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Friday, February 28, 2014

Elvis Shmelvis, Jesus is King.


When Jesus ascended, he ascended not just to heaven.  He didn't just mosey back into the throne room and say, "Hey Dad, I'm hooo-ooome.  What's for dinner?"  He ascended TO something.  He rose victorious.  It is finished.  All that he needed to accomplish was done!  He ascended to the right hand of God.  He ascended to the Throne!  He sits, because his work is done.

HE.  RULES.  NOW.

i might be going out on a limb here, but the thousand years is now.  Jesus already rules.  That is plain.  He is already dismantling the world order.  Turning things on their head.  God is now making his enemies a footstool.  Bringing all rule, authority and power under him.  The last enemy to be conquered is death.     The day is coming and rapidly approaching.  God has sent out his invitations to the banquet in his Son's honor!  Press everyone, beat the hedges, hit the highway, shake the tree, find the lame, the crippled, the blind and the poor, press them to accept the gracious invitation God has sent through you!  It's going to be one heck of a party, it'd be hell to miss it!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Here come da Judge!


When the perfect comes, Paul tells us, the imperfect will pass away.  All creation is groaning in expectation and anticipation of the Redeemer coming to make all things new.  God is going to cleanse the earth with fire and like when the flood passed, a new, scoured clean world will emerge but unlike after the flood, it will be a paradise.  Eden will realized.

You will not want to miss this!  Everything you ever thought was wrong with the world, everything you've always known in your bones was missing from the world will be righted and restored!  Perfect harmony in nature, all things worshiping their Creator as they were meant to.  God with us!  Holiness throughout.  No thorns, no stinkbugs, no viruses, no gameshows.  Perfection!  Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, i tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able to, when once the master of the house has gotten up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door saying, "Lord, open the door for us!"  And he will answer and say to you, "I do not know where you are from!"  Then you will begin to say, "We ate and drank in your presence, (of course you did, God is everywhere, and as you did to the least of these, you did to him) and you taught in our streets!" (Of course He did, this gospel will be preached to all the world and then the end will come.  But you never treated him as Lord, did you?)  And he will reply, saying to you, "I do not know where you are from!  Go away from me, all you evildoers!"  In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth..."  Yeah, i reckon so!  Ask the folk who didn't get on the ark.  Ask the people who didn't listen to Lot's warning.  Ask the Pharaoh who gave Charleton Heston the snub.

But it's not just a warning of judgment!  It's an invitation to paradise!  Lest we forget!  So fall prostrate before him, start declaring the kingdom now in word and deed and then warm up those high fives cuz the day is coming!  Make his paths straight!  The King is coming!  The judge is coming!  Come Lord Jesus, Come!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Present perfect tense


Here we see God coming in power and the earth passing away before him.  God is a God of mysteries and apparent contradictions.  Psalm 130 and Luke 12 speak of fearing God in the same line and breath as they say, because he loves you.

"If you, O Yah, should keep track of iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
so that you may be feared.”

"But I will show you whom you should fear: fear the one who has authority, after the killing, to throw you into hell! Yes, I tell you, fear this one! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten in the sight of God. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered! Do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."

The fear of the Lord puts him in his proper place: as the unquestionable King of Everything with power to destroy all in his little finger who uses that power for your good because of his unquenchable love for you!

So while what is imperfect melts away like wax before his heat, what is perfect, faith, hope and love, pass the test and stand like glittering gold and diamonds before him.  And the greatest of these, the most excellent way, is Love.

"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father except through me." John 14

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Happy little trees


The next few psalms all seem to follow a theme: The coming of the Lord.  Yet with different emphasis. Some, like this one, make it a celebration.  Some like tomorrow's, a cause for fear and trembling.  i don't believe they are referring to two separate comings, Jesus' incarnation and his revelation.  For each mentions the same cause of the visitation: He is coming to judge the earth!

It would seem they all refer to the great Day of the Lord.  The final judgment.  What Job longed for.  What Amos dreads.  What Paul wants us not to be confused about and what John saw.  So why the two reactions?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Getcha some

...and the heights of the mountains are his,
to whom belongs the sea that he made, 
and the dry land that his hands formed."

