Disruptions Along the Road

I was driving down the road the other day and noticed some bad spots in the asphalt right in the driving lane. It is obvious it will not take long for potholes to develop and cause some serious repair issues. It’s on a road I travel often, and I happen to think to myself, “One of these days, they will have to block traffic to make those necessary repairs. It will surely disrupt traffic and I hope it’s not on a day when I’m coming through.” (A little selfish thought, I know.) Those trained and with the appropriate equipment will come and do the necessary work for the road to be restored.

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I continued thinking through the scenario on the rest of my drive home. We all like it when things go our way and life is smooth. But for the appropriate repairs to be made, it will disrupt the traffic for a time. However, we would all agree, once the repairs are made and traffic is no longer disrupted, the condition of the road is much better than before. I’m grateful to those who are trained and can make the necessary repairs.

I thought even further about how disasters are similar. We like it when life is smooth and going our way. We don’t like any disruptions in our schedule or plans. However, we know disruptions come in many forms. And sometimes, disasters happen, disrupting and completely changing our lives.

There will be a time when our “traffic pattern” will have to stop so we can deal with the mess, the repairs or situation, and the time involved depends on the severity of the disruption or disaster.

Kentucky Baptists is blessed to have dedicated disaster relief volunteers who are trained, equipped, and have the necessary equipment to assist those who have experienced disaster. I’m grateful for all of them. They can assist with cleaning flooded homes. Clearing downed trees. Provide hot meals and hot showers. Wash dirty clothes. Care for children. Minister to those emotionally and spiritually struggling. And make a difference.

In the end, after the cleanup and rebuild, things are much better than before. It causes a disruption and difficulty through the process, but new relationships are formed, encouragement is experienced, and God is glorified.

It is amazing what an encouraging word and a prayer can do to change lives. Maybe we need to reflect and be thankful for the disruptions we experience in our lives. I’m reminded of Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” When God is in it, it always works for good.

If you want to learn more about Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief ministry, give to support the work, or discover how you can become an KYDR volunteer, please visit www.kybaptist.org/dr.

“And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.” Matthew 10:42

Rise and Respond

Rise and Respond

I was reading in Acts 9 about when the Lord confronted Saul on his journey to Damascus. It is such an awesome story of a call to salvation and a call to be on mission.

In the story, the Lord confronted Saul with a bright light in a very supernatural moment. The Lord got his attention and gave Saul direct instructions. It was during that confrontation that his life was transformed, and he began proclaiming Jesus Christ, acknowledging that he is the Son of God (Acts 9:20).

Saul was called to rise and respond to the command of the Lord. And the Bible said that he did, and as we continue to read the Bible, we see how God used Saul (later changed to Paul) in some miraculous ways. In fact, Acts 19:11 says “Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul.”  In other words, he was put in a position to see some amazing things that God did through him because he answered the call to rise and respond.

But what if Saul had said “No!” First, he would have been in direct disobedience and even rebellion to the command of God. And we all know that God has ways of getting our attention and convincing us we need to obey. Remember Jonah? But secondly, he risked missing those moments of experiencing the amazing things that God did through him.

But what if Saul had said “Sure!” and then adjusted God’s plan? Again, he would have been acting in disobedience and not trusting God for the results. Saul would have hindered God’s best blessings for him.

But what if Saul had said “Yes!” and followed the Lord for now, but then later became complacent and allowed the excitement to wear off. Again, he would have been out of the will of God and miss out on countless blessings.

I think sometimes we all do the same things. Sometimes we react with an immediate “No!” In doing so, we miss experiencing moments of God’s amazing plan. We may even suffer his discipline until he gets our attention.

Sometimes we even adjust God’s plan because “we know better.” Or so we think. In doing so, we can miss God’s best for our lives.

And sometimes, and maybe more often, we are excited in the beginning but then become complacent once the newness wears off. It is in our constant serving our Lord when He shows us His best blessings.

God has ways of getting our attention to rise and respond to His call. He often gets our attention in several ways:

  • Through Suffering. When life is hard, unfair, painful, or just plain gut-wrenching, we have nowhere else to go but to the Lord. Those times opens the door for our learning, our trusting, our growing, and our preparing.
  • Through Supply. God at times gets our attention by giving us gifts, abilities, finances, resources, talents, positions and calls us to use those for His purposes.
  • Through Surprises. There are times that God gets our attention to rise and respond in unexpected ways, unexplained moments, or from unlikely people.

