It will soon be Halloween, so there are horror movies, old and new, on TV. I remember how much I used to enjoy scary stories when I was a kid. I was a voracious reader, and sometimes I would check out books about Bigfoot, ghosts or UFOs. Later that night, as I struggled to fall asleep, flinching at the slightest sound, I would wish I had read Tom Sawyer instead. As a teenager, I remember one Halloween night when my best friend and I rented an armful of terrifying movies (including The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and stayed up most of the night watching them.
At this point in my life, slasher films and spook stories don't have the same appeal they once did. Real life is scary enough. But sometimes, it is good to be frightened. Even though the most prevalent command in the entire Bible is "Fear not" or some variation thereof, sometimes fear is a useful emotion, reaching us in ways that more gentle approaches cannot. I'm not saying that watching the latest Hollywood gorefest is good for our spiritual lives (quite the opposite, I suspect). But in His Word, God often uses horrifying images to motivate us to change. In other words, we can be literally scared straight.
This Sunday, we will look at the scariest story Jesus ever told. It's found in Luke 16:19-31, and I think because of its central message, it's more terrifying now than ever before. How will it change your life?