WE MUST WORK TOWARD PUTTING THE AMBER ALERT OUT OF BUSINESS (I BEG YOU TO READ THIS)

My 7-year old granddaughter lives with me and has for the last six years. She is pure joy. I cannot find the words to describe the sheer pleasure of having her in my life on a daily basis. Her smile, her laughter, brightens up the dark days.

Every morning before she heads off to school, I help her brush her teeth, and then I get to comb her hair. Sometimes, while combing, I grow frustrated with all the tangles that have formed overnight. Combing her hair can turn into a five-minute ordeal. But when that happens, I'm always reminded of an event that happened a couple of decades ago - an encounter that I will never be able to forget...

In 2001 I was a school cop, more commonly known as a School Resource Officer (SRO). I loved that job. And though I had already been an officer for 20 years when I landed this assignment, it was like starting my career all over. The excitement had returned.

One day after work, I drove to the station to drop off my patrol car and then headed home. My personal vehicle was an old van that had been given to me as a gift about 12 years earlier. I had worn that thing out, and, no doubt, it was on its final leg. One of its issues was that the gas needle was broke, thus, I never had any idea how much gas was in the tank. You might say I “drove by faith.”

But on this particular day, my faith wasn’t sufficient. The tank was nearing empty (unknown to me). The old van sputtered and died, forcing me to cruise into a church parking lot next to a grade school.

I was in my uniform, which caused me some embarrassment. I got out of the van, kicked it, and said a few things I probably shouldn’t have. Since I was only five blocks from the house, I decided to walk home...

No sooner had I gotten a few yards when someone grabbed my attention.

“Officer, what’s the problem?” Larry was in the same parking lot, waiting for his wife and kid to come out of school when he saw my agitation concerning my vehicle.

“Aw, I’m outta gas. But, I only live a few blocks down the street. I’ll be ok. Thanks.”

“Officer, I’ve got some time," Larry said. "I can go get you some gas. I gotta gas can and doing so won’t be a problem. Besides, I have a lot of respect for the police. It would mean a lot to me if I could help ya.”

Wearing that heavy uniform I had no desire to walk home. The belt itself, along with its 'stuff,' weighed 22 pounds. Why not let him help? I concluded. 

“Sure, sir. I’d really appreciate it.”

He smiled and started to make his way toward his car. But then he turned and said something else. “Officer, I'm gonna need a favor from ya.”

“Oh? What’s that?”

Pointing toward the school, Larry said, “My wife will be coming out of that gym door any moment. Her son will be with her. When she sees you standing here she will get nervous, wondering if everything's ok. Would you please tell her I went to get ya some gas.”

“Sure...no problem.”

He hesitated for a moment and then added: “You might even recognize her. Her name is Donna - and she’s the mother of Amber Hagerman.”

Amber Hagerman was the 9-year girl who in 1996 had been abducted in Arlington, Texas (about 10 miles from our location). Her kidnapper had brutally murdered her after torturing her. It was Amber's death that created the Amber Alert.

I was caught off guard by his remark. I had no idea that the mother of Amber Hagerman lived in my neighborhood.

“Sir,” I asked, “do you mean Amber ... from ‘the Amber Alert?’”

“Yeah, from the Amber Alert.”

 Amber Hagerman

“Sure,” I said. “I’d like to meet her.”

He hopped in his car and went off to fetch me some gas. I turned toward the grade school and watched for Donna. A couple of minutes later, I saw her exit the gym door. She was holding her son’s hand. When she got near me, I quickly struck up a conversation, speaking rapidly -

“Hello Donna. I’m Officer Meeks. Everything is ok. I ran out of gas and your hubby went to get me some. I'm pretty embarrassed.” 

“Oh, ok,” she said, her voice ever so gentle.

She walked over to her car: her son got in the passenger seat, she slipped into the driver’s side.

I didn’t know what to say. I just stood there. Amber had only been dead about five years and the memory of the tragedy was still very fresh in the community – as well as the nation.

Donna broke the silence.

“Officer Meeks, do you know who I am?”

“Yes ma'am I do. You’re Amber Hagerman’s mom. I saw you on TV with the president not too long ago. Your courage has been an inspiration to the country, ma’am.”

“Oh,” she replied, her voice filled with sorrow.

I leaned back against my van. Still unsure of what, if anything, I should say. The silence returned.

She sat in her car, staring at the steering wheel. For a second time, she broke the silence.

“Officer Meeks?”

“Yes, Donna...”

“You know what I miss the most ... about Amber?”

I was not ready for that question. I had no idea what she was about to say, nor did I know how to answer her question. She was looking right at me. I thought for a moment what this dear, precious lady must be enduring every day of her life. And to make matters worse, Amber’s killer had not been caught (still hasn’t).

The only thing that came to mind was this...

