“Going In”

by Skip Straus Emergency Ministries

GOD gives us the courage and strength to do what we do. And HE gives us a promise – that HE will be with us wherever we go!

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

Chaplain Skip Straus

FDNY firefighter Mike Kehoe was interviewed by a British newspaper (The Mirror) shortly after 9-11.01. He said to the reporter, “Our job was to get up to the floor where the plane had actually hit to reach people there and that’s what we were determined to do.” He says: “As we were going up, people were saying, ‘Good luck’, ‘lots of luck’ and things like that. Sure I was frightened – but I was just doing my job and wish we could have done more.”

In our verse this month, we look at the courage that our REAL CHIEF gave Joshua. Joshua was Moses’ aide… his deputy Chief, if you will. You might remember that when Moses’ died, our REAL CHIEF spoke to Joshua and put him in command of taking the Israelites into the Promised Land. Joshua was selected from his own tribe (Ephraim) when the 12 spies were sent into Canaan to look over the land. Only Joshua and Caleb (who represented the tribe of Judah) were ready to follow God’s will and take immediate possession of the land (see Numbers 14:26-34), though all the others said things like, “Oh, no, our enemy is too big… or too many.” Joshua was ready to “get after it.” Why? In the face of overwhelming odds, why attack?

Let’s try to look at it this way. Let’s say you and your crew are first-in at a working structure fire. It is a one story frame building with heavy smoke and flames visible. As your crew begins stretching line, a lady runs up to you, “Hurry, my family is still inside!” You advise dispatch that there are confirmed reports of people trapped and you lead your team into a blazing inferno of a wooden home, knowing the danger… knowing the difficulties. And why did you enter that house? Because lives were at stake. It’s the old saying, “Risk little to save little, risk a lot to save a lot.” You entered that house because of your willingness to serve and because GOD has given you the desire and the training to “run in when the roaches are running out.”

GOD gives us the courage and strength to do what we do. And HE gives us a promise – that HE will be with us wherever we go! Knowing that helps promote that courage doesn’t it? I mean, don’t we find ourselves actually liking the adrenaline rush of facing danger?

Those of you who know me or read my articles know that my hobby is scuba diving. In particular, I love diving with sharks. When people learn this, I get asked all the time, “Why in the world do you like scuba diving with sharks? Aren’t you scared?” Well, duh! hehehe… that’s part of the reason that I love it… the adrenaline rush. I have also been rock climbing and skydiving.

But, at least for me, scuba diving has been excellent stress relief. Now, I won’t even pretend to tell you that shark diving is great stress relief and you should do it. It’s most definitely not for everyone. But, what I can tell you is that I thrive on the strength and fortitude that I believe GOD has given me to have gone into fires, into tenements, into “the hood” and into the ocean.

Breath this prayer with me – Thank You, LORD, for instilling in me a desire to serve… a desire to go into danger as others flee… a desire to serve others. Thank You for Your promise that You will be the Incident Commander on the firegrounds of my life.

I love watching our REAL CHIEF at work around us and I love serving alongside you… …On HIS Shift,

About the Author: J.C. “Skip” Straus started in EMS in 1973, while still a senior in High School, and became a paramedic in 1976. He joined his first volunteer fire department in 1978. He worked full time in EMS for 14 years, took 11 years “off” and did safety consulting, then re-entered the EMS world in 2000. He spent his last ten years working “the hood” in a large city and in a metropolitan suburb city, the last two of which he served as a Paramedic Captain.

He began taking seminary courses from Andersonville Theological Seminary in 1997. After only eleven ‘short’ years, he graduated in October of 2009 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Pastoral Counseling. He obtained his Master’s Degree in April of 2011. He was ordained as a non-denominational Christian Pastor in September of 1999.

Skip founded Emergency Ministries in December of 1998. The ministry now provides Chaplaincy for several Emergency Service agencies and over 4,000 personnel.

Chaplain Skip, as he is known, is a Board Certified Crisis Chaplain (American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress), a Nationally Registered Paramedic, and is the CEO and Senior Chaplain of Emergency Ministries. He is a speaker and writer. He has authored almost five hundred “Stress Relief” articles, two of which appear in the devotional section in the back of the Firefighter’s Bible (Holman’s Christian Standard Bible – ISBN: 1586400975).

Skip also serves as a Critical Incident Stress Management consultant to the offshore industry in his role as Vice President of Global Operations for CISM International. He was one of four counselors sent to debrief the survivors of the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Chaplain lives in a suburb of Houston, Texas with his wife Cindy and their dog, Harley. They have four children and three grandchildren.

Skip is an avid scuba diver and underwater photographer. He says ‘stress relief’ for him involves diving with the sharks. Go figure.

Copyright © 2012 Chaplain Skip Straus and Emergency Ministries.