Ralph Evans (Retired Sergeant, Los Angeles Police Department), one of the "founding fathers" of FCPO, passed away on May 3. In 1971, he and Karl Traber laid the foundation of what would become the Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers. Ralph faithfully served the ministry in a number of capacities in its earlier years, including as president of the organization. Ralph stayed in touch with the National Office and had a keen interest in the growth of FCPO and the ministry's latest updates. His uplifting words of support were a tremendous source of encouragement to the FCPO staff.
We recently looked through some of the old newsletters in our archives from Ralph's tenure as FCPO President. Ralph wrote a number of short articles during that time and we decided one of the best ways we could honor him was with his own words. These thoughts, reprinted from the September/October 1982 issue of The Christian Peace Officer, are still wise, godly counsel for us today.
In August, 1974, the first chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers was chartered. We believed at that time that God had called a small group of Christian cops to start an organization broader and larger than our fellowship in California. We didn't realize what size the Fellowship would become or the scope its influence would encompass.
I am convinced that FCPO will only be effective as we grow spiritually, and that means we must adhere closely to God's Word. Our hearts must be active in meditation on His Word continually.
As God's Word declares, "... everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil people and imposters will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.
But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus."
2 Timothy 3:12-15
I have seen each of the FCPO Board members go through trying times. In each of our lives, God has made clear to us that growth is necessary and that we must depend solely on Him to sustain us in all our trials. We have grown closer to God and closer to each other as well. God's Word has been the key to our understanding. Only as we have come to know who God is, in all His power, have we been able to intelligently praise Him and glorify His matchless works.
We must immerse ourselves in the Scriptures; we must learn more of God. We cannot know of Christ in His completeness until we understand as much about God as His Word reveals. For in learning about God, we will learn who we are and what God thinks about us. Then we will be able to understand our relationship to Christ Jesus. We, each one, must learn on our own what Christ wants for us individually. We cannot depend on what the teacher or preacher says about God or Jesus or how we should live. These things are too personal, too private. We must know for ourselves what God has for us and we must have a personal relationship with Christ.
Our Bible study, our own study is not something we do because someone has said we should. It is of immense importance to our Christian growth. We will grow in Christ as we suffer as Christ did and we will successfully survive these trials as we are able to relate to God's Word ourselves. We are promised many things in God's Word but we will not realize these promises until we really, personally accept them as reality. We must learn that the Christian life is a NOW life. Today is the day of salvation, says the Scripture. We are a "now" people; old things have passed away, behold all things are new. Can you really say that you are a "now" person? Do you continually communicate with God through prayer? Are your very thoughts subject to God's will?
My prayer for each of us, because I have as much need for a closer walk with my Lord as anyone, is that we would now dedicate ourselves to learning more concerning God's love, and especially God's Holiness. I pray that we would learn of God's Sovereignty and that we would appreciate exactly what God would have each of us do in our individual lives.