10 Years Ago Today…

Ten years ago today, on October 7, 2007, Terri and I stepped out in faith and rededicated our lives to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We made our renewed profession of faith in a public baptism at a small, local church we had started attending several weeks before. A couple of months earlier we had taken a horseback ride up a mountainside near Taos, New Mexico. Neither of us are exactly sure what happened up on that mountain, but a spiritual transformation took root. Perhaps our spirits were overwhelmed by soaking in the majestic grandeur of God’s creation. Our souls were certainly hungry for God, even though we didn’t know it at the time we’d planned our trip. Yet, while we were yet sinners, God was faithful in His pursuit of us.

The decade since we set out on our faith journey has been a rollercoaster ride of high highs and low lows. There have been incredible, inexplicable highs–like Terri and I getting married, my being ordained as a minister, and the joy of performing several weddings. But to be sure, it hasn’t been all wine and roses. No, there have been dark moments like getting the left foot of fellowship, burying a good friend’s wife and 13-year-old daughter and our 24-year old niece in the course of a few months, and having to say goodbye too soon to another great friend and co-laborer in Christ earlier this year. Yes, there have been difficult valleys to traverse and hard mountains to climb. But through it all, God has remained faithful in seeing us through the difficult times. His comfort has been immeasurable; His love beyond amazing.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (ESV)

Terri and I have both marveled at how God has used us to share the Gospel all throughout the DFW metroplex as well as in different parts of the World. Through our involvement with the ministries of Operation Christmas Child, Terri had the joy of sharing the love of Jesus in Tanzania and through our home church she also had the opportunity to minister to the people of Barranquilla, Colombia.  We even had the opportunity to take a Bible study tour in Israel in 2012. God has left us speechless and breathless numerous times throughout the past decade.

Through our stewardship in leading our church’s outreach to Union Gospel Mission, we’ve had the privilege of sharing God’s Word and praying with a multitude of men and women to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior.

And to top it all off, most Sunday mornings I have the honor of helping lead our congregation in worship.

While taking up our cross and following Jesus hasn’t been the easiest road, it has been indescribably thrilling. For that, Terri and I are truly thankful. We look forward to the next ten years unless of course our Lord returns beforehand. Then we’ll celebrate singing His praises in Heaven.

God is good all the time and all the time God is good!

‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ Mark 12:30 (ESV)

 

 

When Darkness Falls

Don’t forget in the darkness what God promised you in the light. ~Mark Jones

A senseless act, by definition, defies logic and rationale. Whatever the Las Vegas killer’s motivation may have been, it doesn’t matter. I’m sure he saw his actions as justifiable. But what spurned him to do this horrific thing really doesn’t matter to me. The weapons he chose to use, the method he used to execute his plan, none of that matter to me. I simply don’t care.

I don’t care if he was doing it name of Allah or another god. I don’t care if he did what he did because he was a pissed off Republican or a dissatisfied Democrat. I don’t care if he did it because he was upset about statues, the NFL, the President, the left, the right, the middle, or that his girlfriend broke up with him. Whatever he thought was justification enough for him to unload hell on earth upon unsuspecting people doesn’t matter a hill of beans to me.

His actions don’t prove that God doesn’t love us or that the Lord has abandoned us. His actions prove nothing. His actions only hurt and terrorize a nation and a world already on edge. His actions only serve as a reminder that evil does exist. Evil doesn’t need a cause to rear its nasty head. Evil is self-deceiving by nature and all-consuming. It sucks out life and light wherever it finds a home. Evil kills, murders, maims, injures, wounds and destroys. Evil does what it does because it’s evil.

Evil lies. Like there is any reason that anyone could ever give you that would make you say “Oh yeah! I get it now.” There’s not. We’ve been through enough of these types of events to know better. And no, it won’t be the last. Sadly, it probably won’t even be the worst. One day evil will up the ante. It always does.

Let’s not allow this to become another platform for our individual views on weapons,  politics, or whatever. Let’s focus on the people whose lives were extinguished, the hundreds that were wounded, and the thousands that were violated. Let’s celebrate them. Let’s help them. Let’ love them.

We live in a world of differing views and perspectives. We don’t agree. We won’t agree. Democracy is not about agreement. Democracy is about acceptance in light of our disagreements. We’re different. Let’s get over that already. 

Let’s not make this about politics, gun control, or even terrorism. To do that would be giving the gunman’s wicked rationale a leg to stand on. He doesn’t deserve that. At best, he deserves our prayers and forgiveness. But I’m not sure we’re there yet. I know I’m not. I doubt his family is. They need our prayers. Imagine what they must be thinking and going through. Imagine if your loved one did this.

star-clusters-67616_1920What then?

For starters, if you are able, be a doer. Help those affected by the tragic events in Las Vegas by lending a helping hand, a listening ear, or by donating blood, or giving them a hug. Let those who lived through it know that you love them, regardless of who they are, what they believe, or even the music they listen to.

Another action that you can take regardless of where you stand in proximity to the shooting is prayer. Pray with them and for them. Pray early. Pray often. Pray now. This is going to be hard to get over. To date, there’s been no larger act of violence than this in America,  9/11 respectfully aside. Prayer is a powerful weapon. Prayer is more than just an expression of good thoughts and kind words. Thoughts and words are limited. Prayer is not.

Be there. Be present. Be in the moment. Talk. Listen. Lend a shoulder to cry on and arms to wrap around those who need comfort.

Whatever you do, don’t let this become another platform to divide us. That’s what evil wants to do. Kill our joy. Kill our hope. Kill us.  Instead, let your light shine.

Pray. Do. Be.

God is good all the time, all the time God is good.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:5 (ESV)

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Praying for Las Vegas. Praying for America.