What San Bernardino Needs Most

SAN BERNARDINO – The youngest was 26. The oldest, 60. One man a father of 6, known for reaching out to strangers at supermarket check-out lines. But there was also a mother of 3 who fled her native Iran because of religious persecution; and there was another American who left Vietnam at age 8, hoping for a better life.
These were some of the 14 who died at an annual holiday party at Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, CA. They are all people we can identify with. And yet this tragedy came less than a week after a shooter entered a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, killing 3 and wounding 9 others.
At a time of year when most of us expect to be focusing on Christmas, we are instead fearfully wondering where terror might strike next.

I can’t help but think of Officer Garret Swasey, who was an elder in his church, killed trying to save others. Death isn’t supposed to happen this way, even at Planned Parenthood. In his final sermon, Swasey said, “Our objective is not to bring glory to ourselves but glory to God … by transforming our lives through the Gospel. Apart from that it can’t be done, not in our own strength.”
Listen to Officer Garrett Swasey’s full sermon.
But I’m also mindful of Mike Wetzel, who was killed in the San Bernardino shooting just days after Swasey lost his life. That Sunday, Wetzel stood with 5 of his 6 children. They lit the first candle of Advent at Church of the Woods in Lake Arrowhead.

Lines are being drawn in the sand. The New York Times even editorialized on page one for the first time in decades calling for gun control. In addition, Jerry Falwell Jr., President of Liberty University, called on every student to apply for concealed carry permits.
But no matter what side of the dividing line you stand on, I pray that all Christians find the hope that Mike Wetzel spoke of just days before his death on the first Sunday of Advent. They are the same words the prophet Isaiah still speaks to us today:
“Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom.” – Isaiah 8:22
But in all that has happened in Paris, Colorado Springs, and San Bernardino; there is a glimmer of hope. There is a promise.
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” – Isaiah 9:2
Isaiah is speaking of a child. A child who would not only come to live and die for the nation of Israel, but One who will sacrifice Himself for all who live in this dark, chaotic world and believe in Him.
My prayer? Lord come quickly.
“Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” – Isaiah 9:7
As the leader of the 80-year-old Haven Ministries, Charles Morris is always thinking of ways to lead Christians and non-Christians to Christ—hence the familiar slogan, “Telling the great story … it’s all about Jesus.” Charles is a former secular journalist, who has worked for United Press International, and as a press secretary for two former U.S. senators. He began working in the Christian world after seminary, coming to Haven as the fourth speaker in 2000. He and his wife, Janet, have written several books, including Missing Jesus.

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