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Summary: The earthquake in Haiti measured 7.0 – the death toll will be measured in the tens of thousands – but character is measured in our response to tragedy. 5 WAYS TO RESPOND. Link inc. to formatted text, audio/video, PowerPoint.

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AfterShock

Matthew 14:22-33

http://gbcdecatur.org/sermons/AfterShock.html

How do we respond? What should our reaction be? When our world shakes, when we are in shock – after it happens – after shock has gripped our being – what we do next is absolutely vital.

The earthquake in Haiti measured 7.0 – the death toll will be measured in the tens of thousands – but character is measured in the response to the tragedy. You see, we all are shaken at times, and sometimes in a powerful way that leaves us quaking and crumbled.

If you haven’t faced great tragedy yet listen up, because you very likely will. We all feel sympathy when we see the graphic pictures from this week. We all share in the despair with events like 9/11, the Asian Tsunami, or Hurricane Katrina. It seems like it’s always someone else. But what if it were you?

You see, there’s a prophetic message in these events. The Bible says we should take warning at such disasters as signs of the end times upon us. And then God is specific about earthquakes, saying that they will increase in frequency and intensity, and…

Matthew 24:7

…and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

Talk about a diverse place. Not on the Pacific Rim or ‘ring of fire’ where you expect major earthquakes. Definitely the most powerful in all of history in Haiti and the only one in the Caribbean in at least 200 years. These are people who are used to hurricanes threatening them, but not earthquakes. They didn’t think it could happen to them.

And America is in the same boat, and since we happen to be asking for God’s judgment [throwing morality out the window and God under the bus] we must ask ourselves, what if it was me? And again, it’s not really a question of ‘if’ as much as ‘when’? I’m telling you, we should not be surprised if something big happens in America, and maybe to us personally. I’m not hoping for it, just sensing it in many ways, whether it’s a financial collapse, terrorism, natural disaster, or something else we would never expect.

The aftershocks have been intense in Haiti. And we need to learn how to respond after shock has rattled our lives…

I. HAVE FAITH - NOT FEAR Vs. 26. “...and they cried out for fear.”

Vs. 27, “...Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”

Vs. 30, “...But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid;”.

Vs. 31, “...O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”

I am not suggesting that we should not express normal emotions of concern and uncertainty when tragedy strikes. I am saying that fear is not the spiritual response.

II Tim. 1:7

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Fear will not comfort anyone. Fear will only bring more anxiety and distress.

As we have observed the horror that is present on the faces of Haitians, we each have related with them. And we Christians should not be naïve to overlook the fact that the worst is yet to come for this planet.

Yet, we must not let fear reign during times of crisis. There are no answers in fear. Only faith will have the answer for us.

Jesus said in Mark 11:22 , “Have faith in God.”

We are commanded to keep the faith, ESPECIALLY when the world caves in, which is precisely when many give up on God and head for the hills.

Jesus told Peter in our text he had little faith because he looked at the storm in fear instead of looking to Him in faith.

Look at what He said from the beginning when they first saw Him approaching, walking on the water:

v. 27 “It is I, be not afraid” Yes, God is there in Haiti, He’s there in the rubble with some still clinging to life. He’s there with many who have suffered loss of family and possessions, and He is ever present with us, especially in the aftershocks of life. God was there on 9/11, and in New Orleans and the beaches of Thailand and everywhere tragedy strikes.

And though it’s not a popular notion, and definitely politically incorrect to say so, I do believe God uses these things to get our attention. They are labor pains announcing this world is soon to be delivered! So if you are not saved, respond in faith, not fear, and get saved today!

So, Have Faith and not Fear.

II. PRAY - DON’T PANIC

v. 30

When panic takes over prayer ceases. Peter was looking to the Lord in faith, but when he panicked he began to sink. When he prayed he found rescue. We must resist the urge to respond in panic and in everything by prayer and supplication bring it all to the Lord.

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Greg Nance

commented on Jan 16, 2010

Go Jerry! Thank-you for a great first response message on Haiti! God bless your ministry.

Gary Pettyjohn

commented on Jan 19, 2010

Jerry - excellent sermon. I am sure many people will be blessed and challenged by your message or portions of it. I used your major points in preparing my sermon last Sunday, after I decided to delay my current sermon series one week to focus on Haiti. Have a great week!

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