Archive for the ‘Christians’ Category

How every church can prevent a massacre

Friday, November 10th, 2017

Watch this interview with a very loving man, a professing Christian and a trained National Rifle Association instructor, who, with his AR-15 high-powered rifle, was able — he credits the Holy Spirit — to pierce the Texas church mass murderer’s body armor with two bullets: EXCLUSIVE: Texas Massacre Hero, Stephen Willeford, Describes Stopping Gunman | Louder With Crowder

 

This is perhaps the most important message I’ve ever written about the Church. Specifically, my message is about how to prevent murders on church property.

How do you prevent murders on your church’s property? I’m calling on all pastors who love children and families in their congregation to recruit a trained, armed man or two to guard every church meeting.

Argument from American history

At the very beginning of what eventually became the United States of America, the Plymouth Colony Christians in the 1620’s knew there was no conflict between biblical Christianity and self-defense. Much holier than today’s professing Christians, they knew that New Testament love isn’t only about saving souls but is also about saving lives within Jesus Christ’s commandment to “love thy neighbour as thyself.”

Here’s historical evidence that these Christians knew life is not only spiritual but physical, which is why they armed themselves to ward off a surprise attack.

See this eye-opening account from an old book, The Illustrated Pilgrim Memorial:

 

 

THE PILGRIM MEETING-HOUSE

On one of the most elevated parts of Burying Hill, in Plymouth, the Pilgrim Forefathers of New England erected their first place of religious worship. The exact position of this rudely built structure can be easily pointed out to the visitor who makes his pilgrimage to this hallowed spot. Only a few steps, in an easterly direction, from the tall granite memorial standing over the grave of Elder Cushman may be seen a slightly rising mound, and here tradition places the first site of the Pilgrims’ Meeting House. The following allusion to this interesting building, if such it may be called, appeared in the issue of the Pilgrim Almanac for 1860: —

“Close beside the green hillock subsequently selected as the grave lot of the venerable Elder, the fathers in earlier days built their humble sanctuary — small, indeed, but then the only one in New England, and that one their own, and untrammelled by the yoke of antichristian bondage. They did not place it obscurely, shaded and hidden from sight, as if afraid or ashamed that their house of God should be seen, but upon the hill top, a guide for the wayfarer, a mark for all, — the first object to attract and welcome the eye of the Pilgrim outcast, seeking shelter and repose in the land where the most abject and lowly might worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience, uncontrolled by the dogmas of an established church and the intolerance of a blasting hierarchy. Here, still earlier, stood the scanty fortification of the peaceful little band of puritans, — a simple platform, with slender roof and unpretending battlements, hewn from native forests. Slight as was the structure, it served well to protect them from the sudden inroads of savage beasts, and as a defense against the more wily and barbarous Indian foe. It served another and a holier purpose — it was the place of prayer and the place of worship — the first rudiments of the first building of the first church of the Pilgrim Fathers.”

From a letter of Isaac DeRasieres, evidently a French Protestant, written, probably, in 1627, the following mention is made respecting the same structure of the forefathers: — “Upon the hill they have a large square house with a flat roof, made of thick sawn planks, stayed with oak beams, upon the top of which they have six cannons, which shoot iron balls of four and five pounds, and command the surrounding country. The lower part they use for their church, where they preach on Sundays and the usual holidays. They assemble by beat of drum, each with his musket or firelock, in front of the captain’s door; they have their cloaks on, and place themselves in order, three abreast, and are led by a sergeant without beat of drum. Behind comes the governor in a long robe; beside him, on the right hand, comes the preacher, with his cloak on, and on the left hand the captain with his sidearms and cloak on, and with a small cane in his hand; and so they march in good order, and each sets his arms down near him. Thus they are constantly on their guard night and day.”

Argument from the Old Testament

  • God, through Moses, prophesied that repentant Jews would be brought back from captivity.
  • God commissioned a holy man, Nehemiah, to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls and gates.
  • Nehemiah heard and saw the murderous threats from unholy people against God’s work.
  • Nehemiah armed his workers so they could repel any attack against their mission.

Nehemiah 4:7-23

Now it happened,when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion. Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.

Then Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall.” And our adversaries said, “They will neither know nor see anything, till we come into their midst and kill them and cause the work to cease.” So it was, when the Jews who dwelt near them came, that they told us ten times, “From whatever place you turn, they will be upon us.”

