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September 10, 2021 2:00 am
Tune in as Skip looks back on the events of that day and the days following, including how the Lord brought an opportunity for him to serve at Ground Zero.
This teaching is from the series 9/11 Special Broadcast.Links:
This week's DevoMail: https://connnectwithskip.com/devomail
That sucker punched the reaction of people in a time of crisis is to ask why God allowing to also lean on God for strength as a refuge in her hometown so yeah we as a nation were sort of new reality and it caused us ever so brief because us to look up and trust God.
20 years ago on September 11, 2001, America was rocked by the unthinkable terrorist attack that brought down the World Trade Center towers in New York City Skip Heitzigs.
It was more than a spectator sport to gun field in Pennsylvania Skip spent three weeks at Ground Zero as a chaplain today present a special program is Skip sits down with 2+ corporate conversation about his observations and experiences surrounding the national trauma of 911 and the events that have followed this discussion of the aftermath around the 20th anniversary of 9/11 was approaching the 20th anniversary tragic events are doubly hard to believe it's been 20 and we come to that.
Now we can remarkable change of events, politically and socially, and internationally with Afghanistan, and I will here address the social and political.
My question to you is what your concerns about the church and the Christians today in Afghanistan. It's the same concerns I had 20 years ago.
So I do feel on an emotional level that the wound the scar. This Is been peeled back, I think we feel that, collectively, as a culture. Those of us who remember a September 11 and what was going on in Afghanistan with the Talbot Tele man would sad as many of the people in that country don't remember the Taliban and that is the average age in the country's 18 so they were around when the Taliban was that they know freedom they know I structure they know the Americans and coalition people helping them so suddenly they're faced with the reality that we've heard about on the other side of the world and and collectively we know about, but they have not experienced until now. And sadly, many of those are allies with us, not just politically but spiritually speaking their believers in Christ. They there are churches in that country.
Though it's a difficult country to to be a believer and there are believers there and I'm every believer that I've had contact with is in fear because of what has happened is happening and what they think will get much worse. So fortunately we at reload lot which is arm of this ministry, we highly endorsed and supported has been reaching out to Afghan refugees. Those who have been extracted to help with their children to help needs a critical needs the Bible tells us to be ready to meet urgent needs. We do it in the name of Christ we been raising money for that and I'm glad to say that we can pray, but we can do more than pray we can put feet on our prayer and in hands to our prayers and help out and reach out you make a great point, as there are Afghan A's who are unaware of what happened in 2000 1 million Americans who were even born right at that time so oh yeah they aware of the impact the ripples that the Pearl Harbor moment that our generation had yes and now they know about it historically because we as a country are trying hard not to let them forget you know it it it when I was born. Pearl Harbor was over it was done it happen 14 years before I was born, so it was sort of like you know how it was ancient history to me at that .20 403 people lost their lives that day, and 405,000 Americans died in World War II so that was something very fresh in the mind of America, though for me as a kid. It wasn't that big of a deal heard about it.
It was moving to me. I like seeing what was happening in the ceremonies of Pearl Harbor and they ran specials every year, but but you know like like that 9/11 is something we have to prepare each generation to never forget and I I've stood in Pearl Harbor. I stood in a very moving on the deck of the ship were surrender the article of surrender. The instrument of surrender was was signed but September 11 was different and is different for me because I did live through it is did you but it's it's some it is something that is becoming the next Pearl Harbor for the generation that did not. So let's go back to that day and 9/11 are your first impression your first observations all disbelief, shock my thought at first it was an accident. I like most people saw that there was something going on in the tower plume of smoke an airplane wing, and most people thought it was a small plane. I remember getting a phone call from my wife Linda. I was taking my Sunday to school is a Tuesday.
I'll never forget it and I get a phone call that a plane window that trade center and at that point they were already talking about the possibility of it being terrorism so I went on the radio and dropped my son off at school and then I went to my office and turned the TV on the TV stayed on all that day and all that night so I remember when we finally found out that morning that it was a terror event that we went here. I went to this studio. This radio station at noon and announced to the community what was going on.
