No one was buying hell on Friday

Hell.com gets cool reception at auction

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What is Hell, some think it is a lake of fire,some a pit full of scary images, beasts with horns and pitch forks.What does the Bible really say about it

“Their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Rev. 21:8).

We all have strong memories of the imagery from books and paintings, how about the illustrations done by the 19th-century artist Gustave Dore of Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Modern Christianity and our culture seem to down play what Hell is all about, oh we do hear some messages on it, you know, descriptions of

the torments of Gehenna ,everlasting fire where the “worm does not die”.Hollywood has latched on to a tame yet unconvincing theory of this place of outer darkness and I think has in effect taken the real threat of what it is and made it a theoretical fantasy. I would say Hollywood has had more of an effect on what Hell is than the Church has had. Look at the cartoons on a Saturday morning, watch Bugs Bunny et al chasing around with the Devil in the red suit with the pitch fork. What a shame.

That is the picture we as Pastors need to correct, not preaching or teaching to scare the Hell out of people, but really laying out the fact of Hell, and how to avoid it !!

What really is this place called Hell,

  • First, hell is described as a state of separation from God

  • Second, hell is described as a state of being or a condition of existence, eternal

  • Third, the pain of hell is described in language of fire and worms, pain , separation and loss, “sheep” and the “goats” are separated, with the latter hearing the thundering words: “Depart from me… into the eternal fires prepared for the devil and all his angels.”

  • Finally, the existence of such a state should be a stern warning to seek conversion, to fall on the mercy of God, and ask for the grace of perseverance, conversion and hope. We need to point beyond the condition of damnation to the hope of eternal life.

God’s mercy is greater than our sinfulness. We need to stress not God’s punishment but God’s mercy and forgiveness. We need to be true to the Biblical teachings about both eternal security and eternal separation, both are as real.

Dante says, “that those who enter hell must abandon all hope.” Damnation, is eternal,do not avoid the subject, we need to confront this fearsome doctrine.

  • First, Do not be afraid to preach it, remember that Christ died for our sins and, in so doing, redeemed us by making us children of God by adoption. It is faith in Christ and hope in his promises that are the central to our faith.

  • Second, we are all sinners who, have “fallen short.” and need to seek His Grace.

Do not let people fall into the trap of Hollywood or this Halloween “holiday” that is upon us. Do not ignore the reality of Hell because we do not want to preach Hell and damnation. Do not give up the doctrine of Hell to the movies, preach the full message of the Good News, the saving work of God in Christ and it is a freely offered gift to everyone

God puts before us a choice of saying yes or no. If we say yes it is because God has offered us his love. If we say no it is our choice,

 

Uncle Tone

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Fire them

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Most Pastors-Leaders have it all wrong. We do not need to motivate our volunteers. We need to stop un-motivating them.

So many of the people we want around us to help and support what we do, to be co-laborers for Jesus start out with great enthusiasm and moral that is over the top but sometimes if we do not find a way to allow them to flourish they start a great decline that can last for years, if they stick around that long.

The same thing is true in the business world, we take employees with great ideas and energy and find ways not to harness that energy, That in turn sends them to look for employment elsewhere.

The fault, I believe is something we leaders need to take the blame for, our policies or egos, insecurities what ever you may want to call it are in the way of letting those around us, able minded people, full of energy from fulfilling their worship in service to Jesus.

Could it be our behavior or leadership style that is out of place, how do we correct it?

Three ways I think we can start to keep the enthusiasm growing and the joy flowing are;
Impartiality: To respect and to treated others as co-owners of the ministry we have been entrusted with.
Realization: To allow volunteers to take pride in the job, accomplishments, and ministries they are involved with.
Friendship: To develop rewarding, productive relationships with fellow believers, nurturing and encouraging relationships within and outside the four walls of our churches.

To maintain an enthusiastic volunteer force, Pastors must meet all three goals. Certainly, people who volunteer for ministries where any of these points are missing are so much less enthusiastic than people at churches where all these points are present.

One point should not be substituted for another. Impartiality cannot be replaced by favoritism it will dilute the trust. You get the idea, my mantra, let those who want to serve, serve.

Uncle Tone

Episcopal Church Might ‘Give Up’ on Performing Marriages

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On October 28, the Episcopal Church Dioceses of Massachusetts will vote on a new system of marriage for the denomination. The new system would mean that Episcopal clergy would no longer have the power to marry anyone. Rather, they’d only be able to bless any marriage sanctioned by the state. If the new system passes, it would become effective in January 2008. The civil and religious ceremonies could both occur in the church, but would require a justice of the peace or clergy from another denomination to legally marry the couple — then the Episcopal priest would bless them. This system is currently in place for gay and lesbian couples at Episcopal churches and is often practiced by many denominations in Europe .

“This resolution is for us in the Episcopal Church, but I think it will have ramifications for our brethren in other denominations, by raising questions about our acting as agents of the state,” said Rev. Robert G. Windsor, a sponsor of the resolution. Windsor said the real issue behind this resolution is the balance of separation between church and state. His main hope is that, if the church stopped officiating marriages, couples seeking a religious ceremony would be doing so as an actual reflection of faith, rather than just “getting a church wedding.”

Lunacy

ky-flag.jpgJust when I think we believers in Christ and followers of the King of Kings are making some headway, I run into shear lunacy. I hate to bash but sometimes it is just the right thing to do. I was boiling as I read this story, I completely understand the first amendment and fully support the free speech from all sides of the argument, but why oh why do these knuckleheads want to bring the Lord into their narrow minded argument as if it were the words of Christ.

Ok, quote “Church members held signs across the street that read, “America is doomed,” “Thank God for 9/11,” and “Thank God for dead soldiers.”

Give me a break, thanking God for dead soldiers, how sad is that, no matter what side the soldiers are on, I would think praising God for the death of men is just NUTS.

We very well could be doomed, but it is the likes of narrow-minded goons that doom us not our young fighting men and women that serve our country that will doom us.

This is not just an abstract thought for me this is real life. Last year I attended the funeral of a GREAT young man that gave his life on the battlefields of Iraq, he was just a kid of 19 or so, he gave his heart to serve others, he was a real MAN that loved the Boy Scouts he worked with, loved his family, loved life. How dare people think they can thank the Lord of this young soldier that he is dead, shame , shame on them.

Again, not just a random venting about an abstract subject, I was confronted a few weeks ago by a “gentleman” just as our Sunday service was about to begin he wanted to know why I hated Jews and Gays, give me a break,

The culture of hate is just so sad, can we just somehow show the love of Christ without slamming people, I do understand sin is wrong, I do get it that Jesus overturned tables, I know He said it like it was, but He also shared meals, conversations, time and love with the unlovely, why oh why can’t we.