Feature

Beauty from Ashes

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You may be aware of the news story that held Colorado Springs in its grip for more than two weeks in early July: the Waldo Canyon wildfire. Fires are fairly common in Colorado—but this one made the record books as the most costly in Colorado history.

Late in the afternoon on June 26, I watched from my office window as flames crested the canyon wall a few miles from our National Office and rushed toward densely populated neighborhoods. Within a few hours 346 homes were reduced to ashes and two people passed into eternity. The image of that destructive fire has become etched in my mind. As I try to understand God’s perspective in all of this, a few thoughts come forward.

First, I have a deeper respect for our public safety officials (police and fire) who put themselves in harm’s way to warn and evacuate residents from the endangered neighborhoods. They displayed both urgency and compassion as they rushed to save lives. Without their warnings, the casualty count surely would have been greater. I’m convicted that I don’t always practice the same kind of urgency or compassion toward those who are in danger of eternal death. As followers of Christ, we are commissioned to warn our communities of the danger approaching and offer hope through faith in Christ.

When the immediate danger passed, our city grieved the loss of the two residents who perished. No one knows whether they didn’t hear the warnings or just chose to stay in their house—but they died there. Celebrating more than 3,000 lives that were spared, our community and city mourned the two who were lost.

Jesus illustrated the value of each person when He said, “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish” (Matt. 18:12–14).

And Peter echoed Jesus’ thoughts: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Our core value states Lost people matter to God. He wants them found. The Alliance was established on that truth; it motivates all that we do.

When I see the houses in our community that were reduced to ashes, I am thankful that we serve a God who specializes in rebuilding that which has been destroyed. “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations” (Isa. 61:1–4).

Christians are hope dealers. We have the message that mankind longs to hear—that things don’t have to remain the same. Our God is greater than the most powerful natural disaster. “The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!’” (Matt. 8:27).

I am grateful to serve alongside thousands of men and women who share a common life from our Savior, a passion to serve Him and His people, empowerment by the Holy Spirit and a goal to complete the Great Commission and bring back the King. It is a joy and a privilege to labor in this context.

In our community the work of rebuilding has begun. Those who escaped the fire with their lives and only a few possessions are expressing their gratitude for the police and firefighters who stood between them and the flames—warning them to flee impending destruction. Already sprouts of green are growing among the charred trees and grass. God will renew. He will bring beauty out of ashes. He will renew those who trust Him, just as He will regenerate the scorched landscape around our city.

Will you join me in seeking His daily renewal and regeneration in our lives? Allow God to fill you with His Holy Spirit and bring you fresh growth and hope. Let’s be faithful to warn those who don’t know Jesus and point to the hope of eternal life in Him.

Alliance Core Values

  • Lost people matter to God. He wants them found. Luke 19:10
  • Prayer is the primary work of God’s people. Phil. 4:6–7
  • Everything we have belongs to God. We are His stewards. 1 Chron. 29:14
  • Knowing and obeying God’s Word is fundamental to all true success. Josh. 1:8
  • Completing the Great Commission will require the mobilization of every fully devoted disciple. Matt. 28:19
  • Without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, we can accomplish nothing.
    1 Cor. 2:4–5
  • Achieving God’s purposes means taking faith-filled risks. This always involves change.
    Heb. 11:6

Past Alliance Life Issues

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