|FCPO Newsletter and Bible Study
||The "thin blue line" covered by the blood of Christ.
Sheepdogs/Officers and supporters:
With so much tragedy, trials and tribulation (the 3-Ts) going on around us, and with 9/11 looming, God has pressed me to share a fresh study on the proverbial "
Why?!" question at last Tuesday's Centurion "cop church" FCPO chapter meeting. I'll of course recap the study in NEXT week's newsletter, but God is also pressing me to preempt it by re-sharing a message written by fellow cop/trainer/author,
Travis Yates, in the wake of other tragedies that have hit us hard. Scroll down to "
Miss a past edition? I
re-post past editions on our
pages. Also d
on't forget to check out the latest batch of
resources, prayer requests
posted for you below!
"Run to the Battle"
with a front sight focus on the One (Christ our Captain) who as ALL the answers! Stay safe on the street but radically bold in Christ!
(1) While not a "Christian" law enforcement resource, Heather MacDonald's and the Manhattan Institute's work is in fact truth and therefore a tremendous resource for combating the false narratives being spread by the anti-police media and domestic terror groups. Here's
The War on Cops
(2) Fellow cop Chuck Gilliland's latest devotional book for cops is out! Also available on Amazon and other sites, here's the "Psalms Through the Eyes of a Cop."
9/11 is next week...be in prayer for the families of our fallen brethren, and for those still battling from the "aftershock" of Ground Zero (both mental and physical).
(2) Pray for the families of our fallen, and for our wounded. God help us.
(3) Pray for the lost and then ask God to help you step out in faith to share Christ with them.
Have a prayer request or announcement you would like included here? Need prayer?
! I also post prayer requests on my Facebook page ("friend" me).
(1) The Sheepdog Seminars is led by my friends Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, Officer/Minister Jimmy Meeks and fellow church safety expert Carl Chinn (among others). Outstanding, highly recommended training for every sheepdog (sworn and unsworn alike)!
The Centurion Law Enforcement Ministry
The Centurion Law Enforcement Ministry
is a national, FCPO-affiliated, evangelical Christian outreach to our own in law enforcement. These newsletters and Bible studies are part of this effort and past editions can be found on our
and our social media
) feeds. As always, feel free to adapt these messages for your own individual or group use and please share them with others.
The Centurion LE Ministry is lead by Police Officer and Chaplain/Evangelist Michael "MC" Williams, a 32-year (and counting) law enforcement veteran and sought-after instructor and speaker at churches [including the well-received Centurion Church Security Seminar], retreats and both law enforcement and civilian conferences and seminars around the country. Contact MC via email for more.
Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers
FCPO-USA exists to provide biblical support ("backup"), accountability and iron sharpens iron fellowship to Christian officers first in the U.S. and throughout the world as well. Our metro-Denver chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers -- (aka FCPO Chapter 217) -- is a Centurion Law Enforcement Ministry affiliate. We meet most 1st and 3rd Tuesday evenings starting at 7 PM in the Denver-Metro suburb of Highlands Ranch (email me for address and details) for profession-focused and life-focused
Bible study, prayer and servant-warrior/sheepdog fellowship (the iron sharpens iron kind). Spouses are both welcome and encouraged to attend with their LEO and this is how you can get a FREE Centurion t-shirt or ball cap!
Our next meeting is set for, Tuesday, September 18th. JOIN US!
In the midst of a horrific tragedy, fellow officer, author and trainer Travis Yates provides part of God's answer (and we'll dig into the rest tonight).
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose
(Romans 8:28 -- added emphasis mine)
With today's tragedies coming one upon the other, I'm pressed to share a message written by Major
Law Officer Magazine
Courageous Leadership Institute
) in the wake of the murder of four Lakewood (WA) officers on 11/29/2009. It is a great opener to tonight's "cop church" Bible study that I'll recap for you here next week. *With some minor updates, here's "
I am a police Major for the Tulsa, Oklahoma Police Department and I have done this job since 1993. Before that, I grew up with my father who retired after doing the same job for 27 years. As a police officer, I am keenly aware that every day of the year will be the worst day of someone's life.
