Friday, January 16, 2015
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You know, people have been pretty worried lately. The news can get pretty unnerving.
I know our family's been seeing more anxiety through social media recently. People who haven't been watching the news seem to be watching it more now. Our national leaders, well, they've spoken more ominously than we've heard them speak.
A U.S. Senator had said that Ebola is "one of the most explosive, deadly epidemics in modern times." In Africa, the number of cases, at that point, had recently doubled.
And each day, well, we hear more sobering terrorism warnings. Porous borders that killers could cross. A terrorist army that's growing exponentially - many with passports that would open the door to Western nations.
It's grim stuff. But for us who belong to Jesus, we should be hearing our spiritual phone ringing. It's a wake-up call from God. And this is no time to let it go into voice mail.
Because God's calling to say, "If you're ever going to do something about the people who don't know Jesus, do it now!"
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "3 Messages from God in the Disturbing Headlines".
Number one, it's time to live for what others are dying for.
You can go online and you will graphically see the price that our brothers and sisters around the world are paying for their allegiance to Jesus. Torture. Rape. Crucifixion.
We have a faith that is paid for in blood. First by Jesus. Then by countless Jesus-followers, from the first-century Coliseum to crosses today. So I should be intimidated into silence because of what talking about Jesus might cost me? "I might be called a name... marginalized... rejected... disrespected." If I won't pay that puny a price, I should be ashamed.
The old hymn asks - "Am I a soldier of the cross, a follower of the Lamb? And shall I fear to own His cause, or blush to speak His name? Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease? While others fought to win the prize and sailed through bloody seas?"
Yeah, spiritual silence, that's no longer an option. It can cost someone Jesus. It can cost someone heaven.
The second message, I think, is that hearts are open because the world is crazy.
God calls us to make "the most of every opportunity because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:16). This is opportunity time. Hearts that are usually looking inward are suddenly open to looking upward. With storm clouds coming in from every direction, folks feel vulnerable, they feel unsafe. In the Bible's words, "like the tossing sea, which cannot rest... there is no peace" (Isaiah 57:20-21).
These are Jesus-times. Not to be missed. He's the One who speaks to the storm in the human heart, "Peace, be still!" And "do not let your hearts be troubled."
One other lesson: We have the hope people are starving for.
Peter calls it, "The reason for the hope you have" (1 Peter 3:15). That's what God says will interest people in my Jesus. Especially now. But only if I tell them about His unloseable love, proven on a cross.
And there's never been a better time to tell your "hope story" than now. Our word for today from the Word of God: Hebrews 6:19. What a verse for unraveling times like ours! Speaking of Jesus it says, "we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure."
My friend Dave used to keep his sailboat in Stamford Harbor in Connecticut. They've got a hurricane gate that they close in the face of this approaching storm. To protect every craft that makes it into the harbor. Actually my friend rode out a hurricane on his boat! He was blown around but he was safe.
Well, Jesus is the harbor where I'm safe in a Category 5 world.
How can I know where the peace is, where the anchor is, and then not tell the people in my personal world? No more silence. No more letting fear win. No more wimping out on sharing my Jesus.
It's too late for that.