Calif. Megachurch Pastor Commits Suicide

Discussion in 'Christian Fellowship' started by Laela, Feb 3, 2019.

  1. Laela

    Laela Between point A and point B

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    Kayla Koslosky | ChristianHeadlines.com Editor | Tuesday, January 29, 2019
    [​IMG]
    A California megachurch pastor was found in his home on Wednesday, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

    According to the Christian Post, Jim Howard of the 6,000-member Real Life Church took his life on Wednesday, ending his long-time battle with mental illness.

    Rusty George, another lead pastor at Real Life Church, released a statement on Facebook on behalf of the church announcing the heartbreaking news. George wrote, “It is with a heavy heart that I can confirm we suffered a tragic loss on our church staff this week. On Wednesday, January 23, 2019, Jim Howard — a beloved pastor here at RLC — took his own life.”

    George continued, “Sadly, Jim suffered in private with mental health challenges — some of which he bravely discussed in public — and was wrestling with some personal issues in recent months. This week he made the tragic decision to end his pain. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, the RLC family and all those who were blessed to know him.”

    According to The Signal, paramedics were dispatched to Howard’s home around 3:40 pm after receiving reports of a gunshot wound to the head.

    Homicide detectives evaluated the scene. On Thursday, Sergeant Tim O’Quinn of the L.A. Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau said that he could not confirm the cause of death but he could only confirm that it was “not a criminal incident.”

    The Real Life Church confirmed later that day that Howard had committed suicide. In the post by Real Life Church, Howard was described as a “tornado of energy” and a “wonderful man with a deep love for Jesus and a passion for sharing the grace of God with anyone he met.”

    Comments on the Real Life Church post echoed these sentiments. Several Facebook users recalled the joyous time spent in college with Howard, while others personally identified with the pastor’s struggle and offered prayers to his friends and family.

    If you or someone you love is struggling with mental illness, consider calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

    _____________________________________
    Keep prayers up for pastors, church leaders and their families...highlighting a few

    Saturday August 26, 2018

    Pastor Andrew Stoecklein of Inland Hills Church in Chino, California, attempted to take his own life on Friday, August 25, 2018. Despite being rushed to the hospital and placed on life support, Stoecklein passed away the next day.

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    December 4, 2017

    Bill Lenz, 60, senior pastor of Christ the Rock Community Church in Menasha, WI, took his own life after struggle with depression.

    [​IMG]

    ***************

    Sunday May 31, 2015

    Phil Lineberger, 69, pastor of Sugar Land Baptist Church near Houston, committed suicide. Lineberger is known to have suffered with depression for a long time.
    [​IMG]

    *********************

    Friday Apri 5, 2013

    Matthew Warren, 27, the youngest son of Saddleback Valley Community Church Pastor Rick and Kay Warren died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his Mission Viejo, Calif., home.
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    Sunday Nov 10, 2013
    Pastor Teddy Parker, 42, of Bibb Mount Zion Baptist Church in Macon, Georgia, died of a "self-inflicted gunshot wound" while his congregation waited for him to arrive for service.
    [​IMG]


    Tuesday Dec 10, 2013

    Isaac Hunter, 36, the son of megachurch pastor and Obama spiritual counselor Joel Hunter, was found dead by gunshot wound at his Florida home.
    [​IMG]



     
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  2. Maracujá

    Maracujá November 2019 --> 13 years natural!!!

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    As someone who suffers with mental illness, this hurts me deeply. Timothy Keller once said something that touched me: he said it's very important that when you are in ministry, to not only preach the gospel but to also believe in it.
     
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  3. Laela

    Laela Between point A and point B

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    It is sad... I agree. I know there are many others who took their lives because of shame or guilt or other reasons; but just wanted to point out mental illness (which I believe is demonic attacks on the mind) is present in the Church. Church leaders have more burden to carry but we can't forget they are people too, with families. They're not dieties and many times they get the praise and adulation that should belong to God ; so, I can see how this can impact their mentality.
     
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  4. VimiJn

    VimiJn Let the truth set you free!

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    Praying for those in authority is a must. They give so much of themselves but who is pouring onto them? Ministry can be very lonely.
    Pray for your pastors and those in leadership.
     
