Woodland Shores Family,
This week our hearts are saddened by the recent attack on the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas. It was shocking and heartbreaking for our brothers and sisters of that church, but also something of a reminder for us.
Our Lord reminded us that this world we live in isn’t safe. Jesus tells us that we will be hated and that violent persecution should not be unexpected in Mark 13:12-13 (and Matthew 10:22, Luke 21:16-17) 12 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 13 Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
Everyone is reaching for a definitive answer as to why and how this could happened in a small town like ours. By solving the puzzle and locking down all the variables we inwardly hope we will be able to completely comprehend the terrible "why" of this situation and then be able to prevent any such acts in the future. It's not always that simple. This is a compound problem. However, there are lessons we can learn and steps we can take to be wise in these troubled times.
We want to assure you that we are taking measures to protect ourselves. In fact, for some time we have been working on our security plan. We have already started instituting some of it including locking certain outside entries, particularly down by the Family Life Center once service has begun. We have background screenings for all who help in Children’s and Youth ministry. For your present piece of mind, you can know that we have several police officers and medical professionals in the congregation who are prepared in case of emergency. Additionally, we hope to communicate more details of our plan to the congregation in the coming months.
In the meanwhile here are seven simple “Do’s and Don’ts” as we respond to this tragedy.
- Do pray for protection all churches everywhere.
- Do pray for First Baptist of Sutherland Springs and the families connected with it.
- Do not doubt that God’s goodness, protection, or control over all things. It may seem chaotic and unstable, but this is still Our Father’s World. (Psalm 19, 27:1, 46:1)
- Do not retreat – avoiding meeting together is exactly what the enemy wants. Don’t give in to fear and let him intimidate you. Our God is bigger than any threat and our hope transcends any crisis. (Hebrews 10:25)
- Continue spreading the Gospel of peace with all you meet. That is our one mission that we are called to lay down our life doing. (Matthew 28:16-20)
- Make sure you are right with God today so that you don’t have to worry about whatever may happen tomorrow.
- Continue to invite and welcome others to Church showing them love because our God can turn Saul into Paul. (Acts 9)
OTHER UNRELATED REMINDERS
Don’t miss the Echoes of Happiness concert this Saturday at 6pm.
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Lastly, I want to thank you for your suggestions for Nominating Committee. We have seriously considered your suggestions and added those who were qualified to the list. What are the qualifications for a Deacon? Glad you asked! First, there are the biblical qualifications from 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. Second, they must be a member of WSBC, be willing to consider the commitment seriously, and they must agree to abide with the board’s covenant and expectations – signing off on said covenant and statement of faith. Then they will be presented to you, the congregation, to affirm. That’s it in a nutshell. I know that the committee’s list of qualified candidates that we are working through is full of excellent men and women of God and I look forward to your affirmations. Thank you for your input!
I can’t wait to see you all Sunday! God bless you this week!