"Thoughts and Prayers"

from Rev. Douglas Avilesbernal

Rev. Doug Avilesbernal

Below you'll find an email from Rev. Douglas Avilesbernal, the Evergreen Association executive minister. Doug was previously the pastor of BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz Partner Congregation Calvary Baptist Church in Norristown, PA. Several of our Partner Congregations are also Evergreen members.

Dear Evergreen pastors and leaders,

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

My thoughts are that you find a way to speak the word of God this Sunday.

My thoughts are hopes that you share the love in Scripture that points to proper love. That you preach from the depths of your hearts and the top of your lungs that yes, guns don’t kill people. But, our love of “my” guns makes it easier to kill people we will never meet.

My thoughts are that your God given wisdom helps you stand firm as you point to Scripture’s condemnation of loving things more than God’s children.

My thoughts are that you preach God’s freedom. Freedom from idolatry. Freedom from the desire to have a Hollywood chance of being the good guy with a gun. A freedom that willingly sacrifices choice for the sake of life. Freedom that knows being pro-life is not about choosing for others but choosing to forego my want for the sake of life.

My thoughts are that God guides your thoughts.

My prayer is that you are imbued with the discernment to know when you need to comfort the afflicted, accompany the scared, embrace those in fear, cry with the hurting and convict the unrepentant, help cast the veil from the eyes of those who are blind. I pray you can help bring the fullness of God’s love to your communities this Sunday and going forward.

My prayer is that you preach Jesus’ convicting Gospel that condemns our love of “my” weapons above a stranger’s life.

My prayer is that in you genuine concerns about attendance, offending, guilting, you remember  that Jesus condemned the use of a weapon that was wielded to protect a loved one, himself!

My prayer is that you preach to our love of objects that make us feel powerful. I pray you preach how that misguided love blinds us to the hurt it brings to the world.

My prayer is that you preach God’s love and the respect that flows from that love instead of the fear that births misguided search for respect in powerful weapons.

I pray you preach that fighting fire with fire only leaves us with more fire.

I pray you preach how wrong it is that our love of firearms, which we justify by calling it freedom, makes it easier to build an arsenal than to buy enough Sudafed to last for two months.

My thoughts and prayers are that we preach how thoughts and prayers are nothing without being convicted into changing so profoundly we are willing to sacrifice our desire for choice for the sake of a stranger’s life.

My thoughts and prayers are that we all stop just thinking and praying.

“And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  Hebrews 10:24-25

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