Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Thoughts about Maryville, IL, and Life & Death

As a pastor, I have been thinking a lot about the events that took place in Maryville, IL. Pastor Winters was the same age as me and has two daughters, just like me. Obviously, his death will leave a void in more than just the pulpit.

I still don't understand the motive; I'm not sure anyone truly will. Such a violent death in front of so many witnesses is horrific. It has changed their lives forever as well.

I didn't know Fred Winters. In fact, I had never heard of him before. However, because of his faith in Jesus Christ, I will get to meet him one glorious day. I ache for his wife and children; for his parents, siblings, and extended family. He didn't get up that morning expecting it to be his last day on this earth.

I'm not sure whether he realized what that moment with the gunman would bring; that before noon, he'd be standing in Glory in the presence of Jesus. I'm sure that no one in the congregation thought that they'd be witnesses to murder in the sanctuary.

As I think about these things, I wonder how I would respond. Would I cower? Would I cringe? What would I say? Would I have time to say anything? Could this happen in my own church? How could I keep it from happening here? Could I keep it from happening here?

One thing is for sure: what that gunman meant for evil, God will use it for good. No, it doesn't seem "good" right now. While the family and the congregation grieves and faces life without Brother Fred, nothing seems good about it. But God promises that He will use all things for good, for those that love God and who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)

I can't "see" the good right now. But I can imagine what God will do through this in the lives of the people who were present, in the life of the church, and in the life of those who have heard the Good News of Jesus since the incident happened.

Be sure to pray for his family, his church, and his church staff.

The video above explains Pastor Fred's heart and passion in life.

Are YOU ready to meet God, if today was your last day on earth? It could happen! What will you say to God when you die? What makes you think you are good enough to get into His Heaven? If you don't know what to say to God and you haven't watched the video yet, please take time to watch it. If you still don't know what to say to God, please email me.

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