We talked briefly about it. We prayed on the air and we announce revving up citywide prayer meeting at our church that night, which was not a church night Tuesday night was not but it was packed and I'm rightfully so, but I knew that morning and the radius you I knew what that meant. I knew that secularists were going to use this event as the argument against fundamentalism look this is what religion will do.
This is what belief in God is capable of doing its done it through history. It's done it again and I just knew that was coming and it has it has in spades. But it was like a light got switched on and I could see clearly well with you. For the sake of our audience draw a distinction between fundamentalist Muslim theology and what a Christian would delve fundamentalism is never a lot on this and so much is written on about fundamentalism in the Christian perspective is a belief in the fundamentals of the historic Christian faith and there was a movement that respond long time ago to keep the church intact with those biblical fundamentals or if it has good roots. Now it is become a bad word.
Unfortunately, because there are some even in the Christian movement that you know will will do things or belief things in an extreme position, and even get violent with their belief system. Now with fundamental Islam fundamentalist Islamists listen Islam is divided between Sunni and Shia fundamental a Sunni theology is very different than than sheer theology fundamental theology that has spawned the terrorism is rampant in a ran it's rampant in with Hezbollah in Lebanon. It's in the borders of the Palestinian territories. It's in the region. That's not necessarily the position of some of the larger nations in that in that region but it has brought an enormous amount of tension between Muslims and certainly the Islamic world against Christians in a we were suddenly aware of it. On September 11 and and we've grown in our understanding of it since my living.
Create a stunned nation in America. It was a spiritual ripple waiver came from. As you mentioned there were prayer meetings here in remember the Congress singing God bless and pass on the steps of the capital we come a long way from that day.
Yet, we sure have it it with that sucker punched and in of the reaction of people in a time of crisis is to look up to ask why. Why would God allow it. But then, to also lean on God for strength is our refuge and our our strong tower. There are so many great promises of that so yeah we as a nation were sort of jolted into a new reality and it caused us ever so briefly because us to look up and into trust in God must make this personal script because you move very quickly. We all became spectators for untold hours watching what unfolded in the Pennsylvania Pentagon into New York Yuma from spectator to participant and tell us about your experiences being a chaplain at Ground Zero. I was asked to take a team by Franklin Graham.
He call gave me a phone call and he said, would you be willing to take a team of counseling pastors just get a few of your guys that you know I can handle crisis intention, would you be willing to go to New York and spend some time there being at Ground Zero will try to get you credentialed and I could you, the goal would be to establish a prayer center that time, the Billy Graham organization would fund content to be available for people you have skilled train grief counselors to be there for people of lost lives for the city. Collectively, so he tasked me with that and I went there to first to assist first responders, but I remember clearly flying and whizzed the first day the airport open airports around the world shut down or in our country. They did so airspace is restricted. The first day it opened.
I flew from here to Denver Denver to LaGuardia Airport in New York. I member the closer you got to Manhattan. You could see the smoke and when you got, we flew right over Ground Zero and you could look down, he could still see fire.
The flames of the fire, a lapping up to that hole and then up this plume of smoke. It was extending into our airspace unit through our aircraft and then we landed in MCU to see that you've just seen it up to that point on the news, but looking down at it in real time and we landed in and we began ice. I spent three weeks on the ground there and I work for the Red Cross. We had an all access availability so we can go anywhere and everywhere and it was surreal. It was surreal to be in New York during that time to interact with people was surreal to be at Ground Zero and work with first responders who are weary and in disbelief but doing a stellar job. One of the lasting images due to the fact that families just didn't know if their friends were lost to header and there were posted all over Manhattan, Skip were those pictures of lost people and it wasn't like it had to be just unbelievable, walking, seeing that kind of of of a monument yeah you know every time there is a mass disaster of a lot of people that that's that's typically what happens is you have survivors who will post pictures of loved ones, wondering if you've seen them. Listen, I understand that the first stage of grief is disbelief, denial.
