Church shooting prompts security concerns

Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012 2:44 PM
Last updated Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012 10:12 AM
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It was once unthinkable.

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Joel Danko, a volunteer member of the church security team and narcotics investigator with Richmond County, stands guard as two men sort cash, checks and tithing envelopes after receiving the offering during the Sunday night service at New Life Christian Center. Because of his employment, Danko is permitted to carry a firearm in a place of worship and escorts the offering from the sanctuary to a secure location. It is one of many safety precautions the 15-person, volunteer security team uses at the Augusta church.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Joel Danko, a volunteer member of the church security team and narcotics investigator with Richmond County, stands guard as two men sort cash, checks and tithing envelopes after receiving the offering during the Sunday night service at New Life Christian Center. Because of his employment, Danko is permitted to carry a firearm in a place of worship and escorts the offering from the sanctuary to a secure location. It is one of many safety precautions the 15-person, volunteer security team uses at the Augusta church.

An armed gunman on a church campus?

“That didn’t happen. Messing with the church back when I was younger was taboo,” said the Rev. Phillip Maxwell, the assistant pastor over security at Augusta’s New Life Christian Center. “Not anymore.”

The fatal shooting at a College Park megachurch two weeks ago reminds pastors that their churches are uniquely vulnerable.

Addicts, the homeless, sex offenders and the mentally ill walk though their doors.

On Sundays, hundreds to thousands of dollars are collected in tithes while parking lots are filled with unattended cars.

The churches themselves are targets for anti-religious sentiment.

Any given weekend, there’s a new, unknown face in the crowd.

New Life Christian Center tries to be prepared. Forty-eight security cameras dot its Wrightsboro Road campus.

“Every time we have an activity with kids, we have someone monitoring those cameras,” Maxwell said. “That was one of our first priorities when we moved onto this campus six years ago.”

IT WAS ABOUT that time that Maxwell visited World Changers Church International, where, on Oct. 24, police say a former maintenance man walked calmly into the chapel and opened fire, killing a prayer leader.

Maxwell was on a mission to learn about how other churches were taking care of their flock. He also visited renowned pastor Rick Warren’s megachurch – Saddleback Church – in Californ­ia.

“Church security – any kind of security – is about presence. If people know there are security teams walking the hallways, it serves as a deterrent,” Maxwell said. In light of the World Changers shooting, “We’re going to start retraining ourselves. In security, nothing happens for months on end. You have to stay on your toes.”

More than a dozen incidents have occurred at places of worship in Georgia and South Carolina this year. Nationally, there have been more than 100 this year, according to Carl Chinn, who tracks violence at U.S. churches and faith-based organizations.

The former engineer for Focus on the Family has recorded hundreds of “deadly force incidents” on his Web site since 1999. He counts more than 600 such incidents, including abductions, attacks, suspicious deaths, suicides and shootings, from 1999 to present day.

At 16 percent, more incidents are related to domestic violence than any other cause. Personal conflicts and robberies trail behind, with a handful of incidents also being traced to robberies, gangs, drugs or mental illness.

The shooting at World Changers Church is the sort of incident that prompts concern but rarely change, said Jacob Malone, the minister of church administration at First Baptist Church of Augusta.

“While in seminary in Louisville, my wife and I lived in a mobile home park. If a mobile home burned in another city or another part of town, there was no one at my door,” he said. “One day one burned in our park and for the next week we had insurance people trying to sell us trailer insurance. The sales people knew that, until it hits close to home, it is only a momentary blip.”

The same rule applies to churches’ security efforts.

“I have gotten some comments but few are willing to pay the price to make things secure,” he said.

SECURITY IS A CONSTANT process of refining what’s working and isn’t working, said the Rev. Kyle Poole, the pastor of Midland Valley First Church of the Nazarene in Clearwater.

A few weeks ago, five of the church’s HVAC units were stripped of copper, causing thousands of dollars of damage. The church already had security measures in place to address the safety of kids who attend school on campus and church members who come to worship on Sundays. The incident, however, prompted staff to re-evaluate its anti-theft systems.

“We had to install security in all our units. We didn’t want our church members to be vigilantes, running around trying to protect the place,” Poole said. “The reality is it is sad we have to protect our facilities like that. We live in a broken world.”

In addition to the security upgrades, Poole said he was inspired to try another approach as well: Prayer.

