I was a pre-schooler and was playing checkers with my Mom in the living room of our house on East Main street in Butler. It was evening and was getting dark outside. All of a sudden our whole house shook and there was a tremendous roar. We ran to the front door and saw that a semi driver had fallen asleep and drove his big rig into the house across the street, knocking the entire house off its foundation.
The whole neighborhood turned out to help rescue the occupants, an older couple named McKee, who were, fortunately, not harmed. That was big excitement for the sleepy town of Butler. And it pulled the community together. Crisis has a way of getting people to work together with compassion for another.
I don’t want to say we need more crises, but God will do whatever it takes to get us to work together. Who do you know who’s in trouble?
Tags: rescue, trouble, unity
A man lay sprawled across three entire seats in the posh theater. When the usher came by and noticed this, he whispered to the man, “Sorry, sir, but you’re only allowed one seat.”
The man groaned but didn’t budge. The usher became impatient and said, “Sir, if you don’t get up from there I’m going to have to call the manager.”
The man just groaned, which infuriated the usher who turned and marched briskly back up the aisle in search of his manager. In a few minutes, both the usher and the manager returned and tried to remove the fellow with no success. Finally, they summoned the police.
The cop surveyed the situation briefly then asked, “All right, buddy, what’s your name?”
“Sam,” the man moaned.
“Where are you from, Sam?”
With pain in his voice, Sam replied, “The balcony.”
Ooh. Sometimes we make judgment calls upon people who are just so bound up in sin that they can’t move. We’re not called to condemn, but to rescue.
Tags: judgment, rescue, sin
Don’t forget to reset your clocks Sunday morning so you won’t be late for church.
One cold winter night in Epworth, England, the church bell began to ring. People ran ino the dark night and saw that a house was on fire. A crowd gathered and began to fight the fire. Samuel and Susanna had escaped the flames along with six of their children, but no one could find Johnny.
Realizing the worst, Samuel headed back toward the inferno. Town’s people held him back from certain death. The crowd stood there helplessly watching the house burn.
“Look,” someone shouted. A face appeared in an upstairs window. Little Johnny had awakened and come to the window. He could not escape through the house because of the flames.
Then two men came out of the crowd. One climbed upon the shoulders of the other. The flames were intense. Their clothes began to smoke, but the little boy was pulled through the high window by the arms of the living ladder. The little boy saved that night was none other than John Wesley, who shook England with a great revival and founded the Methodist Church. Years later he wrote, “That night I was plucked as a brand from the burning.”
Together let’s build a ladder with our lives to save the little John Wesleys for tomorrow. Paul advised, “Present your bodies as living sacrifices” (Romans 12:1). What’s one way you could do that?
Tags: ., bridge, fire, ladder, rescue, sacrifice, Wesley
Evangelist Dwight L. Moody used the following illustration to describe ‘Redemption’:
“Out in the Western country, in the autumn, when men go hunting, and there has not been any rain for months, sometimes the prairie grass catches fire, and there comes up a very strong wind, and the flames just roll along twenty feet high, and travel at the rate of thirty or forty miles an hour, consuming man and beast. When the hunters see it coming, what do they do? They know they cannot run as fast as the fire can run. Not the fleetest horse can escape. They just take a match and light the grass around them, and let the flames sweep, and then they get into the burnt district and stand safe. They hear the flames roar as they come along, they see death coming toward them, but they do not fear, they do not tremble, because the fire has swept over the place where they are, and there is no danger. There is nothing for the fire to burn.
“There is one mountain that the wrath of God has swept over – that is, Mount Calvary; and the fire spent its fury upon the bosom of the Son of God. Take your stand by the cross, and you will be safe for time and eternity.”
Tags: fire, judgment, Moody, redemption, rescue
A boy once worked hard to make a small wooden sailboat. He looked at his finished product and said, “It’s mine, I made it.” Then he took it to a nearby lake, attached a sting to the boat, and launched into the water. Wind kicked up some waves and, unexpectedly, the string came untied from the boat. Sadly the boat wandered further and further away until the boy made his way home – without his prized possession. It was lost.
Months later, the boy was walking past a garage sale and spied a familiar boat on a table. He examined it closely and it indeed was his lost boat. He went to the homeowner and said it really belonged to him. “I’m sorry,” the homeowner replied, “but it’s my boat now. If you want it, you’ll have to pay the price for it.”
Sad at heart, the boy was determined to get his boat back, even though it meant working and saving until he had enough money to pay for it. At last the day came. Clutching his money in his fist, he walked up to the house and handed his hard-earned money in the owner’s hand. “I’ve come back to buy my boat,” the boy said. The owner then placed the boat in the boy’s hands.
“You’re mine,” he said, “twice mine. Mine because I made you, and now, mine because I bought you.” Not only did God make you, but in Christ He paid the price to buy you back. Why? Because God believes you are worth loving.
Tags: lost, redemption, rescue
Fifteen years ago I remember waiting anxiously for the latest news…and praying. Captain Scott O’Grady’s F-16C had been shot down as he was flying over Serbia. Had he been killed or captured? Was he seriously injured? The hours ticked by. Five days passed. On the sixth day another pilot picked up a faint message from O’Grady’s radio. He was alive, managing somehow to hide from hostile soldiers, and surviving on leaves, grass and ants.
Immediately all the resources needed for a daring rescue operation were set in motion. O’Grady was snatched up to safety by a helicopter – and the US rejoiced. Newsweek magazine reported that the weapons and machinery used for the rescue of that one pilot were valued at $6 billion. Was it worth it?
We can’t estimate the value of one human soul – because we could never calculate the price God paid to rescue us. While you and I were still in our sins, Christ died for us. God spared no cost, including His own Son, to see us rescued from a destructive life of sin. God is good!
Tags: cost, redemption, rescue
Missionaries to other cultures must study the cultural background of the people to better find a way to communicate the gospel. A missionary in West Africa was trying to convey the meaning of the redeem in the Bambara language. So he asked his African assistant to express it in his native tongue. “We say,” the assistant replied, “that God took our heads out.” “But how does that explain redemption?” the missionary asked.
The man told him that many years ago some of his ancestors had been captured by slave-traders, chained together, and driven to the seacoast. Each of the prisoners had a heavy iron collar around his neck. As the slaves passed through a village, a chief might notice a friend of his among the captives and offer to pay the salve-traders in gold, ivory, silver, or brass. The prisoner would be redeemed by the payment. His head then would be taken out of his iron collar. That’s what these Africans understood by the phrase, “God took our heads out.”
Look for a way to describe redemption to your co-workers.
Tags: missions, redemption, rescue