There are three words in the English language that I really dread to hear... "some assembly required".

I must confess that, as a man, I am "handy-less". My wife found this out the first time she asked me to put together some of our children’s Christmas toys. I don’t know about you but I have never attempted to put something together that fit correctly or had all the pieces. She watched as I read the directions, placed all the pieces into their special piles then started the assembly. It wasn’t long before she watched a transformation like a scene from a horror movie. I began to sweat and work, push and pull. "Don’t talk to me; I’m putting this contraption together!" As I raised my hammer to make this square peg fit into this round hole, my wife gently said, “Honey, I’ll get it.” You may want to take away my "man card" but all the tools in my house have pink handles and I am totally thankful.

With that said, I have found that "some assembly required" in our journey through life is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes the best things in life come in pieces and how we put the pieces together determines what we have in the end. I have found out that "some assembly required" is not the threat I thought it was but actually part of the gift. 

Our life as a Christian often functions like a construction project. When we started to really have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, most of us probably found out that life would not be free from struggles and we did not become all knowing. I found out that trials, tribulation, and persecution were actually a part of the Christian life and the only way I could gain knowledge to deal with all this was through prayer and feeding daily on God’s Word. If you have realized the same thing, then your construction project has started.

A number of years ago, the movie Field of Dreams was about a man who had visions that if he built a baseball field in his corn patch, the ghosts of baseball players from his father’s day would return and play on that field. Of course this happened but the movie was made famous by one line – “If you build it, they will come.”

We can read in 2 Chronicles 1-7 about King Solomon building a temple for the Lord. Chapter 7 tells us about the dedication ceremony. Please take time to read this and remember this: every step of the way with this construction project, Solomon and the Israelites believed that “if they built it, He (God) would come and reside there.” The scripture tells us that is exactly what God did.

I have said all this to hopefully drive home this small but important point. We may never build an actual temple building, but we are all builders. We are taking on the challenge of constructing our lives so that we become the kind of people and Law Enforcement Officials God has called us to be. The good news is that the God who calls us to build will join us in the construction process. Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:20, “ … I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” We can expect that if we take on this self construction project, the Holy Spirit will come and reside in us because “if we build it, He will come.”

Do you feel like God hears you? Do you feel like God sees you? If not, what do you need to do to feel this way? God told Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land." We are all construction works in progress and all of us come with "some assembly required". This project will never end until that glorious day when we see our Savior face to face.

No one knew this better than the late Ruth Bell Graham. The epitaph on her tombstone reads:

Ruth Bell Graham
June 10, 1920 – June 14, 2007

“End of Construction. Thank you for your patience”

(Reprinted from the Fall 2011 edition of The Christian Peace Officer newsletter of FCPO-USA)

Paul Lee, Executive Director (Retired Captain, Chattanooga P.D.)
Paul Lee retired from the Chattanooga Police Department with 29 years of service. He has been an FCPO member since 1995, is a former Chapter Chairman and has served in various capacities on the National Board.

I know it’s no surprise to you that since 2020, law enforcement agencies around the country have reported officer shortages.

All agencies experience small shortages due to regular anticipated turnover and retirements, but never before have we seen such a huge vacuum of peace officers across the country. Indeed, some of our major departments report being anywhere from 200 to 5,000 officers short. As I look at these numbers, I can’t help but think about the officers in the field today, the ones who are continuing to serve through the difficulty and strife - the remnant of peace officers across our country. 

Remnant is a powerful word! Merriam-Webster dictionary defines remnant as a small surviving group, and if you are familiar with Old Testament scripture, you have probably noticed references to remnants there. Remnants of believers are mentioned after war, plague, famine, or drought. Usually, the remnant has experienced loss to a great degree, whether through friends and family who lost their lives in battle or through companions who fled to escape trouble and persecution. Similar to what we see in scripture, no matter how rough things have gotten over the centuries, after the dust settles, there is often a small surviving group who continue to place their faith and trust in God.

