Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Disaster Relief for the Saints

As we've all seen in the news, there are multiple natural disasters hitting our hemisphere, not counting those in other parts of the world. I hope you're praying about those, for relief and God's grace on those affected. This world is not yet done with its "bondage to decay" (Romans 8:19-21) and so we all get to help one another in times of need. The early church did this also-- if you look at Acts 11:27-30, you see that there was a famine in Judea, and that the saints in Rome and Greece were asked to help, and did so willingly -- Rom. 15:25-27, 2 Cor. 8 and 9.)

Although we are sorrow for the losses of those in the areas hit by these terrible events, this gives us saints outside the affected area an additional responsibility: to show with our actions, the love of God for his children. When people with no direct connection to the area, show up and give, not because they're in the national guard or the government, but simply to help, it makes a big impression. When they openly love those for whom they are working, it's even more powerful -- they're not doing a job, they're giving of themselves.

Ed Stetzer, director of the Billy Graham Center, says about disaster relief: "Our primary concern [in disaster relief] is to help people at their point of human need. Our ultimate concern is that they might hear and respond to the good news of the Gospel." One can lead to the other, and often does, as Christians come in to serve, working long hours to help those in need. The result is often a question of our motivation and the chance to tell, not just show, the goodness of God.

Of course, being at the site of a disaster or other need, and responding in person, is the most direct way to show that love. But without the cost of travel, we saints in less-challenged areas can donate money to help pay for the local needs. GCI church pastors and members in these locations have plenty of needs, and are in the best position to know how to help. We can send money to them -- the local saints -- through the GCI Disaster Relief fund. Those local saints can then take care of their own needs, and also their neighbors' needs. Your donations are, in general, tax deductible -- which means you can give even more! -- and there's no additional overhead cost for your donation or for it being distributed from the GCI treasury.

Of course, if you wish, you can donate to any of the other agencies giving aid to these areas, and you may have done so already. If you want to give directly to the Disaster Relief fund, rather than waiting for this Sunday's collection, you can click on this link, or go directly to
Let's remember how much Jesus has given to us; and give generously to others also.

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