Almost exactly a year ago Church of the Rock was headline national news.  Two young people had stolen weapons and were planning on storming into our church building on a Sunday morning with a plan of killing as many people as possible before they got stopped.  They had a goal of 100’s or even 1000’s of victims.  Thankfully, they never got a chance to carry out this horrific act as some of their friends turned them in when they started bragging about what they were going to do.  Our church was all over the front page of the newspapers.  It was unsettling to say the least and attendance the following Sunday was actually up 10%.  I guess there is no such thing as bad press.  Say what you want, as long as you spell my name right.


Last month the two teens were sentenced to 2 years plus the one year already served.  The media dutifully followed the story but in all that time nobody ever asked the question “WHY“?   What was it that motivated such hate and violence that two young people would even think of doing such a thing?  Here’s the answer!  The two teens had entered the dark world of Goth.  It is a growing sub-culture rooted in the literature and music of vampires, ghosts, zombies, graveyards and horror.  It is becoming increasingly more mainstream with the popularity of teen movies such as Twilight which glorifies the lives of vampires and werewolves.

Members of the Gothic community claim to be non-violent in nature, but all one has to do is look a the names of the bands in a genre that is called death-rock to know that isn’t true.  Try these on for size; The Damned, Sex Gang Children, 45 Grave, UK Decay, Dead Can Dance and Killing Joke.  Sounds innocent enough, right?  Ironically, the two youths that are now in jail were no strangers to us.  One of them was part of our youth group and our youth leaders had worried about him as they watched him getting deeper and deeper into this dark and twisted world.  You may be asking, “Well why didn’t they do something to help him”?  They tried, but they only saw him for a couple of hours a week or less.  It was what was going on the rest of the week that was the issue.

The bigger question was,where were the parents in all this?   Many parents today are frankly just ‘clued out’ as to what is going on with their kids.  Most teens spend hours unsupervised on the Internet every week.  Many parents have no idea what their kids are into and who is influencing them.  The vast majority of young people have never been to a church.  They have been brought up in a spiritual vacuum and then the hapless parents say, “I just don’t know what’s wrong with little Johnny!”  Well, I do… YOU.  You are what’s wrong.  Many of us have become inattentive parents that have neglected to instill a moral and spiritual foundation into our children.  So when the devil comes a knocking, they don’t even recognize him.  Make no mistake about it, these two teens could have been any one of our children.  Yours or mine.  They were not born the ‘seed of Satan’.  They didn’t dream this demonic scheme up on their own.  They came under the influence of some very evil forces and nobody had sufficient equity in their lives to steer them away.

I’m not a big fan of film producer Michael Moore primarily because he wears his politics like a cheap baseball cap and cannot approach a subject objectively.  In Bowling for Columbine, I was disappointed with his mistreatment of Charlton Heston at the end of the movie (I mean after all the man is Moses, and you don’t mess with Moses).  However, there were some brilliant moments in the documentary.  Like the shot done in the Lockheed Martin plant located in Littleton, Colorado where the Columbine High School massacre took place.  The PR man for the company, the world’s largest weapons manufacturer, is standing in front of a warhead wondering where two young people could have learned such violent behaviour.  The ironic imagery is powerful.  Here’s the clip if you care to watch it.

Proverbs 29:15-17 says  The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.  When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increases; But the righteous will see their fall.  Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul. Too many parents are asleep at the switch, and that includes many Christian parents.  Children are not only God’s greatest gift to us, but our greatest responsibility.  I would love to think that our city learned something in our brush with disaster, but honestly I don’t think we did.  I pray we don’t have to knock on Columbine’s door again to get it.

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  1. Jamie says:

    Are there parenting classes held at Church of the Rock for all stages of parenting from babies to teens? If so could you please let me know? Thanks.

