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Friday, September 23, 2011

The FlashForward of a Christian

ABC recently had a TV show called FlashForward as one of its regular programs. The show started off with everyone on the earth blacking out. During this global blackout each person had a FlashForward six months into their future. In the FlashForwards that people had they either saw nothing (meaning that they wouldn’t be alive), saw things they didn’t like, or things that they did like. Throughout the rest of the show we find that people are trying to either stop their FlashForwards’ from coming true, or doing everything possible to make them happen. In Philippians 3:13-14, the Bible tells us to “strain forward to what lies ahead”. As Christians we must concentrate on the future.  What does your future hold? Where will you be in 20 years? What will your Christian life be like? What are you doing to get it to that point? Philippians 3 tells us that if we want to make our “citizenship in Heaven” we must :

1.       Press on towards the Goal (v.14).
2.       Imitate other faithful Christians (v. 17).
3.       Don’t imitate those walking as enemies of Christ (v.18).
4.       Keep our minds off earthly things (v.18).

The Ultimate FlashForward will take everyone to one of two places; Heaven or Hell. The Bible describes Heaven as a beautiful place.

1.       The Bible tells us that Heaven will have no wickedness (Rev. 21:8,27).
2.       The Bible tells us that Heaven will have no death, sorrow, crying, or pain (Rev. 21:4).
3.       The Bible tells us that Heaven will be a beautiful place that is built out of pure gold (Rev. 21:18), will have the “glory of God, and its radiance will be like a most rare jewel “(Rev. 21:11), a place that has beautiful jewels all around it (Rev.21:18-21).
4.       The Bible tells us that Heaven  will have no temple because the Lord God is the Temple (Rev. 21:22).

The Bible also gives us a description of Hell:

1.       The Bible tells us that Hell will be hot (Rev. 21:8).
2.       The Bible tells us that Hell will be a place of torment (Rev 21:8, 2 Thessalonians 1:6, Luke 16:22-24).
3.       The Bible tells us that Hell will be a place you don’t want your family to go (Luke 16:28).
4.       The Bible tells us that Hell is a place that will be away from the presence of the Lord (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

We have seen where you will be if you get to Heaven, and we have seen a description that the Bible gives us of Hell. You have thought about what you want your life to be like in the future but what are you going to do about it? You have seen it! It is not too late to change. How can you get to Heaven or Hell?  

How to get to Hell:

1.       To get to Hell you MUST disobey God’s commandments. After all this is what Satan wants (1 Peter 5:8).
2.       To get to Hell you MUST never become a Christian. (2 Thessalonians 1:8)
3.       To get to Hell you MUST disregard those around us. (2 Thessalonians 1:6)
·   Forget Kindness (Gal 5)
·   Forget Service (John 13)
·   Forget Love-( 1 Cor. 13:13)
4.       To get to Hell you MUST ignore Evangelism.
5.       To get to Hell you MUST just do the minimum. (Rev. 3:15-16)

Obviously I would hope that nobody would want to go to Hell, and that all would want to go to Heaven instead. If want to get to Heaven we must do they opposite of what it takes to get to Hell. C. S. Lewis was told about a gravestone inscription that read; “Here lies an atheist – all dressed up and no-where to go.” Lewis quietly replied, “I bet he wishes that were so.” Heaven and Hell are real places. The question is:
Where will your Ultimate FlashForward take you?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wine is a Mocker

It was a normal church event for those involved. In my work I have taken many a group of youth on a trip just like this. The youth group had decided to take a trip to King’s Island and had taken the church bus which was actually a school bus. I can imagine the group having a blast of fun at the amusement park until it was time to come home. The kids on the bus were probably tired, maybe a little cranky; after all it was 11:00 PM by this point. I can imagine that the chaperones on that bus were anxious to get back and be with their families and sleep in their own bed. Sadly for many that would never happen. It wasn’t because their families didn’t want them to be home with them again, it was because they weren’t given the opportunity. At around 11 PM on May 14, 1988 a drunk driver collided with this church bus filled with husbands, wives, children, siblings, friends, relatives. When everything was said and done 24 youth, and 3 adults had tragically passed away. Ten other individuals suffered disfiguring burns, hearts were broken; divorces resulted, a child’s foot had to be amputated, hundreds suffered. It is impossible to tell the contribution to our world that those 24 youth might have made. They might have been doctors who would have saved lives, researchers who could have had the cure for cancer, soldiers to protect our freedom. Instead they didn’t have the chance. Alcohol made sure of that. In the ten years since 9/11 we have had as many people in the state of Kentucky die from alcohol related crashes alone as in 9/11. How tragic life can be. Abe Lincoln said that alcohol has many defenders, but has no defense I believe that his words ring so true. There are several reasons why I will never take a sip of alcohol; I will like to share some of these reasons:

Fact # 1: Alcohol doesn’t glorify God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
            I realize that there are other things that you can drink besides alcohol that doesn’t glorify God. There is not one thing that I know about alcohol that glorifies God. In fact, I would venture to say most by-products of alcohol do the exact opposite they deglorify God. Alcohol use is said to be involved in 50% of all murders, accidental deaths, and suicides. It is said to be involved in 33% of all drowning, boating, and aviation deaths. It is involved in 50% of all crimes ( That doesn’t sound like things that glorify God to me.

