"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings." (1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV)
As many of you know, over one million refugees from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan have made the long dangerous journey from their homelands to try and start a new life in Germany. While I believe that an overwhelming majority of these refugees are seeking a new life and opportunities that would never be afforded to them in the country of the their birth, I am equally sure that among them are those who have malicious intentions. I know that many in our church family are especially concerned about the plans to house roughly one hundred refugees in the building next door.
The leadership of SMCC shares these concerns and we are currently in prayer asking the Lord for direction. The safety and security of our church membership is our number one priority and we have qualified members of the leadership team who have the experience and information to asses any credible threat. For the moment, the team has decided that the best course of action is to wait and pray while exercising wisdom and taking necessary precautions to protect our church family.
Stacey and I share the concerns of the members of SMCC, but we also see great potential. I believe our enemy, the devil, desires that we be so blinded by fear that we forget that for the first time in the lives of these refugees, they have the freedom to accept Christ. We must not forget the mandate of our Lord to love our enemy and do good to those who would seek to harm us. This situation may be an opportunity to demonstrate our faith and reflect the love and mercy of Christ to the refugees and community.
My pledge to you as your pastor is to follow the Lord to the best of my ability. We are looking forward to our return to Germany and our church family on February 19th. Upon our return, we plan to meet with local German and American church leadership, the owners of the building next door, and the SMCC leadership team to reassess the situation. Let us place our trust in the living God who rules and reigns. This situation has not taken the Lord by surprise and we should not conduct ourselves as though it had. Please join with us in prayer for wisdom, open doors for a possible location change, and opportunities to demonstrate the love of Christ to refugees. We serve a great big God who is able to do above and beyond what we could ever hope or imagine.