  5. prettydarkthing

    prettydarkthing Well-Known Member

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    I have to say it, religion is not a replacement for true therapy.

    Stop waiting on something to just change. God helps those who help themselves, seek therapy with a licensed professional. If God made everything, then he made therapy available through his divine plan.
     
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  6. Belle Du Jour

    Belle Du Jour Well-Known Member

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    Wow I'm just seeing this. So much darkness abounds :nono:

    I agree with @prettydarkthing that people need to take an active role in their health and well-being, not just sit and wait on God to change their situation. God gave us a lot of ability to help ourselves and there is also professional help through psychiatrists, medication, therapists, coaches and other therapies (EMDR, EFT, deep breathing, meditation, etc). I embarked on a journey of healing a lot of trauma from my past and I have NO DOUBT that God utilized a combination of different natural things--beyond prayer, Mass, reading the Bible, etc--to help me. God will meet us where we are if we are willing to accept His help. I find that in the Christian world, there is still a stigma with mental health and well-being issues. Also people are resistant to help themselves because they are afraid it shows a lack of faith.
     
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  7. Shimmie

    Shimmie "God is the Only Truth -- Period" Staff Member

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    I agree with taking action. However when it comes to meditation, we must be mindful and prayerful of its roots and sources. Too much is from the occult (witchcraft / darkness/ metaphysics/ self manifestations that is well disguised as from God when it is actually a demonic counterfeit; of which all Christians need to be aware of.

    Holy Father, I pray for those who are in a fragile state of mind, who need your divine protection from the enemy's deception. In Jesus' Name I thank you, Amen.
     
  8. Laela

    Laela Between point A and point B

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    Megachurch pastor who was known for his work in mental health advocacy kills himself

    By Christina Maxouris and Amanda Watts, CNN | Updated 4:00 PM ET, Wed September 11, 2019

    (CNN) Jarrid Wilson, a popular pastor known for his work in mental health advocacy at a Southern California megachurch, has died by suicide, Senior Pastor Greg Laurie with Harvest Christian Fellowship Church said in a statement.

    Wilson joined the church as an associate pastor last year and has since spoken out many times about the issue of mental health, Laurie said.

    Wilson and his wife founded an outreach called "Anthem of Hope" designed to help people dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts.

    "Jarrid also repeatedly dealt with depression and was very open about his ongoing struggles," Laurie said. "He wanted to especially help those who were dealing with suicidal thoughts."

    He is survived by his wife, Juli, and two young sons, according to Laurie's post.

    On his verified Twitter page, Wilson had posted several times about September as National Suicide Prevention Month. In a post on Monday, he wrote, "Loving Jesus doesn't always cure suicidal thoughts. Loving Jesus doesn't always cure depression. Loving Jesus doesn't always cure PTSD. Loving Jesus doesn't always cure anxiety. But that doesn't mean Jesus doesn't offer us companionship and comfort. He ALWAYS does that."



    The last activity on his Twitter account was a retweet of the Anthem of Hope page. The original post contains a 24/7 chat feature and reads: "Lonely? Depressed? Need someone to talk to? ... You don't have to do this alone!"

    On her unverified Instagram account, Wilson's wife wrote he was a "loving, giving, kind-hearted, encouraging, handsome, hilarious, give the shirt (off) his back husband."

    "No more pain, my jerry, no more struggle," she wrote. "You are made complete and you are finally free.

    Suicide and depression fed you the worst lies, but you knew the truth of Jesus and I know you're by his side right this very second."

    'Pastors are just people'

    In her post, Juli Wilson said that "suicide doesn't get the last word."

    "I won't let it," she said. Juli Wilson wrote her husband's work led "thousands to the feet of Jesus" and his willingness to share his struggle with anxiety and depression "has helped so many other people feel like they weren't alone."

    "YOU WERE an anthem of hope to everyone, baby, and I'll do my best to continue your legacy of love until my last breath," she wrote.



    Laurie, the pastor with Harvest Church, wrote in his post: "Sometimes people may think that as pastors or spiritual leaders we are somehow above the pain and struggles of everyday people. We are the ones who are supposed to have all the answers. But we do not."

    "At the end of the day, pastors are just people who need to reach out to God for His help and strength, each and every day," Laurie wrote.

