Update: COVID-19 Response

March 24, 2020By PK ManagerNews

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.  Do everything in Love.”   – 1st Corinthians 16:13-14

Our first response to the coronavirus and the real fears that so many are feeling is…

Lean into our Lord, love your families well, and stand strong on the Word of God.  Only God has the power and authority to calm our storms, give us hope in the darkness; and fill you with His peace that surpasses all understanding. 

As our good friend Max Lucado says, “It’s not a time to despair but a time for prayer.” Our prayers are with you today and we are committed to help if you need us.

Like most of the world, our lives have been deeply impacted by the important precautions and measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus. But now more than ever, we believe God is calling us to pray and to stand firm in the faith. It was one year ago that God gave PK leadership this Corinthians theme verse to represent our 2020 Conference message. We had no idea how significant it would be as we now enter into this season of uncertainty.

Here is a message PK CEO and Chairman, Ken Harrison shared on March 11:

We’re getting a lot of questions lately from people who bought tickets to the event on July 31 and August 1. We have people coming from 47 different states and several countries as far away as Zimbabwe and Norway. And I want to reassure you right now that we’re planning on being at AT&T July 31 and August 1.

We don’t know what’s going to come from all of this – the virus. We do know, though, that we don’t let our lives be ruled by fear. We know that all things work together for the good of those who love Jesus as we are called to His purpose in Romans 8:28. So I just want to encourage everyone – let’s stay in prayer, support each other and lift each other up, let’s wash our hands and listen to what people are telling us to do. And we will be praying for all of you guys.”

For a video of this update and future updates, please visit our Facebook page. 

As Promise Keepers, we honor Jesus Christ, we love our families, we disciple men, we strive for integrity, and we do our best to keep our promises…so here is our promise to you:

  • Your Safety –  We are committed to carefully monitoring all updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (SDC) and will make wise decisions regarding the safety of our PK family and friends. Currently, we have cancelled all March events and will re-evaluate our April gatherings.
  • Our PK Family – We are committed to praying for you, for our families, for our pastors, for our ambassadors, for our volunteers, for our donors, for our speakers and artists, and for our ministry partners.
  • Daily Prayer – We are committed to ministering to the body of Christ and would like to invite you to join Pastor Steve BergerGrace Chapel Church and a member of the PK Pastoral Board for a daily prayer. Pastor Steve will be going LIVE on Facebook at 7am and continuing daily until we have a breakthrough with the Coronavirus. Please share and invite others to join. We’re in this together.
  • PK Updates – We are committed to keeping you informed with regular ministry updates and sharing a collection of inspirational messages and resources from PK Leadership and our Ministries Partners.  Consider signing up to receive our newsletter or visit our website.
  • PK Partners – We are committed to your ministry and we will continue to lock arms for Christ during this difficult time. We would love to share your content and resources to bring help, hope and healing to our PK audience. Please contact Greg Tull (GregT@pknet.org) or Nicole Stark (NicoleS@pknet.org).
  • Virtual Gatherings – We are committed to hosting virtual PK prayer gatherings, informational sessions, leadership forums. Our event planners are happy to serve your needs. Please contact Lisa Aleckson (LisaA@pknet.org) or Nicole Stark (NicoleS@pknet.org) for more information.
  • The National Conference – We are committed to praying for God’s favor and provision for our National Conference and Simulcast on July 31-August 1 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.  At this time, barring a mandate from the state or national government, we plan to hold our 2020 Conference and simulcast events across the nation.
  • Marketing Requests – Marketing materials and resources are available for download and sharing at www.PromiseKeepersEvent.com. Or, contact Nicole Stark (NicoleS@pknet.org).

Personal Message from Judge Vance Day, President of Promise Keepers

These are tough times no doubt and it is so easy to lose heart but our perspective on current events is always informed by our worldview. Believers in Jesus should find a tremendous amount of confidence and encouragement if they study the Scriptures, fashioned by our Creator.