“The initial response was anger. Why would someone do this to a church?” Poole said. “But then we realize Christ loves us all. He can change the heart. I was convicted to pray for those who had done us harm.”

Awareness of security gaps – and resources to help churches meet their unique needs – is growing.

Insurance companies like Brotherhood Mutual offer a church security training kit, with sample policies and plans and emergency scenarios.

National Organization of Church Security & Safety Management hosts annual conferences on the topic.

A RECENT WORKSHOP on church security in Augusta was attended by representatives of more than 30 local churches and law enforcement agencies.

Still, the Center for Personal Protection and Safety, which hosted the workshop at First Baptist last month, says 75 percent of churches in North America have no real security plan in place.

The Rev. Oscar Brown is pastor of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, which sits outside of Edgefield on U.S. Highway 25.

The workshop taught him that small churches aren’t immune to risk. Rural churches aren’t either.

“It’s a volatile world we’re in,” he said. “No one is prepared for what might come up.”

Like Midland Valley, the church’s AC units were stripped of copper over the summer.

“We’ve have an alarm system which helps, but we have a small and elderly congregation,” he said. “There’s only so much you can do without creating this fear. If they’re fearful, they won’t come.”

The congregation, which numbers fewer than 100, is elderly and not all efforts to improve security would be welcomed, Brown said.

“We could do security cameras, but cameras didn’t stop that fella from going in and shooting their prayer leader,” he said. “You have to draw the line someplace. It’s a church. You don’t have to make it Fort Knox.”

RECENT INCIDENTS AT CHURCHES ACROSS THE REGION

OCT. 24: College Park, Ga. Former church employee Floyd Palmer opened fire at World Changers Church International, killing prayer leader Greg McDowell, police say.

OCT. 16: Atlanta. A 2-year-old girl was abducted from a van in the parking lot of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.

SEPT. 14: Columbus, Ga. An 82-year-old man was held at gunpoint while his truck was stolen from Liberty Baptist Church.

SEPT. 9: Spartanburg, S.C. A woman is accused of aiming a gun at U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy outside First Baptist Church Spartanburg.

AUG. 31: Cedartown, Ga. A man led police on a chase after carjacking a vehicle from Friendly Baptist Church.

AUG. 29: Alexandria, Ga. Robbers attacked two priests at the rectory of St. Rita Catholic Church. One was shot, while the other was hit in the head. Both survived.

AUG. 18: Columbia. A homeless man was stabbed following a meal at Ebenezer Lutheran Church.

AUG. 9: Tabor City, S.C. A 50-year-old man was shot in the face while trying to retrieve his son’s cell phone in the parking lot of Great Grace Church.

AUG 7: Augusta. Elders from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were threatened with violence while visiting apartments on Boy Scout Road. A man showed the elders his firearms later threatened to kill them and anyone attending a Scripture study that week.

AUG. 7: Columbia. A man was charged with murder after his girlfriend was found dead in a burned car outside Christian Faith Fellowship Church.

JULY 7: Stone Mountain, Ga. Two men attending a funeral at World Baptist Church got into a fight and shot and killed each other in the church parking lot.

MARCH 25: Boiling Springs, S.C. A man entered Southside Free Will Baptist Church with a shotgun and knife and demanded the pastor come down from the pulpit. A security team intervened.

FEB. 18: Riverdale, Ga. A man was shot and killed in the parking lot of Heatherwood Baptist Church after violence spilled over from a nearby night club.

JAN 18: Goose Creek, S.C. A man entered the church and waved a gun during choir practice at St. James United Methodist Church and demanded cell phones, wallets and purses.

Sources: The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, (Columbus, Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer, carlchinn.com, (Spartanburg, S.C.) Herald-Journal, The Cedartown (Ga.) Standard, The Diocese of Alexandria, wltx.com, Fayetteville Observer, The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald, USA Today, The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier

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myfather15
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myfather15 11/03/12 - 04:05 pm
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Maybe it's because in the

Maybe it's because in the VAST majority of Churches today, there isn't a single shred of God's Word taught there. Noone is more critical of so called churches and pastors, than God himself. He warns us about them over and over. Yet, many people will still sit in a congregation of some church where the pastor drives a Bentley and lives in a 5 million dollar home. Ooooh, but don't forget they accept mastercard and visa for "Love" donations. Oooh, and by the way, after you've given your $1000.00 "love" donation, you will be bless with awesome wealth within six months, "God" has spoken to them and told them this. Also, don't forget to order their new book on how to be a better person. Because certainly, God's book couldn't possibly teach you better than theirs on how to be a better person.

