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Potential Y2K computer crisis could be time to share food, faith

ATLANTA (BP)–If food shortages develop at the turn of the century, believers should use their resources to share their faith, said a leading Christian financial adviser.
“If it means that you can only eat a fourth of a meal per day rather than a full meal per day, and you can feed four other people, eat a fourth of a meal and feed four unsaved people,” said Larry Burkett.
His comments came from an upcoming book on the Year 2000 computer problem. Often called “Y2K,” the term refers to problems that could arise from old computer programs misinterpreting dates ending in “00” as meaning 1900.
That may cause computer malfunctions or shutdowns that could interrupt various utilities, food deliveries and other services come Jan. 1, 2000.
Christians should be prepared to share their provisions in case of such interruptions, Burkett said in the book, “Y2K: The Millennium Bug, A Balanced Christian Response,” to be released in early November by Multnomah Publishers.
“If this is the opportunity that God has provided, take maximum use of that opportunity,” Burkett said.
“Why does God put us here in the first place?” he asked. “Like (the Apostle) Paul said, ‘If this life is all that we ever see, we are to be most pitied among all men.’ Do we believe that or don’t we …? If (so), then our job is to take these people who are going to hell and lead them into salvation.”
A Southern Baptist, Burkett is a member of Blackshear Baptist Church in Oakwood, Ga. He is one of several well-known evangelicals whose views appear in the book, written by Shaunti Feldhahn, an Atlanta resident who became familiar with Year 2000 while working on Wall Street.
In addition, she helped organize Joseph Project 2000, a nonprofit organization working to help Georgians prepare for potential problems. It is co-sponsoring a community forum on the topic Sept. 12 at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Burkett , one of the featured speakers at the forum, is the founder of Christian Financial Concepts, a ministry that emphasizes God’s principles of money management.
If churches are prepared to share food, water and power if a crisis erupts, it would create great opportunities, he said in the book, similar to Joseph’s seven years of plenty and seven years of lean (outlined in Genesis 41-50). However, if Christians fail to prepare, he said they will get caught up in the predicament, he predicted.
“We (would) become just as fearful and frightened and frustrated as everybody else,” he said. “Probably we (would be) the ones out there crying and begging and pleading and robbing, just like everyone else. That will be the problem.”
Y2K preparations must include a spiritual dimension, added Henry Blackaby, an advisor to presidents of three Southern Baptist Convention agencies and author of the popular “Experiencing God” discipleship course.
Christians need to repent of trusting in modern conveniences, Blackaby told Feldhahn.
“When your heart shifts from God to technology, then you have sinned against God,” he said.
“But God never allows His people’s heart to shift without discipline. So this 2000 glitch may be one of God’s premier warnings to His people to say, ‘If you put your trust in this, it will fail. There is no technology of man that will not fail, but there is One that will never fail.'”
A large segment of Christian leaders blame this situation on Satan, attributing everything negative to spiritual warfare, Blackaby said. But he said he believes such a view excludes the possibility of God’s discipline.
The SBC leader said he has always feared God much more than the devil, because Scripture contains many examples of God’s judgment falling on His people.
“As go God’s people, so goes the world,” Blackaby said. “I have consistently said the condition of America is a reflection of the condition of the people of God. It’s not Hollywood; it’s not Washington.
“Jesus said, ‘You’re the salt.’ What happens when the salt loses its saltiness? There’s nothing to preserve. So you don’t fault that which is decaying; you fault the salt … it’s getting darker because the light is not acting like its nature.”
Still, many see this as a technological instead of a spiritual problem, he said, noting that he is “astounded” at average Christians never including God in their daily conversation.
Blackaby outlined a three-step process for responding to the dilemma, including Christians turning their hearts toward God, adjusting to him and obeying his call.
The change must begin with our hearts and relationship to the cross, he said, noting that’s where God’s love overwhelms us and turns us back to the Lord as his servants.
“If we do not begin there, He will never have an opportunity to speak to us, because we will never be listening,” Blackaby said. “God always listens and is always ready to respond.”
Christ indicted the church at Ephesus for leaving its first love, Blackaby said, even though it was spiritually orthodox and faithful to religious activities — just like today’s church.
Christians also need to make the major adjustments required for the Lord to be the God of our churches, lives and workplaces, he said.
God’s children must also be obedient, Blackaby continued. “The early church was this way,” he said. “They spontaneously responded to God’s call. But that would never had happened had they not had an intimate relationship with God first.
“They saw the disaster as part of God’s plan and responded instantly. That is the biggest signal that you can have a heart shift back to God, when you release everything you are and everything you have back to His power.”

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  • Ken Walker