  2. Unfourtunately we have become a very reactive world community. No matter what type of disaster takes place, or comes close to taking place, we are only interested in it while it is happening and shortly there after. This is because we have seen so much sensationalism by the media on everything, we need the big new dose of what is happening next. I think there are even those that get really bored when there nothing really sensational happening. So then the media goes out, in many forms, and sensationalizes whatever they think they can get away with.
    I agree with you on Michael Moore. I wonder how many millions he made from sensationalizing the things he does. I really doubt very much that if he could not make money at what he does, he would do it.
    I do agree that he is not objective either. I do not see the connection between the Missles and what happened at Columbine.
    I further agree that parents have a huge role to play in how children turn out.
    We live in a would where we have too much….and it is not enough. We do not want to wait for anything. We want it all right now. Thus both parents go out work all day, come home and flop because they are tired out and stressed out. They become numb to what their kids are doing, thinking, and trying.
    Parents have to make the time. It is their responsibility to pass on life skills, morals, and most of all faith in God.
    I feel that this is the answer. God! The bible gives us much to learn. Many examples of how to live. But none are greater than the two great laws that Jesus gave us. They are perfect. All the other laws get their power and strength from these two. It is really all that simple. We humans complicate everything to death. Loving the Lord should not be made to be complicated.
    The two laws are, as you know well; Love the Lord with all your heart mind and soul, and lover others as you would want them to love you. If we all did this the world would be a better place. All the other guides and rules fall into place if we do these two things. It does not have to be more complicated than that.
    So then, why this previous rant? Well the Lord is being taken out of the schools. In my area very few young people are active in the church. These things along with a host of others are taking God out of the picture.
    And part of the biggest problem is the church itself. If you ask a lot of unbelievers why they don’t believe in God, you end up learning a lot of the time, that it is religion that people don’t buy into rather than God. The church is our biggest enemy I think. Evil does not have to do much but set back and let things happen. Things like, holier than thow, Judgemental, gosippy, leagalistic, better than everyone else attitudes. A lot of people don’t know that the church is a building, nothing more. It is a place we all gather to supposedly worship. I am sad to say, but a lot of church’s are more like country clubs for the very elite crowd. That have a lot of “Sunday Christians” attending just to make themselves feel good that they are better than others. So they can show the world how good they are by giving to the poor.
    The church is really the bride of Christ. The church is the Lord’s people, not a building.
    We need to just accept the Lord Jesus. We need to teach to our children that they are not perfect. Nor can they be. We need to tech our children how to be humble instead of how to be agressive (sports as an example, where only the very best get to play).
    We need to quit with the foolish man made laws that are made up by different churches. Quit being judgemental, and thinking we are better than others. We need to show random acts of kindness to our fellow man, in private like the bible says.
    We need to realize , like Solomon learned, the simple things are the very most important. We are more important to the Lord than the sparrows and He provides for them. In such a way that if we were not here, the birds would still be just fine. Perfect.
    We need to not only preach the two great laws to our children, we need to live the two great laws for them to see.
    We need to re-examine religion as compared to being a Christian.
    I realize this is a tall order, but I think it starts with you and me. That is two. It really is true that one person can make a difference. Consider Jesus himself if you will.
    We can fill the churches if we get rid of the hard to follow man made legalism. Laws designed to make us fail. If we quit complicating life as a Christians.
    I hear folks talk of fellowship, well, to me, there is more welcome fellowship in the Legion than most churches have today.
    It seems to me that it went beyond Jesus saying that healthy folks do not need a Dr.
    I think Jesus really enjoyed being with the tax collectors and other so called bad people. Why? Because they were real. They did not judge. They did not care if someone had something they didn’t. Yes, they were real.
    I think that Jesus wants us to be real.
    He said, it is not what goes into a persons mouth that makes he or she evil, it is what comes out of a persons that can be evil.
    I know this is long, it is a rant. But if we want to fix bad things from happening we need to look to Jesus and His two great laws.
    In a nut shell, we have all said many times over and over again…never again….but there is nothing new in this world, what once was will be again….and you know what….I know that Jesus knew we would keep making the same mistakes over and over. Consider how many times God saved his people. Only to see it all happen the same way again.
    The only thing different was…..the time in which it happened.
    I catch myself wondering if Jesus would have come to the world in this day and age instead of when He did, would things be any different? Would He have faced persecution? Sadly I think if anything it would have been worse.
    So is it likely that bad things could happen at your church again in the future? To this I have to say yes. We have very short memories.
    In closing I just want to say how much I enjoy your broadcast on TV and reading your material.
    Thank you so much for allowing me this rant.
    Stay Real in Christ.

