Pastor Chad's Itinarary

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

"Remembering My Great-Uncle Oscar: And A Gift To My Great-Aunt Barbara"

If you were to ask me, “Chad looking back at your childhood, name the men who had the most spiritual impact on your life.” Without hesitation, I would answer, “William Walker Cummings (my great grandfather) and Oscar Burrow (my great uncle).

Uncle Oscar was a man of few words, but taught me so much by his faithful example in being a godly man. Proverbs 17:27 says, “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” Uncle Oscar was a wise teacher, who may not have known the impact he had on my life personally, but it was evident in the life of others too.

When I think of Uncle Oscar I think of one word: FAITHFUL. The Apostle Paul submits, “Moreover, it is required that a steward be found faithful.” Uncle Oscar was a faithful steward of God. He was faithful to his wife for over 66 years, his family, his job, and most of all he was faithful to follow his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Uncle Oscar was faithful in his life and taught many, especially us young men what it meant to be a real man. 

Titus 2:2 "Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness."
The Apostle Paul wrote to Titus to set the churches in order on the island of Crete. One of Titus’s task was to place elders over these congregations. He was also instructed to have the older men to teach the younger men in the church and in everyday life. As I think about this admonition Paul gave Titus, I am reminded how Uncle Oscar emulated Titus 2:2 for us younger men. 
Therefore, I want share with you 6 ways that my Uncle Oscar, as an older man taught me, as a younger man.

  1. Uncle Oscar taught me to be “sober-minded."
This mean literally, not to get drunk. To think and act with wisdom. As far as I know, Uncle Oscar was faithful to live this out. He understood, Ephesians 5:18, “Do not be drunk with wine, but let the Holy Spirit control you.” He knew the danger and evil that being controlled by anything than the Holy Spirit. Most of all, He knew how being anything but sober minded would affect his testimony for Christ. He was a clean-minded man whose life was evidently controlled but the Holy Spirit.

  1.     Uncle Oscar taught me to be “dignified."
Uncle Oscar was serious minded, but but so much that he didn’t have fun. Uncle Oscar enjoyed life to the fullest. He enjoyed Alabama football, Atlanta Braves baseball, watching Westerns, and watching his grandchildren swim. He was a man who was dignified and had a good reputation with others. 
I think about growing up and going to the local store where he would take us and tell us to put our drinks and candy on his “tab” or “credit.” The store owner knew he would be there to pay for it on pay day. He was dignified.

  1.     Uncle Oscar taught me to be “self-controlled."
This means to “act with a saved mind.” I am not saying that Uncle Oscar was perfect, but I can recall never living out of control. Again this goes back to being controlled by the Holy Spirit. This self control speaks of being disciplined. A self controlled man is a disciplined man. 
Matthew Henry says, “self control means the ability to govern well his passions and affections, so as not be hurried away by them to anything that is evil or indecent.” Uncle Oscar was a self controlled man.

  1.     Uncle Oscar taught me the importance of “sound faith."
This word “sound” means literally healthy. The older men were to be fit in their faith. Their faith were to be healthy. You were not around Uncle Oscar before too long before he would make his way to the Bible. Uncle Oscar knew and lived the Word of God. I remember only 3 weeks before he passed away, I drove to Alabama to sit and visit with him. It wasn’t long he and I began talking about the Word of God. He was quoting the Old Testament about the sinfulness of the world today and the only hope was Jesus Christ. And I think about today, Uncle Oscar is now with the eternal Word Himself today.

  1.     Uncle Oscar taught me how to “love."
How did he do this? He never sat me down and said, “Now Chad I want to teach you how to love.” No, he taught me how to love, how he loved his wife for over 66 years. He taught me how to love in how he love his two daughters, Linda and Kathy. How he loved his grandchildren. He taught me how to love by loving me, even though I wasn’t even his flesh and blood. You see some of my fondest childhood memories was when I spent time with his grandchildren, who were my cousins. I remember there was a time when they all got new Alabama jerseys and I got one too, just like I was one of his own.
Uncle Oscar taught me to love.

  1.     Uncle Oscar taught me how to be “steadfast."
This word is a compound word which mean to remain under. Uncle Oscar lived a steadfast, enduring, persevering life in Christ. Matthew records the words of Christ in Matthew 24:13, “those who persevere until the end will be saved.” Uncle Oscar had been graced with salvation some years ago. He understood that he was a sinner separated from God and his only hope was in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Uncle Oscar received the gift of repentance and faith it is was evident as he persevered until the end in his walk with Christ. Uncle Oscar’s faith in Christ was unshakable and immoveable and he was able to say with the Apostle Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith."

