Summary: If we ever needed love, If we ever needed hope, If we ever needed Jesus, it’s now.
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX
(Immediately preceding the message the Church Choir sang “If We Ever Needed” by Amy Susan Foster & Jeff Lippencott, arranged by Lori Goss. Pub. by Prism Music. Copyright: Centergy Music & Jeff Lippencott Music)
“If we ever needed love, it’s now;
If we ever needed strength to give our hearts to someone else,
Sharing joys and sorrows as we walk life’s lonesome road,
If we ever needed love, it’s now.
If we ever needed hope, it’s now;
If we ever needed wings to soar beyond what we despair,
Into a new tomorrow, much brighter than today,
If we ever needed hope, it’s now.
If we ever needed Jesus, it’s now;
If we ever needed a Savior to meet us at our need,
With tender hands of mercy, to brush away each tear;
If we ever needed love, If we ever needed hope,
If we ever needed Jesus, it’s now, it’s now, it’s now.”
A. Last Tuesday morning our nation experienced a tragic attack that may have forever altered our thinking & our way of life. Thousands are dead, & millions more have been affected. What many, & perhaps most, Americans thought would never happen, did happen. We were targeted, we were hit, & we have been hurt deeply. America will never be the same again.
ILL. Three 11-year-old students, Bernard Brown, Asia Cotton, & Rodney Dickens were the envy of their Washington classmates. It’s one thing to go on a field trip, but to be one of just 3 students chosen to go with their teachers on a field trip that would take them all the way across the country, that’s something to be excited about. And they were excited!
And when the boarding call for those with small children to board first was given, they probably saw 3-year-old Dana & 8-year-old Zoe with their father, Charles Falkenberg, getting on board too. At about the same time, & boarding a plane in Boston were 3-year-olds David Brandhorst, Christine Hanson & 4-year-old Julianna McCourt.
For these 8 children, what began as a day of joyful adventure quickly turned into a nightmare of terror as men filled with hatred for our land & our freedoms seized their planes & turned them into weapons of mass destruction & death.
And this is no dream – it is a nightmare from which some, without God’s help, will never awake, prisoners of grief, bitterness, anger & hurt. And for them we must pray - earnestly & intently - we must pray.
We pray for the families of the victims, & for the rescue & recovery workers, who have worked so tirelessly to recover any who might be found. We pray also for the eyewitnesses whose minds will replay over & over the images of terror they saw firsthand.
Pray for our national leaders as they seek to bring the guilty to justice. Pray also that the unity this tragedy has brought will continue & increase, & that all those who turned their eyes toward God this week would stay focused upon Him, realizing that He is our one & only hope to guide us through both times of crisis, & times of calm.
B. But even as we pray, our hearts cry out in confusion & pain. We don’t understand why it happened. We don’t understand terrorism at all. How could they possibly have done such a thing? Don’t they have fathers & mothers & families that they loved? How could they so deliberately kill thousands of innocent men, women & children in such a callous manner?
Well, we can find part of the answer by understanding their faith, what they have been taught & what they believe.
1. First of all, as fanatic Muslims they have been taught to consider all the rest of the world to be infidels. We are unclean. Our lives are valueless in their sight. If anything can be gained by our destruction, so be it! And if we are considered to be their enemy, then they have a sacred obligation to oppose us.
2. Secondly, their own lives are of no real consequence, either. In fact, fanatic Muslims have been taught that if they die fighting infidels, they will immediately be transported to a Paradise where they’ll enjoy every pleasure. So they’re willing to kill & be killed. After all, "It is the Will of Allah."
Now, of course, not all Muslims share that attitude. And there are many Muslims who recoil in horror at the atrocities that have been committed in the name of Allah. But the loudest & most intimidating voices are those of hatred & death. And sadly, for years now, their voices have prevailed.
That is why our television screens can show scenes of wild rejoicing, of children, women & men shouting in jubilation at the news of the pain & suffering & massive lost of life that has been inflicted upon our people & our country.