strictly bussiness
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strictly bussiness 11/03/12 - 05:06 pm
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volience in churches

you all are living in this day and time, Martin Luther King, mother was killed in 1974 at the hands of a killer go figure

InChristLove
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InChristLove 11/03/12 - 10:56 pm
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"in the VAST majority of

"in the VAST majority of Churches today, there isn't a single shred of God's Word taught there."

myfather15, I'm not sure where you attend church but I have to respectfully disagree with you statement above. The vast majority of churches around this area are simple churches with ministers making an average salary. There are a few "mega" churches who's minister is probably very well taken care of and possibly stray from teaching the true word but your comment comes across extremely bitter and hateful. We are to build each other up....not tear others down. I tend to believe that most churches are teaching God's world, whether the attendees follow the teachings is a different story.

myfather15
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myfather15 11/03/12 - 11:51 pm
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@ICL

You and I have disagreed on scripture before, but the one thing remains is that I greatly respect your opinion, even if we disagree. You appear to be a very good person and from all your posts, I believe that in my heart.

But again I must disagree on this topic. Being a Deputy, I hear and personally experience a lot of things going on in Churches that maybe you haven't heard. I WILL NOT name any specific church in this comment or any other. But I COULD name numerous Churches that are being torn apart by MEN within the churches. From the Pastor's actions, to elders and deacons who think they ARE the church or their opinions are more important than anything. I could (but won't) name several pastor's in this very area that are under indictment for theft or fraud from the very churches they pastor.

I also know of numerous churches in this area alone that are in tumoil because the elders, deacons, pastor's and congregation can't agree on anything. I know a specific church right now being completely dismantled because of a disagreement on building an additional building on church property. Some want a building with an expansive kitchen and dining area where they can hold large events. The Pastor actually resigned over the situation and half the elders and deacon's left with him. A couple months later most of them started coming back and EXPECTED to assume their roles as elder's and deacons. Some of the congregation thought it was ok and some thought it wasn't right, after they had left to just come back into their former place of autority. It has torn the Church apart. Half the congregation left when they came back. I know a couple people that attend this church and it's all they talk about.

Another Church I personally know of where the Asst. Pastor was caught having affairs with three different women of the congregation. The Pastor refused to remove him as the Asst. Pastor/Musical director and this caused division in the church. The Asst. Pastor was actually caught at a hotel in Augusta with one of the women, pictures an all but he still wasn't removed. A few months later, after many had left the church, he finally resigned. About a year later the pastor of this same church was under investigation for defrauding numerous members of the church of 10's of thousands of dollars.

These ARE NOT rare cases, seems they are becoming the norm. You maybe attend a church that doesn't have any of these problems and honestly, thats a wonderful thing. But don't think it isn't rampant in other churches. I stick to what I said, the word of God isn't being taught in very many churches today. But don't listen to me, listen to the Word of God; Amos 8:11 "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD."

That famine is hear as we speak. As I've said before, If a church is teaching rapture doctrine, they aren't teaching God's Word truthfully. Rapture doctrine weakens God's children. It teaches them to sit around and do nothing but sit in Church and wait to be taken out of here. There is a lot of work to be done out here. We need to put on the armor of Ephesians Chapter 6; "Having done all to stand", not fly out of here. The anti-christ is coming to "Try ALL those that dwell on the earth". It's a test to see who has studied God's word and who has just occupied a church pew but knows nothing about God's word. He shall sit on the throne of God pretending to be God. Those that expect to be taken out of here before this happens, will be fooled into worshipping him, thinking he is Christ (II Thess Chapt 2). We must stand against him when he appears as the abomination of desolation/anti-christ. There is not greater abomination than to act like and present ones self as God. He is the abomination and the desolator, which means to destroy, thats what he does is destroy souls by fooling them into worshipping him as God.