Two things keep us from living abundant lives:
  • An inaccurate view of our selves, who we are, what we are truly like
  • and an inaccurate view of who He is.
"Now if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask for it from God, who gives to all without reservation and not reproaching, and it will be given to him. But let him ask for it in faith, without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed about. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." James 1


Friday, February 21, 2014

Meanwhile, somewhere other than where you are...

There are rivers, rivers of blood flowing into the dirt and the sea these days.  They die person by person in homes and streets from violent crime.  They die by tens in protests and crack downs in capitols from Venezuela to Egypt to Ukraine.  They die in hundreds in car bombs and suicide attacks and they die by thousands in culls, pogroms and genocides.

It is easy to gloss over, it is easy to feel bad for the oppressed or outrage against the oppressors and then move on with the weather and what's for dinner.  It is easy to forget the people who are being slaughtered are people just like us.

It is even easier to forget that the people doing the slaughtering are people just like us.  Yet for the grace of God go i.  Jesus showed us hate is the same as murder.  It is a short set of circumstances between anger and violence.  We all have blood on our hands.  We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Only those with Jesus' blood on their hands and hearts will be cleansed.

Meanwhile, there are rivers of blood flowing...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

They who live as if there were no King who sees.


Someday we're going to be standing in the throne room and we will look back on a great deal of our lives, words and attitudes and in light of who He is and His glory, we're going to be truly, truly embarrassed.

God is God.  What are we thinking?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Anointed

Yes, the drawing stinks but you get the idea.

Christ means anointed.  Like Aaron with the oil, Jesus was anointed as our high priest but not with oil, a symbol, a mere created thing but with the Holy Spirit, descending like a dove from Heaven.  God declared, "This!  This is the guy!  The one I said would come all the way back in Genesis 3 and every odd symbol and task i gave you pointed to.  The kinsman redeemer that Job saw and waited for.  The salvation that the people have hungered for since the beginning.  This is the Way.  This is the Truth.  This is the Life you have been knowing deep down you should have had.  Not a circumstance, not a change in fortunes but a man!  A king!  A priest!  A prophet!  God with us!  Not the same old religion. Not the same death dealing attempts at self-justification; working your way to heaven, earning a piece, but something entirely new!  A substitute!  His righteousness for your sinfulness.  This is the guy!  The guy with the ox-like strength and servant's heart.  The true sacrifice for your sins.  This is the guy....


Listen to him."

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Why i want my sons to be in danger

Nothing i write here is going to be better for you than this.

Monday, February 17, 2014

There is power...

"Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will affliction or distress or persecution or hunger or lack of sufficient clothing or danger or the sword? No, but in all these things we prevail completely through the one who loved us." Rom 8

"For the kingdom of God is not with talk, but with power." 1 Cor 4


Dad, i don't need words today.  i need the power of the Word.  Make what you have said true in us.


"Yahweh will bless you

    and keep you;
Yahweh will make shine his face on you
    and be gracious to you;
Yahweh will lift up his face upon you,
    and he will give you peace.’  Num 6

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Church of Gomer

i have good news and i have bad news.  First the bad news.  No, first a hint of the good news, you're gonna need it.  Jesus died for sinners and was raised for their justification.  You got that?  Really got it down deep and in the forefront of your mind?  No really, put it on a piece of paper in front of you and look at it when you read the rest of this and get either angry or depressed.  Done?  Good, now you're ready for the bad news.

We, the church of God, have our priorities severely out of whack.  We, the Bride of Christ, do not love our husband.

This is not me indicting you.  Hear me, this is me, like Isaiah saving the seventh Woe for himself, saying, Woe is me!  For i am a man of uncommitted affections living among a people of uncommitted affections!  i praise you with my lips, Lord while my heart is far from you!  We, like Gomer, chase other lovers all day while our husband patiently waits for us to return home.  Then we, like Gomer, when we struggle and get beaten by our false loves, cry out and get bound up by the one who really loves us.  Over and over and over again.

