Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Just Thinking..... About Taking A Stand

Just Thinking...I suppose it should be clear at this point that the days of burying our heads and "standing" for a version of Christianity that will keep everyone happy are gone. JESUS HIMSELF SAID that following him means that you will risk losing your reputation, your career, your good name and even much more. If you're a Christian, are you ready for that? That time is coming. Some might say it's already here.

 Too often the only thing people, even in the church, can remember Jesus saying is, "judge not lest you be judged." We have been happy to sit by and let others who have a complete lack of understanding of that verse, use it beat us into a corner where, in all reality, we have to ask permission to follow Christ. Is that the Christianity that has been passed down to us from Jesus and His disciples? I don't think so! 

The Christianity of scripture is such that we are to live our lives to the best of our abilities to love God, love people and speak the truth about both. Our desire is NEVER to offend, but it will happen. The Gospel is offensive! Jesus is THE ONLY way to Heaven. What His Words says is true and cannot be changed. Sin will not go unpunished, but there is a way out through Jesus alone! There is no way that message will not offend. The church must come to grips with that or we can no longer call ourselves the church. Social club? Maybe. Church? NO!

 At times you may be surprised that the ones who are standing against you are the very ones who claim to be your brothers and sisters. You will be lied about, misrepresented and painted as judgmental, hateful, intolerant and those are the nice words. When it comes down to it, we must make a choice between trying to be the all around good guy or girl who everyone likes, but who makes no real difference in the world or be someone who is willing to lovingly and firmly speak the truth without consideration of the consequence. Jesus NEVER called us to work hard to get people to like us. He called us to love everyone enough to tell the truth. He called us to be a faithful voice for Him as it is revealed in scripture. He has called us to be willing to risk it all for HIM and Him alone. Paul said, "If we live, it's to honor the Lord. And if we die, it's to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord." That's the Christianity of the Bible.


Casual Christianity is over. It's been over for awhile but we have, at times, had our heads so buried in our own little world's we haven't noticed. Or maybe we haven't cared. It has been so long since the church in America has truly been persecuted to the point of loss, that we feel like something is wrong if everyone doesn't love us. This feels heavy on my heart to say that but I truly believe it is reality. It could be, however, that a little shot of persecution is what the church actually needs to cause us to stand up for something, or should I say someone, instead of constantly being pushed backwards by those who will hate God no matter what we do. Somewhere between the faithful remnant of God and those who hate God is a world that desperately needs to know the truth of the Gospel! Will we give it to them? Or will we just continue to post happy quotes, and say happy things that don't offend but most certainly will not help anyone to find salvation through the Gospel of Jesus? 
 
Anyway, I was just thinking...

