Billy's Blog
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November 7, 2017, 9:48 AM

A Church That Rises Above

The church shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas has us all so sad. This is a just a little country church in a small community of 400 people. This is just like thousands of churches all over America gathering to worship, except on this Sunday a madman came in the doors and started killing. One of the victims was associate pastor Bryan Holcombe who was heading up to the pulpit lead the church in worship when he was gunned down. His wife of 40 years, Karla Holcombe, was also killed. Their son, Marc Daniel Holcome, was killed along with this one-year-old daughter. Three generations of a family an instant. 

There's a lot of talk that happens after a tragedy like this. Gun control. Mental health issues. Church security. All of these need to be discussed but the one thing I want to write about today is that the church will always be a target. 

I don't mean to say that churches all over America need to be dreading a possible shooting. I think we should take precaution and be prepared, but I don't think we need to worry about it any more than ever before. What we do need to be aware of is that because of what we stand for Bible-believing churches are targets. We always have been. It's not always shooters with automatic weapons. Sometimes it's the media with their anti-Christian viewpoints. Sometimes it's people who claim that we are full of hate because of our Biblical teaching. Here's how we can be a church that rises above all the accusations and persecution. 

1. Have teaching and preaching that is dripping with grace

In 2 Timothy 4:2 Paul instructed Timothy to boldly speak the truth, but to do so with "patience and gentle instruction." He was advising Timothy in not just WHAT to say but HOW to say it. We can still speak the truth, but we need to speak it with love and grace. We need to understand that not everyone was raised to hear what many Christians have heard their whole life. Although we may not understand how people could ever disagree with us there are people that do. Or there are certainly people who may not buy into what we are selling whether they blatantly disagree with us or not. When we preach the truth in love we are telling people that we believe the truth, but if you don't agree with us we still love you. 

2. Keep living it quietly despite opposition

In 1 Thessalonians 4:11 Paul instructs to lead a quiet life. I think he means that we just keep on doing the right things no matter what is going on around us. We are so tempted to lash out and overreact. Now with social media and blogs we have great opportunity to spread negative things and lash out. But I think this is great advice from Paul. It doesn't mean that we are whipping boys it simply means that sometimes we have to put our head down in the middle of opposition and just live the life. Sometimes we have to shut our mouths and SHOW the world what it means to be a follower of Christ. Sometimes people are not ready to listen, but they are always watching. So let's show them. 

3. Keep preaching the true Gospel

Sometimes when the church faces opposition it is tempted to change it's message. Politicians do this all the time. They will create focus groups to see what their message should be. This might work in politics or marketing, but this doesn't work in the church. We have given Good News. It's not just GOOD news it's the best news the world has ever heard. No, not everyone accepts this news. Not everyone sees it as good news, but it doesn't change the facts. We must continue to preach Jesus. There are a lot of answers that are discussed when we are faced with realities like the shooting in Texas, but one answer remains...JESUS. 

We can't ever quit preaching him. We can ever quit preaching that he is the only way. Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me." We must continue to tell the world this message. 

Not every one will follow. 

Not everyone will believe. 

Not everyone will respond in the way we desire. 

But we must rise above. When Jesus called Peter to start the church he said about the church, "and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." Madman shooters, tyrants, czars, dictators, corrupt politicians, and crusading unbelievers have tried to take down the church. It's been over 2,000 years and the church continues to rise above. 

We pray for First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. They have a lot of healing to do, and it won't be easy or quick. But we believe just like the church worldwide they will rise above and be the church God has called them to be once again. Let's rally around them and be the church we should be where we are planted. 

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