Pastors—indeed, all of us—will struggle this week to find meaning in the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. In April 1999 Nick Lillo faced a similar task when his church, Littleton, Colorado's Centennial Community Church, was overwhelmed with news of the Columbine High School shootings. The following is Lillo's sermon on overcoming such terrible evil.

Preachers are given two responsibilities: one is to explain the Scriptures, relating them to life issues. At other times our job is to take life and explain it in light of the Scriptures. This morning we wrestle with the second of those two tasks.

To be honest with you, I'm not sure I can do that. I don't have any answers, nor do I have any explanations. But it's important for us to try because the events of last week will touch us more deeply and for much longer than we know.

Yesterday morning I went over to Clement Park, and that was hard, especially when I walked around and read what people wrote. I looked at the teddy bears, the flowers, and the balloons. I watched people cry; it ripped my heart out as I observed people wrestling with this because it was so senseless and such an incredible waste.

But we need to try to make sense of it and realize how vulnerable and dependent we are. It is at these moments that we are most open to God doing things in our lives, and maybe God will do some things in our lives.

God speaks to us in the language of events. It's the nature of the church to share what we think we heard God say. So as I pondered this week what I would say to you this morning, I called some of the people whom I respect greatly and asked them, "What is God saying to you? What do you think he wants to say to his people?" Their help was incredible. Based on those ...

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God's Message in the Language of Events
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September 2001

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