Over the last month there have been two vicious attacks in France where knives were used to kill innocent people. One was against a teacher the other was against three people inside a church. Authorities have said that the killing of the teacher was because he was discussing caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad with his students. The teacher had received death threats and the police had been contacted by a parent for the teacher’s actions. An interesting statement in the article was made by French President Emmanuel Macron. Marcon said “One of our compatriots was murdered today because he taught ... the freedom of expression, the freedom to believe or not believe.”
In the other attack three people were brutally murdered on Thursday while visiting a church to worship and had no ties to any outside organization that promoted hate against the Muslim religion. A French Prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said, “The three were killed “only because they were in the church at that moment.” France’s President promised to immediately increase the number of soldiers deployed to protect schools and religious sites from around 3,000 to 7,000.
But in your mind, you are saying this can never happen over here. This happened in France and they have let things get out of hand where they are having terrorist attacks all the time. We don’t have situations like that over here in the United States. Really? Have you been watching the news lately? We have cities that are burning in our country and as we get closer to this election people are preparing for the worst. Business are boarding up, police departments are starting to plan for mass riots, and we sit here and say what is happening in other countries cannot happen here.
Of course, it really depends on what news source you may be watching. There are a few out there that will tell you all that is happening in the cities are peaceful protests. When you set a building, car or any police station on fire that is not peaceful protesting. When you loot a family run business like the one in this article this is nothing but an attack against a family that has worked hard in their neighborhoods to better their community. The owner, a former school crossing guard and her brother, a former police officer quit their jobs to start their salon. The owner told reporters she “emptied my savings and checking account,” maxed out her credit cards and even sold her house to open the business.” When you watch the video, you see that in less than a minute, looters ransacked and destroyed their boutique, their livelihood only because they were in the area of the riots. So, whatever news source you are watching, do your own investigation. I just did a search on looting in Philadelphia and if this is the “City of Brotherly Love” we are starting to look a lot worse than France.
Once again you scoff at my concern. Let me remind you of two things that were said in the beginning of this document. In the first incident French President Emmanuel Macron said, “One of our compatriots was murdered today because he taught ... the freedom of expression, the freedom to believe or not believe.” Isn’t that what our churches are doing; teaching the freedom to believe in Christ or not believe? What happens when those that are causing all the hate and discontent in our streets finally get shut down by law enforcement? Do you think they are going to stop their attacks? No; they will just start looking for softer targets to hit. If your church is not preaching their views, you could be the next target. Once again say it can’t happen here. In our area we have had two attacks on churches that say it can. Back in July of 2020 we had a van drive through the front doors of a church in Ocala and the driver get out and poured 10 gallons of gasoline on the floor only to light it and drive away. Fortunately, those inside the building were not hurt but this could have been a massacre. Then in September 2020 a man went into a Tampa church and poured flammable material in the worship center and set it on fire. First responders got to the fire before it caused too much damage. In our research we are seeing more and more churches vandalized across the country but unless you are out there daily looking for it you don’t see it.
The second thing that caused me concern was that in the mass murder at the church, French Prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said, “The three were killed “only because they were in the church at that moment.” This speaks volumes. “Only because they were in the church at that moment”. Is the prosecutor saying that maybe they shouldn’t have been in church? Is this a pandemic plug; don’t go to church during the pandemic or you could get killed? What does that have to do with the attack? People were killed inside a church; it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is. Churches should be a safe place, period. I really don’t think he meant it that way, I am sure he meant it that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. That doesn’t even sound right. Shouldn’t we feel safe when we are in a house of worship? But during these times, do we feel safe?
Since we have come back together inside the church, we have had two disruptive people inside our church. One wanted to argue over theology and the other wanted to argue over everything. Is this a sign of what we are going to see in the future? I don’t know but we need to be ready for what may be coming our way. I keep saying this over and over, it is only a matter of time, those that hate the current environment in our country are going to start taking out their frustrations on the church and from what I have seen, that concerns me.
