Summary: In spite of the tragedy, what “man meant for evil, God used for good”, thus how will Christians and American citizens be a part of the reshaping of culture since 9.11.01?

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8:30 with Video presentation

(adapted from Leonard Sweet’s message on 9.11)

Slide 2

“Night fell on a different world.”

These are some of the first words President George Bush used to reflect on September 11, 2001.

Slide 3

How prophetic they now appear. Is it possible not to see everything through this ashen cloud and fireball of

· around 3000 deaths,

· 10,000 children with a lost parent,

· $40 billion loss of buildings,

· $40 billion in cleanup costs,

· $40 billion in initial war preparations,

· $15 billion in bailouts for the unfriendly skies,

· trillions of dollars of damage to the world economy, hundreds of thousands of job losses (236,000 the first month),

· billions of dollars of losses in economic convulsions, especially relating to consumer and tourist ($15 million a day losses) skittishness?

And that’s just the beginning. What a year it’s been

· We’ve lived through Enron,

· Arthur Andersen,

· the crisis in the Catholic church,

· power/energy crises,

· economic recessions,

· bear markets,

· Worldcom,

· the clanging of handcuffs on Imperial CEOs (with more to come),

· unstoppable forest fires

· and West Nile viruses.

Need I continue?

The devastations of this one year will reshape our world and revise our expectations of the future—both in the short-term and the long-term.

Slide 4

In spite of the tragedy, what “man meant for evil, God used for good”, or the way it reads in Genesis 50:20 God turned into good what you meant for evil. (NLT).

How will people know that we’re Christians? How do people know that we’re Christians? Or good American citizens?

September 11, 2001—Nine-One-One—gave us one answer to that question.

Are we as citizens and/or Christians people who open their doors, hearts, and minds for others?. Especially in times when tragedy occurs both near and far to us?

In Romans Paul, the guy who wrote most of the NT of the Bible, calls Christians to a specific attitude of love but leaves open the specifics of actual loving behavior.

Slide 5

Pay all your debts, except the debt of love for others. You can never finish paying that! If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill all the requirements of God’s law. For the commandments against adultery and murder and stealing and coveting—

Slide 6

and any other commandment—are all summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to anyone, so love satisfies all of God’s requirements. Romans 13:8-10 (NLT)

Slide 7

Jesus’ own encapsulation of the law, to “love your neighbor as yourself,” (Luke 10:27) leaves a virtually unlimited range of loving possibilities.

Never seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. Lev. 19:18 (NLT)

This love never lets up, never plays out, never is paid-off like any other debt we might owe. That’s Paul’s point as it is paraphrased in The Message:

Slide 8

Don’t run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other. When you love others, you complete what the law has been after all along. Romans 13:8 (TMNT)

Basically what I want to challenge you to do today is think about not what do we make of 9.11 BUT what does 9.11 make of us?

The people who were directly involved in the September 11 tragedy—both the survivors and those who knew they were going to perish made that choice. They took control of the circumstances as they best knew how as you will see in some of the video clips this morning.

Hear are some suggestions that I want to share today about what 9.11 could make of you.

I Will Open My Heart, Mind, and Door for….

Slide 9

A. The poor and needy

We live in a culture that too often slams the door in the face of the poor.

Listen carefully to this event that happened in the life of Jesus on one occasion:

Another day, a man stopped Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

Jesus said, “Why do you question me about what’s good? God is the One who is good. If you want to enter the life of God, just do what he tells you.”

The man asked, “What in particular?”

Jesus said, “Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you do yourself.”

The young man said, “I’ve done all that. What’s left?”

Slide 10

“If you want to give it all you’ve got,” Jesus replied, “go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me.”

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