There was a time when i led two Bible studies, home fellowship groups at the same time while attending a third, my first time doing so actually.  i have been in churches all my life.  This is what i've seen.  Bible studies and extra-sabbatical activities struggle to maintain regular attendance.  It's all, "this night works for me/ that night doesn't work for me."  At the same time, church has become optional.  We protestants revel in our freedom from sin so much we have used it as license to not care, to feed our own laziness, our own comfort rather than seek first the kingdom of God!  Is it a sin to miss church?  No.  Is it a sin to say to God, i would rather sleep than join my brothers and sisters in worship today, than pray, than seek your face in teaching and service?  i dunno, but i'm gonna go with 'probably.'

Read the Word.  Where is God?  Among his people!  Where does God always want to be?  Among his people!  In the center of them.  Where two or more are gathered in his name.  The only time Jesus, God, was alone or sought to be alone was when he was praying.  When he was coming before his Father but even then, in his lowest time, when he was in the Garden, he still wanted his friends near and praying too!  Together!  The tabernacle and then the temple which are foreshadowings of heaven and true worship were gathering places.  Large crowds came out to Jesus, the true temple and priest.  Revelations, Isaiah, Ezekiel saw and show the worship of God in heaven and it is a gathering of the nations.  Not-quite-random sampling of the Bible... umm, Acts 2.

"And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in the same place."
"14 But Peter, standing with the eleven..."
"42 And they were devoting themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayers. 43 And fear came on every soul, and many wonders and signs were being performed by the apostles. 44 And all who believed were in the same place, and had everything in common. 45 And they began selling their possessions and property, and distributing these things to all, to the degree that anyone had need. 46 And every day, devoting themselves to meeting with one purpose in the temple courts and breaking bread from house to house, they were eating their food with joy and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding every day to the total of those who were being saved."

Why, brothers and sisters, do we struggle so hard?  Why is their no revival?  Why do we not see the Holy Spirit moving in power?  Why are our churches dying?  Our children walking away from the faith?  Apathy.  The opposite of love is not hate, it's apathy.  We have forsook our first love!  What you love, you make time for.  You adjust your calendar for what's important and God and fellowship it would seem are just not that important.  If when we seek first the kingdom of God, all these things will be added to you, then no wonder when we chase those things instead, all we get is tired!  Why do we struggle with the Bible?  Why do we not have a love for others?  Why does our sin overpower us?  Why are we in debt?  Why do we not change?  Aren't we new creations?

Ah, if you, like me, are asking these questions, now is the time for the good news!  

God does not bless success.  

D'ja get it?  That was it!  That was the good news!  Or more to the point, God does not bless YOUR success.  He can't!  You won't succeed!  You don't know how.  You lack the resources.  You lack the strength.  You lack the wisdom.  God demands and deserves total allegiance.  All your heart, mind and strength!  Perfection!  Rejoice!  You ain't got it!  

God blesses JESUS' success!  And Jesus' success was FOR you!  For freedom you have been set free!  Not for license to now go and pursue your princes and lovers, but to truly, truly fold yourself into him!  Not to do it right this time, to finally do it better, to work harder, to somehow drum up love in yourself but to respond to the one who truly loves you!

"In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4)

Start now!  Start at home!  Start alone, pray, read the Word, pray, pray, pray, but then, like a recovering addict, (which you are!) get to group!  You cannot do this alone!  You need brothers and sisters and mentors and there are brothers and sisters and mentees who need you!  You need to serve as much as you need to serve!  You need the Gospel preached to you every minute of every day, through word and deed and prayer.  You need to remind others and you need them to remind you of what Jesus does for you, what he's done for you and what he has promised to do!  It may seem slow at first, it's going to be a struggle and a fight, Satan does not want you to change!  Satan wants you fat, dumb and working your pants off to please God.  But stay!  Stay here with Him, be faithful even when you don't FEEL it, believe!  He just asks you to believe and has even promised to give you the gift of belief!  You cannot make yourself fall in love... but Jesus, the lover of your soul, is looking to woo the pants off you!  Gosh i hope that's not blasphemous, but reading Song of Songs, i don't think it even comes close enough to the truth!  

Gomer, come home!

Friday, February 14, 2014

You are the wimp beneath His wings.

Psalm 91 has so much imagery built in.  It's hard to choose which one to go with.  Thousands falling at your side.  Treading on serpents and lions.  Taking refuge in God Almighty.  Arrows, plagues, shields oh my!  So this one got to be a bit of a mess as i tried to fit too many in.  But all in all i like it.  :)

i like even more what it says about Jesus.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

a tale of two trades

Show us your work and establish ours.  Our work should be a continuation or your work.  The children with plastic rakes "helping" dad with the leaves.  Or more appropriate as the storm named, "Peace" buries us today: the children with little mini-shovels "helping" dad clear the driveway.

