Remembering 9-11: A Call for Heroes
- Doug Stringer
- 2003 9 Sep
On September 11, 2001, the whole world was shocked by the pictures of commercial airlines crashing into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Soon after the initial impact, we were subjected to the gruesome sight of people jumping to their deaths from the top floors of the 110-story towers.
But there were also heroes in this tragic story. Of particular note were the valiant firemen, policemen, rescue workers and citizens who rushed to rescue the victims-many of them losing their own lives in the process of trying to save others. Blood donors from around the nation quickly responded as well.
Even these heroic measures mirror the greatest act of love ever---Jesus Christ! Jesus said no greater love than this that a man lay down his life for His friends. Jesus, the greatest fireman, gave His own life to rescue perishing humanity from hell's flames. He, the greatest blood donor, gave his own blood so that we might live. Although the fates of many were sealed as the towers collapsed, rescue workers worked for days in the faint hope of finding some of their brethren alive beneath the chaos and rubble. These rescue workers became modern day heroes.
Likewise, the church needs similar heroes today. Heroes of the faith who are willing to risk their own lives to rescue the perishing at all cost. Every generation needs heroes-men and women we can look up to and emulate. The Bible is filled with stories of heroic believers who obeyed God and did mighty exploits in difficult situations. We are told to consider their faith and imitate their manner of life.
Window of Opportunity
Let us not miss our windows of opportunity. Paul said in 1 Cor. 16:9 that a "Great and effective door of opportunity has been opened unto me but the adversaries are many." We live in a great and exciting time in which we, the Church, must bring a message of hope.
Distractions, disappointments, discouragements and even temptations can be works of the adversary to keep us from what God wants us to do to be effective at this time. Distractions can be our love of comfort and ease or the cares and securities of this world.
Yet even that is being shaken to do as everything that can be shaken is being shaken as spoken of in Heb. 12:25-29. From Wall Street, the economy to the Church, our securities are being shaken. We must let go of those natural securities and turn to the Lord.
God can do exceedingly beyond all we can think or imagine. He's given us a great and effective door to reach many with the Gospel. Whatever door He opens, no man can shut. May we not have to look back and say weeks and months from now that the harvest is past; the Summer has ended and the people are still not saved (Jer. 8:20). We have the opportunity to bring a message of hope. Luke 21:13 is an encouraging picture that in the midst of challenges and world wide crisis we can "Let this be in occasion for our testimony."
A Hurting World Awaits
The world is looking for answers. Why should they say, "Where is their God?" God is looking for modern day heroes of the faith that rise to the occasion, who like Moses and Aaron are willing to stand between the living and the dead to stop the plague of sin and destruction (Numbers 16:43-48).
This is not a comfortable place to be! Most of us would rather be spectators in the epic battles of our times. "Hurrah for Jesus!" we shout from the grandstands. Or maybe we're more concerned and upset about possible baseball strikes, than we are for a world in crisis.
Instead of standing in the gap between the living and the dead, we sit in comfort on our padded pews. Instead of running into the flames to rescue lost souls, we piously hide out in our stained-glass coffins.
George MacLeod, a famous Scottish preacher once said: "I simply argue that the cross should be raised in the center of the marketplace as well as on the steeple of the church. I am recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves; on the town's garbage heap; at a crossroads, so cosmopolitan they had to write his title in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. At the kind of place where cynics talk smut, and thieves curse, and soldiers gamble. Because that is where He died. That is what He died for. And that is what He died about. And that is where church people ought to be, and what church people ought to be about."
Echoing this same passion for intercessory evangelism C.T. Studd wrote, "Some like to live within the sound of church or chapel bells; I'd rather run a rescue shop within a yard of hell."
To quote my friend, Pastor Dale Bronner from Atlanta, "Our Passion for Christ must be greater than our Passion for anything else."
Is there hope that we can really make an impact? Yes, indeed! As Winkey Pratney once said, "When God finds someone with courage to pray, preach, and live a life before Him of holiness and compassion, He can literally change the face of a nation."
Courage and character in any man or woman shine most brightly in times of crisis and intense pressure. The sirens and alarms are screaming a resounding cry, "Spare Your People, O Lord." You and I can be a part of the largest, mobilized rescue effort in our day as we reach the multitudes living on the edge of eternity. The question is, "will we answer the call?"
911 - is a number we dial in America in time of emergency. Emergencies are typically times of crisis and desperation in which quick intervention is needed. We can see tragedy turn to triumph as we call on the Lord in time of crisis. He answers when we call with comfort, peace and promise for the future. While many remember 911 as a time of great tragedy, crisis and despair, may we the church bring a message of hope. It's time to call on the Lord. It's time see God bring triumph from tragedy, victory from crisis, and hope from despair. Let's look at what God can do when we call on His 911.
Cost of Freedom
This is depicted so wonderfully through the work of the Cross by the price Christ paid to rescue us. He answered our 911 call by giving His life for us. One way we commemorate His perpetual gift of life is through communion. "Do this in remembrance of Me" was the instruction our Lord gave us. He said each time we take communion we do it to remember. We remember His great act of love and the tragedy by which that love was bestowed on us. At the same time we are reminded of God's grace and hope for our future.
As followers of Jesus Christ we reflect on the 911 tragedy with this in mind. There's something we can do. We can rise up and rescue the perishing, bringing a message of hope. We can be those true witnesses who rescue lives spoken of in Prov. 14:25.
It's our time, our season, to demonstrate the love of Christ to our communities, our nation and the world. Let's give 911 a renewed meaning of hope. It's time to answer His call.
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