Fact # 2: Drinking Leads to Drunkenness. Ephesians 5:18, Galatians 5:21, 1 Corinthians 6:10
            I don’t think anyone would argue that drunkenness is shown to be sinful by God’s holy word. An individual that never drinks will never have to worry about getting drunk. The point at which an individual gets drunk is different for everyone. The only way to know how much alcohol must be consumed by an individual to get drunk is to actually get drunk. Thus, the only way to be certain that we will not get drunk is to not drink.

Fact # 3: Consequences can be Detrimental
When I was a sophomore in college, I worked as a volunteer firefighter for the city of Henderson, TN. I can remember one morning about 12:15 A.M. I received a page, and was paged out to the Highway 45 in Henderson. I will never forget the devastation that I would see that morning. I can remember seeing smoke coming out of a car that no longer looked like a car. I remember seeing a semi-truck turned over in a ditch, children toys and debris lining the road. I saw a body that no longer had life in it sprawled out in the road. I found out later that the car had been traveling at over 90 miles an hour the wrong way down the highway when it hit the semi-truck. When I was informed of this I thought why in the world would someone do that? I was then told that the teenage boy had been drinking. I will never forget what I saw that morning, I will also never forget the heartache that I felt at around 2:45 A.M. I was getting ready to leave the scene, when a voice started calling out to us. I looked over and a lady and several children were standing at a fence, looking at us with confused and teary eyes. The lady asked if the boy had survived and we didn’t say anything which told her everything that she needed to know, and she burst out in tears crying, “Why?” The boy was related to the woman and children. 
In 2007, 14,406 individuals died from alcohol related liver disease. In this same year 23,199 people died from alcohol related instances and this number excludes accidents and homicides ( In the United States 50,000 individuals get alcohol poisoning every week. Over 14 million people in the United States are addicted to alcohol. That statistic averages out to one in every thirteen adult. 65 people die every day on the U.S. Highways because of alcohol. Alcoholics spend on average four times the amount of time in the hospital during a lifetime than a non-alcoholic. The cost of untreated alcohol and drug abuse costs our country over 265 billion dollars every year in law enforcement costs, health care, welfare, and lost productivity. Drunk Drivers cause half of all highway fatalities. Alcohol is a factor in nearly half of all accidents, suicides, and murders (  The consequences of alcohol are deadly, and cause so much harm in our country each and every day.

Fact # 4: Alcohol is Addictive. 1 Corinthians 6:12
It is said that more individuals are addicted to alcohol than any other substance. Yet Paul tells us that he will not be enslaved by anything. When we are dealing with a substance as addictive as alcohol, it cannot be guaranteed when the first sip is taken that we will not become addicted. We cannot guarantee that if we drink alcohol our influence will not cause someone else to drink, become addicted, and have major problems come about as a result of the addiction.

Fact # 5: Alcohol is not beneficial. 1 Corinthians 10:23
            Alcohol is not something that builds others up. As this article has shown through the many statistics that have been given, alcohol can cause quite a bit of heartache in the life of those who have abused it. As we ponder this subject, and think about the harm that alcohol can cause, the words of Paul ring loudly in my ears, “All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful, but not all things build up”. Even if alcohol was allowed by the word of God, which this writer believes that it is not, this principle alone should keep us from using it and supporting it. After all alcohol is a substance that tears lives down, not builds them up.

Alcohol made sure the kids in that bus crash, and many other crashes never had the chance to live their lives, history tends to repeat itself if we give it the chance. Let us do all that we can to stop alcohol and its deadly path. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” (Proverbs 20:1).

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Ugly Duckling

Once upon a time there was a story told of a mother duck. The mother was sitting on her eggs waiting for them to hatch. The day finally came when these eggs hatched, and out came several beautiful young ducklings. The mother realized there was one large egg left. The egg finally hatched and out came what the mother thought was a large ugly duckling. This “ugly duckling” was made fun of by the ducks and animals that he came across. Finally after he could take it no more he decided to go try to hang out with the swans as a last ditch effort. When the “ugly duckling” got close to the swans he was amazed by their reactions, until he looked down into the water and realized that he was no longer “ugly” but had grown into a beautiful swan. As I read this fable I couldn’t help but realize the great lessons that it holds for children of God.

1)    Realize the Potential! In the story of the “ugly duckling” the “duckling” was ugly on the outside yet would turn into something beautiful. As Christians if we just look at what someone is now we will miss out on opportunities to evangelize. We must look at the potential that individuals hold to become children of God. The Bible says in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” If you remember the story of Saul of Tarsus the individuals in his day didn’t believe that he had the potential to become a child of God’s, yet Jesus did. Saul went from being on the fast track to becoming a powerful Pharisee, and being one of the worst persecutors of his time to being one of the most persecuted Christians of his time. Saul went from being an “ugly duckling” to a beautiful swan (Christian).

2)     Nurture the Potential! In the story of the “ugly duckling” the “duckling” wasn’t nurtured and helped, instead the “duckling” was made fun of and treated horribly. As a Christian when we see those that have potential we must not just realize the potential that they hold yet do something about it. We must teach the gospel, and encourage them. The Bible says, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Everyone has the potential to become a child of God. The gospel is for all. What are you doing to help turn the “ugly ducklings” into “beautiful swan”?