By the Numbers 2015: top trends, charts, earthquakes, and more

The year 2015 is over and we are looking at 2016. I’m personally excited to see what 2016 will hold. A group of men I’ve been praying for have planted a new church and it is going to be a God-honoring, expositional, doctrinally pure (as it can be), Reformed church. We are having a pre-launch prayer meeting January 10 and the first service will be January 31. It’s being planted at the border of a city of 166,000 and a town of 160. The proximity to both city and rural counties means we can reach people of various backgrounds. There is a demographic of diversity in the area from farmers to young families to new arrivals from other countries to established city families. Since Christ’s bride will be multiethnic (Rev 5:9), the leaders of the new church would like our church to begin to reflect the diversity of heaven and selected this location. God then provided the facility.

The pastor-teacher of our new church is a man whom I have had the privilege of seeing God mature quickly over the last few years. He is an astounding expositional preacher, and I’m not kidding when I say it’s like a mini-Pentecost every time he opens the Word and preaches it. The elder men have nurtured and discipled him for ten years and the elders believe he is ready. Now is the moment.

It is a huge relief to know I have a church to go to, after the years of seeing what failure to employ church discipline does to a gathering, after seeing what spiritual abuse does to a congregation, after seeing plagiarizing pastors go unchallenged. The emails I’ve received from women thirsty and crying for Godly men and a church that at least majors in the majors has had my voice silently added to them all the while. Now, please rejoice with me to praise God for what He is doing and what He will do in our section of rural Georgia in and through the people He will bring to our new church.

I was saved in 2004 and then moved to GA in 2006 and the Lord put a heart for prophecy in me. I was firmly convinced in 2006 that 2006 would be the year of the rapture. I was convinced of it in 2007 and 2008 and 2009 and 2010 and 2011 and 2012 and 2013 and 2014 and 2015 and I say now, that 2016 will be the year of the rapture. Am I discouraged that these years have passed with no trumpet calling me bodily home? Not at all! I am MORE excited than ever! It just means that for ten times I’ve had the privilege of waiting and hoping expectantly for my Lord! It’s going to happen. It could happen any second! The Doctrine of Imminence is true. More on that in another blog essay here!

I live with the thrill of knowing this. I live with the hope of knowing His return is imminent. The Lord has declared it and it will come to pass in His timing. This is a sure thing.

If you’ve followed this blog for very long you know I have a fascination with earthquakes and sinkholes. I don’t live in a highly seismic area, though we had a house-shaker in here Georgia last year, this year was quiet. It’s just the notion of the ground which seems so solid suddenly turning liquid. Or shaking and opening up in cracks. Nothing else in my opinion shows the sovereignty of the LORD as much as earthquakes do. On a daily, regular visible, basis that is.

Jesus said that the time of the end will contain more quakes and in diverse places. (Matthew 24:7).

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” (Hebrews 12:26)

Let’s look at a long-term trend of global quakes. I update this table every year. Click to enlarge.

The average trend is still a heightened number of quakes. In 2003 we saw the beginning of meeting or exceeding the USGS number of average quakes, an average the USGS has settled on since beginning to track quakes in 1900. The first year where all four of the major magnitudes’ averages were smashed was in 2009. The number of quakes has stayed high every year since. 2012 showed a slight lessening, with “only” two of the four magnitudes averages falling below the USGS number of average quakes for that year. 2014 saw a smashing of the average in the 5.0-5.9 magnitude category. In 2015 that trend is continuing.

Time will tell what 2016 will bring.

Oklahoma continues to be shaken daily by quakes. This is from a report in Tulsa World on November 23, 2015

Oklahomans remain shaken up as the state blasts through its earthquake record from only a year ago. In August Oklahoma surpassed 2014’s banner year of 584 earthquakes of 3.0 magnitude or greater. In 2015, Oklahoma Geological Survey data show a staggering 802 quakes of those magnitudes through Sunday afternoon. …Through Sunday afternoon, Oklahoma has been rocked by 31 magnitude-4 or greater earthquakes in 2015, according to Oklahoma Geological Survey data.