“Donna, I have five daughters. And I cannot begin to imagine what you must go through every day...”

So she told me. She told me what she missed "the most" about Amber.

“I sure do miss ...combing her hair.”

I was speechless. I am not often without words, but I was in this moment.

I have no memory of Larry returning with my gas. I know he did, for I was soon walking in the back door of my house. I went straight to my room and shed the uniform, changing into something more comfortable.

I then marched into the living room and sat on the couch. I knew my youngest daughter, 4-year old Lydia, was in her room, which was only a few feet from where I sat. I shouted – no - I hollered at her...

“LYDIA! GET IN HERE... and bring a ... brush...”

Seconds later she came running out, brush in hand. She looked at me, puzzled and curious.

“Sweetheart. I need you to sit here ... and let me ... comb your hair.."

She quietly sat down, and I brushed that long, beautiful hair...

And now, every morning – 18 years later – I comb the hair of another little girl: a 7-year old who calls me “Poppy.” And when I get frustrated with the tangles, I remember Donna.

And I remember Amber.

At every Sheepdog Seminar we beg and plead for churches to send their youth directors and children’s workers. Sadly, only a few - usually none - will be in attendance. I simply cannot get them to see the importance of this.

At the seminar, we will show them exactly what must be done to prevent the sex crimes that are happening on faith-based property.

At a seminar in North Dakota a youth director did show up. “What made you decide to come?” I asked. The man sitting across from him – his pastor – interrupted: “I TOLD HIM TO COME.” I was impressed by this pastor, and the youth director. But I remain puzzled: why won’t pastors just tell their youth directors: “YOU ... ARE ... GOING.” Period. And if not to one of our seminars, attend one somewhere.

Perhaps you’re wondering if an abduction could happen at a church. Yes, they can.

And they have...

In November of 2016 10-year old Kayla Gomez-Orozco (right) was inside her east Texas church during a Wednesday night prayer meeting when she was abducted. An Amber Alert was issued. Over the next few days, 800 volunteers searched 1500 acres. But sadly, her lifeless body was found in a well. A relative was arrested and charged with Capital Murder.

HE ... HAD ... ABDUCTED ... HER ... RIGHT ... OUT ... OF ... THE...CHURCH.

It may seem like the impossible dream, but we must work toward putting the Amber Alert out of business. We must, at all costs, protect our children wherever they may be. Wouldn't it be a better world, to say the least, if children were protected and no cause for an alert was needed. We must fight toward this end.

 

UPCOMING SHEEPDOG SEMINARS

  • Birmingham, Alabama - September 28-29. Click here. Stephen Willeford will be with us in Birmingham. Stephen is the man who shot, and stopped, the killer at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs last November (where 26 worshipers were murdered).

  • San Diego, California - October 6. Stephen Willeford will be with us in San Diego. Stephen is the man who shot, and stopped, the killer at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs last November (where 26 worshipers were murdered)

 

 

 

 

 

WE MUST WORK TOWARD PUTTING THE AMBER ALERT OUT OF BUSINESS (I BEG YOU TO READ THIS)

My 7-year old granddaughter lives with me and has for the last six years. She is pure joy. I cannot find the words to describe the sheer pleasure of having her in my life on a daily basis. Her smile, her laughter, brightens up the dark days.

Every morning before she heads off to school, I help her brush her teeth, and then I get to comb her hair. Sometimes, while combing, I grow frustrated with all the tangles that have formed overnight. Combing her hair can turn into a five-minute ordeal. But when that happens, I'm always reminded of an event that happened a couple of decades ago - an encounter that I will never be able to forget...

In 2001 I was a school cop, more commonly known as a School Resource Officer (SRO). I loved that job. And though I had already been an officer for 20 years when I landed this assignment, it was like starting my career all over. The excitement had returned.

One day after work, I drove to the station to drop off my patrol car and then headed home. My personal vehicle was an old van that had been given to me as a gift about 12 years earlier. I had worn that thing out, and, no doubt, it was on its final leg. One of its issues was that the gas needle was broke, thus, I never had any idea how much gas was in the tank. You might say I “drove by faith.”

But on this particular day, my faith wasn’t sufficient. The tank was nearing empty (unknown to me). The old van sputtered and died, forcing me to cruise into a church parking lot next to a grade school.

I was in my uniform, which caused me some embarrassment. I got out of the van, kicked it, and said a few things I probably shouldn’t have. Since I was only five blocks from the house, I decided to walk home...

No sooner had I gotten a few yards when someone grabbed my attention.

“Officer, what’s the problem?” Larry was in the same parking lot, waiting for his wife and kid to come out of school when he saw my agitation concerning my vehicle.

“Aw, I’m outta gas. But, I only live a few blocks down the street. I’ll be ok. Thanks.”