There are very few churches who teach this. They don't teach that we shall be here during the tribulation. Most churches teach the rapture in some form or another. Some teach a pre-trib rapture, some a mid-trib rapture and a few teach a post trip-rapture. I don't believe in ANY rapture. I don't believe we are going anywhere. I believe God's kingdom is coming here to be established for EVER. Even when Christ was teaching us how to pray he said: My Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom COME, they will be done on earth as it is in heaven. His Kingdom is coming here, to be established as a perfect Kingdom. These things aren't being taught, thus the famine for the Word of God.

myfather15
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myfather15 11/04/12 - 12:03 am
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@ICL

Some of my original comment was about the "mega" churches we see on TV. Where they never actually get around to teaching God's word, just sit around asking for "Love" donations, while wearing $5,000.00 suits or dresses, pushing THEIR books instead of staying focused on God's Book, which is all we need. Seems to me, they think they can teach us better than God. Most times they don't even read one or two scriptures while teaching, then reference their own books numerous times. It's not bitter, it's just amazing that these frauds have ANYONE in their congregation, not to mention 10's of thousands. People are so easily and willingly fooled by Men (mankind). But this is nothing new; "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun." People have been like this from the beginning of time. So easily fooled into following ANYONE or ANYTHING. All the person needs is great charisma to get a following. I do believe they are called "Silver tongued devils" in old school terminology. I just wish the people would wake up, to religious leaders and politicians. But they won't, for the most part. Satan's greatest tool is confusion. Thats why he is called the King of Babylon, babylon means confusion. People are terribly confused, I just hope they come out before it's too late, but they won't. Why do I say they won't, because God's word tells me many won't. Even after the 1000 years of Christ ruling on earth, those that follow Satan shall be "as the sands of the sea". That is a lot of people my friends, DON'T be one of them.

Gaffe
170
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Gaffe 11/04/12 - 01:50 am
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"The churches themselves are
Unpublished

"The churches themselves are targets for anti-religious sentiment."

Can anyone please name one church any group of atheists have literally attacked? I can't.

Casting_Fool
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Casting_Fool 11/04/12 - 03:32 am
0
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They need to remove the

They need to remove the prohibition on concealed carry-permitted citizens wearing their weapons in a church building.

If it's concealed, no one will know that they're carrying and no one will be offended. But anyone considering doing something illegal and deadly will have second thoughts about doing it in a church where there's an excellent chance that they will literally be stopped dead.

It sounds contradictory allowing citizens with Concealed Carry Permits to carry into a church building, but it's just another building where you face the possibility of needing that protection. God doesn't give any significance to a building, it's the people meeting together that attract His presence. 'Tis the believers who are "holy", not the bricks.

Repeal the prohibition and give the people back their right to protect themselves and their neighbor. There is no reference in the Bible that prohibits carry a weapon into a building where a body of believers is meeting.

Oh, and that one verse where Jesus tells Peter to put up his sword... (Matthew 26:52) “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword."?

That was a specific statement to Peter (outdoors and not at a church meeting, no less), and could probably be better paraphrased as "Peter! Put that sword away before you get yourself killed!" I suspect that it's actually an old Jewish proverb or something that Peter would readily recognize and respond to.

It's not a prohibition against believers carrying and using weapons to defend themselves. Remember that it was Jesus himself who told them to carry swords for defense (Luke 22:36-38.)

Keep in mind that if they repeal this prohibition and allow concealed carry in churches, you will end up with two types of churches: 1. Where it doesn't make one bit of difference if people carry or not, and 2. churches where they use (IMO) religious nonsense to back a no-weapon policy.

Want three guesses what will happen? All of the concealed carry believers will attend #1's, and the #2's will attract believers who feel that not allowing concealed carry is best.

Oh, and you get another guess as to where the best opportunity to commit a crime or even murder without getting shot will be... not at a #1.

IMO, that beats having armed (?) church security personnel who, according to this article, are apparently profiling people who attend some churches. Better not get frazzled dealing with getting the family ready for church, dealing with traffic and parking; you might find yourself being cornered and grilled by the religious "polizei" for not having a happy face!

Like we really need another reason to fake how we feel in church just to please the other people there... sad.

LillyfromtheMills
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LillyfromtheMills 11/04/12 - 07:37 am
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myfather15

You are in my prayers.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 11/04/12 - 08:45 am
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Words

They attack with words, Gaffe - - - - - words and also the hatred within their hearts.

soapy_725
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soapy_725 11/04/12 - 09:03 am
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Wow!!
Unpublished

Sounds like the sermon to the seven churches. When Jesus said, behold I stand at the door and knock, will someone let me in, He was talking to the modern day church.

