Flames and smoke engulfed the colonial home. On the second floor, the husband held his two-year old daughter in one arm while he kicked the window open. Glass exploded outward, falling onto the stone patio, twenty-five feet below. His wife crowded close to him.
“Help! Help us! Please help,” screamed the husband, looking over his shoulder at the flames burning through the bedroom door.
A neighbor quickly appeared on the patio below with a long extension ladder.
“Thank God. You’ve heard my pleas,” screamed the husband.
“Could you please answer a few questions first?” said the neighbor.
“Are you a Christian? If so, what kind are you?”
“Yes, I’m a Baptist.” the husband proclaimed. “Please hurry.”
“Don’t worry,” replied the neighbor, “just a few more questions, okay?”
“Do you speak in tongues?”
“No. The flames are coming through the door.”
“So far, I like your answers. Do you believe in dispensationalism?”
“Not sure. Hurry.”
“Hmm! That’s not good. It shows lack of study on your part,” said the neighbor, “Oh well, let’s move on. Are you a member of a missional church or the emergent movement?”
“Yes,” shouted the husband, looking over his shoulder at the flames climbing the walls.
The neighbor shook his head. “I ain’t helping someone who might believe the Bible is not the inerrant word of God,” said the man, turning and walking away with his ladder.
Of course, the above story is silly, right?
But we do this sort of thing all the time in our churches and think it is okay there.
…I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. (1 Corinthians 9:22)
For most of us, this first hurdle will be a tough one to jump over because we have spent our whole lives collecting Christian labels, much like a Boy Scout earns merit badges.
Our labels include: Baptist, Methodist, Assembly of God, Pentecostal, Charismatic, Catholic, Anglican, Dispensationalism, Reform, tongues, prophecy, Word of Faith, missional, emergent, Republican, Democrat, Independent, Conservative, Liberal, Red Letter, simple church, nondenominational, and thousands more.
But if you really want to help your neighborhood and city survive upcoming catastrophes, then you need to rip those labels off your Christian identity cards. These divisive labels will not save one person during a catastrophe, but instead they may hinder your preparation efforts.
So, even if you speak in tongues three hours a day or can walk on water across the San Francisco Bay or can raise the dead by snapping your fingers or have memorized the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation, be quiet and don’t mention it. Be the humble servant who is comfortable with just being a Christian.
Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend, nor go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity; better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away. (Proverbs 27:10)
(Excerpt from Planning + Preparation = Survival by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2013, Amazon eBook)
My prayer today:
Lord, help us to love You with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength and with all our mind and to love our neighbors as ourselves. (Based on Luke 10:27)
What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you today?
Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for America.