Therefore I positioned men behind the lower parts of the wall, at the openings; and I set the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”

And it happened, when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had brought their plot to nothing, that all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work. So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armor; and the leaders were behind all the house of Judah. Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me.

Then I said to the nobles, the rulers, and the rest of the people, “The work is great and extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” So we labored in the work, and half of the men held the spears from daybreak until the stars appeared. At the same time I also said to the people, “Let each man and his servant stay at night in Jerusalem, that they may be our guard by night and a working party by day.”

Bible scholar Adam Clarke, a protege of Methodist Church founder John Wesley (back when it was biblical and holy), wrote these notes about Nehemiah arming his workers in order to protect and advance God’s mission:

Verse 9
We made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch – The strongest confidence in the protection and favor of God does not preclude the use of all or any of the means of self-preservation and defense which his providence has put in our power. While God works in us to will and to do, we should proceed to willing, through the power he has given us to will; and we should proceed to action, through the power he has given us to act. We cannot will, but through God’s power; we cannot act, but through God’s strength. The power, and the use of it, are two distinct things. We may have the power to will, and not will; and we may have the power to do, and not act: therefore, says the apostle, seeing God has wrought in you these powers, see that You Work Out Your Own salvation, with fear and trembling.

Verse 14
Be not ye afraid of them – Are they more terrible or stronger than God?

Fight for your brethren – Your own countrymen, who worship the same God, and are come from the same stock; your sons, whom they wish to slay or lead into captivity; your daughters and wives, whom they wish to deflower and defile; and your houses, which they wish to seize and occupy as their own. They had every thing at stake; and therefore they must fight for their religion, their lives, and their property. A people thus interested, who once take up the sword, can never be conquered.

Verse 17
With one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon – That is, he had his arms at hand, and was as fully prepared to fight as to work.

Argument from the New Testament

Evil is real, and demonic forces hate true Christians. It’s high time for loving pastors to acknowledge this and prevent murder by having armed congregants stationed both outside and inside during church meetings. Because people who are influenced by demons hate and even target Christians.

“And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 12:17)

Here are the facts as I see them:

At this time in America, Christians are being religiously oppressed. Our culture, which has largely rejected God, has transitioned from verbal opposition to the actual taking of religious persons’ property (anyone in the wedding business can fall victim to homosexual activists and their politicians and judges).

Church shootings in Sutherland Springs, Texas (26 murdered, 20 shot but lived), Antioch, Tennessee (1 killed, 7 shot but lived) and Charleston, South Carolina (9 murdered) show how no congregation is safe.

“But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:17-18)

Application? A local church’s congregation needs protection. True shepherds will recognize this real life need of their brothers and sisters. To not recognize and accept the need for one or two trained, armed men at congregational meetings and events is equivalent to fleeing when the wolf arrives because a hireling “does not care about the sheep.”

  • You can harden all the doors to make them kick-proof.
  • You can install security cameras to aid you.
  • But the way to beat an armed bad guy is with an armed good guy.
  • And if the bad guy is wearing body armor, you need a high-powerful rifle.

Already, some loving pastors are taking action:

Texas church shooting underscores security concerns for houses of worship
Many churches have already been proactive in bolstering security. Brown Missionary Baptist Church in Southaven, Miss., a Memphis suburb, has an emergency response team that helps monitor activities at the 10,000-member church, about half of whom regularly attend services. The team was instrumental last year in helping local police apprehend a man who church personnel had spotted in the parking lot. His motives were unclear, but firearms and explosives were found in his car. Brown Pastor Bartholomew Orr said the church’s extensive security team includes members who are armed.

Knoxville churches juggle security, openness after Texas shooting
Doug Stauffer is the pastor of Antioch Baptist Church on North Broadway in North Knoxville. He said the church has been proactive in protecting its members and has had members with concealed carry permits as security for 15-20 years. The small group goes through a security training class as well, he said. “The idea is the security of the facility … we sort of saw the handwriting on the wall that society is getting much more violent,” he said.

And security experts are urging caring pastors to take preventative action now:

Calls for Armed Security in Churches After Texas Massacre
After the horrific shooting at a Texas church that left 26 people dead and 20 injured, there are growing calls for increased security at houses of worship. Chuck Chadwick, president of the National Organization of Church Security and Safety Management, provides churches with security services personnel through a church volunteer “Gatekeepers Program,” contract security services, consultations and assessments. On “The Daily Briefing,” Chadwick said his first thought when he heard about Sunday’s massacre was, “I sure wish they had had a ‘Gatekeeper’ there.”