I pray that I may be able to influence my children, grandchildren, and others for Christ like Uncle Oscar. I give God the thanks and glory for providentially placing me in the life of this man and his family. I will be eternally grateful for his faithfulness to the Lord and how it has impacted my life as a pastor, husband, and father. May the Lord be glorified.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

"An Exemplified Fort"

"I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I  call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies" (Ps 18:1–3).

 Where do you run in the midst of life’s trials?  How do you respond when your enemies seem to out number your friends? Psalm 18 is a poem written by David in response to the attacks he suffered by King Saul in 2 Samuel 22. David through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit gives his readers a clear reminder to flee to the Lord in the midst of their attacks by the enemy.

Spiritual warfare is a constant reality for the one who desires to walk in communion with God. Jesus faced spiritual warfare in Matthew 4 as he began His earthly ministry, so it should not surprise the Christian when attacked by Satan. However, there is good news! As believers we have a place to flee, a city of refuge, an exemplified fort and His name is The Lord God, Jesus Christ.

Notice a few things about David’s and our exemplified fort:

  1. He is our “strength.” When spiritual attacks come upon us we should draw our strength from the Lord. Matter of fact, even when we are not experiencing spiritual attacks we should draw our strength from the Lord, for that is the only true source of strength. Where does our strength in the Lord comes from? We find strength in His Word, prayer, worshipping with other brothers and sisters in Christ, serving others, sharing the gospel of Jesus.
  2. He is our “rock.” When a tornado comes where do you want to be? You want to be in a solid, safe, and secure place usually, underground that can sustain the force of high winds. When the force of Satan’s spiritual attacks come we have an unmovable, safe, and secure shelter. Christ is our “rock” (1 Cor.10:4). Christian you can find safety in Him! 
  3. He is our “fortress.” During David’s days forts were constructed along trade routes and borders in order to keep cities safe and to keep the enemies attacks at a minimum. The Lord is our fort! In Christ, we are able to withstand the attacks of the evil one. Paul reminds us to “put on the whole armor of God” in Ephesians 6:11-13. When the enemy attacks run to the fort. Seek shelter, safety, and security in the fort of Jesus Christ. Read Ephesians 6.
  4. He is our "deliverer.” Jesus reminds his disciples to pray, “deliver us from the evil one” in the Lord’s Prayer. The Lord is the One who delivers us from the the spiritual attacks. Its not that we just persevere and try to make it through them, but God in His mercy and grace delivers us through them. He proves Himself faithful to us through it all.
 "You may pray for deliverance from a trial, but God may give you endurance to go through it.” Dr. Steve Lawson

    Spiritual warfare is a constant reality in the life of the believer. These attacks by the enemy are real and they hurt. Sometimes we may feel we cannot take it any longer. But, be of good cheer, "For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal (1 Cor.4:17-18).

     This is when we must turn to God by faith trusting that He is our strength, our rock, our fortress, and our deliverer. By the way, God has already eternally delivered in Christ Jesus by sending His Son taking on flesh, living a perfect life,  dying on the cross, and rising again the third day, and now make intercession for all of those who have genuinely trusted and is trusting in Him for their eternal salvation. Praise the Lord. This is the reason why we are able to embrace the attacks from the enemy.

I pray as we come against the attacks of the evil one that we find ourself finding our strength, our rock, our fortress, and our deliverer in our exemplified fort, Jesus Christ.

Monday, April 4, 2016

"Rejoice In Suffering"

Acts 5:41-42 “Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”

            Growing up my grandmother use to tell me, “When you think that you have it bad, always remember there is someone who has it worse.” I find it easy to feel sorry for myself or seek the pity of others when life gets difficult. The reality for most everyone who reads this is that our lives on the most difficult days are really not that bad. How many of us have been threatened with the loss of our lives if we failed to comply with our governmental or religious authorities? It is easy to look at our current situation in life and say, “Woe is me.” Yet, God is working something far greater, namely His sovereign will in His children’s lives.

            The book of Acts is filled with Holy Spirit empowerment of the Apostles to do miracles, wonders, and signs. The book is also known as the great missionary book that records several missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul and others. However, the book of Acts is also known for the great persecution that sent the early church in an amazing revival and the advancement of the gospel to the nations. One of the main themes throughout Acts is the suffering of God’s saints. The advancement of the church and the gospel will always come with a price of suffering and persecution by the unbelieving world. The Apostle Paul reminded the church at Philippi, “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake” (Philippians 1:29).

