Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Listening To The Alarms

I just read about that great tragedy in Russia where 62 elderly nursing home patients were killed in a fire. That is tragic, what is more tragic is that it may have been possible to avoid many tragic deaths. One of the people helping the elderly from the burning building said, "If only the firefighters had been here"

From the news article, "At the nursing home, a fire alarm system that had not been fully installed signaled three times, but a watchman, att he facility, but outside the building, ignored the first two alarms and reported the fire only after he saw the flames."

I would also mention the firestation was 30 miles away and took them an hour to arrive. This article is full of spiitual analogies.

1. People were looking for answers.

We have peolple dying slow spiritual deaths do not have ot perish. We certainly don't want their last words or their families to be "if only".

2. We have a watchmen ignoring the alarm.

Ther are many who wouild use this point to build their ministries and add people to their pews. They re alarmists. Alarmist run around with no plan and little substance. Why do fire fighters respond the way they do? Why don't they freak out when their alarm goers off? How many fires would get put out if they did nto have their response down to a science? We do not need to be alarmists about the conditon of America or about the souls of men but we cannot ignore the alarm. Rather, we should be aware, as spirtitual firefighters, that the alrm will ring, we will be called apon as pastors and laymen to repsond to a fire. We should have a plan to assist those in spiritual crises and to assist those who are lot without Christ. Ignoring thelarm is not an option.

3. We call the fireman only when we see the flames.

it was too late. oftne the chruch arrives to late. Teens are on drugs, girls are hainvg abortions, men and women are having affairs, wheere is the chruch when livesa re burning? Yes, we can respond but we may not be able to save the buiding or everyone inside. Instead of waiting for people to combust into flames we should be smelling for smoke and lovingly appoach the source of potential disasater and offer assistance.

4. The fire dept. was too far from the fire.

Why is the chruch afraid to get it's hands dirty? Why are we so far removed from the pain of peole? Why are we too far from the flames? Soul are at stake. When I speak of the church I speak of every person who names the name of Christ. We, the church, the people, not the orgaization out to be running into the buring lives of families and communities and and lovingly and graciously tell them that unles they leave, the fire will consume them. There is a way. We and the church are not the way. Only Jesus is the way and it is He we represent. Weare his hands and his feet.

One final word church. We should not build another "fire station" unlesswe intend to fight fires.

I'd say let the sparks fly but I fear they would cause a fire no one would put out.

Paul Turner

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