Who is your support group?
Step 1: What does the Bible say?
Scripture Foundation – Nehemiah 1-6
Biblical readiness is being spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically ready to respond to emergencies as faithful Christ-followers, praying, caring for survivors and sharing the hope we have in Jesus Christ.
The story of Nehemiah and his process for rebuilding of the walls in Jerusalem is the foundation for biblical readiness and what becoming a ReadyChristian is all about. Biblical readiness engages Christians to examine their own personal readiness and response by understanding their areas of responsibility, whom to look to when crisis strikes, and whom to care for. Just as in Nehemiah’s day Christians become more resilient when they covenant with other Christians in biblical readiness and as they network, prepare and respond together in their local communities.
Response Areas are determined in advance of an emergency response so that recovery is quicker and stronger within a defined area. Your Response Area is first your household and then your neighborhood.
Nehemiah provides the biblical example of Response Areas. Nehemiah returned to restore the city of Jerusalem. While rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, he marked off sections of the wall to be rebuilt and to be guarded by the families living nearby. In doing so, Jerusalem recovered from destruction and desolation while fending off constant attacks from enemies. For most of the 52-day rebuilding project, builders worked with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other signifying that they were working to build the walls while at the same time ready to respond to any crisis with using all the capacity they possessed. The leaders of Nehemiah’s day were ready physically to protect and defend what God had provided for them. But, God helped Nehemiah get them biblically ready.
Living for Christ intentionally, giving light, hope and help to those around us in crisis takes more than physical readiness. We need to be Biblically Ready.
As we examine the Nehemiah story we see, as Christians, the practice of Biblical readiness requires we meet four standards:
- Responsiveness – to assess our times, to hear God, and act
- Engagement – to agree to help each other
- Resilience – to possess strength to follow through
- Replication – to respond beyond our walls by training and equipping others to be biblically ready
The evidence is clear – Whether it is increasing persecution, financial uncertainty, threats from every corner, God is in the process of waking up the world to the fact that it cannot live without Him. A biblically ReadyChristian faces these uncertain times with faith and hope. In crisis, unprepared Christians and non-Christians come to rely on the help of the ReadyChurch made up of Christians who are ready. Are you ready to respond to people who need His mercy and simply cannot live without Him because of a financial, family or faith crisis? Are you ready to respond to a disaster?
Biblical readiness is essential to fulfilling our mandate to share the hope of Christ based upon these proven principles:
- Our formation before any crisis will dictate how we survive, recover and help others.
- The basis of Biblical Readiness is one’s own spiritual health going into any crisis.
- More emergencies demand our attention today whether they are economic, increasing natural disasters, or man-made threats; we live in an increasingly dangerous time.
- Community-wide emergencies, that affect everyone around you – like a teen suicide, public scandal by a leader, collapse of the economy, and disasters tap out the personal reserve of the unprepared, leaving ready believer to lead people into restoration.
- Biblically ready people have personal resiliency with a better survival capacity.
- Christians are God’s ambassador in crisis, bringing hope and calm to a totally out-of-control situation.
God requires for each of us to give Him glory in ALL situations. Regardless of the emergency, large or small - building spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical readiness protects our lives and the mission of the Church. Readiness gives Christians more capacity to serve others in their most desperate hour.
What is an Emergency?
For the purposes of the Christian Emergency Network, we define an emergency as any crisis, whether large or small, that affects an individual, a family, a church, a community, a city, or larger. Because of the scope of the definition, examples of an emergency would include the loss of a job, a loved one, a natural disaster or any large-scale event. Other definitions include:
International incident - defined as an event that requires multi-national disaster response efforts.
National incident - defined as media goes 24/7 wall-to-wall coverage or where thousands of lives are affected
State incident - defined as state is reporting in national media a threat or where an incident affects the critical mass of any given state
Local incident - defined as any local incident that also rises to the level of national attention in the media or that is brought to the attention of the CEN and affects hundreds of lives.
