It should not surprise us to learn that, according to The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators, America has been deteriorating socially, morally and spiritually over the years.
For instance, over just a 30-year period from 1960-1990, there was an increase in violent crime by 560%, a 419% increase in illegitimate births; a quadrupling in divorce rates; a tripling of the percentage of children living in single-parent homes; more than a 200% increase in the teenage suicide rate; and a drop of almost 80 points in SAT scores. That report just covered 30 years. We are now almost 30 years past that and, without knowing the latest statistics, one can just tell that it has gotten even worse. Just look at the news, if you have to. See how polarized our nation, and the world, is getting, even churches are no longer safe havens, but becoming targets for deranged people.
Only the Gospel and Holy Spirit-infused people can bring some sanity back into a culture and a people.
The fact that violent crimes are on the increase, even here in our smaller communities, tells us that lawlessness is still on the rise and getting worse year by year. We see that, in part, with what people are willing to do just to get money to purchase their drugs, and also, everywhere across this country, people are regularly threatening their neighbors, their own families, in some places-rioting, and some, even hoping to take out one or more of our police officers or people of opposite political parties in their spree of evil along the way.
In one sense, things are falling apart. In another, biblically, they are falling into place. We are told in the scriptures that, God has instituted governments to wield the sword against lawlessness, and to uphold justice for the people, because God, being perfect in Love and in Justice, knows that we are in need of protection, safety, and justice. But He also said there has not always been people to stand in the gap for their neighbors, their community, or their nation-with Him.
We get a glimpse of this In the Old Testament; God had Ezekiel write,
The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery. They have oppressed the poor and needy, and have extorted from the sojourner without justice. And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. Ezekiel 22:29-30
In the New Testament, it says,
And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. Matthew 24:12
Just over the last 60 years, one can clearly see that violence, lawlessness and the lack of "love" for one another is reaching epidemic proportions worldwide, and our nation is experiencing and confronting the worst we’ve seen here on a regular basis.
It has gotten to the point that very few places are really safe anymore... and it’s getting worse, as we see regularly in the news… and as the Bible says it will. Years ago, our parents used to let us ride our bikes all over town... as long as we were back for dinner, there was little need for concern for our well being. Not so today. We want to know where our kids are, for how long, when they will be back, and to check in often while away… if we even let them out of our sight… and only with people we know and trust. Because we’ve experienced and seen that lawlessness has increased and is getting worse.
And the writers of the bible told us this was going to happen:
In 2 Thessalonians 2:7 it is written: "For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.”
And, in 2 Timothy 3:1-4, it says: “...understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” And, much more.
I don’t know if we are in the last days. But, as a member of this world, society, as a pastor and as a chaplain that rides with the officers of the three local law enforcement agencies, especially at night, I see this is what’s happening. This is what our families and communities are facing today.
Who stands in the gap for us?
The people of the Spirit of Christ, who pray to the Father regularly for others to fight the spiritual battles, our law enforcement personnel (government, instituted by God-See Romans 12), and anyone else who puts their body into the gap on behalf of others, placing themselves in God’s hand as He wields the sword of government, justice, mercy & protection through them.
As God is a God of Love and Peace, He is also a God of Justice and is an avenging and protecting Warrior… As seen here in Psalm 144, a prayer from one of the writers of the Psalms to encourage us in the days of trials. It says,
“Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
who trains my hands for war,
and my fingers for battle;
he is my steadfast love and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield and he in whom I take refuge,
who subdues peoples under me.”
My prayer for us is that we regularly call on the One who has appointed us to our lofty, positions of service to each other, and Who is ready to equip us for that duty of standing in the gap for our families, our communities, and for each other: in serving each other, in praying for each other, in disciplining each other, and in protecting each other.
Therefore, to help ensure the safety of our church family’s gathering place, we have instituted a Safety Ministry at Faith. The Safety Ministry Team (SMT) is to consist of volunteers who are trained medical, fire and police personnel and others with current, credible Concealed Carry (CCW) Training (more than just hunter safety).
The team will be trained in our new policies and procedures in relation to various emergencies: First Aid/AED, Fire, Severe Weather, Bomb Threats, Missing Child, Disgruntled/Dangerous Person(s), Active Shooters, and such. Each SMT member will fill out an application, undergo a background and reference check, and must be an Active Member in good standing of Faith Church. If you are interested in being considered for this team, please contact Archer Leupp to begin that discussion.
After talking with Archer, Click Here to fill out the applications.