Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Rescued!


Dear Friends,

Please don’t judge me or be too quick to make assumptions about me but I have a confession to make to you today. When I was a young boy, I played with my sister’s Barbie dolls. I’d sneak them from her room and my sister and parents never knew about that. Until the day of the fire and I was caught...

When I was ten years old, my favorite TV show was RESCUE 8. It was an exciting, real-life action series based on a fire rescue squad at the Los Angeles County Fire Station 8 in West Hollywood. The cool thing was that we lived just a few blocks away from the real Station 8 where the interior and exterior shots were filmed. I loved RESCUE 8. I outfitted my red wagon with a rope, hose, shovel and a pry bar. I took a red bicycle taillight and installed it facing forward so that I could respond code-3 to any backyard emergency. When firemen “Wes” and “Skip” rescued the little girl who had fallen into the well while looking for her kitten, I recreated the rescue. The mud washed off the Barbie doll and my sister never knew. When the nun was trapped under the collapsed roof of the old mission, Barbie suffered only a couple of minor scratches after being rescued from under the pile of lumber in the garage. But when Wes and Skip rescued the actress after the escaped mental patient and deranged pyromaniac had set fire to her home, that’s when I got into trouble. The next day in our backyard, the cardboard box that was the movie star’s “house” erupted into flames which were quickly and effectively extinguished by the hose in my RESCUE 8 red wagon. But who could have guessed that Barbie’s polyester blonde hair would explode into flames like that?

Men and women “rescuers” are drawn to the helping professions in life. Firefighters, police officers, doctors, nurses, nutritionists, social workers and psychologists are among those who have dedicated their life to helping others. Rescuing others from situations caused by bad decisions or unfortunate circumstances. Helping them to fix the difficulty they’ve found themselves in and giving them the resources to improve and even excel in their physical, mental and emotional health. And those in Christian ministry are God’s spiritual rescuers, rushing to wherever they’re needed with the message of the Gospel to save souls, change lives and provide the Biblical resources so that others might excel in their spiritual health.

Spiritual rescuers reach out to help those who have fallen into the pit of despair and become mired in hopelessness. When a well-ordered life suddenly collapses and someone finds themselves trapped under the crushing weight of life’s circumstances, spiritual rescuers respond with the saving grace of Jesus. When a person’s unrepentant sins have caused separation from God, the spiritual rescuer leads them to the Living Water of Jesus that quenches forever the terrifying fires of Hell.

God appoints and empowers believers as “evangelists” and the job of an evangelist is to simply tell others the good news about Jesus Christ. We are all evangelists. Jesus has given us the gift of evangelist Ephesians 4:11 or we are called to “..do the work of an evangelist..” 2 Timothy 4:5 and Col 4:5-6 We tend to leave the spiritual work to the priests, pastors and evangelists but God says that all believers are called to be spiritual rescuers. All followers of Jesus are called to be ambassadors for Christ and implore others to be reconciled to God. 2 Cor 5:20 We are called to turn people away from their unrepentant sins and toward God so that they may receive His forgiveness Acts 26:18 and their soul may be saved from death. James 5:20 You are a Christian, called by God to bring the Good News to others and yet many of us good Christians are too caught up in the business and the busyness of doing “church” to do that.

In Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, Huck and his friend Tom Sawyer are hatching a plot to liberate the runaway slave, “old Jim.” Tom’s uncle has imprisoned old Jim in a cabin and the two young boys spend their time planning the elaborate rescue operation. Tom fantasizes that the rescue of Jim will be comparable to some of the great escapes in history! But while the boys are dreaming about being heroic rescuers, poor old Jim is chained to his bed in the dark lonely cabin without food and drink. He seems to be forgotten. The rescue operation itself had become more important than the person to be rescued. 

Jesus established the church for the primary purpose of rescuing lost souls and changing lives, Matthew 28:19-20 and we’ve turned His church into a religious system of rules and rituals. In our church today, has the rescue operation itself become more important than the people who need to be rescued?

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The AMEN Corner is a weekly devotional for the family and friends of New Hope Family Church. It is intended for this devotional to be strengthening, encouraging or comforting and your comments too should be for the glory of God and reflect the intended purpose of these posts.

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