“Officer, I’ve got some time," Larry said. "I can go get you some gas. I gotta gas can and doing so won’t be a problem. Besides, I have a lot of respect for the police. It would mean a lot to me if I could help ya.”

Wearing that heavy uniform I had no desire to walk home. The belt itself, along with its 'stuff,' weighed 22 pounds. Why not let him help? I concluded. 

“Sure, sir. I’d really appreciate it.”

He smiled and started to make his way toward his car. But then he turned and said something else. “Officer, I'm gonna need a favor from ya.”

“Oh? What’s that?”

Pointing toward the school, Larry said, “My wife will be coming out of that gym door any moment. Her son will be with her. When she sees you standing here she will get nervous, wondering if everything's ok. Would you please tell her I went to get ya some gas.”

“Sure...no problem.”

He hesitated for a moment and then added: “You might even recognize her. Her name is Donna - and she’s the mother of Amber Hagerman.”

Amber Hagerman was the 9-year girl who in 1996 had been abducted in Arlington, Texas (about 10 miles from our location). Her kidnapper had brutally murdered her after torturing her. It was Amber's death that created the Amber Alert.

I was caught off guard by his remark. I had no idea that the mother of Amber Hagerman lived in my neighborhood.

“Sir,” I asked, “do you mean Amber ... from ‘the Amber Alert?’”

“Yeah, from the Amber Alert.”

 Amber Hagerman

“Sure,” I said. “I’d like to meet her.”

He hopped in his car and went off to fetch me some gas. I turned toward the grade school and watched for Donna. A couple of minutes later, I saw her exit the gym door. She was holding her son’s hand. When she got near me, I quickly struck up a conversation, speaking rapidly -

“Hello Donna. I’m Officer Meeks. Everything is ok. I ran out of gas and your hubby went to get me some. I'm pretty embarrassed.” 

“Oh, ok,” she said, her voice ever so gentle.

She walked over to her car: her son got in the passenger seat, she slipped into the driver’s side.

I didn’t know what to say. I just stood there. Amber had only been dead about five years and the memory of the tragedy was still very fresh in the community – as well as the nation.

Donna broke the silence.

“Officer Meeks, do you know who I am?”

“Yes ma'am I do. You’re Amber Hagerman’s mom. I saw you on TV with the president not too long ago. Your courage has been an inspiration to the country, ma’am.”

“Oh,” she replied, her voice filled with sorrow.

I leaned back against my van. Still unsure of what, if anything, I should say. The silence returned.

She sat in her car, staring at the steering wheel. For a second time, she broke the silence.

“Officer Meeks?”

“Yes, Donna...”

“You know what I miss the most ... about Amber?”

I was not ready for that question. I had no idea what she was about to say, nor did I know how to answer her question. She was looking right at me. I thought for a moment what this dear, precious lady must be enduring every day of her life. And to make matters worse, Amber’s killer had not been caught (still hasn’t).

The only thing that came to mind was this...

“Donna, I have five daughters. And I cannot begin to imagine what you must go through every day...”

So she told me. She told me what she missed "the most" about Amber.

“I sure do miss ...combing her hair.”

I was speechless. I am not often without words, but I was in this moment.

I have no memory of Larry returning with my gas. I know he did, for I was soon walking in the back door of my house. I went straight to my room and shed the uniform, changing into something more comfortable.

I then marched into the living room and sat on the couch. I knew my youngest daughter, 4-year old Lydia, was in her room, which was only a few feet from where I sat. I shouted – no - I hollered at her...

“LYDIA! GET IN HERE... and bring a ... brush...”

Seconds later she came running out, brush in hand. She looked at me, puzzled and curious.

“Sweetheart. I need you to sit here ... and let me ... comb your hair.."

She quietly sat down, and I brushed that long, beautiful hair...

And now, every morning – 18 years later – I comb the hair of another little girl: a 7-year old who calls me “Poppy.” And when I get frustrated with the tangles, I remember Donna.

And I remember Amber.

At every Sheepdog Seminar we beg and plead for churches to send their youth directors and children’s workers. Sadly, only a few - usually none - will be in attendance. I simply cannot get them to see the importance of this.

At the seminar, we will show them exactly what must be done to prevent the sex crimes that are happening on faith-based property.

At a seminar in North Dakota a youth director did show up. “What made you decide to come?” I asked. The man sitting across from him – his pastor – interrupted: “I TOLD HIM TO COME.” I was impressed by this pastor, and the youth director. But I remain puzzled: why won’t pastors just tell their youth directors: “YOU ... ARE ... GOING.” Period. And if not to one of our seminars, attend one somewhere.

Perhaps you’re wondering if an abduction could happen at a church. Yes, they can.

And they have...