Monday, May 21, 2018

Just Thinking....About The Next Generation

Just Thinking.... I have seen a fair share of Facebook posts lately from "more mature" older generation pastors and believers who seem to have nothing better to do than put down the younger generation of pastors, worship leaders and leaders in general. Their song lyrics aren't good enough. They don't preach the right way. They don't preach the "Real Gospel." They don’t dress right. They don’t look right! Blah, Blah, Blah. Generally speaking, I try to scroll right on by and ignore it. However, it is really beginning to get on my last nerve...so to speak.
Are all of these criticisms true in some cases? Of course they are. They are true just like the criticisms of the hyper holiness, suit wearing, judgmental, preachers who don’t actually love people, but simply want to beat them with the Bible are true in some cases. They are true just like the preacher who is preaching repentance on Sunday and sleeping with his secretary on Monday are true in some cases. HOWEVER, most older generation pastors and leaders are loving, caring, go to the ends of the earth for their people kind of folks. Is it fair to paint the entire older generation with a broad brush of hate and immorality because there are some? Absolutely not! I am exceedingly thankful for the pastors I had growing up. Some have gone on to be with The Lord. Some are still pressing forward preaching the Gospel. All of them have had an amazing influence on my life. Were they perfect? NO! Did they always say and do the right thing. NO! However, they loved God and taught me to do the same. They SHOWED me the way to go.
When I started preaching I was HORRIBLE! (Some may think I still am :) ) I still have a cassette tape (Remember those?) of my first sermon. I don’t know how anyone could have sat through that. I wouldn’t want to sit through it. My pastor could have torn it apart and destroyed my passion to do anything for the Kingdom. He did not. I am thankful. Instead, I was encouraged and taught. Every once in a while my pastor would say, hey you kind of missed that one. Or he would encourage me to see something I didn’t realize before. In short, he helped me instead of tearing me down. I have had several imperfect and yet amazing pastors in my life. They have helped me to learn, to progress and to continue growing.
What’s my point? It is DANGEROUS and I believe on the border line of sinful to create straw men caricatures of uncaring, unprincipled, ignorant young leaders who don’t love God like we did “in the good ole days” when our doctrines and actions were absolute perfection. (Strangely, I’ve been in the church for forty years and I don’t remember the good ole days in that way.) Those ignorant caricatures are then used to paint a broad brush picture of an entire generation of leaders and believers. It Is WRONG and it needs to STOP!
Instead of using our voice to tear down and criticize, how about using our voices to help mentor and teach? I realize it’s easier to sit “in the balcony” and criticize from the sidelines like the two old guys from the Muppets. Nonetheless, it is not helpful or productive for the Kingdom. Come to think of it, I think the Bible actually says something about the older generation teaching the younger. (Hmm, maybe we should check on that.) Anyway, how about encouraging their passion and teaching them how to better express it? If it’s not right teach them. If it’s just not your “cup of tea” leave them alone and let them run for the Kingdom. Pray, encourage, mentor, these are the things that matter. Not criticism and belittling.
The world we live in now is not the same world we lived in forty years ago. We MUST stop trying to push the next generation into ministering the same way we did forty years ago. The message doesn’t change, the methods do! We have to stop trying to create “mini-me” preachers who would have torn it up in the sixties, seventies and eighties. We aren’t living in the sixties, seventies and eighties anymore.
What the next generation needs from the older generation (and like it or not I am part of it now) is guidance. Not criticism! Not picking apart each word looking for reason to let them know they aren’t quite as good. (By the way, why the need to criticize so much? Could it be that the critic is really only trying to make themselves look better by tearing others down?)
Personally, I know several young leaders who love God, love worship, LOVE the Word of God and want nothing more than to be vessels used to preach the gospel. They don’t seem to fit into that whole straw man camp of ignorant heretics and apostates. Those I know personally are just a small sampling of young leaders all over the country and even the world who want to make Jesus famous. They are not perfect, but they are being used by God.
It’s time to help, not tear down. Show the way like somebody showed YOU the way! Sometimes it’s inconvenient. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes it feels overwhelming. Sometimes it is all of those things, but ALL the time it is worth it.
If you consider yourself to be part of the “old guard” of the church, the younger generation NEEDS your help, your knowledge, and your experience. Don’t deprive them of that. Go out of your way to give it away.
Finally, Thank you to Deloy Pooler, Larry Odam, Paul Walker, Harold Westcott, Ron Moore, Larry Comer, Dave Scanlon, Tony Arnett and all of the other pastors and teachers that didn't give up on me. Thank you for encouraging me when I was right and calling me out when I was wrong. I owe you all a debt of gratitude. I am who I am because of your influence. I only pray that God would help me to lead others in the same way. Imperfectly but sincerely.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Just Thinking about being ready



For all of my Coos County and surrounding area friends I have a question for you? As you are watching the fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and etc. are you secretly saying I'm glad it's them and not me? Are you secretly thinking nothing like that could happen here? I’m not saying that in a negative judgmental way, but in a real and serious way? Is there some sense of relief that it is not you who is under threat right now? Well…

I have a feeling that a month or so ago those in Houston didn't think it would happen to them. Those in Florida know hurricanes can come, but one like this? The hundreds even thousands who have been forced to run because of fires probably didn't realize it would come so fast either. Last night there were folks in Mexico that went to sleep like any other night and were blasted awake with the shaking of an 8+ earthquake. Some lost their lives. They probably didn't think that would happen either.

