We just returned last week from Alabama and I have spent the past few days examining all that God showed us. As you would imagine, the destruction that took place throughout Alabama was incredible. However, it really does not compare seeing the destruction first hand as compared to the images we see on the television.
Seeing trees, hundreds and even thousands of years old, uprooted and tossed about creates such an awareness of how small we are before a mighty God. Thankfully, we were not just confronted with heartache as we met people with amazing testimonies of the mercy and grace of God. I also have some concerns regarding things the Lord showed us.
What blew me away was that the body of Christ, especially the church we worked with, provided most of the rescue and relief to a numbers of communities that were destroyed. Pastor Greg Devries, from the Rock Church in Scottsboro, was ready when disaster struck. Without any power in the city, they set up in a parking lot and fed over 18,000 meals in the first few days.
Just like in New Orleans after Katrina, the church (in general) provided the majority of help, even though the media focused on the efforts of FEMA and other secular organizations. As the body of Christ, we should never do things in order to be recognized, but I was amazed at the lack of attention the media gave the church. The Rock Church was so effective that FEMA, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the local government turned to the Rock for leadership. The entire time we were out in the field we never came across any representatives of FEMA, but the church was everywhere.
Looking back on what we experienced I believe the Lord was teaching us ways to prepare the church for what I believe is going to occur throughout America over the next few months and years. I want to apply what we learned so we can help the church prepare for further disasters.
As I have been teaching for several years, either believers need to get ready to rescue others or they will need rescuing themselves. You need to get a copy of my teaching ” The Rise of Gods Rescue and Recovery Units” if you have not done so yet. It is a teaching on how you can be prepared to be used of God in catastrophic situations.
Here are some lessons that I learned:
- The first lesson that I learned is probably the most troubling. Our intention, as we left from Texas heading towards Alabama, was to “spy out the land” in order to return later with a larger group in a few weeks. The Lord ended up speaking to all of us with the same general message, “Do not worry about whether you are coming back to Alabama or not. Instead, get ready for the next catastrophe.”Truth is, we should have been ready to leave for Alabama immediately instead of a few days after the storms ripped through the area. Rescue teams were finding people who were still alive three and four days later. By the time we got there, the people being found were dead. No matter whether we return to Alabama or the Lord calls us elsewhere, we need to be ready to leave right away.
- The Lord also showed me that what is happening to America can best be explained in Hebrews 12:25-29. As you read this passage, ask the Lord how you can apply this to your own life:
See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. 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.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
Other lessons learned from our trip can best be explained by referring to the above passage:
- “See that you do not refuse him who is speaking.” (Heb.12:25)
I am glad that we heard the voice of God and responded to his call to go to Alabama but I now realize that I should not have delayed our departure. As already mentioned, I realize that we should have left right away. Both my wife and Scott Robinson tried to get me to leave sooner but I thought I had to get things in order. After all, I still have a business that I need to take care of and I thought I needed to make sure that we had the necessary funds in place before leaving.I should have known that the Lord would speak to His body and provide the funds. He did send in the funds. As far as my business goes, Robert, John and Mark do a better job when I get out of the way anyway. I am still learning to trust God as soon as He speaks.
A couple of examples can best illustrate why I believe the Lord wants us ready to be dispatched as soon as He speaks to us. There was a young boy, about four years old, who was found in a walk in cooler three days after the tornado hit the building he was in. When they found him in the cooler, they asked him how he got there. He said that a big man with wings picked him up and put him in the cooler. The building, except for the cooler, had been destroyed.
Another example had to do with a 75 year old lady who was sitting in her living room holding on to her Bible and a pillow. The tornado picked her up and put her in a hole in the yard. The hole was created by a tree and its roots being uprooted. After she ended up in the hole, the roof of her house fell on top of her, protecting her from further damage. When they found her, five days later, she was still sitting in her chair clinging to her pillow and Bible.
I believe the Lord wants us to be ready to rescue people, not just help find dead bodies.
- “This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.” (Heb.12:27)
The Lord is a jealous God who wants our attention. He created us to have fellowship with Him. This verse says that He is going to remove “all created things.” Think about all the created things that distract our attention away from Him.Facebook? Video Games? TV? Religious activities? Sporting events? The list could go on and on.We constantly come up with things to do rather than set aside time to be with Him. What a tragedy. No wonder so many believers are going to go into shock when a disaster hits their world.If you let “created things” consume your time, then eventually expect God to remove them Himself. We are headed to a place in our society where all that will remain is our faith in Him and our relationship with each other.
Just ask some of the people in Alabama who lost everything. We heard, over and over again, how grateful they were to be alive. Even though many lost their home, their job, their car and many of their “toys,” they were grateful to God that they had each other.Alabama is considered to be part of the Bible belt and we did find many believers.
What do you think might happen if a tragedy hits San Fransisco or Las Vegas? The reaction, I believe, will contain much more despair, fear and panic; especially those who are dependent upon the government. We must be ready to offer Jesus to those who do not have Him.
- “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe” (Heb.12:28)
How do you show your gratitude to your Savior? Do you spend your time entering the theological debate on whether it is okay for Christians to drink alcohol or do you show your gratitude by offering to God an acceptable service? Do you think it is more important to spend all your time studying to determine whether Jesus is coming back at the beginning or the end of the tribulation?Or…
do you spend your time helping a single mom with her kids, helping the homeless or those addicted on drugs?Where are your priorities and how do you show your gratitude? Remember that most of those end time preachers made a lot of money selling books on the disaster coming with Y2K. Do you remember how wrong they turned out to be?
How did Jesus tell us we should spend our time?
I have a couple of ideas on how you might show your gratitude if you are at a place where you realize you need to change your priorities. I can hook you up this summer helping people rebuild their homes in Alabama or you can go with us to New Orleans this summer and minister to young kids that are raising themselves while being hunted down by drug dealers, predators and pimps.
Can’t get away from home this summer? Well, I can hook you up with Pastor Anthony in Oak Cliff where he is trying to rescue as many as he can from drugs and gangs. He could use your help, physically, as well as financially. Need any more ideas?
Part of the purpose of this ministry is to provide a place where you can carry out the Great Commission. We would love to help you get involved. Do not wait until disaster strikes.
- “for our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb.12:29)
If the Lord is dealing with you about getting off the pew at church and start showing your gratitude to the One who gave up everything for you, this verse should help you get started right now. He is ready to start burning up the things in your life that are holding you back.Confess your sins, your lukewarmness and ask Him to begin to fill you with His Spirit and His Fire. He is looking for Laborers to enter the Harvest field. I can tell you from personal experience that there is nothing more satisfying.
God Bless and look forward to seeing you in the harvest field.