            Therefore, as Christian’s our life will be marked by suffering and persecution when lived out before a Christ hating world. The world hates God, Christ, and His Word. As Christians we love God, Christ, His Word, and His gospel, which will bring about suffering, as the Apostles endured in advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ. As Dr. Luke recorded, the Apostles did not seek comfort or pity from others, but literally rejoiced (celebrated) in the fact that they were “beaten” for the name of Christ. The Apostles were commanded not to teach or preach in the name of Christ, but as we read in Acts 5:42, “And every day in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”

            I want to encourage us all today no matter where you find yourself, remember God has sovereignly placed you there. If you are God’s child He knows exactly where you are at, what you are doing, and how you are responding to His sovereign plan. Think about these Apostles who were beaten by the religious crowds for proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ and yet, they rejoiced in the fact, “they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name” [of Christ]. May we have the same resolve of the Apostles to continue to proclaim Jesus as the Christ regardless of the cost. May we be able to say, like the Apostle Paul at the end of his life, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering…” (2 Timothy 4:6).

 May the Lord give us grace to endure wherever He has placed us to be “salt and light” to a dark world by advancing the truth of the gospel for His glory. Thus, being reminded that we have a Great High Priest who suffered in every way as us, yet without sin. Therefore, rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer for Jesus!

Sola Deo Gloria!

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Chad

Monday, January 25, 2016

"Being Still and Knowing God"

“Be still, and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10

PHBC meeting house

             The past few days have been filled with Arctic air, snow showers, and sheets of ice here in northern Tennessee. I measured Friday morning at 9AM, and we had received 10 inches-- two hours later, there was over a foot of snow on the ground. As far as I can remember, this is the most snow I have seen fall at once in my lifetime. And, as usual, when all the white stuff falls, there is anxiety that comes along with it. Do we have enough milk? Bread? You know, for milk sandwiches (that’s a joke). Will we be able to make it to work? Will the kids have school? Will we be able to gather to worship on the Lord’s Day? All of these are legitimate questions, but should we not ask, "What is the Lord teaching us during the time we are unable to get out of our houses and go about our normal routines?"

            May I suggest a couple of things that perhaps the Lord would like for us to glean during times like this past weekend.

1. First, perhaps the Lord is teaching us to Be still. If you know me, I am not very content with being still. I have to be doing something all the time. I am a mover and a shaker. I am unable to sleep at night because I am afraid I might miss something (that’s another joke... kind of). There are times that I may look like I am “being still,” but I am actually thinking or meditating on what needs to be done next. This is not healthy. Therefore, I believe the Lord gives us times such as this past weekend to slow us down and “be still.” This can be a good thing. Notice, being still does not mean being lazy, but be still and…

2. Secondly, “know that I am God…” God wants His children to know Him. This is one of the most amazing attributes of God. God makes Himself knowable to His creation. He is immanent (meaning that He is knowable). He has made Himself knowable through His creation (Psalm 19:1), which is general revelation, but namely, He has made Himself knowable through His Son, Jesus Christ (John 17:3), and by the Holy Spirit, which is special revelation. To know the sovereign God of the universe in a personal and special way is humbling, and, at the same time, it is beyond my comprehension; however, it brings me great joy-- not only in the here and now, but also as I look forward to being with Him one day soon in heaven.

So, I reflected and wanted to share with you some of the blessings I received from “being still and [knowing] that [He is] God” over the weekend:

1.     Our family spent time together. If your family is like mine, there is a lot going on. Our calendars are packed with little time to waste. I barely made it in late Thursday night from the Pastors Conference before the ice and snow began to fall. Our family spent a lot of time together playing games, talking, playing in the snow, and eating. We just spent TIME together. The older I get, the more I realize how important TIME is. It is actually how we show our love to those whom we love.
The Becks

2.      Our family ate meals together. This is something I do not take lightly. All of our meals are eaten at our kitchen table as a family when possible, regardless if it snows or not. As the boys have gotten older, Chance's job, baseball practices, and my appointments run me late into the evenings, so meals at the table together are not always possible. So, over these few days, we spent time eating together. There is such a joy and blessing that many families miss out on due to the simplicity of just gathering at the table to eat and talk. I enjoy hearing how everyone’s days was and what happened. This is a tremendous blessing I believe too families miss out on.
3.     Our family played together. As I am sure many of you did, we were able to get out and play in the snow. The boys rode the sled. Dylan and I built somewhat of a snowman. Samantha even made a snow angel. We had to clean off our vehicles, shovel the sidewalk, and try to clear off our driveway, in which I ended up getting a vehicle stuck. Overall, we had a good time just being a family and playing in the snow.
Dylan's snowman
Samantha's snow angel