God’s Word reminds us that what he allows in his wisdom, he could easily stop by his sovereign power. We also know that every problem that passes through his hands and comes to us always comes with a promise and a provision for that promise.

We see this in James 1:2-4. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials for the testing of your faith. For it produces endurance and will make you mature and complete, lacking nothing.”

With this in mind, please be encouraged today that with every problem we face, no matter how hard and difficult it may appear, God sees it as an opportunity to grow our faith and to do something good.   

Yes, protect yourself and be wise. God does not want us to be foolish. We should not tempt him by jumping off a cliff and asking him to save us, nor should we go about kissing and hugging people who are infected. Nevertheless, we are people who are called to be courageous, kind and involved on behalf of our Lord.  The church should, or dare I say, must engage this crisis as an opportunity to show the love of Christ in how we care for others.

We here at Promise Keepers plan to engage. We will be wise, but we will engage. Absent an emergency directive from the government, we will be having a catalytic event for men at AT&T Stadium on July 31 and August 1, 2020.  If that directive comes from the government, then we will understand that in God‘s wisdom he has allowed us to execute on our contingency plans. And we will do so.

This year‘s theme is a reminder of what we must do in this crisis: we must stand strong

We believe God is calling his people into action but ultimately, we have a choice. I love the scripture found in Joshua 24:15, when God said to his people, “Choose this day who you will serve”  Just like then, we face tough times but it is our prayer that God’s people will find courage to stand up and boldly respond, “But as for me in my house, we will serve the Lord.“  

Below are the thoughts of Martin Luther as he considered the ramifications of the black plague in Europe during the middle ages. I think we should read them and pray about how God would have us each of us engage. 

Please know that Promise Keepers will move forward with our plans, while caring for those as best we can in our communities. We plan to hold a catalytic event which we pray will ignite a revival for a world that is desperate to see our God. 

Serving the Lord, 

Vance Day

PK President

Message from Promise Keepers’ Chairman

March 17, 2020By Ken HarrisonNews

We’re getting a lot of questions lately from people who bought tickets to the event on July 31 and August 1. We have people coming from 47 different states and several countries as far away as Zimbabwe and Norway. And I want to reassure you right now that we’re planning on being at AT&T July 31 and August 1.

We don’t know what’s going to come from all of this – the virus. We do know, though, that we don’t let our lives be ruled by fear. We know that all things work together for the good of those who love Jesus as we are called to His purpose in Romans 8:28. So I just want to encourage everyone – let’s stay in prayer, support each other and lift each other up, let’s wash our hands and listen to what people are telling us to do. And we will be praying for all of you guys.

Ken Harrison, Promise Keepers’ CEO and Chairman

Watch the video on Facebook

‘Without Jesus, I Wouldn’t Be Who I Am’: World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Evander Holyfield

March 9, 2020By PK ManagerNews
This article appeared in Christian Headlines.

by Maina Mwaura

Mention the name Evander Holyfield and the first few things that may come to most people’s minds are: boxing champion, the ear-biting incident with Mike Tyson or maybe even headlines from tabloids that pick apart the four-time heavyweight boxing champion of the world. However, there is far more than what meets the eye when it comes to Evander Holyfield; he is nothing short of “The Real Deal.”

Born in Atmore, Alabama before his family moved and called Atlanta, Georgia home, Holyfield – also nicknamed The Warrior – overcame many obstacles in his life to which he gives all the glory to God. When Christian Headlines asked him why he’s decided to be so outspoken about his faith, Holyfield didn’t have to think twice. He responded, “Because, without Jesus, I wouldn’t be who I am.” Holyfield went on to credit his mother and grandmother for showing him tough love and always encouraging him to call on the name of Jesus. “They (his Grandmother and mother) kept reminding me, ‘you’ve got to ask Jesus to help you,’” he recalled.

