Natural Disasters

The Burma cyclone and the China earthquake: tens of thousands are dead. There have also been earthquakes in India, Pakistan and Iran. The Indonesia tsunami is still in mind. What if something like that were to happen here?

We know God is in control and that He will work all things for our good and for His glory. We do not fear and we do not despair: we hope in God. We know we are safe in His hands and nothing can harm us spiritually whether we live or die. If we remain, our job is to continue serving Him here. When we are done with our work here, He will take us home.

What would we say to people around us in the aftermath of such a situation? In Luke 13:4-5, Jesus did not explain to the people why the tower in Siloam fell and killed those men, He just warned that unless they repent they will all likewise perish. God is just; He is the judge. Those who do not repent will perish. The message, given boldly but gently in love, is clear: fear God and repent. God will judge the earth in righteousness, and He will judge people individually by the Man He has appointed: the Lord Jesus Christ. The message would be that now is the time to humble yourself, repent of sins against God and turn by faith to Christ.

Ready to Share the Gospel

Being ready to use current events to share the gospel. Several witnessing conversations I’ve had were the result of someone asking me directly about some current event. After 911, I had neighbors literally coming to my door to ask me what was happening, if God “did that”, etc. They were afraid and they wanted answers. In those cases I told them that this was not “God making that happen to us”, but was the act of evil men. But I told them that this was now the time to hear what God is trying to tell you. Then I went into the gospel with them. I shared about how we can only be “safe” in Christ. They listened. The same thing happened with Katrina and the South East Asia tsunami. The same thing is happening now.

Right now we have government billboards asking us, “READY?”(it begs the question!), we have weird things going on with money, food, gas, markets, jobs, weather……..then there’s America slowly uniting with Canada and Mexico…………and lots more. I’m sure you could add to the list.

About a month ago I was in a store, and I heard a group of businessmen talking about the economy, about recession, and they had tinges of panic and fear in their voices. They were seriously asking each other what was going to happen. I often hear people in public, discussing their fear regarding current events. As things change and events happen, people are bewildered and frankly, afraid. Many times people will openly speak to you about how they feel. We need to be ready to lovingly direct people from these world events to dealing with the ultimate issues of God’s righteousness, justice, love, mercy, and the cross of Christ. We need to be ready to share the gospel.

We Have Good News

On my way out of the grocery store with several other people, a man (“Benny”) was trying to get my attention, waving to me as if he wanted to talk to me. He acted as if he knew me, but he did not. He wanted to talk for some reason, and as he got his bicycle, he approached to chat in the parking lot. Keeping a safe distance, I introduced myself and he started asking me questions about what I do, and he correctly guessed that I was a teacher. He asked me what school I teach at and I told him I have my own school. The conversation was going in strange directions, so I took charge and changed the direction of the conversation, asking him what things he is concerned about in the world.

He started talking about earthquakes, tsunamis, and war. I suggested that there are things far more dangerous than these. He asked, what could be more dangerous than natural disasters and war? This gave the opportunity to bring up spiritual truth and share the gospel, starting with the law, our sin, and the fact that God will judge sin, being right and just. I explained this in detail, using scripture, and he asked if we would get another chance after this life (as in another life) and I told him of the one life we have and then the judgment. He was genuinely concerned after hearing all this.

Then I told him all of what God did for us in and through Jesus, because of His love for us, because we are helpless and lost in our sin, unable to save ourselves. I focused then on God’s mercy, grace, love, and willingness to save us Himself, through Jesus, that we would not come under judgment. I explained that Jesus took the judgment for those who believe, and accounts His goodness to them. I explained about repentance, trust and faith in Jesus to save from sin.

At the beginning of our conversation, he was talking silly. Now he had a look on his face that told me that he was interested and concerned with this topic of judgment and salvation. He asked me if I believed if Jesus was coming back. I told him yes, and soon, and that is why it is today that is the day for salvation, and not tomorrow. We had talked a long time by then and I needed to get home to make dinner. In my pocket was a copy of my message, “Safe?” which I gave to him. I told him it explained more about the things I was telling him. As he got on his bike and waved goodbye, I waved and told him I’d see him around town.

Sometimes when we share the gospel, the person will have that dreaded (but expected) roll of the eyes, an argumentative, skeptical, mocking or cynical attitude. But sometimes, the person will show on their face, and respond in a way that lets you know that they want to hear, that they want to know; that they have been waiting to hear this.

To them, we have good news.