Chart by EPrata generated from USGS data


Other trends and numbers:

Florida population tops 20 million

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Florida’s population has now topped 20 million people. … At last, on Tuesday, the census made it official: Florida’s population in 2015 reached 20,271,272. Only California (39,144,818) and Texas (27,469,114) had more people, according to the bureau. That means Florida — which until the middle of the 20th century had the smallest population of any Southern state — now has more people in it than the nation of Chile. Look out Syria and Sri Lanka, you’re next.
But before you start packing your bags, the Sunshine State is also “No. 1 for sinkholes, lightning strikes, shark bites and concealed weapons permits.”

Speaking of Sinkholes…The Siberian Times reported this past May-

Sinkhole gets bigger in city plagued by giant craters
Officials promise to monitor situation after four-fold increase in size since February.

Closer to home, this happened in Brooklyn. Now, oftentimes sinkholes occur because of leaking water mains underneath the ground. This is a natural effect of water, and I never post those kind of sinkholes or comment on them. But the mysterious sinkholes, or at least, the ones experts have not yet been able to explain, those are the ones that grab my attention. Imagine, just walking along and suddenly falling into a hole that the ground had opened up under your feet! Nothing in this life is solid, except the faith in Jesus Christ in His persevering hand. So the ground opening up suddenly is representative of just how vaporous and insubstantial to his life really is!

The Holy Land is not immune.

Dead Sea sinkholes increasing in number as water level recedes

Sinkholes are gathering up fast on the banks of the Dead Sea, posing danger to tourists drawn by the healing powers of the mineral laden waters. This is happening because fresh groundwater is rising up and dissolving the salt to leave behind large cavities underground. The sinkholes are forming above this, Hanan Ginat, a geologist and academic chairman of the Dead Sea and Arava Research Center, in Israel told Live Science. The Dead Sea water surface is currently receding by about three feet (one metre) per year mostly due to diversion of water from the Jordan river and mineral mining in the south. First observed in the 70s, the number of sinkholes along the Dead Sea banks is now increasing and there are almost 4000 today.

Yet God has a great restoration in store for the Dead Sea!! This passage is called The Millennial River, written by MiddleTown Bible Church

A key test for whether a person interprets the prophetic Word literally is the river that is described in Ezekiel 47 and in other places in the Old Testament. This amazing river will originate from the house of the LORD (compare Joel 3:18) as a very shallow stream. 

Gradually the stream will get deeper and fuller until it is over a man’s head. It eventually travels east until it empties into the Dead Sea which will then be a terrible misnomer because the waters of the Dead Sea will be turned into fresh water teeming with fish (see Ezekiel 47:1-10). It will be the Living Sea! 

In Zechariah 14:8 we learn that half of this river will empty into the Dead Sea and half of the river will empty into the Mediterranean Sea. This river is also mentioned in Psalm 46:4 (and notice the context in Psalm 46:9-10 which clearly speaks of the kingdom).
Manfred Kober has provided the following illustration of the future topography of the Holy Land showing this amazing river of life flowing into the two great seas:

I do not endorse Middletown Bible Church but merely place the illustration here
as a visual enhancement to the prophecy of the Millennial River in Ez 47


Every generation endures an increasing level of apostasy. (2 Timothy 3:1-5, Matthew 24:12). That is because Jesus foretold it in the end times, and the end times occur between His ascension and His return. So it stands to reason that within an 80 year lifespan, a man would notice things getting worse. I listen to S. Lewis Johnson, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and other men who preached in the early part of the twentieth century, and I also read Spurgeon who preached in the 1800s. These men all mourned the rising apostasy. Spurgeon was famous for preaching against the Downgrade.

