Saturday, March 31, 2012

3 Crimes this week in our Smyrna Community - Reason for Us to Pray and Act

Usually, when I/we hear bad news, I tend to think, “These are not ‘our problems’” and “They need to get their acts together.” I’m having a harder time thinking stuff like than this week.

Direct Connection to Students in our Church 
But in a week where our youth group, led by one of our students, Leo Rodriguez, a junior at Campbell HS, organized our CEC youth group to go out and prayer walk our city 10 times in the next 13 weeks and part of our discussion involved telling the Smyrna Police about it so there is no misunderstanding (Trayvon Martin case came up in discussion), I am more aware that this is OUR COMMUNITY.

The 3 problems I’ve copied out of news articles are our problems. Why?
·        Our covenant children go to school at Campbell HS. Even if you don’t live in Smyrna, these are OUR children. We make vows to help raise them.
·        We seek to reach people who are affected by and perpetrate violence on one another.
·        Only God can save souls. And those whose souls are saved are communally responsible and individually responsible to ask HIM to save, reconcile, bring justice, punish evil doers and have mercy.

Who, outside of us who have experienced God’s radical transformation, can offer true hope, powerful change?
The government? Cults? False religions up and down King Spring Road? Neighborhood Associations?

I’m not saying we are the solution alone. We are part of the solution though. We must pray. We must be willing to get involved so lives, families and our community are transformed.

That is what Mission Smyrna is ultimately about – transformed people, families and communities
Did you know what happened in 6 days in our community?
1. Tuesday March 27 – multiple sources
Tendai Nhakairo, shot and killed late Tuesday night by Cobb County police was a wide receiver forCampbell High School and was set to graduate with Fabian Rodriguez in May. Shot at the Riverside House Apartment complex on Shadowood Road.

We prayed about this in our youth group on Wednesday night in our basement. Though he was apparently on something. Came at police naked and carrying knives, he was part of our community. Fabian is one of OURS.

His mother Blessing, goes to sister church Church of The Redeemer PCA in Dunwoody.

2. Last Sunday night March 25, AJC and Online Athens
Zach Gamble, age 34, was severely beaten on Sunday, March 25, 2012. He was found lying in a parking lot at Concord Crossings off Old Concord near where we sent a team to pray just hours before.

"His parents, Tina and Leon Robbins are hoping someone can help Cobb County Police find out who did it and why they did it. "We know that someone came up behind him and he took a terrific blow to the back of his neck," said Tina Robbins, his mother.

"She and her husband have been keeping vigil over their son's hospital bed at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital for five days. Gamble served two tours in Iraq. Now he is fighting for his life. "Being a mom, and this is my only son, and I'm just hoping that someone knows something," Robbins said.

"Gamble has a 7-year old son who has recorded messages that the Robbins play to their comatose in the hopes that it will awaken him. Cobb County Police say that Gamble was at a party at the Concord Crossing apartments. A taxi driver who thought she ran over Gamble called police. But police said the injuries Gamble suffered weren't from being run over, they were from a blow to his head."

3. Saturday March 31 The Associated Press and AJC

"Cobb County police say a high school teacher had sex with a 17-year-old student, who then threatened to tell if he didn’t pay her and give her a good grade.

"Both the teacher, 55-year-old Jonas Magdangal, and the student face charges. The tryst was reported to police by adult who found out from one of the student’s friends. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports ( police say the Campbell High School teacher and his student had sex at a Smyrna hotel Dec. 31. Police say the girl then demanded money and an “A’’ grade to keep quiet.

"The teacher was charged Friday with sexual assault. Smith said the girl is being charged with extortion." 

This happened in OUR SCHOOL.

4. Friday March 30, I got this email from Pastor Lionel Gantt, who is a pastor in a pastor of a historically black church in Cobb County. We met at the forum on immigration we hosted last year.

"To Pastor Moon and the Crosspoint Encuentro Church, I greet you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ the head of my life and ask His grace and blessing upon you and the family of God with you. May God's hand forever be upon you, I greet you in brotherly love.

"My Brother what affect one affects us all and the affects of poverty shows in the record numbers of incarceration due to violent crimes and crimes for money. It is here my Brother, in the fight against poverty, we proactively fight crime.
Through education and economic empowerment we counter act the criminal behaviors of those who would use crime as a means of creating income. We change the hearts and minds of men. No other subject in the Bible was talked about more than money.

"It is here that we must reach back and educate our people to live economically spiritual lives as men and women of God walking in the full power of God.

"We must come outside our church walls to reach out to God’s hurting people of all races, colors, creeds, nationalities and yes, denominations.

"What will Heaven be like? A paradise of all races, all people from every nation in one Kingdom a Kingdom whose House is God’s. When we come together as one on Earth we are looking more like Heaven, the Kingdom of God a House not made with hands, we are the Church of a Living God.

"So I ask you to please come out and join us in this stop the violence crusade and join in with us in prayer for Cobb County. We the SCLC is the Southern Christian Leadership Conference so we believe in the power of prayer and in the unity of the Church. I ask you to please contact those Churches

"Come out and join in the fight. On 21st Apr at 6pm, at 1588 Willie Dr. Marietta, GA Cobb County SCLC/ Stop the Violence and Incarceration Campaign is asking all churches of Cobb Co. to all come together for Prayer and stop the violence crusade.

"Our children are dying in the streets and our sons are being buried alive in the GA Prison system, while GA is ranked 5th in the nation for poverty among children. Poverty is the leading cause for incarceration in America. We take a stand to say “No to Violence, No to Racial Profiling and we say "No to a government who cut unemployment, welfare and housing benefits/service to the poor, while giving tax credits to the rich. Taxation without due representation was the reason for the American Revolution. We are in the fight of our life, as our freedoms as a nation of people are under attack. This is your platform to take a stand and speak out, the violence must stop. We ask you to come and take part in this event."

So I disagree with some of Pastor Gantts solutions. So this problem will not be solved in one easy step. So should we all sell our houses and move to the suburbs? Wait, this is the suburbs y’all. Crime is everywhere.

Evil is pervasive. Sin runs and ruins. Our theology tells us so!!

We need to pray. We should consider praying with (more) other churches!
Pastor Jim Moon, Jr.

PS – I am so proud to be part of Crosspoint Encuentro because I KNOW you all will take this seriously!

PPS – This was a long rambling vent. I hope you will take it in the spirit I intended.