Friday, June 10, 2011

"I Can't Believe in a God Who..."

    I'm sure you've heard the sentence," I can't believe in a God who would send people to Hell who haven't ever heard of Him". I've thought about that sentence long and hard, plenty of times. In fact, I made my roommate ask me this question while I was getting my tattoo ( philosophical questions distract me from pain ). 
   I was at church Wednesday night sitting with my friends. I had thought the message    was going to be about prayer, but, by the time I realized it was about evangelism it was too late to run out! 

Prayer- O.K
Reading the Bible- O.K
Spreading the "Good News"- Uhhh...I'll just slip out the back...
      When It comes down to it, I just suck at evangelism! It's not really that I suck, I just care too much about what people think (Hey, I said this was honesty year). Fear literally overwhelms me. Instead of the powerful news of the Gospel coming out, a weak, apologetic, ho-hum, mumble of a suggestion seeps through.
 Sad. I know. 
Back to the story.
     So, while I'm sitting in church service the pastor addresses the lingering question " How can we believe in a God that sends people to Hell who have never heard His name?" 
Well, let me rephrase it to give you a clearer perspective on this question. It should sound like this :
 "I can't believe that the church would let people who have never heard Jesus' name, go to Hell without ever hearing the Gospel."
      That should punch you right in the guts. I know it punches me in the guts! Why don't we let it for a second if that's what we need.  Wow. 
    No one likes to talk about Hell. No one wants to believe that people will actually go there one day. But, the fact is that no one is blameless. Even the nicest of people have hurt others and themselves. Its our nature. 
If I am to call myself a Christian, then I cannot ignore that there is a real Heaven and a real Hell. Therefore, I don't get off on shrugging off the Gospel. I don't get to say "that's not my job"...because it is.
     As you can imagine, I needed a confidence booster after that service. So I dusted off my Bible  (it didn't have dust, but lets just say I haven't opened it enough lately) and turned to Ezekiel 33. I turned there because there is a story that relates directly to the message.Most of the chapter can be boiled down to this verse:

"If the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood."

      What a sad day it will be when we see people that we know going to Hell and we could have saved them by just opening our mouths?  The Gospel requires word and deed. Our words are what separate humanitarians and Christians. I do not want to be accountable for not sounding the trumpet just because I cared too much about what people thought. 
Ezekiel 34 even goes further in saying,
" My sheep were scattered over the whole earth and no one searched or looked for them.... because my shepherds cared for themselves rather than my flock" 
OUCH! That was a pimp slap in the face! 
If God is serious about the lost, then so should I be. The urgency is greater now than ever. I need to get a fire under my tail like, 5 minutes ago! I hope this post ,if anything, is sobering. Pray for courage. I guess I can't chicken out now that I posted this blog! 
(sorry for the rough ending...)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Best Whoopin' Story Never Told Part II: The Whoopin'

          let the punishment fit the crime  

       It was a typical evening in the Hollis household. My mom and dad were watching TV in the living room, and my brother and I were playing games. If you have a brother or sister around your age, you probably know that playing and fighting are kind of mixed in to the same activity. That night, my brother and I were fighting more than usual. We were 8 and 9 years old, so you can imagine how annoying it must have been for my parents. 
Unbeknown to us, while all of our fighting and tattling was going on, my father had had enough! He issued the ultimatum.  He said " If I hear you guys yelling again, I'm whoopin' you both!". 

          My brother and I took this warning to heart. In fact, we let it settle there and make a nice home. Daddy's whoopin's were borderline child abuse. My dad is a short stocky man with arms the size of Popeye's (No, it's not because he likes spinach). Once that belt got to swingin', it wasn't stoppin'. Needless to say, an encounter with the belt was undesirable. 
     We continued playing quietly, until brother had to go and do something (I can't even remember what) that made me mad! I let out a drawn out "Mooooooooommy!" and It was too late to put the words back in my mouth. The words were spilled out on the floor like a glass of water running too fast to sop back up. My daddy got up and asked " Alright, who's first?". Now you already know, it WASN'T me. What do I look like volunteering myself to get the first whoopin'? I wasn't going down like that! I was waaaaay too clever. So I sent my brother to the slaughter. It was wrong, I know, but up until that point I had never been whooped by my dad. 
I listened to my brother through the door. For some reason it used to be HILARIOUS to hear my brother get a whoopin'! I never knew what went on in there, but it sounded like my dad was whoopin' Spider Man or somethin'! I'm even laughing now. 
          Anyways, after he was finished with my brother, my number was up. My heart sank. I was crying before the belt even touched me! I was a softy. The door closed behind me. I was so scared! I begged him not to whoop me! He showed no mercy. He raised up the belt strap to swing and as it came down,something magical happened! I caught the belt strap with my very hands! Yes, with my hands. This was my last hope. There was no going back. 
     My dad yanked the belt from me. I kept holding on. He yanked again, harder this time. I did not surrender that belt. By then he had enough. He pulled the belt strap so hard that I thought I would release it, but I did not. He was obviously stronger than me, so as he was pulling the belt, he was pulling me along with it. All of a sudden, he began pulling up! I found myself lifted off the floor while still clinging on to the belt strap. Yes, I was hanging in the air, holding to my father's belt strap, which was being held by my father....with one hand.... 
        Then, to my surprise, he chuckled. It was the miracle I had been waiting for. He put me back on the ground and struck a bargain with me. He said "If you walk out of here, get in the tub and go straight to bed, then I won't whoop you.".....And that's exactly what I did. Even as a young sprout I could recognize a deal too great to walk away from. 
To this day, I pride myself on the fact that I never got whooped with that belt strap. Not once. And for that reason, this is the greatest whoopin' story never told. 

The Best Whoopin' Story Never Told: Part I (Whoopins 101)

                      86003080, SuperStock /SuperStock 

          The other day I was having a conversation with my older brother about a time when we both got whoopins. Now, I believe that everyone should have a good whoopin' story, especially if you're black! Call it child abuse if you want to, but a parent should never hesitate to "spare the rod". I'll start this one off with some foundations in whoopin' etiquette. Let's call it "Whoopins 101".

1. There are a few differences between a "spanking" and a "whoopin'". A whoopin' evokes large rain drop sized tears along with deep feelings of guilt and physical pain. A spanking may produce some crocodile tears with thoughts like, "That was it?" or "Whew! Glad that's over...Quick! Remember to look sad...." A spanking is what most clever kids aim for.

2. You know you're getting a whoopin' when the parent is yelling with you. It may sound sort of like a, "Didn't. I. Tell. You. Not. To. Do (insert punishable action here) "

3. A Spanking is done with a small to average sized leather/pleather belt or a hand. A whoopin' is conducted with either a LARGE mens leather belt strap, a switch or anything within arms length of your parent. 

As a child I got plenty of spankings, but I was so terrified of that belt strap that I made sure we would never encounter each other! I am sad to say that we did encounter each other, two times actually. This brings me to the start of:
The Best Whoopin' Story Never Told.....