On 9/11, we "celebrated" (a day of remembrance, honor and vigilance) Patriots Day. Part of what we remember are the heroes of Flight 93. Praise God, He has a powerful lesson(s) for us through this tragic event.
Among the forty passengers and crew (not including the terrorist hijackers) were:
(1) Tom Burnett from California. Tom was a husband and the father of three little girls. He loved to hunt and had quarterbacked his high school football team. Tom was also a Christian who became a sheepdog!
(2) Jeremy Glick
was a national collegiate judo champion. a husband and the father of a three year old little girl.
(3) Richard Guadago
was a veteran federal law enforcement officer (with all the training that goes with that).
(4) Linda Grohan
was a lawyer and a brown belt in karate.
(5) And then there was Todd Beamer -- an athlete, husband and father. He and Lisa were expecting their third child in January of 2002, and Lisa would go on to write a book about Todd and Flight 93. Todd was a Christian, a humble servant-leader, and a sheep who became a servant-warrior sheepdog.
Shortly after takeoff, at 0945, Beamer used a seatback Airfone to call 911. It was no "accident" that he ended up talking to a fellow Christian in Verizon operator Lisa Jefferson, anymore than it was no accident that God placed other sheep-turned-sheepdogs around him.
Todd told Lisa that the flight had been hijacked and he and and some of the other passengers around him were going to rush the cockpit. "We're not going down without a fight! We think they are headed to the White House!" (it was later revealed that the target was probably the US Capital with the White House being a "backup"). Todd and Lisa prayed together before he uttered what became a WAR CRY: "LET'S ROLL!"
As Todd and his group rushed the hijackers, others on the plane were making final calls of their own, sending messages to loved ones. One was heard yelling, "They're doing it, they're doing it!"
Ultimately, Todd and his fellow sheepdogs successfully overcame the hijackers and forced the plane to crash in a Pennsylvania field -- leaving a hole fifty feet deep in the ground. In doing so, God used them to save both thousands of lives but also very likely our nation from what could have been a crippling psychological disaster.
Ladies and gentleman, this was a war cry of commitment, sacrifice and yes, LOVE! And I believe that God is calling us to have that same kind of commitment, sacrifice and LOVE today -- a Holy Spirit-powered tenacity -- an ancient war cry that in the Hebrew is summed up in three words that, scripturally speaking, equate to Todd's "Let's Roll:" Rak Chazak Amats!
Courtesy of noted Bible teacher Eric Ludy, let's break it down:
The rock-like "oomph" of a spiritually zealous heart (Prov. 23:17)
Possessing a resolute and growling resolve for God's glory and purpose (2 Cor. 4:6)
(3) Together these two words go with a third -- Amats: Rushing headlong into the most hazardous and impossible of battles without pausing to fully consider the impossibilities (1 Sam. 17:45-51).
So what does this literally mean:
* It's a
ll strength and courage for the glory of God in the face of sure death
* It's the tensing
of a warrior's muscles (2 Tim. 2:4)
* It's your knuckles, spiritually speaking, turning white as you find yourself gritting your spiritual teeth with Holy Spirit inspired belligerence against a powerful but ultimately defeated enemy (Rev. 19:11-21).
* It's confidence in victory even before the field is taken (Judges 15:14-16).
* It's lambs-turned-warriors (sheepdogs) moving with liquid ferocity straight into the lion's lair (Joshua 6:1-5, 20-21).
* It's swift-footed, all-believing, super-conquering, prevailing faith in the Lord of battles (2 Thess. 1:3-11).
The main passage for this is paraphrased from Deuteronomy 31:6-8: "Be strong and of good courage" - even if it means our death!
In short, "LET'S ROLL!"
Christian, make no mistake: God is calling us today to boldly step out (and out of the crowd) in LOVE, obedience and faith under the power of the Holy Spirit to say, "
I'm 'ALL IN' Lord, Let's Roll!
In 1 Timothy 6:12, God, through Paul (with his own execution looming), exhorts us to "
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses
Todd Beamer was no hero, but 17 years ago he allowed God to make him one! Out of LOVE and obedience, he led his co-patriots into battle with a rak chazak amats "Let's Roll" battle cry. Moreover,
Todd's story is in many ways not unlike that of Peter's in John 21:15-17. Here,
Jesus was having breakfast with His disciples soon after His resurrection. He used this opportunity to encourage and exhort Peter about his upcoming responsibilities and even to prophesy the manner in which Peter will die. By asking Peter, "Do you love me?" three times, Jesus was emphasizing the importance of Peter's agape love and unswerving obedience to his Captain and Lord as necessary for his future ministry (the word means "service").
Likewise, God asked Todd on 9/11, and us today,
* Do you love ME more than your friends in this world?
* Do you love ME more than the pleasures of this world?
* Do you love ME more than your job?
* Do you love me more than your hobbies?
* Do you love me more than fishing? Hunting?
* Do you love me more than football?
* Do you love me more than your bank account?
* Do you love me more than your new car (boat, guns, etc.)?
* Do you love me even more than your family and your own life?
This was the question from Jesus that was probing the heart of Simon Peter and hopefully ours as well:
How much do you really love me? Are you willing -- like Todd -- to die for me?
(1) Moses leading the children of Israel out of bondage --
(2) Gideon's 300 --
Joshua and Caleb in the promised land -- LET'S ROLL!
Caleb before "his" mountain -- LET'S ROLL!
David before Goliath -- LET'S ROLL!
Nehemiah before God's enemies and impossible odds -- LET'S ROLL!
(7) Jesus before the cross -- LET'S ROLL! (with an emphatic, "It is finished!" -- John 19:30).
Jesus' disciples who would ALL go on to torture and martyrdom (save for John -- who history says was boiled in oil but miraculously survived to to write a big chunk of the New Testament) -- LET'S ROLL indeed!
Can I get an Amen?
Finally, you may be reading this today and saying that you're not a Todd Beamer. Understand that Todd is in heaven today not because of his "good deeds" or "heroism," but rather because he had a genuine, life-saving/life-changing personal relationship with the ONLY One who could save him and the only One who could empower him! Folks, the amats that God gave Todd to lead his fellow sheepdogs in an all-or-nothing charge against the terrorists on 9/11 -- "Holy Spirit Power" -- is available ONLY to those who are first born again in Christ (and thus have the indwelling presence and power of the Holy Spirit). Do you have that (you can)? Are you sure (you can)? If not, it is again with a
sense of urgency
that I implore you to consider the following: