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Creation Care: Can Our Planet Survive?

By Bill Hybels | Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Copmmunity Church, South Barrington, Illinois.

Genesis 1:1, Genesis 1:28; Psalms 24:1

There has been subject matter that God has heated up in my heart that I've talked to you about, sometimes repeatedly. Then there are other subject matters that I don't even know why they took a little while to get heated up in me; and I feel badly about that because God has heated up this subject matter in some of you, and you're ahead of me. So I'm really glad that we're going to invest this weekend the way we are. Again, I apologize for not bringing up the subject matter earlier.

You all know that Genesis 1:1 (NIV) says, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Then God asked us to take care of the earth. He said, "I still own it; I'm just asking you to take care of it until I build a new one." Psalms 24 puts it this way: "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it" (Psalms 24:1).

The oceans, forests, plains, rivers, lakes—all of that—it all belongs to God. You heard the old hymn earlier, "This Is My Father's World." In the early chapters of Genesis, God gives instructions as to how we're supposed to take care of this planet. There are really four key instructions that He delivered. He said He wanted us to subdue it, rule over it, work it and take care of it.

Subdue It

What does God mean when He says, "Subdue the earth"?

A few years ago at the Leadership Summit, I was giving a final talk to close the conference. A woman got out of her seat and started coming down the aisle. I could tell she had that look in her eye: She was going to make her way up onto the stage.

Now we have security people in every one of our public services, and I was confident that our security folks would intercept her. Just before she got to the stage, sure enough, one of our security people slipped out of the row and kind of put his arm around her and he subdued her. Now that doesn't mean he man-handled her. It doesn't mean he took her into the lobby and beat her. He didn't Taser® her. He didn't mistreat her in any way. All he did was bring her into conformity with the behavioral standards of the event. He walked her into the lobby, and calmed her down.

The ironic thing—this is a bit of an aside—but just as he intercepted her, she turned to the whole crowd and she said, "What you're hearing Mr. Hybels say is from God. Every word of it is from God." I was like, "Stop subduing her; give her a microphone!"

To finish the story, her medication had just gotten off. She was a delightful woman really. I had a chance to interact with her via e-mail after that. She apologized, and I told her worse stuff has happened before and will in the future. But the security guys just subdued her; they brought her into conformity with some standards.

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