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Sunday, March 29, 2015

"We Will Give Thanks to You, O LORD, with Our Whole Heart"


[This whole prayer is from Psalm 9] 

We will give thanks to you, O LORD, with our whole heart; we will recount all of your wonderful deeds. We will be glad and exult in you; we will sing praise to your name, O Most High. Now lifting our hearts in confidence of who you are, hear us as we pray for your Church, your world, our worries and our ways. O Lord, hear our prayer.

When our enemies turn back, they stumble and perish before your presence. For you have maintained our just cause; you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment. You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish; you have blotted out their name forever and ever. The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins; their cities you rooted out; the very memory of them has perished. We thank you, Holy God because you do care for your people, and by sending your Son in our full humanity, who died for our transgression, was raised for our justification, he destroyed him who had the power of death – that is, the devil – and has disarmed the rulers and authorities, putting them to open shame, by triumphing over them (Hebrews 2.14-15; Colossians 2.15). In this victory may we, the people of this congregation, Wildewood Baptist Church; Wilmont Baptist; Sunnymeade Baptist; Faith-Hope-Love Church; and Northwest Bible Church; live, love and serve courageously. O Lord, hear our prayer.

But you, LORD, sit enthroned forever; you have established your throne for justice, and you judge the world with righteousness; you judge the peoples with uprightness. Since you, Lord Jesus, have been raised from the dead, all authority has been given to you in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28.18). Rule the nations, including our own country. Rule over the peoples and over rule all evil. Give peace in our time. O Lord, hear our prayer.

The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. Show kindness and help to those cast down, beat down, and ground down….be their stronghold in times of trouble. O Lord, hear our prayer.

Sing praises to the LORD, who sits enthroned in Zion! Tell among the peoples his deeds! For he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted. Be gracious to us, O LORD! See our affliction from those who hate us, O you who lift us up from the gates of death, that we may recount all your praises, that in the gates of the daughter of Zion we may rejoice in your salvation. Protect and deliver your battered and persecuted children. Convert their enemies, and crush the power to harm. O Lord, hear our prayer.


The nations have sunk in the pit that they made; in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught. O LORD you have made yourself known; you have executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God. For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever. Arise, O LORD! Let not man prevail; let the nations be judged before you! Put them in fear, O LORD! Let the nations know that they are but men! Relieve the oppressed, the kidnapped, the unjustly confined, the violated, and the victimized. O Lord, hear our prayer.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Form for Daily Prayers


[Recently I have started using again these forms of prayer in my times of prayer. I thought it would be good to draw your attention to them. These are taken and adapted from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. MWP]

Forms of Prayer
to be used in Families

MORNING PRAYER.
¶ The Master or Mistress having called together as many of the Family as can conveniently be present, let one of them, or any other who may be appointed, say as follows, all kneeling, and repeating with him the Lord’s Prayer.

OUR Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

¶ Here may follow the Collect for the day.

Acknowledgment of God’s Mercy and Preservation, especially through the Night past.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, in whom we live and move and have our being; We, your needy creatures, render to you our humble praises, for your preservation of us from the beginning of our lives to this day, and especially for having delivered us from the dangers of the past night. For these your mercies, we bless and magnify your glorious Name; humbly beseeching you to accept this our morning sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; for his sake who lay down in the grave, and rose again for us, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Dedication of Soul and Body to God’s Service, with a Resolution to be growing daily in Goodness.

AND since it is of your mercy, O gracious Father, that another day is added to our lives; We here dedicate both our souls and our bodies to you and your service, in a sober, righteous, and godly life: in which resolution, do, O merciful God, confirm and strengthen us; that, as we grow in age, we may grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer for Grace to enable us to perform that Resolution.

BUT, O God, who knows the weakness and corruption of our nature, and the manifold temptations which we daily meet with; We humbly beseech you to have compassion on our infirmities, and to give us the constant assistance of your Holy Spirit; that we may be effectually restrained from sin, and incited to our duty. Imprint upon our hearts such a dread of your judgments, and such a grateful sense of your goodness to us, as may make us both afraid and ashamed to offend you. And, above all, keep in our minds a lively remembrance of that great day, in which we must give a strict account of our thoughts, words, and actions to him whom thou hast appointed the Judge of living and dead, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For Grace to guide and keep us the following Day, and for God’s Blessing on the business of the Same.

IN particular, we implore your grace and protection for the ensuing day. Keep us temperate in all things, and diligent in our several callings. Grant us patience under our afflictions. Give us grace to be just and upright in all our dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all men, according to our abilities and opportunities. Direct us in all our ways. Defend us from all dangers and adversities; and be graciously pleased to take us, and all who are dear to us, under your fatherly care and protection. These things, and whatever else you shalt see to be necessary and convenient to us, we humbly beg, through the merits and mediation of your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.