Texas AG Ken Paxton: All Churches Need Armed Security
Paxton said his own church in North Texas pays for professional armed security, and suggests all churches, big and small, do the same. “If you can’t afford that, maybe it’s a decent idea to get some people in your congregation trained and ready to respond,” he said. “Had there been people in that building, ready to respond, it could have made a huge difference.” Under Texas’ concealed carry law, churches can forbid people from taking guns inside by simply posting their policy on the door. But Paxton said churches that don’t allow even parishioners to carry guns are making a big mistake. “You’ve got to have people ready and able to respond to these situations,” he said. “We just have to do a better job of being prepared, ready and able to respond, and not just law enforcement.”

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.”
Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, in John 10:11-13

Blessed be the Lord my Rock,
Who trains my hands for war,
And my fingers for battle—
Psalm 144:1

What I learned from putting in my 1st toilet

Monday, February 20th, 2017

I have a confession to make — I am mechanically ignorant.

You see, while I’m good at writing, speaking, researching, fighting, strategizing, negotiating, and composing at the piano, my father never taught me as a child to fix things around the house or with cars.

But the last few months, I’ve been challenging myself to overcome fear and discomfort, and to put on faith and perseverance. And my new attitude on “fix it” projects has changed me.

I’m taking “baby steps,” and so far, have learned to order and replace windshield wipers, test and replace drinking water filters, program Facebook ads (at work), program a new alarm system, install a solid state drive in a laptop computer, and install a new toilet. You see, for tasks like this, I really have been inept all my life. Anything mechanical or technical is a steep learning curve!

The toilet was the most challenging. First, I tried to repair an old toilet, and was nearly successful, thanks to my handyman friend stopping by to give me pointers. But then, all by myself, I blew it by over-tightening the tank bolts. And the tank cracked, broke, and fell apart.

I should mention here that another thing I learned to do was to dry very wet carpet. Because the water was leaking from a broken tank and the stop valve on the water supply tube wouldn’t shut off completely. Water was everywhere. Towels plus fans plus sweat did the job, and the carpet was mostly dry the next day.

But now, I needed a new toilet and I needed it fast. Fortunately, I’m good at finding deals. So I was stoked to find a new toilet for less than $100, out the door. What an improvement! This one had more height, a stronger flush (if needed), and a self-closing lid. I was thrilled to barely fit the big, heavy box into the backseat of my small sedan with the salesman’s help.

Going through my mind was I NEEDED to do this, I COULD do this, and I needed to GROW through this.
I had human faith that I could succeed because I can follow instructions. And I had the belief that suffering through it — with an attitude that loved God and loved people — would conform me more closely to Jesus Christ’s character (Romans 8:28). The only problem was the instructions seemed to be from China and at times were difficult to follow.

I was so relieved when my handyman friend, who wants me to grow in knowledge and ability, stopped in and taught me the first step — how to plant the thick ring of sticky wax on the floor around the pipe going to the sewer. So I got the one-piece base and bowl on OK and did it fairly quickly. (To make the wax ring stick to both the floor and the bowl, I sat on the seat and bounced up and down a few times.)

But then, because the written instructions were unclear, it became a real challenge to correctly attach the tank. A plumber would have taken two minutes, but as an ignorant newbie, it took me over an hour of trial and error, and applying logic — while contorting my body to fit in the small space around the toilet — to get the right fittings in the proper order to seal and secure everything.

Finally, after intensely studying the less-than-optimal instructions and the accompanying drawing, I “got ‘er done,” and proudly proclaimed success. I even called my handyman friend to let him hear the flushing toilet. I thought I was finished, but I was mistaken.

That same day, the toilet seat became loose and unaligned with the bowl. Since there were no instructions for this step, I foolishly just tightened the metal bolts tighter (good thing I was tightening the toilet seat instead of breaking another tank!).

Two whole days passed before I stopped and realized that maybe I was using the wrong bolts and maybe those plastic bolts I’d left in the box would work better. After struggling half an hour in the small space around the toilet, I persevered to affix the lid with the plastic fasteners and plastic bolts — and the lid became secure and worked just right. It was finished!

