If you would sum up one word for 2011, it was HELL. Everywhere I turned there was a conversation about what someone else thought about hell. I'm pretty sure my dog actually came out with a book on hell last year. I will never forget the moment... I was on vacation in Florida when I got a text. The text read something like "Have you seen all the things being said about Rob Bell on Twitter." So, while my wife was in the bathroom I turned to twitter to see what was being said about Rob Bell's "Love Wins" video trailer. I was honestly shocked and immediately thought to myself staring at a sea of people: "What are people far from God going to think of this conversation from the outside?" John Piper who had not read his book was bidding him Farewell and other bloggers were calling him a heretic. A year after "Hellmageddon 2011" I thought it was time to look back.
It really doesn't matter what you think about Rob Bell, John Piper, or Francis Chan and their thoughts about hell. I am not going to join in the debate, because I know what the Bible says in Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." I know that God has not suggested but commanded that I go and make disciples. I do think that we missed Rob's biggest message, to bring heaven to earth. I spend much of my time around hurting and broken teenagers. They don't even know who Rob Bell is or care to. But they do long for the hope that only Jesus Christ can bring.
There has been a resurgence of a passion for theology but a lack of obedience to Scripture. Our actions speak louder than our social media rants about what we believe. I have learned something by watching Pastor's posts on Sunday & Monday. I know that Perry Noble believes in Hell cause he preaches the gospel and people respond. I know that Steven Futrick believes in Hell cause he is baptizing new Christ followers by the thousands. Everyone is so busy talking about what the "gospel" is and isn't that they have forgotten to actually share it with a lost and dying world. What we believe is only as important if our beliefs effect how we live.
Those that are going to spend an eternity without Jesus and as Rob Bell said are "living hell on earth" don't really care what you "believe" about hell. They care what you are going to do about it. I believe its a really nice day outside, but I have other things to do today. So what I believe about the weather isn't affecting the course of my life.
If we are being honest with ourselves, we don't really believe in Hell either. Because if we did, we would be doing something about it. If we were at the beach and saw someone drowning we would not have a meeting or pray about it, we would dive in the water. We would not wait for help. If our neighbor's house was on fire and we saw their children in the window, we would be rushing into to save them. I wonder what would happen if we treated evangelism like water rescue.
I remember sitting in the theater watching "Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End" saying to myself that is what I want my life to be about. Rescuing people on the edge.That i what I long for my ministry to be about. I long for the Church (big C) to be about. Johnny Deep's Captain Jack was sailing to the darkest places to rescue those that where sinking. All around us every day are people looking for something to fill that void and you and I have the answer to. Everyday we walk by people that without the hope of the Gospel will spend an eternity without God.
These days my ministry is focused on going to public schools with Activate Assemblies. The hallways of public schools are full of a generation without hope. Over half of them are being raise in broken homes. Everyday, I meet girls with scars on their arms thinking that life is not worth living. The scars on their arms are not as deep as the ones on their hearts. Everyday around you there are those people. Maybe at the table next to you at the coffee shop, the cubicle next to you, the bus seat next to you, or walking past you on the sidewalk. Those people are not waiting for us to pray about bringing them hope. They need it now. If you really believe you have the answer to rescue them from the hell they are living in and the one that Scripture promises them without Jesus, then do something about it!
We have one Hell of a problem. We need to stop arguing. We need to start doing. So my question for you today is: Do you believe that lost people are dying without hope and will spend an eternity separated from God? Then prove it!