Tag Archive | 9-11

In Honor and Remembrance

Lady Liberty

We are at a time in our history when we are seeing an unprecedented assault on our first-responders, not only by street thugs and criminals, but by those in authority as well. While police men and women are being murdered on our cities and streets, those in the media and in positions of authority often times assume the worst — vocally — whenever someone in uniform is involved in an incident or altercation. While our system of justice is by no means perfect, and while police departments all over our nation are made up of imperfect people, officers of the law deserve no less than the rest of us when it comes to the question of guilt or innocence…

The assumption of innocent until PROVEN guilty.


Today marks the 14th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania — on America.

9-11Today marks the day that we suffered the worst loss of life in an attack on American soil since the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Over 2,500 lives were lost on December 7… nearly 3,000 lives were lost on September 11.

Today, we remember the lives of our fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens who died in the World Trade Center, in the Pentagon, and in a field in Stoneycreek Township, near Shanksville, PA.

Today, we remember the bravery of our heroic first-responders, who forsook safety and security, and rushed into harm’s way to save the lives of so many. We remember the heroic 343 firefighters, 60 police officers, and 8 emergency medical technicians and paramedics who reported for duty, gave their all in service to their fellow citizens, and never returned to their homes and families.

Today, we remember the reason that
we still say, to this day… Never forget.

On September 11, 2001, we looked into the face of Islamic terrorism and resolved —then and there — that we would not be shaken. We watched as our nation pulled together in prayer and unity, and saw our houses of worship filled with people looking for comfort and hope.

Much has changed since 9-11. The world has become a more dangerous place, and we have become a more divided people. I think it is very fitting that, on this day, we once again commit to the unity and hope that bound us so tightly on those dark September days in 2001. We should reject the voices of racial hatred and division that try to tear us apart. We should not bow at the altar of complacency and apathy, but instead strive to make our homes and communities better places through service and responsibility. We should reach out to the less fortunate, and support those who serve us and lead us with our prayers and encouragement. We should operate in love while we stand on truth, and be the light this nation and world so desperately need. We should all re-commit ourselves to the meaning of these words…

KS77759I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands,
One nation under God,
Indivisible,
With liberty and justice for all.

One nation under God. For as President Dwight D. Eisenhower said…

… In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource in peace and war.”

Never forget.

Find Your Way Back

StatueYesterday, many of us commemorated the 12th anniversary of the September 11 attacks on our nation. We remembered the event like it was yesterday. We remembered the horror and anguish we felt as we helplessly watched nearly 3,000 of our fellow citizens be whisked away into eternity. We remembered the uncertainty of facing an enemy we could not see coming. We remembered the promises we all made to “never forget”. However, there is one thing we seem to have forgotten…

Our dependence on God during our darkest of nights.

Flag half-mastIn the days following 9-11, Americans flocked to churches. Some were looking for answers. Some were looking for peace. Some were looking for consolation. All were looking for something…

Many didn’t find it.

The cry of so many in our culture could be summed up in the words of an old ’80’s song by the group Jefferson Starship

I know it’s too late now
But I wish I could go back in time
And start all over somehow
And get it right from the start

Many people carry unnecessary regret. Many think it is too late to change, or wish they could go back in time and get a “do over”.

Well, this Sunday, you can.

Sunday, September 15, 2013 is National Back to Church Sunday. If you are currently involved in a church, I challenge you to invite someone who isn’t to join you at your house of worship. If you are not involved in a church, I invite you to visit a church in your area, and see how you can get involved.

You may say, “I’m just not sure I can find a church that is right for me.”

Well, you won’t know until you try, and with 20,000+ churches participating this Sunday, the odds are pretty good that there is one that is right for you. And just remember: You have to start somewhere. If you don’t find it the first time out, keep trying. I believe the church where you belong is out there waiting for you.

“Well, I have a lot of questions… maybe some of my questions are dumb”

Church is a great place for asking questions. The Bible is filled with people who “inquired of the Lord.” If it is an easy question, we should be able to find you an answer quickly. If it is a tough question, we may just have to find it together. The only “dumb” question is the one you don’t ask. Wouldn’t it be great to find a group of people you can grow with?

“I just feel like my life is a journey.”

Life is a journey, and the church is not a destination. It is a place to stop, rest, and find encouragement to continue the journey. It’s about finding a fire, and spreading it to others to light their way. Isn’t the journey always nicer if you have someone to travel with?

“Maybe I’m too different.”

The first church in Jerusalem as described in Acts had a wide diversity of people: spiritually-mature, physically-challenged, ex-cons, religious professionals, widows, foreigners, new-believers, problem-makers, problem-solvers, and more. Sadly, the 21st century church is the most segregated place in our nation. Let’s work together to change that.

“But I’m a sinner…”

Welcome to the club… we all are. The Bible says that “all have sinned”. It is why we need Jesus.

“I’m broken…”

What better place to find healing than a hospital? The church is a hospital for the downtrodden and weary of heart. Come find rest and healing in the hands of the Great Physician.

“Well, the church is full of hypocrites…”

True, so you should fit right in. <<wink>> Seriously… we are ALL hypocrites in one way or another. Unless you live 100 percent of what you believe 100 percent of the time, you are, by definition, a hypocrite. However, our goal as Christians is to be more like Jesus. We may not always succeed, but most of us are trying. That is the great thing about grace and mercy.

So, the ball is in your court. Maybe you were involved in a church and left. Maybe you’ve never darkened the doorstep of a local church. Whatever your condition, why not find your way back (or to) a church this Sunday? I know that we would love to see you at Abba’s House, if you are in the Chattanooga/North Georgia area.

Blessings,
Pastor Ron

Faith In The Storm

Through The Looking Glass2

A couple of years ago, those of us in the Tennessee Valley and North Georgia witnessed a series of horrific tornadoes in our area. In the aftermath, we heard stories of destruction unlike anything most of us ever experienced. People from our church went to affected areas to assist in cleanup, and were stunned by the sheer devastation. Lives were uprooted like so many trees, and left so many people with lots of questions…

“Why did that tornado miss this house and that one, but wiped out mine?”

“Why did my family survive unscathed while others have lost everything?”

“Where was God when my life blew away with the wind?”

To be honest with you, I don’t know. But here is what I do know…

I know that God is a good God.

I know that the Bible says that rain falls on the just and unjust alike.

I know that, in spite of the storms, recent earthquakes in places like Guatemala, tsunamis in places like Japan and Indonesia, 9-11, Benghazi, and the current crisis in Syria… God is still on His throne.

And, I know that He still loves you.

Faith is what we celebrate during good times, and cling to during bad times. Faith is what gives us the strength to echo the words of Job, “I know that my Redeemer lives”.