Religion building has replaced soul saving.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 11/04/12 - 09:32 am
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So true Little Lamb.

So true Little Lamb.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 11/04/12 - 10:22 am
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myfather15, thank you for

myfather15, thank you for your respect and I respect your opinion also and feel you are basically a good person and are trying to live a righteous life for our Lord but whether we have some differences of opinions where minor scripture is concerned I hope that the one thing we can agree on is that our salvation is based on faith in Jesus Christ and not by our works, least we boast about them. Not stating works are not important but that is not what saves our soul from eternal damnation. Whether Christ's children are here through the "rapture" or not, really doesn't concern me (I'd rather not) but my salvation is secure in Him alone and my soul is sealed by the blood of the Lamb which is Jesus Christ. NOTHING can change that (Thank you Jesus) and just the fact that He loves me enough to die for me makes me want to do His will and not "sit on a pew in church" and twiddle my thumbs. If that is the case, then I would have to question ones sincerity of their making Christ the Master and Savior of their lives. No one said that churches only hold the saved and I will agree in some cases there are those who respresent authority within the church who are lost.

My issue with your earlier post is not difference in scriptural understanding but with the issue of posting comments that demean the church instead of uplifting it. Yes, there are problems within just about any church, some more so than others, some more destructive than others, but to say the majority of churches do not preach the Word, I have to disagree......some don't that is true, but to say most don't I find tears down the house of God which is the church.

As for your comment on "mega church" TV programs, i will agree that on most you will find very little of the True Word spoken and a lot that is preached on TV is misleading. I just have to continue to pray that those who do or have to depend on hearing the Word through television due to being unable to get out to a house of worship, that God will control what they hear and that His message is revealed to those in need.

My issue was the appearance of you tearing down the church because in your opinion there aren't many out there that spread the gospel. Sometimes our views or opinions are better left unsaid because they do more harm than rectify. If there are churches as you say that are allowing Satan to divide them, then they will be in my prayers (not in my comments). That's all I'm saying......

soapy_725
43555
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soapy_725 11/04/12 - 10:23 am
0
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Instead of recruitng choir boys
Unpublished

we'll be looking for armed rent a cops and "loss prevention monitors".

What a mess? What shall it profit a man or woman if they gain the whole world and lose their immortal soul.

Building bigger barns and storing more "gain". The Vatican used to be a favorite target of evangelical preachers for their earthly wealth and property. No more. The evangelicals saw the light and it was gold.

soapy_725
43555
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soapy_725 11/04/12 - 10:34 am
0
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Assistant Pastor of Security?
Unpublished

How many paid employees do these churches have? What happened to those with a desire to lift up Jesus with their time and efforts? WOW.

Don't point a finger at the government for bureaucrats? There may be a beam in the churches eye.

"Judgement must first begin at God's house, or how can He righteously just the sinner".

It is mass disillusion. If the government is wrong, it is not patriotic to call them out. If the church is wrong, it is ungodly to call them out. Same logic, same source. Same Angel of Light.

SteveSwimmer
225
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SteveSwimmer 11/04/12 - 10:47 am
2
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Gaffe and attack question.

Check out the Washington Post or perhaps OpEdNews comment sections when religion comes to topic. In these arenas you can find much religious denigration.

Then you will see the truth in Little Lamb's evaluation: "They attack with words, Gaffe."

By way of example, what follows is my response to an OpEdNews piece where a religion debasing science writer is challenged. for naught, I add, since the writer was unmoved by my response:

Thanks for your Big Bang question. I quick searched sub-quantum kinetics, only to find myself lost in a sea of questions. All this new-fangled science stuff is so confusing.

And, from the completely unwarranted; yet, scientific minded, Prof. Giether, attack on Ned Lude and his religious beliefs, such thinking can catalyze massive ego for the true science believer.

I mean, the vast majority of Big Bang believers, I dare say, cannot do the math leading to the point. For the most part, it is no different than believing on faith alone; and that is no different than believing in the Biblical “talking snake.”

A serious Church Elder, Lady Friend, whose insight on civilized living provides her family life with great joy and happiness, assures me: To avoid the confusion in life, simply read no other book than the Bible. Sure works for her. She and her people live well, happy and their bliss is refreshing to see. Why deny the validity of living success with the scientific method?

