Sermon Illustrations

Hurricane Katrina--FEMA Leadership Failure

On August 31, 2005, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) regional director Marty Bahamonde emailed the FEMA director regarding the situation in New Orleans immediately following Hurricane Katrina. Bahamonde wrote: “Sir, I know that you know the situation is past critical. Here [are] some things you might not know. Hotels are kicking people out, thousands gathering in the streets with no food or water. Hundreds still being rescued from homes.

“There are dying patients at the DMAT [disaster medical assistance team] tent. Estimates are many will die within hours. Evacuation in process. Plans developing for dome evacuation, but hotel situation adding to problem. We are out of food and running out of water at the dome, plans in works to address the critical need.

“FEMA staff is OK and holding own. DMAT staff working in deplorable conditions… “Phone connectivity impossible.”

The director responded: “Thanks for update. Anything specific I need to do or tweak?” (Chicago Tribune, 11-3-05; www.PreachingToday.com)

No wonder President Bush ended up firing him. His insensitivity to the real needs of real people was deplorable, but sometimes we can be just as insensitive.

“When [Jesus] saw the crowds,” Matthew 9 says, “he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field’” (Matthew 9:36-38).

From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Real Compassion, 10/22/2009

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