All other incidents would be considered small incidents and reported personally within your response group. I.e. church suicide
Biblical Readiness Standard
The world is changing. To dismiss this is an unhealthy denial of reality. To embrace uncertain times and trust God is healthy and mature. Our mission is to assist those who are ready to face reality, take simple basic steps to prepare for emergencies, and be ready to give an answer for the hope we have in Jesus Christ. The Biblical Readiness Standard provides a yardstick for unity in crisis and disaster and helps us understand God’s plan for a ReadyChristian. Again, Biblical Readiness requires exercising four standards:
- Responsiveness – measuring the capacity to respond based upon personal, family, church readiness, and readiness in the Christian community. Biblical example: Jeremiah, testing the metal of God’s people.
- Engagement – covenants and commitments made to care for others during crisis and disaster in defined areas of responsibility called Response Areas. Biblical Example: Nehemiah, rebuilding the walls with written agreements.
- Resilience – spiritual, emotional, mental and physical resilience gained through: keeping covenants and commitments, the daily practice of worship, prayer and obedience to God, practicing emergency responses of all kinds, and responding as God leads in prayer. Biblical Example: Mordecai and Esther – for such a time as this and the Full Armor of God.
- Replication – to live as examples of the saving grace of Jesus Christ actively praying and caring for others and sharing the hope we have in Jesus Christ... before, during and after crisis or disaster. Biblical Example: The road to the cross by Jesus and Paul, before King Agrippa.
What does the Bible say? The steps you follow in Biblical Readiness will determine your own level of readiness and help you grow in areas you may be weak. God always gives you a choice.
ACTION STEP: Begin praying for a partner who will walk with you in Biblical Readiness. Don’t wait, consider taking ReadyChristian as an audio training until you find your partner: www.christianemergencynetwork.org
Biblical Readiness Devotional
Biblical readiness means being spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically ready to respond to emergencies as faithful Christ-followers by praying, caring for survivors and sharing the hope we have in Jesus Christ. In taking direction from the example of Jesus, I thought we’d look at each area and see how Jesus was the perfect example of Biblical Readiness.
Spiritually. When faced with his biggest crisis, Jesus was quoted as saying, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41) The statement, provides us with insight that although He wasn’t yet ready physically, He was spiritually. Being spiritually ready, means having that communing relationship with God whereby you feel and are prepared for whatever He brings your way. It also means having such a deep understanding of Christ in you that you are able to communicate and share your faith sensitively with others.
Emotionally. All throughout the gospels we see Jesus being “moved with compassion.” Jesus was in touch with his emotions and understood how to use them to move into action in caring for others. During crisis, we have the same opportunity. Our emotional health and our emotional stability are based only on the work that Christ has done in our lives. As we allow Him to prepare us emotionally, we will, in turn, be available to be “moved with compassion” to care for others.
Mentally. We see this also in the garden when Jesus was preparing for the death that He was about to face. When He submits to the Father with the statement, “Not My will but Yours,” we see his mental victory in the crucifixion process. He was prepared for what he was about to endure. In crisis, our mental preparation comes through emergency response plans and mentally walking through how we will respond in times of crisis. Having soundness of mind is important to being biblically ready as our minds, coupled with our spirit, is what controls and guides the physical and emotional part of who we are.
Physically. Often the most obvious part of being biblically ready, being prepared physically, is often overlooked. Jesus became physically prepared for His greatest crisis through the beatings that He endured on the way to the cross. We believe that the greatest crisis for Jesus was the weight of the sin He took on, not the physical death that He experienced. It was complete death to the things of this world to accomplish the spiritual goal that was laid before Him.
The Apostle Paul quoted in 1 Corinthians 9:27, “No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (NIV) Have you ever been taught to apply this scripture by pushing yourself physically to meet some exercise goal? In applying this scripture to be biblically ready, this may look different for each of us...is preparing physically only putting together a grab-n-go kit or is it physically getting in shape so that we are able to meet the physical demands of serving others?
Getting to the place of biblical readiness requires being ready spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. While we can’t expect perfection in these areas, it is important to continually move forward in obedience for His Glory.
Step 2: How do you respond Biblically?
Understanding Responsiveness & Engagement
Are you depending upon God for support? How do you recover from stress? Do you devote time daily with God for worship, prayer and study? What areas of responsibility do you have in an emergency? Have you taken the steps to plan a response, make an emergency kit, and stay informed? Are you aware of the times, and are you listening to God for direction?
Clarity about the need to prepare for crisis and disaster begins by taking a look at one's state of personal readiness, the Church and the world today.
