Monday, October 28, 2013


It's hard to focus this morning. I find it difficult to concentrate. It seems that, whatever I am thinking about, whatever the subject, wherever I try to take my thoughts, they somehow find themselves drifting back to a young lady from our town, Kameron, to her family and to her friends.

See the picture at the left? It's an atomic bomb going off. The picture below is what's left afterwards. Not good.

Suicide, especially teenage suicide I think, is like an explosion, a bomb. Those who are closest receive the most damage. Those who are farther out, farther away from the center of the blast, still get wounded, but the damage, the emotional scarring, is not as severe. Still, all those who experience the "blast" can KNOW a few things about what has just happened. They know there was an event, an explosion. They know that people's lives are changed forever. They know that some people are wounded more than others. And they know that for those who survive, recovery can be a long process, if recovery is even a possibility at all. But I'd like to remind you of a tail of encouragement that emerged from someone's death. A tale that will provide us with hope and a future for those of us who mourn.

I would like you to open your Bibles to the Book of Acts, the seventh chapter, and read the story about the stoning of Stephen as background for this story. Stephen had just pleaded his case for Christ in front of the Sanhedrin. Let's begin in verse 54.

"54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.

59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep." - Acts 7:54-60

Stephen had just been stoned to death for what he believed in. His friends and family must have been devastated . . . just like Kameron's friends and family. Did they mourn? Yes. Did they weep for their fallen friend and brother? Of course. But read what happened next . . .

The church scattered because of what happened to Stephen. Saul was rounding up Christians left and right. Stephen was buried amidst all this and they "mourned deeply for him" (Chapter 8, verse2).

But what the friends and family of Stephen did was to carry the message of the Gospel to everyone they met. They picked up Stephen's ministry of spreading the Gospel and delivered it . . . everywhere. And Christianity exploded!!

"4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went." - Acts 8:4

Are you kidding me? I'd be hiding behind closed doors!! But they went out and preached the Gospel to honor God and to honor their friend. And it was their strength of faith and their insistence on spreading the Word about Jesus that "the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch." - Acts 11:26

There is a group of kids in town, a very tight-knit group of friends. They love each other very much. Kameron is the second person from that group to take this route of self elimination. Kameron needs to be the last.

I ask for your prayers for these teens. I ask for God to soften their hearts for Him and to encourage them to follow the example of the church at Antioch. Take the message of Kameron and Austin throughout the countryside, to spread the word about the blast zone of devastation that suicide can cause. And spread the hope of the Gospel to all who will listen. For it is only through a faith in Christ and the acceptance of Him as Lord and Savior, and His atoning sacrifice on the cross for them, that they will ever get to see their friends again.

Pray for leaders to rise up, for hearts to be moved and for God's Holy Spirit to move throughout this community and the world. May we ALWAYS share the love we have for others, not only for friends but for the stranger as well. Let everyone hear the good news of eternal life for ALL who have been saved. We need an explosion in this country, and explosion of faith, hope and, most of all . . . love.

"5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city." - Acts 8:5-8

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