However, I personally believe that the last 15 years has seen not only an acceleration of the apostasy but an exponential increase. Even in the 1990s when the fundamentals were being watered down, the American church never would have tolerated the silliness that passes for preaching and ministry today. Pastors zip-lining into the sanctuary? Preachers demanding a jet? Women being regularly ordained as pastors in mainline denominations? Acceptance of homosexuality in leaders and pastors? Visions and ecstatic utterances passing for worship? No. In my opinion the Lord is showing us how inflated the false church has really become.

Since true Christianity is declining, our institutions are being eroded at a rate that has passed a tipping point in my opinion. Absolutely crumbling. This includes the institution of marriage. Picture a dam that has withstood rising flood waters, but underneath the rushing waters there have been massive holes punched through. All of a sudden the dam collapses. The suddenness of the collapse sparks a flood, but the erosion had actually been going on a long time.

Here is one just such a silly article.

Divorced Influential blogger bemoans five reasons why the age-old institution of marriage “just doesn’t work anymore”
His reasons,

1. There’s not enough sex
2. Marriage is too expensive
3. Marriage is boring, dude
4. Social media diverts attention away from my own fame
5. Social media distracts him from having a good time on vacation, or something

But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:20b-24)

Marriage is an institution ordained by God. Problems are rampant, but can be overcome in Christian marriages where attitudes of patience, sacrifice, and the devoted choice of love can be cultivated by the Spirit. Without the Spirit’s strengthening and guidance, and union under Christ’s headship, marriages have little chance today, I admit. With fewer true Christians around and more secular marriages happening, it’s no wonder that it seems like marriage as an institution is failing. Women are taught in secular life that it is a 50-50 institution. But that’s wrong. In Christ, marriage is a 100-100 exchange, or that is the goal anyway. How can a marriage survive when half of what a person has in them is held back, selfishly? No wonder the poor guy is bemoaning his marital loss.

Are Americans giving up on marriage?
May 2015

So what does marriage in the U.S. look like these days? A recent study from the Pew Research Center found a number of interesting trends in their most recent look at marriage in America. For one, the study found that after years of declining marriage rates, the percentage of Americans who have never been married has reached a historic high point.
The research indicates that about one in five adults in the U.S. (adult in this case meaning 25 years old or older), or about 42 million Americans, have never been married. Compare that to data from the 1960 Census when just one in ten adults 25 or older had never been married, or about 9% of all American adults; clearly, marriage isn’t the institution it once was. 

It’s interesting to note that while divorce rates in the U.S. hit an impressive 40-year low in 2009, it may not have been for all the warm and fuzzy reasons we all might have liked. Bloomberg notes that the primary reason divorce rates took a nosedive during the recession was because most people could not afford them. Divorce necessitates more expenses than just legal fees, after all. Often the separated parties are looking for new housing or new jobs on top of adjusting out of a failed marriage. In this sense it’s logical that as the economy stabilizes, people who have long been unhappy are taking the opportunity to jump ship. The data supports this, as the number of Americans getting divorced rose for the third year in a row to about 2.4 million in 2012.

How about the Bible? How’s it faring? Good news–

Record number of Bible distributed by Bible societies

2014 saw the highest number of printed Bibles ever distributed by Bible Societies around the world. Nearly 34 million full Bibles were distributed, a rise of 6% over 2013’s figures, and 14% higher than the number distributed in the first year of the decade.


Bad news!

According to a Barna State of the Bible report for 2015, 88% of American households own a Bible. However, practically no one reads it. (Note, Barna includes Catholics in their statistics as part of the faithful)

The total proportion of Bible readers—that is, those who read the Bible at least three to four times a year—is 52%. One in seven adults say they read the Bible daily (14%); a similar portion spend time in Scripture several times per week (14%); 8% read it once a week; 9% read the Bible once a month; and 6% read it three to four times a year. Slightly more than one in four adults say they never read the Bible (28%). One in 10 read the Bible less than once a year and another one in 10 report reading the Bible once or twice a year. These three segments combine to represent “nonBible readers” (48%), a segment that has grown by two percentage points since 2014.

BibleGateway puts up a pretty thorough roundup at the end of each year in a year end review. Here is their list of most-searched-for Bible verses, in order.


