People are worried. The news is pretty unnerving.
Our family's seeing more anxiety through social media recently. People who seldom watch the news are watching it now. Our national leaders are speaking more ominously than we've ever heard them speak.
A U.S. Senator said Ebola is "one of the most explosive, deadly epidemics in modern times." In Africa, the number of cases doubled in just the past month. You feel fine for three weeks after you've been infected. It's so easy to spread.
And each day seems to bring more sobering terrorism warnings. Porous borders killers could cross. A terrorist army growing exponentially - many with passports that would open the door to Western nations.
Grim stuff. But for us who belong to Jesus, we should be hearing our spiritual phone ringing. It's a wake-up call from God. And this is no time to let it go into voice mail.
Because God's calling to say, "If you're ever going to do something about the people who don't know Jesus, do it now!" Hidden in those disturbing headlines are three life-changing messages from God.
1. It's time to live for what others are dying for.
You can go online and graphically see the price our brothers and sisters around the world are paying for their allegiance to Jesus. Torture. Rape. Crucifixion.
We have a faith that's paid for in blood. First by Jesus. Then by countless Jesus-followers, from the first-century Coliseum to crosses today. So I should be intimidated into silence because of what talking about Jesus might cost me? "I might be called a name... marginalized... rejected... disrespected." If I won't pay that puny a price, I should be ashamed.
The old hymn asks - "Am I a soldier of the cross, a follower of the Lamb? And shall I fear to own His cause, or blush to speak His name? Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease? While others fought to win the prize and sailed through bloody seas?"
Spiritual silence is no longer an option. It can cost someone Jesus. And heaven.
2. Hearts are open because the world is crazy.
God calls us to make "the most of every opportunity because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:16). This is opportunity time. Because hearts that are usually looking inward are suddenly open to looking upward. With storm clouds in every direction, folks are feeling vulnerable, unsafe. In the Bible's words, "like the tossing sea, which cannot rest... there is no peace" (Isaiah 57:20-21).
These are Jesus-times. Not to be missed. He's the One who speaks to the storm in the human heart, "Peace, be still!" And "do not let your hearts be troubled."
3. We have the hope people are starving for.
"The reason for the hope you have" (1 Peter 3:15). That's what God says will interest people in my Jesus. Especially now. But only if I tell them about His unloseable love, proven on a cross.
There's never been a better time to tell my "hope story" than now. In Jesus we have "this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure" (Hebrews 6:19).
My friend Dave used to keep his sailboat in Stamford Harbor in Connecticut. Where a hurricane gate closed in the face of an approaching storm. Protecting every craft that made it into the harbor. My friend actually rode out a hurricane on his boat! Blown around but safe.
Jesus is the harbor where I'm safe in a Category 5 world.
How can I know where the peace is, where the anchor is and not tell the people in my personal world? No more silence. No more letting fear win. No more wimping out on sharing my Jesus.
It's too late for that.