Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Reality of Life

I'm spending a few days in the town of Salem MO. Salem is about 45 minutes southeast of Rolla and is in a really beautiful part of the country. It is in a part of Missouri that has a great abundance of springs and spring fed rivers. 30 years ago I made a trip with a bunch of guys and we put into the Current River at Aker's Ferry about 20 minutes from here. There are no better waterways for a canoe trip than here in Missouri!

A downside to the spring basins and many waterways is that the area is really prone to flash flooding. We have had so much rain lately that many streams, creeks and rivers have over flowed their banks and caused flooding. Some areas are being flooded as a part of the flood control designed by the Army Corp of Engineers as water is released from dams in to the lakes and rivers downstream. I'll never be able to figure out why people build homes in areas that will flood when water is released from the dams.

On Friday night, the youth group from Bunker MO made the half hour road trip to Salem to join Pleasant Valley Baptist Church's youth group during their Youth Revival. It was great to have the Bunker kids here and I think that it was good for them as well. Bunker is a very small community in southern Missouri and like many small towns the high school and junior high are combined. Bunker High, grades 7-12, has a total enrollment of 113 students.

During the flooding from rains this past week, one of their classmates--an eighth grade boy--drowned in the rushing waters. The death of a young classmate is a sudden and sobering reminder of how fragile life can be. The kids in the youth group were especially saddened by his death because suddenly they realized that none of them had taken the time to invite him to church or to share their belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Young people often think that they have their whole lives ahead of them--and most of them do. Healthy young teen agers are not supposed to die. The number one cause of death among teens is death by accident. It is sudden, unexpected and tragic. There is really know way to physically prepare for the suddenness of the accidental death of a young person.

But there is a way for each of us to prepare spiritually for the death that awaits us--every one of us. People talk about "making their peace with God." There is really only one way to "make peace with God." We must learn to trust Him; to believe Him--not just to believe in Him, but to believe Him. In the Bible, God's Word, He tells us that peace between God and man was made when Jesus died on the cross for our sins. The Bible teaches us that this payment for our sins is a gift that is free for the asking. All we have to do is believe that it is real.

In his letter to the Church at Rome, Paul explains it very clearly. He says that if you can say with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and if you believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead you will be saved. He tells us that it is with the heart that we believe and are made righteous, but it is with the mouth that we confess and are saved. Eventually, we are all going to have to decide what we are going to do about Jesus. Are you going to believe that He is who He claims to be, or are you going to reject Him and His teachings? When are you going to "make peace with God?" Will you put it off until it is too late? Why not do it now? Why not say, "I believe."

And if you are already a believer, will you continue to keep this great story a secret? Will you one day be like these young teens and realize that it is now too late to tell a person that you saw everyday about Jesus. Tell the story--today.

Today is the day of salvation!


1 comment:

Mike said...

The Meramec river is on the rise again here in St. Louis. When things (like flooding) become routine, people can get complacent. Add that to the invincibility of youth and it can be a deadly combination.
I can't wait for the ground to stop squishing.