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Ken Walker: Blessed Are Those Who Mourn


Two of the most interesting reports from this terrible tragedy are about the Holy Spirit’s forewarning. Exactly 90 days before April 20, local pastor, Bruce Porter, awoke from a nightmarish vision of kids killing kids (p. 38). Youth minister Larry Pambianco says that three nights before Columbine Eric Harris was at his youth outreach center. Pambianco reports that he received a word of knowledge before the main band played and that he stood and delivered this message: “Somebody in here has either murdered someone or is about to. Please reconsider and accept the Lord. God can save you out of that lifestyle, clean you up and take you out of that” (“Reaching ‘Trench Coat Kids’” Charisma, September 1999, p. 42).

Five months later, another tragedy engulfed the Dallas area when Larry Ashbrook entered Wedgwood Baptist Church during a post-See-You-At-The-Pole Prayer and Praise rally. He opened fire upon a sanctuary full of high schoolers and their leaders, throwing bombs and shooting over 100 times.

“Right before the gunman committed suicide, a young man [Jeremiah Neitz] stood up and faced him. He said, ‘I know what you need…Jesus.’ [Ashbrook] answered with a curse to which [Neitz] replied, ‘Come on, shoot me. I know where I am going. Do you?’ Larry Ashbrook then sat on the back pew and put a bullet through his brain” (as reported in E-mail by Arlyn on September 19, 1999, see the Wedgwood Baptist Website: [Conversation no longer available as of October 3, 2014]).

Reports continue to come in from all over the United States where young people have been deeply shaken by these events. Many are ready to listen to a spiritual message that answers questions untouched by the relativism they have been taught for years. There is a holy boldness arising in previously lukewarm young people. Charisma reports that church and ministry leaders are also recognizing the urgency of the hour. Doug Stringer, founder of Turning Point Ministries in Houston, says “From a Christian perspective, there’s a sense that [the church’s focus] can’t be business as usual. We can’t get together and navel-gaze. We’re the watchmen on the wall. We have to look at tangible ways to serve the community” (p. 43).

It has been observed in both of these tragedies that there were miracles of protection that kept many more from dying. Many of the bombs planted in Columbine High never exploded. Likewise, Ashbrook was a terrible shot and a poor bomb maker. What was intended for an even greater tragedy was limited by God for His very specific purpose.

If these tragedies are any indication, when youth pray for God to do “whatever it takes” there is a tremendous triumph that comes in the wake of a great tragedy. It appears that when young people “sell out” for God to do whatever it takes, the Enemy does his worst. Then, God takes the tragedy and brings a spiritual revolution to the community.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28 NKJV.

Reviewed by Raul Mock


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Category: Living the Faith, Spring 2000

About the Author: Raul L. Mock is one of the founders and directors of the Pneuma Foundation and editor of The Pneuma Review. Raul has been part of an Evangelical publishing ministry since 1996, working with Information Services and Supply Chain Management for more than two decades. He and his wife, Erin, have a daughter and twin boys and live in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. LinkedIn

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