Sun, Oct 31, 1999

Y2K - The Millenium Bug: Matthew 6:25-34

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Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.

Y2K - THE MILLENNIUM BUG!

MATTHEW 6:25-34

This morning we are going to talk about something that most, if not all of you are aware of. It is something that has the potential of affecting every man, woman and child in the world. It could cause economic, political, corporate and individual chaos and disaster.

The problem is called Y2K which stands for the "Year 2000" and has also been called the "millennium bug". Now what is all the fuss about? One person summed it up very nicely when he said: "Y2K posits that when the clock strikes one second after 12 midnight on [January 1, 2000], heralding the beginning of the year 2000, millions of the world's computers are going to spew out erroneous data, give faulty instructions or outright crash. This is due to the fact that many hardware and software programs cannot recognize the first two digits in a century. "00", for example, will be read 1900 rather than 2000, which will cause computers to "get confused". Anyone who has any experience with computers can attest to the problems that can develop when any small glitch enters a system. If the computers mistake "00" for 1900, this can throw off calculations that affect finance, programmed time responses (bank vaults, traffic signals, air traffic control, etc.), astronomical equations and myriad other applications that are data sensitive."

What caused this problem is very simple, the solution to fix it is more difficult. Years ago computer memory was very expensive and it took up lots of space. So, to save money and memory space, computer programmers used only two digits to indicate the year. And so "65" meant 1965, etc. The problem now that we are coming upon the new millennium, is that on January 1, 2000 computers would understand it to mean 1900 instead!

The reason I would like to deal with this issue, and feel the need to take about it, is because of the total confusion people have regarding this issue. Some feel that this will be nothing more than a bump in the road, some minor inconveniences that will be quickly rectified. Others see this as the end of the world. That everything is going to shut down, you won't have heat, water, food, money. It will be a total disaster worldwide! It has even caused some to store up food, guns, ammunition, even purchase land in the country to be as far away from people as possible because of the anarchy that will break forth. Even some Christians are preparing in this manner, isolating themselves from the rest of the world.

In book stores, Christian and secular, there are many, many books on this subject. On the News, in magazines we have all kinds of information coming forth on this subject. So what is the truth? I don't know how bad it is going to be or how good it is going to be. I do know that Jesus said in Matthew 10:16, "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves." And if Jesus was warning His disciples back then, He is also speaking to us today. I am always amazed at the foolish things Christians are getting into and believing, when Jesus is telling us to be wise, use the mind that He has given us, instead of turning it off and believing anything and everything.

Thus, I will share with you what Christians and non-Christians are saying regarding this issue so that we may be wise to the days that are coming upon us. And you can come to your own conclusion, if you haven't already, about how bad or how good this will be. I'm no prophet nor do I want to be making predictions about things that I am not sure anyone can be certain about until the clock strikes one second after midnight on January 1, 2000! Then things will become more clear to us. What I want to finish up with this morning, after we see what the experts are saying, in what our response should be in all of this. That truly is the most important aspect, and what we truly should apply to our lives. So we are going to look at the bad, the good, and what God wants us to do!

1. THE END OF THE WORLD?

I am truly amazed at the number of books that are out there that speak of the devastation that is going to take place because of the Y2K problem. It seems that these books are being published and bought faster than commentaries and devotional's are. And many seem to be obsessed with this. Why? Well, when you listen to some of the remarks that are being made, you can easily see why people are worried and consumed with this problem.

Listen to what computer expert Michael S. Hyatt has to say regarding this problem that is quickly coming upon us. He said:

"12:01 AM January 1, 2000: Your electricity goes off. Phones aren't working. The computer at your local bank crashes. Police and 911 are nowhere to be found..."

"Social Security checks will stop coming. Planes...will be grounded. Credit card charges will be rejected. Military defense systems will fail..."

The Federal Reserve will be unable to clear checks...Your employer will go out of business."

Not a pretty picture that is being painted. And if that happens, can you imagine the anarchy that would take place! In fact, it could get so bad that some have speculated that a military state would be enforced and that is going to eventually lead to a one world government. Time will tell on that one.