The good news for those who remain is that they do not serve alone! Romans 13 tells us all authority - all areas of leadership - come from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. I want to remind all of you who are still serving as a peace officer that God has placed you there. And if He has placed you in law enforcement, then He has equipped you, by all means, to do the job. The key is to depend on God totally rather than trying to do the job of a peace officer in your own strength and in your own wisdom. I don’t know about you, but striving in my own strength has never turned out well for me. 

I love what David writes in Psalm 101. If you are a part of this remnant of peace officers, David’s prayer gives you a down-to-earth, real-life example of how you can live your life on and off the job:

I will sing of your love and justice, Lord. 
I will praise you with songs. 
I will be careful to live a blameless life - when will you come to help me? 
I will lead a life of integrity in my own home. 
I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. 
I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them. 
I will reject perverse ideas and stay away from every evil. 
I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors. 
I will not endure conceit and pride. 
I will search for faithful people to be my companions. Only those who are above reproach will be allowed to serve me. 
I will not allow deceivers to serve in my house, and liars will not stay in my presence. 
My daily task will be to ferret out the wicked and free the city of the Lord from their grip.

Psalm 101, NLT

Remember - God has placed you where you are for this time, to be His examples. Without a doubt, all eyes (and cameras) are on your every move on the street. This is why the Board of Directors and I are asking our members and supporters to join us as we pray for the wonderful remnant of peace officers God is raising up right now!  

For those of you still on the job in these difficult times -

  • Know that the God of the Universe, the Creator of everything that is, was, or ever will be, who stitched you together in your mother’s womb, who knows your name has placed you exactly where you are so you can be His ambassador. You are an ambassador for Christ cleverly disguised as a peace officer! 
  • You are not alone. There is an army of FCPO believers praying for you. God goes before you, He has your six and He is to your right and to your left. God has you surrounded. 
  • Be the example Christ wants you to be.

Paul Lee, Executive Director (Retired Captain, Chattanooga P.D.)
Paul Lee retired from the Chattanooga Police Department with 29 years of service. He has been an FCPO member since 1995, is a former Chapter Chairman and has served in various capacities on the National Board.

As the coronavirus pandemic and the social restrictions it has brought about continue to impact all of us, I wanted to take a moment to reach out to you again this week.

Like you, we are watching the situation very closely.  As faithful members of FCPO and valued friends of our law enforcement community, we pray for your safety and well-being and encourage you to do all that you can to stay safe and healthy during this time.  Likewise, we ask you to please keep the ministry of FCPO and its leadership in your prayers.

Below are a few updates we wanted to make you aware of:

  • The National Office is open.  We have a small staff but are doing our best to maintain normal operating hours.  Although we discourage in-person visits at present, we are taking extra measures to keep our office clean and safe for those working here.  We’re responding as best we can to a rapidly changing situation, so if you are unable to reach us by phone, please send us an email at [email protected] and we will respond as soon as possible.

  • Additional video resources are currently available.  For our non-member supporters, RightNow Media, "the Netflix of Video Bible Studies", is currently offering free access to a limited library of select video series covering a wide range of topics.  Visit their website to learn more.  Active FCPO members, of course, receive unlimited 24/7 access to RightNow Media's complete library of more than 20,000 videos.  Membership is only $5 monthly and you don’t have to be a law enforcement officer to join.  You can learn more about membership here.

  • We want to hear from you.  Are you and/or your fellow FCPO chapter members helping those around you who are most at risk in the coronavirus pandemic?  If so, please share your stories and photos with us.  Learning how God is using FCPO to bless others in communities around the nation is always a great source of encouragement to our members, chapters, and supporters.  We would like to share your stories in upcoming editions of The FCPO Dispatch, our digital newsletter.

Most importantly, I urge you take advantage of this downtime and spend time in prayer to our Heavenly Father.  During these times of uncertainty, we can be at peace knowing our God is faithful and unchanging.  “Be not anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

May God bless you. 


Paul Lee (Retired Captain, Chattanooga Police Department)
Executive Director, Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers-USA

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