Thursday, July 26, 2012
Calvary Chapel Pastor Addresses Aurora Theater Shootings in Sunday Sermon
By Michael Ireland
Senior International Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
AURORA, CO (ANS) -- “Our city is forever changed because of this event that happened just hours ago, just hours,” said Pastor Ed Taylor of Calvary Chapel, Aurora.
“People aren’t concentrating, they are not sleeping, there is a lot of anger, a lot of frustration in our city, a lot of questions,” Taylor said.
“There is anxiety, worry and fear. There are people perhaps even watching in on the internet right now that won’t even come out of their house. There are people questioning whether they will ever go into a movie theater again. There are especially people questioning whether they will ever go into the Century 16 Movie Theater again. There are people wondering how joy will ever be restored to their life after the loss of a loved one. There are people that are mad at God, people that are questioning God’s existence, and it’s important for you to know that the feelings you are having are normal, that considering the situation, as senseless and tragic as it is, the feelings surrounding this are what a normal person would feel when confronted with very abnormal circumstances, in this case a very traumatic event,” Taylor said.
“It is normal for you to feel things,” said Taylor. “You are not a bad person, you are not out of your mind, you are not, while some people might have all sorts of opinions and I want you to know you’re normal because tragedies like these have a way of gripping people, gripping their minds, taking away their focus. Tragedies like these have a way of stumbling us, well the best way I would like to describe it is if you’ve ever had the wind knocked out of you physically.”
Taylor continued: “Our city has had the wind knocked out of them spiritually as well as physically. You know when you get hit like that, your mind is automatically, everything has changed, ...I just want to get my breath, nothing else matters and the city is taking a punch.”
Pastor Taylor told his church: “For some of you, this is tragedy upon tragedy in your life. You are just barely dealing with the things that have been happening with you personally, significantly, and now yet another, and yet another, and just when you thought you were getting some of breath, here you are again, tragedy after tragedy. Now here it’s your city, it’s your family, it’s your friends and I have said this countless times before in the years that I have been here, but this is our city.
“Denver is not that big a town you know. What affects one part of the community affects us all, and whether you live in the proximity and the artificial political borders of Aurora or not, this is your city, this is our city, and God has raised up a church, a group of people for our city. Why? Because one of the big questions is where was God? And I want you to know that God is here. One of the things you are going to find in a tragedy like this is that as they continue to uncover more and more information is one of the things that is going to be highlighted is the merciful hand of God on us. You are going to hear things like how bad it could have been. Already in the very beginning we were getting word, and now it has been confirmed, that there was much more ammunition available to this man that the gun that he was using malfunctioned, saving many lives.”
Pastor Taylor said he knows that the 'why' question has come up, and is sure that people have asked… “why, and where, and what?”
“As a pastor sitting across the table of people dealing with tragedy all the time, I want you to know that I wish I could answer that question for you, but in order to answer the question why, we would have to be smart and as wise as God is. We would have to know everything there is to know about God and from His perspective, and at this point in time in our humanity, we don’t have that knowledge, but the focus here in a tragedy like this is on the senseless, sinful, evil that was perpetrated there, that what we’ve experienced is what these precious families have to deal with is the senseless act of a sinful man, and one of the things that God has shown me is that we need to have spiritualized, to be able to see behind the obvious and that’s what we find here in II Kings.”
Taylor asked: “Isn’t that the question of the day as we wake up? Many of us woke up to the announcements, I woke up to my phone ringing and my first thought was where was my son? My son was back from college, this is a group that he would have been with. I went to bed early that day (I went to bed at 10:00), a lot of things can happen after 10:00 p.m. and rushing in, first waking up Marie and saying is Josh here, running into the bedroom and saying, Josh are you here, waking him up and he was there. My mind was flooded, what are we going to do? What are we dealing with? I paced in my front room, watching the news like what are we going to do Lord, what are we going to do? Coming to find out, oh no I’m checking all the texts that I got through the evening, and all the people that were there, and I go ‘my this is our group. This is our church,’ …call them one by one and find out if they are okay, and while you’re calling them I will start getting the group together and we’ll start going out, and what shall we do?”
Tayor said that “time passes by so quickly that no one is guaranteed tomorrow, and that while these are on your mind and while you’re thinking them through, today is the day of your salvation, no longer to put it off. Friend you’re not guaranteed tomorrow, today is the day to believe.”
Taylor gave his church members a list of the things they can do right away, “if you want to jot them down, that will help you in the confidence that you have, the spiritual eyes that God will give you.
“I believe you are going to be forever changed and I believe it is going to be for the good,” he said, adding: “I believe you won’t see the world the same way again. You won’t see your city the same way again, you won’t see the mall, you won’t see anything the same way again and I believe it is for the good because of the presence of God in your life.”
