Warning; do not put angry people on your church safety team!

Few realize the potential threat that lies in the hearts of those who are angry. The angry are, as King Solomon wrote long ago, fools: "...anger lies in the bosom of fools (Ecclesiastes 7:9)."

Anger that is not dealt with can escalate into acts of violence. In my 35 years as a cop, I don't recall ever going to a domestic disturbance where anger was not present. Anger is the fuel that fills the tank of violence.

And when you are deciding who to put on your church's safety team, make sure that none of them has the reputation of being hot-headed. 

When I first started helping churches deal with potential violence, I always showed them what characteristics to look for in their team members. I also showed them what traits they did NOT want in their team - and I faithfully pointed out that angry people have no place on a church safety team.

I once conducted a church safety seminar in south Texas. One man who attended was very supportive of my work, however, he refused to participate on a safety team at his church. "Why not,"? I asked. "Jimmy, I have a temper. I'm afraid of what I might do."

He was a wise man.

As you piece together your team, do your best to avoid having anyone who's reputation for his temper precedes him. In doing so, you will be fulfilling the words of scripture: "Don't befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people...(Proverbs 22:24)."

Are you ready for this? As interesting as this Bible verse is, what follows next is even more intriguing. Read it for yourself: "Or you will learn his ways and find a snare for yourself" (Proverbs 22:25). 

Permit me to paraphrase what you are being told here. King Solomon is making it clear that if you have a partnership with a person who is hot-headed, you may become like him, and in the process of doing so, get caught in a snare. Read that again - slowly: "you may become like him."

This is what angry people do; they wear-off on others; they pass on their attitudes to others. In other words, initially you may only have one angry man on the team, however, after a while you have an entire team of angry people!

Notice it also says you are laying a "snare" - a trap. His temper could put your team (or your whole church) in a trap. And that trap could be one of two things: 1) he's going to hurt someone, or 2) he's a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Don't misunderstand me. I am NOT saying that we do not minister to such a person; but I am saying we do NOT allow them on the safety team. They may have the skills of a sniper, and the strength of superman, but don't let him on your team. His skills and strength will be overshadowed by his anger - and the results could be disastrous.

Yes - minister to him. Help him. Motivated by love, talk to him about his temper. The Bible tells us to restore such people (Galatians 6). We don't write them off: we love them through it. Spend time with him until he's no longer defined as an "angry man."

But don't let him (or her) on your team until there's a definite and noticeable change.

Never forget the word of James 1:20 - "...human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires." You must love this dear brother, and stick with him through thick and thin. But you must be careful to not allow a hot-head to serve on your safety team. For when he explodes, there could be hell to pay.

Please understand: I am not referring to the person who occasionally gets angry (as we all do). But I am referring to the individual whose reputation is one of an angry man, a person who has "anger issues," and has not yet got a grip on his temper. Don't allow him on the team just because he has an interest in safety.

Consider this: If your team is allowed to be armed, and you permit an angry person to join that team, are you not jeopardizing your congregation's safety? An angry man with a gun is a possible recipe for disaster (are you reading any of the news lately?). Heed the warning from the Word of God. Help him to get a grip on his temper, before he's allowed to get a grip on a gun - while serving as a member of your church's safety team.

Proverbs 18:8 is clear: "A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention." I witnessed this thousands of times as a police officer. Your team must be composed of those who can calm people, not make the situation worse. The angry man throws fuel on a fire; the one who is "slow to anger" can extinguish a fire. Who do you prefer? 

 

 

 

 

What we predicted is coming to pass: the churches are falling back to sleep (until the next tragedy)

Shortly after the tragedy in Sutherland Springs, Texas - where 27 were murdered and 20 injured - I granted an interview to a news outlet. I told them something that caught them a bit off guard. 

"Sir," I explained, "this tragedy in Sutherland Springs will affect people for about 21 days. And then people will go back to normal and give little thought to it." I spoke those words while standing near the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs.

Churches have been lighting up my phone, and flooding my email inbox, with requests for help. Truth be told, there is no way I can get our team to all of these churches (it would take 3 years).

