Feature

Highest Priority: Find the Lost!

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As I write these words, news reporters are somberly documenting devastation and loss of life in Haiti. While most of America was sitting down to supper, the earth shook, buildings collapsed and thousands of men, women and children were buried under tons of rubble. The structures that once offered shelter and safety now trapped and entombed their inhabitants. In a matter of seconds, life changed.

Before the first aftershock, family, friends and neighbors were pulling one another to safety from the debris. Within hours governments around the world were sending teams to assist in search-and-rescue efforts. Medical personnel were deployed immediately. Time was of the essence. People would die if they weren’t reached in time.

American television interviewed many who had been rescued—even after days of being buried under piles of wreckage. Loved ones appealed to search-and-rescue teams to spare no effort to find those unaccounted for. They may still be alive, but time was running out. One account reported that a team of doctors had slept only six hours in four days. A sense of urgency permeated the scene. Finding and saving lost people was the highest priority!

I admire the collective response of nations around the world to the earthquake in Haiti. We are privileged to witness an unprecedented outpouring of humanitarian efforts. Relief aid and personnel are pouring into Haiti from all corners of the globe. Compassion is being communicated in hundreds of tangible ways—many of them in the Name of Jesus.

I am also humbled by the outpouring of resources for Haiti relief from our own Alliance family. In the first 10 days, more than $270,000 was donated to help relieve and repair the devastation in Haiti.

However, I’m convicted by the events of recent days. As I watch hold-nothing-back efforts to locate, rescue and provide relief for the citizens of Haiti, I am reminded that God, too, is passionate for finding lost people. He has spared nothing in providing redemption for mankind.

As followers of Jesus, our work on earth also is search and rescue. He prioritized His ministry to reach the lost. Of His own mission He said, “‘For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost’” (Luke 19:10).

He even told a parable to illustrate: “‘Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?’” (Luke 15:47).

Our first core value proclaims, Lost people matter to God. He wants them found. Embracing this truth means that we will spare no effort to locate and rescue those who are eternally lost apart from Jesus. Like the shepherd in the parable, we will leave the safe, comfortable and familiar to find the one who is lost—because that lost person matters to God!

Today many of those yet to be reached live under the rubble of oppressive religious systems that openly—and sometimes violently—oppose the Christian faith. Our focus is on pushing back the darkness to rescue the lost in the least-reached places on earth. As we enter these countries, our methods and teams will, of necessity, be creative and different from those used in the past.

As in Haiti, time is of the essence; people will slip into a Christ-less eternity if they aren’t reached in time!

I pray for the people of Haiti. I trust that God will use the millions of dollars raised for rescue, relief and development to provide open doors for eternal rescue. I also pray for those who live in countries that are not in the headlines, yet live their lives perilously close to slipping into eternity without Jesus.

The earthquake in Haiti occurred in an instant—and swept tens of thousands of Haitians into eternity. I hope you sense the urgency and the imperative to reach lost people; He wants them found!

Please pray with me that we will sense and follow God’s direction in entering the most difficult and least reached parts of our world with the gospel.

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