Your denying your believing there alive. It is heaven surfaced yet. In some cases that's true, but most often it's not. And it was hard wrenching to see poster boards on fire stations on the chain-link fences of churches everywhere you go, especially around the perimeter of Ground Zero you'd see hundreds thousands of faces of people you know, passing things out or have you seen my loved one and am I I am a member that made such an impact. But what was even worse was to because what was left of those people wears body parts and we would. We were on what's called a bucket brigade so we lined up. You know one person after another. In these long lines and whatever was found in the debris was placed in the bucket and then each person was passed that bucket till I got to the end that was sifted through and what was found were just a little fingers and and parts of of bodies and was taken to the morgue was given when under analysis. DNA analysis and then when there was a positive identification then that face that person that was had been look for, was now confirmed at the people were brought in week they always ask a chaplain to come to the more so we would go down and be with the families when that happened, or be right outside after they identify them and try to work through the stages of grief, but cash just you know going to that process every single day with another person or persons we'll it's it was taxing on on us but on them. Course and on the city.
I recall watching the documentary called the falling man about those who leapt from the World Trade Center to prevent being incinerated. And now with juxtaposition to my mind, Skip the picture of those to circle back to Afghanistan just for a moment with people falling. How incredible is it that this is happening in the same way. The falling from US plane as those jumped from the World Trade Center that there related and in so they are they are is way yeah because, listen.
It's the same force there there that inflicted it inflicted the damage and that is the Taliban so what I feel about that is that the timing of this ending in Afghanistan could not have been worse really. On the 20th anniversary of 911 and in the manner which it happened. I don't want to use this program to get political. But I have some deeply held beliefs about this, as do lots of Americans and people around the world. World leaders have taken offense at this and I think rightfully so. And and there is time to to second-guess it and a Monday morning quarterback, all events that we do in life are to be held to that scrutiny and accountability.
Everything should be called into question, and certainly at this were the world collectively has this consciousness of this terror organization that is butchered. People destroyed life. I'm taken lives away from girls and in abused women and with people in the streets and still do it to this day. So yeah, it is like.
It's like getting punched in the gut. I don't think is political Skip for you to save it. I like your observation on this we learn from studying Israel that the leadership got installed in that nation was related to the function of the People's obedience to the law or did the got in general get out. Listen we we we can always look back and wonder, do we make the right choice in the voting booth. Do we Mike make the did they make the right choice in the war room of the Pentagon or in the strategy room of the White House, but every choice we do make has consequences and this president has said the buck stops with him and he said that a number of occasions.
So okay then, let's let's let's hold some accountability in place for this some because these are lives that are at stake, and as a Christian pastor seeing helpless people people that could be help could be ministered to it.
It they this administration has made it very difficult to reach out to those who are in extremis need in that part of the world.
My concern Skip like your thoughts on this is a God created Israel miraculously, he loves Israel. He promoted them, and yet is a function of their disobedience. He gave them wicked leaders like Ahab for 22 years. Yes, all I want to be careful answering that and assigning that to on the present frustration, however, I get right. God is sovereign and when a nation wants to rule God out. And when people are willing to vote for leaders who rule God out of policy then it kind of event then you get what you vote for because we do this is this this is a nation where elections are held supposedly free and fair elections, and we have to live with the consequences of the people we install enough.
This way voting for believers is so vital and we should learn the issues and not just say well yeah but he doesn't tweet main thing in a mean things and so I it is in life.
Better really if if if that's at the end of the day. I'll take mean tweets over bad policy. Let's go back to the streets of Manhattan Skip in September 2001. I realize it's been 20 years so but can you you interact with hundreds of people and New Yorkers are offenders. I callous yeah that wasn't the case for that period of time when it was unbelievable to be in New York during the time because it's like New Yorkers got a heart transplant. I don't be harder New Yorkers. I love them and I understand. I like their brash attitude. I just think it's so cool and I love their city, but they they were.
