My Friends at Southside,
I write this too shortly after hearing about the shooting at the Jacksonville Landing. Up until this moment, my thoughts couldn't escape the tragedy of the shooting at the Raines-Lee football game. Now tragedy upon tragedy, violence upon violence, and the loss is incomprehensible.
I hope you pray for the victims and the perpetrators. Pray for first responders, our police, and our city leaders. Pray for our Mayor. Pray for our city. Pray for the violence to stop. Just pray.
And then stop. Stop praying for a moment and start listening. Is God speaking to you? Do you hear a call? No?
If no, then pray this prayer: "O God, what can I do to bring your peace to my city?" Pray about how we -- as a church family -- can intervene in this crisis. Keep praying until you get an answer. Still no answer? Then ask your friends to pray for you. Tell them you need a word from the Lord. It might take a while, but keep listening.
I started to pray like this last Friday night and Saturday. I prayed through Sunday morning (when I "talked" a lot about what happened at Raines). Finally, the Holy Spirit told me: enough talk. Do something. In my case, I sent a text to our mission partner, Jonathan Blackburn, at 2nd Mile Ministries in the Brentwood subdivision (www.2ndmilejax.com) I told him I wanted to do some after-school mentoring. Two hours a week. Every week.
God told this preacher to "put up or shut up."
What is God telling you?
-- Pastor Bruce