Monday, December 17, 2012

The Day Everything Changed

I was in the office most of the day on Friday, December 14th only two days after I had posted a blog in regards to 12/12/12 and to the wonder and joy of Christmas. It was a fun blog, but today we don't laugh, we cry.  We cry with families from a small community in Ct., perhaps a little like Camden.

 It caught my eye as the headlines began to scroll on the 14th and I began to see that a shooting, the Sandy Hook School shootings, were worse than tragic.  Twenty first graders and six teachers shot and killed in the sanctuary of their elementary school and classrooms.  How can this happen in America? Innocent kids, faithful teachers, and a principal that loved here students.  Anger, disbelief and pain.  Oh, pray for the hole and the emptiness of loss that is in each families heart tonight.

We have a number of teachers in our church family, and our children are both teachers. Sunday was a very emotional day in our pupit and no doubt in most.This merciless killing spree has torn the heart of every American. Our hearts once again bleed together as a nation.  One that comes together in times of need and loss.

As the President searched for words, he spoke as a father, not just the President.  He was moved to tears and brief moments of pause to regain his composure.  He mentioned prayer, and quoted Scripture, reminding us all, that there is only one place we can turn to for help when there are so many unanswered questions.That place is to the Lord God.

Psalm 46:1  says that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Psalm 121:1-8 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. [2] My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. [3] He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. [4] Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. [5] The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.

I pray right now for these families that have suffered great loss.  I pray for the survivors whose lives will never be the same.  Lives that will be scarred with the ringing of gunshots and the screams of frightened classmates.  I pray for the parents that are looking at empty beds tonight and those that are placing their hands on a cold casket today and in the days ahead.  I pray for those who have lost spouses, and mothers, and sisters. I pray for the teachers as they try to go forward with their students in Newtown, as well as across the country. I thank God for those who tried to stop him and for those who stepped in front of a killers aim to protect her kids. I pray tonight for the family that remains behind of the one responsible for these senseless killings. Oh if he would have known Jesus he would have understood that there was hope for whatever problems he had.  How many of us have held our kids or grand kids tighter, looked at them longer, prayed for them with more conviction and urgency.

My daughter Stacy teaches third grade.  One of her students told her parents that if that had happened at her school, Mrs. Herrmann would have done the same thing. Oh I pray that we never see this again. 
God help us! If anyone understands it is God, as he watched an innocent Son die unjustly.  Through the pain and fog of grief, what man has intended for evil, may the Lord bring about something good.

Take our hand precioous Lord and lead us.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12/12/12 and Christmas

It is hard to believe that Christmas is less than two weeks away.  Today as I write on December 12, 2012 it is the last time in our lifetime that the month will match up with the year.

Today at as I left lunch, the person checking me out asked, "Do you think the end of the world is coming on December 21?"  

The Lord opened up a door for me to share Christ, and that the world will end one day.. at the Father's command, not the prediction of a person here on earth.

The first Christmas was about Light coming into the darkness.  About Hope that would be born so we can have peace about the future and what is ahead of us.  While 12/12/12 is a day that will be the last of it's kind for our generation, it is symbolic of this season as well.

While past Christmases bring wonderful memories, and perhaps even some pain, we can't go back and relive it the exact same way.  God allows us to make new memories right where life meets the road, the here and now.

If God allows and we celebrate one more in a few days, here are some things I want to do more of this Christmas.

1.Listen more and talk less
2.Thank God and people more and complain less.
3. Forgive more and have a shorter memory when hurt. 
4. Give more and receive less.
5. Sit in the floor with the grandsons and just watch their excitement and energy.
6. Realize that tears of gratitude are a good thing not to be ashamed of.
7. Thank the Lord more for the greatest family in the world.
8. Recognize and pray more for families that are hurting this Christmas.
9. Be a better pastor and leader to those God has entrusted to me.