The Challenger – January 28, 1986
On January 28, 1986, the American shuttle orbiter Challenger broke up 73 seconds after liftoff, bringing a devastating end to the spacecraft’s 10th mission. The disaster claimed the lives of all seven astronauts aboard, including Christa McAuliffe, a teacher from New Hampshire who had been selected to join the mission and teach lessons from space to schoolchildren around the country. It was later determined that two rubber O-rings, which had been designed to separate the sections of the rocket booster, had failed due to cold temperatures on the morning of the launch. The tragedy and its aftermath received extensive media coverage and prompted NASA to temporarily suspend all shuttle missions. (from History dot com)
Where were you?
There are events in each of our histories clearly etched in our minds – we remember the precise and exact moment of a happening. We remember where we were. What we were doing. Who we were with. The Challenger catastrophe was one such event for me, as was 9.11.2001. IF you were alive, and old enough, I venture to say you could tell me exactly…
Where you were.
On January 28, 1986, 11:40 a.m., the concierge of Trump Plaza, Palm Beach, came running into my office shouting, “Oh my God, it blew up – oh my God, it blew up!” The manager, the concierge, and I took to the elevators and rode the 32 stories to the roof. We looked northeast in a stunningly beautiful blue South Florida sky and saw exactly what the above image portrays. Wreck and carnage in the sky falling into the Atlantic Ocean, so turquoise and lovely, it made us weep. The three of us just stood there, dumbfounded and shocked. A moment in time forever engraved on my mind’s tablet.
Fast forward ten or so years. I was sitting with a local artist at the conference table of the Chamber of Commerce, West Jefferson, NC, discussing a logo.
“Ah, so you are a Believer? A Christian?” I excitedly asked.
“I was born a Christian.” She replied.
Red warning flag! Born a Christian? Funny, I’ve always believed we were born with a sin nature (yet innocent). Case in point, put one cookie, or a desirable toy on the floor with three or four toddlers and see what happens!!! Not pretty!
IF we remember where we were when important events in history occurred, how much more should we remember important spiritual events. The day of our salvation…
Where were you?
Let’s see where some of our favorite women, and one man, in the New Testament were when their hearts were changed for all of eternity:
- Mary Magdalene. The moment Jesus said to her, “Mary!” And, she realized the resurrected, living Christ stood before her and exclaimed, “Teacher!” Etched for all eternity on Mary’s heart – I am His, I am born anew!
- Lydia. A successful business woman in Thyatira, Philippi. She was a God-worshiper, but did not know the resurrected Christ, until Paul visited her ladies prayer meeting one Sabbath day. Dr. Luke, a master of words, puts it like this: “The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.” Saved! Etched for all eternity on Lydia’s heart – I am the Lord’s, I am born anew!
- The Ethiopian Eunuch. A man of great authority, a worshiper, and a reader of the prophets. Yet, he didn’t have a clue that he could be a new creation in Christ! “How can I understand unless someone guides me?” He asked Philip. Philip immediately “preached Jesus to him.” The rest of this story is simply awesome – I’ll sum it up quickly. The eunuch said, “I (now) believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Born-again! Etched for all eternity on the Ethiopian’s heart – I am His – I am born anew!
- Susan Chamberlain Shipe. July 8, 1959 playing with her dolls when her sister asked her if she would go to heaven if Jesus came back right then. 8, almost 9-years old, Susie knelt on the grass in the side yard at her Buckley Avenue home, and gave her heart to Jesus. Advance a few years to 1992 to a Baptist revival invitation, a 42-year old Susan knelt alone at an empty altar and recommit her whole life to The One who gave His for her. All in! Etched for all eternity on Susan’s heart – I am Yours, Lord, forever Yours.
Where were you?
My friends, eternity is too real to not be sure. We, none of us, were ‘born a Christian’ – the Word of God gives us example after example of lives being transformed by the transforming work of Calvary. Specific events in people’s lives – a place, a time, when their life was changed, their lives were redirected because something happened inside of them. I beg each of you to answer this question for yourself,
Where were you?