For me it is about contentment.  i don't want to shovel the driveway!  i want to sit inside by the fire and draw stories and write about them.  And i could whine eloquent about how this is work and work that is undervalued by society, whilst the eminently temporary work i do as a carpenter, making people's private Eden's nicer looking is all anyone thinks i'm good for.  But i would sound no more righteous than the Israelites complaining about a lack of water, complaining about the manna, complaining about Moses, complaining about Aaron, complaining about the giants in the land.  The fact is, God is God and i am not and if he chooses to support me through back pain and scarred knuckles and lonely days of mindless drudgery then he has his reasons and the sooner i learn to praise him for his goodness and love of a man he has no reason to care for or about, the better off i'll be.

So Lord, show me your work!  Show me what you do and have done and how It. Is. Finished!
Amen!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Don't wait, worship now!

(i hate sharing the terrible art!  But hey, no sense giving you a false impression of my abilities either.)

A joyful shout.  

You're not hiding that.  That's not just between you and God.  That's public.  Try making a joyful shout without others noticing.  Gonna be pretty difficult unless you're in the klondike.  Maybe my brother Ballisticat could do it in his machine shop when all the machine's are running but i'm guessing someone would still notice.  Worship is public.  Those who are ashamed of Jesus now, Jesus will be ashamed of at the judgment. (Mark 8, Luke 9)  And let's face it.  How can you say you love Jesus and still be embarrassed by him?  He's not your weird uncle.  He's not that awkward brother-in-law or the family black sheep.  How can you be embarrassed by your love of him or his love of you?  Why be embarrassed of love at all?  Only if you totally misunderstand his love, that's how!  Only if you misunderstand your need!  You need a savior!  Not a maid.  Not a therapist.  Not a helper.  You are not treading water here, you are drowning!  Without hope of rescue unless Jesus jumps into your cesspit and pulls you out!

And he does!  He didn't just throw you clear, he died in your cesspit!  For your cesspit!  And God resurrected him into a living spring of fresh, clean water!  He has washed you!  You are clean before God.  You look and smell like Jesus!  Baby fresh and rosy pink!  Or glistening bronze!  Let's not be racist here.  You are beautiful to him, not as you were!  You were drowning in your own filth, remember?  Who's gonna love that?  But as He has made you!  He doesn't save you and leave you in the filth, he saves you and cleanses you and brings you out and starts changing you!  

"Yet now Yahweh, you are our father; we are the clay and you are our potter, and we all are the work of your hand." Is 64

"So I went down to the house of the potter and look, there he was doing work at the potter’s wheels. And the vessel that he was making with the clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter, so he made again another vessel, as it was right in the eyes of the potter to make." Jer 18

  Jesus is not a curio for your corner cabinet in a house you made.  Jesus is the cornerstone which smashes your silly Eeyore pile of sticks stuck in sand and sets himself up as the new rock, the new foundation of a new house which HE is building.  It sounds like you get destroyed and believe me, it feels that way at times too but unless he builds the house, you labor in vain.  And what he is building is not anathema to you, it is the truer you!  What you were meant to be!  What you would choose to be if you only knew to choose it!  He who knitted you together knows what you are better than you do.  What you will not fully be until he comes again and raises us up to be with him.  Glorified in His glory!  Reflecting Him!  Truly, truly i tell you, you will shout for joy then!

Why wait?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

"As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to me and every tongue will praise God."


