Have you ever seen a whirlwind? Tornadoes, tropical storms, cyclones... hurricanes. Each is a force to be avoided rather than reckoned with. It is a cylinder of wind or rain or a combination running ram-shod over what would normally be considered stable or safe. Under certain circumstances, any one of us can be vulnerable to its' power. When it passes, only remnants of was there before remain.
What can prepare you for a whirlwind?
On August 28, 2005, my 37th birthday, Hurricane Katrina reached Category 5, overwhelming the levees of New Orleans, Louisiana and decimating the region. I was on staff at the Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas. Our pastor, Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III, called us in for an emergency meeting.
It was time to be the church we were called to be.
Food, supplies, clothing and toiletries began to pour into the Kiest Boulevard facility. Strangers became fast friends as volunteers cycled through to help. The first arrivals came on an old school bus painted black. They were still stunned, in shock, but at least they were somewhere SAFE. Grief began to settle in. I held people in my arms and never knew their names. We cried out to God together. The church-become-shelter was now a haven for the displaced.
It was the whirlwind after the whirlwind, and a long time before most of the staff returned to the quiet comfort of our office spaces. I didn’t see mine for six months. Twenty-four hours a day… seven days a week… we lived together in the overflow spaces and the pews of that building. We broke bread together, shopped the clothes closet together, prayed together.
The church would never go back to what it was.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. ~Ephesians 3:14-19 (NIV)
I believe every church and every believer has an “Ephesian” moment in their lives… a time when God lines them up with destiny for an experience like never before, revealing Himself in ways we could have never anticipated.
Ephesus would embark on uncharted territory for Christ.
Be the church as no one has ever seen before.
Paul saw it.
The people knew it.
They could never go back to who they were.
Today, God is asking us...
"After so much devastation and suffering, will you go back to who you were?
How deep is your love?"
Disaster recovery the magnitude of the Bahamas requires that the church be mature and be strengthened in our inner being. It requires that we be rooted and established in love so we might experience, together with our displaced brothers and sisters, how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ really is.
GOD n Me family, this is our time.
It's time to be the church of the uncharted territory. Live as the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Live out our destiny as the bride of Christ.
The devastation in the Bahamas is great. The people need our financial support and resources as much as they do our prayers.
So, please give.
Give to strangers whose names you may never know.
Help restore the communities.
Help rebuild the churches.
Be the church no one has ever seen before.
If you are connected to an organization already giving assistance, help them make an impact. If not, click the link below to read about and support the collective community efforts being made through New Birth Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA where Dr. Jamal Harrison Bryant is the pastor.
In addition to recovery efforts, New Birth has also committed to supporting the long-term work of rebuilding the churches that were destroyed. Follow us on social media all week to see information about recovery progress.
On Monday, September 16th, join me at 7am CST for a blog reading and prayer call dedicated to the Bahamas and the first responders giving support:
Call our dial-in number: (605) 313-4197
Enter the access code: 563957
Wherever you are in the world, join us as we represent a love that surpasses knowledge to our Bahamian neighbors that they may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
I leave you with the words of Paul...
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Body of Christ, I love you. Please support.
HEY! Are you ready to join #TeamGODnMe!
Click below to learn more.