God’s Faithfulness Through Katrina

by Duane Maust
August 27, 2006
1 Peter 5: 7-11

This morning we have been remembering the storm from a year ago. I remember one of the first things I wanted to know was “Are we all safe?” And we were safe. We saw trees down all around us. Our homes were safe inside. That was a blessing. 1 Peter 5:7: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” I want to tell you, I was anxious till I knew every one was ok.

I have an assignment for the children. While I talk this morning, I want you to draw a picture of God protecting you from the storm. Maybe you can draw how you felt God. Maybe draw what you saw outside.

I have a picture that my mother painted. It shows a storm going on and Jesus, the Good Shepherd, watching over these two small children. I want this time this morning to remind us of how Jesus watched over all of us last year.

Pass out paper and markers

After church I would like if we can hang these pictures up in the hall.

When I was preparing for this morning, my mind went to what Bob Baldwin challenged us with a year ago. This was the Sunday before the storm. He encouraged us to see how we might experience the mercies of God the coming week. When Elaine and I were trying to get word from everyone that next week, we found everyone was ok.

I saw how God was protecting us. We had trees in our yards that could have hit our homes but they all went other directions. I am thinking about the tree at Martinez’s right now. That tree was laid down to the north so it would not hit their house. The wind was from the east and the tree should have fallen to the west. “Thank you, God, for the protection that you gave us.”

Read Psalm 4:8: “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me swell in safety.”

This past Friday evening I was taking the tractor on Old Eighth Street. I was on my way to do some mowing at the Pine Lake Camp. I was remembering what that road looked like a year ago. You had one lane of traffic several places. Now it is almost all cleaned up. All you see to remind you of last year are a few tree stumps. It was a mercy of God that no one was hurt around all those trees. When I got to the Pine Lake Camp, it is still a beautiful place to see God’s wonders through nature.

Read Psalm 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”

“Thank you, God, for the beauty of PLC.”

Another blessing I have seen this past year is the many volunteers that have come to help. We have had over 200 volunteers here at Jubilee. Those people really care about us and showed us God’s love. The church at Gulfport has had over 1000 volunteers come and help them. Mennonite Disaster Service has had over 2000 volunteers on the Gulf coast. I have found that the Mennonite church really cares about Gulf States Conference. That is the group of Mennonite church we belong to. Seeing Neffsville Mennonite church build that house for Jack and Jackie Weir was an act of selfless giving. They built that house in 3½ weeks in that Mississippi heat. There has been so much of that happening.

Read Psalm 36:5-10: “Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithful to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O Lord, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. Continue your love to those who know you, your righteousness to the upright in heart.”

There is so much about storms that I do not understand. Why does God allow these storms to even happen? I think it is very appropriate to pray that the storm will not come. God does not send rain on only the good or evil. Read Matt. 5:45b. Notice it says “His sun.” God can control the weather, the sun. This is something we will understand better when we get to heaven. God does like to hear from us and it is fine to tell him our wishes.

I called my Dad Friday and told him what I was planning to talk about this morning. I asked him if he had any advice for us. One wise word he said was, “We are to say ‘What, Lord? Not why, Lord?'”

It is easy for us to ask why did God let a storm like Katrina come. Instead we can be asking God, “What do you want me to be doing? Here I am, what can I do for you? Am I serving you the way you want me to?”

Read 1 Peter 5:7 again.

I have books for everyone on the front table. The book is for relief workers. Building the Mosaic. We are all relief workers in a way. Verses for challenging times.

Read Psalms 146: 6b-8

We may need healing this morning from painful memories:
–sin in your life
–prayer for a friend

You can come forward for prayer or pray where you are.

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