In November of 2016 10-year old Kayla Gomez-Orozco (right) was inside her east Texas church during a Wednesday night prayer meeting when she was abducted. An Amber Alert was issued. Over the next few days, 800 volunteers searched 1500 acres. But sadly, her lifeless body was found in a well. A relative was arrested and charged with Capital Murder.

HE ... HAD ... ABDUCTED ... HER ... RIGHT ... OUT ... OF ... THE...CHURCH.

It may seem like the impossible dream, but we must work toward putting the Amber Alert out of business.

 

UPCOMING SHEEPDOG SEMINARS

  • Birmingham, Alabama - September 28-29. Click here. Stephen Willeford will be with us in Birmingham. Stephen is the man who shot, and stopped, the killer at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs last November (where 26 worshipers were murdered).

  • San Diego, California - October 6. Stephen Willeford will be with us in San Diego. Stephen is the man who shot, and stopped, the killer at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs last November (where 26 worshipers were murdered)

 

 

 

 

 

I'M CONSIDERING A SEANCE AT CHURCH; WILL THE PEOPLE BE RECEPTIVE?

In the hurry and bustle of our lives, we often fail to see how we allow the enemy to attack us. 

Consider the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts chapter 5. They lived in the early days of the church, when the Spirit of God had fallen on the people and many were converted. The result of some of the conversions was that the rich folk sold their lands. They would then take the funds from the sale, and bring them to the Apostles. The money was then distributed to those in need...

Ananias, and his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property and brought some of the money to the Apostle Peter. The were not under obligation to do so, for, as we later learn, they were free to do as they pleased with their own money. Their sin was in lying about the amount they had gotten from the sale. They indicated to Peter that the money they were donating was the entire amount they had received for the sale of their property.

For the sake of the illustration, you could say they got $1000 for the land. However, they donated $500 to the church. Their deception lay in the fact that they led Peter to believe that they had gotten 500 - not 1000, for the land. This was their sin.

Peter confronted them with their sin. And then he said something to them that is very disturbing: “Why has SATAN filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the proceeds of the land?”

Wo. Think about this for a moment. Peter sees their act as a result of being filled with the power of Satan! 

Have you ever considered the fact that when you lie you are doing so because the devil himself has - at least for that moment - filled your heart? 

We have different names for lies. We call them “while lies,” or “half truths.” But God doesn’t allow such a vocabulary in his kingdom: he says they are LIES. And it is downright frightening to realize that we do so because the power of Satan has filled our heart.

Suppose you came to church to hear me preach. As I stand behind the pulpit, however, I began to tell you that I am too sad to preach today. Why? I miss my dad who died in 2007. I am simply too sad, filled with grief, to the point that I just can’t deliver a sermon.

But, I tell the crowd, I have recently done some research and have learned how to summon the dead. “It’s a seance,” I tell the crowd, a meeting at which people contact the dead, with the help of a medium.

You hear me say this and immediately you are very offended - and rightly so. You’re about to walk out of the sanctuary, but before you do, you stand up and shout at me: “Jimmy, a seance is satanic. You’re practicing witchcraft!”

And you are right. That’s exactly what I would be doing. I am simply practicing witchcraft, a sure way to invite devils and demons into a house of worship. And you would be spot on to walk out in disgust.

I would never conduct such a meeting - but I have done something similar: I have lied. And when I lie, I am doing so under the influence of the devil. The same devil that would have me conduct a seance has helped me...lie.

We have grown so accustomed to telling so-called “half truths” that we have come to accept it as no big deal. But that is not the truth. 

Peter told Ananias that he had not lied to men, BUT TO GOD. Have you considered the fact that when you lie, you are not sinning against humans: you are standing in front of God, looking him straight in the face, and lying...TO HIM...

Years ago I needed a new car for my family. My wife and I had 5 children, and needed a vehicle that had enough room. I soon found such a car: a beautiful, big, long station wagon. That thing could easily hold 9 passengers.

I saw the car in the front yard of a resident, with a “For Sale” sign attached. “Sir,” how much for the car” I asked him. “$2500.00” he replied.

I fell in love with this car and came up with 2500 bucks and bought the thing. 

But, I would now need an additional 212 dollars to pay the taxes and obtain my updated registration. However, I found a way around having to pay taxes on 2500 dollars...

I told the man who sold me the car, “Sir, I am going to give you 1000 dollars for the car, and since you are ‘helping’ my family find a car, I am going to ‘donate’ an additional 1500 dollars to you.” He smiled and indicated that he understood. I soon drove off in my new car (actually a used car).

I would go to the tax office and purchase my new tags. And when the clerk asked me what I paid for the car, I would tell her: “1000 dollars.” That would put my taxes around 80 bucks, saving me some cash. 

But, I am a Christian. And my conscience troubled me. I explained my dilemma to my dad, soliciting his opinion. “Son,” he replied. “Look at it this way. If you pay taxes on 2500 you will never wonder if you did the right thing.” That got me. I went to the tax office and paid taxes on 2500 - and the peace of God flooded my mind.

