Disaster Relief Evangelism

Lakeshore Road after Katrina
In the wake of hurricane Katrina, thousands of volunteers have flooded into our community to serve in the relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts. From day one of the disaster we clamped onto a solitary overarching trust that God will work all things to his glory. In our first church service, I said, “we believe He will use this catastrophe to amplify the truth of His word and call many to anchor their hope in Him.” We still desire nothing more than to magnify the greatness of our God. By His mercy he allows us to continue participating in that grand purpose along with countless selfless volunteers from across the country.

Each week I urge our gracious teams to proclaim the gospel of grace in word and deed. As we provide help and hope to hurting people through hundreds of projects, let us never stray away from the shadow of the cross. If we rebuild someone’s home, reroof their house, wire the electrical, hang sheet rock, lay down flooring, paint the walls with fresh color, add trim, install the air conditioning, and all it takes to move a family from tents and campers into a beautifully renovated house and shut our mouths concerning Christ our supreme treasure, what have we done? We must accompany our benevolent actions with explanations of hope. Let us do more than provide folks a comfortable home to go to hell from.

When you stock the shelves of our food distribution center, speak of the greater storehouse of God’s sovereign mercy and grace. When you carry groceries to a families car, tell them of the boundless provision of Christ. In this blazing south Mississippi heat, when you offer them precious bottle water, urge them to turn from their broken cisterns that can hold no water, to the all satisfying fountain of living water who is Jesus Christ. When you gut a house, clean a yard, or remove storm debris, share Christ’s almighty ability to remove the grotesque debris of human sin. When you find someone’s storm soaked Bible amidst the rubble or replace their lost Bible with a new one, crack it open and proclaim the glorious gospel of grace. When you roll out tar paper and hammer down new shingles, herald the mighty fortress that is your God. When you pour a slab, or dig footers, or set floor beams, share how true “hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” When you pressure wash a house or roll out fresh paint, speak of the powerful cleansing effect of the blood of Jesus Christ that washes away sin. When you hang doors or hang sheet rock point to Jesus Christ who hung on the cross to pay the penalty of sin and make full atonement for all who believe. When you help storm victims replace their possessions, glory in the all satisfying treasure of Jesus Christ.

Above all pray that God will overpower rebellious hearts as He irresistibly draws the people of Lakeshore to Himself, so that they stand drop jawed, not at the unspeakable devastation wrought by Katrina, but at the wonder of a gracious God who rescues undeserving sinners. Understand that we can not coerce, manipulate, or trick people into new birth, only the effectual power of God opens blind eyes, unstops deaf ears, and pounds alive dead hearts to beat with faith in Christ. Know that God uses our feeble imperfect witness in His economy of grace. Trust that God will accomplished his chief end as he glorifies himself on the gulf coast. Rejoice that God’s goodness, grace, and renowned continues to overflow the levees of our making, to the praise of His name.

8 thoughts on “Disaster Relief Evangelism”

  1. I am moved and encouraged today by your comments. It’s all about the gospel and about the love and goodnes of God. Thank you for these words. All of us who have worked there are lifted up by your words today! We love Christ, we love the gospel, and we love the people of Lakeshore. What you said today is worth more than any personal thanks you could have offered anyone. “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I alwqys pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”. Philipians 1:3 – 6.

  2. Don you will never know how much your post today encouraged me in my own personal journey of faith. A day does not go by that I do not have the opportunity to share with others about the story of Lakeshore Baptist. People are struggling daily and they are encouraged by the testimony of God’s power in your life.
    “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good works, growing in the knowledge of God.” Colossians 1:9-10

  3. Don, you really mapped it out for us. You are standing in the midst of a triage center and right on with the RX. And it is not only for the victims of Katrina; all who enter into partnership with Lakeshore are involved. The lessons may come in a simple way, like when we ran out of TP and then the UPS truck pulled up with 3 boxes of TP from a school in Illinois, but the lessons are priceless. My soul is continually reminded of my dependence on God’s provision in every detail of my life. He IS the very air we breathe. Now the challenge is to keep this focus in my walk as I return to the work place. I know He is just as present here as I felt Him moving in Lakeshore. We need to continue to ART of love, A- appreciation; R- respect: T- trust. We send deepest thank to each person who shared this walk. Looking forward to seeing you again, in Lakeshore or Heaven!

  4. Brother Don, I will share this with our church and all those who went on teams to Lakeshore. It’s a vital and stirring reminder of what we should be doing there, and even here in our own home areas (the specifics may be different, but the theme should be the same), to the glory of God.
    Praying for your ongoing witness, for renewed strength in the Lord, and for the many there who touched our hearts so permanently.
    Looking forward to our return.

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  6. Dear Don,
    We left our hearts there when we served along side of you. You are in our prayers often and we look forward to seeing what the Lord is doing until we can come back and see first hand!

    May the Lord bless your family and JoEll’s, too, as you get up each morning to new challenges but continue to be faithful!

    Love,
    deb

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