Showing posts from April, 2011

Devastation in Ringgold, GA

My family is fine.  Thank you to everyone who has asked about them.  Here is an aerial of the damage.  The school property is Ringgold High School.  The school to the right of the tennis courts is Ringgold Jr. High.  It is really sad to see these places so devastated.  I am a '91 graduate of RHS.  Lots of great memories there.  Let's pray for all the families impacted by these storms.  May many people come to know Christ as we recover. VIDEO: Aerials of Catoosa Storm Damage:

Volunteering in Devastated Areas of Alabama

As you know there is widespread destruction in Central Alabama.  If you would like to volunteer please call the Birmingham Baptist Association at 205-599-3245.  At this time this is the most efficient way to get involved. Please pray for the thousands of families impacted by this disaster.  May God help us recover and may many people come to know Jesus through this storm. On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still

MealSnap - Another Great Pastor App

Pastors are usually round jolly old elves that shake when we laugh like a bowl full of jelly.   Although we may not carry a bag full of toys, we are like Santa in the sense that we do like to eat.   I vowed early on, “I don’t want to look like a preacher.”   So I work out, and try to watch what I eat; but the problem is that I also like to eat what I watch. A year or so ago my wife went on Weight Watchers.   She lost a lot of weight.   I experienced second hand weight loss.   It is sort of like second hand smoke.   If someone around you all the time is doing it, it is bound to impact your health.   However, I found that Weight Watchers may be strong enough for a man, but it is made for a woman.   I have noticed through the years that things that appeal to women operate on a completely different system of mathematics.   As prime examples I bring you Mary Kay, Weight Watchers, and couponing.   There is not a calculator on the planet engineered to figure out the math in these communities.

Why People Go to Hell, A Difficult Topic

Another reason ( previous post ) the topic of why people go to Hell is difficult is because the possibility that a loved one may be suffering torment in the afterlife is extremely emotionally troubling.   When arguments become emotional they often cease to be rational.   It is difficult to cover this topic objectively without coming across as being judgmental and insensitive.   After all, if we live long enough, and discuss this topic enough, we will come to know and love people to whom the issue applies.   When we are talking about people in the afterlife we are not talking about imaginary, fictitious characters but actual people.   At some point we will come to this realization and naturally begin to draw connections.   This emotional attachment may cause us to distance ourselves from the argument, to draw conclusions that may be emotionally comforting but may not be Biblically supported, or we may deflect the issue by focusing our attention on

Is Gandhi In Hell?

The next topic in this series on Hell is to discuss why people go to Hell.  With this issue it is natural to draw inferences concerning “who” actually has gone, or will go to Hell.  Thus, we enter into volatile territory.  There are several factors here that make this a difficult discussion.  I will flesh out these reasons over the next few posts. In broaching this topic there will be accusation that the discussion is judgmental and condemns specific people to Hell.  For instance, when we outline "why" people go to Hell there will naturally be people "who" we may not think comply (if they are living) or complied (if they are not living) to the criteria.  Yet, without Biblical revelation, it is impossible for us to know specifically who is in Hell, therefore we should refrain from casting judgment or drawing conclusions that any specific person is in Hell.  No matter what we say, we can be sure that we do not know who is specifically “where” until we see them physic

What is Hell?

As you can see from the listing of passages shared in my post Hell Revealed (What does the Bible Say?) , that the Bible has a lot to say about the afterlife and simply using the word “Hell” may not be accurate.   When most people talk about Hell they are speaking of the place where the wicked will suffer in the afterlife; basically Hell is a place of suffering while Heaven is a place of blessedness.   Furthermore, when most people speak about Heaven and Hell they speak of them as if one is up and one is down and that they will both be so forever and ever.   From the survey of passages you can see that this is not completely the case.   The danger of leaving our understanding here in these generalities is that these are the sorts of generalities that often lead people not to take the afterlife seriously and result in petty caricatures of both Heaven and Hell.   Let’s be careful then, to make some distinctions. The final state of the wicked is not technically Hell.   The Bible says that

More Bell?

