Responding to the Call
Sermon Summary

This message was prepared for Northshore Church’s Blue Service where we recognize and honor our first responders! On this day, we were privileged to have Hudson Babler a professional firefighter and paramedic from Dallas Texas! Hudson shared with us his unique story of being called to ministry at the age of 12. He thought that meant he would be in a ministry vocation. As a result he pursued his theological education. However, he had also worked as a Jr. Firefighter as a young man and then became a full-fledged volunteer firefighter. It wasn’t until after a fire in their own home where he had to rescue his infant daughter from a room engulfed in fire that he begin to hear God’s voice clearly saying to him that the fire service was his ministry calling. Some think they aren’t called to ministry if they do something other than vocational ministry as a pastor, missionary, or staff member of a church, and by the same token some think if they are called to ministry it will by default be vocational ministry. God gifts different people with different talents and we are all called to use our talents to bring honor and glory to God by ministering to others with the life we live. Whether that calling involves being a first responder, a nurse, a carpenter, a truck driver, a secretary, an artist, a pastor or what ever! God has called every Christian to respond to the hurting and needy people around them.

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. What stood out most to you after hearing Hudson’s story?

2. Have you or someone in your family been assisted by a first responder in the past? If so, how were you helped?

3. Jesus was a first responder of sorts. He responded to our need for a spiritual Savior! He did for us what we could not do for ourselves. Describe your first encounter with Jesus when He responded to your spiritual need, then describe how Jesus continues to respond to your daily spiritual needs!
2 Th 2:13  But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.
2 Th 2:14  He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Th 2:15  So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
2 Th 2:16  May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,
2 Th 2:17  encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

4. While you may not be called to ministry as a vocation, no matter what your vocation there will always be opportunities to minister! Explain your thoughts on this statement and what some of those ministry opportunities my entail.
1 Pet 3:8  Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
1 Pet 3:9  Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

Full Sermon Notes

Responding to the Call
Blue Service
Intro by Brother Larry

Ask the people to be seated!!

The words to that song said..."In all my weakness You are my confidence
Jesus I come, Jesus I come! In every
broken place You are my righteousness!"
Jesus knows about weakness! He knows about brokeness! Jesus understands human suffering because as a man He suffered humiliation.

He suffered sadness. He suffered physical pain beyond what you and I could ever even imagine. He suffered heartbreak and loss! He even suffered death! Why would He do this? Why would He leave the safety of heaven and come to a savage world knowing He would be risking His very life?

Why would He be willing to place His life on the line for you and me?
Why? It was His calling and thank God He responded to the call!
God's Word puts it this way in Romans 5:6-8...

Romans 5:6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

So Jesus was a first responder of sorts. He responded to our need for a spiritual Savior! He did for us what we could not do for ourselves. And for that we are forever grateful. In a similar way, when our first responders answer a call, they go to assist people who are unable to help themselves! People who desperately need help, or who are in some kind of trouble. Why would Fire Fighters, Law Enforement Officers, and Paramedics, put their lives on the line to help others. They care about their fellow man, they love their community and they love their country! If you are a first responder here today, please stand so we can recognize you and your service to our community! Thank you for your service!!

Today we are blessed to have our Slidell Police Honor Guard and Fire District One Honor Guard to present the colors. So I would ask all of you to stand as they come forward!

"I Pledge allegiance to the flag of The United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all!"

Let's pray!
"Father God, I thank You for our great nation and for the freedoms we have. And we all thank you for the men and women of our military who who have committed their lives to protect that freedom. Bless them wherever they are serving!

And today we want our First Responders to know how much we appreciate, honor, and respect their commitment to place their lives on the line to protect us here at home! I pray they will be encouraged and strengthened by the message they hear today. Lord, our nation needs Your leadership today more than ever. We pray for our nations leaders, that they will listen to Your voice. We pray You will help us figure out the very serious problems we have and once again be one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all! And we are eternally grateful that You always respond to our cries for help in our times of need! Speak through Your servant Hudson Babler today as he share's his powerful story and we'll give you all the glory! In Jesus Name I pray, amen!!

Let's give a warm Northshore welcome to Dallas professional fire rescue officer paramedic Hudson Babler. Let me just quickly tell you this young man has my highest respect and admiration. First of all he is one of the finest Christian young men I've ever met! He has a servant heart that is bigger than Dallas! Hudson led at least 10 disaster relief trips from Dallas to Slidell in the aftermath of Katrina! We became close friends because of our love for Jesus and maybe just a lit bit because of our desire to rescue old antique pickup trucks. I had the privilege of singing at his wedding some eight years ago in Dallas. And speaking of that wedding, I'll let Hudson tell you a little about his precious family!

Thanks for being here Hudson, we appreciate what you do! Share with us brother!!

Intro from Hudson concerning family. Married to Molly and has three girls!

Picture of family follows...

Firefighter Dallas
Show Fire Turn out Gear with his name. Next slide!

I was called to ministry/missions at an early age. However I have always felt drawn to the fire service,  I love to help people.
pursued mission aviation
Went to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
However, God closed the doors on seminary education.

One night our house was hit be a lightning strike. I woke up and looked outside but didn’t see anything. Went to the bathroom and then looked up and noticed smoke coming down from the ceiling. I yelled at Molly and told her we had to get out, the house was on fire. My daughter Ava was one year old. I rushed to her room and flames were leaping up the wall. I screamed and fell to my knees and and ran on them to her baby bed. She was still asleep. I scooped her up and we ran outside. Once outside and the fire department and ambulance arrived, Molly noticed that Ava still smelled like Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. She didn’t smell like smoke. We knew then, that God had protected that little girl for a reason! It was not long after this, I knew in my heart God had called me to the fire service and that was to be my ministry.

When he talks about fire show pics 3,4,&5
Next three slides...