But I am going to end on a more positive note. There still is good in this world. Remember the Philadelphia boutique that was destroyed? The owner of the shop, Jameelah Scurry, who co-owns the business with her brother Jamil, put out a Go-Fund-Me page to see if she could raise some money to help her and her brother rebuild their shop. She was hoping to raise around $15,000 yet as of Thursday they had received more than $27,600 from hundreds of strangers who posted outpourings of support on the site.
She went on to say, “It’s what I was telling people, like we, as a community, and people can come together, but we don’t have to just come together when there’s trauma or something bad.” “We should always stick together and help each other, not when just something bad is happening. It’s a blessing.”
In Mark 12:28-31 Jesus is in the temple and a teacher of the law comes to him and asked him “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Here lies the answer to our problems. The question is, can we commit to both? One is hard enough for some of us and the second one seems impossible at this time in our country. But maybe if the Christian men and women would join me in a Christian Revolution, we wouldn’t have to worry about it happening here like it is in France. In fact, with the Christian Revolution I talked about we wouldn’t have to worry about it anywhere.
Back in July Wendy, the girls and I took a trip to Texas. This was a two-fold trip, one was to go to a fundraiser for one of the survivors of the Sutherland Springs Shooting, Kris Workman and the other was to travel back up to Glen Rose. We realized right before the trip that this September 20, 2020 was the 50th anniversary of my dad walking out of a church service and killing Doctor English. We had gotten in touch with two of the daughters of Doctor English, Jean and Jane and we wanted to sit down and talk to them about the incident. We also wanted to take a walk around the town and reminisce.
After our stop in Sutherland Springs we headed up to Glen Rose. On the drive north I started thinking about the 50 years between the shooting and today. In 1970 there was no internet. Three days after the shooting my mom fled Texas taking us four boys and everything we could fit in a U-Haul trailer to Pensacola, Florida. I think the first time I went back to Glen Rose was around 1978 when I had visited my dad after he got out of prison. I walked around downtown hoping I might run into somebody I would recognize, or they would recognize me. A homecoming of some sort but it never happened. I think I visited Glen Rose a couple more times before I gave up hope of seeing someone I knew. I had made up my mind that the day we left Texas to go to Pensacola everyone in Glen Rose said good riddance, the troublemakers are gone and forgot about us. I felt that we were shunned because of the sins of our parents and lived with that guilt for years.
In January of 2005, before Facebook, I received a Yahoo message from Cindy Lewis from Glen Rose that said she knew my brothers and me. She went on to say that she had lived down the road and rode the school bus with us. Cindy also said something that stopped me in my tracks. She wrote “You know, I'll never forget the day you guys left..we really missed you and things were never the same for any of us.” They missed us; it was never the same for any of us. Another high school classmate, Shirley Gray messaged and said the same thing and I realized we were not forgotten so Wendy, Jessica (then 4) and I planned a trip to Glen Rose to seek that homecoming.
Several weeks before our planned trip I got a frantic call from Shirley that Cindy had passed away. Cindy was a horse trainer and one of the horses she was training stepped on her foot and took off her big toe. She immediately went to the doctors but several days later she developed a staph infection and before they could get her to a hospital she passed away. The expected trip to Glen Rose had already taken a turn for the worse. Airline tickets had already been purchased, vacation planned so in August of 2005 we went to Glen Rose, Texas on a fact-finding mission.
When we left Glen Rose the population was 1,554 and in 2005 it was estimated a whopping 2,283. I found out the rise in the population was because Glen Rose had become the suburbs of Fort Worth. Driving through town I felt like I had gone back in time. The courthouse was the same with the gazebo to the right of it still had the town’s claim to fame dinosaur track in it. Downtown looked like it did when we left except for a few businesses that I remembered were closed. The downtown movie theater was gone and a restaurant that I would always have dinner before a football game had shut down but most of it was just the way I remember it.
Shirley took us on a fact-finding mission. We looked for court documents, newspapers about the incident. I took a day and found some old friends from high school. We even ran into one of my aunts that still lived in town. She was married to my dad’s brother. My uncle was killed several years after we had moved from Texas. He had stopped to help a lady that had a flat tire. While changing the tire, the lady’s boyfriend came out from behind a tree and shot and killed him. I remember wondering if maybe God had made a mistake and had taken the wrong Howard.