"Here are things that can get you, I believe, in tune with God’s heart for our city," Taylor said.
Pray for your city by name. “That could even mean you start to pray for your neighbors. Maybe you used to live in the city, maybe you had family that lives in the city. Start praying for your city in a genuine real way, pray for them.”
Pray for all those that were the first responders, all those that showed up right away. “Pray for those that were there already like the workers in the theater, just the kids. Most of the people that work in theaters are just kids. Pray for them, pray for the 800 or so that were in one of the two theaters, and of course all the other people that were in that theater at the same time in that building, but pray for the policemen, pray for the firefighters and the paramedics. Pray for the hospital workers, the nurses, the doctors, the CNA’s and all the people that were called in to be a part of this. Pray for the Arapaho County sheriffs who are overseeing the jail where the suspect is being kept. Pray that they will not become hardened. Many of the Aurora PD that were on the scene are part of our church, pray for them. By the way if you are a first responder, you are an officer, you are someone that works in that realm, we have a ministry here available to you, just call us. We have a specific ministry just for police officers and those that are involved in that kind of stuff, and I suspect we’ll have some medical professionals here not too long from now, so pray.”
Show up tonight at the vigil as a man and woman of God. “Bring your kids. Let this be a discipleship moment that they might see and give them a love for their city at a young age if that’s a possibility for you. Of course that’s your decision, but that is a possibility for you to pray through if that is something that God will put on your heart to do because they have been watching the news perhaps and you will give them a different perspective of the situation so you can pray about that as a parent. That is your choice, not mine.
Of course pray for your staff here, the 30+ people that are part of this church that were in those theaters. “There is some healing that is going to be taking place in their life over time. Pray that we can use the tools that God has given to us, to the church to serve our city. I mean I can go on and on. I think there is much and maybe you have some suggestions.”
Get connected with us on FaceBook, Twitter and E-mail so we can communicate well. “A lot of information is going on through that,” he said.
“Then there are 3 practical things that are very important here,” said Taylor
“Get some sleep. It is very important to get some sleep, pray for sleep. Pray that the Lord God promises to give His beloved rest so claim that promise and ask God to give you some sleep. Eat good meals, especially those of you that are serving, serving, serving. Don’t survive, you’re not going to make it on caffeine and Snickers for very long. You’ve got adrenaline, caffeine and sugar but it’s going to end very quickly because you’re not sleeping and you’re not eating well so as a good dad would say, or soon-to-be Grandpa, eat your broccoli and your peas, it’s going to be good for you. If possible take a break from watching the news just for a little bit. I find that they’re doing a phenomenal job in our city of reporting the facts, doing it in such a compassionate way. I’m very proud of the media in our city and the people that I come in contact with, but take some measured breaks. Turn it off and put some worship music on or a Bible study, just take a break and you can go back and get some information, then take a break so that you can, according to Philippians, whatever is true, whatever is noble and we’ll read that in just a minute.”
Pastor Taylor went on to say: “I want you to know that God loves you, loves this city and we are here I believe for such a time as this, and we have been talking so many years now for being ready and being equipped and here it is.
“I was just sharing with the staff last night after service, I brought the pastors in to make sure we are all on the same page, to make sure we are all okay, to make sure everyone’s wife is okay, the kids are okay and as I was sharing, the Lord just impressed upon me. I looked them all in the eye and I said you know we’ve been talking about preparing all this time, we’ve been talking about being ready, God has allowed us to grow and now here we are, right where we need to be.
He concluded in prayer by saying: “So Lord, I pray that in the simplicity of our service today and the reality of Your presence here among us, I pray for Your comfort to be a part of our church and through that we would be able to be of comfort to our city.
“As you know, so many people we have already covered in prayer, if we have missed anyone God, I know you’ve already covered them, but we really want to be a part of it. We want to be a part of it, not just in the spiritual realm but also I’m thankful for what you’ve allowed us to have that we can help this city practically.
“I pray for all 12 of the families, I hope as they wake up today that You would give them just breath, that they could just breathe today. I know their tears are probably done, help them to breathe and send loving people into their lives that are close to them that might encourage them. The people that are feeling guilt right now because they are not the ones that lost their lives, they weren’t in the right theater or they may have been so quick to try to save their own life that they missed on someone or didn’t. They are hearing these hero stories and they are thinking I could have and I would have.
“I pray you would just comfort them because exactly what had to happen happened, that they wouldn’t feel so overwhelmingly guilty.”
** ANS would like to thank Laurie Leko for transcribing the audio upon which this report is based.
Calvary Chapel Aurora would also like to point out it is donating funds to shooting victims rather than collecting money to help them.
** You may republish this story with proper attribution.
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