But I do know this, that God is calling us all to rise and respond. He has a plan for you, and He is waiting for you to say as Isaiah said in Isaiah 6:8 and Annanias said in Acts 9:10, “Here am I.”

He’s calling you to be on mission…now! Will you rise and respond?

Check out the opportunities to be on mission at www.kybaptist.org.

The Lord is waiting for you to rise and respond!

Are you a READY CHURCH?

WHAT IS A READY CHURCH?

Most churches and organizations fail to plan and prepare and tend to be more reactive rather than proactive to any type of crisis or disaster. Because of this, they often find themselves wondering what to do, how to do it and who to call for assistance. Very often churches have the resources and volunteers capable of the work but failed to prepare properly that when disaster strikes, they find themselves unable to respond effectively.

Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief offers a strategy plan. “READY CHURCH” is a strategy and tool to aid churches to prepare, connect and respond in times of crisis or disaster. This strategy plan will give churches the ideas, tools, and direction to respond effectively and in a timely manner to assist their community when disasters happen.

READY CHURCH strategy will give the local church the tools to be equipped to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the local community.

The goal of READY CHURCH is three-fold:

  • To assist churches to PREPARE for disasters by developing a plan for preparedness.
  • To assist churches to CONNECT with the local community prior to a disaster or crisis.
  • To assist churches to RESPOND in the local community when disaster or crisis happens.

You have heard the quote, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

READY CHURCH will help your church plan for:

  • How to respond to crisis or disasters, large or small.
  • How to involve your church family with training and roles.
  • How to minister and evangelize during a crisis or disaster.
  • How to be the light of Christ beyond the crisis or disaster.

Paul challenges Titus and the church “To be ready for every good work.” Titus 3:1

Communities across the Commonwealth have the potential to experience tornadoes, floods, ice storms, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, windstorms, power outages, fires, explosions, industrial accidents, vehicle crash, train derailments, riots, public shootings, and more.

When communities experience such tragic events, our emotion and compassion kicks in, and we tend to react rather than respond. The goal of READY CHURCH is to prepare your church to respond in a timely and appropriate manner to make a lasting difference in your community.

During times of tragedy and loss, people will need compassionate people to love on them, care for them, and help them physically, emotionally, and spiritually deal with their loss. The Scripture encourages us to minister and care for the widow, orphans, strangers, broken, wounded and to the “very least of these.” This is the perfect time for the church to be the church.

We live in a dark and fallen world that needs to see and hear the light of the Gospel. Compassion ministry creates opportunities to share the Gospel and hope through Christ. You have heard it said, “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Disasters and crisis open doors that have often been closed to the Gospel if the local church would compassionately respond and care for those who are hurting.

READY CHURCH enables the church to prepare for times of disaster. It is not a matter if the disaster or crisis will come to a community, but when. Churches need to be ready to respond promptly and properly.

READY CHURCH will help you identify real need and not perceived or manufactured need.

READY CHURCH will guide you through assembling your team, identifying community leaders, knowing your resources, understanding needs, and guide you through implementing your plan.

READY CHURCH will help you:

  • Develop Your Roles
  • Determine Your Resources
  • Define Your Response

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) defines preparedness as a “continuous cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating, and taking corrective action in an effort to ensure effective coordination during incident response.”

In other words, READY CHURCH is not designed to be a training for information, but rather a training for continual action.

The Missions Mobilization Team of the KBC can assist you in developing your church as a READY CHURCH. Created by churches, for churches, to help churches reach Kentucky and the world for Christ. Contact us today at 502-489-3401 or [email protected] We are here for you. 

You Make Me Smile…Thank You

Ron Crow, Disaster Relief Director, Kentucky Baptist Convention

Do you have those people around you that just make you smile? There are various reasons why certain people make you smile, and those reasons can vary from person to person.

Some people make you smile because of past experiences of fun and laughter. As you reminisce about different people or events the smiles and laughter just come. Other people make you smile because of some dumb things they have done, or possibly you have done with them. I am sure that can bring back lots of memories full of smiles.

Then there are those who make you smile because of what they have accomplished. It might be the student that just graduated high school or college. A proud parent cannot help but smile at the accomplishments of their child. It could be you landed your dream job or found that “one” that you want to spend the rest of your life with. It makes your heart smile.

We smile at the funny things people say or do. I smile often at my grandsons at the things they say and the funny faces they make. Just the presence of their faces brings smiles. In fact, whether a spouse, a child, grandchild, or someone just special to you can bring a smile because they are important to you.

