The Centurion Law Enforcement Ministry Newsletter
Dear fellow officers,
warriors (and our spouses and supporters):
God has once again used recent tragic events (the kind that vex us in law enforcement on a near-daily basis, be it a line of duty death, police suicide, illness, etc.) to press me into sharing a fresh Bible study on a 3-word (or 3-letter) phrase that way too many use inappropriately. Yes, almost everyone who says "Rest in Peace" or "RIP" means well. But to whom does it really apply? Scroll down to "
Rest in Peace?
" (I include the "directions" for you to insure that, when your time comes, it can rightly be said of you, "
"). We will of course also discuss this at tonight's Centurion/FCPO "cop church" fellowship and Bible study.
In this same vein, some were again "offended" by the Truth shared in last week's important Bible study ("
Is there another kind?
" -- LOL). Two things folks: (1) What I shared is God's Word (and thus from God Himself) on the topic and (2) my calling here is to preach His TRUTH "relentlessly and without apology" (thanks to my own pastor -- Sam Park of
Truth Church Calvary
-- for the quote) versus any thought of being "popular" or "inclusive" by the world's standard. Accordingly, here again is "
ONE WAY ONLY!
" As always, I re-post past editions on my social media feeds (buttons below) and on our
Once again, please take the time to review the new resources, prayer requests and upcoming events I've posted for you here below.
I teach and write on Biblical servant-leadership on a regular basis. Aside from the Bible, one of my main texts on this subject, and one I enthusiastically endorse, is John MacArthur's excellent, "
The Book on Leadership
" (based on the life of Paul the Apostle).
(1) Pray for the family (both blue and natural) of slain Colorado State Patrol Trooper
who was killed in the line of duty during our blizzard last week. I will be at his police funeral service on Thursday -- pray that somehow (miracle needed) the Gospel will be preached to a captive audience.
(2) Pray for fellow cop/minister John Darge in Chicago -- he just lost his dad.
(3) Pray for the lost -- including the unsaved serving in our God-ordained but largely lost profession (and ask God to give you a Code 3 sense of urgency to bring "backup" of the eternal kind by sharing the Gospel with them).
(4) Pray for the First Responder and the families of the slain in the Mosque attack in New Zealand, AND for those impacted by the ongoing slaughter of Christians in Africa and the Middle East ("interesting" how the media all but ignores the latter).
*Have a prayer request or announcement you would like included here? Need help/prayer?
I also post prayer requests on
my personal Facebook page
("friend" and message me).
(2) Time to start getting the word out about the
2019 Breaching the Barricade/Officer Appreciation Day
events scheduled for October 18-19 in northern Indiana. Incredible training for cops and a "bucket list" event for officers and their families. Mark your calendars and plan on joining us in Indiana this October, and pray for
and his team...the effort is massive and the challenges overwhelming ("but God").
(3) My friend and fellow trainer,
, and his team at
provide OUTSTANDING training both online daily and at seminars that are scheduled around the country -- get signed up! Travis is also working on a new book -- stay tuned for more details soon.
Understanding "Rest in Peace" ("RIP")
What does it mean when we say "Rest in Peace" (RIP) and to whom does it actually apply? So important that we get it right!
..how can we kn
We are once again dealing with a line of duty death here in Colorado (you can plug in just about any other region of the country). With it, I'm again seeing a plethora of well-intended exclamations of "
Rest in Peace
" (or "
"). But to whom does this actually apply, and is it Biblical? With the understanding that "getting it right" has eternal ramifications, let's open our Bibles and do just that:
Rest In Peace,
" and the initials "
" come from the Latin phrase,
requiescat in pace
-- an unbiblical prayer for the dead that is literally translated, "May he begin to rest in peace." The phrase is likewise used in certain extra-biblical and unbiblical religious rites, but is
expressly stated in Scripture. In fact, God specifically forbids us to pray for the dead (
, among other passages) or to anyone other than God Himself. Nor, of course, can any such prayer have any impact inasmuch as
clearly states, "
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
That said, there is a slight biblical nexus to the expression. At the end of the book of
, an angel speaks of Daniel's death, saying, "Y
ou will rest
). And the prophet Isaiah adds, "
Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death
). These two passages are the closest the Bible comes to the idea behind "rest in peace" (but context is crucial).
