Praying For Las Vegas
October 5, 2017
Like you, I was shocked to read Monday morning of yet another horrific shooting incident in our nation on Sunday night in Las Vegas. And at least to this point, no apparent motive for this mass killing spree has been discovered. Which is worse: a terrorist with an agenda or an undetected mass murderer who kills for no known reason? Does it really matter? Both are heinous crimes and reek of evil.
I have travelled to Las Vegas a couple of times over the years. I know some pastors whom I respect and have gotten to know over time who lead large, growing and influential churches in Vegas. I have no doubt that some of the people at the concert Sunday evening–maybe even some of the causalities, some of the personnel who work at the landmark casinos and resorts, some of the brave first responders who ran into raining bullets, and some of the medical staff who treated the wounded are members of those churches.
When I pray for Las Vegas, I pray for Jud Wilhite, Senior Pastor of Central Christian Church in nearby Henderson, Nevada, which has a campus right on the Strip in downtown. I pray for Kevin Odor who has pastored a wonderful church named Canyon Ridge Christian Church on the northwest side of Vegas for over 20 years. I think of Shane Philip who pastors a rapidly growing church called The Crossing. I have been blessed to spend some time with all of these courageous men who lead life-giving ministries to what is often referred to as “sin city.” I have some idea of what their week has been like. They have been on the phone with shocked and saddened people. They have sat through some long meetings with other city leaders trying to figure out how to best help their grieving city. They have scheduled and carried out special prayer and memorial services that weren’t on their calendars last week. They have sat alone in their offices and sighed and wondered and cried. They are thinking, “How can I speak meaningful words to my congregation this weekend?” They have held their family members a little tighter this week.
When I think of Las Vegas, or any city for that matter where I have a personal pastoral connection, I think of those leaders and feeders of God’s flock who have been called to that place. I pray for them. I know they prayed for us during last year’s mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub and this year’s Hurricane Irma. I said this past week in my All In The Gospel message that if you love someone you pray for them. So when you think about the pain and tragedy of Las Vegas this week, pray for Kevin, Shane and Jud. They are good men doing a good work and they could use a good word being put in for them before the throne of grace as they share the desperately needed good news in Jesus.
Giving To Puerto Rico
This weekend at both Journey campuses we will be collecting items for the Hurricane ravaged island of Puerto Rico. Many Journey families call Puerto Rico their home, and have extended family members still living there. Some have only recently made contact with their loved ones in the past few days. The people of Puerto Rico have many, many needs and will require a massive clean-up and recovery operation.
We want to help our friends and family in Puerto Rico and the best way to do so right now is to buy the practical and personal items from the list above, bring them to either Journey Apopka or Mount Dora this weekend, October 7-8, so we can ship them out as soon as possible.
Preparing For An All In Celebration
On October 14-15, we will be marking the 15th year of Lakeview Christian Church relocating from Bear Lake Road to Orange Blossom Trail and being renamed Journey Christian Church.To celebrate our 15 years of ministry as Journey, we are doing two things on the weekend of October 14-15:
- I am asking all of us who love Journey to give a special offering beyond your regular giving that starts with a 1 and a 5. That could be $15, $150, $1500, $15,000…
This special anniversary offering will go a long way to help us catch up to our targeted budget numbers in the general fund, launch some exciting new ministry initiatives that will reach more people, and provide some needed updates for our 15-year-old building at our Apopka campus. We will also be giving 15% of whatever is received in the 1-5 Offering to hurricane relief primarily in Puerto Rico.
My prayer is that we would receive at least $150,000 in this special 1-5 Offering, above our regular offering. Please be thinking about how you can give a generous 1-5 gift that will express your appreciation for the 15 years of ministry at Journey.
- The second way we plan to celebrate our 15 years of ministry at Journey is by having an All In Baptism Weekend.We are praying and preparing for at least 150 people to be baptized that weekend, which would be the largest baptism weekend in the history of Journey. What a way to celebrate!
- Pastor Randy Green will be hosting a Baptism Orientation this Sunday, October 8, at 11:15 in the Volunteer room to answer any questions you might have about baptism at our Apopka campus. Pastor Joel Craig will be hosting a Baptism Orientation at our Mount Dora campus on October 8. You don’t have to attend the Baptism Orientation to be baptized, but it can help better prepare you for this important step in following Jesus.
- If you can’t make it to either of the Baptism Orientations, you may watch a brief online lesson about baptism that you can watch below. This is a brief overview of why baptism is important in the life of a follower of Jesus, how baptism is done and the urgency of being baptized if you’ve never gone All Under in baptism before.
- For children or students who want to be baptized, Journey Kids Director Chris Johnson is offering a Start Here baptism class for children this Sunday, October 8, from 7-8:30PM in Adventureland Theater.
Do you need to go All In for Jesus in baptism? What’s stopping you? Why shouldn’t you?
Last Sunday, I was asked by a young lady who has cerebral palsy and is bound to a wheel-chair if I would baptize her on our All In Celebration weekend. I told her I would be honored to do so. Her mother and one of their neighbors want to be baptized with her.
Her request reminded me of an evangelist named David Ring who also suffered from cerebral palsy, but God used him mightily in spite of his debilitating disorder. David Ring would often say in his halted, stammering speech when he was concluding his sermon: “I…have…cewebwal palsy. What’s…yo…pwabwem?!”
I don’t know what’s going to happen in a couple of weeks with either the 1-5 Offering or the baptisms, but I sense that God is drawing near to us in a powerful way. I want to be ready, obedient and open to whatever God wants to do. Would you join me in prayer, giving and preparing for one of the most anticipated weekends ever at Journey?