Jump Start # 1970
Hebrews 9:27 “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.”
Another shooting has taken place in our country. This time, on a Sunday morning and in a church building. Many killed. Many wounded. Details will come out about the cause and motive. But you and I know the cause. It’s a world that no longer respects life, follows God nor cares about one another. The troubles of a broken world keep mounting. These mass killings are happening too much, nearly every month. It’s not guns. There was a truck in NYC that mowed down several. It’s sick and twisted hearts and souls that are lost and have no regard for life.
There are a few places that we still think ought to be off limits to wrong, and one is a house of worship. People minding their own business, peaceably worshipping God and terror strikes. Immediately our verse comes to mind. We’d like to think that when it is our time to leave this place, we will be surrounded by family, it will be a loving and memorable moment. That’s movies. It may happen as the result of violence, or a car accident. It may happen not as we thought it would be.
There are several lessons that come from this latest shooting.
First, one must live each day ready to see God. We need to be living thankfully and obediently towards God. Our lives ought to reflect that they have been touched by God’s grace. I hate what this world is turning into. I hate that my generation is handing a world to my grandchildren that is going to be fearful and not trusting of others. Life is precious. Life is a gift from God. We need to stop putting off what needs to be done. We need to say, “I love you,” more. We need to be serious about our walk with God. We must get about doing what needs to be done in our homes and in our congregations.
Second, death isn’t the end nor something to be fear as a child of God. Death is the doorway that allows us into the next room. For the believer, death is welcomed. It means that he is through with this place and all of it’s problems. He is welcomed into the arms of Jesus. We get so fixated with death that we forget that there is something beyond death. Death is merely a process, like birth, that takes us from one room to the next. Death isn’t the end of the story. This deranged shooter in Texas that died, either by his own hands or in a shoot out, found out immediately that it wasn’t over. It’s never over. There is no ‘the end’ to our story. We live on. Connecting to our first point, those that are walking with Jesus, death is welcomed and seen as a way to be with the Lord. Those who don’t know God, death is to be feared. It’s not the death, but the eternity that is found afterwards. A person doesn’t go to Heaven because they were a victim of crime. A person doesn’t go to Heaven because they died trying to help others. Heaven is for those who have chosen to walk with God. They have put God at the top of their lists and the top of their hearts. Their lives illustrate that. They are forgiving. They are kind. They are helpful. Death is never the end.
Third, our country continues to be shocked by senseless brutality. Folks do not see that this is where evolutionary and atheistic thinking leads to. Life without God isn’t pretty, fair nor kind. Life, with no accountability except to self, ends up doing whatever a person feels like. No standards. No rules. No guidelines. No examples. Without foundations under us, storms will cause us to collapse. The only real foundation is God. Congress will be pressured to pass some laws to prevent more killings. It won’t work. TV talk shows will analyze what needs to be fixed, but no one will mention God. That’s the problem. Lives without God are without any direction, purpose or restraints. A person will do whatever they feel like.
Fourth, it is time for congregations to get serious about security. We do not live in Mayberry anymore. Little churches in little towns, like what happened yesterday in Texas, reminds us that this could happen anywhere. Leaders in congregations need to get past the 1950’s thinking. The weekly contribution should not be taken right back up to the front where people can see all the money just sitting there. Immediately, put it in a secure place. Someone ought to be in the lobby to watch the doors. Front doors may need to be locked after services begin, which means some families need to begin getting there on time. Discussions need to take place about what should be done in case of an emergency. Get the head out of the sand and realize our world is ugly, dangerous and we need to take steps to help our people be safe.
Finally, because of these shootings, we can live in fear, or we can walk by faith. If we are living righteously and walking with God, the worst thing that can happen is someone takes my life. Jesus said do not fear the one who can take your life and do no more. Events like the Texas shooting can make us mean and hateful toward others. We can’t let that happen. It can make us want to keep all outsiders out. We can’t let that happen. We must continue to reach the lost. We must continue to let Christ live in our hearts. We must continue to be kind, forgiving and helpful. We let the enemy win when they cause us to be changed or to live in fear. Be smart. Take precautions. Let’s continue to live righteously and joyously, knowing that some day we are out of this place and in a place that will forever be secure and good.
Sinful people making wrong choices too often touches the lives of innocent and good people. When will this stop? When the Lord comes and this world ends. Until then, we continue on. We will meet Sunday. We will worship. Fear will not stop us. Bad people will not prevent us. And we live, knowing it won’t be long and all of this will be over. This certainly isn’t Heaven.
Our prayers are for the families that have lost loved ones. May their hearts not turn to anger. May they find comfort in the Lord.
Come, Lord Jesus!