Thursday, December 13, 2007

Angry Young Men

Had they met 7 years earlier, Philip Crouse and Matthew Murray might have viewed each other very differently. They were both rebellious, anti-social, angry young men. Instead, they met on opposite ends of a gun that took Philip's life at YWAM-Denver last Sunday.

Philip was a former skinhead whose teenage years were turbulent and who went to his first church service mad at the world, filled with unforgiveness and, yes, hate. His family is "struck by the irony" that at one point, they could have imagined him being on Matthew Murray's side of the trigger (

"He was dark and brooding, hiding his insecurities behind a perpetual snarl," said an uncle, John Steiner.

When Crouse "laid down his life for God, the transformation was as complete as it was remarkable," Steiner said.

Crouse's family is "struck by the irony" that at one time he might have committed violence and how he died "at the hands of another troubled young man," Steiner said.

The heart of the lesson in the contrast of these two men is simple: transformation. As I've posted before on this blog ( transformation is the difference between Christianity and other well-meaning belief systems. Philip Crouse didn't need guidance, he needed a new heart. The same is true of all of us.

Just as Tiffany Johnson reminds us that the object of our service is Christ Himself, Philip Crouse reminds us of the transformative power of the Gospel. Together, they remind us that we are transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, to serve others as if we were serving Christ Himself.

If where you are seems overwhelming, remember the power in the message you take ... a message lived out every day by practical acts of servant love.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Rom. 1:16-17)

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