What's my point? My point is that I am concerned. Seriously! I am concerned for my family and for my church family. I am concerned for those who live and work around me every day. Some of you may be my friends and some of you may not or would not like me at all. I am still concerned for you. My concern is that if something really catastrophic happened like a MAJOR storm or an earthquake, many would have no plan or preparation to deal with it. I suppose, like many, we believe the government will step in and fix it. What if they don’t? What if they can’t? What if you and your family is all you have to count on? I am concerned that we are so busy living our day to day lives that we don’t even care enough to think about it.

What if there are no stores to go to for food or water? Can’t happen you say? It’s happening right now in Houston Texas and is likely to be the case for, as it looks at the time I am writing this, most of the state of Florida. In just a few hours it may be that there is no food, water, gas or other supplies available in large portions of two states. That doesn’t even include what is going on in the Islands that have already been hit or those who have been displaced because of the fires in our territory. I’m sure most of those involved didn’t think it would happen a few weeks ago or even a few days ago.

 Do you have a plan? Do you have food and water available to you should there be a time when all the stores are closed or empty? Do you have an emergency bag that you can throw on your back and run if a storm, earthquake, fire or some other emergency happens? Should you? Or is this just a bunch of nonsense “prepper” talk?

I am happy to say that there are some areas that my family and I are prepared. I am equally bummed out to say there are some areas that we are not. However, we are, even today, working to remedy that situation.

How about you? Does it matter? Is everything always going to be as it has been?

On another and I believe more important note. I am a believer in Christ. I am a pastor. One of the greatest passions of my life is to study the Bible and to see what it has to say to us today, and it says a lot! Take these words for instance. I have noticed they have been floating around the net for the last couple days. Jesus said that in the final days:

25 “there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. 26 People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. – Luke 21:25-26

I know! I know! There have always been eclipses, fires, hurricanes, earthquakes and more, but is it possible that there is significance to the fact that they are all happening almost simultaneously? Aww never mind. This is all probably just a bunch of religious silliness, right? Yeah, maybe. But what if it’s not? What if what’s happening isn’t what all the “best and brightest” minds say is happening? What if Jesus really did tell us 2000 years ago what we should look for before he came back? What if we really are in the final days? Are you prepared for that? I think as important as it is, AND IT IS, to prepare for a catastrophe, it is even more important that you prepare spiritually. If, for any reason, catastrophic or not, your life were to come to an end today do you know where you would go? Your eternity depends on it. Trust Jesus. Ask him to come into your life and give you the wisdom to know how to live in the days we are living in. If you need help knowing how to do that hit me up. It would be my honor to help you get it figured out. I would never say I know it all, but I think I know enough to help you get started.

Whether you know who I am or not, I want you to know that I care about you! PLEASE do what you need to do to be ready if that thing you don’t think can happen really happens? Be Blessed, Tom

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Just Thinking..... About Elections, Politics, Divisions and Real Love



 It’s been an interesting few months hasn’t it? I have tried my best to avoid the mindless political speak that I am constantly bombarded with these days. I have friends who span the political spectrum from the pretty far right all the way to the pretty far left. I like it that way. It does get crazy sometimes though.

 I remain clear, to all my “righties” and “lefties” what I believe and I try to leave it at that. Since my core belief is that hope for our country and world is in Christ and not in politics, I try to steer clear of political arguments. However, there is just this teeny-weeny little thing I want to point out to all of my Christian brothers and sisters and also my very non-Christian friends as well.

 But first, some background.