They were tender. Most most were very soft toward us. They were welcoming of prayer. They were confessing. You know their hopelessness and their fear and you know there I was given advice years ago that Christian should walk softly around her broken heart and their hearts were truly broken and it went a long way to be with them just to stand with them and listen to them and have them talk about loved ones and have them talk about their loss and and pray with them and most people welcomed our prayers.
Most people listen to what we had to sit every now and then you get one or two that would not, but they were dealing with some pretty deep grief so people are apt to say and do anything when they're in grief so I understand that but by and large, people were very very tender and open you give the messaging that we created a booklet out of his difficult standing firm in troubling times and the principles are clear, but it does seem that the Lord does shake things periodically and not assigning blame to to what happened on that day, but he does use those things right purposes, right, for whatever reason that God allows it.
There is there are. There can be all things work together for good to those love God so all things includes those things so the idea being that sovereign God can use the worst circumstances use cancer use. You getting fired from your job.
Use the breakup of the marriage, loss of a life you can use bad things for good results.
And God knows how to make a combination in your life and give that to you as a prescription that can actually be beneficial and helpful make you grow, make you trust him bring things into your life.
It wouldn't come in your life any other way except to that change of events that was forced upon you so we have to be very careful to say why does God allow bad things to happen because the bad thing may disguise a whole slew of good things people experience Skip every day their own personal 9/11 is divorce, bankruptcy that call from a doctor would you encourage somebody who got that information. Maybe even today. Well, Psalm 46 talks about the Lord being a refuge or strength a very present help in times of need. In times of trouble and that's what he wants you to know if your listener right now.
God is present with you if you're a believer in her listening to this you trust God, but you've been side blindsided by some catastrophe. It didn't take God by surprise, and he is with you. He is your present help in times of need. He will help you through this. He will walk you through this and on top of that, God's people can be a resource to you. I encourage you to find a believing friend that can stick with you counsel you through a pastor, a deacon of that leader at your church or your small group of the around God's people don't be alone.
During this time you need to be reinforced with God's truth. Let's zoom a little bit Skip you been involved. I think for decades now with Samaritans purse and world medical missions and they do a phenomenal amount of work. Some things we probably can't even talk about speak about the depth of the work of Samaritans purse. It is an organization that I continually get impressed with.
I get impressed with the because they hold a pretty strong line of evangelism so that they will do things in the name of Jesus. They have not water down the gospel ever in any of their endeavors. They not do it sensitively insensitive nations. However, they know when and how and in boardwalk are very very precise, but they don't compromise. Having said that they ought the same time have the most skilled individuals at their disposal the surgeon's best doctors from brain surgeons at Mayo Clinic to cardiac surgeons who had a lifetime of experience world medical missions as part of what they do. They have a field hospital where they fly emergency a DC eights into different parts of the world with the medical team that can extract people in and we can set up field hospitals and in in primitive locations for COBIT for advanced surgeries look like you would with the U.S. Army so and so it's it's amazing disaster relief from from natural disasters, but that there literally all over the globe and they have like these, you know, MacGyver type people. These brilliant guys who assess damages find out ways. Even when a situation where you have close borders how to sneak into the borders and help people like they did bonding years ago and that genocide so I'm always weekly present part of the Board of Directors weekly amazed at the team and the staff worked with Samaritans has been 20 years since the events of September 11, 2001, listening to a conversation between Skip Heitzig and should Lesko about Skip's thoughts on the solemn anniversary broadcast time did not allow was to carry the full conversation you can find email@example.com on this broadcast. We have a special offer of two important books 1st signed copy of the biography of God by Skip in the new book enemies and allies by Joel Rosenberg which addresses many of the repercussions of 9/11. Both of these books are yours when you make a donation of $50 or more to support this program. Get your set of the biography of God and enemies and allies firstname.lastname@example.org or call one 800-9228 88. Thank you for joining us for this special broadcast about the anniversary of September 11 with Chip Skip Heitzig is the executive producer of this program connect with Skip is edited by Peter Benson and I am Scott encouraging you to pray for our country and our men and women so Skip Heitzig presentation of connection communication through ever-changing time