Dear City Church Friends and Family,
Let me start out with a question: do you remember where you were on 9/11? If you were alive then (which is crazy to think some of you weren't), you remember where you were when it happened. Our nation watched as 3,000 people perished in one morning. That horrendous terrorist attack awakened our nation to the realities of a dark world that forever changed the United States as we know it. I do not bring up 9/11 to be dramatic; I bring it up because I still remember how it felt when the pit in my stomach dropped as I watched the events unfold. Odds are, you do too.
As I watch the ebola crisis unfold, I feel that pit in my stomach dropping again in the same way. Without trying to sound alarmist, I think this is the greatest potential catastrophe our modern world has faced. As of Wednesday October 15th (this morning), there have been 4,033 confirmed ebola deaths since the outbreak began in April of this year (there are likely many more unconfirmed ebola deaths in rural parts where these numbers aren't accurately tracked).
Here are two things we absolutely CAN'T do about this.
1. We can't PANIC. God says in His word "for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power, and love and self-control" (2 Tim. 1:7). Panicking will not help anyone or improve the situation.
2. We can't PRETEND. First, as we have all see already, we can't pretend we are immune because of the continent we live on. Second, we can't pretend that it couldn't become nationwide in a heartbeat. This disease has already claimed many more lives than 9/11 and its potential devastation is unimaginable.
Here is the two things all of us can do:
1. We can PRAY! Friends, the greatest weapon we have against ebola is prayer. John Wesley once said "God does nothing except in response to believing prayer." Though there are clearly times when God initiates on His own apart from human prayer, Wesley's point is strong here. God is moved by the prayers of His people. I am asking every single one of you to commit to praying and even potentially fasting to ask God to stop the ebola crisis. Would you commit to do this with me? This Sunday at City Church, we'll take a moment to pray for this crisis together. I would encourage you two share this blog on your social media pages using the hashtag #PrayToEndEbola. There is a great website from SIM International (a missions organization) called praytoendebola.org. While their week of prayer has passed, the need is even more pressing today than it was then.
2. We can PROCLAIM Christ to our friends/family. I guarantee you that your friends and family are nervous about this. You have a natural conversation starter right now to tell your friends and family about Christ. I remember the Sunday after 9/11 happened, churches were all packed! When people are confronted with the possibility/reality of their death, they flock to God. Ebola is an opportunity to remind our friends and family members that Christ is in control of this situation. He wasn't surprised by it when it started nor is He to blame for its occurrence. The reality is that we live in a fallen world. Whatever takes our lives, be it Ebola, a car crash, old age, or something else, no one can escape death. As you have conversations with coworkers who are concerned, consider that this is an invitation to invite them to church.