Friday, August 11, 2017
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It started out as an unimpressive ripple in the weather off the coast of Africa. By the time it was over, it had become Hurricane Katrina, pummeling Florida as a category one storm, then surprising most observers by becoming a category five monster over the Gulf of Mexico. Katrina's last minute shift to the east nearly destroyed the city of New Orleans. Yes, we saw some of the darkest side of human nature as people looted things that they didn't really need, and some even tried to shoot some of the very people who were coming to help. But on a much greater scale, the aftermath to Hurricane Katrina was a massive outpouring of heroism in many flavors.
As Americans learned of the desperation of the victims of the storm, thousands of us mobilized to give them a chance to live. We won't soon forget the military helicopters, launching and re-launching every fifteen minutes to look for more people stranded in the toxic floodwaters that buried parts of the city. There were those memorable scenes of the rescuers coming down the rope from those choppers to save people trapped on their roofs. Doctors and nurses came from all over the country. So many came and did what they knew how to do-from cooking, to counseling, to contributing, to caring enough to take in whole families because lives were at stake.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "A Cause for All of Us."
Thousands of lives were saved, many of whom would have died otherwise because of this massive rescue operation where everyone did what they knew how to do; each one realizing that a rescue effort means all hands on deck.
It's a picture of the largest scale rescue operation on the planet. It is the rescue mission for which Jesus Christ gave His life, launched at a cross. In His personal mission statement in Luke 19:10 He said He came "to seek and to save what was lost." His final command: "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation" (Mark 16:15). Because it really is a life-or-death situation, where the eternal destiny of millions of people depends on the rescue efforts of God's people-all of God's people.
The orders are summarized in Proverbs 24:11-12, our word for today from the Word of God. "Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter." Those stark words describe every person we know, every person on this planet who has not grabbed the only one God provided to rescue us from the eternal punishment that our sin deserves. That Rescuer is Jesus! The next verse says, "If you say, 'But we knew nothing about this, does not He who weighs the heart perceive it?'" God is not going to excuse us for being AWOL in His all out mobilization to rescue the dying, whatever it takes.
He's expecting you to do what His Son did-to do all you can to rescue the lost. If you cook, cook to rescue the dying. If you're musical, if you're mechanical, if you're a techie, if you're in the media, if you're a prayer warrior, if you contribute to God's work, do what you do to help people go to heaven instead of hell. And if you have influence in anyone's life (and we all do) don't just use that influence to be a nice person for them. Use the relationship you have to tell them about the Rescuer from heaven who rescued you and who is their only hope.
In the wake of a hurricane, we saw thousands of people on the verge of dying without hope and an army of us who said, "We can't just let them die." If you'll ask Jesus to help you see the world through His eyes, you're going to see millions on the verge of dying with no hope of heaven, headed for an unspeakable eternity. And some of them are right within your reach. Can you see them? Are you going to do something about it? Will you do more than you've ever done before? We're losing so many because no rescuer has come.