His faith in God and having a family that demonstrated the example of relying on Jesus set the foundation in his life that enabled him to not only overcome obstacles and adversity but to stay positive. No matter what obstacles he has encountered – not even his ten losses that he refers to as “setbacks” – Holyfield insists that he tried to stay positive because God should be reflected in his actions. He said, “I have a purpose to represent God and I’ve got to represent him the best way I know how.”

Over the years, Holyfield has shared how his faith in Jesus Christ has never failed him. He wants to share this message with other men to encourage them to be open and truthful about their faith, too. So, Christian Headlines asked him why he believes people should come to Promise Keepers—an Evangelical parachurch organization created for men to encourage one another through fellowship and prayer.

He responded, “Men should come together being able to open up and being able to be truthful … because you have to be truthful to overcome things.” Holyfield says he never gets tired of people asking questions about the infamous ear-biting incident during a boxing match with Mike Tyson. He uses it as an opportunity to share a pertinent part of the Gospel. Simply, “God wants you to forgive.”

He is steady in his conviction that “I wouldn’t be who I am if I hadn’t been through what I’ve been through.”

What Does Satan Want?

January 22, 2020By PK ManagerCulture, News, Values
This article appeared in the Christian Post.

 

 

We cannot become successful followers of Jesus until we understand that we have an enemy who works tirelessly to turn us back to our sinful nature.

Scripture has quite a bit to say about Satan, yet most Christians are ignorant about him. God has written some adamant warnings about our enemy, and we need to heed them carefully. Many Christians are under constant attack by him but have no idea of the battle they’re in. They think their lack of joy, broken relationships, and failures in life originate with them, when in reality their troubles are because they are following the voice of the enemy of their souls but are completely unaware of it.

Satan is a liar and murderer. This part of him comes from his true nature, which, according to the Bible, consists of arrogance, vanity, envy, and selfish ambition. When we act in such a manner, we align ourselves with Satan as enemies of God. This is why the mark of a child of God is humility and absolute surrender to our Lord.

Paul got to the essence of this idea in Philippians 2:3, where he wrote, “Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.”

What Does Satan Want?

Satan hates God with all of his being. God is perfect and untouchable…but we aren’t. So Satan goes after God’s children – you and me. He gets us to hurt one another and turn our backs on our Father.

Why do we let this happen? Satan is crafty. He disguises his hatred and pretends to be our Father’s friend at first. Once we let him into our lives, we start to hear subtle whispers that appeal to our egos:

  • Why did your Father give your sister that gift instead of you?
  • Look at your brother. He always has to get all the attention. Your brother likes art, and everyone tells him he’s so good at it! I think art is disgusting and offends God, don’t you?
  • Look at your sister studying science. Everyone knows that your God disagrees with science…You should say something about this to your brothers and sisters. She shouldn’t be allowed to come around.

The lies start to get more specific as Satan becomes entrenched in our lives, because hatred can’t really take root without self-loathing.

  • You’re so ugly. Look at how your sister looks down on you.
  • Your brother is smart, and you’re stupid. He thinks he’s better than you.
  • You’ll feel better if you drink this or snort that.

And finally: Why do you go on living? No one likes you anyway. At least if you were dead, they’d appreciate you. They’d feel bad for how they’d treated you.

The Good News

God has already defeated Satan! Sometimes we get this idea, probably from other religions, of an equal duel between good and evil happening in the heavens. This is not the case. Satan was defeated and cast out! The only duel now is for your heart and mine. Satan can’t touch God, so he attacks His children. And he does this by exploiting our sinful nature. He does it by appealing to the pride in each of us.

With the Fall, sin became our nature and four great separations occurred, according to Genesis 3:

  1. People became hostile to one another. Adam blamed Eve.
  2. People became hostile to nature. Nature became cursed and became a source of labor for him.
  3. People became hostile to themselves. Adam felt shame and hid from God.
  4. People became hostile to God. When God asked him what had happened, Adam blamed God, saying, “The woman You gave me did it.”

