Some Bullet Point Thoughts about the School Shooting in Parkland, Florida

• Don’t just share the hashtag #PrayForParklandFlorida., or type “prayers sent”, etc. Actually, stop and pray for the families involved, the school staff, and the churches in the area as they help one another.

• Are we so self-absorbed (in the best possible usage of the term) that we really don’t care enough to begin praying bold heartfelt prayers, having meaningful conversations, and making a difference where we live?

• Don’t make this a conversation about needing more laws or more gun control. Laws do not change a heart. Laws do not fix mental illness or evil. Regardless of where you stand politically, this is not a gun issue.

• For me, the conversation is about how do we handle mental illness and the ever-increasing spiritual darkness in our nation. Like, if Jesus was here in the flesh right now, would he call that mental illness or would He cast out a demon? If we see a homeless guy running around a cemetery naked and wild (Luke 8:26-39), we would call that mental illness, but Jesus called it demonic. I’m not saying we should blame everything on a demon, and I don’t think a prayer fixes all mental illness issues, but I do believe it is both are issues, not one or the other.

• It bothers me that this type of tragedy has become common enough that we seem to have developed a numbness to it. It is “just had another school shooting”. We get more outraged over common things that happen like someone cutting us off in traffic, or our “fries being cold again” when we go through the drive-through. We get more brokenhearted over what happened on “This is Us” or when a favorite musician dies of a drug overdose.

• It bothers me that we get more vocal and passionate about the political conversations surrounding a tragedy rather than the spiritual conversations that need to be happening.

• At the end of the day, we need Jesus. Evil will always be present and active, but the spiritual apathy of supposed Christ-followers and our churches, only allows the darkness to spread. We are called to be light in the darkness. Light and darkness cannot co-exist. As light increases, darkness decreases.

“All it takes for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing”. Apathy is killing us. Fear of offending someone is killing us. The “It’s not my problem” attitude is killing us.

 

 

Where is God During Tragedy?

Difficulty, difficult days, and difficult seasons of time are a normal part of our lives. I encouraged you to remember who God is, to remember what God can do, and I encouraged you to allow God to keep working through and through you regardless of the circumstances surrounding you.

Tragedy is something we have no control over. It comes will no warning and as no respecter of person, circumstance, title, or age. When tragedy arrives everything else stops. Our schedules no longer matter. Our to-do lists no longer matter. Time seems to stop and freeze. Our minds become numb with disbelieve and denial. The reality of the tragedy simply overwhelms our minds.

Tragedy comes in all forms and scopes; national, regional, community, personal, and even private. In the case of a community tragedy like a tornado, hurricane, etc… the entire region is touched and pauses to hurt and help. If it is a personal tragedy, our close family and friends are touched and pause to aid us. And there are times that the tragedy is very private and few people realize what the individual is coping with that day.

The reality is that every single day tragedy occurs somewhere around us. People die, find out they have a terminal illness, lose businesses, have house fires, are abused, throw away their potential through addiction, etc. Everyday people ask the question, “Where was God when “blank” happened?”

An equal reality is that our loving God is always there in the midst of the tragedy. Life happens! Scripture says, “It rains on the just and the unjust”. We want to live our lives as we choose, then call on God to help us on an emergency basis, and to protect us from anything bad or difficult. God is not some sort of genie in a bottle wanting to grant us our three wishes.

In Revelation 12:12 God himself is quoted, “ Rejoice you heavens, and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows his time is short.” There is a real enemy who according to Jesus in John 10:10, is here only to kill, steal, and destroy. God has sent Jesus to provide live and live to the fullest.

When tragedy hits, remember that God is there with you. You are never alone. He will provide peace and strength in the midst of your storm. Trust Him. Even you don’t understand. Even when you can’t His hand, trust His heart. God will use every single that happens in your life, good and bad, to make you who He wants you to be! Let tough times, the storms or life, and even tragedy to draw you closer to God. When all is said and done, God will always prove to be faithful!

Tragedy. Evil. Love Trumps Hate.

A few days ago, singer Christina Grimmie, of Voice-fame, was gunned down as she signed autographs after a concert. Then, today, Sunday, June 12th, a gunman, shouting “Allah Akbar”, murdered at least 50 people, and injured another 53 people in a packed Orlando Florida nightclub during a nearly four-hour siege from 2:00-6:00am Sunday morning, before the SWAT teams stormed the building and killed him. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack calling the gunman an “Islamic State fighter”.

One event is a senseless murder, and the other is another, equally senseless, radical Islamic terrorist attack. It was the worst terrorist attack on our soil since 9/11. Whether it’s a national-level tragedy like today, or the personal, more private tragedies that happen every single day, evil knows no boundaries. We live in a broken, dark, depraved world.

I cannot imagine the level of evil required to walk into a packed nightclub, or to a signature line, or a school, or an office party, etc and just start shooting. But I do know evil obviously exist and is intent on destruction.  I have lived in a small town (Carlinville, IL) for the past 16 years.  In that time, even our small, safe, friendly town has seen tremendous tragedy.  Beyond the young people who have died WAY to young due to car accidents, suicide,  drugs, drunk driving, or disease, we have had shootings and murder here even.  Sheer evil exist in every corner of the world, even in small hometowns where “nothing ever happens here”.

In Revelation 12:10-12 the story is told of a war in heaven, and Satan being thrown out.  It says Satan was “hurled to earth, and angels with him”.  God’s commentary was, “The accuser (Satan) has been hurled down. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”

Evil will not end.  More laws, including gun control ones, do not change the human heart. Only Christ can change the human heart.  Hope is found in Christ, and in Christ alone.  Everything else will always come up short.

The best response you can make to rampant evil expressing its ugly reality is to start chasing after the heart of God full speed!  Some of you who are reading this post feel the Spirit of God stirring you right now.  You know you need to make a decision about living your life a little more intentionally.  You know God is turning your heart toward Him.  He feel him right now.  Turn tragedy into triumph!

Bring your anger, fear, and broken hearts to Him.  He is broken-hearted by what happened today too. In the midst of tragedy and absolute darkness, there is ALWAYS hope in Christ.  That doesn’t mean evil stops or goes away.  It means that the light of Christ is greater than the deepest darkness evil can create.  It doesn’t mean that the pain goes away.  It means that   Love wins!… Hope wins!… Peace wins!… because Jesus has already won!

The best way to overcome evil is to give everything to Christ.  Total, and absolute surrender.  How that passage in Rev 12 says it is “They triumphed over him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”

Take something Satan mean for destruction and let God use it to transform you!