But, consider for just a moment what I was going to do, and what was taking place in my heart. I had, though only for a while, allowed Satan to fill my heart to lie. It is troubling to realize that that course of action would have been...DEMONIC!

I was about to sell my integrity for roughly 138 dollars.

And ponder this: when questioned by the clerk about the price I had paid, I was going to lie. But she would NOT have been the one I would have lied to. On the contrary, the victim of my lie would have been ... God himself!

Scary, is it not, when we consider how many lies we have told God (who KNOWS all things)? 

Troubling, to say the least, when we consider that we told the IRS we made $50,000 last year, when we know in fact we made much more. We reason that it’s no big deal - “the government doesn’t need my money,” we conclude. And when we do this, we fail to realize that in that moment we have been filled with the power of Satan. And it is not the IRS we lied to - but God.

And our hypocrisy is awful. We have contempt for the politicians when we learn of how they committed “tax evasion.” But that is the SAME SIN we are guilty of.

And we sometimes see this in the church that boasts of having 5000 in their membership, when they know good and well that that the “active” membership is probably half, or less, than that amount.

I agree with the saying that we should “Drain the Swamp.” Let us start with us, the ones who profess faith in Christ. 

Long ago God told us in one of the 10 Commandments: “Thou shalt not lie.” And they are called THE 10 Commandments - not the 10 SUGGESTIONS.


UPCOMING SHEEPDOG SEMINARS

  • Birmingham, Alabama - September 28-29. Click here. Stephen Willeford will be with us in Birmingham. Stephen is the man who shot, and stopped, the killer at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs last November (where 26 worshipers were murdered).

  • San Diego, California - October 6. Stephen Willeford will be with us in San Diego. Stephen is the man who shot, and stopped, the killer at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs last November (where 26 worshipers were murdered)

I'M CONSIDERING A SEANCE AT CHURCH; WILL THE PEOPLE BE RECEPTIVE?

In the hurry and bustle of our lives, we often fail to see how we allow the enemy to attack us. 

Consider the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts chapter 5. They lived in the early days of the church, when the Spirit of God had fallen on the people and many were converted. The result of some of the conversions was that the rich folk sold their lands. They would then take the funds from the sale, and bring them to the Apostles. The money was then distributed to those in need...

Ananias, and his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property and brought some of the money to the Apostle Peter. The were not under obligation to do so, for, as we later learn, they were free to do as they pleased with their own money. Their sin was in lying about the amount they had gotten from the sale. They indicated to Peter that the money they were donating was the entire amount they had received for the sale of their property.

For the sake of the illustration, you could say they got $1000 for the land. However, they donated $500 to the church. Their deception lay in the fact that they led Peter to believe that they had gotten 500 - not 1000, for the land. This was their sin.

Peter confronted them with their sin. And then he said something to them that is very disturbing: “Why has SATAN filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the proceeds of the land?”

Wo. Think about this for a moment. Peter sees their act as a result of being filled with the power of Satan! 

Have you ever considered the fact that when you lie you are doing so because the devil himself has - at least for that moment - filled your heart? 

We have different names for lies. We call them “while lies,” or “half truths.” But God doesn’t allow such a vocabulary in his kingdom: he says they are LIES. And it is downright frightening to realize that we do so because the power of Satan has filled our heart.

Suppose you came to church to hear me preach. As I stand behind the pulpit, however, I began to tell you that I am too sad to preach today. Why? I miss my dad who died in 2007. I am simply too sad, filled with grief, to the point that I just can’t deliver a sermon.

But, I tell the crowd, I have recently done some research and have learned how to summon the dead. “It’s a seance,” I tell the crowd, a meeting at which people contact the dead, with the help of a medium.

You hear me say this and immediately you are very offended - and rightly so. You’re about to walk out of the sanctuary, but before you do, you stand up and shout at me: “Jimmy, a seance is satanic. You’re practicing witchcraft!”

And you are right. That’s exactly what I would be doing. I am simply practicing witchcraft, a sure way to invite devils and demons into a house of worship. And you would be spot on to walk out in disgust.

I would never conduct such a meeting - but I have done something similar: I have lied. And when I lie, I am doing so under the influence of the devil. The same devil that would have me conduct a seance has helped me...lie.

We have grown so accustomed to telling so-called “half truths” that we have come to accept it as no big deal. But that is not the truth. 

Peter told Ananias that he had not lied to men, BUT TO GOD. Have you considered the fact that when you lie, you are not sinning against humans: you are standing in front of God, looking him straight in the face, and lying...TO HIM...

Years ago I needed a new car for my family. My wife and I had 5 children, and needed a vehicle that had enough room. I soon found such a car: a beautiful, big, long station wagon. That thing could easily hold 9 passengers.

