Teach What You Learned

Pastor Don Carpenter / General

9/11 Anniversery / Comfort; Remember / 2 Corinthians 1:3–4

2 Corinthians 1:3 KJV

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

2 Corinthians 1:4 KJV

Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

The worst attack on America since Pearl Harbor December 7 1941 occured 18 years ago today when the towers fell.  18 years ago!!!  That means anyone under 25 probably has little or no first hand recollection of the events of that fateful day.  That also means that we must remember those events and what we learned.  It means we must not only remember, but pass on what we learned.

Our passage this evening tells us that the God of all comfort comforts us as believers.  He protects.  He Leads He Guides.  He does that so that we can in turn comfort, teach, lead and guide others.  This evening are going to remember some major lessons from that day and teach the next generation what this generation learned.

Life is Temporary

James 4:14 KJV

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

1 Peter 1:24 KJV

For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

Genelle Guzman McMillan wanted a change from her home in Trinidad, so she moved to New York in 1998. In order to stay in New York, McMillan knew she needed to get a good, steady job. She couldn’t believe it when she was hired at one of the World Trade Towers and was excited as she began her first day there on January 19, 2001. She made many friends through work–including live-in boyfriend, Roger–and spent each weekend partying.

On the morning of 9/11 she went to her job on the 64th floor. She and her coworkers heard a loud crash and the building moved. They stayed on the 64th floor until it became known what had happened.

Genelle and a coworker started down one of the stairwells and made it to the 13th floor. That is when the whole building collapsed. Amazingly, steel and concrete had pinned her where she was; she was injured, but she was alive. She lay there unable to move, rethinking her life.

Twenty-seven hours after the building collapsed, she was able to push her hand through a few inches of rubble above her head and felt someone’s warm hand close around hers. Then she heard a male voice say to her: “I’ve got you, Genelle. My name is Paul,” he told her. “You’re going to be okay. They’re going to get you out soon.”

She heard other voices, sirens and a light. “They’re here,” Paul said. “I’m going to go and let them do their jobs and get you out.”

Genelle was the last survivor pulled from the World Trade Center. There were three things she promised God she would do as soon as she got out of the hospital: get baptized, marry her boyfriend Roger, and find Paul, the one who first held her hand.

On November 7, after 6 weeks in the hospital, 4 surgeries and hours of physical therapy and rehabilitation, she kept two promises she made while trapped under the rubble. She and Roger got married at City Hall, and Genelle was baptized that evening into Jesus Christ.

But Paul? She never found him. Who was he? No one knew, no one had ever heard of him. She called her preacher and asked him. They discussed another Paul, the one in the Bible who was totally in the dark, like Genelle, and fought against God until he saw the light.

Adversity Unites Us

James 1:2 KJV

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

James 1:3 KJV

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

James 1:4 KJV

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Ephesians 4:3 KJV

Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

I’m the daughter of a nurse and an FDNY rescue officer. When the first plane hit, I called my father. He assured me Rescue 1 would get there and everything would be fine. When both towers were in flames, I called again, urging him to put the TV on. “I have to go,” he said. I knew he was headed there.

I wouldn’t have contact with him again until I saw him on the 12th with pebbles in his eyes, covered head to toe in dust, soaking wet and shaking. He was one of many who had inhaled toxins for hours, as they dug with their hands, to get to a man trapped dozens of feet in the debris pile. The rescue was successful. But I remember the sick, hollow feeling I had at that moment, as I wondered if my father and his fellow heroes had even thought about the magnitude of their own loss.


We remember the desperate calls to loved ones, the heartfelt concern for people in harm’s way. We remember what it felt like, as a nation, to lose our innocence.

And we remember what we did in the face of it all.

We united. That might seem implausible in these divided days, but we really did unite. Everyday people joined together to help one another. We began to restore our hope and faith in humanity together.

On our nation’s darkest day, goodness prevailed. The everyday hero in all of us made sure of it. We came together through acts of kindness in ways we never imagined.

It’s important to share these stories with children, so they remember.

We remember storeowners providing shelter, health-care providers tending to the wounded, first responders and members of the military risking their lives, desperately searching for survivors.

We remember the U.S. Coast Guard’s call to boaters and the many who responded to help hundreds of thousands of people to safety that day.

We remember people creating tributes across cities and states and our American flag being hoisted over Ground Zero by three FDNY members. It would be an early warning signal to the world: Our American spirit wouldn’t be shattered.

We remember the people waving flags outside of Ground Zero and holding signs that said, “God Bless America,” “Thank you,” and more.

We remember iron, steel workers, electricians, members of other trades and civilians alongside first responders through the recovery efforts. We remember the first responders from across the U.S. and the world coming to help and the overwhelming outpouring of love and support.

We remember countless volunteers in various capacities helping complete strangers. We found the everyday hero in all of us and harnessed our strengths to positively impact the people around us.

On America’s darkest day, goodness triumphed. Acts of great courage and compassion overshadowed the evilest of deeds.

It’s difficult to talk about because discussing it takes us right back, as if 18 years haven’t passed and a generation of kids haven’t been born after it.

But talk about it we must, so children can remember goodness as the victor. We must etch these stories into the being of future generations so our stories live on for centuries to come. We owe it to the fallen.

In such divided times, we can all benefit from the retelling of stories of unity and the fortitude of our American spirit.

SEP 11, 2019 | 5:00 AM

We All Need God

Psalm 63:1 KJV

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee:

My soul thirsteth for thee,

My flesh longeth for thee

In a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;

Psalm 63:2 KJV

To see thy power and thy glory,

So as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.

Christian retailers and publishers have reported Bible sales skyrocketed 20%-30% in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Some industry leaders say this is a time for aggressive ministry outreach, and not the time to shave marketing and advertising dollars because of a softening economy. (CBA Online 10/8/01)

We Must Stand As A Nation Against Evil

Romans 13:3 KJV

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

Right after the 9/11 attacks, the president addressed the nation. He said, “A great people have been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot shake the foundation of America” In other words, “even though we just experienced one of the worst days in American history, we’re going to make it We’re going to survive Because this nation is built on something solid This nation has a sure foundation”

Greater Love Was on Display

John 15:13 KJV

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

FDNY Captain Jay Jonas and five other firefighters from Ladder 6 responded immediately to the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11. When they entered the lobby of the north tower, the south tower was hit. Carrying 100 pounds of gear, they began to ascend the stairwell of the south tower. When they reached the 27th floor, the building began to shake. Jonas ordered his men to evacuate. When they reached the 20th floor they saw a woman, Josephine Harris, standing in the doorway who was paralyzed in fear, crying. Instead of leaving her, they decided to carry her down. When they reached the 4th floor, the bldg caved in around them. They survived because they were still in the stairwell. Ironically, their lives were saved because they risked their lives for another, “whoever wants to save his life will lose it, whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”

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