THE grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.

EVENING PRAYER.
¶ The Family being together, a little before bedtime, let the Master or Mistress, or any other who may be appointed, say as followeth, all kneeling, and repeating with him the Lord's Prayer.

OUR Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

¶ Here may follow the Collect for the day.

Confession of Sins, with a Prayer for Contrition and Pardon.

MOST merciful God, who art of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and hast promised forgiveness to all those who confess and forsake their sins; We come before you in an humble sense of our own unworthiness, acknowledging our manifold transgressions of your righteous laws. {* Here let him who reads make a short pause, that every one may secretly confess the sins and failings of that day.} But, O gracious Father, who desires not the death of a sinner, look upon us, we beseech you, in mercy, and forgive us all our transgressions. Make us deeply sensible of the great evil of them; and work in us an hearty contrition; that we may obtain forgiveness at your hands, who are ever ready to receive humble and penitent sinners; for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, our only Savior and Redeemer. Amen.

Prayer for Grace to reform and grow Better.

AND lest, through our own frailty, or the temptations which encompass us, we be drawn again into sin, vouchsafe us, we beseech you, the direction and assistance of your Holy Spirit. Reform whatever is amiss in the temper and disposition of our souls; that no unclean thoughts, unlawful designs, or inordinate desires, may rest there. Purge our hearts from envy, hatred, and malice; that we may never suffer the sun to go down upon our wrath; but may always go to our rest in peace, charity, and good-will, with a conscience void of offence towards you, and towards men; that so we may be preserved pure and blameless, unto the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Intercession.

AND accept, O Lord, our intercessions for all mankind. Let the light of your Gospel shine upon all nations; and may as many as have received it, live as becomes it. Be gracious unto your Church; and grant that every member of the same, in his vocation and ministry, may serve you faithfully. Bless all in authority over us; and so rule their hearts and strengthen their hands, that they may punish wickedness and vice, and maintain your true religion and virtue. Send down your blessings, temporal and spiritual, upon all our relations, friends, and neighbors. Reward all who have done us good, and pardon all those who have done or wish us evil, and give them repentance and better minds. Be merciful to all who are in any trouble; and do, O God of pity, administer to them according to their several necessities; for his sake who went about doing good, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Thanksgiving.

TO our prayers, O Lord, we join our unfeigned {genuine} thanks for all your mercies; for our being, our reason, and all other endowments and faculties of soul and body; for our health, friends, food, and raiment, and all the other comforts and conveniences of life. Above all, we adore your mercy in sending your only Son into the world, to redeem us from sin and eternal death, and in giving us the knowledge and sense of our duty towards you. We bless you for your patience with us, notwithstanding our many and great provocations; for all the directions, assistances, and comforts of your Holy Spirit; for your continual care and watchful providence over us through the whole course of our lives; and particularly for the mercies and benefits of the past day; beseeching you to continue these your blessings to us, and to give us grace to show our thankfulness in a sincere obedience to his laws, through whose merits and intercession we received them all, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer for God’s Protection through the Night following.

IN particular, we beseech you to continue your gracious protection to us this night. Defend us from all dangers and mischiefs, and from the fear of them; that we may enjoy such refreshing sleep as may fit us for the duties of the coming day. And grant us grace always to live in such a state that we may never be afraid to die; so that, living and dying, we may be yours, through the merits and satisfaction of your Son Christ Jesus, in whose Name we offer up these our imperfect prayers. Amen.

THE grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.

¶ On Sundays, and on other days when it may be convenient, it will be proper to begin with a Chapter, or part of a Chapter, from the New Testament.


{For shorter forms of morning and evening prayer, along with supplemental prayers, see here: http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/1928/Family_Prayer.htm}

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Congregational Prayer - 22 March 2015 PM


Our Father, you are our rock of safety and in you is no unrighteousness at all. Grant unto us the grace we desperately need, so as to withstand the temptations and avoid the infections of the world, the flesh and the devil, so that with pure heart, sound mind and holy delight we may serve you in perfect liberty all our days. O Lord, hear our prayer.

We remember those who are wrestling with and being wrestled down by, specific misfortunes, misadventures, and mishaps….may it please you to console and relieve them according to their particular needs; giving them enduring patience under their sufferings and a happy ending to all their afflictions.  O Lord, hear our prayer.

 With Your watchful, caring eye preserve our U.S. Military people and those from our congregation who are in other countries… O Lord, hear our prayer.

