members.
The event lasted from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday and also included a meeting at the Spokane Central church on Friday evening. Bob Folkenberg, Jr., president of Upper Columbia Conference, spoke on Friday night and urged people to make Christ and His cause the complete focus of their lives. He stressed that cause of Jesus is the only thing that gives life meaning.
On Sabbath there were two sermons about the second coming by local pastors Wilfley and Jeff Kinne, and there were also personal testimonies by members about how God has changed their lives.
On Sabbath afternoon Pastor Darold Bigger, a retired US Navy chaplain who was at the Pentagon on 9-11, shared his experience and his perspective on how followers of Christ can have peace during end time events and that we should not be surprised by them. At the end of his talk Bigger honored the US Military veterans in a special ceremony. About 40 veterans came forward who served in wars ranging from World War II to the recent wars in Iraq and Iran.
By the end of the rally, organizers knew of 18 people who made a renewed commitment to following Jesus and 7 people committed their lives to him for the first time and have asked to begin Bible studies.