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God's Awesome Grace Shines On The Darkness of Columbine


From: Robert Kanary <bobkan2@mmind.net>
To: ucmpage@ucmpage.org <ucmpage@ucmpage.org>
Date: Thursday, April 29, 1999 1:05 PM
Subject: Pastor John

Subject: [BCF] Our Savior is Awesome...
From: "Hansel E. Lee Jr." hansel@hansel.com  

Brothers & Sisters in Christ - I write this for your Encouragement....

Though until today I was someone on the outside of the Columbine incident - through fellowship with other local youth pastors throughout today, attending Cassie Bernall's funeral, and attending a citywide Youth Pastor meeting tonight - I have a new appreciation for just how Awesome our God is.... Some Testimony to God's work in Jefferson County/Things you won't hear about in the news:

Funerals - John Tomlin, Rachel Scott, and Cassie Bernall's funerals were very evangelical and evangelistic in nature. All three focused 90% on Christ and 10% on the individual. The gospel was presented clearly in each of the funerals and a number of the local youth made first time commitments to Christ in each of the services. The true faith of the parents and desire to draw others to Christ through the life & death of their children was very evident.

1. John Tomiln's Memorial Service (16) - John was a committed believer. He was active in mission work. John's best friend shared at the funeral that although John was a great guy, he was not going to heaven because of that. He was going to heaven because of his trust and fellowship with Christ. This was a reoccurring theme throughout the funeral. There were a number of first time commitments to Christ that took place at the funeral.

2. Rachel Scott's Funeral (17) - Rachel was a committed believer who desired to go into missionary work in Africa. Her prom date shared how her faith and impacted him and those around her in the school. Over 15 first time commitments to Christ occurred at the funeral.

3. Cassie Bernall/Martyr's Funeral (17) - I was blessed with an invitation from a brother youth worker/her youth pastor to attend the funeral. Cassie was totally anti-Christian 2 years ago. She was involved in witchcraft and very suicidal. Her parents forcibly drug her into the youth pastor's office. When she walked out - his reaction was "Wow, she is a lost cause..." Through the prayers of her church's youth group, parents, and youth pastor.. Cassie about 6 months later walked back up to the youth pastor and said "You'll never guess what I did today... I gave my life to Christ..." - From that point forward, Cassie was a radical evangelist on her campus. The funeral showed some video tape of her sharing parts of her testimony which were very powerful. It is because of her radical faith on Campus that she was asked if she believed in God - She replied "Yes, I believe in Jesus" (Not I believe in God as the media has reported).. From that she was killed.. I can say that her parents were devastated but proud of their daughter (she looks exactly like her mother). The funeral was more of a celebration of Christ's work in her and through her and a number of girls shared how she had led them to faith... At Cassie's Memorial Service over 75 kids made first time commitments to Christ. At the funeral, the pastor and a member of the musical group presented the gospel twice and offered the "Sinner's Prayer" twice.. - Her funeral was more of an evangelistic event than a mourning of the loss.. I was very touched by the testimony of her friends along with the clear presentation of the gospel (in attendance was everyone from the JeffCo SWAT Team, Paramedics, District Attorneys' Office, etc).. I feel honored to have been able to witness such an event & watch God work through her death to bring life to others.

Other's worth mentioning/Praying For:

John & Steve Cohen - They wrote "Friend of Mine/Columbine" a evangelistic song regarding their school and the need for God's redemption. The memorial service televised internationally on Sunday was opened with the song. They have had the opportunity to clearly present the gospel on Good Morning America and the Today Show (this morning in fact). I spent about 30 minutes talking to them. John was the leader of the Columbine Bible Club which apparently was very very large. His (and his brother's) faith were very apparent and their tender/gentle hearts clearly showed through. As a testimony on how God works in mysterious ways - Virgin Records will be producing their CD free for them (Though it is being sold for $10 ($11.95 w/ Shipping) to support the victim's families.. They are a true testimony of great faith in a young age. [On a side note - They are in a Christian Ska band-I forgot the name]... Their clear articulation of the Gospel on several national (and international) shows is a great witness to their faith & to God's amazing work through this incident..

Craig Scott (15) - Craig was sitting between Isaiah Shoels and Matt Kechter in the library. Matt was his best friend. Both Matt & Isaiah were shot and Craig played dead, lying in their blood. Craig then led a number from the library out to safety. He then led those from the library in prayer for their brothers & sisters who were still in the school. He shared that one by one his friends siblings came out - but his never did. He lost his best friend and sister. The next day on the Today show he shared his story then affirmed that he would be getting through this with God's help. He clearly affirmed that his hope is in God and that he and his family will make it through. In the midst of his pain - the hope he has was very apparent.

