I was meeting two Christian brothers for 6am coffee as was my usual Tuesday practice, back in the days we lived in Corvallis, OR. When I arrived, I could see they were in a serious discussion and that it wasn’t a good subject. I well remember the shock I felt when Randy told me someone had flown a plane into one of the Twin Towers in NYC. In the first moments, it didn’t seem like much more than an “accident” – until he told me it had been an airliner. (The second plane hadn’t yet hit.)NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 11: (FRANCE OUT)  Terrorists hijack two planes and crash into the World Trade Center Towers on September 11, 2001 in New York City, United States(Photo by Tammy KLEIN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

The incident obviously affected everyone differently. For us as Christian believers the impact was dramatic and meaningful. The nation had just been through the Y2K scare where there were endless ‘end-times’ scenarios and plenty of sermons on rapture prophecy. The dotcom bubble had recently burst, and our country was feeling the lethargy of a recession. But on Sept. 11, 2001, it seemed to many that our world took a big leap toward end-times.

Later that day, I remember telling our staff in Corvallis that our planet would never be the same. “The world has turned a corner,” were my exact words. I have another distinct memory of my boss (the CEO) telling all employees with great empathy that the best thing we could do to help our country at that moment was to continue working.

While his statement seems a little self-serving, at the time I understood his logic. The terrorists had struck the United States with a violent effectiveness. They inserted fear into all of our travel, completely disrupted our commerce, and radically increased distrust among our citizens. Many Americans suddenly distrusted every single person of Arab descent, or even folks that have a Mediterranean or Middle Eastern skin tone and hair color.  {As an Italian-American, I have been stopped at airport security many times because of my own coloring. Family joke: My wife just keeps walking and pretends she doesn’t know me. 🙂 }

Last week I was privileged to attend the Global Leadership Conference* that was live-streamed from Willow Creek Church in Chicago. Early on day one, a comment from speaker Jeffrey Immelt (CEO of General Electric) really struck me as truth.

Paraphrased in part he said: “September 11, 2001 was the end of a much more stable era. Since 9/11, the world is a much more volatile place. We can never go back to that. The best leaders go forward.”

Mr. Immelt nails it – our world is less stable and more volatile since 9/11. The best leaders go forward. Both are so true!

Consider that in our post-9/11 era:
Our economy is so uncertain it seems like it could tip over at any moment.
The American political scene has never been more divided and hostile than it is now; at least, not since the Civil War (in my humble opinion).
We haven’t seen such social and cultural divide in our country since before I can remember.
Internationally, the global situation is even worse- with ebola, Fukushima, tsunamis, exploding oil wells, the war-torn Middle East, ISIS, famines – and the list goes on.

Now consider some other changes since 9/11:
The Internet explosion
Email marketing
Smart phones
iPads and tablets
And so much more.

Since September 11, 2001, God has been pressing 7 billion people to long for and hunger after the salvation of Jesus, using volatility and instability. The world is yearning for peace, love, stability, unity, and security. While Satan has them busy hoping for humanistic solutions, we have all of that in Christ!

In the thirteen years since the Twin Towers were attacked, God has been allowing our technology to increase at an unprecedented rate. This enables the Church to deliver the message of Hope to masses at an incredible scale (John 3:17).

We can now share the Gospel in ways that were absolutely unforeseen in 1999. Let’s stop ranting (hello Facebook) about how awful the world is (we agree that it is awful). God has put us on this planet for such a time as this!

How many pastors today type up their sermon to deliver it on Sunday and then walk away from the pulpit after service wondering if it had any effect? It is so easy to turn that sermon into a blog post! Someone could film the teaching and post it to the internet. Or consider making an audio recording on your iPhone and posting it to iTunes as a podcast. Why not share your most recent teaching on your own Facebook account?

As we near the anniversary of that terrible day in 2001, please take a few minutes and pray about what God would have you do to further His kingdom using today’s technology. We have 400 + churches in the Spokane CdA area. And I am sure we could pull together the help you need, if you would like some guidance on how to get started. At this point some of you are saying to yourselves that you already take advantage of technology and there’s not much more you can do in that regard.  Great!  You can help a brother out!

We can all agree that we want the whole body of Christ in our community to grow and expand like never before. It’s on my heart that we begin to share our knowledge among local churches. If you’d like to help by offering your skills (or the skills of your staff) among other pastors and churches, please let me know.

We were each put on this earth to bring as many to heaven with us as we can!

“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:10

“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” ~ 1 Peter 3:8

For the sake of Christ,

Anthony Carollo
Executive Director
Greater Spokane Association of Evangelicals

(*Many thanks to Life Center for the hospitality and Word of Life Community Church for the ticket!)

We Can Never Go Back to That Time
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