The Blurred Blue Line…

My heart, as so many others this morning is heavy. Heavy because for the first time the tragedy that has been unfolding around our nation has now come home to our own community. Officer Tim Smith was cut down in the line of duty by a young man with so much to live for.  Life could have been different for this young man, he could have made better choices, he could have been a productive member of society…he could have been like Officer Smith. Instead he chose differently.

The question I ask myself is: Was he conditioned to do so?  The culture not just amongst the African American community (but perhaps the most pronounced there) has been ravaged by fatherlessness, and if I had to take a guess, I would bet this young man had no father in his life. No one to show him what it means to actually live as a man. What it means to get up at the crack of dawn and go to work, to come home at the end of the day and help (in a perpetually exhausted state) with the homework. To sit down at the end of supper and speak truth from God’s word into his young heart, no one to kneel beside him in prayer as they petition the father who is in Heaven.

There indeed are two tragedies here, we will all focus on the one…as we should. But let us not forget the other…two lives have been lost.  We have a choice as to how we respond to this tragic event, and I will be the first to admit that I am angry, infuriated by the thought of what occurred in our community. I am angry that Officer Smith’s children will grow up without a father…I am angry that this young man likely had no positive influence from his father. Yet, scripture declares that I am not to allow the sun to go down upon my anger…That I am to be angry but not to sin. Therefore I confess my anger to God and I shake my fist at heaven. Why? Why? Why?

Scripture tells us that we are to submit ourselves to the governing authorities, submission begins at home, as a father teaches his children to respect and submit to his own authority. When the father is not present though, these lessons are not being taught. I can tell you that if there is one problem to fix in our society that may in fact have the desired snowball effect in fixing the others that exist…it is the recognition of and submission to the authorities that God has placed over us.

We have all seen the graphic that depicts the thin blue line. The badge with one thin blue stripe sandwiched between two black stripes. Perhaps what we don’t know however is where this term originated, or what it means. The term itself originated in Great Britain the design represents the wall of police protection between the criminal elements and the general population of good and honest citizens. This line is now blurred as many have come to see the protective elements of our society as the enemy…where does that leave us when the forces that are supposed to be focused on protecting the civil order are now having to defend their own lives instead of ours. It is time for us, as a society of good order and good people to build a wall between the criminal elements and the men and women of law enforcement.

How do we build that wall? There are many ways we can help. To start with…we can and should be praying for these men and women on a daily basis. As a community we can let the criminal elements that exist know that they are not welcome here lest they put aside their criminal order and choose instead to contribute in the building back of the walls. As men we can teach our children what it means to make sacrifices for the general good of others, we can show them that there are other ways to accomplish equality than violence. We lift up men like Martin Luther King Jr. instead of boys like Tupac. We can lift up men like Abraham Lincoln instead of boys like Robert Byrd.

First thing is first however and that first thing is prayer, this community has an opportunity to demonstrate their willingness to set things right. It was reported that on Wednesday at 7pm, Liberty Baptist Church in Eastman, Ga. will be holding a prayer rally for exactly this purpose…to my knowledge everyone is welcome. Please consider attending this event as we learn well to pray.




Today they will enter their mission field. It is journey fraught with difficulties and surely there will be many trials to be overcome as the year presses on. I have faith though, that what God has begun he will finish. For the bible declares it so…”He who began a good work in us will bring it to completion.” They are a faithful bunch, but like the rest, they too have their struggles. While they understand that salvation has been secured, they are not content with that alone…their desire is HOLINESS. Therefore I know that they will fight not only against the powers of darkness that roam the halls, but also against their own flesh as it makes every attempt to war against their souls.

They are not many, but like I said they are faithful to the one who multiplies. They are the youth at Lakeview Baptist Church. I pray for them as they return today to the land of exile…to a place that is not their home. I pray that God will give them eyes to see. Eyes to see the lost amongst them, eyes to see the pitfalls that Satan will lay before them, eyes to see the grace that God hath given to them. I pray that they will never fail to act on the things they see with the new eyes they have received. To flee to the lost as if they were fleeing for their own lives sake, to avoid the traps of Satan as he battles for their minds that he might control their hearts, to extend the grace that has been extended by the un-shortened arms and open hands of our Lord.

