Open Carry

Thursday, February 19, 2015

 Today’s Topic:  Open Carry

Today’s Text:  Acts 4:13 (ESV) Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.

I had only been in my office for a short time when I heard a voice. I recognized the southern style of mornin’ and responded with the northern version of good morning. Pastor JAH entered my office.

He proceeded to tell me about a dream he had last night that made me seriously think about something. I haven’t had a lot of time to process it, but after I tell you about the dream, I will share my initial thought.

In his dream, James Alan said he was the pastor of the church. He laughed lightly as he assured me this was a dream. The dream took place during a morning worship service in which he was off-stage preparing to preach and the worship team was leading the congregation in a song.

Suddenly there was a very loud commotion. So loud in fact that the music was drowned out by the noise. He stepped out of the room he was in and immediately saw two rival gangs engaged in a big fight. He immediately asked the ushers to clear out the room of everyone except the gang members and get them to safety. Then they locked the doors, so he was alone in the room with the combatants.

As pastor he proceeded to the pulpit with his large hard-covered Bible. He raised it over his head and slammed it down on the pulpit so hard that it made the sound of a gunshot and almost broke the pulpit. Silence came over the room as the gang members’ attention was drawn to the stage.

Then the pastor said, “This thing is loaded, and I’m not afraid to aim it at your hearts.”

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Immediately after hearing that line in the story, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart with two words: CONCEALED CARRY. Here’s what I’m processing:

Why do so many of us believe that the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, is to be carried in concealment when Jesus Christ has given us an open carry permit?

I am going to spend some more time today thinking about that. I will do some reflection on my attitudes when I am out in public to see if I am intentionally trying to conceal Christ. I will evaluate the fears that keep me from openly carrying the character of Christ and openly sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with anyone I meet.

I’m sure the difference between how I live and how the early Apostles lived in boldness and courage and never backed down from any opposition is this – THEY HAD BEEN WITH JESUS.

Let’s remember that the constitutional right to carry weapons in America is not the most treasured right we have. The most cherished right we have as followers of Christ is to openly carry a Sword, and use it to save people from their sin.

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By the way, there was a tagline to the dream. After stating, “This thing is loaded,” Pastor James Alan Hall told the gangs to sit down, and gave them the Gospel that death precedes life, and that until you die in Christ you will never live. At the conclusion of the dream, both gangs got saved.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16) That includes gangs at war.

Pastor John

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