Gunman Walks Into North Carolina Church, Leaves a New Creation in Christ

Bible Pew II pdFAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — A man walked into a North Carolina church with a semi-automatic assault rifle on Thursday, but the pastor says that he left a new creation in Christ.

The incident happened as the congregation of Heal the Land Outreach Ministries in Fayetteville as they were holding their year-end prayer service, which included a time of exhortation from Pastor Larry Wright, who also serves as a councilman in the city. According to reports, Wright was speaking about the “senseless deaths” in Fayetteville as the man entered.

The man, who has not yet been identified, walked toward the front of the room, pointing his rifle toward the ceiling.

“Can I help you?” Wright asked, wondering if he would need to tackle the gunman.

The man, assault rifle in hand, asked for prayer.

Wright then took the gun from the stranger, and instructed his deacons to embrace him and make him feel welcome. The pastor began to pray for the man, who fell to his knees crying.

Wright invited him to stay for the remainder of the service.

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At the end of the meeting, the man stepped forward as the invitation was presented.

“He gave his life to Christ,” Wright told reporters. “I came down and prayed with him and we embraced. It was like a father embracing a son.”

As one of the members had called 911 upon the gunman’s entrance, police arrived on the scene. But Wright asked them to wait outside as the service was underway and the man was receiving ministry. He informed the gunman at the conclusion of the night that law enforcement had been waiting outside the building.

The stranger then turned to the approximately 60 people gathered and began to speak. He apologized to the congregation for his actions and explained that he had initially set out to commit a crime that night, but God impressed on him to go to church. He had recently been released from prison and was troubled.

“It’s so hard to describe, to explain the excitement and love of God in the room,” Wright told CNN. “This man came in to do harm and he has given his life to Christ.”

The man was voluntarily taken to a local hospital for a mental evaluation.

The pastor and councilman says that he hopes to connect with the stranger again.

“I want to follow up with him and see that he’s getting the help and resources he needs,” he told the Fayetteville Observer.


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  • Oboehner

    …sharper than any two-edged sword.

  • bowie1

    Amazing!

  • Judith Robinson

    God can and does use any situation. Praise God another soul headed for hell has done a U turn on the road of life!

  • dontega

    Prayer is one of the powerful things in life that a lot of people need to understand God is real and God is here for your healing

  • Angel Jabbins

    What a happy ending to what could have been a real tragedy. Praise God the man saw his true need and that he walked into a congregation that was ready to share the love and forgiveness of Christ. Did we hear about this in the national media? Probably not.

  • OldArkie

    Some churches would have killed this man, instead of telling him about Christ.

    Psalm 44:6 For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.

    • n.stiles22

      I agree with your premis, but not your application and suggestion. What about psalms in which God is refered to as a “man of war” and the request is made to “teach my hands to wage war” I think the point is where the psalmist places his trust and his hope for salvation, or his faith is in the Lord. The instrument, like David’s stones, are still very much needed in the proper context.

      • OldArkie

        Hosea 1:7 But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and
        will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.

        Matthew 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it

        Luke 17:33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it;
        and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.

        2 Timothy 2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

        Matthew 5:43-45
        43 ¶ Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
        44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that
        curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
        45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

        And if we were killed, and we have confessed our sins through Jesus, and accepted Jesus as our Savior, that is if we placed our faith in Jesus, we will go Home to Heaven to be with God the Father and Jesus our Savior, and think about what Paul stated about death

        Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

        2 Corinthians 5:6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:

        Philippians 2:21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Jesus Christ’s.

        Is all of our faith placed upon Jesus, are do we seek out our
        own things in this world, and not things which are of Christ because we who are saved by Jesus are really scared of death?

  • mkdavis

    AMEN