On Election Day all of my friends on the left of the spectrum were simply glowing with over confidence. The election was over before the voting even started. When the results started to pour in they became apoplectic. The election was stolen, there was fraud, the Russians did it, and on and on. That has continued to be the posture of most. The protests of inauguration day and the woman’s march only succeeded in stoking the rage and further proving to most of America that those who so adamantly profess tolerance and love can also be some of the most intolerant and hateful people around. (I’m really sorry, but it’s true)

These days my twitter, facebook, etc. timelines, as well as multiple personal interactions are a constant barrage of hatred toward Trump, the republicans, the stupid American idiots….. You get the point. I don’t say this to stoke further division, I simply want to say that if you are on that side of the political aisle, it may be helpful to look at yourselves and find out why you lost. Not only have you lost the presidency, but you have lost 100’s of federal and state legislature positions, governorships and so on. It has been going on for years. The more you push, hate and divide the more you lose. I’m just sayin’….. Let’s move on shall we?

In the last few days though, I have noticed a shift in the anger. Oh don’t get me wrong, they still hate Trump and every other person who chooses not to bow down to their intimidation, but now I notice all the hate being thrown at the Christians. My question is why? Rhetorical, I already know the answer.

Just today, I have seen cartoons of overweight, hateful Christian women beating Syrian children with Bibles, I have seen posts mocking Christians as the stupid white guys who have all the privilege in the world and want nothing more than to take everyone else’s rights away. (Who knew that every Christian is a white guy? That will come as a surprise to a lot of my friends and… Hey wait a minute; I thought it was angry women beating children with Bibles. I’m confused) I have seen posts mocking the pro-life community for having the unmitigated gall to say that murdering children in the womb is a bad thing. My favorite post today at least, is the “America has become a theocracy” angle. Donald Trump??? A Theocracy??? (Pardon me while I clean up the orange juice I just spit out laughing) I pray for President Trump but I think we’re a couple minutes out from a theocracy. In the end, as I have come to understand, the Christians are the single biggest problem in the world. If they could get rid of us I’m sure everything would be perfect.

At times I begin to get discouraged. I think to myself, “Man I must be surrounded by a bunch of hateful, hayseed idiots. Maybe I should turn my back on Christianity.” But then!!! I get punched in the face by reality!

You see, I am surrounded by Christians on a daily basis. REAL CHRISTIANS! Not the buffoonish caricatures that are being pushed by those who don’t like us. You know what I see? I see folks who have little to no money sacrificing what they do have so they can buy food to help feed a homeless person. I see people working their tails off to create a place where food and clothes can be stored in order to feed and clothe those who need it. (Excuse me a moment… Just got a text…..Ahh yes it is from a lady in my church who, on her day off, is trying to organize the food recently donated to give away in the “food room” that some other church members have been trying to finish for two weeks….such deplorables)

Anyway, I see people who work 40 hour a week jobs and then in their “off” time, they minister in prisons and work to help people get out of abusive, negative life-killing situations. I see people who sacrifice tirelessly to help people find freedom from alcohol, drugs and whatever other addiction they may be caught up in. I see people every day who take seriously the admonition of Jesus that the greatest commandment is to love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. Do you know their names? No you don’t! Why? Because they do not care if you know their names, they only care that you find help and the love of God. And guess what? Keep hating them and they will still try to help you when you need it. Weird huh?

 Here’s some real truth. Love is not shown by sitting in front of a computer all day long mindlessly retweeting everyone else’s thoughts. Love is not in the #resistance or the #revolution or whatever the meaningfully meaningless hashtag is today. Love is shown when you get out from behind your computer screen and actually help someone. I understand it though. It is much simpler and conscience easing to sit behind a monitor and take shots at people in the name of love and tolerance than it is to actually get out and love people where they are. You can agree or disagree with building a wall on the border, but hundreds of thousands have already built a wall between themselves and the real needs in our country. That wall is their computer screen. Keep on posting and you won’t have to see the real needs. It may make you feel better but, in the end, 1000 tweets do not feed, clothe or help ANYONE!