Please uphold our republic, as well as all other nations in our world, and direct the hearts and minds of all the leaders to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly before you in your ways of truth. We pray for this region, giving you thanks for the rains and snow falls of the last two months. Please continue to give to us the needful portions of rain so as to relieve the strain on our water supply, and to nourish the earth. O Lord, hear our prayer.

 O Lord, we pray for Your Church in all places, for this congregation, and for West Tenth St. Baptist Church; Western Ave Baptist; Westlawn Baptist; Westminster Road Baptist; and Wheatland Baptist Church; deliver us from the evil one, and help us to learn the secret of being content in whatever state we’re in, as well as to learn what it means that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. O Lord, hear our prayer.

 Lord, your Son taught us to love our enemies, and to pray for those who despitefully use us; please lead them and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge to faith, hope and love. And in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you through Jesus Christ our Lord. O Lord, hear our prayer.

 We plead for the salvation, transformation and rescue of those who have never believed in your Son and turned from their sins and also for the restoration of those who have strayed away from you... O Lord, hear our prayer.


 Finally, Lord, we thank you for your generous goodness to us. Thank you for this country in which we live, our families, our health, plentiful food, clothing, … and thank you that we can cast all our care on you for you care for us. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

"First, Second and Third John" by George L. Parsenios. A Review

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sometimes, as they say, dynamite comes in small packages. Three of the shorter books of the New Testament, 1, 2, and 3 John, are that way. At first their small size gives the impression that they can’t contain much of significance – especially 2 and 3 John, each of which are only one page in length – yet once one dives into them attentively it becomes quickly obvious that there is more here than first meets the eye. Then if a student of the Scriptures will pick up a commentary on those three, their depths and enormities become clearer. George L. Parsenios, associate professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary and sessional professor of New Testament at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, has recently penned a 208 page paperback commentary on these three New Testament writings. It has recently been published in the Paideia Commentary series at BakerAcademic. The treatise is a fairly technical work, and having some background in New Testament Greek and Greek grammar will help, though it is not completely essential.

Parsenios comes at these three works, coupled with the Gospel according to John, from the position that they are the product of either the same singular author or authorial group. Throughout the commentary he addresses the problems scholars have in seeing them as having common authorship, explaining carefully and clearly why he sees otherwise.  Pasenios also perceives that 1, 2 and 3 John are “interpretations of the Gospel of John” (18). Therefore, in his view, the original writer is/writers are taking some aspects of John and applying those to particular scenarios within the community written to. As the author puts it, “The view adopted in this commentary is that these letters represent one side in a struggle over the proper meaning of the Gospel of John ( . . . ). In these letters, the heirs of the Johannine tradition are contending over a theological tradition that they share in common” (17). And then in multiple places he gives well thought-out explanations from the text that backs up his working model.

In “First, Second and Third John” the author takes the approach that the rhetoric used in the three letters is not mere rhetoric, but is addressing “a profound crisis” and the members of the communities to which they’re written “do not share the author’s sense of immediacy,” therefore the tone of each letter is meant “to jar them into greater awareness,” to combat “developing errors,” and to immunize the communities “against being infected by error” (35). The error was both doctrinal and damaging. On the doctrinal side, the error appears to have been in the realm of Christology which triggered the damage to the fellowship: those in error acted on their error by leaving the fellowship of the faithful. Therefore to “leave the fellowship of the community is not to choose an equally viable option but to choose a false community” (37). The two problems go together. The writer of the three letters appears to connect “inclusion in the proper community with adherence to the proper faith, and both are necessary for fellowship with God” (Ibid.).

Parsenios breaks 1 John out into five sections: 1.1-4 is the prologue; 1.5-2.11 the contrast between light and darkness; 2.12-3.10 unpacks who are the children of God; 3.11-4.21 explains love for God and love for one another; and 5.1-21 is about testimony and witness. The author explains and sensibly reasons out his motives for breaking 1 John into these segments. Also, he concludes each of these sections, along with his comments on 2 and 3 John, with “Theological Issues” where he picks up one important theme and teases it out in fuller detail. The structural approach in “First, Second and Third John” makes the commentary very user-friendly and manageable for sermon preparation, devotional reading, and academic study.

If there is any disappointment with the author’s work it will likely be in the way he seems to run out of steam toward the end of each section. For example, on the chapter tackling 1 John 2.12-3.10 he spends 15 pages helpfully and masterfully working on the introductory material, and the first 16 verses. But then over the next four pages he hurriedly surfs over the final 12 verses, leaving off answering questions that are raised by these verses (2.28-3.10), or barely tipping the hat to them and running off to the “Theological Issues”. This happens in almost every division of the commentary, and was not only frustrating but disappointing. If the author had spent as much ink and insight on the latter portions of each chapter as he did on the earlier, it would have bolstered the quality of this commentary and likely have made it a standard in New Testament studies.