And in all honesty, I don't need all the work. I'm tired, and a bit sick. Two weeks ago, while conducting a seminar in Kansas, I had to have friends take me to the nearest emergency room. But I wasn't able to shake what I had contracted and had to get to another doctor when I got back home. I type these words from a parking lot outside Houston, Texas (where I'm scheduled to speak to 200 pastors tomorrow). 

I DON'T NEED THE WORK. At some point I was hoping to enjoy retirement. I wasn't planning on running around the country warning churches about violence!

But now I see a danger; the "21-DAY RULE" is kicking in!

Just today a leader of several churches in his area called to cancel a scheduled seminar.  The "interest just isn't there," he said. He wasn't happy about it. He knows the need is there. I then explained to him the "21-Day Rule." And today is 22 days removed from the Sutherland Springs massacre (yes - I missed it by a day).

Churches are placing their heads back in the sand, making the assumption that "it probably won't happen here." This is not a plea for you to bring us in. This is a plea for you to not fall back to sleep. This is a plea for you to don your uniform, man-up, step up to the plate and protect your flock! Do NOT allow another tragedy to serve as your alarm clock.

Anyone remember the massacre in Las Vegas? 58 dead, over 500 injured. And we are hardly hearing a word in the press about what happened there. The country has moved on! "That's old news," a College Dean told me today.

"But Jimmy," some will say, "It's the Holidays!"

Yes, you're right. Tis the season to be jolly: Christmas Trees, snow, carols; that's what season we are in. But the holiday season means nothing to the criminal mind. As a matter of fact, the first Christmas Story tells us of horrid violence. 

When King Herod learned about the birth of the Christ Child (though it was probably 2 years later), he was enraged that another king had been born. Filled with fury, he had his soldiers go on a killing rampage - killing every little boy under 2 years old.  

The first Christmas was not safe. As Actor Chuck Norris wrote, "Tis the Season To Increase Church Security."

 

 

 

IF we trusted God, and did what He said, we might stop some of the violence at houses of worship

All of us, at some point in our lives, ask the question "Why?" We read about tragedies everyday and sometimes the only response we can muster up is "Why?" Why did God let this happen (whatever "this" is).

In 35 years as a police officer, I constantly witnessed scenes of devastation: abused children, battered women, suicides - and the list goes on. And time after time, through their tears I heard people ask the question "Why?"

I won't pretend for a moment to have all the answers. However, having studied the scriptures for over 40 years, there are some "why" questions that can be easily answered.

Let me call your attention to Proverbs 27:12 - "A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences." Think hard on that one - and the scales may fall from your eyes. It by no means explains everything; but it explains a lot.

It actually tells you that if you are prudent, and you take the time to "foresee danger," there's a chance that that particular danger will not harm you.

For example, if you "foresee danger" in the form of a car wreck, and put on your seatbelt ("take precautions")  - there's a good chance you'll survive.

Let's bring this truth to the issue of violence at houses of worship. There are many who argue there is no need for it, that we should simply "trust the Lord" and He will take care of us. But how, in light of all that is happening, can we make that argument?  

Here is my point: if you say you are trusting God in the matter of security, then why not believe what He says in His Word? If you trust Him, surely you can trust His word. And His word tells you to "foresee danger" and "take precautions.."

If you will awaken yourself to see the present danger we are in, you are then more likely to take the precautions that are necessary to protect your flock. If you don't do so, it is NOT because you are a person of faith - but a person of foolishness!

His word tells you to foresee danger. Are you doing that?

108 people have died a violent death on church and faith-based property this year. That's an all-time high (77 in 2015). This alarming statistic should enable you to "foresee danger" to the point that you will "take precautions."

Put simply, there are some bad things that would not come your way if you could see the possibility of them happening. You must "see" the possibility (perhaps you need a miracle; the restoration of your "sight"). Then, once you "see," you could then take the proper precautions.

While sitting in my yard the other night, I heard the sound of what appeared to be a car wreck. I jumped in my car and drove to where I thought it was. It was a terrible crash. One driver was pinned in his car, while the other had been ejected some 40 feet. Both cars were totaled. The engine of one of the cars was lying on the ground - 20 yards from the car.