It’s no surprise, then, that Satan exploits these separations. He seeks to push our flesh in its natural direction, toward hatred of one another, nature, ourselves, and God. As James wrote, “If you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t brag and deny the truth. Such wisdom does not come from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic” (3:14–15). The Spirit of God unifies and makes peace, while Satan divides. When we create unity among others, even at the expense of our own ambition, when we authentically build others up, and when we serve, we display the Spirit of God. When we gossip, slander, act out of jealousy, and create division, we show that we’re following the voice of Satan, acting as enemies of our Savior and Creator.

What does Satan want? He wants to hurt God by separating Him from His children and by separating His children from one another.

How Can We Tell When Satan Is at Work?

Satan can perform miracles and cause people to do so (2 Thessalonians 2:9–10; Revelation 13:13–14). Many Christians have been led astray by false teachers who have performed great signs. How do we tell the difference?

  • When the Spirit of God is at work, all the glory goes to Jesus. When Satan is at work, the glory goes to people.
  • The Spirit of God always brings peace. Satan always brings stress and anxiousness.
  • The Spirit of God always brings unity and equality. Satan seeks to divide and elevate some people over others.
  • The Spirit of God always brings clarity. Satan brings complication and confusion. “How can we really understand what truth is?” ask his servants. It’s the same lie he told Eve at the beginning. “Did God really say…” (Genesis 3:1). Yes, He did.

When the church is divided, the cause is often false leaders in the church who, out of ignorance, laziness, or greed, complicate the gospel, adding some form of works, tradition, or hierarchy. This allows one group of people to elevate themselves over another, selling out the free gospel of Jesus and controlling others. Jesus is not unaware of their schemes.

Believers who are walking in obedience to God’s Word have nothing to fear because they are protected by Christ. “He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves” (Colossians 1:13). However, when we knowingly commit sin, we open ourselves up to Satan’s deception.

We must exercise patience with those who are not walking with Christ, because their minds are blinded. “Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. Then they may come to their senses and escape the Devil’s trap, having been captured by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:25–26).

To those who have the truth, the arguments of unbelievers are senseless, but we mustn’t condemn them or curse them but pray for them. Only prayer and patience will unlock the minds of unbelievers so they can see the truth.

How Do We Fight Him?

As we will see time and again, Scripture calls us to be in a fight. The first call is to fight against Satan.

Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. (Ephesians 6:11–13)

Satan is a liar. His power comes through appealing to our pride and our flesh. If we’re surrendered to God, Satan has no hold on us because our lives will be shielded by the armor of God. We want to know who he is and what his schemes are so that we can recognize when he is deceiving us or others. We too often engage the lie rather than the liar.

Life according to the flesh, which is under perpetual harassment by Satan and his lies, always brings pride, discord, and division. Life according to the Spirit always brings humility, peace, and unity. Satan uses the same tactics he did thousands of years ago because they have always worked. He moves among us, appealing to our pride. These are still his main temptations to God’s people.

Now we see the immense responsibility that God has given to each of us. We must humble ourselves so that we can fight. Once we know what is wrong with us and who our enemy is, we are ready to become the people God has called us to be. 

Ken Harrison is CEO and chairman of Promise Keepers. Today, Promise Keepers is calling men back to bold servant leadership as change makers for their families, churches and communities. Harrison is also CEO of WaterStone, a Christian Community Foundation that oversees donations of millions of dollars a month to build God’s kingdom. After starting his career as an LAPD street cop in South Central, he spent nearly two decades in commercial real estate. Married and the father of three, Harrison has a new book, “The Rise of the Servant Kings: What the Bible Says About Being a Man.”

Promise Keepers’ New Initiative Challenges Christians to Pray Daily for the Hearts of Men Nationwide

January 9, 2020By PK ManagerNews

“7:31” Campaign to Strengthen Godly Leaders Across Generations

Promise Keepers (PK), which will host its first national gathering in more than 20 years July 31-August 1, officially launched the “7:31” prayer campaign to challenge individuals to unite in prayer twice a day at 7:31 and petition God to move, convict and awaken an intergenerational audience of promise-keeping men.

“Revival begins with God and takes place within the heart,” said PK CEO and Board Chair Ken Harrison. “We know that the potential impact of the Promise Keepers 2020 event is fully dependent on how much it is based on and blessed by God’s guidance and the stirring of the Holy Spirit. That’s why we’re urging everyone who desires to see the men of America changed by the Lord, to get on their knees twice a day and pray.”

PK asks anyone who is eager to witness a Spirit-led awakening among men to set two daily alarms for 7:31 a.m. and p.m.—or both—on their phones, computers, watches and tablets, to serve as reminders to pause and pray for:

  • The Holy Spirit to move powerfully in the hearts of men;
  • Men to hunger and thirst for righteousness;
  • Men to hunger for the Word of God;
  • Men to cherish their wives, love their children and serve their churches;
  • Single men to walk in purity and make a war against sin; and
  • The Promise Keepers 2020 event to have a powerful impact on countless men.

“Imagine what could happen if thousands of voices across multiple time zones rise Heavenward and petition God to change our nation by transforming the hearts of men?” asked PK President Vance Day. “We expect in faith for God to do a great work in the hearts of not only those who will be coming to the PK event but all who will be impacted by their commitment to Christ, including their wives, children, parents, friends, churches and colleagues.”

Individuals who participate in the “7:31” prayer campaign are invited to receive updates and encouragement about the movement and the event by following PK on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

At Promise Keepers 2020, men from all walks of life will be encouraged, equipped and empowered to stand strong as better husbands, fathers and workers in their God-given roles as leaders. World-class speakers, Bible teachers and musicians will guide attendees to the Word of God and toward biblical manhood with messages focusing on PK’s Seven Promises of Honor, Brotherhood, Virtue, Commitment, Changemaking, Unity and Obedience, which have been foundational to the movement since its founding in 1990.

Promise Keepers 2020 tickets are now available.

What Exactly is Humility?

January 9, 2020By Ken HarrisonCulture, News, Rise of the Servant Kings, Values
This article appeared in the Christian Post.

Humility is clear eyesight. It is the ability to see things as they really are. A successful follower of Christ is humble. He places the needs of those in his care above his own. He doesn’t get his identity from what he has accomplished. He gets it from God.

Our flesh and our old nature see through a lens of self. We perceive things based on how they affect us. Pride distorts how we see the world. It causes our identity to be based on our accomplishments or lack thereof.

The thicker our lens of self — our pride — the less we see things as God sees them, which is how they really are. This is evident in the musings of a crazy person. As G. K. Chesterton described in Orthodoxy, a madman looks at himself as the center of all things. If he were to recognize that no one actually is focused on him, he would be infinitely happier because his world would suddenly become infinitely bigger. 

Pride shrinks the universe to a tiny world in which we are the god. As we die to self, we are able to see the world more clearly, as larger and more wonderful than we can comprehend. Pride is a miserable state because we don’t really inflate ourselves or our value. Instead, we shrink the universe to meet our limited imaginations.

Because we are fallen and therefore see things through our pride, we have difficulty judging ourselves properly. The more wicked people are, the higher their opinion of themselves tends to be. In order to properly judge ourselves, we must look at things from outside our own perspective. The way we react to things tells us where we are in our walk with Christ.

The insignificant things of daily life are the things that show us who we are. They show what spirit possesses us. It is our most unguarded moments that show us whether we walk in the Spirit or in the flesh. How do you react when you’re tired, hungry, cold, irritated, or stressed? Here we see what Jesus meant when He said, “Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and whoever is unrighteous in very little is also unrighteous in much” (Luke 16:10).

People often mistake confidence for pride. Actually, the most confident people are usually the humblest, such as the great saints Abraham, David, Joseph, Paul, and Apollos. The Bible calls Moses, who led an entire nation out of slavery, the humblest man on earth (Numbers 12:3).

Let’s look at some aspects of a humble person. Search your heart. Do these characteristics look like you?

■ No longer compares himself with others.

■ Seeks no recognition for self.

■ Sees every person equally as a child of God and honors him or her as such.

■ Enjoys hearing others praised, even if he is forgotten.

■ Forgives.

■ Lives a life marked by patience.

■ Relationships are known for peace and unity.

■ Constantly encourages others.

We see humility as a virtue, but it is really the symptom of something else — the Holy Spirit reigning in a person as self has become less. The holiest is always the humblest.

Pride doesn’t always show up as arrogance. It can appear as self-loathing, shyness, obsession with guilt, or anger. This is because pride always comes from a focus on self.

I once confronted a Christian who was living in sin, and he yelled at me, “Don’t you think I feel bad about it?” I asked him what his feelings had to do with anything. Pride thinks that feeling guilty is some sort of penance. Guilt without repentance disregards those whom your sin has hurt. It is just a continued focus on self, simply flipping from arrogance to self-loathing. It’s all self.

Humility grows as our Lord is revealed to us. As we come to know the Savior and look up into His face, we become more aware of our own depravity. Not in a self-deprecating way, but with the gratitude of a child who realizes that he is completely dependent on God and that God loves him and has promised to never leave or forsake him (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5).

Ken Harrison is CEO and chairman of Promise Keepers. Today, Promise Keepers is calling men back to bold servant leadership as change makers for their families, churches and communities. Harrison is also CEO of WaterStone, a Christian Community Foundation that oversees donations of millions of dollars a month to build God’s kingdom. After starting his career as an LAPD street cop in South Central, he spent nearly two decades in commercial real estate. Married and the father of three, Harrison has a new book, “The Rise of the Servant Kings: What the Bible Says About Being a Man.”

Promises Keepers Announces Pastoral Advisory Board

December 23, 2019By PK ManagerNews

Promise Keepers is pleased to announce its new pastoral advisory board. The board, made up of biblically based leaders from across the nation, was chosen by PK leadership to help shepherd the spiritual integrity of its first stadium gathering in more than 20 years next summer. These men will ensure that all speakers, topics, worship sessions and prayer groups associated with the 2020 gathering are doctrinally sound and align with PK’s founding Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper, which include Honor, Brotherhood, Commitment, Changemaking, Unity and Obedience. Currently comprised of seven men of integrity, the board may welcome new members between now and the 2020 event as the Spirit leads.

The Pastoral Advisory Board Members:

“Following the Holy Spirit’s guidance in selecting these men to serve on our pastoral advisory board was a worthwhile process,” said PK CEO and Board Chair Ken Harrison. “There would be no point in resurging the Promise Keepers movement without taking every measure to ensure that it’s more Christ-centered than ever. I have confidence in these individuals and their commitment to carrying out a God-honoring event that elevates men and equips them to seek the Lord as the solution for every obstacle they face.”

Help Raise Up an Army of Men to Change America

November 22, 2019By PK ManagerNews

Our country desperately needs men who will stand up for what’s right.

To help launch a movement of promise-keeping men, we need prayer warriors. We need peopleto tell their pastors and other men that Promise Keepers is back. And, if God is leading you, we need financial support. Here are four projects we are praying will be fully funded by December 31:

1. Promise Keepers’ next national stadium event will be held July 31-August 1, 2020, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas — and will bring together 80,000+ men, plus a projected 5 million men in churches and groups worldwide through simulcast. Due to critical production and logistics costs to prepare for the 2020 event, we need just over $1.5 million by December 31.

2. A Promise Keepers worship album will unify men in praise and worship and ensure we are all singing the same songs during the global simulcast. In years past, our worship CDs were a key part of the Promise Keepers experience. Once again, we will identify the best singers and songwriters to create a worship album worthy of men. Cost: $125,000

3. The Promise Keepers smartphone app will encourage men on a daily basis before and after our 2020 event. This app is an essential tool for Fire Teams — small groups of men who will ensure the impact of Promise Keepers lasts long after our annual events. Cost: $350,000

4. The Promise Keepers Bible will give men powerful study tools along with an accurate translation of the Word of God. Through QR codes, you will be able to hold your smartphone over the Bible and watch videos about what the Bible is teaching and the history behind events. Cost: $95,000

We believe God’s hand is upon each of these projects, and we believe God always pays for what He orders. In that spirit, we share these projects with you and invite you to support them financially. We will never pressure you into giving. However, we’ve promised to communicate our needs openly and honestly, and this is one of those times.

To support these projects by December 31st, mail your gift or give online. Thank you!

PK in the News: Mass shooting at California school renews gun discussion

November 19, 2019By PK ManagerCulture, News
This article appeared in Baptist Press.

As the U.S. deals with its latest mass shooting, with at least two killed and four others injured Thursday (Nov. 14) at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif., evangelism and gun control are cited to Baptist Press as possible remedies to stem the tide of violence.

Police and other emergency personnel responded Thursday (Nov. 14) when a 16-year-old student killed two fellow students and shot four others, including himself, at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif.

A 16-year-old Asian male Saugus High School student described as the suspected shooter was being treated for a self-inflicted gunshot wound less than three hours after he is believed to have opened fire at the high school of about 2,500 students. One student was treated and released, and two others remain hospitalized.

In the hours following the shooting, many students were sheltered at Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita, a non-Southern Baptist congregation that hosted a night of prayer Thursday.

Baptist Press interviewed Southern Baptist evangelist Greg Laurie, whose 29th annual Southern California Harvest Crusade in August marked the longest-running evangelistic outreach in U.S. history. BP talked with Promise Keepers Chairman and CEO Ken Harrison, a former police officer who leads the evangelistic and discipleship outreach to men, and retired pastor Al Meredith, who was senior pastor at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1999 when a gunman killed seven and injured seven others before killing himself.

Laurie, in his 2019 Southern California Harvest Crusade, reported more than 8,000 professions of faith, 65 percent of them from Millennials, he said.

“I believe that the ultimate answer to so many of our problems in the culture today, from acts of violence against others to even acts of violence against yourself,” he told BP, “is the Gospel. But we have to understand what the Gospel is.

“The Gospel obviously means Good News; the bad news is we’re sinners,” Laurie said. “The bad news is we’re separated from God; the bad news is we’re broken. The Good News is Jesus died to forgive us of our sin, and rose from the dead. And if we turn from our sin, put our faith in Him and follow Him, then He’ll change us.

“But that doesn’t mean you’re not capable of doing something horrible,” he said. “So it’s not just believing Jesus; it’s following Jesus. And it’s living by what His Word says.”

God is working among youth, Laurie said, “but we need to redouble our efforts to proclaim the Gospel.”

The motive of the suspect in Thursday’s shooting has not been revealed, but the shooting did occur on his birthday. He was taken into custody while hiding at the school with a .45 caliber semi-automatic weapon, authorities said.

“I’m sorry, it’s just not enough to say you know, ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people,'” Meredith told BP. “Why is our death rate so much higher? Why do we have mass shootings that have become common place, they don’t even register on our emotional radar? And other countries like Scandinavia, and Germany and France and Great Britain, they shake their heads in amazement at why we allow these things to happen.”

Days and weeks before BP’s interviews, two young men had killed 34 people in one weekend in August in the U.S. In El Paso, Texas, a 21-year-old man had killed 22 people and left 26 others injured at a Walmart, and a 24-year old male gunman had killed nine in a nightlife district of Dayton, Ohio. The previous weekend, a 19-year-old male was identified as the shooter after three were shot dead at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, Calif., about 300 miles north of Thursday’s school shooting.

“Hope is two-fold,” Meredith told BP, as tragedies make more common the term “domestic terrorism.” His views are his own, Meredith said, and not those of the church that in September marked the 20th anniversary of the 1999 shooting there.

“One, only God can change dead hearts into living hearts. Only God can transform evil characters into God-honoring people,” Meredith told BP. “In one sense, all these mass killings are an issue of the human heart. And it’s a sign of our failure as evangelicals to win the world to Christ.

“The other level,” Meredith said, “is it seems as though our problems are systemic in our society.”

According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the U.S. registered 3.85 deaths by guns per 100,000 people in 2016, compared to rates ranging from 0.12 per 100,000 in Germany and 0.03 per 100,000 in Singapore. The numbers, released in 2017, do not include deaths from armed conflicts, accidents or self-harm, the institute said.

“And that should tell us,” Meredith told BP, “there’s something wrong with the system (in the U.S.)…. Something must be done to change the system, both in the area of some semblance of restriction on the availability of automatic weapons. And the other issue is mental health, and somehow do a better job of caring for and bringing healing and normalcy to people that are emotionally disturbed.”

At the Southern Baptist Convention’s 2018 annual meeting in Dallas, messengers passed a resolution “On Gun Violence and Mass Shootings” addressing many of these issues. Read it here.

Harrison, whose Promise Keepers ministry focuses on evangelism and discipleship, sees the answer more in evangelism and discipleship than in gun control. “When you look at mass shootings, they’re … mostly young men who, they don’t know that Jesus loves them,” Harrison said. “They don’t know that they can be forgiven for their sin. They don’t know where to turn for answers.

“The number one thing the church needs to do is let these young people know about the grace and love of Jesus Christ,” Harrison said. “But more practically … one of the biggest problems that these young men have, is they don’t have dads in the home. They don’t have positive male influences, and they’re filled with anger. I was able to see the effects of that when I was a policeman in South Central Los Angeles in the Watts-Compton area.” There, he said, where 95 percent of the population was law abiding, the influence of gang violence was prominent and left people in fear.

Problems were exacerbated by fatherlessness and a lack of Gospel evangelism, he said, adding that a father in the home doesn’t necessarily equal a stable environment.

“We as Christians, we have got to be active in sharing our faith,” Harrison said, encouraging Christians to seek opportunities to share the Gospel with people they encounter in daily life. “Just say, if there’s one thing I can pray for you today what would it be? Unbelievable where that goes.” In his experience, people rarely refuse to talk and such conversations most often lead to salvation experiences, he told BP.

The suspect’s father died two years ago, according to ABC7.com.

At-Risk Boys? We Call Them Future World Changers

November 4, 2019By PK ManagerNews

Help Send 500 Young “Men of Honor” to PK’s 2020 Event

The Men and Ladies of Honor—a Christian ministry based in the Dallas area—teaches chivalry and virtue to at-risk boys and girls on public school campuses in the United States and locations around the world. The majority of students served are fatherless and live below the poverty level.

Through The Men and Ladies of Honor ministry, students are mentored and instructed in core values and leadership, with an emphasis on good character, honor, and integrity. Their mission is to develop passionate followers of Christ, urging students to create a culture of honor, excellence, and exemplary behavior in their schools and communities.

Your Opportunity
We have a vision for 500 of these young “Men of Honor” to attend Promise Keepers’ next national event in the Dallas-Fort Worth area on July 31–August 1, 2020. If you sense God’s leading, you have an opportunity to help provide a scholarship for one or more young men to attend the event. A gift of $100 to our Scholarship Fund can provide a ticket for one person. To help, click here and choose “Fund a Scholarship.”

You Can Do This Now
Interested in having an impact on others? We’ve created another simple way for you to encourage a young man to attend Promise Keepers. Share an audio testimony by calling (877) 880-1181 and leave a message with your story of how God has worked through Promise Keepers to change your life.

We’ll use your stories to encourage and strengthen others. Thank you!