Because the thought of death can be frightening, people through the years have invented all kinds of platitudes with which to comfort themselves and others (and, in particular of late, when it involves the death of a peace officer, firefighter, soldier, etc.). When someone dies, we often hear false (unbiblical) statements such as "She's an angel now" or "God needed another angel in heaven." With police officers, we get the unbiblical expression, "He's patrolling the streets of heaven" (NOT). We also hear, "He's in a better place..." with no thought that the deceased might actually be in a worse place. Then there are those who think "blessed are the peacekeepers" is in the Bible (it's NOT), that "
blessed are the peacemakers
is about cops (it's NOT) or that "
Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends
) gets us a "get out of hell and into heaven" pass. (it does NOT). Finally (for now anyway), there is also the truly false (wholly unbiblical) poem, written by an unknown author, in which God "welcomes" an officer/warrior into heaven based entirely on their so called "good" works, service or sacrifice (
The Final Inspection
-- a sad lie from the very pit of hell -- see
Saved by grace or works?
Sadly, even tragically, people who never have time for God suddenly grow "religious" and pious at funerals. They try to assure themselves and others that, regardless of the deceased's lack of a genuine, life-saving/life-changing personal relationship with God in Christ while on earth, he or she
now be in heaven.
Folks, it is again with a
(lights and siren) sense of urgency that I beg you to embrace what God -- the ultimate authority -- teaches us in His wholly inerrant "policy and procedure manual," the Bible. It is there we find that physical death is not the end (
Hebrews 9:27; John 3:16-18
). Jesus -- God in the flesh -- taught that there are
only two options
for every human being: heaven or hell (
Matthew 10:28; 25:46; Mark 9:43
). He also gives us a vivid picture of these two options in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, found in
. In this account, the unsaved rich man, who had given no thought of God during his earthly life, went to Hades (the place of the unrighteous dead -- the forerunner of hell) when he died, while Lazarus (
the one found in
), who possessed nothing on earth but a pure heart and love for God, was taken to paradise (heaven). Our Lord describes hell as a place of eternal torment (verse 23),
a place of rest or peace. According to God in His word, a person who dies without a genuine, saving relationship with Christ will NEVER "rest in peace" (see
). Isaiah rightly adds, "
There is no peace,' says my God, 'for the wicked
'" ("the wicked" being unredeemed/unsaved sinners --
But praise God, death is entirely different for those who have been born again "
, Romans 8:1; 1 Corinthians 1:30
, God, through Paul, reminds us that, while it is natural to grieve for loved ones who have died, we do not need to grieve for those who were first "
" in Christ (a Christian as God alone gets to define it) as though we will never see them again. For the born again believer, there is in fact a sure hope mixed with the temporary sorrow.
The Bible often refers to the dead in Christ as "
those who are asleep
1 Corinthians 15:20; Acts 13:36; 1 Thessalonians 5:10
). The biblical writers used sleep as a metaphor because death for a Christian is only temporary. Paul said that "
to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord
2 Corinthians 5:8
). Those who have received Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior are with Him in paradise when they die (
). So, after death, Christians do enter a "rest," and it is most certainly "peaceful." However, it also likewise NOT the case for those who die outside of a saving faith in Christ.
As stated, those who say, "
rest in peace
" or "
" often frame it in the form of an unbiblical prayer. Again, at the moment of death, a person's fate is sealed for eternity (
). God, through His Word (the Bible), never teaches or even suggests that we should pray on behalf of those who have passed away. However well-intended, saying, "rest in peace" and other forms of prayers for the dead is rooted in unbiblical (false) religious traditions, not the absolute truth found in the Word of God.
It is for the true Christian alone that we can say with confidence, "
rest in peace
" while there will NEVER be peace or rest for that person who rejects God's offer of a life-saving/life-changing personal relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. That being said, God's loving desire is that no one would choose to end up in hell (
), so much so that He sacrificed His only Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross so that we would not have to suffer the just penalty for our sin.
