Easter at Pearlside 2017_60.jpg

Norman Nakanishi

Founding and Senior Pastor,
Grace Bible Church Pearlside


     It happened again. This time in Las Vegas, Nevada - a terrible tragedy in what was our country’s largest mass shooting in modern times: at this writing, 59 are dead and 527 injured. The perpetrator this time however was a 64 year old male with no priors whose past raised no suspicion whatsoever. There was no hint of obsession with guns and he seemed to be absolutely normal. Yet he shot into an innocent unsuspecting concert crowd of 22,000.  That being said, what can we now do and what must we now learn from what just happened?

First of all pray

     1 Timothy 2:14 says it clearly: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

     When we pray, God does move, and when we don’t other forces tend to. There is a reason prayer is called out as our first priority. Prayer connects us to God, and is the key to preserving a peaceful and quiet life. It acts as a shield. To those who live in what is best known to be a city of gamers we should extend our most fervent prayers. At the end of the day, the God who made us can best heal all wounded hearts. As Psalm 34:18 says, “he is near to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

     The end of this passage, however, shows us God’s most desired outcome: that all would be saved and come to know his truth. For beyond the comfort he gives lies the relationship he craves to have with a country once devoted to his ways. It is time to return to him and stay close to him.

Weep with those who weep , reach out to those who weep

     Romans 12:15 says we are to feel with those in pain by letting our tears mingle with theirs. The power of empathy and identification is a comforting emotional healer. So weep with them yes, and freely. Let them express themselves totally and offer the gift of active listening and sincere understanding. Take your time, but at the right time reach out to them. Gently bring the saving hope of the gospel to their hearts.

     Jesus stands at the door of everyone’s hearts, and they will be most apt to open that door to him during times like these. Only the gospel can can truly save them by bringing freedom to their soul. God yearns for eternal repentance that transcends temporary relief. Be sensitive but try your very best not to settle. 

Shine light quickly on evidence of darkness early on

     This was no random act of violence. It was way too extreme, and the perpetrator way too secretive and deceptive. This one had spiritual roots. Our spiritual enemy like any other enemy, works best when undetected or ignored. This is why scripture tells us not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices, and his devices always work best through people.

     Mostly all conflicts and acts of violence emanate from relational breakdowns resulting in hurt, rejection, resentment and bitterness. When bitterness goes deep and endures, depression, delusion and oppression can occur. When in this state, a person is capable of the unthinkable and what started as a mental disturbance can require spiritual deliverance. 

Be his voice

     Almost all extreme acts of violence involve the perpetrator or perpetrators claiming to hear some sort of convincing voice compelling them to act. Sometimes they have claimed it to be the voice of God leading them to exact righteous retribution for being personally wronged.

     In the ministry I have witnessed this personally and on one occasion was able with the help of two others to set a friend free from some extreme demonic influences. He had a formidable weapon in his car with a list of a few dozen names he righteously felt compelled to kill. Fortunately he had enough sense left to make a last ditch approach for help and disaster was avoided. That three hour intervention marked me forever. What if he had no one to turn to?

     Moving forward you and I can be that someone for those hurting in our circles. You and I can be a voice for God silencing the voice of evil while nipping a work of darkness in the bud, for no one starts out being a random killer of innocent people.

Be aware , take your place

     If we can catch things quickly by discerning early darkness in those we know, much can be averted. Start with those you know affected by what just happened in Las Vegas. Go there early for later may be too late. Ask questions. Show love and care. Listen don’t lecture. Let them talk. Share a meal. Pray for them. Be a friend.

     Experts say that 80% of most problems can be talked through and issues resolved especially if caught early enough. Be that person and take your place. Take time to be aware of others. Take time to be there for others. Many lives may be saved, both for this life and the next because you did just that.