Here are the overall most-popular Bible verses in 2015 on Bible Gateway:

Rank Verse Text (NIV)
1. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
2. Jer 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
3. Phil 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
4. Rom 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
5. Ps 23:4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
6. Phil 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
7. Rom 12:2  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
8. Prov 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
9. 1 Cor 13:7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
10. Prov 3:6 In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

BibleGateway posted the top 100 most popular Bible verses in 2014 also, and not one had the word “repent” in it.  In 2015 at least coming in at 53 was the verse in 2 Chronicles where the LORD said if His people repent from their wicked ways and humble themselves… Other than that verse, the word ‘sin’ didn’t make the top 50. Or the top 60. The first time a searched-for verse mentioned sin was number 75, in Romans 6:23 the wages of sin is death.

Not surprisingly, the top 25 search terms did not have any of the following searched-for terms in the list: wrath, sin, wicked, repent, or any version of judge/judgement. Like Joel Osteen, people only want the good news, not the bad news of our sin and depravity. Christianity Today summarized the trend.

These verses are predominately of reassurance and comfort. They fit with the most common keyword searches at Bible Gateway. “Love,” “faith,” “peace,” and other positive and comforting search terms dominate that list, which has a strong devotional focus and shows little sign of the “culture war” rhetoric you might expect from the tone of American cultural and political discourse this year. 

Overall, I’m encouraged by these statistics. To be sure, they point to challenges for the church. There’s a clear disconnect between Bible readers and parts of the Old Testament. That’s not surprising news. More noteworthy is the very clear inspirational focus of the most-popular verses. It is wonderful to see the resonating power of these beautiful verses confirmed so strongly in our report. But reading through them, I can’t help but notice that while these verses certainly reflect what most of us want to get out of God’s Word, they’re not thematically representative of the entirety of the Bible. 

Years ago, Collin Hansen noticed this trend while reading through popular verses from Bible Gateway’s 2011 list (a list that overlaps heavily with 2015’s):

Overall the list represents a nice cross-section of Scripture and tells an uplifting story of God’s work in the world. From this list we learn that when most people turn to Scripture, they’re often looking for encouragement. They cling to these verses trusting that God is working for their good, giving them strength, planning their hopeful future, and calming their anxieties by answering their requests. If nothing else, these results help those of us who regularly preach and teach the Bible understand how many Christians and even non-Christians use the Bible…. [But] you won’t learn from this list why God needs to redeem the world he created. You won’t learn why his love is so significant.

There’s a good challenge there. We don’t necessarily want to convince you to switch your favorite Bible quote from John 3:16 to a downbeat verse from Lamentations. But there is value—and theological significance—in venturing outside those familiar, comfortable verses and into the less popular corners of Scripture. In 2016, try searching out the justice-obsessed sermons of those neglected Old Testament prophets.

So…people own Bibles, don’t read them, and when they do, search out only the personally uplifting verses. Got it.



With rising apostasy, diminishing reliance of God-honoring institutions like marriage, and biblical literacy increasing, it is no wonder the culture is growing dark too. The Huffington Post reported at mid-year the highs and lows of cultural attainment thus far.

Here are some of my own lowlights

Bruce Jenner turned into Caitlyn
TV Family Man Bill Cosby rape allegations
Fifty Shades of Grey movie
Topless Women Day in NYC
Tullian Tchividjian
Obergefell v. Hodges- SCOTUS says gay is OK, (marriage that is)
Mark Driscoll

Oi, need I go on! No I don’t! We all know we’re living in Corinth. Or Pergamum where satan’s throne is. (Rev 2:13).

Fortunately, Jesus’ robes are white and He has declared us clean. His church is clothed in righteousness and it is spotless. The Year 2016 will be spectacular for the main reason is that Jesus still saves. Souls will be reconciled to His bosom, hearts of stone will melt like wax and refill with love for Jesus. Mighty works will be done is His name and He will be pleased. No matter how large the false church gets (and it’s pretty big) there remains a true church of Jesus Christ, waiting His return in glory and triumph. Happy New Year!