With this in mind, understand that God has also commissioned us (
Christians) to have a "lights and siren" sense of urgency to share the hope we have in Him (the
Plan of Salvation
) with the lost -- including our own in law enforcement -- so that they can have every chance to
repent and believe
) and thus be assured of having
in heaven versus a just and equally eternal punishment in hell. As I say in every one of these messages, we can never be "good enough" for heaven or "badge" our way out of hell, and -- as I shared in last week's study -- Jesus is in fact the ONLY way we can be saved (
John 14:6, Acts 4:12
) and thus have the ability to truly "
rest In peace
So where do you stand today? When your time comes (and it could come at any time -- especially in our profession), will "
rest in peace
" have any weight for you or will it just be another empty, "feel good" platitude? Folks, ONLY those who are born again into a right-relationship with God in Christ (what it means to be a Christian as only God gets to define it) will be able to have real rest and real peace. If you've never repented of your sins and trusted Christ as your Lord and Savior, then I implore you to do so NOW (scroll down for the "how to"). Because of God's mercy, love and grace, He has given us
to repent of our sin and say "yes" to Him now, but once this life ends the opportunity for any "second chance" rightly ends forever.
Again, our loving Father is not short of warnings. He tells us in
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
So it is in the vein of seeking to provide
of the eternal kind that I again ask, "Where do YOU stand today?" If you died today, will you in fact "
Rest in Peace
?" Are you sure? Consider then the following:
(1) Still think you can "earn" or otherwise "badge" your way into heaven and escape hell (a just and unending "death sentence" for your wickedness -- aka "sin") because you are a so-called "good" cop or "good" person? Take the
Good Person Test
and see how you do!
(2) Jesus' first recorded words in His earthly ministry were and remain, "
Repent and believe in the Good News
is a "180" -- a complete, radical change of mind and heart as it relates our sin (wickedness as God defines it). To believe (
in the original Greek) as Jesus intends it here is to cry out to Him for your salvation and wholeheartedly
your life to Him in faith in the same way we have "faith" that our body armor will do its job against the rounds it is intended to stop, that a well-maintained weapon will function properly when used in defense against criminals intent on destroying us or others, or that our parachute will open when it is supposed to (we stake our very lives on it)! And the "
"? It is simply
the gospel of Jesus Christ
(3) This same concept of "believe" (the saving kind) is further revealed in
where Jesus says, "
... you must be born again
." Again, note our Lord's emphasis on the word "
" (not "may" or "should"): this is ultimately the life-saving/life-changing personal relationship (and NOT "religion") with Jesus Christ that I stress here every week (see
What does it mean to be a born again Christian
? [hint -- there is no other kind]). Folks, it is only through this miraculous event that we can be made "righteous" before a just and Holy God and thus become part of His family.
Need more? Then check out this powerful, short video message by my friend, fellow officer and noted trainer,
Cops and Salvation
Have you now said "yes" to Jesus but are wondering what to do next? Then click on,
Understand that the "Now what?" MUST include regular "iron sharpens iron" fellowship with other believers, including (for us cops) other mature Christian officers who can help support you, encourage you, disciple (help you grow) you in the faith and yes, hold you lovingly accountable. Message me for how you can do that!
Centurion Law Enforcement Ministry
a national, FCPO-affiliated, evangelical Christian outreach to our own in law enforcement. These newsletters and profession-focused Bible studies are part of this effort and past editions can be found on our website and our social media feeds. Our desire is (1) to be used of God to lead the lost in our profession to a saving faith in Christ; and (2) to disciple the Christian officer, support police marriages and impact (reduce) police suicides and PTSD with the Cure found in Jesus alone. As always, feel free to adapt these messages for your own individual or group use and please share them with others. We also seek both your prayers and your
for this outreach at the Lord leads.
Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers
exists to provide biblical support ("backup"), accountability and iron sharpens iron fellowship for Christian officers first in the U.S. and throughout the world as well. Our metro-Denver FCPO chapter --
FCPO Chapter 217
-- is a
Centurion Law Enforcement Ministry
affiliate. Locally, we meet approximately twice a month in the south Denver-Metro suburb of Highlands Ranch for profession-focused and life-relevant Bible study, prayer and servant-warrior/sheepdog fellowship (the
iron sharpens iron
kind). Spouses are both welcome and encouraged to attend with their LEO.
Contact me for details!
You can also give to our ministry by designating "
FCPO Chapter 217
" on the
FCPO donation page
The Centurion Law Enforcement Ministry and FCPO-Denver (Chapter 217) are led by Police Officer, Chaplain and Evangelist
Michael "MC" Williams
, an active (32-years and counting) sworn police officer/investigator and sought-after instructor and speaker at churches (including the popular
Centurion Church Security Seminar
), retreats and both police and civilian training conferences and seminars around the country. Contact MC via
for details on how to book him for your event.
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