 I’m not actually moved by any of this though, because I have known since I was young that the world would hate those who follow Christ. It may actually be beneficial. As long as folks are hidden behind their hashtags, they won’t be in our way as we try our best to help others and proclaim the love of God. My thanks for helping us win the culture war.

No it doesn’t bother me that people who don’t know any better dislike me or my Christian family. What bothers me most is when my Christian family gets wrapped up in the back and forth. When Nehemiah was rebuilding Jerusalem, his enemies mocked him and did their best to intimidate him. They sent a message and told him to stop doing what he was doing and to come talk to them. Paraphrasing his words, the response was “I’m doing a great work for God; I don’t have time to come and talk to you.” We must realize that our job is to share love and truth. If that is rejected, so be it. However, don’t stop doing the “great work” God has called you to. Share the gospel, Love the unlovable, free the captives, and be like Jesus! In Acts 10:38 it says, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” Church family, this is what we need to do. Just keep “doing good,” speaking healing, and proclaiming  the love of God. Don’t get caught up in foolish arguments. It’s a waste of precious time.

In the end, I see that much of the anger is coming because our enemy, our real enemy, (Not people) knows that his facade of fake love and fake tolerance is crumbling in the face of the real love that is being shown by the real church. There are crazies, fakes and frauds who hate and shame the name of Christ, but they are not us. We are those who are willing to lay it all down to love God and love others and we are succeeding. In the end those who love in the name of Christ will be shown to have had the truth all along. Just love. You will most likely continue to be hated. Jesus told us what to do with that. Love those who hate you and pray for those who persecute you. Show them all what love really looks like. In the end Love really will win!

Lastly, it’s time to start bridging some of the gaps. What I know is that the perception many have of Christianity is not the reality. I also know that every ugly thing said about the non-Christian community is not true either. If there is anyone who wants to do something to actually try and help people let me know. We, as well as many churches and groups in the area could use the help. Christian or not, turn your computer off and open your eyes. The opportunities are all around you.

With nothing but love to you all
Tom

Monday, July 18, 2016

I Suppose

I suppose I could complain
About how tough my life can be
About how I’ve been done wrong and hurt
About all those who were mean to me


I suppose that I could grumble
And blame my trouble on others
And lament how much better it would be
If not for that church of hypocritical sisters and brothers


I suppose that I could fuss
And refuse to look inside
And realize my trouble is of my own making
Instead of running away to hide


I suppose that I could murmur
And get others to feel bad for me
To gently pat me on my back
And illicit all their sympathy


But should I choose
To cry and complain
The bound will stay bound
And the addicted the same


And If I choose to take my ball
and run away and caterwaul
Broken families remain Broken
Stuck with no hope at all


The Devil will laugh
 The sinner stays lost
Another life may leave this Earth
Having never heard of Christ and His Cross


Because while I moan
While I selfishly grumble
Christ cannot use me
To reach a life that has crumbled


So instead of complaining
And fussing and such
I will choose to stay faithful
And see that I’ve been blessed so much


For to live my life focused only on me
Is a life that I refuse
To die having wasted my very breath
Instead of giving God my breath to use


Because I have been chosen
To shine a light
To offer hope
In the darkest night


And on the day
When my last breath I take
I want to have given all I could
To share the Love of God and for the Gospel’s sake

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Just Thinking...About Laodicea

The greatest problem in the American church is that we are the Laodicean church! The most prominent message I hear today, especially by Christian Television and media is the “Prosperity” Gospel. It’s all about blessing, breakthrough and the pursuit of personal satisfaction. Apparently the sign of God’s blessing is money, jet planes, impressive homes and big buildings. Who Knew?

We fear struggle more than we fear The Spirit. We fear losing money more than we fear losing our anointing. We fear losing our prestige more than we fear losing our voice. We fear losing our tax exempt status more than we fear losing the presence of God.

Meanwhile, race wars are breaking out, our cities are being destroyed, our citizens are being murdered, our officers are being mowed down in the streets and our babies are being killed in the womb. Evil is redefined and legislated to be righteousness and the righteous are viewed and portrayed as hapless idiots.

