The theme of this year's Peacemaker Conference in Orlando, Flor. is a word picture. The storms of life...A beacon of light...built on the Rock. A great them for a Gospel-centered and Christ-empowered message to those committed to sowing peace (with God and neighbor) in peace.
Those preparing and praying for this conference the week's Hurricane Gustav provides a graphic lesson of just how black and threatening the storms of life can be. And how important preparation and assistance are.
Projections Friday showed Gustav arriving early next week as a Category 3 storm, with winds of 111 mph or greater, coming ashore anywhere from the Florida Panhandle to eastern Texas. Forecasts are extremely tentative several days out. The storm could change course and strength, according to experts. Yet there is no doubt that Gustav is plowing its way toward American shores.
"Let me say to the people of Mississippi: This is not a time to panic, but it is a time to get prepared," said Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour at a news conference today near Gulfport, Miss. He issued mandatory evacuation orders for those living in trailers, including the 2,700 government-provided trailers still inhabited by survivors of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the Gulf Coast three years ago this week.
Standing by to assist as Lousiana residents as needed are 3,000 Louisiana National Guardsmen activated on Wednesday, with another 2,000 activated on Thursday according to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. He ordered 1,500 Guardsmen to New Orleans, a city devastated by Hurrican Katrina that still has 360 Guardsmen stationed there to police the city in the wake of Katrina.
Needless to say these graphic images of destruction hit us in the core of our being - as do the storms of conflict in our families, churches, and workplace. Devastation results from such violent storms, either in the atmosphere or in our souls.
However, just as our nation's guardsmen are poised to come to the aid of those devasted by such storms, so peacemakers are able to bring assistance into the storms of conflict.
Our prayers are with the residents of the Gulf Coast today. May they bravely and thoroughly prepare to face this oncoming juggernaut. May they find able assistance in the strong arms and logistical support of the National Guard.
And may attendees at Semptember's Peacemaker Conference soberly consider what Beacon is able to penetrate the darkness of such storms. It is only the divine light of Jesus the Messiah, only Son of the Living God who can sustain people amidst such fierce storms.
Come to Orlando prepared to soak in THAT message. And to BE CHRIST amidst such storms.
The One who said "I am the Light of the world" is preparing to shine as light out of (and into) darkness. He is equipping his saints to come alongside those devastated by the deceitfulness of sin. He is the Rock upon which His church is built, who will stand unmoved amidst all the hurricanes.
May our churches be built upon such a Rock, and may we find opportunities to rescue others from the waves.