Dear Friends,

As you have probably heard, there was an active shooter incident at Noblesville West Middle School this past Friday.  Two people were injured (a hero teacher, Jason, and a student, Ella), and although we are so thankful they are expected to recover, we continue to hold them up in prayer.  The shooter is in police custody.

My heart is heavy burdened that our children had to endure the reality of this senseless violence.  The sight of terrified children and frantic parents on Friday’s newscasts makes me exceedingly sad for the condition of our world.

This incident brings these tragedies to our front door.  No longer can we pretend that these things happen elsewhere.  It can strike anywhere.

Hamilton County is one of the safest counties in the United States.  Our standard of living is among the highest in the nation.  Our schools far outrank most other US communities.

WHY WOULD SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPEN HERE?

  1. THE SIN IN THE WORLD.  Evil and sin, darkness and rebellion are the human condition.  No one and nowhere is exempt from its reach.

Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

  1. THE BREAKDOWN OF THE FAMILY—Families are broken, parents are distracted, children are ignored or indulged.  Communities are fractured (i.e. How many of your neighbors do you know well?)  Digital “relationships” are substituted for genuine, or face-to-face relationships.  Violence is celebrated in video games, movies, and music.  These are just symptoms of families in trouble.

The last days there will be very difficult times.  For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred” (2 Timothy 3:1b–2).

  1. THE DISTRACTED CHURCH—Today it seems to me that Christians are distracted in so many ways. I would suggest that the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth have choked out God’s word from having the affect it should have on our lives and therefore on our culture.Jesus spoke of this in the parable of the sower when He said,

The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22).

WHAT IS THE SOLUTION TO OUR PROBLEM?

The immediate reaction to these tragedies is to seek a political solution.  This divides Christians in two camps depending on which side of the political spectrum you fall.  It saddens me when we who follow the Lord think our problems are to be solved at the Statehouse instead of the Prayerhouse.  I maintain that there is no political solution to this problem since the problem is spiritual. And if the problem is spiritual, then the solution is also spiritual.

  1. WE MUST PRAY LIKE WE MEAN IT.We are commanded over and over to pray!  Pray for peace.  Pray for God’s power to control our people.  Pray for God’s healing balm to be applied to our nation’s wounds.  Pray for forgiveness.  Pray for God’s love to win the day.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

> We as Christians are commanded to humble ourselves.

> We as Christians are commanded to pray.

> We as Christians are commanded to seek God’s face—an intimate, life-changing, vibrant relationship with the Living God.

> We as Christians are commanded to turn from our wicked ways—American Christians are nice, but we’re not very holy.  We’re good people, but not righteous enough to restrain immorality.  I would say that to a large degree our salt has lost its savor…which Jesus said made it good only to be thrown out and trampled under foot.  We must admit / confess to God that we have sinned.  We must repent—that is turn the other way.

  1. WE MUST LIVE LIKE WE BELIEVE IT.The only remedy that can change the trajectory of a human heart is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have the answer.  We possess the healing balm for our nation’s wound.  Do we truly believe this?

If so, then we are to live in such a way as to be salt and light.  We live as salt when be bring the love of God to bear on the problems of this world.  We live as light when we shine—actually reflect—the truth of God into the darkness of our culture.  This means that we must open our mouths to make known the incredible life-changing power in the message of Jesus Christ.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16a).

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” (Psalm 34:8).

May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God” (Ephesians 3:19).

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

My heart is grieving for what has happened in our community, but I am encouraged that we have the solution to our problems through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  It is my deep desire to apply the healing ointment to the wounds of our land.  To God be the glory!

Onward praying for healing,

Pastor Gary