Tuesday, November 17, 2015

My thoughts and reflections from the last 7 days regarding the murder of Amanda Blackburn

For those who haven’t heard, Amanda Blackburn (my niece and cousin to Dayne Gowan, worship leader at Cypress) was killed as the result of a home invasion in her Indianapolis home one week ago. As the family has been going through the stages and emotions of grieving, I wanted to put some thoughts to paper, so here is some of what I’ve been thinking in recent days:
  1. I am disappointed in ignorant comments people make on social media. Yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but everything you post SHOULD BE TRUE. Just because you have an opinion doesn’t mean you should share it. Social media has become for many a cesspool for gossip and argumentation. Ask yourself…is what I’m about to say true, helpful and does it build people up? Have I talked to the person directly about this? Have I really prayed about this to seek the Lord’s guidance? If not, maybe I should keep my mouth shut.

    Now that I got that off my chest, let me turn the page to the other
    things I’ve been thinking about over the past 7 days…

  2. Faith in Jesus is the anchor that holds even in the midst of the fiercest storm. The winds and the waves still know His name and obey Him! So when it comes time to seek refuge in the midst of the storm, choose wisely. Also, you build your foundation in times of calm, then the storms often reveal the quality of that which we’ve spent years building.

  3. There is healing in loving relationships. Over the past week, my mom’s house has been like a constant revolving door of family and friends coming to “JUST BE THERE.” The ministry of presence. There is nothing to say, there is no magic verse that takes away the pain, just being there and saying, “I care” and “I’m sorry.”

  4. The Hope of Heaven is something to look forward to. When we have faith in Jesus, we grieve during times of loss, but not as those who have no hope. Hope in Jesus prevails even in the face of physical death.

    One of the best pieces on hope was written by my parents’ pastor at Trinity Wesleyan Church in Indianapolis, Pastor Mike Colaw, as he reflected on this tragedy. Well worth the read.

  5. Family and friends often gather for the first week or so. Most people’s lives go back to “normal” after a couple weeks. Those affected most keenly by loss will be forced to find a new “normal” which will never be what it was. It’s a long process that has certain steps that cannot be rushed or skipped. Go through the process.

  6. God can be glorified even in our darkest hours. Amanda loved to refinish furniture by taking items often viewed as junk and working to redeem them into something beautiful.

  7. Prayer makes a difference. You feel it, and you sense it. As the Lord brings Davey and his 15 month-old son, Weston, to your mind, lift them in prayer. They will need it in the days to come.

  8. Faith and a relationship with Jesus is THE MOST IMPORTANT GIFT you will ever pass on to your children. Prioritize and live life in light of this truth.

  9. We live by faith, not by sight, therefore, by faith, we choose to believe the best is still yet to come! Only God can turn tragedy into triumph. We trust Him in life and we will trust Him in death.


  1. Replies
    1. Beautifully worded, my Brother. Excellent teaching for all to read.

  2. Well said! Thank you for diplomatically putting into positive perspective in #1 what I found myself becoming downright infuriated with. Tried to keep in mind this was yet, another ploy by the enemy, to distract us. Your words will keep me in check when I find myself wanting to react to negative comments!

  3. Prayers for Davey, Weston and your family continue to be uttered. ๐Ÿ™

  4. I grew up in Indiana so alot of my facebook friends are still there and had posted this news story when it first broke. I was sad to read about it but like alot of stories in the news there was no connection to my world so sadly I didn't dwell on it. When i went to service on Sunday and learned that this family was related to you it really made me stop and think what you have been teaching us all along "we are all connected". For every sad story we hear on the news someone is grieving and we should stop and take a minute to think and pray for the families even if we don't know them (or maybe we do know them and we just haven't figured out the connection yet) My heart aches for your family and I am praying for God to touch your hearts and bring you some comfort.

  5. Pastor Ken; So well written. I have learned No. 5 the hard way -- there really is no short-cut through grief, but Christ will walk with us every step of the way. Thank you for these words but most of all, thank you for your gift of sharing the love of Jesus. Prayers will continue for your family.

  6. Pastor Ken: I am so sorry for your loss & in #1, so sorry for the pain others have decided to inflict on this situation. I, myself have not seen these posts & don't ever care to. Thank You for your leadership & guidance. I see great things are going to happen this Christmas Season in spite of these tragedies. Be assured, you & your family are loved by all. You are all in out thoughts & prayers.

  7. Our prayers are with you and your extended family. My husband and I pastor a church on Long Island, NY. When the story first hit AOL our hearts were broken. I am still struggling to have peace in my heart and not sob uncontrollably as this murder keeps hitting me. I think because we are in the ministry, I wanted Amanda to have this perfect little world as well as protection from God, just because of who she is to God. You are right, we are not closely related, have never met. But because of Christ, we are connected. We will keep Davey and his son in prayer as well.