We stand as a Christian community, wringing our hands and saying, “I don’t understand why we are not respected and honored like we used to be. Why won’t anyone listen to us?” We attempt to bolster our waning influence through boycott and forcing the legislation of morality, instead of allowing God to create a moral revolution driven by The Spirit of God, in us, through us and into the conscience of our country. Political expediency is, seemingly, easier than Spirit-driven transformation. (Oh, and hopefully it won’t affect our bank accounts. Because, after all, calling sin sin and calling out for repentance may negatively impact our finances, P.R. and very thorough marketing plans.) Where do you suppose this is all heading? How’s it working out?

 The media on the right and the left are putting forth a racist, evil and deceptive narrative of events that seem designed, purposefully, to stir up abomination, anger, hate and division. Sadly, the Christian community is, by and large, getting sucked in hook, line and sinker. By all means, we need a few more posts, articles, commentaries and sermons from inside the Christian church that explain why the Whites are wrong, the Blacks are wrong, the Latinos are wrong, the Bora Borians are wrong, the Gilligans Islanders are wrong, the republicans, the democrats, the government is wrong...and on and on. I know this is true because CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, E.S.P.N. and that really smart guy on public access told me so!

What we really need is just a teeny weenie bit more media parroting hatred and division from those who claim to be a voice for Christ. (Oh and we need some more supposedly theologically sound discussion of why the things God calls sin aren't REALLY sin. That one news interview with that one college theology professor from that one college explained to me how what the Bible says isn't really what it says. I'm glad that confusion got cleared up. Also, eliminating the truth of God's Word will bring the people running and the money flowing. Woo Hoo!)

Is all of this the message of The Gospel? Does it matter? Is this the message that will facilitate revival and release an awakening of The Spirit of God? Is this the message of The Apostle Paul who said:

Galatians 3:26–29 (NLT)
26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.”

And yet, the united voice of the Christian church seems to be more attuned to being en vogue than being a voice. Jesus is knocking at the door church! It’s time to let Him back in!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Just Thinking.....About America


What can you say? How do you digest the devastating wounds that we are inflicting on ourselves? At what point will we see that the culture that we have created in this country is killing us from the inside. At what point do we realize that our politicians are useless to help fix the gaping wounds that are bleeding life out of America? At what point do we realize that meaningless arguments and the hatred spread from social media to the streets of our country is succeeding in nothing except for driving a deeper wedge between “US” and “THEM?” We are all US! We are citizens of the U.S. At what point do we realize that it’s not O.K. to continue to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that we don’t know our country is imploding? It’s not acceptable to say it’s not your problem. It’s not reality to say “It’s not that bad.” At what point do we quit blaming our broken condition on things that are irrelevant to the real problems we face? At what point do we realize that we have to turn to turn back to God if we have any hope at all of righting this sinking ship.
I have watched with incredible sadness and I admit overwhelming anger, the events of the last several days, months and now years. What I see is that death drives hate and hate drives death. What I see is that when you create a culture that devalues life then lives are lost because they are not valued. It is a natural, and seemingly obvious, conclusion. Maybe not? From the abortion clinic to the nursing home to the streets of our cities life doesn’t really mean much anymore. Oh we say it does but in reality we watch people being shot, we watch the news of officers being murdered, we debate whether our taxes should be used to kill unborn babies in the womb and then we yawn as we go back to posting selfies and discussing the Kardashians.

 I love our Police Officers! Let me say that again so there is no confusion, I LOVE OUR POLICE OFFICERS! I can’t begin to imagine and I won’t pretend to try and understand the pressure our law enforcement officials are under. They have to deal with stuff every day that all of us who sit on our high horses pretend to understand and feel free to criticize. They are asked to walk in to situations that require split second judgments and actions. Their job description is to run in while you are running away. They see and experience on a regular basis what many of us would not wish to experience even once in a lifetime. Those who are so critical of law enforcement tell me, when was the last time you put your life on the line for someone you don’t even know? Hmm…awfully quiet out there. These individuals are husbands and wives, sons and daughters, friends and family. They don’t have any desire to die. They don’t look forward to being shot or stabbed our assaulted. They don’t enjoy being criticized or hated, but they are willing to risk all of these outcomes to protect you and me. All of you who are or have been in some way involved with law enforcement THANK YOU!