My Youth Ministry Friends - I spent 5 hours this evening at a Youth Leader Gathering at Foothills Bible Church. We had around 400 Youth Pastors from the local area showed up. I'd ask for your prayers for the youth leaders in the Jefferson County area. I spent several hours just weeping with several of my good friends from seminary who either lost kids or have kids severely impacted by the shooting. I can't imagine what it would be like to lose a member of one of the youth groups I've been involved in.. These youth ministers were devastated and drained but their hope in Christ was very clear. I had the opportunity to minister to and pray with a number of JeffCo Youth Pastors today & was very encouraged.. They are an amazing bunch who are exhausted emotionally and physically & need the prayers of others...

Specifically:

Larry - Larry is a classmate who runs a outreach center for troubled youth called "Tuesday at your Mother's" - He has local bands come in and play and is geared towards the troubled youth in the area. Tuesday before last Eric Harris was at his coffee house/concert. The band playing broke a string on their guitar and it took 30 minutes to fix - The lead singer clearly presented his testimony and the Gospel in that 30 minute period. In fact, one of the band members had a word that someone "Was going to kill someone or had just killed someone" and asked them to come forward for prayer - no one did. My brother Larry is wrought with guilt over the fact that he had Eric Harris at one of his services just 7 days before their killing spree and he feels he didn't minister properly to prevent the tragedy. Please pray for Larry's peace & for his ministry to troubled youth. He still has several of Eric and Dylan's crowd that show up to his coffeehouse/concerts...

Jeremy - Jeremy is a classmate who is the Youth Pastor at Foothills Bible Church - Almost the entire youth group attended Columbine. They lost John Tomlin & are really hurting. Jeremy needs strength in ministering to his youth (Also Rusty - Youth Leader at Foothills)...

Clement Park - After Cassie's Funeral - I spent some time at Clement Park with some youth pastor brothers. I was encouraged to see that about 90% of the notes left were clearly evangelical and expressed the need to turn to Jesus and His atoning sacrifice. If you are in the local area - I would say this is a sight your children should see.. I noticed a number of parents with middle school and elementry age children using this as a "teachable moment"... I heard a number of people sharing the gospel with visitors (though L.Ron Hubbard folks were there passing out materials also) Jefferson County - The minute I drove into Jefferson County - I felt the clear presence of the Holy Spirit at work. The city is ripe for the harvest. I've heard testimonies of 10's to 50's at a time turning to Christ at each of the various memorials and services. The gospel is being clearly presented at every event. The churches are united in service and effort / the sense of community among the believers is amazing. The churches are being supported by the community in amazing ways. At the youth pastor event we had more food than everyone could eat and take home.. Local restaurants are giving away thousands of meals to the churches.. God is working through secular organizations and businesses for His purpose. At the youth event - Group Publishing/Youth Specialties donated hundreds and hundreds of youth material books/etc. They had more than everyone could take.

I'm writing all this to encourage you in that our Lord and Savior works in mysterious ways. Through the death of believers like Cassie, John and Rachel - He has brought new life to thousands.... I've seen the Gospel presented on CNN (& CNN International - Live) a number of times.. Even more so on the local stations.. Amazingly - Often by youth.... The church in the area is united, the believers focus is on Christ (it's amazing how fast priorities change in a situation like this) and the city is hungering for the Gospel.. Christ is clearly working in infinite ways through this incident...

Please pray for the churches/ministers and for the pre-Christians in Jefferson County and Praise God for His Amazing ways... And please be encouraged by the amazing workings of our Lord through tragedies like this... God Bless, Hansel

PS - For those that are curious - The passages used for Dylan Kleybold's funeral Saturday were about David and Absolom and how although Absolom rebelled against his father (David) and drew up an army to fight against him - David still loved him and mourned his death... There was a private funeral with only 12 in attendance. Dylan's older brother's best friend had felt called to share the Gospel with their family last Christmas. None responded then - but he has now withdrawn from this semester at college and is flying back to minister to the family..

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Steve & John's Song - Getting national airplay
=============

Friend of Mine

Columbine, flower bloom, tenderly I sing to you.
Columbine, roseblood red, heartbreak overflows my head.
Columbine, flower bloom.
Columbine there's hope for you.
Columbine, friend of mine.
To your gain, on the mark.
With your love, love again.
Comfort peace and sweet release come from you.
Where, it's true, I hide myself in you.
Can you still hear raging guns ending dreams of precious ones.
In God' son, hope will come, his red stain will take our pain.
Columbine, friend of mine.
Peace will come to you in time.
Columbine, friend of mine.
Turn a page, to your gain.
Keep your heart on the mark.
Comfort us with your love.
Love again.
Christ of grace attend this place we look to you.
Honor you.
Fix you in our view.
Columbine, flower bloom.
Tenderly I sing to you.
Columbine, roseblood red, heartbreak overflows my head.
Columbine, friend of mine.
Peace will come to you in time.
Columbine, friend of mine.


Jonathan and Stephen Cohen


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