Shirley told us that she had contacted one of Doctor English’s daughters Jane. She wanted to have lunch with Wendy and me. Jane was two years older than me and had a twin sister that we couldn’t tell apart. I was a little apprehensive about the meeting. Here I was meeting with one of the daughters of the man my father had killed. Remember I was still carrying around the sins of my father. The lunch started off with the uncomfortable greetings, then we opened up to each other. She said that her mother and the family would every once in a while, ask “I wonder how the Howard boys are doing?” They always felt sorry for what had happened and always prayed for the best for us. We both talked about our hard times after the incident and how returning to God had saved us.
Jane worked in real estate and tried to sell us some property. Everyone we came across asked me when I was going to move back to Texas. Before Cindy passed away, she and Shirley asked me if I would be interested to coming back to Glen Rose and run for sheriff. We weren’t forgotten and not one person blamed me for my father’s sin. Even though there was a lot of closure that trip I left with more questions than I got answers. It was the same as it was in 1970, just rumors and no facts. Jane told me to go and talk to her mother, Carla English but I didn’t, maybe I was afraid of what I would find out.
So back to our recent July trip. Town still looked the same. This time I had the opportunity to go to and visit our old church. It is no longer the First Baptist Church of Glen Rose. It was purchased by the Methodist church and is now a multicenter for the town. When I explained to the ladies at the center what I was doing there, one of them remembered the story about the shooting. The inside of the church had changed but there were still a flood of memories. It was where I was baptized, where I sang my first solo and where on Wednesday night after youth group we would run around like crazy playing all sorts of games. I remember where Doctor English was parked the night of the shooting.
This trip Jane told me that her twin sister Jean wanted to see me. As we were going over to Jane’s house Jaycee asked who we were going to visit. Wendy told her two of the daughters of the man that my dad had killed. Jaycee asked if this was a good idea. During the reunion of Jean and Jane English I heard joy, peace and content with their lives. Sure, it had affected them, and they went through bad times, but they found that Christ was the answer. Jean asked me how I got over the pain and I concurred with her, coming back to Jesus Christ gave me the peace, comfort and strength to move past the sins of my father.
On the long drive home I thought about what had happened 50 years ago and was amazed at how all of us had survived. A lot of Jean and Jane’s family had got through really hard times after the incident. Some have never recovered. Recently talking to my brother Joel about the incident, I told him how blessed we all were to have ended up like we did. Three brothers with outstanding careers with the Norfolk Police Department and one brother that is a minister. It was the first time that he and I talked about the incident. For the first time I heard about some of his pains and realized I have never been alone in the journey. We all were wounded but we have all found our way back to the one thing that gives us all hope, peace and joy, Jesus Christ.
David cries out in Psalms 13:1-2 “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” But in verses 5 and 6 David comes back and says it all “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me”. Sometimes we just don’t see God’s unseen plan, we just need to trust in His unfailing love and sing His praises. He will take care of the rest.
On our August 30th, 2020 Facebook live we had two questions that came from Marshall Horwitz that are the topic of this month’s blog. The first question was “Up till now, church attacks have been done by individuals. Do you fear attacks by gangs on churches? Could that be next?” My initial response to that Marshall was go out and listen to the webinar we did on July 30, 2020 called “Tale of Two Churches”. But to be fair to Marshall, a recent listener, the answer to the question is yes, I do feel that protesters or gangs could descend on churches like they did on the two churches I talked about in our webinar.
In this discussion we saw Antifa and BLM show up on church campuses and basically attack the church and members of the church. Of course, the protesters said it was a peaceful demonstration. I have a different opinion of what the definition of what is considered a peaceful protest. If you want to walk down the street and carry signs for your cause and after you are finished you go home, that is peaceful and a right guaranteed by the 1st Amendment. Yet neither protest against the churches we discussed were peaceful; in fact, the protests that happened in Troy, New York we saw members of the church assaulted when church members went to escort other members into the church through the “peaceful protesters”. This was an attack. The other church in San Antonio saw protesters walking around the building with signs and yelling profanities at church members and their children because they disagreed on their view of sexuality. The church had stated on their web page that they believed what the Bible said about marriage being between a man and a woman.