Having said that, we also must address what is real, not just what we wish to be real. What is real is that there are bad police officers. Not all officers are bad! A majority of officers are not bad! A lot of officers aren’t bad! There are VERY FEW! The problem we face in our country right now is these few give the whole community a bad name. As I type this, I am broken to be watching the news of the Dallas Police Officers who were inexplicably executed in cold blood. Their crime? I guess their crime was to show up and protect the people who were protesting them. I admit that I don’t know everything that is going on in this situation, but it appears at this moment, they were killed as some form of protest of what other officers supposedly did. Maybe this information will change as the investigation proceeds. If it is true then why are they paying the price for the bad apples who aren’t true police officers, but thugs in a uniform? I can only believe that all of the faithful and committed officers out there wish to get rid of these criminals in uniform as much as anyone else. Why would they want their names and reputations damaged by these frauds?

It is so awful and absolutely unacceptable that we seem to be constantly presented with videos or accounts of young black men being shot by police officers. When I see what I see, the evidence seems pretty convincing that they are being shot down without legitimate cause. Do you know what the problem with my opinion is? I don’t have any idea what I’m talking about. I don’t know who is telling the truth because I wasn’t there. I don’t know what happened before these recordings began. I don’t know what the officers perceived to be happening. I don’t know if they were threatened. I don’t really know anything.

The sad truth is the loudest voices of hatred against the police are emanating from people who don’t know a shred of information more than I do. As hard and as dangerous as it seems to be to say some of those who are killed are killed because of terrible choices they made. It may not be politically correct to say, but it is true. Maybe we could let each case be investigated and allow those with knowledge to determine what really happened. If the evidence is as it seems to be, these so-called officers are guilty of murder. When it is true that one of our fellow citizens is gunned down, then justice must be served. If it is shown that the one who was killed is at fault then we must face that reality also and put the blame where the blame is justified.

There are more than a few of my friends that look at these protests that are happening related to these incidents and are quick to criticize. They see anger and, at times, the destruction of cities. It is easy to dismiss this as simply criminal behavior. However, just as it is true that there are some criminal police officers, there are criminal protesters. There are those who are willing to destroy their own communities, not to truly protest anything, but just because they can. Sensible people of any racial background cannot believe the destruction of neighborhoods, businesses and property are productive ways to make their voices heard. Murdering innocent police officers is no more justifiable as a tactic as the incidents that are supposedly being protested. Sometimes criminals are just being criminals.

However, we CANNOT use the activity of criminals to outshine those who are protesting for what may very well be a justifiable cause. If people of any color are being shot unjustifiably then a protest at the very least is in order. If my son or daughter was shot for no reason, mistaken reason or even worse criminal reason, I would, most certainly, protest as well. I would likely demand justice and not stand down until I received justice. Why is that so hard to understand? We are all the same and we would probably react in similar fashion. It’s true right? Be honest.

Here’s the thing. When all is said and done there is an answer for all of this that very few are willing to hear. The answer is Jesus Christ. Anyone who has truly studied the Word of God and understands what it teaches about love, hope, reconciliation and peace knows that this is the answer. I know this opinion is easily mocked and ridiculed. However, what I also know is that in Christ there is no white, black, Hispanic or any other racial separation. There are only sons and daughters of the Living God. I love our country. I am praying that God will visit us again and help us to pull out of the mess we have made. I am not concerned with what anyone thinks about my answer to all of this. It is reality. I think for the believer in Christ there is no more time to worry about what people think, we must pray, we must love, we must preach the good news of Jesus Christ. It is our only hope.