Sunday, January 9, 2011


If you have listened to the news yesterday you know that there was a shooting in Tuscon, Arizona, at a community open house hosted by congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Six people were killed, thirteen others were shot (including the congresswoman), outside a Safeway store, by a mentally unstable man.

Among those who were killed was a 9 year old girl, Christina Taylor Green. She had just been elected to her school’s student council. She had gone to the gathering that she could learn more about her government. Ironically, she was born on September 11th, 2011--the date of her birth and of her death, from this day forward, will both mark tragic days in the history of our country.

We should pray for the families of those who died and those who have been shot. Some of the wounded are still in the hospital. Some have suffered wounds in their souls that only God can heal. May the God of all comfort give comfort...

Not a day goes by without hearing of some tragic act of senseless violence in which innocent people are killed. These events are not far removed from us--just this past week the police chief of Rainier was killed in another act of senseless violence.

In the months to come we are going to hear again about how we need to do something to stop the senseless violence that is occurring in our country these days. Some will say that there is a need for better gun control. Others are already saying that something needs to be done to change the nature of political discourse in our country. Still others will argue that there is a need for better security at such events and gatherings--though acts of violence happen today in malls, businesses, schools, churches--no place is exempt..

None of these things strike at the core of the problem. “We have met the enemy and it us” said Pogo, the cartoon character. And it is true--it is us. Since the fall of man, man has been killing his fellow man. Since Cain killed Abel--senseless violence has characterized man’s existence on planet earth.

We were warned, long ago, of the nature of things to come in these last days. 2 Tim. 3:1-5, “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gospels, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God...”

And I don’t intend to take a lot of time here, but I just want to say that people, government officials, news media people, and others are going to suggest a lot of things to try to fix what is happening in the society in which we live. I just want to say--ahead of time--that any solutions that fail to address the sin problem that exists in the heart of man--are not true and lasting solutions.

The problem is sin and there is but one solution for sin--the person and work of Christ. "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Tim. 1:15). He transformed Saul, "a violent aggressor," (1 Tim. 1:13). and made a great missionary and Apostle out of him. Paul's example of sacrificial love was superceded only by that of Christ Himself. Christ alone can bring about such a transformation! He alone can forgive sin. He alone can transform sinners into saints. He alone offers true and lasting hope to lost sinners.

Paul spoke of the "glorious gospel of the blessed God" (1 Tim. 1:11). He used such language because he himself experienced the life-transforming power of the gospel. That is why we glory in Christ and in His work on the cross. That is why we are compelled to preach the gospel message from this pulpit. That is why God has given to every believer “the ministry of reconciliation.”

2 Cor. 5:18-20, “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely; that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Chirst, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

We are great sinners. Christ is a greater Savior. In Him alone we have a confident hope. We, believers in Christ, have been commanded and are privileged to hold forth a message before the “crooked and perverse generation” in which we live. We are to do so with a sense of urgency--as if lives depended upon it--because they do.

Pastor Jerry

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