You will learn things this year that will contradict what you already know, your itching ears will invite the teachings of the lost…guard yourselves with truth, and ground yourselves in doctrine. Learn well from your heavenly teacher that you too may teach well for others sake. Submit to the authority placed over you in order that others will know you have first submitted to something greater. Let your conscience be your guide for as the scripture says…”He has placed the laws of God within our own hearts that our conscience will bare witness against us.”

Trust that the same spirit dwelling in you…empowering you…convicting you…and reassuring you, is the same spirit that descended from the heavens two thousand years ago…the same spirit that has filled the bodies of countless men when God breathed upon their souls. Remember, that building, otherwise known as a school, the place that will take up the bulk of your time for the next 10 months, is really nothing more than a mortuary for dead souls…it is your mission field. Look upon your peers with new eyes and trust that you will see them as they are. Give them eyes to see Oh Lord…give them eyes to see.






Eulogy for a dead man…

Yesterday I attended the funeral of a man that has been dead for years. It was a joyous yet sad occasion as we reminisced about his life with us. He was a good man, he wasn’t always that way though; a good ole boy for sure…but not a good man. Only God can declare a thing to be good, because only God can make a thing to be good.

I had known this man for years and what I remember most about him is his heart. He had such a big heart, always willing to give…and to give often times out of his own poverty.  Not only did he give his possessions but he likewise gave his time…and time is of the most precious commodity a man can possess. I remember his faithfulness, not only to his family but also to his church. If it can ever be said that a man was faithful…it could be said about big Jim. But most of all his faithfulness to God, always willing to go where the work was and refusing to succumb to the temptations of this life…and he had many. A faithful friend…a faithful husband…a faithful father…and faithful follower. What more can or should be said about such a man as this.

While his time here is done his time elsewhere is just beginning. Heaven will have to wait for Big Jim, as God has other plans in New Underwood, South Dakota. You see, someone in New Underwood has been prayed for, they are lost and in need of a savior, Christ having dispatched his Holy Spirit to do what only the spirit can, has placed this burden upon big Jim’s heart. He will meet this lost soul along the path and it wont be long before he discovers who that is. Jim doesn’t need to know right now, he just simply must go, and when the time is right the things unknown will be made known…but only when the time is right.

I know right now you’re asking yourself: How can a dead man put off heaven to continue his mission. The answer is easy; Jim is not twice dead, only once. Years ago he surrendered his life to Christ and he committed his family and himself to the Lords work…wherever that may be. For the past decade God has been preparing Jim for such a time as this. A day when all logic is thrown out the window, and his mettle would be tested. It is by faith that a man believes and is born again, but first he must die. The only way to know for sure whether this truly be the case…”go sell all your possessions and come follow me.” The hour was so near and laboring prayers were great…Satan having rallied the forces of hell to charge that hill in hopes of ending the work before it ever got underway. Everything was at stake…what would he do? We thought.

He would answer the call. Knowing full well the weight of Jesus’ words when he said “foxes have holes, birds of the air have nests, but the son of Man has no where to lay his head.”  Choosing to follow Christ under these terms and conditions is no small matter, but then again the work he has called us to is no small matter either. To do this work it takes a big man…not in stature but in faith…and Brother Jim has proved to us all that he is a man who is Big in Faith.

Thank You, Brother Jim for your service to our Kingdom; for the friendship you have offered; for the leadership you have provided; and the testimony you have left behind. Remember the bible say’s “Come unto me all ye who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” There is sure to come a time when the burden seems to heavy to carry any longer…my prayer for these times is that you always rest in peace…for he alone keeps us in perfect peace. Godspeed my friend and may the full force of heaven be with you always.

Your Friend and Servant