By: Peter Larocque – September, 2017
God Bless you all in the name above all names, Jesus Christ. I read recently that some of you met with Mayor Rivera and Police Chief James Fitzpatrick concerning the increase in violence in the City of Lawrence, first allow me to congratulate you and to thank you for your involvement. This issue certainly deserves and needs all hands on deck. This open letter is by no means meant to be a letter of passing judgment on anyone or of one that is pointing fingers. The statements and solutions that were brought to the table by all at this gathering from what I read were all admirable. Here a few that I read about, 12 workshops, strengthening family values, healing child abandonment, the opening of 4 gyms to young people for night time basketball, adding 3 new outreach workers to the anti-gang unit who were once themselves into gangs and criminal activities. You recognized that most of the increase in violence is due to the opiate crisis across the region and that churches are like families and that it is up to you to get involved more and that you were called to advocate for peace and dignity.
Having said all that, now may I humbly offer a suggestion that involves those who speak from a pulpit every week? Surely you would agree that the above mentioned solutions are good in the natural sense, but now in a spiritual sense, you cannot fight a spiritual war with natural solutions. Those who have been anointed to preach must speak no other gospel than the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Gospel of Grace! No other gospel will do what needs to be done! The name that is above all names must be spoken, taught, and proclaimed very loud and clear. It is only at the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ that every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess! Philippians 2:9-11is very clear, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
The gospel of being afraid to offend someone or being politically correct has had its way long enough in the church that truth is a cloudy gray. Our youth today only knows a God that is against them and that is not for them and that is waiting to hit them over the head every time they make a mistake. They haven’t heard that they have a Heavenly Father that loves them and gave His only Son for them so that they can live a life of freedom. Jesus died so that they can live! All they know is they are held captive by this world that has no solutions for them, so to relieve their pain they self medicate. We need to tell them what Jesus said in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
The truth that Jesus talked about that would set them free is the Gospel of Grace, not condemnation. The Gospel that God would write on their hearts and not on stones must be preached. We do not have a God with a Heart of Stone, but a Heart of compassion and love and forgiveness and peace! When they realize this, the need to self medicate themselves will disappear!
Before Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tested by the devil, God opened up the sky to His Son Jesus and said in Matthew 3:17, “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus heard His Father say, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased! Jesus knew he was God’s beloved! After hearing this he was able to go into the wilderness and come out victorious! This is how we fight against child abandonment! Whether they are from a one or two parent family we teach them how loved they are by God, that they too are God’s Beloved! When they realize how much they are loved they will win in life!
I end this letter with the words from the Apostle Paul, Romans 5:1-9,
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
Preach the Gospel.