4.     Our family worshipped together. It was good to spend some time together in God’s Word and pray together as a family, particularly yesterday as we worshipped with James McDonald and Harvest Chapel Church in Elgin, IL via television. It was a blessing to listen to his message and then spend time together talking through his message on biblical wisdom. Our family concluded our time in worship with reciting scriptures that we have memorized. It was even mentioned we needed to get back into the practice of memorizing Scripture together as a family.

In conclusion, I write this today to remind all of us that this weekend was exactly the way God intended for it to be. He was not surprised by the snow or ice. He knew we would be unable to meet yesterday, but in all of this, He desired for us to "Be still and [to know Him]." I pray that you and your family took time to meditate upon Christ, Scripture, and spend some time in prayer together. If you are like me, you often miss the forest because of the trees. God often works in the mundane, every day events of life. It is in the craziness of having three rowdy boys with cabin fever who are picking and arguing that we find God right in the middle of it all. Therefore, I praise Him for this weekend and causing me to “Be still and know He is God.”

So, what have you and your family been doing these past few days? If you feel like sharing, please do so.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

"An Open Response on the Doctrine of Election"

    As a pastor, I have been called by God to preach and teach the "full counsel of God's Word" (Acts 20:27). "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ" (Romans 1:16), nor the doctrines which accompanies it. Therefore, I want to be faithful to teach God's people His Word and to expose them to the doctrine of Scriptures. I am not na├»ve enough to think everyone will agree with me in every facet of the gospel or to believe as I do on elements such as, "election," "limited atonement" or the "teaching of the last things." 

     However, as I said last night, we must agree on the fundamentals of the faith when it comes to Christian orthodoxy, such as the virgin birth, deity of Christ, substitutionary atonement, the physical death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. By God's grace, I try to make the gospel of Jesus Christ the centrality of all my teaching and preaching at PHBC. For without the free grace of God in Jesus Christ, no one can or will experience the forgiveness of and the removal of the bondage of sins and come into a personal relationship with God.

     Likewise, my interpretation of the doctrine of election does several things; 

First, it allows God to be God. He is sovereign! He has the right to do whatever He chooses (Psalm 115:3 & Romans 9: 14-18), and I believe He will do the right thing. By the way, He is God. 

Secondly, it causes me to worship Him. When I think about what He has done in choosing me before foundation of the world (Eph.1:4 & Jer.1:5), and then seeking me out with the gospel of Jesus Christ (Luke 19:10), convicting me of my sins (John 16:8), granting me a desire for forgiveness of my sins against Him (John 3:8), and saving me-- it causes me to love and worship Him. 

Thirdly, the doctrine of election brings about humility (4:6). As the Apostle Paul reminds us in Ephesians 2:8-9, "By grace you have been saved, through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." I have no room whatsoever to boast about the salvation with which God has graced me. 

Fourthly, the doctrine of election gives me assurance that I am eternally secured in Christ (Eph.1:13). If God eternally choose me before the foundation of the world in Christ (Eph.1:4; Rev.13:7;17:7), then after being graced with salvation, I cannot lose that salvation because He is the One who brought it about. Therefore the doctrine of eternal election secures my eternal security.

 Fifthly, the doctrine of election motivates me to burn passionately for the souls of lost men, women, boys, and girls. Because I know that God has His elect who will believe, although I do not know who they are, and it gives me confidence that when I share the gospel with others, there will be those who will repent and believe upon Christ. 

I will close with a quote, from arguably the greatest of Baptist preachers known as the Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon, to his pastors on preaching/teaching the doctrine of election:
"Some of you have never preached on election since you were ordained. “These things,” you say, “are offensive.” And so you would rather offend God than offend man. But you reply, “These things will not be practical.” I do think that the climax of all man’s blasphemy is centered in that utterance. Tell me that God put a thing in the Bible that I am not to preach! You are finding fault with my God. But you say, “It will be dangerous.” What! God’s truth dangerous? I should not like to stand in your shoes when you have to face your Maker on the day of judgment after such an utterance as that."