An investigation would reveal that one of the drivers was talking on the phone as she drove (distracted). This accident was completely avoidable. Had she "foreseen the danger" of being on the phone while driving, perhaps she would have stayed off the phone - and avoided the wreck. So if someone asks about this accident, and followed with a "why," the answer would have been simple: she was distracted by talking on the phone.

Surely the tragedy in Sutherland Springs, Texas can help you see what can happen even in the smallest churches - in the smallest cities! Sutherland Springs shows us that NO ONE IS SAFE!

It is time that you awaken from your slumber. You are now without excuse. You claim you are trusting God - START ACTING LIKE IT. Foresee the danger and take the precautions. If you fail to do this, you may experience the second part of the verse at hand: "The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences." 

A "Simpleton" is one who is foolish or gullible. He is the one who does NOT see the present danger, thus he avoids taking any precautions. And sometimes he pays dearly.

If the short cut to your car from the theater is through a dark alley, don't be surprised if you get mugged. 

In my 35-year career as a cop, all I did was roam from one crime scene to another that might not have happened had the victim "foreseen the danger" - and taken the necessary precautions. That is not to say that the victim was to blame. THE FAULT NEVER LIES WITH THE VICTIM! However, to stay victim-free, one must foresee danger at all times, and then take the necessary precautions. 

Foreseeing danger, and taking precautions, is how Jesus lived. John 7:1 tells us that He refused to go to Judea because the men of the city were seeking to kill Him. Wow - why didn't He just go anyway, - and trust His Father to take care of Him? That was not His style. He understood how a fallen world operated. When he saw danger, He avoided it. He saw that the men of Judea would try to kill Him, and He would not die UNTIL HE WAS READY (see John 10).

If Jesus foresaw danger, and took precautions to avoid it, why don't you consider doing likewise? It's nothing less than a case of WWJD ("What Would Jesus Do").

 

 

 

 

 

 

IF we trusted God, and did what He said, we might stop some of the violence at houses of worship

All of us, at some point in our lives, ask the question "Why?" We read about tragedies everyday and sometimes the only response we can muster up is "Why?" Why did God let this happen (whatever "this" is).

In 35 years as a police officer, I constantly witnessed scenes of devastation: abused children, battered women, suicides - and the list goes on. And time after time, through their tears I heard people ask the question "Why?"

I won't pretend for a moment to have all the answers. However, having studied the scriptures for over 40 years, there are some "why" questions that can be easily answered.

Let me call your attention to Proverbs 27:12 - "A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences." Think hard on that one - and the scales may fall from your eyes. It by no means explains everything; but it explains a lot.

It actually tells you that if you are prudent, and you take the time to "foresee danger," there's a chance that that particular danger will not harm you.

For example, if you "foresee danger" in the form of a car wreck, and put on your seatbelt ("take precautions")  - there's a good chance you'll survive.

Let's bring this truth to the issue of violence at houses of worship. There are many who argue there is no need for it, that we should simply "trust the Lord" and He will take care of us. But how, in light of all that is happening, can we make that argument?  

Here is my point: if you say you are trusting God in the matter of security, then why not believe what He says in His Word? If you trust Him, surely you can trust His word. And His word tells you to "foresee danger" and "take precautions.."

If you will awaken yourself to see the present danger we are in, you are then more likely to take the precautions that are necessary to protect your flock. If you don't do so, it is NOT because you are a person of faith - but a person of foolishness!

His word tells you to foresee danger. Are you doing that?

108 people have died a violent death on church and faith-based property this year. That's an all-time high (77 in 2015). This alarming statistic should enable you to "foresee danger" to the point that you will "take precautions."

Put simply, there are some bad things that would not come your way if you could see the possibility of them happening. You must "see" the possibility (perhaps you need a miracle; the restoration of your "sight"). Then, once you "see," you could then take the proper precautions.

While sitting in my yard the other night, I heard the sound of what appeared to be a car wreck. I jumped in my car and drove to where I thought it was. It was a terrible crash. One driver was pinned in his car, while the other had been ejected some 40 feet. Both cars were totaled. The engine of one of the cars was lying on the ground - 20 yards from the car.