What I learned from putting in my 1st toilet:

1. Greater faith and love: Too many times, I’ve told myself “can’t,” when God in His Word, tells me “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). And I knew it was God’s desire that I conquer my childish fear of doing household mechanical things. And I knew He wanted me to love others so that they could use the toilet. So this was a literal, physical exercise of replacing fear with faith. And I had faith that I would indeed install a new, working toilet! Through it all, I was powerfully reminded that love for others makes pain more acceptable. And, that imagining success — as opposed to imagining failure — gets things done. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

2. Greater patience: Though this exercise, I’ve determined that part of my fear of doing “fix-it projects” like this has come from ignorance (no one willing to teach me as a child). Yet I’ve realized that the other part of my fear was simply pleasure-seeking. At its core, my impatience with mechanical things demonstrates my avoidance of pain. Unconsciously, I’ve been desiring instant gratification, so I refused to slow down and go through the “pain” of learning new, mechanical skills. The long hours — and days — that I spent grasping how to install a toilet helped me to persevere and become more patient. I now know in a deeper way the promise in Chapter 1 of the Epistle of James that I should “count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

3. Obey the Creator: Without manufacturer instructions on mechanical things or experts training me on technical things, I’m sunk. And without obeying the instruction I receive, and without doing things the way whatever it is — in this case, the new toilet installation — is intended to be done, I will fail and suffer loss. My respect for, and yearning for more of, the toilet manufacturer’s instructions was illustrative of my real-life, desperate need for Creator God, by the Blood of Jesus Christ, and to obey His Holy Word, the Bible — the path of life.

A lesson from the toilet: If I needed careful, good instructions to assemble a toilet, how much more do I need to eat and drink of God’s very applicable Word in order to know how to “assemble” each and every day! “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:16-18).

Thank you for reading my account of what I learned from my “toilet trial.” I hope this stimulates you to overcome fear and put on faith, by learning new things that, while uncomfortable, are people-loving, character-building exercises, which God in His Word wants you to do.

“You are capable of more than you realize.
You are far more capable than you were even 12 months ago.
Next year you will be able to do things you can’t imagine doing today.”

Christian leadership mentor Bobb Biehl

Speak since it’s true, explain because you love

Monday, February 6th, 2017

Have conservatives gone underground in the liberal San Francisco Bay Area? This February 4 report from KPIX Channel 5 made me think our state should be renamed the Republik of Kalifornia:

Some East Bay conservatives say they live a secret life. They can never tell anyone what they really feel like in fear of their safety. Robert Ward is coming out conservative, but in a place he says is risky for those who share his beliefs. “If you witness what happened in Berkeley, actually they are so violent on top of it. I mean being a conservative in the Bay Area is like being a heretic,” says Ward. “You lead a double life. You can never tell your friends and co-workers.”

On the one hand, these Donald Trump supporters have reason to be afraid. We’ve all seen the violence by anarchistic leftists who want to eliminate U.S. borders. And remember how moral conservatives who donated to California’s Proposition 8 to protect marriage licenses for a man and a woman had their home addresses posted on the web? And how one of them, Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich, was pressured to resign by the so-called “tolerant” but completely hypocritical homosexual activists?

Yet on the other hand, as our culture gets darker, there’s a greater need for people with Jesus Christ’s kingdom values to publicly shine their lights. With both soft and tough love, depending what’s needed. Truth is hard, and love is redemptive. And people who are accountable to God to “love your neighbor as yourself” (our Savior’s command) have no excuse to shut their mouths.

And from a practical standpoint, it’s a fact in modern-day America that public sympathy is aroused by public victims. Homosexual-transsexual activists, who love playing the victim, know this. Yet risking being victimized is the mark of a Christian, who can expect that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).

Indeed, the sacrificial love and loyalty to Jesus displayed by the blood shed by the Early Church overcame the Roman Empire by showing the public there was something eternally higher than ourselves to live and die for.

In any case, some Trump conservatives going underground in the Bay Area can be scary and feel threatening. But let it be a wake-up call for you to re-energize your commitment to speak out, and to articulate facts that can change minds, and to be the light for Truth that you were called to be. For in an increasingly godless culture, there are more depressed people who wonder if there’s a purpose to life.

Be a beacon of Life, demonstrating what’s true, what’s beneficial, and what’s worth fighting for!

For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself,
lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.
Hebrews 12:3-4