I imagine just like me, you were in shock as you watched the news of the shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, TX. My son asked me the “why” question and that’s a tough one to answer. As I listened to an old college friend – Jim Richards, Executive Director of Southern Baptist of Texas, speaking to Fox News reporters he said several times that we need to remember we live in a fallen evil world and the enemy wants nothing more than to destroy the Kingdom. You see my friend, the enemy has used this tactic in the past when he convinced religious people to crucify Christ. He has used this tactic across the years as believers all over the world have been martyred while they sat in churches and as they lived their normal lives. This young man believed the evil, he believed the lie and he became a pawn in the hands of the enemy.

His was a sick and demented mind that became a tool of the enemy.

The question now becomes what we will do in light of this new door that’s opened for evil to take action, even on a Sunday morning in a church. Practically speaking, we all need to be aware that we have a security team that watches over our campus every Sunday morning. I know some of you would like to volunteer for that team so just be patient as I get with Lin Mabe, who oversees this ministry, and we plan for a meeting to deal with our readiness if something like this were to take place as well as other issues like communication and scheduling. There’s much work to be done and obviously something like this only heightens our desire to make sure we are as prepared as we can be with trained men and women who know how to respond to any security issue.

Another way to respond is to send a clear message to the enemy, the world, our neighbors and friends and continue to be in church on Sunday. Just like in New York after the terrorist attack, the clarion call was that we will not allow this tragedy to stop us from living in freedom. I’m challenging everyone to be in church to send the enemy and our community the message that we will not allow evil to keep us from gathering to worship our Father. As you look around the world, the church in nations like China and Iraq are strong and growing in spite of persecution. It may very well be our time to stand strong in the face of persecution and an open attack of the enemy. We must not allow the enemy to keep us from corporate worship because of this tragic event or for any other reason.

No matter how horrible or how sneaky. Let’s stand strong and send the message that we are soldiers who will not retreat and who will not be intimidated.

On another note, the HHBC Angel Tree applications have been put out in the Upper Lobby, the Children’s Welcome Desk area, and at Entrance 2. Applicants should be HHBC members and the children whose names are submitted must be 18 years old or younger. The applications are due back by November 12.

Pastor Carl