So, what do we do about it? Train. Assess your strength and weaknesses. Next step is to sit down with your team and create a plan. Approach the leaders of your church and get approval for it, then practice your plan. Another church once asked me to come and critique their training. One of their scenarios was that of angry protesters showing up at their campus. Except for a few suggestions I had, it was good training because they thought of it and worked out a “what if”. This is something we are going to be looking to do at our church. If I can be of any assistance with your church, please give us a call.
Marshall’s second question “Hello from Sarasota. Can you comment on the incident in Tallahassee when the innocent bystander was attacked by the mob and thwarted the assault but pulling his weapon? Thankfully, the attackers dispersed, and he faces no charges.” When I first saw this question once again my initial response was “no, I am not going to comment”. I have my reasons and I will give them later. After calming down I went out and looked for the video, because you know there is video on everything these days. The first video was just as I thought. From the film it looks like “innocent bystander (IB)” provoked the peaceful protesters and the protesters had to defend themselves. This is from the angle that the mainstream media wants you to see. The next video titled “Video from Historic Capitol shows the moment a man pulled a gun on protesters Saturday”. This video shows a different angle which also paints a different picture. The Capital camera shows the IB being viciously attacked by the mob and beaten to the ground. If he had not pulled his weapon he might have been seriously injured.
But here is the reason that I wasn’t going to comment but since you asked here goes. Why would anyone of sound mind go to a protest? Can you please explain that? Unless you are a camera crew; a reporter from a news agency who is getting paid big bucks, a police officer who has been ordered to protect the streets or you work in the area and your boss says you’ve got to be there then what is your reason for being at a protest? Right now, if you are not one of those I listed, stay home or you might have a bad day like the poor guy in Portland or this guy almost did. The second thing that bothers me is that from all reports I have read he was down there to document the protest (once again for what news organization) and was caught taking pictures of protesters' vehicles. I am just as frustrated as everyone else about the violence going on around this country but I will say this once again; if you do not have one of the reasons I listed for being there, why are you there? Then you show up armed. I have a real problem with that and am really surprised it went as well as it did.
That IB is lucky he didn’t get shot. I am still sitting here in shocked that he didn’t get shot. I hate to say this, but I really am glad I wasn’t there. Understand a white guy standing in the middle of a BLM protest waving a gun around is perceived as a threat, period. Maybe the officer who confronted him knew more about what was going on, but I am still (I will be saying this all day long) shocked he didn’t get shot. I am so happy that he didn’t shoot anyone because the outcome of this story would be completely different. Sorry folks from all initial indications I believe this IB went there to cause trouble. Remember the things that I said would be the only excuse I would accept; from what I am reading his job description wasn’t one of them.
Now as I write this blog, I just had another thought cross my mind about the Tallahassee incident. Maybe that IB was on the job. Having worked situations like the protest at Florida’s state capital the police department would send us into the crowd; in plain clothes so we would blend in, to get pictures of those in the crowd and their vehicles so we could identify them later. If this is the case, then yes, he had a reason to be there. However, he is still lucky he didn’t get shot. But maybe the other officer knew him and had to place him under arrest to protect his identity, I had that happen to me once and I can tell you I was also lucky I didn’t get killed by friendly fire that night.
The paper is saying he didn’t get charged. If they find out that he is with another group that was in the protest to cause trouble this might not be over. Remember the shooting at the convenience store where the shooter confronted the woman over parking in the handicap spot and her boyfriend came out of the store and assaulted the shooter? The Pinellas County Sheriff at first called it self-defense until they looked at the shooter and found out that he was a troublemaker and had threatened to shoot people in many incidents around the county. He ended up being charged and is now serving 20 years for manslaughter. Heck remember the couple that was protecting their house when “peaceful protesters” showed up on their block. At first it looked like they were not going to be charged but guess what? They got charged.
