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Am I Safe?

14th Sunday after Pentecost

Am I Safe?

Text: Romans 7:1-8

Where were you?  That was the big question to ask this last week on Thursday.  Where were you 13 years ago on September 11, 2001?  Every year Americans take time to reflect upon one of the greatest tragedies on American soil in U.S. history.  Some of you were there in New York.  Some of you know people who were there in New York.  All of us remember where we were, what we were doing, and how we found out.

None of us will forget the feeling either.  It was so terrible an attack and so personal an attack and so close to home that no matter how many years pass by we will not forget.  The destruction.  The dust.  The deaths.  The sadness.  The tears.  The anger.  The fear.  This is the terror that terrorism brings, and we all experienced it personally.

Now here we are 13 years later and still waters are starting to break again.  For 13 years we have had relative peace.  Yes, there have been attempts at attacks.  Yes, there has been war in the Middle East.  Yes, soldiers have lost their lives.  But we have had relative peace and quiet, especially here in America.  Now though, the glassy sea of peace is being disturbed by waves of terrorism.

Our archenemies are at it again.  Muslims, worldly enemies to Christians for some 1,400 years, have another faction of militant soldiers taking arms against us.  Thirteen years ago it was Al-Qaeda.  Today it is Isis.  This group is taking up jihad—holy war—in active, aggressive, and frightening ways.  They are hunting down Christians.  They are marking their homes with that U-shaped symbol you may have seen (which stands for the word Nazarene in Arabic).  Men, women, even children are not safe as they are brutally slaughtering any they find.  The public nature of these attacks and the video footage they purposefully share strikes fear.  Now rumors are spreading about Isis living among us in the United States and immanent and impending attacks.  There’s a reason they are called terror-ists. It makes a Christian wonder.  Am I Safe? Read the rest of this entry

This Means War!

13th Sunday after Pentecost

Memorial Service on the 10th Anniversary of September 11

This Means War!

Text:  Ephesians 6:10-18

Intro

I was up bright and early in the morning for class.  No matter how interesting the subject, first hour class was never fun for a college student.  After two morning classes, I had a break third hour before we had morning chapel on campus.  I walked back to the dorm room.  Fall was not far off, so the temperature was nearly perfect in Minnesota.

I walked into my room and my roommate immediately said, “Dude, you gotta see this.”  I glanced at our TV.  He had the news on.  I think the first thing I said was, “What?  Is that real?”  I couldn’t believe what I saw—two massive skyscrapers billowing fire and smoke into the air.  America was under attack!

Every day we had gathered for chapel in college.  As usual I sat with my friends and next to my girlfriend (Becky).  But chapel certainly had a different mood and feel that day.  This was an epic event for the world, but in particular for our generation.  My grandfather remembers where he was on December 7, 1941 for Pearl Harbor.  My father cried as a grade school boy when they announced on November 22, 1963 that the president had been assassinated.  But our generation has had nothing traumatic happen yet.  The world wars were just history facts.  Vietnam was something we saw in graphic movies or that our parents sometimes talked about.  The Persian Gulf War was seemingly no big deal.  We went over to the Middle East, flexed our American muscles, and called it a day.  My generation had experienced nothing like this.

I could tell it would be a historic day, and not just because 2,977 people lost their lives.  This was an attack on American soil.  This was the Middle East versus the United States; terrorists versus people living in peace; Muslims versus Christians.  All I could think was, This Means War!  Rally the troops!  Strap up the armor!  Fire up the jets!  Lock and load!  This Means War! Read the rest of this entry