I have in my lifetime up until now seen first hand as a police officer what tragedy does to those in our profession and the impact it has on the family of those officers.
I was just five years old on September 24, 1976, but I remember my father weeping when he found out his good friend and co-worker was brutally murdered when he stopped a man that was wanted for murder. Fort Smith Patrol Officer Randy Basnett died that day. He left behind a wife that was pregnant, parents and siblings.
Almost two years later, May 26, 1978, my wife was just four years old and she has similar memories when her father, Oklahoma Highway Patrol Second Lieutenant James Pat Grimes was ambushed by two cowards with a rifle. He died that day and left behind his daughter, wife, parents and siblings. We are reminded daily of the pain and struggle that tragedy has caused.
And on June 10, 1996, I was a 24 year old Tulsa Police Officer and was less than one mile away with Senior Patrol Officer Dick Hobson was shot and killed by a robbery suspect. I helped load Dick into an ambulance that night and several hours later he was pronounced dead. I collapsed and wept.
Then, this morning, Sunday, November 29, 2009, I was made aware of the tragedy in the State of Washington. Four officers from the Lakewood Police Department, a 100 member force, were sitting in a coffee shop doing paperwork on their laptops. Something I have done many times, something that probably you have done, whether in law enforcement or not.
A man entered the coffee house and brutally murdered all four officers. Early reports tell us that while two of the officers were likely killed instantly, the other two may have fought back and one even firing rounds at the suspect.
Tragically, four officers laid dead and as of this writing, the suspect has not been caught but let me be clear. He will be caught.
The four officers have been identified as Sergeant Mark Renninger, Ronald Owens, Tina Griswold, and Greg Richards. Their ages ranged from 37 to 42. They leave behind multiple children, spouses, parents, siblings and a community and country in mourning. It was the fourth multiple officer fatality by gunfire this year alone and the second ambush in the Seattle area in the last 30 days.
It is unimaginable tragedy and it is in this tragedy that one may ask where was God?
Why did it have to happen?
Why does God permit suffering and tragedy?
These are all valid and legitimate questions and quite frankly our minds simply cannot grasp all of these answers. It is ok to say I don't know but to say I don't know does not mean that God is not present, that He is not completely sovereign in everything.
Hebrews 1:3 tells us that God "upholds the universe by the word of his power." The Greek word for "upholds" means "to carry".
This concept of "carry" brings the concept of movement or progress. Jesus Christ is directing and carrying all things towards His sovereign purpose. God carries and is responsible for the entire universe.
The Book of Job gives us the ultimate lesson in regards to tragedy and God's Sovereignty. Here we have Job, who was held in high esteem for his righteousness and was even compared to Noah and Daniel and here he is going through unimaginable suffering and it is God who is doing it.
Job 23:13-14, says: "But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does. For he will complete what he appoints for me, and many such things are in his mind."
There it is, "What He desires, He does."
God does exactly what He desires.
Psalm 22:28 says "For kingship belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations."
Isaiah 46:10 says that God declares "the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose."
God is in control. He always has been and He always will be. He is in control on your best days, your bad days and your worst day.
God does permit tragedy and the tragedy this morning....yes, He was in control.
Now, this may not be comfortable to you. You may say I don't want that God. I want nothing to do with a God that would permit this sort of tragedy, this sort of pain.
Let me be clear about this. You have no choice. This is indeed the God of the Bible, the Only God, The God that came to earth, lived a perfect life, was crucified and rose on the third day. You may say that you don't want that God but there is no other God. A rejection of this God means punishment in hell, an eternity separated without Him.
John Stott, a highly respected Christian author, said this about suffering:
"The fact of suffering undoubtedly constitutes the single greatest challenge to the Christian faith, and has been in every generation. Its distribution and degree appear to be entirely random and therefore unfair. Sensitive spirits ask if it can be reconciled with God's Justice and love."
It is true; it will not take you long when talking to an unbeliever for the issue of evil and suffering to be brought up. It has been described as the "Ultimate Trump Card".