I saw the car in the front yard of a resident, with a “For Sale” sign attached. “Sir,” how much for the car” I asked him. “$2500.00” he replied.

I fell in love with this car and came up with 2500 bucks and bought the thing. 

But, I would now need an additional 212 dollars to pay the taxes and obtain my updated registration. However, I found a way around having to pay taxes on 2500 dollars...

I told the man who sold me the car, “Sir, I am going to give you 1000 dollars for the car, and since you are ‘helping’ my family find a car, I am going to ‘donate’ an additional 1500 dollars to you.” He smiled and indicated that he understood. I soon drove off in my new car (actually a used car).

I would go to the tax office and purchase my new tags. And when the clerk asked me what I paid for the car, I would tell her: “1000 dollars.”

But, I am a Christian. And my conscience troubled me. I explained my dilemma to my dad, soliciting his opinion. “Son,” he replied. “Look at it this way. If you pay taxes on 2500 you will never wonder if you did the right thing.” That got me. I went to the tax office and paid taxes on 2500 - and the peace of God flooded my mind.

But, consider for just a moment what I was going to do, and what was taking place in my heart. I had, though only for a while, allowed Satan to fill my heart to lie. It is troubling to realize that that course of action would have been...DEMONIC!

And ponder this: when questioned by the clerk about the price I had paid, I was going to lie. But she would NOT have been the one I would have lied to. On the contrary, the victim of my lie would have been ... God himself!

Scary, is it not, when we consider how many lies we have told God (who KNOWS all things)? 

Troubling, to say the least, when we consider that we told the IRS we made $50,000 last year, when we know in fact we made much more. We reason that it’s no big deal - “the government doesn’t need my money,” we conclude. And when we do this, we fail to realize that in that moment we have been filled with the power of Satan. And it is not the IRS we lied to - but God.

And our hypocrisy is awful. We have contempt for the politicians when we lear of how they committed “tax evasion.” But that is the SAME SIN we are guilty of.

And we sometimes see this in the church that boasts of having 5000 in their membership, when they know good and well that that the “active” membership is probably half, or less, than that amount.

I agree with the saying that we should “Drain the Swamp.” Let us start with us, the ones who profess faith in Christ. 

Long ago God told us in one of the 10 Commandments: “Thou shalt not lie.” And they are called THE 10 Commandments - not the 10 SUGGESTIONS.


UPCOMING SHEEPDOG SEMINARS

  • Birmingham, Alabama - September 28-29. Click here. Stephen Willeford will be with us in Birmingham. Stephen is the man who shot, and stopped, the killer at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs last November (where 26 worshipers were murdered).

  • San Diego, California - October 6. Stephen Willeford will be with us in San Diego. Stephen is the man who shot, and stopped, the killer at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs last November (where 26 worshipers were murdered)

THE GREATEST SAFTEY TIP FOR CHURCHES IN THE HISTORY OF SAFETY TIPS

On Monday, August 27, a minister in Attleboro, Massachusetts dropped his wife off at the church where she worked. It was his day off.

He was not expecting what he was about to see.

According to the church's business administrator, the pastor drove to the church (an Assembly of God) at 7 a.m. to drop off his wife. “She works in our school,” the administrator explained. “It’s normally his day off. He went into the sanctuary to get a cable for his phone when he saw a man sitting in a pew with a gun. He tried to counsel him and asked him if he wanted some help. He did not, and the man left.”

When the man left, the pastor called 911. It was when the man got outside that all hell broke loose: He would soon start shooting at police cars

The church administrator said: “He (the suspect) did not threaten the pastor. The shooting did not occur on our campus. At no time was any worker at the church threatened.”

The pastor was never in any danger? At no time was any worker at the church threatened? The truth is, the second that man was seen in the pew with a gun, the pastor's life was in danger - as was the entire campus, which, within a matter of minutes, would be occupied by children (there is a school on the church's campus). 

Not all pastor's in such predicaments live to tell about it. In India, Pastor Sultan Masih was warned that if he did not sop preaching, he would be killed. HIs enemies fulfilled their promise last year. While at his church preparing for its 25th anniversary, two assassins on a motorcycle gunned down the pastor.

And such stories don't all come from overseas. In 2014, an angry man killed his wife, her friend, and then drove to Bayshore Baptist Church in Bradenton, Florida and shot to death its pastor, James Battle.

Indianapolis, Indiana Pastor Jaman Iseminger was at his church, greeting members who had come to clean up the nearby cemetery. As he was doing so, a homeless woman also showed up - and shot him to death

I could go on for hours with such stories...

I am constantly asked by the press for safety tips for churches. And I consistently give the same answer. It goes something like this...