Economically things also look bad. According to the London's Sunday Times, from August 3, 1997, we read:

"This is not a prediction, it is a certainty - there will be a serious disruption in the world's financial services...[and] a Millennium-induced crash of the world's stock markets around the middle of 1999."

So even before the year 2000 comes, some are predicting a crash of the stock market, which will cause world wide problems! Can you imagine what would happen if the stock markets around the world would crash? We have seen what happens just when the Asian stock markets are in trouble, and not crashing, how we are all affected by it. But a world wide crash would be devesting. As Arthur Gross, the chief information officer for the IRS said: "Failure to achieve compliance with the year 2000 will jeopardize our way of life on this planet for some time to come."

And, William McDonough, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York stated: "The failure to get [Y2K] right will affect the integrity of the payment system, financial markets, and...the domestic and global economics." That does not sound the least bit encouraging!

We are seeing and hearing of the problems that Y2K can cause not only from Christians, but also from the secular media. Because of this, many have started to panic and are preparing for doomsday on January 1, 2000. In an article entitled "It's The Millennium Bug...Again!" from the Herald Times Reporter, October 13, 1998, we read the following:

"Sure, it's just a software bug. But to some anxious folks, the year 2000 computer problem may well be the next cataclysm of Biblical proportions...Fearful folks scattered across the county are preparing for a man-made disaster they fear could make hurricanes seem like a summer breeze. They're sinking assets into gold, installing solar panels, packing pantries with powdered milk and canned goods. Ammunition? There could be looting and riots. Solar energy? There might be blackouts, too. Gold? Downed computers may toss banks into a tizzy...More than 80 percent of large U.S. firms, in fact, are behind schedule in fixing their computer bugs by 2000, according to a survey by the Cap Gemini American Consulting firm. Experts say the failure of computers to correctly read dates could trigger disruptions in commerce, finance, power supplies and other mainstays of civilization. Some fear the flaws could even perplex systems like control panels for nuclear warheads."

And lastly, from The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor, dated February 1998, we read the following report:

"[N]o one knows how many non-compliant chips there are...and it is estimated that 8 to 20 billion [embedded] chips are presently in use throughout the industrialized western world...All chips must be tested...This is not possible between now and 12/31/99..."

"The coming computer crisis...could trigger...the onset of the biggest global depression since the 1930's..."

"The national power grid...is completely computer dependent and may be the most important system at risk...giving us the 'mother of all electrical blackouts'..."

In saying all that, things don't sound too good. It looks like troublesome times are ahead of us because of this Y2K computer bug. And yet, you can read of others saying there is not going to be any major problems at all. Yes, some things will be disrupted by the Y2K computer bug, but nothing essential, nothing that would be a matter of life and death. Let me share with you a few things regarding what they have to say in regards to the Y2K problem.

2. A BUMP IN THE ROAD?

Again, from the Herald Times Reporter, October 13, 1998, in the article "It's The Millennium Bug...Again!", we read:

"The super-cautious crowd may be overreacting, several year 2000 experts say. Why board up the windows for a mere thunderstorm? 'These are people who are running off to the hills and buying Uzis. I think that's the lunatic fringe,' says Peter de Jager, a well-known year 2000 pundit who, nevertheless, warns of potentially catastrophic computer failures. If people 'run away screaming into the night,' de Jager says, 'then we have given up all hope.'"

Tony Hample, group manager for Year 2000 Marketing, Sun Microsystems, inc. says:

"Year 2000 is an annoyance, a speed bump. We're over assessing the end-of-the-world aspect of the year 2000 problem."

On July 13, 1998, Wallstreet held a series of Y2K tests and there were no glitches!

AT&T , Sprint, and MCI all expect to be ready and the Federal Communications Commission estimated that 98 percent of the nations 1,400 regional carriers upon which the big three's transmissions depend would be "compliant by mid-1999".

Nicholas Zvegintzov, co-founder of Software Maintenance News, Inc., and Technical Editor of The Annual software Management Technology Reverence Guide, and who is held in high regards by those in this field, wrote an article in the February 1996 issue of American Programmer and said of all this Y2K talk:

"The year 2000 problem...is not a huge problem to solve, but it is the focus of a huge and unique racket. The racket treats the year 2000 problem as huge, difficult, dangerous, and unique. There are doom laden articles in the newspapers, expensive conferences, collections of articles such as the one you hold, service offerings by consulting groups, special software tools, internet news pages. This is the year 2000 racket - the problem is free, but solutions are for sale."