Here are 10000 sparklers lit up for the joy of His name! (Or, otherwise a funny Youtube video by some Russian guys)

Mysterious Holes In Indiana Sand Dune Could Be ‘New Geological Phenomenon’

Huffington Post, April 28, 2014:

Mysterious Holes In Indiana Sand Dune Could Be ‘New Geological Phenomenon’

Mysterious holes that were discovered at an Indiana sand dune last year — and which nearly swallowed a child — will keep a Lake Michigan park closed indefinitely. The National Park Service announced last week that Mt. Baldy in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, about an hour from Chicago, will be closed for the summer and beyond. The decision was made after two new holes in the dunes were found. “The continued development of these holes in the dune surface poses a serious risk to the public,” Acting Superintendent Garry Traynham said in a statement.

Scientists have been unable to determine how the holes, which seem to appear and disappear within a day, are formed in the 43-acre dune. “We’re seeing what appears to be a new geological phenomenon,” geologist Erin Argyilan, who is studying the holes and dunes, told the Chicago Tribune. According to the paper, the holes are about a foot in diameter. Last July, part of the dune collapsed, burying a 6-year-old boy. The child was rescued, but needed rehabilitation after the incident. According to the Associated Press, he was buried for about three hours under 11 feet of sand, but is believed to have survived because of an air pocket. The Environmental Protection Agency has used radar to identify anomalies below the surface, but months later, researchers — including those from the National Park Service, Indiana University and the Indiana Geological Survey — are still stumped.

Interesting. And this equally perplexing geological phenomenon occurring in Oklahoma:

May 5, 2014:
Oklahoma Earthquake Risk Prompts Rare Warning
Mile for mile, there are almost as many earthquakes rattling Oklahoma as California this year. This major increase in seismic shaking led to a rare earthquake warning today (May 5) from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Oklahoma Geological Survey. In a joint statement, the agencies said the risk of a damaging earthquake — one larger than magnitude 5.0 — has significantly increased in central Oklahoma. Geologists don’t know when or where the state’s next big earthquake will strike, nor will they put a number on the increased risk. “We haven’t seen this before in Oklahoma, so we had some concerns about putting a specific number on the chances of it,” Robert Williams, a research geophysicist with the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program in Golden, Colorado

In Florida, sinkhole risks are growing exponentially. BusinessWeek reported March 2013,
With all this growth comes a further quality-of-life problem: Sinkholes. Thrust into the national spotlight last week after a homeowner died when his house collapsed, the sinkhole that killed Jeff Bush wasn’t even one of the state’s 15,000 verified sinkholes, which are located mainly in central Florida and around Tampa. Plenty are unverified, according to research from CoreLogic. Springhill, on the state’s west coast, has the greatest number of verified sinkholes, with 3,145—roughly one for every 31 residents. Hernando, Pasco, Hillsborough, and Pinellas counties are home to an area known as “sinkhole alley.”” … Outside Florida, no major U.S. cities have natural sinkhole problems, says Botts, although underground pipes can burst and wash away dirt that supports roads, or an underground mine could collapse.

A spate of sinkholes has opened up this week in various parts of Florida:

Attorney John Bales explains how sinkholes form (in FL)

The Serious Problem of Sinkholes in Florida
Sinkholes are becoming more prevalent than ever before in Florida. Officials with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection estimate there are thousands of these depressions located across the state. While sinkholes are a naturally occurring event, they can cause property damage, and in some cases, serious injuries.

These numbers and facts leave many citizens wondering what the causes of sinkholes are. The Tampa Sinkhole Claims Lawyers with John Bales Attorneys explain the ground in Florida consists principally of limestone and dolostone. Over time, water is able to erode away areas of the bedrock, allowing sinkholes to form.

