By Carl Stagner
“I pray that as soon as he’s back to his senses, he would understand that what he did was not just because of him. I pray that God would visit him with someone who is able to lead him to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. I pray that he would know that though his actions have consequences, his soul is still valuable.” Pastor David Collett’s words echo an extension of grace and forgiveness, remarkable considering his prayer is for the perpetrator of assault against him. The few weeks that have passed since the incident took place during a Tuesday night Bible study have proven restorative—not only physically, but spiritually, too. Though the pastor of Inter-Community Church of God in Covina, California, is still recovering, he will not be deterred by hell’s attacks. His resolve to thwart hell’s advances and redeem what hell has stolen couldn’t be stronger.
Dave describes it like this on his Facebook page:
There was no gun involved, no deaths, and this happened at a small church in a suburb of Los Angeles, so there has been no news coverage on the event I share here. On May 24, at the close of Biker Bible Study as we were praying, a young man came in who was obviously in trouble–completely cranked up on drugs and who knows what. In the process of trying to settle his disruptions, it was clear I was dealing with more than “flesh and blood,” and began to admonish him in the name of Jesus Christ. The spirit in him did not like the Spirit in me, and I was suddenly struck in the face with a tremendous blow. I heard the cracks, went down stunned, and after trying to attack another man with me, he raced out. He was arrested shortly after our 9-1-1 call.
Inter-Community Church of God isn’t often in the crosshairs of criminal activity, though the church does sit in the heart of the densely populated Los Angeles metro area. Instead of running from the problems of their neighborhood, they’ve learned to embrace them. For example, the church has boldly welcomed the homeless to sleep in the shade—or the warmth—of the church property. Some of these homeless have even served as voluntary watchdogs for the church. People know the church is there for this community, and though it has been messy at times, the church is resolved to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Even the Tuesday night Bible study is an example of practical, yet creative community outreach. Every year, Inter-Community Church of God offers a “Blessing of the Bikers” event, and the Tuesday night Bible study is designed with bikers in mind. Dave rides a motorcycle and uses it as a tool to reach other bikers with the love of Christ. The motorcycle ministry’s message rings loud and clear: “You might have been rejected by everybody else in society, but there is a place for you in God’s church.”
In spite of the recent traumatic events, Dave looks back on it all without fear. “The most important thing is to know that I am God’s own child,” Dave reflects. “That is firm in my being, no matter what I face or what I go through. One of the first things that people began to do as they heard the story inside and outside of the church is to pray for the salvation of this young man. To see that immediately God wants to use this situation to create a change in this man’s life is powerful. Also powerful was just feeling the love and support of God’s people and knowing that God’s people weren’t going to leave me alone in this, and neither was God.”
Following surgery on June 3, Dave is on the road to a successful, though painful, recovery. He won’t do too much preaching or singing the next few weeks, but of his facial injuries, he still managed to find some humor: “For the most part, I’ll still look as bad as I always did!” he exclaims. Please continue to pray for Pastor David and Inter-Community Church of God. Thank you!
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