Chance. Coincidence. Happenstance. Those words don’t exist in the vocabulary of Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains.
“Because our chaplains pray each morning for God's direction, we don't believe that we ever accidentally stumble into a meeting with somebody as we’re ministering in the aftermath of a disaster,” said Jack Munday, international director of the ministry. “Those encounters were put in place by God. We call them ‘divine appointments.’”
And those divine appointments have been happening for more than a month now in New York and New Jersey following the impact of Superstorm Sandy in late October.
Take, for instance, the recent experience of chaplains in Nassau County, N.Y., where the chaplains have been reaching out to hurting survivors since Oct. 29.
Lower East Side churches and volunteers distributed 5,000 coats, scarves, boots and other winter supplies at the schoolyard at PS 34 in New York Saturday, in the shadow of the power plant that darkened lower Manhattan during Superstorm Sandy.
The only Manhattan location is one of 11 regional hubs created by a unique partnership between American Red Cross, Somebody Cares America, New York Christian Resource Center and local faith-based groups that collectively distributed 50,000 coats and more last weekend to communities most directly impacted by the storm.
“We are delighted to see the Red Cross partner with us in this way,” one of the organizers, Pastor Rick Del Rio from Abounding Grace Ministries, said. “Though power has returned to Lower Manhattan, the lingering effects of the storm are still being felt. What better way to warm the hearts of children and families during the holidays, then by warming their physical bodies first.”
GOD TV is to air an extraordinary live broadcast this weekend featuring Steve Hill of the Brownsville Revival of the 1990s and Nathan Morris of the current Bay Revival, together with pastor John Kilpatrick, the host of both spiritual outpourings.
Revival Reunion, happening at the Mobile Convention Center in Alabama, will be broadcast exclusively on GOD TV at 9 p.m. (EST) Friday and will also feature worship led by Lindell Cooley and Lydia Stanley Marrow.
The Brownsville Revival ran from 1995 to 2000, attracting more than 4 million people to Pensacola, Fla. Often televised on GOD TV, it was characterized by passionate salvation messages from evangelist Steve Hill, a call to holiness from Kilpatrick and worship led by Cooley.
A divided church lost the most important election concerning the fate of biblical marriage in our nation’s history. This election revealed a deep division between minority Christian’s sense of moral priorities and the ethical codes of the white church community. When I say “minorities,” I mean blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and others consisting of 28 percent of the electorate; this group voted for a different moral code than their white Christian brothers.
Could it be that the Lord is challenging the Church to deal with her deep racial divisions before He sends the rains of economic blessings back to the nation? In 2 Samuel 21:1-14, this was the very problem that David had. As he sought the Lord’s blessings upon the land, David found he had to deal with an ancient racial wound inflicted on the Gibeonites by King Saul. Even though David did not commit the offense, he had to make amends for Saul’s sin in his generation.
For nearly eight years, I have been talking to Christians about the need for us to embrace a call to champion a balanced societal agenda of righteousness and justice. I have used Psalm 89:14 as a guideline for spiritual engagement with the culture. It reads: “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you (NIV).”
The expression of God’s heart will connect you with your community.
A destitute woman. A sick, desperate mother. A prodigal son. These were the kinds of people on whose behalf Jesus exercised continual compassion in every synagogue and village of Israel. Jesus is calling His followers to live this same compassion, bringing wholeness to every community in the world.
The biblical word compassion encompasses more than emotion. The meaning conveys motivation that cannot rest until the pain is relieved. This is undoubtedly what drove Jesus to restore the Samaritan woman when His body was crying out for rest. This is what motivated Him to fight a treacherous storm to deliver a severely demon-oppressed man.
A leading rabbi reflects on the growing friendship between Jewish and Christian communities
As a rabbi, I share with many others in the Jewish community a deep sense of gratitude, allied to some perplexity, at the phenomenon of evangelical support for Israel. I welcome this chance to share my views as a Jewish leader, on our shared perspectives and goals.
A great Hasidic teacher, the Kotzker Rebbe, once said the only whole heart is a broken one.
In an unredeemed world, there is so much pain and loss, any healthy heart must break. What people of God share is that our hearts must hope as well.