Evil is absolute proof that God does not exist. Atheists grab on to it. Agnostics grab on to it and for the professing Christian, suffering will test whether you trust in Jesus Christ as your savior or whether you are simply a religious or moral person. You see religion and morality will not sustain you in the midst of trials, pain and suffering. Only Christ will. Jesus Christ is the only one that can sustain you.
Pastor John Piper says that "Wimpy Christians won't survive the days ahead."
Of course there is no such thing as a wimpy Christian. He is referring to those that claim the Christian faith but do not have Jesus as their Lord. He is not the center of their life. Christ is merely a Genie in a bottle that we bring out when we need Him. This is not saving faith.
Now that we know that God does indeed permit tragedy, why does He allow it to occur?
Romans 8:28 is our model for this question. It says "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."
Now here is the Apostle Paul saying essentially that all things that occur are working together for good. Paul was keenly aware of tragedy and suffering. Prison, shipwrecks, beatings, hunger and eventual martyrdom. This was Paul's life.
Surely he can't mean tragedies such as the one this morning? How else should you interpret the word "All." I am not a theologian but I know what that word means. It means everything that happens and in this context of scripture it means that everything that happens, will be for the good for those that are chosen to be saved by God.
Could that mean, God's children could suffer? Could that mean His people could die? Could lose love ones, could suffer enormous pain? Yes, that is what "All" means.
From this morning's incident, what is or will be working together for good?
It is ok to say "I don't know" here. We don't always know. What good came out of the death of my dad's partner? What about my wife losing her father at the age of four? What good could come out of this tragedy this morning?
It isn't always clear to us and God owes us no explanation. Sometimes it is clear.
On May 8, 2006, Fairfax County, Virginia Police Detective Vicky Armel was just 40 years old when she was gunned down in the parking lot of her police station. Master Police Officer Michael Garbarino was killed in the same incident.
Vicki left behind a son, a daughter and a husband. And just like this morning, you may ask why?
And our God, in the most gracious manner showed us a little of Romans 8 in this incident.
You see, two years earlier in the spring of 2004, Vicki came to know the Lord Jesus Christ as her Savior. God used a faithful saint by the name of Mike Motafches, Vicki's partner, to tell her about Jesus Christ and upon being converted to Christ; Vicki gave a moving testimony at her home church.
Vicki's funeral occurred during National Police Week in Washington D.C. Once a year, in the Month of May, thousands of police officers gather in Washington D.C. to pay tribute to the fallen officers from the previous year. In May 2010, we will be paying tribute to the four officers that paid the ultimate sacrifice for their community this morning.
I was there that year, in 2006. I knew officers that actually went to Vicki's funeral. Because Fairfax County was so close to Washington D.C., thousands of officers from around the world went to Vicki's funeral and that testimony she gave a few years earlier. It was taped and it was played back for thousands of officers to hear.
[MC -- I've re-shared it many times here]
Thousands of police officers heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the mouth of a slain Police Detective that day. At that very moment, Vicki was in Heaven with her Savior, with God and thousands here on earth heard her words, heard the Gospel from her.
Vicki's death was tragic but God in His love and mercy and kindness, works all things together for good.
Now these "all things" that the Apostle Paul discusses includes evil things and that brings us to the final question. Why evil persists and why God permits this evil to affect so many lives.
Evil is anything that violates God's moral will. The first human evil occurred when Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden and that original sin is passed down to all of us. Indeed, Romans 3:10-12 says that "no one is righteous, no one seeks for God, no one does good." Verse 12 finishes with these words, "not even one."
Now that is hard to take isn't it? No one, not even one is good. That includes me. That includes you.
While our evil will likely not manifest into the actions of the coward this morning in the State of Washington, we are indeed evil. It is our nature.
Jeremiah 17:9 says that "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?"
You see we are quick to see what happened this morning and say that is evil...that is pure evil.
But do we see that evil in ourselves? We minimize our sin because unlike this morning, we don't actually see the pain that it causes. It is easy to see this or another tragedy and identify the behavior as evil but our actions, our behaviors, while not as high profile or outrageous to the world, they are absolutely an abomination to a Holy God.