There tend to be two types of sinkholes that form in the state of Florida: collapse and solution sinkholes. Collapse sinkholes fall in quickly and tend to form in areas that have clay sediment topping the bedrock. Solution sinkholes form slowly and are caused by water filling in gaps in the bedrock and washing away supporting sediments.

USGS reports several large quakes today and yesterday:
 –6.0 9km S of Mae Lao, Thailand
–6.0 23km ESE of Ito, Japan
6.6 South of the Fiji Islands 
–6.1 South of the Fiji Islands

And a rare quake in France-

French pilgrimage town Lourdes hit by quake  
Though seismic activity is relatively rare in France, a 4.7 magnitude quake hit the holy pilgrimage site of Lourdes on Tuesday. This latest quake comes less than a month after a similar one rattled southeastern France.”
I can’t claim to know what’s happening geologically, but I do know that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. (1 Corinthians 10:26). He will continue to stress the earth and its inhabitants to alert us to our fallen state and the open offer of free grace from Jesus to repent and be forgiven.

Large crack in the earth at Peru

Large crack opens in the earth in Southern Peru

“The sudden appearance early in the morning of an enormous crack, measuring 100 meters wide and three kilometers long, caused confusion among residents of the Huacullani district in the Chucuito province, department of Puno. The exact cause of the crack in the earth still unknown. Peru’s geophysical institute ruled out the occurrence of an earthquake in the region, but what is clear is that the ground opened up and large blocks of earth can be observed scattered throughout the area. The event, recorded Wednesday morning, caused the collapse of one house located in the rural community of Llorohoco. Four people managed to escape, but the youngest in the family, five-year-old Jean Carlos Vilcanqui Acero, is missing. Geological engineers from the regional committee for civil defense have arrived in the area to investigate the phenomenon and determine its causes, said Javier Pampamallco, Puno’s civil defense chief.”

I’ve been reporting on sinkholes and earth cracks (and here and here) and the earth unzipping for some time now. The sinkholes in Florida are becoming so prevalent they are voting on whether to eliminate sinkhole coverage completely. There is a biblical model for earth cracks in the past and in the Tribulation to come.

Korah’s rebellion comes to mind. “As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah’s men and all their possessions. They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting, “The earth is going to swallow us too!”” (Numbers 16:32).

And in case a person would say “Oh, that was the OLD Testament, and it doesn’t count anymore…” Jude 1:5-13 reminds us that the specific example of Korah is an example of what WILL happen to the ungodly. Revelation 12:16 may show us a picture of a similar event: “But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth”. Gill’s Exposition says “and the earth opened her mouth; as it did when it swallowed up Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, Numbers 16:30; to which history this may have some respect.”

Isaiah 24:19 says that “The earth is broken up, the earth is split asunder, the earth is thoroughly shaken.” In the end, the earth cracks up. Isaiah 24 shows the same judgments in Revelation 6. The earth opens its mouth…and swallows what is above. The sinkhole and earth cracking incidents that are happening in the world lately are good examples of reminding us that the LORD is in control of the earth.

By the end of the Tribulation, the earth is devastated. Almost three-quarters of the entire population are dead. The geo-physical form of the surface of the earth is unrecognizable. The Tribulation’s onset is close. That we are also seeing onset symptoms described in both Isaiah and Revelation manifesting themselves is not surprising.

Sinkholes as precursor to more massive earth changes

Milwaukee’s East Side:
“A massive sinkhole swallowed up a traffic light and SUV on Milwaukee’s east side Thursday night. The driver was able to get out safely. Police tell FOX6 that the SUV is still running in an effort to burn off the remaining gasoline in the tank.  The sinkhole opened up on the corner of Oakland and North Avenues. Police say that the sinkhole could get bigger if the rain continues. Construction crews are working on getting the SUV out of the sinkhole.”

