In the middle of our celebration of love yesterday, while we were exchanging cards with sweethearts and cherished friends to express our affection, a grenade of sorrow landed blowing up our good feelings, leaving us shaking our heads and shedding tears. An 18 year man walked into a high school in south Florida and shot 17 to death, wounding 14 more, at last report. In the last several years this has become a story too familiar to us. Remember our shock over the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999? That day our nation was shaken at the news of two boys with rifles who took 11 lives in their high school before ending their own. Two decades later school shooting are happening, on average, more than 50 times each year!! Something is desperately wrong with America.
I refuse to shake my head and just ‘move on’ any longer! Like that weeping ex-FBI agent on CNN last who broke down in the middle of his report, declaring “I can’t do it, I can’t do it,” I will not accept that is the new normal. This is a time to put away our rhetoric, to stop blaming the ‘other party,’ to forget about tinkering with laws that won’t restrain angry, often mentally unbalanced, people determined to kill.
This is a spiritual crisis and it is time for Christ’s church to go to her knees to seek wisdom and take to her feet to strengthen families and communities. Singing our songs on Sunday morning isn’t enough. Gathering in our safe building to hear insipid sermons that comfort us while the world is burning down, just isn’t good enough for me now. God needs people who will weep until they have heard from Heaven and who will stand up to serve. Yes, many in this godless land will mock us. This week, on a major network, a commentator blatantly said that ‘hearing Jesus speak’ is a sign of mental illness. I’m not angry at her, I just want to let her see that she is simply wrong. How? When the overflow of supernaturally empowered service that begins to turn the tide!
We need to ‘hear from Jesus!’ Pastors need to re-discover the Truth and speak it, wisely, lovingly, and with the anointing of the Spirit of God. Christians need to get over their fixation with trying to “save the culture” by electing people who say things they like to hear and get on with caring for the poor, embracing the fatherless with real care, rebuilding Sunday Schools that really teach the Scripture, and most of all – pray, pray, pray – not fearful, whiny prayers for God’s protection, but rather bold prayers that say, “Lord, send me to serve, regardless of late nights, rejection, fatigue, or inconvenience. I’m ready to die to my Self to do what You want me to do.”
A legacy like that of William Wilberforce, who spent his life combating the slave trade, enduring criticism and rejection, is what I desire. William Booth, a Methodist preacher, walked the squalid slums of London and said it had to change. He founded the Salvation Army and changed that city for God, by caring for those society had forgotten. Many pastors mocked his street preaching and some even reviled him for disturbing the ‘natural order’ of things!
I will preach Christ, Crucified, Savior, and Lord. I will not be a militant, I will be a man of love. I will not take up a political cause, I’ll take up my Bible and tell anybody who will listen that Jesus loves them, that He will save them from their sins, and I will see lives changed, so help me God. I am mad at Hell and I am not going to take it any longer.
An ancient king of Judah knew that the kingdom was in jeopardy. He assembled the people and led them in prayer before going out to battle. The armies of Hell stand at the gates to kill and destroy. Families are being shattered. America is at a breaking point.
So, I take an excerpt of his prayer to as the word from the Word today. “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. … See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” (2 Chronicles 20:6-12, NIV)
Abba, forgive us for our impotence,
born of our love of comfort and our apathy.
Rouse Your Church!
Shut our mouths and open our hearts.
Forgive us, O Lord, for our foolish idolization of
political leaders who we imagine to be our saviors.
Make us broken, rip open our hearts.
Fill our eyes with tears, not of self-pity,
but for those enslaved by Satan,
battered by evil, and lost to Your love.
Send ME with new passion for those who need You.
Give ME hands that serve tirelessly.
Take MY comfort, disturb my sleep,
use MY resources.
Yes, Lord, send me.
For Jesus’ sake and for the Kingdom’s cause.
In His holy Name, I pray.