Recently, we began a series on Rescue Stories at Real Life. Jeremy and I took a walk late in the afternoon, and I began reflecting on the day. It was one of those days that pastors walk away from saying…” THAT is ministry!” The most excellent rescue story of all time is the death of Christ on the Cross for us. During this season of Lent, we are spending seven weeks looking at stories of rescue in our world, in our city, and within the walls of our church.
In Exodus 14:13-14, we read: Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
When we find ourselves between a rock and a hard place, God has a way out. No matter what is behind us, God can break the ties that bind us. He can move the rock, the mountain, the seemingly impossible situation in our way, or He can help us navigate around or through it.
One of the things that I have come to love about our Church is the fact that they live up to their name – REAL! Yesterday, we had the privilege of listening to Pastor Craig share his story of redemption and rescue from a life of addiction. Craig is 16 years free as of last months and now has a powerful ministry leading Narcotics Anonymous at our church three nights a week. From an early age, Craig suffered wrongs done to him, and he turned to things that he thought would help him. Craig eventually learned that those things are void of the fulfillment that only Christ can bring him.
Craig defined addiction for us like a disease that is mental, physical, and spiritual. The mental aspect is the obsession or constant thoughts of “acting out.” The physical part is the compulsion, which is once you start, you physically can’t stop. The spiritual element is the total self-centeredness of addiction.
As I listened to that definition, I realized how many of us find ourselves in some way addicted to things that distract us and turn our attention from Christ and onto ourselves. BUT, GOD. He loves us enough to help us turn away from those things toward Him if we allow. Exodus 14 tells us that the Lord will fight for us! I am so blessed to be able to hear stories from our people about how God fought for them and won the battle over struggles in their lives. As a pastor, we get to journey with people as they face their struggles, and this series is bringing out struggles in the lives and hearts of our people, and God is ready to fight!
Last Sunday morning, we talked about Esther 4. Verse 14 says, For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” God gives us divine appointments to make a difference in the lives of others. This last week, Tammy Burrow, from Portico, came to share with us about the work and ministry of Portico. They are in the business of rescuing lives and helping to guide pregnant women and post-abortive women to heal. They provide middle and high school student sexual education teaching along with other areas of ministry.
God wants to allow us to say yes to a divine appointment and help become a part of someone’s rescue story. A person’s rescue story may not be as dramatic as those listed above, but in God’s eyes, anyone who turns to Him is a victory!
During this crazy season of life with the Coronavirus, life is unsettled; people are on edge, society is fearful of the unknown. We may have divine appointments at every turn right now. We can speak peace and life and the hope of Jesus in all we do, to everyone we see. It may be the cashier who has been yelled at for not having toilet paper or the person at the drive-up window who looks tired and worn out. Iy may be the person who is out of work because of the virus or the stressed-out mom with a house full of kids that need to practice social distancing right now. The right words will speak life, and hope, and Jesus!
I cannot wait for Sunday as we continue our Rescue Story Series. This week, we are talking about how God breaks open prison doors to set us free. Tune in on Facebook to worship with us at 10 AM. Like our page, Real Life Community Church of the Nazarene!