October 2, 2015

When the Devil Points a Gun at You

by Jordan Standridge

By now we’ve all heard of Chris Harper Mercer, the man who killed ten people on the campus of Umpqua Community College.

Can you imagine the despair in the room? Put yourself in the shoes of the students in that classroom as they watched their teacher drop. As the gunman shouted to the Christians to make themselves known! What would you do?

As a College minister I can’t help but be deeply affected by it. Tragedy has struck yet another college campus. Just yesterday I talked with several students on their way to class, and asked them if they were to die tonight gun-pointed-at-you-in-your-face-aim-aimedwhat would they say to God. Words like these are not scare tactics. We all are literally on the verge of eternity.

So many people are using this situation as a political tool. Some are calling for stricter gun control. Some say that the man specifically targeted the school because it was a gun-free zone. Others are blaming anti-depression medication as they say that all of the major shootings in the last few years came from kids who grew up taking drugs. It’s obvious that the world is confused, is without direction, and is jumping to conclusions. As Christians we know that the only place to get the answers is the Scripture. I wish I could visit Oregon and spend a few days praying with students and bringing them the hope that they need.  We need to pray for the Church in Oregon to wisely know how deal with this situation. Here are some truths that we know when tragedy strikes.

The world will hate Christians

I have to begin with this as we heard that the gunman singled out Christians in the shooting. He hated organized religion and made it a point to shoot the Christians in a fatal way. Jesus was clear that Christians will be persecuted (2 Timothy 5:12).  He also tells his disciples that the world will treat them just like He was treated (John 15:20-21). When the devil points a gun at you, he desperately wants to kill Christ but he can’t get to him. But we know Christ will ultimately crush his head.

The world can’t stop the Gospel

On the day of their executions, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley knew that their burning would only enflame thehugh latimer nicholas ridley light of the Gospel even more. Though John Bunyan’s tongue was silenced, the Gospel spread through his writing at a higher rate than ever before. Time and time again the world has tried to silence Christians and yet you cut a head off and two grow back. You can’t stop the Gospel.  Though the devil seems to win battles, he will not win the war. When the Devil points a gun at you he desperately wants to stop the Gospel, but he can’t and it always spreads further.

You can’t stay silent

These are important moments. People rarely focus on their death. And though the temptation is often to fear, fear that the next person I talk to could hate Christianity, we cannot stay silent. We must keep pressing and shining the light of the Gospel on this lost world. God is in the business of bringing light out of darkness, but he uses our lips to do that. We must be like the disciples who although wounded and hurting, went away from the beating thankful that they had been considered worthy to suffer for Christ’s sake and went on preaching even more boldly (Acts 5:40-42). When the Devil points a gun at you he desperately wants you to cower away and hide, but it wont happen. God uses these moments to make true believers more bold.paul and silas

You must call people to repent

The students at Umpqua Community College were not worse sinners. Jesus is very clear that when tragedy strikes, our focus should not be the judgment on the people, but rather the souls of those who are still alive (Luke 13:1-5). We must call them to repent. We must see them as souls who will spend eternity somewhere! We cannot change the message in order to make it more palatable, or to make it less likely that we will be persecuted. We must plead with people and preach the message God himself wants us to preach. We must remember that when the Devil points a gun at you he desperately wants you to change the Gospel, but it wont happen because tragedy’s like this only cause us to rely more on God’s words and not our own.

Let’s not forget to pray for those who were affected by this tragedy, and to thank the Lord for the boldness of those who fearlessly claimed Christ as their Savior, and lets not coward away and waste an opportunity to bring light in the midst of incredible darkness.

Jordan Standridge

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Jordan is a pastoral associate at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, VA, where he leads the college ministry. He is the founder of The Foundry Bible Immersion.
  • 4Commencefiring4

    When I was a teen back in the mid-60s, you could walk into any Montgomery Ward, Sears & Roebuck, or any sporting good place and buy a gun. You could even “send away” for one. No “background check”, no paperwork, just buy it. Lee Harvey Oswald “sent away” for his Italian carbine. He could have been anyone. Turned out his was a communist, but who was asking?

    Many of the local schools had a competitive rifle team, just like they had a tennis team or debate club or Key club. Students brought their rifles (in cases) on the bus or walking to school and put them in a locker for the after-school match. No one thought anything about it; certainly no one ever conceived of shooting someone with it. Such an act was unthinkable. It wouldn’t even have occurred to anyone. That’s why, when one Charles Whitman climbed up into the clock tower at the Univ of Texas in 1966 and began shooting people walking across the quad, the nation was dumbfounded.

    So what’s different now? What natural constraints on the human heart have been lifted that we see this carnage so often today? We’ve always been a spiritually broken people, but something’s changed. It really looks as though a large layer of innocence has been removed among people and we are doing things our parents’ generation would not have even thought of doing.

    “The love of many will grown cold”, Jesus told us. Perhaps that’s part of it. But it’s not the world I grew up in.

  • Ira Pistos

    Well said Jordan.

    • Jordan Standridge

      Thanks Ira.

  • tovlogos

    “When the devil points a gun at you, he desperately wants to kill Christ but he can’t get to him. But we know Christ will ultimately crush his head.”
    Absolutely, Jordan — Throughout the gospels we see the abject terror that overcame demons in possession of people when they had to face the Messiah, Jesus. We read that the real war is in the heavens (Ephesians 6:12). We know that Jesus could stop this horror show on earth any time He wishes; and will shortly.

    One of the challenges is the lack of spirituality among even many Christians, as in John 3:3. Yet, yes, those who are spiritual and are guided by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14); keep speaking the truth of the Jesus, and many will hear as each moment passes. (Isaiah 55:11).
    The Lord has given you a ministry, and we will add you to our prayers.

    • Jordan Standridge

      Thank you!

  • Excellent. Keep writing, Jordan. I appreciate the encouragement, the instruction, and the exhortation.

    • Jordan Standridge

      I appreciate your encouragement!

  • Jane McCrory Hildebrand

    “I wish I could visit Oregon and spend a few days praying with students and bringing them the hope that they need.”

    The words of a true pastor. We appreciate the heart behind all you do, Jordan.

    • Jordan Standridge

      Thank you Jane. I really appreciate your help and encouragement in the comments!

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