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875. The Gospel According to Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew gave us an opportunity to see the gospel in action.

IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING

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We looked at all the fallen, leaning, and precariously entangled trees thanks to Hurricane Matthew and thought Lord, we need help. I thought of all the disaster relief trips I had participated in over the years. Now I was the one needing the relief. It’s difficult to know what to do, who to call, and how best to proceed. We checked our insurance policies, made the appropriate calls, took a deep breath, and walked around the neighborhood to see how everyone was and to assess the damage, letting it all sink in.

We had returned to our home and were examining the three large pine trees that had fallen on the small live oak beside our driveway. That’s when God showed up in a big way. Up the street came a crew from ReachGlobal Crisis response, a ministry of the Evangelical Free Church of America. They examined our predicament and came up with a plan. I learned that some of them had come from Massachusetts all the way to South Carolina to help out. Three hours later, the three pines were removed, cut into manageable logs, and piled along the edge of the road.

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I had some great conversations with the volunteers who had given of their time and talents to help out battered little neighborhood. It was a sweet time of fellowship with other believers. I assured them that I would let my reader know of their selfless work. God had indeed provided through His children and we were privileged to be the recipients.

AS I SEE IT

This is the gospel in action. Those who had been redeemed by the blood of Christ were willing to pass on the grace they had received to others in their hour of need. This is the way the gospel works. It’s not a set of beliefs, creeds, and convictions, although these are included. It is the passing on of the grace and mercy we have received that releases the power of God to bring transformation that far exceeds the meeting of a need.

golden-rule-1Matthew 7:12 12 says, Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. In other words, this simple statement that we call the golden rule summarizes the primary message of the Old Testament.

Gospel means “good news” and part of the good news is that when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, submitting our will to Him as well as our right to ourselves, His presence in us via the Holy Spirit enables and empowers us to do those things that are impossible on our own—things like sacrificing for the sake of others so that His power and His love can be revealed.

I’d like to return to the little live oak by our driveway. It took the full force of the three much larger pine trees and survived unscathed. There’s a lesson for us here. That little tree was able to withstand whatever Hurricane Matthew blew at it because its roots, especially its taproot, was anchored deep in the soil. The pines with their shallow roots couldn’t resist the force of the wind. They weren’t securely anchored.

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The church I attend is called Live Oak Christian Church. Oh, how I want it to live up to its name, withstanding everything that is thrown at it by being firmly rooted in Christ. Our Lord and Savior wants all His children to live the same way—firmly rooted and able to withstand anything as a testimony of the power of the one in whom we have placed our faith.

I have attempted to show the gospel through the disaster known as Hurricane Matthew. Despite all the devastation, the residents in our neighborhood are coming together in a wonderful way. Please join with me in praying that the Spirit of God will move, using me and the other believers to share the gospel in just the right way at just the right time so that the “reconstruction” will affect lives for eternity, not just things for the here and now.


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ON THE LIGHTER SIDE

At a wedding ceremony, the pastor asked if anyone had anything to say concerning the union of the bride and groom, it was their time to stand up and talk, or forever hold their peace.

The moment of utter silence was broken by a young beautiful woman carrying a child. She started walking toward the pastor slowly.

Everything quickly turned to chaos.

The bride slapped the groom.

The groom’s mother fainted.

The groomsmen started giving each other looks and wondering how best to help save the situation.

The pastor asked the woman, “Can you tell us why you came forward? What do you have to say?”

The woman replied, “We can’t hear in the back.”

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