If we really can see time in years, I can imagine trillions of them to come and do not doubt there is a beyond my imagination. This paltry 14 billion years we claim as our own seems to be no more than a tick of time; yet, we have nary a clue as to time before the faithful Big Bang.

And, if indeed, Big Bang explodes omni-directionally, our view is kind ‘a like tunnel vision: what is in all the other directions? More of the same?

Whether Stephen Hawking is right, information is, was, and always will be in place determining all (there is nothing new under the sun); or, free will reigns and organization manages to manifest as a form of chaos, makes no difference to my Bible reading friend: she is just so happy to be a loving person, there is no room for the smaller “scientific” questions pondered as being so big.

Here, only recently, science has finally proved the Higgs-Boson, euphemistically known as the “God particle,” is really, really small; yet, it is still a particle and not life. However, 2000 years ago Jesus taught us, the after this life, Heaven is smaller than any particle.

Clearly, thousands of years in the past, our Elders innately, or by God as one may believe, knew exactly what the long complicated mathematical equating of Dr. Hawking seems to prove: “there is nothing new under the sun.” And, Heaven needing barely any room at all shows me the Old People, somehow, knew the essence of life is not of our known physics.

Still, I cannot stop seeing information in trillions of our years in my mind’s eye; leading me to wonder: with that much time on hand, is it conceivable an entity devised every detail we can grasp and much of what we can yet understand?

If so, how does life figure in the digitized math, chemistry, physics and science arena? So far, there appears to be no way to pixilate life; and, until we can do so, I will maintain a healthy respect for the blessings of religiosity.

myfather15
49692
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myfather15 11/05/12 - 12:32 am
0
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As I've said before and will

As I've said before and will say again in the future many times, if you're in a Church that teaches God's Word truthfully, chapter by chapter and verse by verse, you should be greatful. There are some wonderful Churches out here and if you're in one of them, that is awesome, stick with it and give it your all. I have NOT and will not denounce or mention any specific denomination or church. My statement earlier was an IN GENERAL statement, saying I don't believe God's Word is being taught in many Churches. But again, I didn't mention any specific Church, so I don't see me as demeaning "The Church", whomever that is.

I guess what I'm trying to do it get people to think "Outside the box" or maybe better said "Outside the Church". I don't believe a person has to be a member of any Church to be saved. God created me and everyone else individually and specifically. My DNA is completely different than any other human beings, because he created me different than everyone else, just as he created you different. I believe it's a personal thing between me, God and the Savior He sent, Jesus Christ. So, I believe the Church will not save anyone either. If the Church is teaching God's Word, then it certainly is a wonderful thing. But my devotion isn't to any Church, it's to Jesus Christ and the Father. So yes, I do wish people would stop their fascination with Church and focus more on Christ and our Father. Again, let me repeat; I'm not bashing ALL churches. If you're in a good one, thank God for it and keep working it in. But if you're in a Church which is more focused on other things and not the "First Love" as mentioned in Revelations, then you should probably do some soul searching and leave. Seek and ye shall find.

ICL, you said: "Whether Christ's children are here through the "rapture" or not, really doesn't concern me (I'd rather not) but my salvation is secure in Him alone and my soul is sealed by the blood of the Lamb which is Jesus Christ."

So, God's plan and the coming to an end of this dispensation of time isn't important to you? This is concerning but it's between you and God. I personally believe that God wants us to know how things are coming to fruition. Hence the word Revelation, whichs means "The Revealing". He is revealing his plan of completing this flesh age and of testing those that dwell on earth. If one doesn't know how this is going to happen, I don't see how they are prepared for it. Knowledge is the key, if people are lacking knowledge of God's word, they won't be prepared. Salvation is just one aspect.

Even Paul taught in Hebrews Chap 6: "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God."

LEAVING the principal's of the doctrine of Christ, lets us go into perfection. Pefection in the greek here means maturity. Paul was teaching that we need to go deeper than just salvation. Salvation of course is the foundation, without it, you have nothing. But after you have it, you must go into a deeper knowledge and understanding of God's word. Paul is saying, after you've accepted Christ and have Salvation through Him, lay that aside and get deeper, don't just sit and keep beating the Salvation drum and repentance. So, if someone has accepted Christ as their personal savior, it's time to teach them the deeper knowledge of God's Word. This is where I think a lot of Churches go wrong. They only teach Salvation and repentance. They teach the milk of God's word, not strong meat.