Here is a link to an excellent message on the doctrine of election which helped me immensely on this glorious doctrine:

Monday, November 23, 2015

"Be Thankful"

“Be Thankful”
            Thursday will be a day for families to enjoy visiting, eating, and watching football. It’s the annual Thanksgiving holiday tradition. It’s a time to slow down and reflect on the many blessings God has granted to us. For some we know that’s not the case in the busy world in which we live. The holidays for many means traveling, rushing here and dashing off there. It seems to be more hectic than refreshing, not to mention the anticipation of the big sales on Black Friday, which actually take place on Thursday because the stores are opening early. What a subtle way to disengage families from spending time together and truly reflecting on being a thankful people.

            However, it doesn’t have to be like this. This Thanksgiving can be one of refreshing, recharging, and rejoicing when we focus on the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Apart from God and the Scriptures no one can know the real meaning of ‘giving thanks.’ The Scriptures reminds us that God’s people ought to be ‘thankful’ people. Here are ten verses on being thankful to meditate on.

Hebrews 12:28-29 - Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.
Psalm 28:7 -The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.
Psalm 69:30 - I will praise the name of God with song, And shall magnify Him with thanksgiving.
Colossians 2:6-7 - Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
Psalm 34:1 - I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Psalm 100:4 - Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name.
Jonah 2:9 - But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay Salvation is from the LORD."
Ephesians 5:3-4 - But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
1 Timothy 4:4-5 - For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

            What would our homes, churches, and nation look like if you and I began to be truly grateful? Not only on Thanksgiving week, but everyday as God’s people. We have so much to be thankful for not only materially speaking but more importantly spiritually. I am reminded of the Apostle Paul in the book of Ephesians giving thanks to God for the saints at Ephesus, not because they were blessed materially, we know if we have food and clothing we are to be content, but because God had “chosen and predestined them in love, and blessed them with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph.1:3-6). What a blessing!

            In conclusion, I want to share with you 5 Blessings that I am eternally thankful for:

  1. My salvation.
When I reflect and meditate upon what God in Christ has done by choosing, calling, justifying, sanctifying, and one day glorifying me I cannot help but be thankful. God came and took on flesh in order to live a life, die a death, and pay the debt that I couldn't in order to reconcile me to Himself. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest truth we have to be thankful for as Christians. When I spend time  just meditating on who I am “in Christ” there is no room for boasting, or self-righteousness, but a heart filled gratitude toward our God. I am thankful God graced me with eternal life in Jesus Christ.

  1. My wife.
I am thankful for my precious helper in this life, Samantha. God knew from the very beginning who and what I needed by specifically choosing her for me. I could not be the Christian man, husband, father, brother, son, pastor, or student that I am today without her. Many will never know or care to understand how well she serves her Lord, family, and church. I am thankful to God for my wife, Samantha.

  1. My children.
I am thankful for my 3 sons. God in His providence saw fit to bless Samantha and I with Chance, Logan, and Dylan. Each one is uniquely made in God’s image, yet each one is so different in there own special way. As we are entering into another season of parenting with our two oldest, I realize more now than ever of my responsibility to prepare them to be godly men who will one day lead their family's in serving Christ and His church. Our responsibility is to raise and train these boys to be men who love God, Christ, family, and His church. What else really matters in life? I am thankful for my children.

  1. My church.
I am thankful for Pleasant Hill Baptist church in Orlinda, TN. I am thankful for the rich history of PHBC dating back to 1848. I think about the men and women who have gone on before us in paving the way to where we are now in 2015. However, I am grateful for each person that makes up the fellowship of believers at PHBC today. I don’t know if I could love a people more who are not my own flesh and blood, as much as I do the saints at PHBC. I am thankful for my church family.

  1. My calling.
I am taking aback when I think how blessed I am to be allowed the privilege not only to be a Christian, but to have been given the desire to preach/teach God’s Word. God knew when this church organized in 1848 that I would be a member and the pastor of this historical Southern Baptist church. I remember a pastor once saying, “I cant’ believe I get paid to do this.” I can resonate with his statement. Don’t get me wrong there are times where this calling is difficult, but it is a "joyful burden."  The call of God in my life has caused me to stay, when often in my flesh I wanted to leave (not the church, but the ministry). I have the honor of reading, studying and praying day-in and day-out. I get to do what I absolutely 100% know without a doubt that God has called me to do and I do it with great joy and gratitude to Him. I am thankful for my calling.

How about you? What are you thankful for? Let me know by leaving your comments. 

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Monday, November 16, 2015

"How Should Christians Respond To Evil?"