    ___________________________
    To get help
    Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

    There is also a crisis text line. For crisis support in Spanish, call 1-888-628-9454.
     
  9. Maracujá

    Maracujá November 2019 --> 13 years natural!!!

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    Read this yesterday on FB and immediately felt saddened. Used to read his blog a lot when I first decided to get serious about my walk with Christ. As mentioned upthread, I too have been suffering from a mental illness for close to 12 years now. It's not easy but I believe Jesus to be a healer if nothing else.

    Only close friends and relatives know about my battle with this illness and I wouldn't have it any other way. At least not until I'm fully recovered. We are already such a vulnerable group of people, I cannot imagine having the weight of the world watching your every move on top of that, it works counterproductive. I remember just mentioning here that my medication was about to be lowered, in accordance with my psychiatrist and this lady here immediately started to use an evil tongue against me, saying that I would get worse. I had to rebuke that in the name of Jesus.

    I also read a book on how the Church can heal from the plague of mental illness, that really left too much to be desired. What has been healing me is engulfing myself with truth and accepting that I am a sinner, which is no easy feat. A deacon at our church once said that the enemy cannot attack you, if there's no root of sin in you, whether from your parents or within you. I became ill after being in an illegitimate relationship with a man (fornication), I had no business being in. Kinda like in the movie Sense & Sensibility. As it turns out, the man I was with had little to no regard for me and was only in it for all of the physical stuff. Needless to say, that is not what God created us for. So now I'm living with the consequences of that.

    But...there's always a but :D. God is also a redeemer: main problem with our generation is that not only do we not know the word but we simply lack basic home training. After I left my ex, he called me all kinds of vile names and even stalked me on FB. In all of this matter, I remained calm and polite until he finally ceased. One day I ran into him in town and was extremely friendly to him then carried on. Little did I know what seeds I was sowing, as I was not very familiar with Scripture. As a pastor recently said: even when you break up with someone, leave them with their dignity. Fast forward now and God has been showing out: people who saw me when I was having a manic episode simply can't believe the 360° change that has taken place in my life:

    * Pray every single day without fail
    * Study the Bible when God grants me time to do so
    * Gainfully employed
    * Talk to my family almost every single day
    * Am an active member of my local church
    * Am overall a pleasant person
    * Have been seeing my psychiatrist faithfully for the past 12 years (every 3-4 months)
    * Have been able to stand on my own two for a decade and so on

    Even in this situation, it's important to see the silver lining. I remember my sister once suggested to me, to change therapists. I knew that didn't come from God, so I did not listen to her. Guess what, now my therapist is always so curious about my life, as she sees me doing well. You never know whether God is using me to introduce her to Him. Also, I never changed prescriptions, even though my therapist suggested it. Been taking the same medicine all these years: my body is my temple, not a laboratory as the world wants to make it out to be. The first time we tried lowering the medication, it didn't work. This time, all is going well, thank You Jesus. So even in this situation, I applied Godly principles of faithfulness and being responsible: I NEVER miss an appointment and when I do, I call my therapist first. Cause I swear people want to make mentally ill people to be 'crazy folk', when we're not. As my psychologist said about a decade ago: we just need way more structure. The reason why everything is going well at my job now is because every change that will occur, is announced beforehand. Abrupt traumas tend to put me off balance.

    I could go on and on about this topic but I will end here. Sorry for the long post :lol: all this to say: mental illness is not this incurable disease that people make it out to be. It's a chronic illness, coming from the word chronos, meaning it will take time for it to heal. Patience is key.
     
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  10. blessedandfavoured

    blessedandfavoured Well-Known Member

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    God bless you @Maracujá, and continue to be faithful to you, and give you the grace to pursue Him. I also want to add that I've found nothing quite like heartfelt worship and praise to lift my spirit - you can't go wrong focusing on God, who He is and what He's done for us. That and avoiding poisonous information and people. The Bible says that as a man thinketh, so he is. A lot of news and social media posts are just demonic, and I think it's imperative for us to be careful about what we let into our heads.

    God have mercy on all who are struggling, but especially those who are in the public eye.
     
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  11. Laela

    Laela Between point A and point B

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    I'm in agreement, that God continues to be faithful to you @Maracujá . You never know whose heart and mind you've touched with your testimony...
     
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