An investigation would reveal that one of the drivers was talking on the phone as she drove (distracted). This accident was completely avoidable. Had she "foreseen the danger" of being on the phone while driving, perhaps she would have stayed off the phone - and avoided the wreck. So if someone asks about this accident, and followed with a "why," the answer would have been simple: she was distracted by talking on the phone.

Surely the tragedy in Sutherland Springs, Texas can help you see what can happen even in the smallest churches - in the smallest cities! Sutherland Springs shows us that NO ONE IS SAFE!

It is time that you awaken from your slumber. You are now without excuse. You claim you are trusting God - START ACTING LIKE IT. Foresee the danger and take the precautions. If you fail to do this, you may experience the second part of the verse at hand: "The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences." 

A "Simpleton" is one who is foolish or gullible. He is the one who does NOT see the present danger, thus he avoids taking any precautions. And sometimes he pays dearly.

If the short cut to your car from the theater is through a dark alley, don't be surprised if you get mugged. 

In my 35-year career as a cop, all I did was roam from one crime scene to another that might not have happened had the victim "foreseen the danger" - and taken the necessary precautions. That is not to say that the victim was to blame. THE FAULT NEVER LIES WITH THE VICTIM! However, to stay victim-free, one must foresee danger at all times, and then take the necessary precautions. 

Foreseeing danger, and taking precautions, is how Jesus lived. John 7:1 tells us that He refused to go to Judea because the men of the city were seeking to kill Him. Wow - why didn't He just go anyway, - and trust His Father to take care of Him? That was not His style. He understood how a fallen world operated. When he saw danger, He avoided it. He saw that the men of Judea would try to kill Him, and He would not die UNTIL HE WAS READY (see John 10).

If Jesus foresaw danger, and took precautions to avoid it, why don't you consider doing likewise? It's nothing less than a case of WWJD ("What Would Jesus Do").

 

 

 

 

 

 

IF we trusted God, and did what He said, we might stop some of the violence at houses of worship

All of us, at some point in our lives, ask the question "Why?" We read about tragedies everyday and sometimes the only response we can muster up is "Why?" Why did God let this happen (whatever "this" is).

In 35 years as a police officer, I constantly witnessed scenes of devastation: abused children, battered women, suicides - and the list goes on. And time after time, through their tears I heard people ask the question "Why?"

I won't pretend for a moment to have all the answers. However, having studied the scriptures for over 40 years, there are some "why" questions that can be easily answered.

Let me call your attention to Proverbs 27:12 - "A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences." Think hard on that one - and the scales may fall from your eyes. It by no means explains everything; but it explains a lot.

It actually tells you that if you are prudent, and you take the time to "foresee danger," there's a chance that that particular danger will not harm you.

For example, if you "foresee danger" in the form of a car wreck, and put on your seatbelt ("take precautions")  - there's a good chance you'll survive.

Let's bring this truth to the issue of violence at houses of worship. There are many who argue there is no need for it, that we should simply "trust the Lord" and He will take care of us. But how, in light of all that is happening, can we make that argument?  

Here is my point: if you say you are trusting God in the matter of security, then why not believe what He says in His Word? If you trust Him, surely you can trust His word. And His word tells you to "foresee danger" and "take precautions.."

If you will awaken yourself to see the present danger we are in, you are then more likely to take the precautions that are necessary to protect your flock. If you don't do so, it is NOT because you are a person of faith - but a person of foolishness!

His word tells you to foresee danger. Are you doing that?

108 people have died a violent death on church and faith-based property this year. That's an all-time high (77 in 2015). This alarming statistic should enable you to "foresee danger" to the point that you will "take precautions."

Put simply, there are some bad things that would not come your way if you could see the possibility of them happening. You must "see" the possibility (perhaps you need a miracle; the restoration of your "sight"). Then, once you "see," you could then take the proper precautions.

While sitting in my yard the other night, I heard the sound of what appeared to be a car wreck. I jumped in my car and drove to where I thought it was. It was a terrible crash. One driver was pinned in his car, while the other had been ejected some 40 feet. Both cars were totaled. The engine of one of the cars was lying on the ground - 20 yards from the car.