Everything you do in the course of your everyday life - taking a shower, getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing your teeth, saying goodbye to your family, driving to work, working, going to lunch, returning to work, going home, seeing your family...etc, etc - is what you do AFTER you... WAKE UP...

If you did not wake-up, you would sleep away the day and get nothing accomplished. All the fruit of your labor is what happens AFTER you wakeup...

This is the dilemma that many churches are in: they are asleep. And it matters not in the least what "safety tips" they are given that might save the lives of their flock, if they stay in their slumber.

The greatest tip you will ever receive as to how to protect your flock is to a-w-a-k-e-n to the danger around you. From there you will find it easy to implement "safety tips." Such information is readily available...

The person who is asleep has no idea what is happening around them - for they are asleep. You cannot defend yourself in your sleep, nor can you defend the lives of those you love. 

Paul the Apostle had it right: "...And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber..." (Romans 13)

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When it comes to violence at houses of worship, we are no longer addressing a storm that is out at sea: we are talking about a storm that has arrived on our shores and is gaining momentum. 

I plead with you: WAKEUP....

ONE MORE THING. In reference to the above story about the man in the pew with a gun. I could not help but wonder: how did he get in the church in the first place? According to news reports, "Church administrators say the suspect was able to gain entry to the sanctuary because it was somehow left unlocked." Who is responsible for making sure your doors are locked (this is an official "tip" - but it will be of no benefit to you if you are asleep).

THINK ABOUT IT...


UPCOMING SHEEPDOG SEMINARS

  • Birmingham, Alabama - September 28-29. Click here. Stephen Willeford will be with us in Birmingham. Stephen is the man who shot, and stopped, the killer at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs last November (where 26 worshipers were murdered).

  • San Diego, California - October 6. Stephen Willeford will be with us in San Diego. Stephen is the man who shot, and stopped, the killer at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs last November (where 26 worshipers were murdered)

OKLAHOMA MINISTER BRUTALLY MURDERED (STABBED TO DEATH - STRIPPED OF HER CLOTHING - LAID IN CRUCIFIED POSITION - INSIDE HER CHURCH)

  Rev. Carol Daniels was murdered inside her church on August 23, 2009 (9 years ago today).

Rev. Carol Daniels was murdered inside her church on August 23, 2009 (9 years ago today).

Today is a dark day in the history of church-related violence. Reverend Carol Daniels (right) was inside her small church in Anadarko, Oklahoma on August 23, 2009, when she was attacked.

Her killer stabbed her repeatedly, almost severing her head. He laid her body in a crucified position, and before fleeing the scene, set her hair on fire.

Investigators also revealed other disturbing facts about the case:

·      The killer took Daniels’ clothes, perhaps to hide evidence or as a grisly trophy.

·      The killer methodically took time to spray a dissolving chemical around the body in an apparent effort to destroy any DNA evidence.

This horrendous act happened 9 years ago this week: August 23, 2009 (my wedding anniversary).

 The small church where Rev. Daniels was pastor:  Worthy Temple Christ Holy Sanctified Church.  The church building was razed to the ground.

The small church where Rev. Daniels was pastor: Worthy Temple Christ Holy Sanctified Church. The church building was razed to the ground.

And it all took place inside a church - in a town of about 13,000.

Reverend Daniels was pastor of the church. I have read accounts where on a good Sunday, three people might show up. She had a heart to reach the outcasts of the city.

Ms. Daniels was born on October 26. Same birthday as mine.

What could be going on inside the mind of such a person that he would be provoked to commit such an atrocity. Sadly, we may never know: the killer has not yet been caught.

I got a call a few days ago from a man in Somerset, Kentucky. He wanted me to speak to his church about the need to protect the flock. We agreed to conduct the conversation by Skype. Alas, the leadership, dumbed down by religion, canceled our session. “We’re just gonna trust the Lord…” they concluded.

 Carolyn New and her husband, Rev. New, the founding pastor of the church.

Carolyn New and her husband, Rev. New, the founding pastor of the church.

Odd that such ignorance would prevail in Somerset, Kentucky. A year ago this week, Carolyn New was murdered inside a church in Somerset.

Her husband was the founding pastor of the church. She was found dead in an activity center at Denham Street Baptist in Somerset on August 24.

According to reports, the killer (a homeless man) went to the church while New was there and asked for food. Police said she walked to the church activities center to get some potato chips for him. Moments after she handed Bell the chips, police say he killed her. Her throat was slit. Reports indicate that she was also raped.

So, dear reader, what will you do with these stories (and the hundreds of others I could tell)?

Will you continue to allow your faith, your twisted version of it, to dumb you down?

Will you continue to display your ignorance of the Holy Book that you claim to believe – and from which some of you teach and preach every Sunday?

Sincere faith is not confirmed by those who claim to have it: on the contrary, it is affirmed by those who are doing something to prove their faith.