Anything that violates God's nature is evil and that includes our sin. Now some of us, including me have committed sins that have hurt others, hurt those we love and we see very clearly the evil that we do but we must understand that whether we see the results of our sin in others or not, our sin is an outrage to God.
Now we can't afford to get this wrong and trust me there are many, many that have this wrong. Just about anyone you ask will tell you that they are basically a good person. Millions are walking the earth thinking that if they do more good than bad, they will find favor with God. This is not true and these false beliefs will damn more to hell than all the bars in this world combined.
Do you still think you are a good person? Let's take a look at just some of God's standards.
Have you ever lied? Have you ever stolen anything? Have you ever used God's name in vain? Have you always honored your parents? Jesus said that if you look with lust, you have committed adultery in your heart (Matthew 5:28) and He elevates anger to murder (Matthew 5:21).
The point here is that you are evil. I am evil and while your evil may not manifest itself into suffering that you can see, it is never the less hated by God and will be punished by God.
At the age of 25, in the year 1750, John Newton was the commander of an English slave ship. He anchored his ship off of the African coast and purchased slaves. As many as 600 slaves would lay down like logs at the bottom of his ship as they would sail to the Caribbean and sell the slaves.
John Newton raped female slaves, he permitted his employees to rape them. Hundreds would die in the journey and John Newton reveled in hating God and everything He stood for. That is of course until he experienced a conversion to Christ. God radically changed his heart and saved him for the judgment that was awaiting him for his evil deeds. Newton spent the last half of his life pastoring a church and speaking out against the slave trade.
Just before his death, at the age of 82, Newton said this: "My memory is nearly gone but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior."
You may recognize the famous hymn written by John Newton:
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost, but now I'm found, Was blind but now I see.
What about you? Are you blind? Are you lost or can you see?
If you can see the evil and the sin that you are guilty of, then God is working in you. He has made you aware of your need of a Savior. Jesus Christ is the only means of salvation and He saves wretches like John Newton, like me and like you.
This incident this morning in Parkland, Washington, was horrible. It was tragic. It was unthinkable and while we may search for answers, there really is only one answer.
His name is Jesus Christ. He is the sovereign God over all of the Universe and He came to earth on a mission. To save sinners and to redeem our evil deeds. He was perfect, spotless and he was slain on a tree.
Jesus, the God Man rose from the grave three days later and today he sits at the right hand of the Father and is calling for you to repent, turn from your sins and believe in Him. To trust Him.
Call on the Lord Jesus Christ. Call on Him to save you and follow Him the rest of your days, during the good times and the bad.
May God comfort those that are in mourning and show them that all things work together for good.
AMEN! So how will you answer Travis and (ultimately) God? Folks, this is the most important question that can be asked of anyone. If you don't know or you're not sure (you can be), then please consider the following:
(1) Do you still cling to the false hope that you can "earn" or otherwise "badge" your way into heaven and escape hell because you are a so-called "good" cop or "good" person? Take
Good Person Test
and see how you do.
esus' 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. To
(pisteuo in the original Greek) as Jesus intends it here is to cry out to God for your salvation and wholeheartedly
surrender in faith to Christ
in the same way we have "faith" that our body armor will do its job against the rounds it is intended to stop, that our weapons will function properly in when facing criminals intent on destroying us, or that a jumper's parachute will open when it is supposed to (we stake our very lives on it)! And the "Good News"? That is simply the Gospel of Christ!
(3) This same concept of "
" (the saving kind) is further revealed in
where Jesus says, "...
you must be born again.
" Note our Lord's emphasis on the word "
" (not "may" or "should"): this is ultimately the
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
?) through which we are in fact made "righteous" before a just and Holy God.
(6) Have you said "yes" to Jesus but are wondering what to do next? Then
Understand that the "Now what?" MUST include regular "iron sharpens iron" fellowship with other believers -- including (for us cops) other mature Christians and Christian officers who can help support you, encourage you, disciple (help you grow) you in the faith while holding you lovingly accountable. Message me for help in doing that!
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