An investigation would reveal that one of the drivers was talking on the phone as she drove (distracted). This accident was completely avoidable. Had she "foreseen the danger" of being on the phone while driving, perhaps she would have stayed off the phone - and avoided the wreck. So if someone asks about this accident, and followed with a "why," the answer would have been simple: she was distracted by talking on the phone.

Surely the tragedy in Sutherland Springs, Texas can help you see what can happen even in the smallest churches - in the smallest cities! Sutherland Springs shows us that NO ONE IS SAFE!

It is time that you awaken from your slumber. You are now without excuse. You claim you are trusting God - START ACTING LIKE IT. Foresee the danger and take the precautions. If you fail to do this, you may experience the second part of the verse at hand: "The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences." 

A "Simpleton" is one who is foolish or gullible. He is the one who does NOT see the present danger, thus he avoids taking any precautions. And sometimes he pays dearly.

If the short cut to your car from the theater is through a dark alley, don't be surprised if you get mugged. 

In my 35-year career as a cop, all I did was roam from one crime scene to another that might not have happened had the victim "foreseen the danger" - and taken the necessary precautions. That is not to say that the victim was to blame. THE FAULT NEVER LIES WITH THE VICTIM! However, to stay victim-free, one must foresee danger at all times, and then take the necessary precautions. 

Foreseeing danger, and taking precautions, is how Jesus lived. John 7:1 tells us that He refused to go to Judea because the men of the city were seeking to kill Him. Wow - why didn't He just go anyway, - and trust His Father to take care of Him? That was not His style. He understood how a fallen world operated. When he saw danger, He avoided it. He saw that the men of Judea would try to kill Him, and He would not die UNTIL HE WAS READY (see John 10).

If Jesus foresaw danger, and took precautions to avoid it, why don't you consider doing likewise? It's nothing less than a case of WWJD ("What Would Jesus Do").

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Every Church Needs To Do - Right Now!

So I get a call from a police officer who works in a large city today. An email had been sent out to all the troops offering part time work at different churches across the city. It seems that the tragedy in Sutherland Springs has really awakened many churches, and for that we are grateful. At the same, however, our hearts ache for our brothers and sisters in Sutherland. 

But permit me to share a word of caution, especially with those of you in the ministry.

I certainly believe we should exert our greatest effort in protecting the flock. Do whatever you can, within your means, to ensure the safety of the lambs under your care. We have advocated that for over eight years.

But, do not, I repeat, DO NOT, allow the present threat of violence hinder you in any way from your calling as a church to minister to the dying world around you. 

The mass-shootings, the massacres, the attacks, they are not going to stop. Any one with any depth of knowledge about these things knows that violence on faith-based property and churches is not going to stop.

But such threats must not in any shape or form deter you from your calling to preach the gospel, make disciples, and build up the the kingdom.

We must not cower to the criminal element that seeks to destroy our way of life - or our gathering to worship. We must move full-steam ahead with the proclamation of the gospel and the making of disciples. We must not fall prey to any of these tactics of the enemy to thwart the spreading of the gospel and the building up of the church.

Fear, by itself, is not a bad thing. It is actually a gift from God that can warn us of impending danger. It tells us, for example, to not jump out of an airplane at 25,000 feet with no parachute. 

And fear also tells us to set measures in place to protect the flock when we gather for worship. This can be a good thing. But, we must never allow fear to stop us from our mission.

Ideally, what all churches should do is proceed with their missions - just do so with caution. This is the practice we have always called for. If you feed the hungry, have some form of security on scene. And any other ministry you initiate, simply add some means of security to it to help decrease the chances of violence.

This Sunday at your church there are two things you need to do: recite the Apostle's Creed, and then have someone sing Tom Petty's song I Won't Back Down. Here, permit me to provide the lyrics for you...

THE APOSTLE'S CREED

I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen

TOM PETTY "I WON'T BACK DOWN."

Well, I won't back down
No, I won't back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down

No, I'll stand my ground
Won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down
Gonna stand my ground
And I won't back down

I won't back down
Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
I won't back down
Hey I will stand my ground
And I won't back down

Well I know what's right
I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin' me around
But I stand my ground
And I won't back down