Last week a deranged teen opened fire in an Omaha mall murdering innocent shoppers out to make others happy.
Yesterday, a gunman entered the Youth With a Mission (YWAM) dormatory in Arvada, CO on the campus of Faith Bible Chapel. The YWAM folks were cleaning up after a Christmas party when some guy entered with a gun demanding to stay the night. They told him no, so he started shooting. Two people died.
My church is only 10 minutes south of FBC, our pastor knows lots of people up there, I know several families that attend FBC... Pastor Jim told us to pray for the families of the dead and wounded. And pray the gunman would be caught.
At 1PM yesterday, a gunman burst into t he lobby of New Life Church in Colorado Springs opening fire on the congregation. More people were shot, three died. The gunman was shot by an armed security guard. New Life has a WYAM center as well and brought in security as a precaution. Both FBC and NLC are mega churches with several thousand members. I know a lot of people in the Springs and am waiting and praying they are all okay.
There are over a dozen Houghton College alumni down there, Rocky Mountain Colorguard Association folk, and member's of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writer's Association). I urge you to pray for both churches, YWAM and the families and friends of the people killed and wounded. Pray for the people - especially the children who had to witness this macabre slaughter. This is not something people just "get over".
The day after the mall shooting, the Southwest Plaza Mall was crawling with state troopers. I think I counted at least six. Teen boys lumbered around the mall making loud noises, saying crass things causing shoppers and UPS delivery men to jump. It was disconcerting. I bet those boys thought the Omaha shooting was cool.
Later that night as I told my husband about the police presence he said, "So, I guess it's no longer safe to go to a mall. If you can't go to a mall, where can you go?"
This mall is across the street from Columbine High School.
I looked him in the eye. Thoughts raced through my head. I have a baby, I'm a mom. How do I keep him safe?
The church shootings remind us that we aren't safe ANYWHERE. Not schools, malls, restaurants (Chucky Cheese shooting on Santa Fe and Hampden in the 80s) or churches.
The temptation is to become agoraphobic and never leave our homes. Fearing the big, bad world outside. Just doesn't seem to jive with the abundant life Christ called us to live.
Here's my thought: God is sovereign. I can't die unless it's my time to go. I don't know when that is, maybe it will be the day a gunman storms Bear Valley Church or the Village Roaster, but I'm not gonna worry. I know where I'm going when I die. Jesus is my Lord and Savior. He promises eternity in Heaven with Him. Then again, maybe I'll live to be 100 because I have a heap of best-seller books to write!
This Christmas season, as we are riddled with horrifying tales of murder and gunmen on the loose, remember Who's in control. Embrace the Gift of Jesus and go shopping!
To follow along with the latest developments of the story, check out 9 News.
They are a local news affiliate that does a really good job. They've updated information twice as I was writing this. When they move stories, the links change, so I only linked their home site above.