“THE CHURCHES FINEST HOUR YET”
I Corinthians 12
George Crumbly - Humphrey UMC
9/11/2005 Sunday AM
(Some of the information came from Rick Warrens Ministry Toolbox #223)
I Corinthians 12
Hear a good friend of mine last Sunday night mention the body of Christ suffering. Then Thursday I received an email from Rick Warren (Writer of “Purpose Driven Church” and “Purpose Driven Life.”) I receive his weekly email for pastors “Rick Warren’s Ministry Toolbox.” There was something on there that really interested me & I want to share it with you. There is a lot right now in the ministry that is dealing with hurricane Katrina:
(Here we are today 9/11/2005, remembering the terror attacks in New York just four years later) Seems like a lot of hurt today.
The Coast Guard said its air and water crews have rescued more than 22,000 people in states affected by Katrina. - www.cnn.com
Despite the best efforts of the news media, it’s impossible to sense the confusion, observe the destruction, smell the stench, hear the cries, dry the tears, clothe the threadbare, as well as hug and feed the hurting and hungry unless you’re here. This is a disaster of biblical proportion, and it demands a biblical response – now. How can I be more explicit? This situation is dire – it’s an ongoing emergency. - Southern Baptist Convention President Bobby Welch
In the midst of [Hurricane Katrina] we are seeing a great deal of goodness that people are demonstrating to their neighbor and a great deal of care in that we see the work of God to have a neighborly response to one another. - Bishop Robert W. Muench of Baton Rouge
About 78,000 refugees were in shelters throughout the South yesterday, the Red Cross reported. About 40,000 of those evacuated from the hard-hit Gulf Coast were being housed in shelters elsewhere in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, while about 25,000 were in Houston, 10,000 in Memphis, Tenn., and others in Georgia. - Joyce Howard Price, The Washington Times
(They didn’t mention the 90,000 in the state of Arkansas so far)
We want it known that the church community is very much concerned with what is happening to our brothers and sisters in the Gulf Coast. If we don’t rise to this occasion, we will be missing one of the greatest works that God calls us to do. - Bishop Walter Thomas, pastor of New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore
I Corinthians 12: verses 14-26
Rick Warren wrote this after he went to the devastated area: “As I saw the sights and talked to the people, God taught me seven lessons:
1.) Those who had the least lost the most.
2.) Suffering does not discriminate.
3.) Everybody deserves to be treated with dignity. The pastor of one church that took in 800 flood survivors announced: “This is now a city, and I’m the mayor. The law of the land is the law of love. That means to put others before yourself.”
4.) There is power in presence. Jesus accomplished so much with just a word, a look, a touch.
5.) Every disaster presents an opportunity for new direction. Every problem has possibility. Every hurt is an opportunity for new ministry. In the greatest hurt is the greatest opportunity for ministry. When an unprecedented disaster occurs, you have an unprecedented opportunity to help people experience the love of God.
6.) The Church is the only network large enough to handle a disaster like this. Media attention has been focused on the thousands of people who have taken refuge in the Astrodome. But more than 150,000 other people are being cared for by churches. There is amazing organization at the local church level.
7.) It’s time for the church to shine. Disaster presents Christians with unprecedented opportunities to mobilize the Church and become the hands and feet of Christ. We need to become audio-visual Christians – not just talking about it, but doing it.
I believe that in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina God has given us an opportunity for what could be the Church’s finest hour. God specializes in bringing good out of bad. He loves to take the broken things in our lives and turn them into something really meaningful. He loves to take our greatest hurt and turn it into our greatest opportunity for ministry. The wonderful truth of the Gospel is that, even in the bad things of the world, God is able to make something good.
What an opportunity for God to work thru the church today. President Bush initiated the Faith-Based organizations in his administration. Other words, if what the church is doing is indeed helping? Then let’s help the church. If indeed the church is helping.
Brother Paul Holderfield was the pastor of Friendly Chapel Church of the Nazarene built the church in a really bad area in North Little Rock. He built gym with rooms for homeless to stay in, playground for kids to play, started soup kitchen feeding hungry every day,(He said it is difficult to minister to a hungry soul until you fill an empty stomach) bought houses around church then sold to folks in the church, and had 30 minute video of news broadcast as to the work at the church.
(Last time I saw Bro Paul was when he held a revival at Dothan First church in Dothan Alabama. At the end of the revival he would show this video of news broadcast showing the results of the ministry there. You could see time after time, again and again how God was working thru Friendly Chapel.)
The soup kitchen had a fish fry fund raiser every year to raise money for the soup kitchen. Started in gym, moved to the armory and now it is held in Alltel arena. It is a fish-fowl fund raiser. Local & State Politicians come in support of this event. Why? Because what they are doing in the community is WORKING. (They are having a positive impact on the community. How is your church impacting the community you are in?)
If something works – folks will support it. Someone told me years ago that Alltel would never have built the arena where it is now had it not been for this church, because the area was so bad. (Parking goes over by and in front of Friendly Chapel)
Even the news media could see how this church was impacting for the good. You can go into North Little Rock Arkansas today and everyone knows about the work and the love of this church.
(If a church can’t impact the community – is it doing what God has called it to do?) They recently built a new sanctuary across from the old one; the pastor said he wished they could have moved to another area that had problems just as did this area years ago. A place where God could use them, a place where God’s love could be ministered. We’ve got churches that are looking for the ideal place to go (Because they are more concerned with being a Country Club rather than a church)….Where is the ideal place? WHEREVER GOD CAN USE US…
God has made us the way He wanted. We are part of a body. Not as it pleases you and me but as it pleases God.
Just because the hand says they are not the foot does this mean they are not part of the body? As a Christian we are part of the body regardless of whether we are Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal or whatever. God has created us to be a part of the body. Now we choose the body we belong to. God has instilled in us to belong to something or be a part of something.
To please who? What God has done in His order was to please Him. Not me, not you, but Him!! Sometimes I think we forget who actually owns the garden.
When one part of the body suffers? Guess what? We all suffer.
(Heard preacher last Sunday night saying when hit finger with hammer – first reaction? For the other hand to reach over and help & comfort the hurting hand)
At the ball park, someone yells “heads-up”. First reaction? You put your hands over the top of your head. Our first reaction is to protect, to comfort. The scripture to is saying that when one rejoices we all rejoice.
When we are hurting? We all hurt. When we are happy and rejoicing? We all rejoice.
As Rick Warren is saying in his news letter this could very well be the churches finest hour. I was so blessed this week to have received this newsletter. You can see how God has blessed Rick Warren, it would do the church today good to prayerfully read this material and more important? Let God work thru you. When things are working, the word will get out. The word will get around. My hearts desire today is for the church to be the church.
Folks today are looking for something real. There is too much “Generic Christianity” in the world today. God is real. (Recently I went to the hospital to visit a young man that has been troubled with alcohol, with family and financial problems. He decided to end his life, fortunately God spared his life. He has a wife and small children.) I tell you this because there is a world out there that is full of people with real and high-powered problems in their lives. (Several months before this there was a young man in his early 20’s in this same community that went out in the woods and ended his life)
There is a real Devil out there lying and convincing folks there is an easy way out. Is the church making the impact that it should? Once again I repeat something I have been saying for the past few years – “Instead of trying to fill the church, let’s first be the church.”