“The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming.” – Psalm 37:12-13

Mercy, grace, and peace from God our Father and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

            As I sit here praying about what I should write for the Monday Meditation, my mind goes back to the horrific acts of violence in Paris, France this past Friday evening. I know in writing this I will be tempted to swell up with anger, frustration, and revenge in my flesh. However, there is another part of me (the Spirit of God that lives in me) that is broken, humbled, and saddened for what has happened in Paris. With that said, I have been meditating on this question, especially after my prayer time with our men yesterday before Sunday School: “How should Christians respond to terrorist attacks or any acts of evil?”
            I do not claim to have all the answers, nor do I attempt to give them. However, I believe God’s Word to be true, infallible, and sufficient for all life and practice. Therefore, God has a Word for His people, as it relates to acts of evil.
So, how should we respond to evil acts? 

1.     Pray.
The first thing Christians should do when we hear of evil attacks is to seek our heavenly Father in prayer. He is our first Responder. He is the One who can heal broken hearts, calm anxieties, and minister to needs. The Apostle Paul reminds us that the Christian life should be one of “constant prayer” (1 Thess. 5:17). When evil comes our way or when we hear of evil attacks such as France, our first response should be to pray. Pray for the victims and their family, pray for the attackers, and pray that God would somehow glorify Himself through this seamlessly hopeless situation.

2.     Love.
            I get it. You say, “But, Chad how are we to love during a time of such evil deeds?” That is understandable, because we are still in this fallen world and fleshly body. You should love those who are hurting or suffering from the evil attacks. I know we are not in Paris, France physically, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be compassionate or loving when the discussion of these evil acts come up at work, school, or at home. Be reminded that as a Christian, there will be lost people around you seeking to make sense of what took place and God has placed you in their lives to help make sense of it for them; however, we are to do it in a God-honoring, loving, and biblical way.

3.     Pray for our enemies.
We should pray for those who committed these terrible acts of violence. This is where our Christianity gets real, right? Jesus said, “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” (Matt. 5:47). Loving those who love you is not all that difficult, but it takes something outside of yourself to love someone you do not like.  
 Additionally, I do not believe all Muslims to be “radical ISIS Jihadists.” I say that because I have had open discussions with Muslims about their faith and not all of them want to be associated with such an extreme view of Islam. But more than that, Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (Matt. 5:43-44). How can you love people who have murdered and injured so many?

4.     Remember.
            I would submit when acts of evil take place such as Paris, France, 9/11, or the little girl in Scottsville, Kentucky being found murdered, we need to remember that God is completely sovereign. All one has to do is read the opening chapters of the Old Testament book of Job to understand that God is working even in the midst of hopeless and helpless situations. Many Christians seem to believe that Satan is running around, doing whatever he wants to do without any regards to God. However, in the opening chapters of Job, we find Satan coming to God asking permission to destroy all that Job loves. God is sovereign over Satan, his demons, and even terrorists.
            There is an ultimate purpose in what God is doing by allowing this evil to take place. You may ask, “What?” My reply is two-fold: First, I will say, “I do not know God’s mind, nor His decreed [secret] will” (Deut. 29:29). To say that I do would be highly arrogant. Secondly, I would say, “I do have God’s revealed will found in the sixty-six books of the Bible.” Everything that God makes or allows to happen is for His glory, even if we do not understand it completely, and He is reconciling the world to Himself. (Col. 3:17; Rom.8:28; 1 Cor.10:31).

            In closing, as Christians, we need to remember that our response to these and other evil acts will say a lot about our worldview as Christians; as Christians, we need to pray, love, pray for our enemies, and remember that God is sovereign. We must remember as well that without the Holy Spirit living inside us as believers, we would never respond in this way. This is why, as believers, we can respond in a way that would give honor and glory to God and not ourselves. We are helpless and hopeless without Him, which is why we seek Him in the midst of tragedy and evil—it is during this time that God conforms His people more into the image of His Son Jesus.

            It is the continual conformity into being more like Jesus that gives us our hope in God in the midst of evil. The gospel reminds us that Jesus triumphed over evil by rising from the grave on the third day (1 Cor. 15:3-4). When Christians see and hear of evil in the world, we can turn to our Savior. He is the only One who can cure evil by changing the hearts of men, women, boys, and girls through the proclamation of the glorious gospel. If you are a Christian today, this is exactly what happened to you and me. Therefore, as we pray for France, the family of the Scottsville girl, and other acts of evil around us, let’s remember we live in a fallen and evil world, but Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).