Google trends shows a large increase in interest in the topic of sinkholes. This spike represents the number of searches for that term:

What are sinkholes? USGS explains: “Sinkholes are common where the rock below the land surface is limestone, carbonate rock, salt beds, or rocks that can naturally be dissolved by ground water circulating through them. As the rock dissolves, spaces and caverns develop underground. Sinkholes are dramatic because the land usually stays intact for a while until the underground spaces just get too big. If there is not enough support for the land above the spaces then a sudden collapse of the land surface can occur. These collapses can be small, as this picture shows, or they can be huge and can occur where a house or road is on top. The most damage from sinkholes tends to occur in Florida, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania.” Sinkholes occur especially where there has been groundwater depletion.

A sinkhole in San Diego left residents of the 8 apartments without a home two days ago, when was declared uninhabitable yesterday. The ground, being soaked with recent heavy rains, has been undermined in many areas of CA.

In this news story, the reporter explored the topic of just how common are sinkholes, anyway. “There’s quite a hole, a gaping sinkhole, in fact in somebody’s front yard. It is taped off, so nobody falls in. While constructions crews worked to repair the sinkhole in Bethlehem Township, Northampton County, 69News looked into how common of an occurrence sinkholes are in the region. Scientists said sinkholes like this could happen at anytime and anywhere in the Lehigh Valley. For Phillip Turnbach, it was a surprise when the ground opened up right in his front yard. “It’s real scary,” said Turnbach. “If a car was parked or if that street would have caved in the middle of the night somebody could have been hurt or even worse.” “

Acid in ground water eats away the limestone over time creating a crack under the soil and then at any time, that soil can collapse into the crack causing a sinkhole. At least, that is the hazard for Pennsylvanians. In California, the issue usually causing sinkholes are storms. In Florida, there’s ‘that disconcerting feeling’ when suddenly the ground opens up. Extracting ground water is usually the culprit. “All Ben Story can do now is wait. Wait for geologists to visit his property at 3401 Lampp Road, north of downtown Plant City, and tell him whether there’s any chance the large sinkhole in his backyard is going to grow any bigger. Wait for more information on how to fill the 30-foot wide cavity that gobbled four rolls of hay. “It’s kind of a touch-and-go situation,” Story said this morning, adding that he expects scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey to conduct tests in a few days. “I think it’s spreading too. I haven’t looked down there today, but it may be getting bigger.” The sinkhole on Story’s property is the second large cavity to open in eastern Hillsborough County this month.” Also within the last week, sinkholes in Fl opened up due to sewer line break, because of unstable landfill, or waterline breaks. In that last one, a fire truck was swallowed up as it responded to the break.

The issue is not restricted to the United States. South African authorities have begun the relocation of 3,000 families after huge sinkholes appeared close to their homes near Pretoria, according to BBC News. The Hungarian town of Ocna Mures is “in collapse” due to the results of excessive salt mining. A sinkhole there recently swallowed a supermarket and several businesses and homes. China has had their travails with sinkholes, too, in this case from 6 days ago, 800 people were evacuated as a 150′ wide hole opened up in Jiangxi Province. Last June, a UK Telegraph reporter asked if there was any reason for the spate of spectacular sinkholes appearing in China, and noted that the uneasiness of talk of the end of the world rounded out the comments online. The photos are spectacular, they show aerial pictures of really large sinkholes swallowing whole towns. By the way, the reporter never answered the question, only mocked end of the worlders.

The point here is two fold. First, several of the end time warnings indicate geo-physical changes will occur on the earth. (Luke 21:11; Luke 21:25; Mark 13:8). The judgments in Revelation and Isaiah certainly depict massive changes on the earth, and the judgments start right away in Revelation. (Rev 6:12-14; Isaiah 24:19 and etc.). “At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. (Hebrews 12:25-29).

The second issue is that no matter how the sinkholes and other geo-physical changes are occurring, whether happening because of seemingly man-made excesses or through supernatural means, it shows us that nothing is solid – except the Kingdom of God, which is the Unshaken Kingdom. That is what the Lord is showing us. The very ground we walk on is His and through Jesus all things hold together. The corollary to that is through Him all things fall apart if and when He chooses. If you are not of His kingdom you will be shaken, emotionally, physically, mentally. Imagine as these sinkholes increase the unease with which people now look at their streets and cliffs and homes. It could give way at any time! Several of the news articles noted the psychological effects on the affected population of knowing you live on unstable ground.