Well, Mr. Psalmist, as a matter of fact, He does and they will.

i was thinking about death last night and how so often, we the church are left grieving without hope for a loved one who died or words of hope for a grieving brother or sister who has lost someone for we do not know the state of their faith.  Where was their trust?  Unfortunately, if no one knows the state of a person's faith, chances are, we are just not admitting we do know.  Yes, there could have been death bed conversions.  Last minute exchanges between the merciful Savior and finally humbled saved.  But how often do you think that happens?  How many do not die as they lived?  How many at the end are given that much clarity and the time to call upon the one they have never actually called upon before?  i am not trying to be morose.  i am saying, there is but one Way and one Truth and one Life and Jesus said, his family are those who hear the Word of God and do it.  This is how we know what's in the heart.  Not that they are good people, for we know from looking at ourselves, there are no good people.  God doesn't save good people.  The only good person who ever lived does the saving.  God saves sinners.  God saves the helpless and the dead in their sin, He alone chooses and gives the faith to believe, the desire to obey, the humility of Spirit to submit to Him.  To say, Thy will be done.  Anyone whom God has resurrected in this way will show it (1 John 1 and 2).  How can someone born again into new life and regenerated by the Holy Spirit hide that?  Why would they?  And we will see and when they die we will be able to say with some assurance, "this one knew his or her Savior and we will see them in the next resurrection."  Not with one hundred percent certainty, we are fallible and people are exceptional liars, even to themselves.  But for the most part, the Spirit recognizes the Spirit.

Now is the time of God's mercy.  Now is the time of repentance.  Now is the time He has alotted for us to come to Him and trust in the only good person who ever lived, the one who said, "Truly I say to you, the one who hears my word and believes the one who sent me has eternal life, and does not come into judgment but has passed from death into life."  Now is the time, in life, to bring the Good News of what Jesus has done for them to your friends and loved ones and total strangers and enemies.  The dead will indeed rise one day and admit God is God and Jesus is Lord.  Every knee will bow and every tongue confess He is Lord and His judgment is just.  Some will just be doing it in anguish.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Thy Kingdom Come!


John saw the city of God coming down out of the heavens.  A new Jerusalem, the city of peace, a perfect cube, like the Holy of Holies, for the dwelling place of God is among men now.  No more temple, no more shadows, no more looking ahead.  God. Is. Here.  And He is everything to us, dwelling, food, light, love, purpose.  The old, the worn out, the partial, the shadow, the imperfect have passed away.  Not just gone, but forgotten.  Replaced by the new, the perfect, the holy, the right.

Jesus told us to learn the parable of the fig tree, that when we see the branch sprouting leaves, we know Summer is near.  We often think of the end times with dread.  The Tribulation.  Persecution.  The Beast.  Fear and trembling, stockpiling weapons and food.  Something to hide from.  But we are the light and salt of the world!  Our savior did not hide from the authorities, our forefathers in the faith did not resist.  They went to their deaths with praise on their lips and testified of the one who came and is coming again.  They went with joy knowing their Winter was over and Summer was coming!  The end is not the end, it is the beginning of the Eternal!  The second resurrection!  We who have died with Christ through baptism and raised with him in faith should anticipate it with joy!

i used to spend a lot of time in day cares.  i was often the last picked up.  The lights are being turned out, the teachers are leaving.  The chairs are being put on top of tables.  The other kids are gone.  The toys are put away.  It was a lonely time.  A winter.  The only thing to do was look for the one coming to get us.  To anxiously await our parent!  To bring us home!  Where we belong.

Jesus is coming!  The greatest party you never imagined is coming!

"And do this because you know the time, that it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep.  For our salvation is nearer now than when we believed.  The night is far gone, the day has drawn near."  Rom 13

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Ride, ride my see-saw

i wonder how many of us live our lives on the see-saw of fear?

When we're down, we're afraid.  So we distract ourselves and we're up.  But distraction, busyness, entertainment, avoidance, drugs, denial, alcohol, these things can't last forever, so down we go.

And there are our fears, waiting for us.

You know the funny thing about see-saws.  There's a lot of movement but you never go anywhere.  But the truly scary thing is who's riding the other side....laughing at us.

Friday, February 07, 2014

But as for me and my house...


In Genesis, there is a phrase that gets repeated,
"And here they began to call upon the name of Yahweh."
or...
"It was then they began to call upon the name of Yahweh."
It is often,
interestingly enough,
 long after God has already made a covenant with said person,
chosen said person as his own,
blessed said person ridiculously beyond anything they deserve.
It is grace that turns the heart to love.
It is my fervent wish to someday here my sons
begin to call upon the name of Yahweh.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

The forest on the move



i was reading Mark's account of this today and had a few thoughts.  First, it follows...