So, what did we learn here today? One stay away from places that are holding a “peaceful protest”. Two which I didn’t bring up; if you do find yourself in a situation like the IB, armed and in a hostile environment, this is wrong time to be thinking I wish I had listened to Jim and had joined USCCA. In today’s scary times when so many of us are now thinking of carrying concealed you need that extra protection USCCA offers. If things would not had gone right for this IB, remember the first video we saw? The IB could have really used the help from USCCA. For more information on USCCA go to our website and click on the link Concealed Carry Legal Protection. Sorry Wendy made me do the plug for USCCA who is going to speak be at our Church Safety Conference on October 17th. For more information on the conference go here.
I once heard the most important part of the body in carrying concealed was the brain matter between the ears. Proverbs 14:16 says “The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence”, and Proverbs 22:3 says, “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty”. I think we can all agree God is warning us to be smart about our actions. Thank you, Marshall, for the questions. Be safe and be blessed.
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26-28
Back in June I wrote a blog “Is now the time for a Christian Revolution?”. I had pointed out how Satan was dancing in the streets because he is using something that can tear this country apart, racism. Let us be perfectly clear here, any type of “ism” is hate and that is nothing but sin and cannot be tolerated, period. If we as Christians do not stand up and show the love of Christ and fight for His teachings then we are going to lose this country that we love. But I really didn’t realize just how deep sin has bored its way into our Christians leadership and now I am really scared about our country and our churches.
I was sitting around a campground with a friend of mine, I will call him Sammy-six-pack (his recommendation), when he told me that his church had a special family meeting to discuss the subject of previous services. There was a panel to discuss the issues when a black member of the church was asked to speak. Members of the church were thinking this member would be talking about the issues everyone was there for but this member took over the meeting and talked about the racial inequalities he and his family faced growing up and the issues facing blacks today. It was later discussed in the church that all whites are privileged people there should be some sort of reparations. Sammy-six-pack told me that he lost his mind for several reasons. Sammy-six-pack explained that he and his wife were founding members of the church and knew all the families since they had first started coming to the church. They had always accepted them as Christian brothers and sisters, not black Christian brothers and sisters. Sammy-six-pack told me that he was hurt because if these brother and sisters had at anytime felt they were discriminated against why didn’t they come to the church and talk about it; not paraded on stage and unleash this unhealthy agenda right in front of everyone. The second thing that bothered Sammy-six-pack was that he comes from a family of immigrants that came to the United States way after slavery was over. Sammy-six-pack and his wife almost walked out of the church but have decided to stay for the time being and work on making this right.
A month later I was at a Christian business meeting and I met Michael O’Fallon from Sovereign Nations (calm down my police brothers and sisters I didn’t say he was a Sovereign Citizen, two different animals). Now Sovereign Nations is a think tank “that serves as an exploration of the intellectual viability of the conservative political habitat, with a view to establishing the groundwork for the construction and elaboration of a broader and more comprehensive vision for the movement in relation to the exegetical intent of our founders through our national founding documents.” Let me put this in layman’s terms, they are a conservative organization that is made up of Christians that want to make sure we are following Christ’s teachings and the Founding Fathers’ vision of how the country should be run.
Mike was talking about how dangerous the times really are, that the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) had tried to slip in something in a resolution that would hurt the organization, maybe even cripple it or split it apart. Having grown up Southern Baptist I was in a bit of denial but remembered reading that the president of the Southern Baptist Convention had made the statement that we needed to stop saying “all lives matter” but say “black lives matter”. Let us be perfectly clear here, All Lives Matter! I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole here you need to do your own research and look at the Black Lives Matter’s website. They are not into trying to talk about a solution to help people in Chicago or other major cities where there are inner city issues; they are for tearing down the country we love. If you go to their website and read what they believe it is not Biblical and that is where I draw the line. Paul says it best “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought”. 1 Corinthians 1:10
So let me finish my issue with the SBC and then close. In Resolution 9 a portion of it states:
WHEREAS, Critical race theory is a set of analytical tools that explain how race has and continues to function in society, and intersectionality is the study of how different personal characteristics overlap and inform one’s experience; and
WHEREAS, Critical race theory and intersectionality have been appropriated by individuals with worldviews that are contrary to the Christian faith, resulting in ideologies and methods that contradict Scripture; and
WHEREAS, Evangelical scholars who affirm the authority and sufficiency of Scripture have employed selective insights from critical race theory and intersectionality to understand multifaceted social dynamics….