Christians know the ground they walk on is the Rock that will never be moved. He is Jesus and no matter what is happening in the world, there is no safer place than in His light!

2010 trends: By the numbers

Fooling around with Excel today put me in a graphing mood, so I looked for other data to present in visual form. For your perusal.

Bank failures in United States over the last 4 years

Bankruptcies per capita 2007

Bankruptcies 2010

Google trends page shows a massive spike in searches involving the word “sinkhole”

Nations that recognize Palestinian State. Dark green is statehood recognition, light green proffers special diplomatic status.

Baptisms in the Southern Baptist Convention have also declined

Update on the Tampa sinkhole

The car that was swallowed by the surprise sinkhole at a Tampa Condo is now completely submerged. It’s gone, baby, gone. “A 1995 Toyota Camry fell victim to the crater, falling in and then being swallowed so that it is now completely out of sight.” However, a local Good Samaritan did offer to replace their car. As far as the Guatemala Sinkhole goes, they are so over it. They newspaper that broke the story refuses to cover it anymore. I liked the article, I recommend reading it, and the editor has an excellent point.

Sinkhole in Tampa swallows car, forces evacuation of 11 families

Now this is something you don’t see every day. Or, lately, I think it IS something you see everyday. I’ve been reporting about the changes on and in the earth as evidenced by unexpected sinkholes, mine collapses, mud eruptions, explosions and cracks in the earth. Isaiah prophesies that at the last days the earth will crack up. Prior to that, the geo-landforms on top of the earth and underneath it will undergo catastrophic changes. Islands will sink. Mountains will collapse. It has been my opinion that these events as birth pangs are increasing in advance of the tribulation, making themselves more and more known, as birth pangs do. The earth as we see it will be modified.

Sinkholes are one symptom of a restless earth. This week in Tampa a sinkhole suddenly opened up, swallowing a car. The hole is 20-foot-wide, and 10-foot-deep. The hole continues to grow, say officials.

As for that famous sinkhole which had appeared in Guatemala in June, it’s still baffling geologists, not to mention City Planners. “Geologists baffled by what to do with giant Guatemala sinkhole, “Simply filling the hole won’t help, says Mr. Kasmarek, without first studying the geological makeup of the surrounding area to determine the underlying factors that caused the collapse.” This is a link to amazing photos of the Guatemala hole.

Biblically, we know that the earth veritably heaves and shifts during the Tribulation. Even during the lead-in of the end times we are told that there will be earthquakes. In SoCal, the recent earthquake has caused increased pressure, not lessened it. “Southern California faults are feeling the pressure Seismologists are increasingly concerned that the 7.2 Mexicali temblor on April 4 placed more pressure on faults around the Southland, resulting in increased quake activity over the last three months.” The Easter Sunday quake shifted the earth three feet. A mile-long crack appeared in the ground in nearby Mexico. Too many weird crustal changes are happening during the exact time Jesus said to watch for the birth pangs for us to ignore.

Spiritually, there is nothing more disconcerting than the very ground we walk on and trust giving way. If you can’t trust the ground you walk on, what can you trust? Jesus. Part of the intent of the end time is to shake us out of complacency, and show us in undeniable terms that the only thing we can and should trust is Jesus. Psalm 18:2 says “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” When the very earth gives way under our feet, Jesus is the stronghold. He is the most solid ground on which we can ever hope to stand, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.” (Matthew 7:25) Is your life founded on that rock? Is your trust on that rock? Or do you go your own way and place trust in jobs, bank accounts, parents, vehicles, retirement, physical strength, intellect? Those are important but they are gifts from Jesus, Who is the rock from which all else flows. Place your trust in Him today, even if you are spiritually at the bottom of a sinkhole. He will lift you out.

On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand!