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When tragedy like Wedgwood strikes, don’t stop ministering, speaker u


FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Do not stop ministering in the midst of tragedy but embrace the opportunity to share Christ with a lost and hostile world, said Fort Worth pastor Carroll Marr at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Marr, pastor of Southcliff Baptist Church, spoke at Southwestern’s chapel service one week after a gunman killed seven people at Wedgwood Baptist Church, including two Southwestern students and one graduate, before taking his own life. Two students were injured, and numerous members of the seminary family attend Wedgwood or had children at the youth rally that night.
God has called Christians into a hostile world, Marr said, reminding the chapel audience that the church shooting will leave lasting effects on the lives of those directly and indirectly involved.
“We will be forever changed as a result of what happened in our encounter at Wedgwood,” Marr said.
“In times like these, as in no other times, it is a complete reliance upon the power and sovereignty of God that will enable [us] to react to this situation like [Wedgwood] pastor Al Meredith,” he said.
Marr used as his text the Mark 2 account in the New Testament of a paralytic lowered by friends through the roof of a house Jesus was in so that Jesus could heal him.
It was not only the paralytic who had great faith, but also his four friends, Marr noted.
By looking at this text, Marr said, Christians can see ways to minister in the adverse world in which they are currently living.
The foundation of ministry originates in the heart of people who have an awareness that without Jesus men and women will die and spend an eternity in hell, he said.
“Every major ministry today that is effectively reaching people with the gospel is the ministry that was born in the heart of an individual,” he said.
“It is that intense need that we recognize in the hearts of others for Jesus that will become the motivation that keeps us in ministry,” he added. “These are tough times, and it takes determination to stick with it.”
Marr noted the determination of the paralytic’s friends who dug a hole in the roof of the house when they couldn’t get into the crowded house through the door.
“We’re not going to stop, we’re not going back. This man needs Jesus and Jesus is the only thing that will make a difference in his life,” Marr said, as he envisioned the conversation the friends must have had.
It is determination like this that modern-day Christians need to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ, he said.
“God has called us to continue in constant determination until we bring the message of Christ to every person in the world,” Marr said.
In any kind of ministry, Marr said, there is always a price to be paid and Christians must be willing to sacrifice to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“If you are unwilling to pay the price for ministry, you will never know success. You will never know the opportunity to see God work in your life,” he emphasized.
To be a willing minister, one must be willing to give up time, energy, resources and finances, Marr said.
With the determination and sacrifice Christians must have to reach a lost world, there is also an expectation Christians must have as they look to see God’s hand in their work, he noted.
Just as the men who took the paralytic to Jesus with an expectation of healing, Christians must expect results and trust that they will come about, he said.
Ministry should be done “with an expectant heart believing that if I bring them to [Jesus], he will make a difference in their life,” Marr said.
Looking at this in the aftermath of the Wedgwood shootings, Marr explained Christians need to be fully aware “that without Jesus men are irresponsible in their actions and men are brought to such devastation they feel they have no hope, no direction, no meaning and no purpose. We must recognize there are thousands of people all around us who desperately need Jesus Christ.”
There is something even more tragic than the shootings at Wedgwood, he said.
“Even more horrible than a gunman entering a room and taking the lives of innocent people is the horror of a life lost that is not prepared to go,” Marr said.
“The ray of joy that we have been able to embrace in this tragedy is the fact that those who were killed are alive and well today in heaven,” he said.