When I was a child, Hell was talked about as often as Heaven. It was a place to be feared because we understood it to be the place where God punished sin. But today churches have become silent on the topic. Most pastors still believe in such a place, we just don’t to make people feel insecure. But perhaps insecure people should be made to feel their insecurity.
What can you add about Hell? What experiences confirm or deny what I said this weekend? Do you disagree with something I said or have another viewpoint. We’d like to know.
Evangelist Raymond McAllister shared this interesting story. While preaching in a church in Mississippi, the pastor announced that their prison quartet would be singing the following evening. He wasn’t aware there was a prison in the vicinity and he looked forward to hearing them.
The next evening, McAllister was puzzled when four members of the church approached the stage. Then the pastor introduced them. “This is our prison quartet,” he said, “behind a few bars and always looking for the key.”
Many of us have a similar “prison ministry”. We don’t really excel at anything, but we’re steady. We’re always there when needed and have a reputation for being a helper. Thank God for those with a “helps” ministry. They support those with a different gift to excel in their own gift.
Author Ronald Rood visited a class of second-graders and gave a slide presentation of a Hawaiian volcano. The pictures showed molten lava pouring into the sea and steam rising a mile into the air. The scene was so graphic that the children could almost hear the roar. Rood then passed around a piece of lava for the youngsters to examine. After it was handled by two dozen hands, one little boy brought the rock back to the front. Carefully cradling it in his hand, he exclaimed with wide eyes, “Mr. Rood, it’s still warm!”
What an imagination. What if we could imagine the stories in the Bible like that little boy imagined the lava rock. The stories would come alive. The Bible characters were real people like you and me. Let’s ask God to make their experiences come alive to us, so that we can learn from their examples.
Tags: humor, imagination
After a woman sued a McDonald’s Restaurant for being burned by hot coffee, companies started changing their manuals and warning labels. Check out these instructions:
- On a frozen dinner: DEFROST BEFORE EATING.
- On an iron: CAUTION! DO NOT IRON CLOTHES ON BODY.
- On a peanut butter jar: MAY CONTAIN PEANUTS.
- On a milk bottlecap: AFTER OPENING, KEEP UPRIGHT.
If some people need these obvious guidelines on household items, think about how much more we need God’s direction. Psalm 119 tells of the importance of His instruction manual – the Bible. Consider:
- “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
- “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
- “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
Tags: instructions, signs, warning
Syndicated columnist L. M. Boyd wrote of an out-of-work and penniless beach bum was strolling along a San Francisco beach one day in 1949. The man, Jack Wurm, found a bottle with a note inside that read, “To avoid confusion, I leave my entire estate to the lucky person who finds this bottle and to my attorney, Barry Cohen. Share and share alike.”
The courts accepted the document as the last will of Daisy Singer Alexander, heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune. She had thrown it into the Thames River in London 12 years earlier. Somehow drifting across the oceans, it washed ashore in California, here Jack Wurm went from poverty to wealth.
This story is reminiscent of the inheritance that we receive in Christ Jesus. We have no rightful claim to it, yet it legally belongs to us. Paul wrote: “[The Holy Spirit] is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession” (Ephesians 1:14).
Back in 1990, Cable television’s Ted Turner, who has condemned abortion foes as “bozos” who “look like idiots,” lashed out at Christianity. “Christianity is a religion of losers,” Turner told the Dallas Morning News. Referring to Christ’s death on the cross, Turner said, “I don’t want anybody to die for me. I’ve had a few drinks and a few girlfriends, and if that’s gonna put me in hell, then so be it.” Turner also told a group of broadcasters, “Your delegates to the United Nations are not as important as the people [broadcasters] in this room. We are the ones who determine what the people’s attitudes are. It’s in our hands.”
What do you think? After ten years, do you think broadcasters have the say on attitudes in America?
Tags: influence, Ted Turner
Ever questioned your influence? Think you don’t matter? Consider these amazing facts from real life history:
In 1645, one vote gave Oliver Cromwell control of England.
In 1649, one vote caused Charles I of England to be executed.
In 1776, one vote gave America the English language instead of German.
In 1845, one vote brought Texas into the Union.
In 1868, one vote saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment.
In 1875, one vote changed France from a monarchy to a republic.
In 1876, one vote gave Rutherford B. Hayes the presidency of the United States.
In 1923, one vote gave Adolf Hitler leadership of the Nazi Party.
In 1941, one vote saved the Selective Service – just weeks before Pearl Harbor was attacked.
Your one vote may not seem like much, but it matters. So vote with your actions and let’s change the world.
Tags: election, influence, vote