 God put the Fire service on my heart.

Applied with multiple departments,

Was hired by Dallas.

I am able to minister to people many times on the worst day of their life.
Public Safety can be a hard calling, however with its high emotional cost comes a great reward.
LIfe and Ministry are a calling, just because you are not being paid for ministry God still calls you to it.  

Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Pastor Larry comes up to share!

I'm so grateful we've got young people like this who are coming up in the ranks to be leaders in our nation! Amen? And I'm thankful we have a new breed of leaders who understand that a true leader leads with his or her life and they have a servant's heart! They find great satisfaction in serving rather than being served and that constitutes true greatness in my book, and in God's book!

Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

What I'm going to say to wrap up our blue service today is very important. Hudson came to encourage and to challenge our first responders, and I want to do the same thing. I hope you've all been encouraged to see this young husband, and father who will continue the fine traditions of the fire service in an honorable way!

Now, some of our first responders might be tempted to say this…"Yep, I remember when I was a young man, I thought I could change the world too! But as you get older reality sets in! You can't fix every thing no matter how hard you try and you can't save everybody!"

Now here's what I'm going to say to that...

You may not change the world, but if you change somebody's world for the better, you've in essence changed the world because you've changed their world!! And many of you here have heard this before, and I've told this story before, but some stories are just worth repeating. And as long as I am self aware that I've told the story before, I'm ok! Right?

There was a little boy on the beach. For some reason little living star fish were being washed up on the beach. He was picking them up and throwing them back in the ocean. A man jogging by stop and told him, "Hey kid, it's like this up and down the whole beach. You're not going to be able to make a difference." The little boy picked up another star fish and flung him back into the ocean, turned around and said, "I made a difference for that one!"

I just love that. And we should never let the ones we couldn't help, cause us to quit. Because if we do, we loose the opportunity to help those we could've helped if we hadn't given up! And let me challenge you to never loose your youthful passion to change the world and make a difference. When you go out on a call it may your 500th call, but for the person you are going to help, it's a first for them and it's a world changing, life altering day for them. They will need you to be as professional, as passionate, and as caring as your first call.

There's a Scripture in the Old Testament that spoke of a young King's responsibility to his people. I think this is somewhat prophetic and points to Jesus, but could very much apply to a first responder...

Psalm 72:12 For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help.
13 He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death.
14 He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.

Every life is precious in God's sight, and I know that life is precious to our first responders! And pray for them as they have to make split second decisions daily. Pray that they will remember their training and have the wisdom and direction of God to make the right decisions each and every time. Their lives and other's lives depend on that!
There’s many reasons people choose a career as a first responder. Some very noble and selfless and some maybe a little more self-serving.

Let’s be honest, entering into a profession where you get to do adrenaline rushing, heart pumping, action packed, 911 kind of stuff and people consider you to be a hero for your willingness to put your life on the line, well, all that could, maybe, be a little bit of motivation, right? Nothing wrong with loving what you do!  However, I want to share something with you that I shared with the five new recruits who graduated this past Monday from the Fire Academy in this very room, and it goes along with what I just shared with you veteran first responders. Here's what I told the graduates...

"It won’t be long, and it may be on your very first call out, that you’ll come to realize something very important. You’ll realize your not just responding to that one call, but you’ve made a decision to respond to a bigger call. You’ve made a decision to respond to a calling in life. The calling to be there for others when they call for help! And what will help you realize and recognize this call? It will be when you look into the face and the eyes of a desperate person looking back at you and saying, “Please help me I’m scared!” When you see the trust they have in you to help them when they can’t help themselves. When you realize that for that moment in time they need you to be a savior of sorts. To save them from a house fire, a medical emergency, a car wreck, a freak accident, or any number of circumstances where they need the help of a well trained professional! But even more than that, where they will need the help of a fellow human being who they can see in the way they respond to them, a person who really cares and wants to help them.

It will be in those moments when you will get a glimpse into what motivated Jesus Christ, a first responder of sorts, to leave the comforts and splendor of heaven to come to this old world to be the Savior of a people broken, hurting, desperate, discouraged, and sometimes trapped, and pinned under the weight of life’s circumstances.  He responded to the call of His Heavenly Father and to the cries of humanity and rushed to the rescue. You have responded to a call on your life which will require you to respond to calls on a daily basis."

I pray that God will give you strength, wisdom, compassion, and endurance to spend a lifetime responding to the call! What you will do is more than a job, it is a divine calling!"

Folks, when our firefighters, our police officers, or our ambulance personnel, get a call, someone's having a bad day! They're either in trouble, been in an accident, or had a medical emergency. And don't forget, our first responders have to see hard things sometimes on a daily basis. So when you hear a siren, stop what you're doing for just a moment and say a prayer.

Pray for the ones in need and for the ones responding. And don't forget this. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you also have a calling on your life. A calling to love the hurting, to give hope to the hopeless, and to share with them how Jesus wants to help them. Just remember, Jesus has called us to be His hands and His feet in this world!

Let's pray! Lord, I pray this morning for all of our first responders. They are called on to make split second decisions every day. I pray You will give them the ability to make the right decisions. Guide their hearts, their minds and their hands. Give them strong arms, swift feet, talented hands and level heads to put on the gear and climb aboard an apparatus, or into a police cruiser, or an ambulance to change the world by changing lives one at a time. Bless them, guide them, protect them, strengthen them and encourage them as they have the privilege, honor and responsibility of responding to the call! And help us all to understand that we have a calling, no matter  our profession, to respond to human need when and where we can! Thank you for coming to our aid spiritually so we could know and understand Your great love for each of us!
In Jesus Name I pray and believe, Amen

And as Hudson so clearly stated, "If you haven't responded to the call of salvation, you can do that today! Invitation.