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Thursday, February 19, 2009

No one left behind

The armed forces of the United States have a "no one left behind" axiom that they practice. No soldier is to be left behind on the battlefield.

That's one of our goals at Stone Church. That no one be "left behind" when Jesus comes to take His Church up in the rapture.

No one. Left behind.

We desire to do our best to see the non-connected, connected to Christ. We desire to see the lonely, connected to others in the body of Christ. We desire to minister to the poor, the rich, the middle class, those with families, those who are single, red, yellow, black and white.

Let me share with you a great story.

We all remember September 11, 2001 (seems like yesterday).

On that tragic morning of September 11, 2001, The Brooklyn Tabernacle Church lost four of its members. One victim was a police officer.

The officer's funeral was held at the church building, and Rudy Giuliani, then mayor of New York City, had been asked to share a few thoughts.

In his book "You Were Made for More", Jim Cymbala, pastor of The Brooklyn Tabernacle, records what the mayor shared with the audience that morning:

"You know people, I've learned something through all this. Let me see if I can express it to you. When everybody was fleeing that building, and the cops and the firefighters and the EMS people were heading up into it, do you think any of them said, 'I wonder how many blacks are up there for us to save? I wonder what percentage are whites up here? How many Jews are there? Let's see—are these people making $400,000 a year, or $24,000, or—?'

"No, when you're saving lives, they're all precious. And that's how we're supposed to live all the time. How would you want the cops to treat you if you were on the seventy-fifth floor that day? Would you want them to say, 'Excuse me, but I've got to get the bosses out first'? Not exactly.

"I confess I haven't always lived this way. But I'm convinced that God wants us to do it. He wants us to value every human life the way he does."

The words of the mayor moved everyone who had gathered that day for the funeral.

Cymbala concludes:

"I sat there thinking, My goodness, the mayor is preaching a truth that has eluded so many of our churches throughout New York and the country! He may have stood for other policies that I could not agree with, but on that day, he was right on the mark. The truth of what he said penetrated my heart.

The world you and I live in is falling apart before our eyes. We are God's only representatives on the planet and simply cannot take time to pick and choose who needs help. They all need help. They all need the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. They all need to be rescued from the horror of an eternity apart from God."

As far as I am concerned, we will not rest until we can do our best to leave, "no one left behind."

Are you with me? I know you are.

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