A Christian Response To Terror

The tragic events in San Bernardino have rocked the soul of our nation. We now know there are people in America that hate our values and aim to send shocking terror through the fibers of our culture. How we respond is critical.

Yes, strong boarders, national security and vetting processes are imperative if we wish to protect innocents and leave our children's children a legacy of peace. But what can't be lost is our calling - that the world may know of a life found only in Jesus.

We have a powerful message, as Christ followers, and to carry it into the world involves a high level of risk. There are no assurances that we will be safe this side of heaven. The only sure thing we can count on is persecution. Jesus said "you will be hated for my name's sake".

There is an even greater threat to our lives than terrorism. The greatest threat we face is fear, followed by retreat or hateful aggression. This will only steal our joy and rob us of the many blessings of witnessing lost people break though into the blue sky of salvation.

We have a calling and a hope! Our "ministry of reconciliation" is too rich a reward to cower from neighbors. And if we pray for our enemies to be conquered it should be, first and foremost, that their hearts are conquered by the love of God. God is still turning hearts of stone into hearts of flesh!

Lean in! Carry the message of hope with uncommon boldness. There are many millions of people who have yet to hear the message of the gospel and understand the greatest freedom known to mankind. Peace...

Matt. 10:23, II Cor. 5:18, Ezk. 36:26

Turn to the Lord...before the world turns on us.

Sometimes we can only discuss things as theory, because few can testify as to the reality of the experience. In America we have a vacuum of understanding when it comes to persecution. It's fairly easy to find those times when we've been teased for our faith in Christ. Maybe we were kicked out of a group of friends or mocked by a professor. All these things can be very difficult but they don't meet the threshold of persecution. Now I don't say this to diminish pain but rather to set the deck for what may come and how we can be ready.

Jesus presented a wonderful message of what brings joy to the life found in him. He begins with  "poor in spirit". This sets the deck for a rather unusual look at what it means to be happy. The essence of joy is framed by Jesus. He proposes that joy is found by those who live "other worldly". Nothing captures "other worldly" living like his final statement. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account." This is serious spiritual attack. Being treated like this is very rare in America, but it could be on the way.

The secret for forging through events like this will only be possible as we draw life in the Spirit and settle into a peace with delayed gratification. When Jesus said "for your reward is great in heaven", he was preparing us for the reality that some of our greatest gratification will be delayed. This is where we need a power outside of us. The power of God's Spirit overflowing in our lives is the best preparation for persecution. God may grace us to miss out on what many of our brothers and sisters currently experience, or he may grace us with the power to make it through persecution. Either way, we can be joy-filled through it all. Let's do a "180 Now" and turn to the Lord before the world turns on us.

Matthew 5:11