UPDATED: What made James Holmes do it? Why did the 24 year old graduate student open fire in a crowded Aurora, Colorado, movie theatre last Thursday night at the premiere of the new Batman movie, leaving 12 dead and 58 seriously wounded? The investigation of this act of sheer evil is on-going, and we all await more details. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper called Holmes “twisted,” “diabolical,” “demonic” and a “terrorist.”
In the meantime:
- Please pray for the Lord to comfort and heal all those who were affected by this terrible tragedy — for the more than 800 people were in the theatre that night; for their families and friends; for the first responders; for the suspect; for the law enforcement officials involved in the case.
- Please pray for pastors to rise up and show the true love of Jesus Christ to those who need that supreme love so desperately, and pray that these pastors are able to communicate the Word of God with clarity and authority to those who are suffering and frightened and angry.
- Pray especially for my friend, Ed Taylor, the pastor of Calvary Chapel Aurora. He is in the thick of all this — 33 members of his congregation were at that theater when the shooting started. Yesterday, he delivered a powerful sermon based on 2 Kings 6:13-17. You can listen to Pastor Ed’s message by clicking here. What shall we do when evil surrounds us? What shall we do when we face death and don’t know what to do and where to turn? O Lord, open our eyes, and let us see You…let us see Your power….let us see the hope You provide….give us courage to combat the fear we feel. Interestingly, this is the same text that the Lord told me to preach on in Haifa, Israel last week.
One thing clear today: the demons of violence and lawlessness are on the loose all across America, not merely in Aurora. Violent crime in the United States has surged by more than 460 percent since 1960. The further we turn away from God in our nation — or give mere lip service to religion — the worse things are getting. We are witnessing a horrifying explosion of murder. We are witnessing a gruesome crime wave unprecedented in American history. And there appears to be no end in sight. In recent years, we’ve seen brutal mass murders in high schools (like Columbine), on college campuses (like Virginia Tech), and in small towns all across America (a recent FBI report says the murder rate soared 18.2% in small towns in America last year alone).
Is this evidence of the early stages of cultural implosion? I believe it is. As I note in Implosion: Can America Recover From Its Economic & Spiritual Challenges In Time?, “Alarm bells are going off all around us. Lights on the dashboard are flashing, Warning! Warning! Yet America is sleeping through the alarms, blind to the warning lights. And tragically, for the most part, the Church — God’s chosen instrument to bless individuals, families, communities, and nations — is asleep as well. I shudder to imagine where we are heading if we don’t wake up soon, plead for the Lord’s forgiveness, and ask Him to use us to love our neighbors and revitalize our country….”If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:145)….America is on the brink of collapse. We desperately need God’s mercy. Without His grace, we will implode. It’s not a matter of if but when. Thus, now is the time we must urgently ask the Lord to give us a sweeping series of spiritual revivals in every part of our nation that will culminate in a Third Great Awakening. Whether God decides to say yes is up to Him. But let us not compound our many national sins by failing to get on our faces before Him and implore Him to pour out His Holy Spirit and save us from disaster.”
- WFAA: Congregations shaken by Colorado massacre
- Los Angeles Times: Aurora pastor to 33 members: “Very, very happy God spared you.”
- Blog: An Aurora youth pastor’s first hand account of being at the theater when the shooting began
- Denver Post: Aurora theater shooting: Stories of victims killed emerge
- Washington Post: Aurora, Colo., shooting spree: A day of tears for victims and of twists in case
- CBS News: 13 year old girl tried to save 6 year old’s life
- New York Times: Police at Home of Colorado Suspect Disarm Major Threats
- Wall Street Journal: Who is James Holmes? Suspect’s Rapid Descent — Holmes Bought Rifle, Bullets During Month After School Exit
- AP: Shooting suspect could face death penalty