Yesterday when we got home from a great day at church I read the news that a pastor was shot to death in his pulpit in Illinois. Pastor Fred Winters took over pastoring his church when it was just about the size North Creek was when we started. He had been there 22 years and had grown that church to about 1200. He had a wife and two daughters…again, just like our family. I couldn’t help but feel the reality of that situation.
How does his congregation feel? His daughters? His wife? All of it hits so close to home when you live daily in a similar reality. I can’t even begin to imagine how God will rebuild all that was broken in one bad decision yesterday. I know He will, because He always does, but nonetheless, the journey that all of these people will go on will be a monumental one.
It again reminds me of our deep love for our church. As I thought of how Mark would feel, I know that his pastor’s heart would be so angry. Angry because he wouldn’t want his people to watch him die, not like that. He wouldn’t want his church to have to go through that kind of trauma. He’d be mad that anyone, under any circumstances, would use his church for something so evil. And he’d be mad that he prepared a sermon that he was supposed to preach and didn’t get to. He would, of course, be crushed for me and the girls. He would want one more moment to enjoy his family and would be sad to be robbed of that. On the flip side, he would also want all of us to be better because of it and allow God to use his life for HIS glory.
And that’s really my prayer for Pastor Fred’s church. That they would be righteously angry and somehow find a way to be better because of it. I pray that each person who attends there would have a new and deeper love for Jesus and would fight for that. It would be easy to paint the target on God and question how He could ever allow it, but, just as Mark preached yesterday, God is not our enemy. And as we delve deeper into our series, Twisted, I hope that moments like this remind us all to have a new and deeper love for Jesus.
And in the meantime, let’s be thankful that we have a pastor that is alive for another Sunday. I’m totally biased, but I am so appreciative that God gave us a man who would sacricifice anything for both Jesus and His church. I love you, honey!