Between Cincinnati and Columbus, a large sign displays a rather direct message on the eastern side of I-71.  With white lettering painted against a black backdrop, the sign declares:

Hell Is Real.

     Whenever Cathy and I pass by that sign, I typically turn and ask in jest, “I wonder how many souls that sign has saved today?”  I am one of those Christians that believe when it comes to evangelism, you win people over more often with honey than vinegar.  As a preacher, I find it more effective to entice people into heaven rather than to scare them away from hell.

     Jeff Greenway, a pastoral friend of mine, claims that Jesus came not just to save us from something but to save us for something.  Jeff’s reasoning is substantiated by the words of Ephesians 2:10:  “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (NIV).  The New Testament writer argues that as new creations in Christ, we have been redeemed through the sacrifice of Jesus to do good things.  Through the cross of Christ, we have been given the freedom, as well as the responsibility, to bless the world in which we live; to build and not destroy, to lift others up rather than to beat them down.  In other words, Jesus has redeemed his people to do great things.

     So, as you go throughout the weekend, I invite you to reflect upon these questions.  For what great purpose is Christ calling me?  Given your abilities and spiritual gifts, where can God most effectively use me?