Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Milwaukee's Finest

When I was growing up in a Milwaukee suburb back in the 60's, the phrase Milwaukee's Finest" meant one thing - beer. That was the slogan for Blatz beer. Milwaukee had lots of beers besides Blatz - Hamms, Pabst, Miller, Old Milwaukee. It's hard to believe that Blatz was Milwaukee's finest because the company closed its doors in 1959, selling out to Pabst.

Nowadays, when I hear the phrase Milwaukee's Finest I tend to think of its police officers. Men and women who risk their lives  to keep us safe 24/7/365.

I remember the riots back in the late 60's. They took place mostly in the inner city but we had a curfew out in the suburbs too. The National Guard was called out. It was pretty bad. Thankfully, we have come along way since then. Or at least that's what I thought.

This past weekend in Milwaukee there was a shooting - a Milwaukee police officer shot an armed suspect. Both the shooter and the shootee were black. Not that that matters. I'm just stating the facts.

In the days that came after that shooting there was rioting. A business was burned, a cop car destroyed. More people were shot. Some of them died. There was looting and an overall sense of unease fell over the city.

So, why am I telling you this? It's been in the news. I'm writing this just as background for the story I am about to tell you . . . about God's sovereignty and the fact that God is control of ALL things. Track these events with me and see if you can figure out who's in control.

Several years ago we had a pastor at our church named Paul. Everybody loved him. A real man of God - not the pretend kind. Involved in the community, a member of the school board, a loving husband and father. One day Pastor Paul got a call from a friend who asked him to pastor a church in greater Milwaukee that didn't even exist yet . . . and to take a pay cut . . . and to leave a beautiful Central Wisconsin vacation community and move his family to . . . West Allis. Doesn't seem to make sense, does it? That's what my friend said, but he also said that he has never felt more led to do something in his life. Remember, this is a story about God, not about a pastor.

It wasn't long before this new church began to grow. Soon the old, refurbished theater they were in was busting out at the seams. That's where this story takes an important turn. Pastor Paul decided to become a chaplain for the West Allis Police Department. You can read his story here.

This pastor became an official chaplain of the West Allis Police Department mere months before the shootings in Milwaukee.

People have told me right to my face that God does not exist. That Jesus is a myth. I just laugh and shake my head.

"You have GOT to be kidding me! You can't make this stuff up. My pastor friend gets repositioned, his whole life turned upside down. Why? Because God has a greater purpose in mind and my friend is obedient.

It's too amazingly supernatural and so incredibly perfect to be explained away as mere random chance. There's a God alright. I've seen Him work. Pfft. He worked a miracle in me and saved my life numerous times! He has GOT to be real! He moves people, changes people, shapes people and positions them right where He wants them.

God is real alright, but don't take MY word for it. Just look in the face of a cop. He/She serves without complaint even though all those around him or her disrespect the very thought of them. He sacrifices much in terms of pay and time with family, all to help someone who doesn't really want it. Yet the police officer is the first one we call upon when we get into trouble; hoping they will save us.

Does that sound like someone we all know, who sacrificed everything on a cross? Being a cop sounds like something Jesus would do. Sounds like something Jesus already did.

“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” - Psalm 82:3-4

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” - Matthew 5:9

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” - John 15:13

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” - Romans 13:1

“For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.” - Romans 13:4

Policeman - Paul Harvey
What It Means To Be A Police Officer - Joe Friday

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