by Josh Crutchfield, Pastor of FBC Trenton, Texas
In 1974, Pastor Estus W. Pirkle created a film entitled The Burning Hell. This film was circulated throughout many churches in the U.S. and around the world, with the sole purpose of scaring people out of Hell. In this movie, Pastor Pirkle sought to portray the horrifying realities of Hell so that people would turn to Jesus and be saved from such a horrid place.
Numerous people have seen this movie and have been impacted by the message conveyed. Similarly, many today share the Gospel by describing the terror of Hell in hopes that the people who will listen, will trust in Christ for salvation. Yet, is such a presentation of the Gospel accurate? Did Jesus come to save us from Hell or from sin? There appears to be a distinct disparity between the two presentations and a difference between those who are saved from Hell and those who are saved from sin. Continue reading
by Kirk Spencer
The other night, I was checking doors before I went to bed. All the doors were locked and the lights were off. I made my way through the dark house, to each bedroom to check on my kids, to stand in the doorway, to walk to their side, stand over them and catch a glimpse of that most peaceful thing in all the world—a child’s face in peaceful sleep. But this night my youngest was not in his bed… So I went looking for him. I found him asleep on the futon upstairs. The stairs creak, and at the top there is a loose board that pops. My son half-opened his eyes and looked at me, still mostly asleep. For just a moment, it was as if I was looking through his eyes, at my father who would come looking for me too. I remembered the feel of his arms around me. His sharp whiskers on my cheek. His aftershave. Carrying me from the backseat, or living room floor, or the course rug just outside his closed bedroom door—carrying me back to bed. As a child, I just assumed that was what all fathers did: They find their children and carry them to where they need to go. Somewhere softer and safer. Continue reading
by Winston Hottman
At a recent fundraiser, President Obama claimed that he is not a “particularly ideological person.” Though passionate about particular issues, he claimed that he is “pretty pragmatic as to how we get it.” Continue reading
by Kirk Spencer
My neighbor is deaf… and she is one of the sweetest people I know. I’ve known her now for almost thirty years. She has lived her life in absolute silence. And I have seen her face other hardships with her particular crooked smile and nodding of acceptance. I’ve learned, when speaking, to always face her and exaggerate the movement of my mouth. In her perpetual silence, she is forced to read lips. And she is very good at it. Continue reading
*Posted by Kirk Spencer
I’ve been neglecting my yard work because I’ve been far too busy with my work work. As of late, I have been trying to motivate myself to get out there and make up for lost time. However, the insistent necessity of other more necessary things has precluded it.
The city changed all that.
So, recently, I have been spending a lot of time outside, catching up on all my horticultural procrastination. I have this 25 year-old Sweetgum Tree in the corner of my backyard which keeps getting into trouble by growing its limbs out over the alley. It is a good tree, with welcoming shade and stunning fall colors, but it was misshapen because I did not plan ahead when I planted it a quarter century ago. I planted it too close to the Bald Cyprus.
This particular Sweetgum Tree has not been very healthy for a while. I could tell it was not long for this world. And so I allowed a root spout to grow into a tree itself, about ten feet tall and three inches in diameter. It was growing right next to the mother tree and, since it was connected to the root system, it would grow fast and strong once the mother was gone. Within a few years, it would also provide welcoming shade and stunning fall color.
I had it all planned out.
When the tree-man came for the estimate, I told him to cut down the large tree and leave the sapling. He said “fine…no problem.” Continue reading
At Real Clear Politcs, Chuck Raasch discusses the death of writing and its influence on current political discussions:
Imagery is the primary medium of our time, a potentially powerful host for good change and authentic understanding. But in its shadow, we have gotten lazy in our appropriation of the correct words to assuage or understand or to seek the common humanity that is in all of us. Today, throwing barbs and brickbats into the Great Din of the Internet has become as second nature as breathing, and one can do it so ubiquitously that words have become devoid of any meaningful consequence. The Great Din requires no forethought, no real calculation of purpose or result, no contemplative brake, no need to seek angles or views beyond those that reaffirm or reassure what we think right now. The best photographers still work patiently and incessantly for the right angles, the right lighting, the right moments to tell the story most truthfully and honestly. Would that more writers do likewise.
This is a big reason why our approach to politics is broken. Seeking any edge, the leading actors too often talk about “optics” over accommodation or resolution. By boiling complex issues into single images or seven-word slams, everyone — actor, describer, citizen — is let off the hook, content with their own translators and tribes. Even the once-derided 30-second sound bite has become archaic, too lengthy for our run-and-gun debates.
At his blog, All Things New, Dr. Everett Berry discusses the recent Strange Fire conference, hosted by John MacArthur, and the reasons it has proved controversial :
It’s one thing to say that one may have certain defective ideas in their theology or that one disagrees with another’s interpretation of specific passages of Scripture. That’s just life until Jesus comes back. Yet to be perceived as if you are questioning another person’s identity as a Christian because of one’s beliefs about spiritual gifts becomes a highly messy endeavor because of the ubiquity of continuationist theology in so many Christian traditions and the fact that many men and women of God who are open to continuationist thought have been used mightily by God throughout the history of the church (and yes today as well). In the end then, I think this is one reason this conference kindled such a stir.
Be sure to check out parts one and two of the discussion at Berry’s blog, as well as the first of two discussions with Dr. Creamer at For Christ and Culture On the Air.