July 22, 2020
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It's sure not uncommon to hear that a hurricane coming up the East Coast is headed for the Outer Banks of North Carolina. When I hear that, I flash back to an old white frame building there and to the story I heard there that has followed me ever since.
Our family vacation took us to those beautiful Hatteras beaches and to the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station. That's where I heard about, and saw demonstrated by re-enactors, the heroism of the United States Life-Saving Service.
They call that stretch of shoreline the "Graveyard of the Atlantic" and there's a reason. Hundreds of ships have gone down there, victims of that Cape's violent storms; it's treacherous shoals. But many who would have been buried in that "graveyard" made it out alive. Those people survived, because of the men of the Life-Saving Service. They call them the "surf men." They risk their lives again and again, heading into deadly storms in little boats, to do whatever it took to save the people on a sinking ship.
And, boy, I've not forgotten the motto of the Life-Saving Service. It's tattooed on my soul: "You have to go out. You don't have to come back."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Hurricane Heroes."
Those guys kind of showed me the meaning of rescue, which is the life mission of my Jesus. Because in His words, He came "to seek and to save what was lost" (Luke 19:10) And in our word for today from the Word of God, John 20:20, Jesus says, "As the Father has sent Me, so I am sending you." So, if you belong to Jesus, He is sending you into the surf and the storm to do what He did; to risk whatever you must to save a life.
The life-saving station. It's a great place to get strong for the rescue. It's a great place to bring people back to when they've been rescued. But, you know, never in the history of the Life-Saving Service did anyone ever knock on the door and say, "Please help me. I'm drowning. Could you come and save me?" No! In every case, the rescuers had to leave the comfort of the life-saving station and go where the dying people were. Just like our Jesus. He left the greatest Comfort Zone in the universe to come to our "graveyard" to die.
And how much longer can we, as His church, just keep waiting for the dying people to come to us? Mostly they're not. We have to take the life-saving Gospel of Jesus outside the walls of the life-saving station; quit depending on our programs, our activities to reach them.
The program of God for the rescue work of God is the people of God. It's you! You're on your stretch of beach. You're His designated lifeguard there. We're the ones to take it to the street, to the office, to the factory, to the campus, to the locker room, to the neighborhood, to our service club, to that nursing home, to the jail, to the gym. How can we be content any longer to sit inside our stained glass cocoon while just outside so many are dying in the storm?
We have to go out. We don't have to come back. Remember, this is about lives at stake.