It goes on to say WHEREAS, Critical race theory and intersectionality alone are insufficient to diagnose and redress the root causes of the social ills that they identify, which result from sin, yet these analytical tools can aid in evaluating a variety of human experiences; and
As I write this I still can’t believe that the SBC would even entertain anything from critical race theory or intersectionality. If any Christian organization says something is “contrary to the Christian faith, resulting in ideologies and methods that contradict Scripture” it shouldn’t be recommended but followed up with stay far away from these “analytical tools”, as SBC put it. Now I don’t have time to go through the whole definition of critical race theory but the quick definition is “Critical race theory (CRT), the view that the law and legal institutions are inherently racist and that race itself, instead of being biologically grounded and natural, is a socially constructed concept that is used by white people to further their economic and political interests at the expense of people of color.” Don’t believe me, you can read it for yourself in the Encyclopedia Britannica. Oxford Dictionary defines intersectionality as “The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage; a theoretical approach based on such a premise”.
Breaking intersectionality down into layman’s terms the chart from the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) says I, as a white, heterosexual, Gentile male am racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic. There is more but I feel a little strange saying I am attractive but that would also place another strike against me. All of this is saying that I am one of the privileged and hate all those listed above. I find this offensive. But let me finish this part off. I am privileged because I am a child of God. I am an heir to the throne, have been forgiven of all my sins and been given the gift of freedom and eternal life. Please place that on a chart of Jesus Christ in the center and those that believe in Him will enjoy their eternal resting place and those that don’t, won’t. One last thing about being a Christian, this privilege is offered to everyone, no matter their race, sex or ethnicity.
Closing on this rant or I would be here all day (please feel free to contact me if you want to talk about this issue), earlier in the post I said that I really didn’t realize just how deep sin has boarded its way into our Christians leadership and now I am really scared about our country and our churches. Let me be clear on this. I am afraid for our next generation. I have enjoyed such freedoms in this country that is offered to everyone, everyone! I am only privileged because of God’s grace and nothing else. Once again as Paul says it best, “I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then tolerate me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face.” 2 Corinthians 11:16-20. You want to go toe to toe on bad things that has happened in your life, bring it on. Just know, I will always come back to this fact; God’s saving grace surpasses all, without it we are bowing down to those that will “exploit you or take advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face.” Brothers and sisters, hate is alive and well in this world and our only hope is in Jesus Christ and the Biblical teachings. Those that want to lie to us and put us in chains on how to love one another are not for us but against us and must be stopped. Now is the time for a Christian Revolution.
Christ and the Holy Spirit enable me to forgive and love those that have tried to create as much chaos in this world. I pray for them and hope one day they will see their mistaken ways and join us in our true quest to make this a better place for all, no prejudice, no hate only a place where all are equal under the eyes of the Lord. So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26-28. Contact me, let’s work together in bring Christ back into this great country. God bless you and God bless America.
On our Sunday June 28th Facebook Live I talked about supporting our law enforcement. In all our church safety training we recommend that you always invite local law enforcement and get them involved. There are several reasons for this. First you don’t want to get yourself into a bid if you do something that is against the law. Make sure everything in your policies and procedures of handling situations is legal. Get them to help you.
The second reason, local law enforcement needs to know that you have a safety team, especially if some of your team members are armed. In case of an active shooter at your church they know that there might be friendlies in the building and hopefully they don’t come in with guns blazing and kill some of your team members. Of course once the law enforcement arrives on the campus, the best thing for you to do is put your weapon away unless you are in the middle of a gun fight and then you need to listen to everything that law enforcement officer tells you to do.
The last reason, to me is really the most important. Are we as a church not supposed to be witnessing to everyone that comes on our property? We will let a complete stranger come through our doors and we will start with a list of questions; first time here, what church did you come from and are you a believer? So why wouldn’t we at least ask three questions to all law enforcement officers that come to our church; do you go to a church, are you a believer and can I pray for you?