Now who is right and who is wrong? These views are on opposite ends of the spectrum. We see those that see this as a time when economically the world will crash. Anarchy will break out. Martial law enforced. But the other end of the spectrum regarding Y2K is that it is nothing more than a bump in the road, there will be minor inconveniences but no devastating effects. There are experts on both sides that make very good points for their position.

To tell you the truth, I don't know what is going to be the outcome of Y2K, but should that really matter to us as Christians? I don't think so! There is nothing wrong with being wise and preparing yourself, but how much food, water, guns, ammunition, gasoline, heaters, and-so-on are you going to store? How long will this last if it is as bad as some say it will be? That brings us to the last thing we are going to be looking at, what we as Christians should do, how we should respond to all of this.

3. THE CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE!

I think we can easily take our eyes off the Lord and become consumed with the perilous times that God said would come upon this world in the last days. Maybe Y2K will be nothing, but that doesn't mean nothing else will come with greater destruction. In fact, the Scriptures tell us it will, that things will get worse before they get better!

These are times when we as Christians, many times, run around like chickens with our heads cut off. That should not be. In fact, the Scriptures says, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us." I John 4:18-19. God has shown us the things that are going to transpire, that things will get bad, and that He loves us more than we ever will know. That love He has for us should remove any fear we have about the future.

Turn with me to Matthew chapter 6, and lets begin reading in verse 25 to see what Jesus has to say regarding our outlook on life and the future. We read:

MATTHEW 6:25-34

"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

Very appropriate words for the days we are living in. And these words should help us get a proper perspective of any situation we are finding ourselves in, including our concerns over the Y2K millennium bug!

Jesus tells us that we are not to "worry" about our life, what we are going to eat and the clothes we are to wear. We are not to be anxious about these things. You see, worry speaks of being drawn in a different direction. In other words, you are focused on or consumed with this life, the things in this world, instead of the Lord. If you are focused on the Lord you will have peace. If you are not focused on the Lord, you will worry! As Paul said in Colossians 3:15, "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful."

And Jesus makes a very good point in Matthew chapter 6. He says that worrying can't add to your life, but it surely can shorten it! You see, do you believe that Almighty God can care for you, take care of you, provide for you the things you will need in life? Abraham did, and Paul, in Romans 4:20-21 tells us that he "He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform."

The attitude of the world is to focus in this life, worrying about eating and drinking and the clothes that they are going to wear. As Christians that should not be our focus because God is fully aware of what we need! Thus, our focus is found in verse 33 of Matthew 6, when Jesus says "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

Keep your eyes focused upward, upon the Lord and what He wants to do in you and through you, and God will care for the rest. Years ago a friend, who was a Christian, was diagnosed with cancer. He was just a kid, a teenager who was going for a routine physical for a job and they found a spot on his lung.

He was admitted to the hospital and his roommate also had cancer. And as they talked his roommate was lead to the Lord, he got saved. Now my friend's cancer was healed - they couldn't find a trace of it, the spots on the X-ray of his lung were gone. So he was released from the hospital. But his roommate was overcome with the cancer he had, and finally died!

And you wonder why? Well, I know this, my friend had the cancer so he could share with someone else the love of God, and in the death of this man, he went to be with the Lord. God used my friend mightily, and for my friend, his time was not up yet, God still was going to use him. The focus, thus, must be upon God and His kingdom, and if it is we won't worry about what is coming upon our lives.

And in verse 34, Jesus says "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." In the Greek it is a command - "stop worrying!" May we be able to do that, to trust in the Lord, for what else can we really do about it? As Paul said in Philippians 4:6-7, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Let God guard your heart, your emotions; and your mind, your thoughts, and His peace will fill your life no matter what happens to you, no matter how difficult life will get!

I don't know how bad or how good it will be in regards to the Y2K bug, but I do know this, use everyday and every circumstance as an opportunity to share Christ. Don't waste anything! Redeem the time, for the days are evil, and they are getting more evil.

