About one week ago a vicious gunman opened fire at a church in a small town in Texas, killing over 20 innocent people and wounding many others. I believe this is the most violent act perpetrated against a Christian church in the history of our great country. Further, there have been other acts of violence against churches in the past months and years which seem to describe an ongoing trend. It is becoming increasingly dangerous to be a follower of Jesus in our culture and to gather with God’s people on a weekend for corporate worship.
In the past few days I have been praying about just what this means for the Christian Church in general and Aspen Ridge Church in particular. Here are three ways we can all go forward:
First, we should acknowledge the evil that exists in our world and our culture. This takes the form of resistance against, and sometimes violence toward, the gospel of Jesus Christ. We were never promised that following Jesus was without danger or hardship. In fact, Jesus indicated that we would face hardships and difficulties in this world. This is a time and occasion to pull together, be courageous and stand for the gospel. It is not time to huddle in fear.
Second, since our battle is not against flesh and blood, we should pray that God will change people’s hearts around this great country and world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am persuaded that the problem is not with weapons or their availability, the problem lies in people’s desperate need for the forgiveness and leadership of Jesus Christ. Our mission is to advance the Christian message by inviting neighbors to find a home in Christ together.
Third, I believe we do have a need and opportunity to provide a measure of security for those who gather at Aspen Ridge Church. We had previously provided such support; however, the owner of our security ministry moved across the country about six months ago. Despite two discussions with qualified individuals we have not yet landed on a person to own this important ministry. I would like to ask you to gather with me in prayer this Sunday in between our regular services at 10:15 AM for needed prayer support for direction on how we put a security ministry together.
Warmly, Pastor Jeff