The recent rash of high-profile suicides has been on my mind with suicide rates in all age groups in the country having risen nearly 30 percent since 1999 according to the Center for Disease Control. People like comedian Robin Williams, clothing designer Kate Spade, and chef Anthony Bourdain, all had reached the top of their game and were considered successful, talented and wealthy. But each suddenly ended their lives leaving family members and the world in shock.
Most of us have been touched by the suicide in some way. As a chaplain for the Sheriff's and Fire Departments for over thirty years I have seen more than my share. Many were ordinary people who had gotten in a tough spot in life with drugs, money or health issues, but, others had good jobs, were successful and well-educated. Ironically some were even "mental health" professionals. According to the magazine Psychology Today, doctors actually have a very high rate of suicide. Why?
Internationally known Christian apologist Dr. Ravi Zacharias tells of growing up in India where the pressure of academic success was everything. As a result at seventeen he tried to commit suicide by drinking a chemical cocktail. Fortunately, it caused him to vomit it back up and his life was saved. While recuperating in a hospital he was visited by a minister who read John 14:19 to him where Jesus said to Thomas the doubter, "Because I live, you shall live also." Ravi quickly realized Jesus was "the way the truth and the life" (v.6) and placed his faith in Christ for that life. It radically changed him and set him on a course to proclaim the Gospel around the world for the last fifty years.
The more our culture moves away from God and the foundations of Christian belief, the more suicide we will see because our focus is only horizontal and self. But man was made to have primarily a vertical focus because we were made in God's image. Scripture says, "To live is Christ." He is our creator and sustainer. He made us for a reason beyond ourselves. He is the solid rock that stabilizes our emotions and state of mind. My favorite verse from God's Word says it well. "The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock." (Isaiah 26:3-4 cf. Philippians 4:6-8). Simply put, man is made in God's image and will not be complete until he puts his faith in that rock. Like a lighthouse on a rock our living Savior bring us through the storm.
Hear Dr. Ravi Zacharias's testimony at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4H_2uSkSL8 .
- PASTOR MARK
There is something new for men this Saturday. Our Men’s Discipleship ministry will meet (8-9:30) for free breakfast as we launch a new interactive Bible study in 1 Timothy. It is a short but powerful book focusing on mentoring men to be strong spiritual leaders. We’ll glean plenty from Paul instructions to young Timothy. Bring your Bible and your sons too.
This Sunday is Fathers Day so bring dad's favorite breakfast finger food to share on the patio at the 9:15 hour for our Fathers Day Fellowship (Sunday School is cancelled). During the 10:30 worship time a number of families will be dedicating their children this special day.