  3. Karen says:

    I am sorry that this happened in your church. Sadly, this is the first time I have heard. Thanks be to God that no one was injured.
    It’s pretty easy to blame bad parenting for a lot (not all) of things nasty in our society. What about the Christian parents that are at the end of their rope with their drinking, pot smoking teenager? or the child that dresses goth or the child that….Somebody else finish this sentence. Rebellion is a terrible thing. It is something that I haven’t had too much to do with…yet. We need to also remember that Rebellion is what started the ball rolling in the first place. Adam and Eve rebelled in the garden. It’s pretty easy for us to say “Oh if they had only listened to God…” Hindsight
    Sadly, gone are the days when kids worked hard to help on the family farm or with the family business. There are more ways to get into trouble than ever before. Influences were different too. People don’t connect with family, friends, and neighbors as in the past. We have become segregated somehow and there are new definitions for words like community, marriage, and values.
    It’s time to get back to the basics and the Biblical foundation that used to be the standard for our country.
    Great blog Mark!

  4. Sandra says:

    I have to agree, parents seem to busy with their own lives…they are blinded to the lives their children live. I as a parent of a 12yr old, find I have to stay in constant communication with my daughter to know what is going on. Many times I have counselled her on things she should NOT do at school. I raised her to know she can come to me with anything and if I could help…I would bend over backwards for her. We as parents need to get involved and ask alot of questions, or we will find ourselves wondering just where we went wrong? I have to say I can’t control her interests with such things as ‘Twilight’ but I can give my input and tell her what I think, if I am going to be really honest. Persue your kids, they want to know you care!!

    Sandra D

  5. its me says:

    ….”What was it that motivated such hate and violence that two young people would even think of doing such a thing?….”

    I too have been mindful of the headlines these 2 young people have brought to our city and I too am glad they didnt hurt anyone at your church, but I respectfully have to say your response to the problem is worldly and lacks spiritual vision.

    You see I am parent of 3 kids and the former husband and I made the effort to raise them right and returned to the Lord, sought out a bible believing church and chose NOT to raise them in a spiritual vacuum but in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ while they were yet young. We worshipped every sunday, attended kids club on friday and prayed with everyone on prayer nite on wednesday; attended bible studies and grew in the knowledge and wisdom of our Lord. Or at least I thought we did. It wasnt until years later when my daughter found the courage to confess that her daddy was molesting her that everything changed. And me and the kids were left wondering Why?

    The church convinced me that God hates divorce so I agreed and instead prayed that God would “grant my husband repentance” and that our family would be reconciled. I waited for him to complete his jail term; waited to see any signs of repentance and when others from church believed it to be true, we were reconciled….and the kids were now older. But within the year their dad decided to pay for membership to a child porn website with my credit card. For the 2nd time I had church members join me to confront him and tell him to leave. Unfortunately this time, the 2 older boys decided for themselves to live with their dad and my daughter decided to stay away from home on her own. Consequently they lost their faith and I was left alone.

    ….so what was it that motivated such –FILL IN BLANK– that –FILL IN BLANK– would even think of doing such a thing?…… Here’s the answer! SIN !

    If I could turn the clock I would have divorced that man while my kids were still young to show that Sin has consequences instead of waiting for my kids to get old enough for the law to tell them they can choose for themselves who to parent them.

    But none of my kids are in church today….and I struggle to attend.
    I don’t struggle, however, with the knowledge that God is the maker of heaven and earth and that his Son will return one day to judge the world with true justice.

    So I am simply reminding all you good christians out there thinking that if you simply accept Jesus Christ into your heart that all will be well with your family and your world, think again. I once thought I loved the Lord my God with all my heart, soul and mind and loved others as I loved myself….but I was wrong….I didnt love Him as much as I thought I did….I too bent under the the pressure of Satan and evil. Does that make me a bad parent or a bad person?
    My kids dont go to church…does that make them bad?

    I will continue to pray for my kids and I’ll continue to pray for my enemies as well as for strength to hang onto my faith. I recall a verse somewhere that speaks of “preferring the justice of God than of man”. Its too easy to criticize parents while forgetting Satan is our ultimate enemy and his unseen influences.

    So do we criticize people to “motivate” or kick them out of church to “motivate” them? Yes, christians do this. What else can be done ?

    Maybe the better question is “….so what was it that motivated such christians to consider befriending parents of goth-kids and men who have been caught in sexual perversion — who would even think of doing such a thing?….”

  6. Tamara says:

    “It’s Me”.. I just want to thank you for saying what you did. It breaks my heart, but I am so glad you shared your story. I am so sorry for what you have experienced. I don’t think any of us have been unscathed by the devastations of sin in one way or another, but your journey is as close to a nightmare as any I could imagine. Grace and Peace be with you.