Hebrews 5: 13 "For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

14:But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

This is the maturity/perfection Paul is teaching about. Becoming mature and perfect in God's Word by accepting then getting deeper into the understanding of the Word. Knowing God's plan of Salvation in depth.

The Anti-Christ/Satan is coming for a specific purpose. Momentarily, he will have what he has always wanted, that is the Throne of God. To sit on that throne and claim to be God (II Thess Chap 2). To deceive people that are unlearned in the truth of God's Word. He (Anti-Christ) will sit be preforming miracles in the site of men. Most of the world will believe he is God, because of their lack of knowledge. This is the trying of "Those that dwell upon the earth". It's the greatest spirtual tribulation of all time, or at least this dispensation of time. Some will stand against this false christ. Some will not and will join in worshipping him. This is why it is so important to be mature in God's Word. This is why it's important to know exactly how things are going to happen, in these end times. It's VERY important.

Read Ezekiel 13, God is addressing the prophets of Israel saying they have not made His people strong, to stand in the battle day of the Lord. Later in this same Chapter, He addresses people that teach his Children to FLY to save their soul. He says He is againt those that teach His Children to FLY to save their souls, in verse 20. Yet, many Churches today would sing a song "I'll fly away oh Glory, I'll Fly away." This is my problem with Churches teaching rapture doctrine. It's not Biblical and it's agasint God's Word. I know personally MANY people who believe in the rapture, some good friends of mine. I actually heard many of them say "It doesn't matter what happens at the end, I won't be here, I'll be gone." It's just sad, when Christ has foretold us all things, people would believe MAN more than God.

myfather15
49692
Points
myfather15 11/05/12 - 12:36 am
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Now, I understand that the

Now, I understand that the NIV or other versions, don't read the exact same. I study from the orginal King James Version only. It's my understanding that the NIV doesn't mention the word FLY in Ezekiel 13. So, I'm just stating this so you don't go back and read it and think I'm making stuff up.

http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/book.php?book=Ezekiel&chapter=13&verse=

InChristLove
22420
Points
InChristLove 11/05/12 - 12:41 pm
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Myfather15, I will do my best

Myfather15, I will do my best to keep my post short. Your post at 11:32 serves to remind me that longwinded post can do more harm than good. Sometimes your post can be overwhelming.

I do believe basically we are on the same page concerning the need for Salvation but it appears we have a difference of opinion on how to speak about the church. Churches aren’t perfect, nor the people within, but we pray and rely on Christ to do His work and what better place than Sunday School and His House of Worship (with all their imperfections) to win souls for Christ.

I’m a little confused by your statement about being prepared for Christ’s return. What better way to be prepared than to be a child of the Father. The perfection/maturity Paul speaks about in Hebrews is the spiritual growth within ourselves as children of God and I fail to see how this has anything to do with preparing for Christ return. We are to mature in our faith so we can be closer to Christ, whether His return is tomorrow or 10 years from now. My statement, that if I am called home before, during, or after the “rapture” isn’t a concern to me, simply means that I know where my home is and the timing is not of importance to me. I will continue to live my life for Christ.

One last comment…referring to Ezekiel 13 and especially verse 20. I agree the KJV has the word "fly" in the verse but it has nothing to do with the song “I’ll fly away oh Glory”. My Gosh!! This song is about dying and going home to be with God, a metaphor about flying up to Glory. Talk about taking things out of context! The verse is referring to false prophets that decieve the souls and they act like birds and fly into the gardens (KJV Translations "Therefore thus says the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against your charms, with which you hunt the souls there like birds, and I will tear them from your arms, and will let the souls go, even the souls that you hunt like birds.")

As for the “rapture”, or time of tribulation, scripture is not clear whether we will endure or be with Christ so stating we will be here through tribulation is just as misleading as those who say we will not.

myfather15
49692
Points
myfather15 11/05/12 - 05:22 pm
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"Birds" have absolutely no

"Birds" have absolutely no place in that scripture. There is no article for birds. They aren't mentioned in the manuscripts at all in this scripture but Ok. I also have no idea where you get its referring to birds, flying into a garden since garden isn't anywhere in this chapter. You go back to the first of the chapter to find out the subject and the subject is God speaking to the false prophets and dressing them down for not building his people up, to be strong in the battle day of the Lord. This has absolutely NOTHING to do with birds or gardens. That isn't in the manuscripts and has no place being inserted there.