We know Abraham had faith because of his willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac. In response to God's command, he took his son to the mount, strapped him down, and raised the sword to end his life. An angel intervened, stopping him. He then assured Abraham that his fear of God was the real deal. It was what Abraham did that validated his faith.

When the friends of the paralytic lowered him through a hole in the roof, so that Jesus might heal him, the scripture says that Jesus “saw their faith.” It was a visible, tangible faith. Jesus could tell they had faith because of what they were doing.

The woman with the issue of blood was healed and then complimented for her faith. Her faith was concrete. She pressed her way through the crowd, convinced that if she touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, she would be healed. And she was. You could SEE her faith in action. 

For God to intervene, it often requires that man first exercise faith, and that faith includes DOING SOMETHING to show that he is trusting God -

  • Jesus did not turn water into wine until the attendants first filled the pots with water
  • Lazarus was not raised from the dead until the bystanders removed the stone

There is a part for man to play, and after he has done so, he can then trust his God.

And how do we explain the violence being committed against Christians overseas?

  • Last year, over 3000 Christians were murdered because of their faith.
  • About six Christian women are raped everyday and forced to convert to Islam.                             

Is it because they have no faith that they endure such horror? Why doesn't faith protect them?

Dear pastor, can you not see the sheer heresy you preach when you declare that faith alone will protect? Or at least your version of faith.

Furthermore, dear church leaders, are you not paying attention to the times in which we live? Can you not see that violence is something that the pagans are resorting to more often? Look at the hate groups that are manifesting in our midst. Do you not have at least a little bit of responsibility to protect those in your flock? 

I just sat down in my hotel in Columbia, Missouri. I turned on the TV and the first words from the set were about a man in critical condition after being shot.

Perhaps you should consider being more like Jesus. One of the reasons, if not the primary cause, for churches failing to protect the flock is a distorted image of Jesus. But a careful reading of his life does not reveal a defenseless sheep: on the contrary, a warrior!

Perhaps you should be more like him when it comes to dealing with people. We are told in John 2:25 that he trusted no man. Read it for yourself: 

"But Jesus didn't trust them, because he knew human nature."

I am NOT saying that we are not to love others. Of course we should. We are called to love all men: but we are not called to trust those we do not know.

Not everybody who comes to your church has good intent. The killer at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs had visited the church a few days before his rampage. When he came the next time, he murdered 26 worshipers.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran Minister during WW2. He struggled greatly what to do about the rise of Hitler and his evil regime. Bonhoeffer had no inclination for violence, but, driven by conviction, he began to speak out against Nazism. And he didn't stop there: he joined in a plot to assassinate Hitler.

It cost him dearly; he was arrested in 1943 and stayed in prison for over a year. He was then tried, found guilty, and hung (as Germany was collapsing). We do well to remember what he said:

 If I see a madman driving a car into a group of innocent bystanders, then I can't, as a Christian, simply wait for the catastrophe and then comfort the wounded and bury the dead. I must try to wrestle the steering wheel out of the hands of the driver.

This is why we must have the Sheepdogs. According to some research, "...sheep have a strong instinct to follow the sheep in front of them. When one sheep decides to go somewhere, the rest of the flock usually follows, even if it is not a good decision. For example, sheep will follow each other to slaughter. If one sheep jumps over a cliff, the others are likely to follow. Even from birth, lambs are conditioned to follow the older members of the flock. This instinct is hard-wired into sheep. It's not something they think about." 

It is because of this that the Sheepdog must intervene. It is the Sheepdog that must rise to the occasion and respond to the wolf. Or, as Bonhoeffer put it, we must "wrestle the steering wheel out of the hands of the driver."

Dear pastor, find the sheepdogs in your midst and let them do what God has called them to.

Let me close with a final thought. If you are trusting God, can you not also trust His word? And His word is clear:

"A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.
    The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences." (Proverbs 27:12)

While driving across Missouri today, I saw a sign that stated 474 people have died on Missouri roads this year. The same sign also read that 60% of them were NOT wearing seat belts. Perhaps for some, seat belt or not, they would still have died. But certainly some would have lived, if they had heeded the words of Solomon and foresaw the danger (accident) and then took precautions (buckled up). 

Faith without works is dead: and you might be too, if you don't have a plan to protect your flock.

 

UPCOMING SHEEPDOG SEMINARS:

  • THIS COMING WEEKEND: Kettering, Ohio (Dayton) this Friday night and Saturday morning (August 24-25).

  • Birmingham, Alabama - September 28-29. Click here. Stephen Willeford will be with us in Birmingham. Stephen is the man who shot, and stopped, the killer at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs last November (where 26 worshipers were murdered).

  • San Diego, California - October 6. Stephen Willeford will be with us in San Diego. Stephen is the man who shot, and stopped, the killer at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs last November (where 26 worshipers were murdered)