Saturday, March 14, 2009

Christ-Responders by Francis Frangipane

I was out early one morning riding my bicycle when suddenly, to my left, came the horrific sound of an automobile accident; it occurred about eighty feet from me at a stoplight. I turned just in time to see one car sliding sideways, while the other car, with the hood and grill pushed up like a pug, was rocking back and forth from the impact. 

Yet, other than dial 911, I didn't know what to do in this emergency. In fact, even as I walked toward the crash site, I found myself wrestling against a barrier of fears and apprehensions: What would I find? Would the passengers be bloody, seriously hurt or even dead? What would I do if a car caught fire? 

When I arrived, I found there were only two people involved, the drivers of each car. Thankfully, while each was emotionally shaken, neither was physically hurt. 

Yet, I wasn't fine. I was troubled by my inability to quickly respond. After the police arrived, I left pondering my reaction to this accident. I realized a significant part of my fear was due to being untrained. My lack of emergency first aid training left me unprepared to cope in a crisis situation. Without the knowledge and skills provided by training, the best I could offer is to call 911. 

Why am I sharing this story? As Christians, many of us are unprepared to cope with spiritual emergencies in life. We are "saved" and we can pray, which is the spiritual equivalent of calling 911. But we are not trained to deal with crises and life issues. Many are not adept at spiritual warfare; they don't know how to effect reconciliation when divisions arise; they are not confident in ministering healing or discernment about issues. 

You see, our salvation experience is the first step in a life of ongoing spiritual training and equipping. We may not all become pastors or missionaries, but we still need to know how to respond in an emergency. 

Consider King David. He said the Lord, "trains my hands for battle" (Ps. 18:34). David didn't just fight, flailing at the wind; God trained him until David could bend a bow of bronze. David became mighty in battle. When others fled, intimidated by the sight of Goliath, David made plans to cut the giant down. Why was David confident? God trained David in previous confrontations with a bear and a lion. David knew what to do in a crisis. 

Today, we are living in a state of national emergency, but most Christians are only dialing 911 in prayer. We need to be a first responder - a Christ-responder - who knows God and can do exploits (see Dan. 11:32). 

Indeed, anyone can see our society and economy is failing, but God calls us to rebuild the ancient ruins, not just walk among the ruins and wonder what happened. We are called to be repairers of the breech, restorers of the streets in which to dwell (see Isa. 58:12). The Holy Spirit has redemptive answers for our cities and neighborhoods, creative remedies that will bring peace and prosperity back to our communities. 

There are people who are hurting that God wants us to touch. Yet, before we can go out, first the Holy Spirit must train us. He says in Isaiah 50:4, "The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple." 

Christ wants our tongues to be trained so we can speak as His representatives. People are weary, yet the Lord wants us to minister heart-to-heart resuscitation to those exhausted by their battle. 

You see, it's not enough to be a Christian and simply try to be good. We need to be trained. Such training can come to us directly from the Holy Spirit, or the Holy Spirit can use previously trained people to train us. Indeed, if we see someone who is Christlike in a particular area, who responds to life's emergencies with calm authority, we should not hesitate to ask them to train us in the area of their maturity (see Eph. 4:11-12). 

The book of Hebrews urges us to "remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith" (v. 13:7). 

We are not to merely copy other people, but upon careful examination of their virtue - considering the outcome of their way of life - seek to learn from them. Jesus Himself said, "A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher" (Luke 6:40). 

Beloved, our goal is to be like Christ. With our focus upon Him, it is not a weakness to seek spiritual training from others whom He sends. Just as I desired to know how to serve in a physical emergency, so we need to know how to serve in spiritual emergencies as well. 

The present conditions in our world are not merely judgments from God; they are opportunities for the church. Current conditions are making people ripe for evangelism. 

God needs disciples who have been trained and tested. We cannot stand paralyzed by fear, watching the catastrophic events of our times unfold. We must become Christ-responders.

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Anonymous said...

Hi Patti,
I'm Kathy and I work with Mike. I just wanted to tell you that I enjoy your blog! (Mike also tells us when there are updates!). That was a great piece about "Christ-responders" and I also congratulate Carl on his very good deed. Regards, Kathy

Hercules Mulligan said...

Wow, this is a great post! Thanks for sharing! The passages of Scripture really encouraged me.