I want to reiterate a point I made in a previous post .  I have not read Rob Bell’s book Love Wins and at this point I have no plans to do so.  Yet ironically, here we are again talking about Rob Bell’s book which is the cover story for this week’s Time Magazine . This is one of the most intriguing moments of heresy I have encountered as a pastor and probably the very reason Paul told Titus that when it comes to the heretic or the divisive person, renounce him once or twice and then move on (Titus 3:10)!  We are saying way too much about Bell’s book, which if I can be critical here, is probably not really worth all the fuss.  Without reading it I can speculate that Bell’s hermeneutic in Love Wins is probably distinctly post-modern; which allows for conflicting statements to be equally true (which in most worlds is illogical).  This means his book is probably full of contradictions.  If you saw the MSNBC interview, the anchor exposed this well.   I would allege that Bell allows for q

Four Views of Hell

There are four general schools of thought about Hell. 1.       Naturalism – only the observable, material world exists.   Hell cannot possibly exist.   Life simply ceases to exist at death. 2.       The Classical View – Hell is an eternal place of unending torment for the wicked. 3.       Annihilation – Hell is real, but not eternal.   The wicked are destroyed there. 4.       Universalist – No one, or at least very few ever go to Hell.   It may or may not exist. Within the annihilationist view there are two modified views: [i] 1.       Conditional immortality – The wicked are resurrected, but they forfeit eternal life and are simply allowed to pass out of existence.   2.       Annihilationism proper – God will punish sin, but in time that punishment results in the cessation of life. Within universalism there are three views: 1.       It doesn’t matter if there is a Hell, God would not allow anyone to go there. 2.       There is a Hell, but only the worst of the wicked will go there. 3.

Acts 10 (sermon audio: Sunday a.m.)

What hinders you from sharing the gospel? Like Peter in Acts 10, we all have those areas which create barriers in sharing and truly reflecting the gospel to others. It may be prejudice, bitterness, fear, or even lifestyle choices that we use to convince ourselves that our witness is somehow not required. There are plenty of people who are ready to hear, but are you ready to share? Listen to Audio

Hell Revealed (What does the Bible say?)

In my previous post I spent some time not only building a case for Biblical revelation, but also for a Biblical theology of Hell.   In short, what does this mean? We will simply ask, what does the Bible say about Hell and gather those passages (which I will do with this post today). We will assess all that the Bible says about Hell. We will form a concise statement summarizing what the Bible says about Hell.   We won’t say about Hell what the Bible doesn’t say about Hell.   We will try to avoid theological conjecture, philosophical infilling, and personal speculation. This is Biblical theology. So what does the Bible say about Hell?   Allow me to share some simple information that can be easily obtained from almost any decent Bible dictionary.   I am going to use the New Nave’s Topical Bible . Hell as Sheol - Deut. 32:22; 2 Sam. 22:6; Job 11:8; 26:6; Psa. 9:17; 16:10; 18:5; 55:15; 86:13; 116:3; 139:8; Prov. 5:5; 7:27; 9:18; 15:11, 24; 23:14; 27:20; Isa. 5:14; 14:9, 15; 28:15, 18;

Hell Revealed (How do we know?)

Every person makes a choice, where will he or she get information?   How will we know?   How much can we know?   Recently there has been a lot of buzz about a young boy who had an after death vision/experience of Heaven.   It is a compelling story and has resulted in a best selling book, but how do we measure its truthfulness?   Is human experience ultimate reality or are there verifiable truths that are currently beyond human experience?   What about science?   Do we have enough faith in science to believe that its capabilities are limitless?   Do we trust science enough to be the ultimate measure of truth?   Can all truth fit into a test tube?   Here is a brain teaser for you, is the scientific method scientifically verifiable?   How can it prove or disprove itself?   We must make a choice on how we answer this most basic question of human existence, how do we know? When it comes to knowing God, a being that is beyond time and space, man is behind the eight ball.   He needs informati