Saturday, March 28, 2009

Gang-busters – the Jesus Way!

Guns, violence, murder! Local newspaper headlines shout this message lately in virtually every issue. Rival gangs fighting for control of the highly lucrative drug trade have spiked our city’s crime rate. Not just handguns, but arsenals of heavy-duty weapons. Bodies dumped in ditches; brazen afternoon shootings at busy city intersections, gun battles in our malls and subdivisions. Must more innocent bystanders become victims in the turf-wars’ cross-fire? People are crying out for action, demanding increased police surveillance, calling for court reforms to a revolving-door policy which releases drug felons all too quickly on mere technicalities. With no more than ineffective slaps to their wrists, they are soon freed to continue their illicit activities. When will judges favour victims’ rights, rather than criminals’? Police are overworked and discouraged, fighting a war the ‘bad guys’ seem to be winning.

I’m tired of hearing ‘Another shooting in Abbotsford…’ on nightly newscasts. Why is our city so well-known for not only grow-ops, but violence and murder? The ‘Abbotsford Murderer’ put us on the international map, but who wants that distinction? One item even ranked us as Crime Capital of Canada!? But what really stirs me are those reports which then continue by describing our city sarcastically(?) as the ‘Bible Belt’ of B.C.! Bit of a paradox: crime + religion linked so closely? Makes me wonder: with all our churches, has the Bible Belt lost its Buckle!?

Who indeed is in control here: God or the drug gangs? Rather than throw up our hands in defeat, I believe the Church of Abbotsford needs to take a pro-active stance. The solution is not building bigger barns or jails. Nor is it blaming outside influences like Mexican-Colombian drug wars for British Columbian problems. We need to fight these problems by faith solutions here in our city. Demand here stimulates the supply there! We need to cut off the drug trade at its source: addiction, hopelessness, helplessness, here.
Empty lives here in Abbotsford need filling. Wounded hearts here need healing.
Comparing statistics of church attendance to rampant drug use is futile: the devil laughs at such religious vanity! I believe the Holy Spirit is here to lead us through this if we will follow.

Jesus defeated the works of the devil at His 1st Coming; His kingdom faith and power give us dominion over violence. Before Jesus came, there was no demonic deliverance. People tried their best, but the world lay under the power of the evil one. But when He appeared as God in the flesh, the forces of hell recognized Him.
He did not debate theologically with them; He simply commanded them: “Go!”
They objected, “It’s not time yet.” (Matt 8:29)
But Jesus countered, “You’re not calling the times here. My time is not your time.OUT!”
They had no choice but to leave.
Don’t ask devils or drug dealers whether it’s their time to go or not.
Nor will legalizing the problem solve anything. These gangs will simply seek other schemes to destroy our youth and enrich themselves. I know from personal experience.

But we need something more than stricter law-and-order, caving in to criminals or hiding in religious buildings. God is calling His Church to rise and stand up in faith for our city! We have good news for Abbotsford! Jesus conquered death and violence and has a better way!
In Matthew 12:22-30, Jesus went to the root source and solved the problem.
First: bind the strongman! He didn’t offer mere strategy or spiritual warfare principles. What He prophesied He actually did at The Cross, even when it cost Him His life! Satan did not take Christ’s life; Jesus yielded it up… for us, for you, for our city. When He rose, Jesus broke our bondage to sin and in turn bound the strong man! It’s already done! Revelation proclaims what Jesus did on Calvary: He bound the devil and cast him into the bottomless pit. (Rev 20:3) This is not some future event. Colossians 2:14-15 and Hebrews 2:14-15 confirm how Jesus bound the devil and his demonic gang THEN… at The Cross. As we once were bound, but now are free, so he was free, but now is bound.The Risen Christ has given us authority to plunder Satan’s goods and release souls too long deceived and imprisoned by drugs and darkness. He overcame and so we are now overcomers, called to make a difference in our city.
Satan doesn’t care how often we go to church; in fact, he prefers we stay in our buildings so he can rule in our streets. He’ll let us be comfortable in our churches if we give him our city.
He only has as much power as we give him, so let’s give him nothing!

Prayer-warriors! Intercessors! Be encouraged in the midst of battle: victory is sure!
Stand together: 1 body united, under authority of Christ’s Blood, on His sure foundation. Proclaim: “The Lord rebuke you!” against the forces of darkness.
Evil, both spiritual and physical, cannot stand against the Blood of Christ. They will flee.
Demons are not only fallen, but falling, angels. Let’s make them fall further every day!
Our community needs His light! Psychological strategies are not enough. Only the whole, simple gospel effectively pulls down these strongholds.

Christ has commissioned us to restore this embattled generation that Satan has targeted to wipe out in senseless carnage. Light overcomes darkness; truth defeats lies; His life always triumphs over death and violence!

P.S. This article was written for our local Abbotsford newspaper but has yet to be published.
However, I felt an urgency in my spirit to post it now because my local community isn't the
only one facing such difficulties that only the gospel can confront and overcome.
I would appreciate any dialogue/feedback you might have on this?
Is Satan really bound? Is Jesus really already crowned?
If so, what effect should this have on our real-life situations? What do you think?

PPS!!! The News still hasn't printed this article, but since I posted it here, a number of us got together one Thursday evening to pray about this. Using Rev 12 as a base and launching out from this foundation, we took authority in Jesus' Name by His Blood! And guess what? Not only did the presence of the Lord fill our hearts and the meeting, but the next morning, one of the members of the Red Scorpion gang confessed to the police that he had been part of the murder of 6 men last year, and gave evidence against 3 other prominent leaders, including one of the notorious Bacon Brothers! Police were ready and arrested these other 3 right that very morning!
They are now off the streets and awaiting trial. Now I know others have been praying also, but we were so encouraged by the timing...right the next morning after we had prayed! Thank you, Jesus! It's enough to make you want to keep praying, eh???