Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Friday, February 23, 2018

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Pray hard, live smart, Amigos.

Another outburst of gun violence in a Florida school has folks talking again about what to do to keep us safe from such barbarities. In particular, our church is discussing having a security plan, including some folks authorized to carry firearms. That always raises several questions for me. I am a gun owner and have been shooting since I was a kid. My dad and my Uncle Charlie got me going early and often. Beer cans and squirrels lived in continual terror. Nearly everybody I knew had a gun of some kind, yet nobody got shot. When I came to the Lord, I got rid of all weapons except one old beat up shotgun. I really don’t want to shoot anyone. So, looking through my own eyes, here are some random thoughts:

· I’m a Christian. I would rather die myself than dispatch someone else to hell.

· I’m a Christian. I believe that God gives His angels charge over me to keep me from goofballs.

· I’m a husband. If anyone tries to harm my wife, that is a different animal. I will do whatever is necessary to protect her.

· I’m a man. It is in my genes to protect the weak and innocent.

· I’m a pastor. Our doors are open to anyone who comes in. Some are unstable. Some seem to hate us for being who we are. I will exercise wisdom and take necessary precautions to be sure people are safe.

· I’m not stupid. I know people in my congregation carry guns. It’s Arizona. When people are in a threatening situation they do not always think clearly, nor are their hands steady. To avoid catastrophe, we need a plan in place.

I believe in healing for the physical body, I expect to live in health, but I carry health insurance. I believe in dispatching angels to protect us, I expect our church to be safe, but I’m not against having a little protection insurance.

Somebody Said: With violence, as with so many other concerns, human nature is the problem, but human nature is also the solution. Steven Pinker

Scripture Reading: The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe. (Proverbs 18:10 NKJV)

As a Christian, my heart breaks for the Florida victims and their families. I wish I had an answer I could give the government for how to prevent such things. The government does such a great job, how could that be a problem? On the other hand, I see a young man who has had a very difficult life. He was tormented and made any number of behavioral and verbal cries for help. He was screaming, “Stop me!” As a man, a Christian, and a pastor, I ask, “Is there something we can do to help young men deal with the rejections, frustrations, and inevitable conflicts of life?” I know there is, but it requires intentionally paying attention to the often inarticulate cries of the tormented. I’m pretty sure the core issue is not guns or mental health or government programs. It lies in the hearts of men. That is the unique purview of the Church.

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
Office: 520-792-3238

Visit us on YouTube to taste the goodness @FCFTucson.

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