So, if you haven’t noticed law enforcement agencies all over the country are under attack. The liberal media wants you to believe that all law enforcement officers just can’t wait to kill someone. They will tell you this is the reason why so many of them join the force, to be able to beat up people and if necessary, kill them. If you believe this in any way, we have another problem. You know what police officers want to do every day they go to work, make it back home safe. Don’t believe me, I will prove my point later.
Now here is the next thing if you have not noticed. In almost every webinar, training or Facebook Live we have done since the outbreak of this virus we have been pushing the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) April 8th letter on churches returning to their brick and mortar buildings. The Faith-Based Community of DHS sent out a letter stating, “When you begin efforts to reconstitute services and welcome congregants back into your houses of worship, please also review your security plans and ensure procedures are in place to protect your facilities and visitors. Although there are no imminent or credible threats at this time, there has been an increase in online hate speech intended to encourage violence or use the ongoing situation as an excuse to spread hatred.
Additionally, stressors caused by the pandemic may contribute to an individual’s decision to commit an attack or influence their target of choice. Again, we have no information to suggest such attacks are imminent or even likely, instead we are looking to provide you with useful information for planning for restoration of normal operations, whenever that may be.”
If the COVID-19 virus, stay at home, losing a job, suicide calls on the rise, drug overdoses increased, the George Floyd tragic death and riots across the nations wanting to tear down the government stressors weren’t enough we had someone issue a statement to destroy all images of a white Jesus. Black Life Matter’s activist Shaun King wrote in a Twitter post: “Yes, I think the statues of the white European they claim is Jesus should also come down. They are a form of white supremacy. Always have been.” He went on to say, “All murals and stained-glass windows of white Jesus, and his European mother, and their white friends should also come down.” I am sure the cross is next on their list of things to destroy.
So, it seems to me we have a common denominator here. Our law enforcement and our churches are under attack by the liberal left or another way of saying, “12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12. My brothers and sisters if you don’t think Satan is a live and moving against our country please give me a call and let’s talk about this. We are at war “against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”.
Those that protect us are under a viscous attack that unless we, the church, don’t stand up, show them our support and defend them we run the risk of losing them. Cities are already talking about defunding the police department or even tearing it down and starting over with social workers going on calls of domestic issues. A little bit of a side note here, when you send an unarmed social worker to a full-blown domestic fight, they return as another victim. I know I have been there.
Are there bad police officers? Yes, as humans we sin. Show me any profession where there aren’t any bad apples. Nobody is perfect and really until Christ comes back for us, we will never see perfect people. So, we must strive to be the example of what Christ would want us to do and believe it or not, He wants us to do good and respect those in authority. Paul writes it so eloquently in Romans 13:1-7.
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
During my run the other morning I came upon a Pasco County Sergeant. I stopped to have a quick conversation with the Sergeant. Not even thinking about it I thanked him for what he does and right before I went back to running, I asked him if there was something I could pray for him. His response was just to go home safe after his shift.
I got home and realized that I didn’t get the Sergeant’s name, so I texted one of my friends who is a Pasco County Corporal and tell him of the incident. I didn’t tell him I had asked what could I pray for the Sergeant, just asked for his name. Before we finished texting, I asked my friend if there was something I could pray for him today, “Just to come home safe each day brother, it’s a crazy world”. Both deputies with the same thought “that I go home safe”. Do you pray that every day you go to work? Pray that you make it home that night to see your family or is it a given in your mind? It is not in theirs and we need to be there for them in this chaotic time. They are there for you, even if they have never met you before. You call; they come.
Brothers and Sister, we as the church must support our men and women in law enforcement. So here is my call to action. I want each church to contact their pastor and have a sit down with the leaders of your area law enforcement and pray for them. Now more than ever they need to know that we are supporting them. Wendy and I will be working on something in our area where we show our support. We must take a stand for those that stand between us and the chaos that is happening in this country right now. We cannot sit on the sidelines anymore. We must take a stance. Support the Badge!
Jim has many years of law enforcement experience and has run the safety team at his church for several years. TSA was formed after he realized God's calling when multiple churches reached out and asked him to present at their church.