Overall, Parsenios’s commentary on 1, 2 and 3 John is a useful work. If a preacher or Bible class teacher is looking to present a series of lessons and sermons on these New Testament letters, this commentary would add some quality insights and observations. If you’re looking for a readable resource for those three letters, this would be a great place to begin. I recommend the book.

My thanks to BakerAcademic for the temporary use of the e-copy of this commentary used for my review.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Our Refuge and Strength (Psalm 46)


Our Refuge and Strength—Psalm 46

Over the past several weeks we have been hit hard with bad news, gloomy prognostications, and disconsolate prognosis. We’ve been faced with shocking deaths, and calamitous events all over the world. On top of these are the dark stories of potential national fiscal failures, racial tensions, governmental corruptions. As you and I stare down the near future – say the rest of 2015 thru 2016, we have no clue what’s coming from the other end of the dark tunnel, but we have a creeping suspicion it might be a freight train. So this Psalm ought to be one of the first places you go whenever the dark clouds of doom begin to brood over your soul.

Verse 1 is the main point of the Psalm, and all the rest flesh it out. The sentiment is echoed in 7 and 11. So, here is the declaration – no matter what else may follow, no matter what else may befall you, no matter how you feel: God is our refuge and strength, a very present (very accessible) help!

1.  God our Refuge (1-3): V. 2-3 picture a worldwide cataclysmic event. The picture is of two of the most “stable” things you can imagine in the world (Mountains and Terra Firma) crushing, crashing, splashing and thrashing! Earthquakes…Powerful forces able to throw down mountains…The writer is describing the most earthly impossible, earth-shattering event as if it’s actually happening. // What is the most distressing, world-crushing event that causes you deep concern? Comets or Meteors crashing into planet earth? Nuclear war? Ebola pandemic? The end of America as you now know it? Your marriage falling apart? Cancer? Your children or wife or husband killed in an auto accident? The sacred song-writer declares: Fear not! For God is our safety net, our fortress wall, our strength, and our exceedingly abundant help! Lift up your eyes to the hills, and see that your help comes, not with an air Calvary unit cresting the hilltop, but Almighty God himself, who holds you in his hands. “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand” (John 10.28-29).

2.  God our Strength (4-7): This is part of the background to Revelation 21 and 22. The river, the City of God, and the “God in her midst.” But this is not about some future, apocalyptic event at the end of the ages. This is about God, right here, right now, dwelling in the midst of his people, strengthening them–Psalm 55.22—and he is engaged in this violent, raucous, calamitous, cacophonous scene! So why should we not fear, though nations, theologians, politicians, religious terrorists, banditos, and bacteria rage against us? - 7 (5). Immanu-el (Matt. 1 and 28). God is our out-of-reach, unstoppable, undefeatable security. Matthew 16.18. So, what do you fear? What things in the news, down the street, behind your front door, cause your knees to knock, your panic-attacks, or your tears? The sacred song-writer firmly announces: Fear not! God is in our midst. He is our strength and though all these things rush against us, roaring, clamoring, crashing; they will only break apart against him like so many ocean waves against the cliffs, because God - Immanu-el - is in our midst! And the voice he once used to create all things he will use to disintegrate his foes and their world (6). Lift up your head, get your eyes off of the darkness and gloom in the newspapers, and behold your God, Jesus Christ, who was manifested that He might destroy the work of the devil (1 John 3.8b)! “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand” (John 10.28-29).

3.  God our Help (8-11): How does he deliver his people? By making his peace to overwhelm his and our enemies! And how will he bring his peace? V. 8-9, by decimating the foe, and all their war-weapons. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16.33). Or Hebrews 2.14-15. And so, verse. 10 is thrown into the teeth of God’s enemies and ours: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Mark 4.35-41: “And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?" -- “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand” (John 10.28-29).


And so, I call upon you to cast yourself into the care and embrace of Jesus Christ, Immanuel, God with us! And as you glare into the uncertainty of nearer future – maybe the rest of 2015/2016, Fear not, for… “The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our fortress.”

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Congregational Prayer - 15 March 2015 AM and PM


Sunday Morning
Our Father, you who are a father to the fatherless, helper to the helpless, defender of those who are defenseless; you see that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves. Please keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, so that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to our bodies and from ALL evil thoughts that may assault and hurt our souls!