Then there are those who make you smile because of who they are. Because of their heart. Because of how they care, serve, and love others. They are special people who impact lives. And as you think about all they do and how they serve, you cannot help but smile with appreciation for their dedication and love for God.

I am blessed to serve Kentucky Baptists as the State Disaster Relief Director. Watching these disaster relief volunteers serve in some difficult situations, lodge in some uncomfortable places, and work in some hot and dirty conditions, yet come out with smiles on their faces eager to go again. This dedicated service is indicative of their heart. Seeing that heart to serve and love brings a huge smile to my face.

August 22 is Disaster Relief Appreciation Sunday across our churches in Kentucky. We are asking all of our DR volunteers to wear gold that Sunday. Be sure to thank them and show your appreciation to them as well. They are special people and just hearing their stories and seeing their heart, you will smile too.

I Can Help With That!

Ron Crow, Disaster Relief Director, Kentucky Baptist Convention

Here we are in the middle of summer, and everyone is busy going here and there. Vacations are happening. Ball games are in full force. School is out, all the while preparations are being made for the return to school. Home repairs and upgrades are in full swing. Birthday parties. Celebrations. And the list goes on and on.

We all get so busy doing what we have to do. And of course, there is a list of those things we want to do. There are even those extra things we are asked to do. And before you know it, our time is gone.

But there are always needs. There is always someone who needs help. I was so encouraged a few weeks ago when one of our Kentucky disaster relief volunteers said to me, “I had planned to go fishing all week. I had nothing planned, so was looking forward to relaxing and fishing. But then there was a call to help those who had been affected by the floods in West Virginia.” And he realized that the need for those hurting was more important than the need to go fishing. What a testimony!

And the reality is, when you help someone else, you are a blessing to them, but you also receive a blessing. Above all, Christ is honored.

You don’t always have to give up a full week to “be on mission.” It might take you only a few minutes, a few hours, a full day or even more, but the Lord is just waiting on people to say, “I can help with that!”

We should live every day on mission looking for large and small opportunities to say, “I can help with that!” From a kind word or deed that brings a smile, to helping someone one with something that they simply cannot do it without help, “I can help with that!”

I’m reminded of the words of Paul to the Galatians, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9.

So, look around. Who do you see? What do you see? And can you say, “I can help with that!”




Bringing Help, Hope and Healing

Ron Crow, Disaster Relief Director, Kentucky Baptist Convention

I am so grateful to our Kentucky Disaster Relief volunteers who are so eager and willing to respond to those who are suffering from disaster. It seems we have seen so many people that have been affected in some way and several even repeatedly.

That is what we discovered in Lake Charles, Louisiana recently. This community was very hard hit from Hurricane Laura last fall with still much left to do to rebuild. Some had just completed rebuilding when the torrential rains came just a few weeks ago flooding many of the homes once again. I cannot begin to imagine the heartbreak, discouragement, and distress this caused these families.

This past week I visited some of our Kentucky Flood Recovery teams that responded to the recent flooding in Lake Charles. It was a long way to travel but Kentucky volunteers are so willing to go when the need arises. Distance does not matter. They understand there are people hurting and that we have the resources they need to help them clean up and recover. We bring them the help that is needed, with the equipment to do the job, and a trained team that can get the job done quickly, safely, and efficiently.

But there is more. Not only do we bring the help that is needed for those who need assistance recovering from the mess, we bring them hope. In fact, there was one individual who was so discouraged and distraught they were considering ending their life. That is when the disaster relief team in the gold shirts arrived. They brought the help that was needed to clean up the mess, but more importantly they brought them hope that through the process it would be okay.

There is hope that comes because of the help they receive. But beyond that, there is the hope that we bring through Jesus Christ. By helping those who are hurting, we can share with them the hope we can find in the Bible and through the cross.

With every home that we help, we present to the homeowner a Bible, signed by every member of the team. These families treasure this Bible as it reminds them of the help and the hope that came to them from these precious people in gold shirts. And this begins the healing process as they move forward from destruction and discouragement, to hope and healing.

In times of disaster, we bring the Help, Hope, and Healing needed to those who are suffering.

Remember to PRAY for our teams and for those experiencing loss. Everyone can pray.
Remember to GIVE to support the continued work of Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief. Most can give.
Remember to GO and be available to serve and help those who are hurting. Some can go.

“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16









Are You Ready?

