begin with the bad

My family was driving home from another fun and rejuvenating week at the Upper Peninsula Bible Camp when I heard the beginning of the press conference announcing Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan. I turned to my wife and said, “Wow. This changes everything.” I don’t know the specifics of the Ryan plan (though I suspect it’s not exactly what the Democrats say), but I am excited to see at least one serious candidate in this race. We just might get a debate about generational theft and what can be done about it.

Last week I spoke to the adult campers about death and then last night I spoke to a high school group about hell. You’d think such topics would be entirely depressing, and you’d be right. But I’ve discovered something else too. These topics are actually inspiring, for they provide the opportunity to speak about Jesus. Indeed, they supply the only opportunity to speak about Jesus, for if we don’t begin with sin, death, and hell, then we will have no reason to bring up Jesus.

If we try anyway, people will wonder why we’re talking about him. What does Jesus even mean to someone who is untroubled by sin, death, and hell? Why would they ever think they need him?

I didn’t start out to write books and preach on these depressing subjects, but I’m glad I have, for Jesus is more precious now than he ever was before. When your love for Christ begins to cool, stop and think about death and hell. That is the fastest way I know to recover the joy of the Lord.

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