1.  the feeding of the four thousand
2.  the Pharisees asking for a sign
3.  Jesus' warning about the yeast of the Pharisees
4.  The disciples thinking he's talking about bread
5.  Jesus asking if they were still so dense?
6.  The healing by degrees of a blind man, when he first sees he says, "I see men walking around like trees."
7.  Peter's confession that Jesus is the Christ
8.  Peter's rebuke of Jesus
9.  Jesus' rebuke of the disciples, that they have in mind the things of men, not the things of God
10.  Jesus imploring his people to take up their crosses and follow him

My thoughts about this started with an old sermon i heard by Pastor Alan Lee.  Jesus heals the blind man by degrees.  It's like his first attempt doesn't quite take.  Not so.  Jesus was not lacking in power.  He was making a point.  The blind man sees men walking around like trees.  Who would have been around him?  Jesus had taken him out of the village.  So probably only those who follow Jesus, the disciples.  Trees.  Woodenheads.  Stiff.  And surely this may be what he meant.

But when i got to the part about carrying the cross i thought... what if we all did this?  i mean literally.  If we the church were carrying our crosses, and following Jesus into death and sacrifice and obedience, we would look like a forest on the move!  Trees walking!  

Unfortunately i think we've taken this verse and turned the "cross we have to bear" into whatever little inconvenience we cannot seem to do away with.  Whatever discomfort comes into our lives of self indulgence, our personal pursuit of happiness.  i do not think this means what we think it means.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

How many of our kisses are Judas?



I will hear what God, Yahweh, will speak,
because he will speak peace
to his people, even his faithful ones,
but let them not return to folly.


Sunday, February 02, 2014

Go and tell, not go and kill

i saw Lone Survivor last night.  As often happens when men watch these kinds of movies, the question gets asked in one form or another...

These places are so screwed up.  Should we even be there?

And to that i say, emphatically, easily, without reserve or question,

Yes.

But not as we have been.

Man keeps seeking political and sociological solutions to a theological problem.  It isn't that these men don't have beliefs or freedom or education or prosperity...

They don't have Jesus.

Yeah, i know how that sounds.  White man's burden.  Holy roller.  Pick yer slur.  But the truth is the Truth.  Only God changes lives and hearts.  Only God can make men stop WANTING to kill each other and lord it over each other and steal from each other and hate each other.  Only God can make two disparate tribes unite.  We should instinctively know this, we should be able to see it in our own culture.  As we lose Christ and his Word, our culture divides.  Along party lines, along socio-economic lines, along racial lines, along gender lines, along denominational lines.  God, from the beginning said it was not good for man to be alone and then, he gave Adam... not a buddy.  Not another guy friend.  Not someone just like him.  He gave him Eve.  Someone completely unlike him in every way except one rib!  And he knitted them together!  Only Christ can do this!  Only Christ takes away our sin and therefore our shame and need to justify ourselves!  Only Christ takes away our pride, we are all sinners saved by His grace alone.  None can say to the other, my people are inherently better than yours.  You are a dog.  No, that man was made in the image of God!  God loved him, he is fearfully and wonderfully made and you cannot just put a .223 caliber bullet into his head at 2500 feet per second without grieving Him, without giving it another thought, without knowing you have just killed something, some ONE beautiful.  The world is now poorer for no matter how sinful that man was, nothing is impossible for God and therefore, he was redeemable!

"And Jesus approached and spoke to them, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the age.”" Matt 28

Jesus told us to go.  He knew the risks, he knew the dangers, he warned us ahead of time.  So maybe instead of spending millions of dollars to train and equip mercenaries to be ambassadors of the Way of Death, we should be spending millions to train and equip missionaries to be apostles in the Way of Life.  

"And he said, “The kingdom of God is like this: like a man scatters seed on the ground. And he sleeps and gets up, night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows—he does not know how. By itself the soil produces a crop: first the grass, then the head of grain, then the full grain in the head. But when the crop permits, he sends in the sickle right away, because the harvest has come.”
And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or by what parable can we present it? It is like a mustard seed that when sown on the ground, although it is the smallest of all the seeds that are on the ground, but when it is sown it grows up and becomes the largest of all the garden herbs, and sends out large branches so that the birds of the sky are able to nest in its shade.”" Mark 4