Jeremiah the prophet confronted the nation of Israel in a time of denial and rebellion against God. His example shows us the difference between responsive followers aware of the times and the unresponsive. Jeremiah reminds us that God helps those who follow Him even in the worst crisis. Although Jerusalem fell (as Jeremiah predicted), devoted followers taken into captivity were saved, quickly rose to levels of leadership in the country of their captivity, and passed their values on to a future generation that later returned to restore Jerusalem decades later.
Holy, Righteous, Surrendered to God, and Walking with Jesus
Jeremiah’s situation and the questions raised resonate today. Can we really have a ReadyChurch unless we are holy, righteous, surrendered to God and walking with Jesus? Can we overcome crisis in our own lives if we are not speaking the words of a Holy God to repel our enemies? Do we let fake prophets grab the center stage and stand around unable to explain the truth of God and His rescue plan? Do we strengthen others’ arguments against a loving God through a lack of God-inspired compassionate efforts?
Jeremiah is clear – God rescues us when our relationship is right with Him, and He punishes us when we rebel. A holy God desires to bless and defend a holy people.
Today, the “spiritual walls” of our communities need rebuilding. Nehemiah offers a process and plan for responding. His defeated city had lain in ruins for 70 years. Recent disasters added to the devastation. Fires had ravaged the city and the walls were broken down. Nehemiah became impressed that he should do something to rebuild. Through prayer, courage, and taking action, Nehemiah led the people of Israel. It took 17 steps to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, repel attacks, and deal with crisis, in order to restore Israel to a Holy relationship with God.
ACTION STEP: How are you re-building the spiritual walls in your home or neighborhood using the principles in the Book of Nehemiah and modeled by Jesus, Paul, and Jeremiah? Find out by taking the Christian Biblical Readiness Assessment.
ReadyChristian Biblical Readiness Standard
Living for Christ intentionally, giving light, hope and help to those around us in crisis takes more than physical readiness. We need to be biblically ready.
Biblical Readiness is spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically ready to respond to emergencies as faithful Christ-followers, praying, caring for survivors and sharing the hope we have in Jesus Christ. The practice of biblical readiness requires Christians to meet four standards:
1. Responsiveness – the ability to assess the times, hear God and act 2. Engagement – pre-planning and agreement among Christians to help each other 3. Resilience – the strength to follow through 4. Replication – a growing capacity to respond through training and equipping others to be biblically ready
Christian Biblical Readiness Assessment
I can articulate the mission of Jesus Christ and understand my unique role in accomplishing it.
I understand what to do in crisis and disaster response and strive to maintain a state of biblical readiness.
I have studied biblical readiness and taken training in an emergency prayer, care or share ministry.
I understand how to guide people in crisis into programs of recovery and restoration.
I practice biblical reconciliation (Mathew 18) and strive for unity with other Christians. I understand when and how to invite people in crisis to begin a new life and follow Jesus Christ. I practice balanced living and a healthy devotion to work, family and friends. I set aside one day a week as a Sabbath and take time daily for prayer, worship and study. Total
I have an emergency preparedness and response plan that I update periodically and have practiced in the last year. I understand the principles and values of my faith and how to use these to make decisions. I stay informed about crisis in the community and abroad and can guide others to respond through praying for people in crisis, caring for their needs, and sharing the hope of Jesus Christ. I am regular in church attendance and productive in Christian service. Total
I understand and support the ministry of my Church Emergency Team. I have assessed my capacity to respond to crisis and disaster, and am taking steps to improve. I have made necessary emergency preparedness kits, emergency plans, and have identified credible, local sources of emergency information. I have responded to crisis or disaster in the community or abroad resulting in people beginning a new life of following Jesus Christ. Total
Add up your score from spiritual, emotional, mental, physical and divide by 4: TOTAL = _____________
A. (72+) Replicating – reproducing results with other Christians and building capacity in the community B. (64 – 71) Resilient – aware, ready and there to give a biblical response to crisis and disaster C. (56 – 63) Engaged – responding to crisis but lacking structure and skills D. (48 – 55) Responsive – you are learning how to endure and meet physical needs E. (40 – 47) Challenged – looking to do more, but what? F. (30 – 39) Reluctant – you do what you have to, not a priority G. (0 – 29) Detached – haven’t thought much about readiness; not on the radar