No matter the meaning, I just find it astounishing that when the Word of God says He is against those that teach His children to fly to save their souls. That Christians would sing ANY song that refers to flying away. I would have a hard time with that, no matter the translation.

On the last part, You are VERY wrong about that. YOu need to read your scripture a little closer. Especially the ones I've mentioned. Put down that NIV version and get a Original King James Version. II Thess Chapt 2 is one place that specfically states it;

1"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

2That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

3Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Paul just told us, THAT DAY shall not come until the falling aways occurs and that man of sin/son of perdition is revealed. Then he goes on to tell us exactly what he will do, sitting on the throne claiming to be God. How much clearer can Paul be about whether we will still be here? There are MANY other places the Bible is specific about this. It's EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.

myfather15
49692
Points
myfather15 11/05/12 - 05:23 pm
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Anyway, I'm done with this

Anyway, I'm done with this discussion. I will check back to see your response but I'm done commenting.

Casting_Fool
1088
Points
Casting_Fool 11/07/12 - 01:24 am
0
0
They need to remove the

They need to remove the prohibition on carry-permitted citizens wearing their weapons in a church building.

If it's concealed, no one will know that they're carrying and no one will be offended. But anyone considering doing something illegal and deadly will have second thoughts about doing it in a church where there's an excellent chance that they will literally be stopped dead.

It sounds contradictory allowing citizens with Carry Permits to carry into a church building, but it's just another building where you face the possibility of needing that protection. God doesn't give any significance to a building, it's the people meeting together that attract His presence. 'Tis the believers who are "holy", not the bricks.

Repeal the prohibition and give the people back their right to protect themselves and their neighbor. There is no reference in the Bible that prohibits carry a weapon into a building where a body of believers is meeting.

Oh, and that one verse where Jesus tells Peter to put up his sword... (Matthew 26:52) “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword."?

That was a specific statement to Peter (outdoors and not at a church meeting, no less), and could probably be better paraphrased as "Peter! Put that sword away before you get yourself killed!" I suspect that it's actually an old Jewish proverb or something that Peter would readily recognize and respond to.

It's not a prohibition against believers carrying and using weapons to defend themselves. Remember that it was Jesus himself who told them to carry swords for defense (Luke 22:36-38.)

Keep in mind that if they repeal this prohibition and allow carry in churches, you will end up with two types of churches: 1. Where it doesn't make one bit of difference if people carry or not, and 2. churches where they use (IMO) religious nonsense to back a no-weapon policy.

Want three guesses what will happen? All of the carry believers will attend #1's, and the #2's will attract believers who feel that not allowing carry is best.

Oh, and you get another guess as to where the best opportunity to commit a crime or even murder without getting shot will be... not at a #1.

IMO, that beats having armed (?) church security personnel who, according to this article, are apparently profiling people who attend some churches. Better not get frazzled dealing with getting the family ready for church, dealing with traffic and parking; you might find yourself being cornered and grilled by the religious "polizei" for not having a happy face!

Like we really need another reason to fake how we feel in church just to please the other people there... sad.

Casting_Fool
1088
Points
Casting_Fool 11/09/12 - 09:28 am
0
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My apologies for the double

My apologies for the double post. Slow censors this week. :O)

I removed the word "concealed" from the second post. I'd forgotten that Georgia no longer has a concealed carry permit, it's now simply a carry permit.

Casting_Fool
1088
Points
Casting_Fool 11/09/12 - 09:48 am
0
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One other thing. A lot of

One other thing. A lot of people feel that if you permit folks to carry weapons that an incident will quickly devolve into a "wild west shootout." Maybe on TV, in the movies or between gang members, but not likely with legally carrying citizens.

Someone with a permit is going to do three things when confronted with an armed adversary:

1. If possible, seek cover.
2. From cover, evaluate the situation, check for who or what you might hit if your rounds go through or miss the target, and determine if returning fire is the right response.
3. If firing back is the right response, fire only as many rounds as necessary.

Safety first: http://www.georgiacarry.org/cms/firearm-safety/

Probability-wise, you're as safe or safer around legally armed citizens than when you are not. I carry 24/7, and no one is ever the wiser when I go to the store, gas station or a restaurant. But someday it might make the difference to someone that I am armed and can defend them and/or myself from a threat to their or our lives.

Even in church, someday, if they repeal that law.

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