Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I'm not sure what to say. My desire to blog has been completely gone these past couple of days. The story that has unfolded reminds me of a made-for-tv horror plot with a surprise "God" ending.

There was a young man who had been raised by Christian parents and homeschooled. He had always been a little different..couldn't quite fit in. At 19, he enrolled in a YWAM discipleship training school. He was asked to leave before he completed the 10 month program for, among other things, playing Marilyn Manson songs on talent night. He was unable to constructively express his embarrassment and hurt over that, and in the next 5 years he began hating Christians. He started reading things like the manifesto written by the Columbine killers. Their words echoed in his head to the point that he could recite them. He began entertaining thoughts of killing some of these Christians, for who he could never seem to be good enough. He was able to buy guns because he had no prior record. He knew, deep down, that his parents loved him and he had no desire to hurt them personally. Instead, he returned to YWAM. He shot a few people there and went home. Then he went online to talk about how much he hated Christians, meanwhile hatching a plan to create abject terror at a church he visited once with his parents - New Life. He hated them especially for what happened to their pastor a year ago. Who did they think they were?

He arrived at New Life right after the late service, when the campus was full of people. He dropped smoke bombs at the main exits so everyone would be afraid to go through them, and then went in the far back door to corner people in the almost-full building. After shooting five more people with an automatic rifle, he was taken down with a single handgun by a female undercover security guard who had been fired from a police force 10 years ago for lying under investigation. She had just finished three days of fasting and praying for guidance and was in constant communication with God during the event. He guided her. It could have been a complete massacre.

I have pieced this story together from the many, many reports I have heard and read over the past few days. Some of it was from reading between the lines, and is not necessarily fact. This version of the story keeps playing over and over in my head. There are so many questions...

-God's power and protection is so evident in the whole event. Why did He not keep the two girls from dying? He obviously could have.
-Matthew Murray's parents did everything right - everything they knew to do. What went wrong? Why is there no formula to raise Godly children?
-Could there be a demonic element to this kind of behavior?
-In spite of SO many reaching out to Murray, he refused and rejected all help. Why? What caused his heart to be so hard? How could one man's hatred run so deep?
-What plan does God have for the hero, Jeanne Assam? I'd say somewhere in here is the direction she was praying for. You can't miss it!
-How can we as Christians, help hearts to be mended when they've been broken by us? SO much is expected from Christians, and we're just people. We do stupid, insensitive stuff in spite of how much we don't want to.
-How do Jesus' predictions of persecution of Christians interpret these events? By definition, those girls were martyrs - killed for their beliefs.
-Where is the line between not allowing ourselves to be controlled by fear, and being wise about the world we live in? Starting house churches to avoid public churches would probably be giving in to fear, but I can't say it hasn't crossed my mind and been suggested by other people.
-How long is it okay to mourn, and when is it time to move on? I do not want to wallow in grief, neither do I want to short-circuit the grieving process or sound stupidly over-spiritual.

and maybe most of all...

-What in the world does God have in store for New Life? Have we been under some sort of satanic attack? If so, why? What is satan so afraid of? We should have been down, off the radar a year ago. How will God use this for good, because He promises He will?

No wonder I can't sleep tonight. I suppose many of those questions will be answered, but only with time.

In spite of the tone of this blog, I'm actually doing okay. I'm sad, for sure. But I'm also immensely grateful to God and to Jeanne Assam, for seeking God and therefore being where she was supposed to be. Our church is having to suffer for a man's sin yet again, but one woman's righteousness protected us from the full impact.

Here's my plea: seek God with your whole heart. He promises you'll find Him when you do that. We need Him to heal our land. HIS people have to seek Him, and then He promises He will heal. Righteousness acts as a shield. We may never know what our faithfulness to God guards against, both in our lives and in the lives of others we don't even know. Never give up.


  1. The night before the horror, Jasper, myself, my parents and some friends all went to wonderland. This church may have been off the "radar" but the power of God is very strong within it's walls and the hearts of the people I believe. As we sat and watched the nativity scene it was done in such a way that I felt that I whitnessed the birth of Christ. As the chior and cast sang "Holy" with their hands raised to praise this baby,I thought to myself how magnificent this story really was. 3 men followed a star. Dropped everything going on in their lives to follow a Star that would lead them to their savior. They come to a barn full of animals and it must of smelled, and it certainly didn't look suitable for a king. All the aspects of this story are so magnificent and this year Wonderland brought me to realizing it. Truly realizing it. I think many people may have felt the same. I felt my hunger and desire for God grow instantly. I want to know this humble king intimatly. I'm certain Satan felt threatend by the hunger of God's people to know him so he yet again tried to bring us down with this tragedy. God easily had the power to save thoose beautiful young girls and we don't understand why these things have to happen but personally thoose girls brought me to the throne of God. I may draw my last breath at any moment and as we can see, it can happen anywhere. I want to know Jesus. I want to be rememberd as a servant of God. I don't want one single day to be lived without feeling the precence of God in my life. As cliche as it sounds to live everyday as if it was your last, I think these girls showed us that. And if that means I have to get up at 4:30 to spend time with God I'm willing to sacrifice my sleep and in return have the God of the Univerce draw close to me for an INTIMATE relationship. Satan is hard at work to break this family, but what he doesn't see is that every move he makes to hurt us draws us closer to God.

  2. I think in times like that, God reveals something of Himself we haven't seen before and just that little glimpse is enough to make us long for Him. If we don't have that desire to know Him, we can start praying for Him to show Himself to us.

  3. Dearest Sara Kay,

    I am a friend of Laura S., and she pointed me to your blog after reading my post about YWAM on my blog.

    Thank you for your heart in this post. I am so very sorry that your church body is going through such pain.

    I so understand your questions, for the past 2 years have seemed to be one massive trial after another in my life, and I have tried so hard to understand why God allows it.

    Yet, I know that He is faithful, and I know that nothing is allowed in the life of the believer without His permission.

    The heartache I've dealt with over the past 2 years has been brutal, but I am seeing the rich fruits that God is bringing out of the pain...fruits that would not have been manifested without the heartache.

    At times it felt like devastation, but God held me through it when I was just certain that I was going to lose my mind.

    I found so much comfort in the story of Joseph's life...I can only imagine how many times he must have wondered why God would "reward" obedience with further trial.

    Over and over again in the story of Joseph's life, the words, "But the LORD was with Joseph" are echoed.

    "But the LORD was with Joseph."

    I said those words to myself in the deepest hours of my heartache...reminding myself of their truth..."But the LORD was with Jesica."

    "But the LORD was with Jesica."

    And He has been. And it's clear that He is with you, and with your church body.

    I will pray for you all today. Fervently. My prayer will be that through all of the heartache, what man meant for evil, God will use for good.

    That His name will be glorified...first to the Jew, and then to the nations.

    In Him,

  4. Thanks so much to all of you who have commented and/or emailed about this post.

    I feel like the first step to healing from something like this, is allow yourself to ask the questions. I don't believe that asking the questions expresses any doubt in God or in His ability whatsoever, but more looks forward to the answers He will provide.

    In any case, like Jesica said, when you turn to God in trial, your faith only gets stronger. "Where else would we go? He has the words of eternal life."

    Also, as strange as it seems, the terror of this event seems much less than it might have been had we not already suffered as a church. Like the questions are right around the corner instead of months away, if that makes sense. We've been tested already and proven faithful. We know there will be a day for a new "normal," one that's even better in some ways than the old normal.

    It may be a while before I can again walk down the halls at New Life without a thought of fear, but I will not allow it to motivate my decisions or take up residence in my heart. Those are things and places for God alone.