I realize I didn't answer the questions of what lies ahead, but God is in control, never forget that. I am not a prophet of gloom and doom, but of Jesus Christ, and that is what I will preach and teach. Yes, there is coming a day of judgment for those who don't know Christ, but there is also coming a day of redemption for those who do. Peter said in II Peter 2:9, "then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment." And as Paul said in I Thessalonians 5:9-11, "For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing."

We, as Christians, are not appointed for wrath, and thus, as difficult as these days may be, the tribulation period, the last 7 years before Christ returns to set up His kingdom are for those how have rejected Christ and God is going to deal with them and the nation of Israel, to fulfill that last 7 year period of the 70 weeks of Daniel, and the church will be caught up to be with the Lord prior to this last 7 years starting. You see, the persecution upon us now comes from Satan and his demonic forces, but the wrath of God will be upon a Christ rejecting world and will begin as the first of seven seals are opened by our Lord in Revelation chapter 6, which opens with the antichrist coming on the scene. But before we are taken to be with the Lord, things may get tougher, but don't lose hope, keep your eyes focused upward, as Paul said, "looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ." Titus 2:13

As I bring this study to a close, I want to read to you a story that appeared in Servant Quarters, a newsletter put out by Gayle Erwin:

JANUARY 1, 2000

My eyes open. Quiet and darkness envelop the house. Crawl out of bed. Tinge of disappointment that I am still here and the prophets of His coming were wrong. Clocks not working.

Feel for shoes and clothes in the quiet darkness. Hope not to awaken wife. Walk outside. Marvel at numberless stars of the desert night. Feel very small and insignificant. Talk to God about that and several other things in cool and pleasant crispness of the outdoors.

Chuckle. Must use flashlight and match to see and light stove to heat water for tea. Stare at useless microwave. Newspaper hasn't come. Probably won't. Don't miss it.

By flashlight reread passage of Scripture that has taken on a new meaning to me. Start looking for the store of candles my wife keeps. Feel a little like a modern Abe Lincoln.

Fumble around in darkness to get tea poured. Sit and ponder goodness of God. Listen to quail calling. Hear unfamiliar bird. Marvel at God's infinite variety.

Think of year past. People I met. The new ones in the kingdom. Faithful servant hearts that kept things going. My family and other dearly loved friends. Decide to call and thank some of them. No dial tone. Pray for them anyway.

Think of Brothers and Sisters in other countries who live this way all the time. Realize I am selfish and spoiled by prosperity. I am merely without lights and phone. Many under death threats. Think of some I know and pray for them.

Wonder if the millions who gathered in Israel for the "Great Event - the Second Coming" on this day are disappointed. Also wonder if they bought round trip tickets.

Dawn frees more movement. Begin laying things out for wife's breakfast. Wonder how long food keeps in refrigerator with no electricity.

Thank God for faithful wife of 42 years. Our children. Our grandchildren. Our parents. Realize I am richest man in the world. Subdue the joy. Don't want to awaken her. Look in pantry and laugh. Wife has kept it full for 40 years. Probably won't starve until at least end of the month. Feel sorry for paranoid who have year's supply stored and are probably cleaning their guns and counting their ammunition at this very moment. Sorry that January 1 produced so much greed and hostility. Truly sorry that many have not checked their actions by the Nature of Jesus.

Think I will visit our neighbors later in the morning to see if they are OK. Wonder if more people will turn to God in the chaos. Don't think so. It is His mercy that brings us to repentance, not our chaos.

Hear telltale sounds of slippers brushing floor. Love that sound! Welcome my wife to the day with kiss and cuddle. She flips light switch. Nothing happens. We laugh. Maybe millennium terror prophets were right. But we still have each other. We are happy.

Computer not working. Must study printed Bible. Not bad. Good familiar feel. Sit and enjoy quiet and wonder how our family is doing.

Suddenly, refrigerator begins running. Chaos over. TV reveals that a drunken New Year's reveler in a fiery crash had severed electricity and phone connections.

We laugh.

Just a little techno-dreaming by Gale Erwin.

We don't know how bad or good things will be, but don't let that allow you to take your eyes of the Lord, and worry. Keep looking upward for our redemption is drawing nearer!

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