[featured_image]When the gulf coast of the United States was hit by a Category 5 hurricane in 2005, we watched in shock at the devastation of this disaster. Tens of thousands of businesses and homes were beyond repair. Hurricane Katrina was a deadly disaster – the deadliest in the US since the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

How do people survive? Over and over again, I heard people saying, “We didn’t imagine it would be that bad.”

As I watched pictures of the rescue effort and I heard the reports of people who were saved from their rooftops, it reminded me of incredible spiritual parallels.

I watched a report on television of Harry Connick, Jr. giving his personal reflections as he walked through the streets of New Orleans where he grew up. He made this simple observation: “People are desperate and dying, without help. They don’t know that help is out there.”

In Louisiana and Mississippi, people were desperate. They’d lost their homes, their jobs; and some had even lost their families. Many were sick and dying. They needed someone to save them.

As I reflect on their condition then, it reminds me of the spiritual condition of every man, woman and child apart from Jesus Christ. They are “desperate and dying, without help. They don’t know that help is out there.”

In Ephesians 2:12 it says that those who are living life apart from Christ are “without God and without hope.”

Spiritually desperate.
Needing to be rescued.

Matthew records how Jesus traveled through the villages of Galilee. “He felt great pity for the crowds that came, because their problems were so great and they didn’t know where to go for help. They were like sheep without a shepherd.”

Spiritually desperate.
Needing to be rescued.

This is the spiritual condition of people everywhere around you – right where you live.

Over 20,00 people displaced by Hurricane Katrina were rescued and brought to the Astrodome in Houston, Texas. Do you realize that there are thousands and thousands of people around you that need to be rescued by Jesus? They need a Savior. People in your neighborhood are “desperate and dying, without help.” They are “without God and without hope.”

What will it take to join the rescue effort? What will it take to join Christ in His mission?

In Luke 19:10, Jesus said, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” He came to earth on a rescue mission. And He calls each one of us who have been rescued to join Him in the rescue effort!

Bill Hybels and Mark Mittelberg, in Becoming a Contagious Christian write,

Deep in every true Christian, there is an awareness that we are on this planet for purposes greater than having a career, paying bills, loving our families, and fulfilling our role as upstanding citizens. Even going to church and worshipping God – as important as these are – sometimes leave us feeling that something is missing. After all, we’ll worship God for eternity in heaven; we don’t have to be here to do that. What is it that’s absent in the lives of so many believers who are crying out for fulfillment? What on earth is God asking us to do? God wants us to be contagious Christians – His agents, who will first catch His love and then urgently and infectiously offer it to all who are willing to consider it. This is His primary plan, the one Jesus modeled so powerfully, to spread God’s grace and truth person to person until there’s an epidemic of changed lives around the world.

Will you join the rescue effort?

Will you bring the message of life and hope that comes only through the gospel of the cross to those who are desperate and dying, without God and without hope right where you live?

Today’s Missional Challenge

Consider the spiritual condition of those around you – they are “desperate and dying, without help.” Take steps to join the rescue mission!

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