Ron Crow, Disaster Relief Director, Kentucky Baptist Convention

I remember driving through our community one sunny afternoon and drove past the local fire station. I noticed that the overhead doors were open, and I was assuming at first that it was because it was such a beautiful day.

But then something else caught my eye. The fire trucks were just inside and the doors of all the firetrucks were open. Hanging from each door was the fireman’s coat and on the floor below each door was his turnout gear. As I saw that picture, I immediately thought to myself, “They are ready to respond within 30 seconds the moment the alarm sounds. They were ready at a moment’s notice.”

With my heart and passion for the disaster relief ministry, it got me to thinking. So, I asked myself the question, “Are we ready to respond at a moment’s notice when disaster strikes?” Obviously, as volunteers there is no way we can respond as quickly as a fire department. But are we ready? Are you ready?

We have learned that there are four basic phases of a disaster response.

The first is READINESS. Are you ready when disaster strikes? Being ready starts now, not after a disaster happens. We need to be alert, available and able. Being ready means being trained, equipped and being ready when the need comes. It involves already knowing and have rehearsed the steps when the call comes.

The second phase is RESPONSE. Response involves mobilizing to meet urgent needs. Response involves search and rescue, immediate relief, feeding, sheltering, and meeting emergent needs.

The third phase is RECOVERY. The recovery phase can last a few days to several months. Recovery includes chainsaw, flood, fire, roofing and tarping, and debris clean-up. This is the phase where the work gets done and requires many volunteers, regardless of skill level.

The final phase is REBUILD. This phase is usually long term and requires assistance from both skilled labor and those willing to serve and learn. This often is the reconstruction phase after homes have been affected by disasters. One major advantage during this phase is the opportunity to build a deeper relationship with the survivors.

We all know disasters happen and they can even happen to any of us. Are you ready? Have you, or are you planning to take the steps to be ready to respond when there is a need?

Hurting people need helping hands. And helping hands come from caring hearts.

Are you ready?

It’s Time to Take Notice

Ron Crow, KBC Disaster Relief Director

I have a picture that my wife bought for me while we were in Israel a few years ago. It is a stunning picture of Jesus’ lower garment and His feet walking on the crowded dusty road. You also see a woman’s hand and finger as she is reaching out to touch the hem of His garment and the picture depicts a glow at the very point where she touches Him. This picture illustrates the story we find in Mark 5:21-34.

Jesus was busy about His ministry among the people as the crowds were gathered around Him even as one family was begging Him to come and heal a young girl who was dying. You could imagine the commotion of the moment. There was the background noise of the crowd and the cries of hurting people with desperation in their voices. All kinds of activity were going on around Jesus. Everyone pulling for His attention.

Then, this woman who had been suffering from a chronic illness for over twelve years touched His garment with the faith that if she could only touch His garment, she would get well. Jesus did not know this woman. Jesus did not even see this woman. But He did notice her. Amid all the commotion and activity, He noticed her. He stopped and met her need. In fact, in meeting her need, He also had the opportunity to meet her greatest need, her spiritual need.

I often find myself getting caught up in the busyness of life. I may be in the crowds where there is a lot of commotion and talk. You have been there too where many of the noises are not even noticed as it all becomes one giant mass of noise. You either pay attention to what you want to or what you need to; or find yourself trying to tune it all out altogether. Sometimes we find ourselves even to the point we do not want to notice others and become inward focused.

Regardless of the mental state we might be in, if we truly want to be like Jesus, we will always be looking for opportunities to notice a need. It might be a simple smile, word of encouragement, kind gesture. Or you will discover a physical need that you have the resources or at least know where and how to get that need met. We need to learn to notice things as Jesus did. And the way we learn to notice, is to learn to think like Jesus.

That is one reason I love the disaster relief ministry so much as it models the ministry of Jesus. As you look at His ministry, He would often meet a physical need which always opened the opportunity to meet the spiritual need. He did this so well because Jesus noticed the need.

I’m reminded of what James said in James 2:14-17, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Can such faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily foodand one of you says to them, “Go in peace, stay warm, and be well fed,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? In the same way faith, if it does not have works, is dead by itself.”

Our faith is to be put into action. Faith is not a condition to claim but a life to live. And what I have found when I notice a need, that I not only can be a blessing to another, but I am blessed myself, often in unexpected ways.

Maybe it is time we notice. Open your eyes, look around and notice through the eyes of faith and see all that God will show you. Notice a need and meet a need. You’ll be blessed.