Opportunities for the Church
By Larry Rice
Humanity’s dependence upon fossil fuels has created a pending collision with the very fabric of creation through the destructive forces of global warming. Now the Church has an excellent opportunity to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed as it provides education, implementation and inspiration through God’s gifts of renewable energy.
- Education – The Mid American Renewable Energy Center and Missouri Renewable Energy under the direction of Larry Rice is set up to provide educational materials, classes, and energy fairs for local congregations (see www.moreenergy.org). The hands on education that is provided offers viable solutions to the growing concerns relating to global warming and cancer causing pollution’s provided by dependence upon the fossil fuels.
- Implementation – Not only does Mid American Renewable Energy have an extensive educational program that it desires to share with the church but it also provides the technical assistance necessary for the implementation of such. Through a wide variety of classes and energy fairs participants get hands on opportunities to make bio-diesel, solar carts, solar cookers plus directly engage in many other areas of implementing renewable energy.
- Inspiration – Educating and implementing renewable energy source like the sun, wind, water etc. causes the participant to take a closer examination of creation and the creator. It also enables missionaries both in developing world countries and in over developed countries like Europe and the USA to provide clean non-polluting methods of creating energy.
In countries like India, Haiti and Africa a large percentage of the work for women is used for gathering firewood for cooking. It is estimated that 2,000,000 lives each year are lost as a result of the pollutants and burns from wood burning fires and kerosene. When Larry Rice introduced the use of solar cookers to a large gathering of women in India a great wave of shouts of joy and clapping swept across the audience. The women knew they no longer would spend many hours gathering wood. The use of methane gas has also been widely successful in India.
Because there are more than 2 billion people without electricity in the world, the potential for worldwide evangelism is almost unlimited. In India solar lanterns have opened the way to share how Jesus is the Light of the World. Teaching individuals now to make bio-diesel through the use of used vegetable oil, with the addition of methanol and lye provides the illustrations for showing the homeless and others how Jesus can take a material that society treated like a waste product (the sinner), and then by adding the lye (of His Word) and the methanol (of His Spirit) to produce the productive fuel of changed and productive lives through Jesus Christ.
In Europe, the United States of America and other so called developed countries where some consider the Church irrelevant, the implementation of renewable energy provides a viable alternative to the bankrupt spirituality of such post modern thinking. The tangible solutions and alternative fuel sources offered through the implementation of renewable energy cause even those who do not regularly attend church to be introduced to the invisible things of God (Romans 1:20) like the radiance and electric power creative by the Sun through photovoltaics and the wind. This is illustrated by the Christian creed from 1561 entitled, “By what Means God is Made Known to Us.”
“We know Him by two means: First, by the creation, preservation, and government of the universe; which is before our eyes as a most elegant book, wherein all creatures, great and small, are as so many characters leading us to see clearly the invisible things of God, even His everlasting power and divinity, as the apostle Paul say (Romans 1:20), all which things are sufficient to convince men and leave them without excuse. Second, He makes Himself more clearly and fully known to us by His holy and divine Word, that is to say, as far as is necessary for us to know in this life, to His glory and our salvation.”
The time for action is now. We must turn from an escapism Eschatological theology to a Biblical activist second coming teaching believing Jesus meant it when He said, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world, for I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me,’” Matthew 25. Caring for creation involves direct action to help those whom Jesus referred to as the least of these.
A Biblically based Second Coming theology also addresses the preservation of creation and the judgment for those who refuse to do such. Read what happens when the seventh trumpet is blown as described in Revelations 11:18 where it says, “The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”
The time for action is now. Churches must arise, pray and seek God as to what steps of action must be taken now. Jesus said His people are to be the salt and the light, (Matthew 5:13-16). This means engaging in penetrating action and letting the light shine on the darkness of earth’s destruction until those engaged in such destruction run for cover. It also means taking creative steps to offer alternatives to the fossil fuels, which drive our cars and light our homes.
Christ has called His church to be a headlight in the dark world, not a taillight following the world’s direction. As citizens of the Kingdom of heaven which Jesus declared has arrived as a result of His coming, we are directed to awaken and “let your light shine before people that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven,”(Matthew 5:16).
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