We remember these who are tackling and being tackled by specific misfortunes…may it please you to console and relieve them according to their particular needs; giving them enduring patience under their sufferings and a happy ending to all their afflictions. 

Please safeguard our country from all enemies foreign and domestic; preserve our industry; strengthen our educational attainments; rebuild civility, lawfulness, and courtesy; turn the hearts of the parents to the children and the hearts of the children to their parents (Malachi 4.6); come and be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages and oppress the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and those who do not fear you (Malachi 3.5). We also pray for this region that you would continue to give to us the needful portions of rain so as to remove the strain on our water supply, and to nourish the earth.

 Mighty God, whose eyes run throughout the whole earth and behold the evil and the good; reconstruct, restructure, order, and organize all the nations in our world, directing the hearts and minds of all the leaders in your ways of justice and truth for all under their administration, both the born and unborn. Replenish those peoples who are in dire straits; and restrain those who map out ways of doing evil and barbarity.

O Lord, we pray for your Church in all places, for this congregation, and all Christian churches up and down the Kilpatrick Turnpike. Give us help in time of need, and inspire our witness-bearing of Jesus your Son, that many may know the freshness of your forgiveness and the power of his resurrection.

We pray that by your mercies you would forgive our enemies, persecutors and slanderers and turn their hearts to you; and hold our hearts in your hands that we would not be overcome by evil, but would overcome evil with good.

We plead for the salvation, transformation and rescue of those who have never believed in your Son and turned from their sins…..and we pray for the restoration of those who have strayed away from you...
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Sunday Evening
Lord God, our redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; you are the LORD our God who teaches us to profit, who leads us in the way we should go (Isaiah 48.17): Give ear to our prayers the we bring before you in the name of Jesus and in the Spirit.

Mighty Father, please sustain, strengthen, straighten, send and  save your holy, universal Church, and specifically this congregation; as well as United Baptist Church; Unity Baptist; Valley View Baptist; Victory Baptist Temple; Village Baptist Church; and Waterloo Road Baptist Church. We especially ask you to restrain and regenerate her enemies, as well as shield her from wolves in sheep’s clothing. O Lord, hear our prayer.

Holy God, you have committed to us the care and nurture of your children; enlighten with your wisdom our Sunday School teachers and bolster with grace the children in our classes. Help us all to fathom our role in reinforcing the Gospel and godliness with all of the kids, and may we have the joy of seeing all the teenagers and children of this congregation grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord. O Lord, hear our prayer.

Father, we long to have our neighbors, friends and family grabbed by your gracious mercy. Draw them to bow the knee before Jesus and confess him as Lord now, rather than at the end, and help us to be ready and willing to announce to them the Gospel of your kingdom and of your king, Jesus Christ our Lord. O Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord God, we implore you to prosper our plans and endeavors for our mission work in Carnegie OK in June, our own VBS in July, and the Good News Festival in August. We pray for money – especially for the mission trip; we entreat you to raise up volunteers to be involved and engaged with the preparation, administration and the execution of each of these; we ask you to preserve and prosper those who will be part of these; and we pray for open doors, open hearts and open lives for the Gospel. O Lord, hear our prayer.

Finally, Lord, we implore your care and restoration for those who are grieving, ailing, tottering…Also for those whose families are troubled – especially in their relationships; as well as those who are in worrisome work situations…you know them, you know their real needs, and you know the best outcome for them: we commend them to your hands. O Lord, hear our prayer.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

"Active Defense" by Frank and Kathy Gaynor. A Short Review

Active Defense: Guidelines for Building a Security PlanActive Defense: Guidelines for Building a Security Plan by MS Kathy L Gaynor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

On the one hand, this 95 page paperback is an over-sized product pamphlet for Lighthouse Investigators of Norman Oklahoma. Throughout the material some of the services Frank and Kathy Gaynor provide are mentioned and explained. Both authors are private investigators who have worked in legal, insurance and investigation fields for years.

On the other hand, this is a simple textbook on the whys and hows of security and safety for a congregation. The authors take the time to carefully explain the importance of churches conducting background checks, setting up emergency plans for several situations, preparing for violent crimes on church property, giving security tips, examining ways survive violence at church, and conducting risk management. The material is not overwhelmingly technical. The Gaynors have presented the main information in short chapters that stay on task.

"Active Defense" is a valuable resource for pastors, deacon boards, Christian School administrators,  and Church Day Care directors. The time it will take to read this short book - I completed it in an hour - will be a solid investment. It would be ideal to obtain enough copies for a congregation's leadership team to read and discuss together. I seriously recommend the book.


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