  7. its me says:

    Thank you Tamara,
    Simple acknowledgement was all I hoping to hear. I wasnt expecting to be blessed with Grace and Peace…thank you.
    Forgive me pastor mark for the bitter edge in my reply.
    I am also grateful for your sunday sermons and direct many people to watch, even my kids. May God continue to bless you and your staff. Grace and Peace be with you all.

  8. todd says:

    We dodged a bullet – so to speak. The on-going risk of this kind of terror occuring will not be mitigated by what we know as – in name only – our Justice system. Justice does not exist. We can only hope to minimize these social risks by raising children properly. Most incidents I read about can be tracked back to childhood/family dysfunction. It’s time to hold parents accountable for their actions and inactions. It’s astonishing that these two’s parents weren’t the ones to raise the alarm. And Goth culture should be banned. I’m the first to defend free speech however an argument can be made that it is spreading hate and violence. We live in sad times when a politician opposes Youth For Christ from building an inner-city facility to serve lost youths via recreation – because, apparently that would be spreading Christianity. That actually happened today. We can thank Pat Martin (NDP) for that and for aiding our social-slide to oblivion.

  9. Karen says:

    I often point to our wonderful charter of rights and freedoms and say to myself “this isn’t working, that isn’t working….” I’m pretty sure it was put in place with the best of intentions. Dysfunctional family is a term that is used far too loosely in our society today. It is an excuse rather than a way for people to step up and take responsibility. Everyone of us comes from a family that has some kind of dysfunction. God made us people that can overcome these issues and even though it may take some people longer to overcome, we all do in God’s timing. Banning something isn’t going to make it go away, it will take it underground and make it darker than it already is. Look at prohibition. I am glad that some of this stuff is out in the open, where I can protect my children from it. If it is kept a secret…underground then I will have no idea how to keep my kids from the influence of these things.
    I firmly believe that if every politician made a commitment to pray for the people of this nation, things would improve. Maybe we should also be more discerning of the people we put in government. Delve deeper into what their beliefs are. Hold them accountable. One step at a time….baby steps that is

  10. Holly says:

    Here is what I think:

    “Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the skies.
    Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
    your justice like the great deep.
    O Lord you preserve both man and beast.
    How priceless is your unfailing love!
    Both high and low among men
    find refuge in the shadow of your wings.”

    -Psalm 36:5-7

    Sin is everywhere. Christians are meant to be the “salt of the earth”. Keep praying!! The Lord rules over all!!

    I watched Church of the Rock programing for the first time today. And here is what the Pastor said: “Keep your eyes on the Promise, not the problem.” We struggle through the hard times, but if we can just keep our eyes fixed on the promise of the Lord, we will make it through!

    I am so sorry “It’s Me” for what happened to you and your family. My family was rocked hard when we were teenagers with drug and alcohol affliction. Eventually 3 out of the 5 kids in my family have returned to the Lord. Keep your faith, and keep praying as we do for the other 2!! You instilled a foundation in them when the were children. They choose not to feel it now, but they know the Lord, as I knew Him, even when I chose to turn my back! You are strong, and the Lord will only make you stronger! You’ll be in my prayers!! Take care!!

  11. Jasmine says:

    Pastor Mark,

    Your comment, “Many of us have become inattentive parents that have neglected to instill a moral and spiritual foundation into our children.” seems a bit rigid and unfair. As parents, we do have tremendous influence over our children when they are very young, so it does give us an opportunity to build a solid foundation in them to prepare them for the trials they will encounter later in life, but ultimately, the choices they make are theirs and parents cannot be held accountable for their children’s mistakes.

    Can God be held accountable for Adam’s sin? Adam was told not to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge and yet he knowingly chose to do something that his Father told him was a big no-no. Do you think God was being inattentive when He didn’t jump out from behind the tree and stop Adam from taking a bite? Where was God when all this was happening? Do you think He was “clued out”?

    Do you really think apathy or complacency had a part to play in this? These two teens you mentioned were already actively involved in your own youth group, so I’m sure they had parents who took their responsibility as parents seriously.

    You’re right in that parents do play a huge role in how their children turn out, but it takes a whole community to raise a child. And there are so many moments in a child’s life when his/her parent is not going to be physically present to prevent the negative influences or promote the positive influences of others in that child’s life. We all contribute to how our children turn out in our society, and parents need the support of the community to help raise their children as morally responsible individuals.

    We, as a society, have failed our children by confusing them with mixed messages on what is good and acceptable and what isn’t. Our own hypocrisy has led to the degeneration of future generations, because our children see in our actions or inactions the truth about what our heart treasures the most.

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