Responding to Tragedy
It is with a heavy heart that I write to all of you. Our nation is in shock and grief as we try to process the tragedies that have occurred this past week. These deplorable acts have shaken many of us to the very core of our being. This is certainly true for the families of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and now the people, officers and families within the Dallas police force. Our prayers go out to the families and friends of those most affected by these events. We also want to grieve and stand with those who are deeply shaken at this time. Rest assured the heart of our Father in Heaven is broken as He sees His image bearers (you, me and the citizens of the world) participating in such evil as this.
Let’s look to the Bible for perspective. John 10:10 clearly states that “Satan is the one that kills, steals and destroys.” Without question, this is the worst of the evil one trying to disrupt life as we know it. He is never satisfied and causes people to do things completely beyond our imagination. The second half of this verse is an incredible promise that we can cling to in times like this: “My purpose (Jesus’) is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” We know that the enemy is the source of pain and destruction, but we can have hope because God’s e is that we have abundant life. When Jesus came, He ushered in the Kingdom of God—but we live in the tension of the already and not yet. The Kingdom is here, but not fully, until Jesus returns again. Join us as we pray for the Kingdom to break in more fully during this time.
Remember WHOSE We Are
As Christians, we need to remember we belong to another Kingdom. While that doesn’t lessen the pain that we may be feeling now, it gives us hope for a better future. As we live, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we can begin to face these evil days with an unshakable confidence because our Father is able to change impossible situations. While it certainly seems like the racial tension that our country is facing is one of those “impossible situations”, we can have faith that God can do impossible things!
Remember WHO We Are
We no longer operate as the world does because as family members of the great King, we have been transformed. We have been given a new nature, a new identity. We are called to love everyone, to walk in the gifts of righteousness and holiness, and to be full of the fruit and power of the Holy Spirit. We’ve not been sent so much to have solutions to the world’s problems, but rather to represent Jesus in all situations. We bring His love, joy, peace, power and presence in world events in order to bring hope, healing and unity.
What a privilege we have as believers to represent Christ the King. We are His ambassadors, spreading His message everywhere. There’s never been a better time for us to rise up and be who we are called to be—the carriers of hope. In this hope, we can bring healing and a better future for all involved.
The National Vineyard Responds
I am so thankful that we are part of the larger church body with the
Vineyard movement. Our movement is dedicated to being a beacon of hope during this turbulent time. Our leader, Phil Strout, wrote an encouraging note that you can read HERE.
These tragic events are awful from any perspective. Our goal is not to dwell on what satan has done, but what the Father has sent us to do. Remember that we are the ones whom Christ commissioned to bring help and hope to the hurting world. Let’s arise and do what He’s called us to do. What can we do in situations like this?
Pray for the victims, friends, family and all those affected by these tragic events.
Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you can help be part of the change.The Father wants to give us prophetic insight into the problems our world is facing.
Listen to one another and be willing to have meaningful conversations, even when they make us uncomfortable, remembering everyone is made in the image of God of much worth and value.
Feel free to talk with a pastor if you have lingering hurt and pain regarding these events. We’ll be happy to pray with you personally. I’d like to invite you to attend our Worship and Prayer Vigil happening this Sunday evening from 6:30pm to 8:30 at the Urbana Campus, we will also be streaming to our online campus VineyardLIVE. We are going to take time to reflect, grieve, intercede and worship with a special focus on the events that have transpired this week.