Abortion
Abundant Life
Accountability
Adultery
Angels
Anger
Attitude
Backsliding
Bible
Blessing
Carring Each Others Burdens
Change
Character
Christian Living
Church
Church Discipline
Compassion
Confession
Cross
Cults
Death
Disobedience
Drugs
Encouragement
Evangelism
Faith
Family
Forgiveness
Friendship
God
Grace
Grief
Guilt
Hearing God
Heaven
Honesty
Hope
Jesus
Judging
Judgment Day
Kindness
Kingdom Of God
Love
Lukewarm
Making A Difference
Marriage
Material Possessions
Mistakes
Obedience
Peace
Peer Pressure
Perseverance
Prayer
Priorities
Repenance
Restoration
Sacrifice
Salvation
Satan
Second Coming
Self Esteem
Self Reliance
Serving
Sin
Stubbornness
Stumbling
Suffering
Suicide
Temptation
Thanksgiving
Trust
Wholehearted Devotion
Worship

 


What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

According to Peter Kendall in the Chicago Tribune, Ruben Brown, age sixty-one, was known on the south and west sides of Chicago, as the friendly neighborhood cockroach exterminator with "the Mississippi stuff." The Mississippi stuff was a pesticide Brown had bought hundreds of gallons of in the South, and it really did the trick on roaches. Brown went from door to door with his hand sprayer, and his business grew as satisfied customers recommended the remarkably effective exterminator to others. In the process, however, Brown is alleged to have single-handedly created an environmental catastrophe. The can-do pesticide-methyl parathion-is outlawed by the EPA for use in homes. Southern farmers use it on boll weevils in their cotton fields, and within days the pesticide chemically breaks down into harmless elements. Not so in the home. There the pesticide persists as a toxic chemical that can harm the human neurological system with effects similar to lead poisoning.

The EPA was called into Chicago for the cleanup. Drywall, carpeting, and furniture sprayed with the pesticide had to be torn out and hauled to a hazardous -materials dump. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that the total cost of the cleanup would be some $20 million, ranking this as one of the worst environmental nightmares in Illinois history.

Brown was charged with two misdemeanors. He apparently didn't know much about the pesticide he sprayed so liberally. Brown's attorney said, "It's a tragedy. It is one of those situations where he did a lot of harm, but his intention in no way matches the damage he has done. He is a family man and handled it with his own hands. Do you think he knew how toxic it was?"

What you don't know can hurt you. That is true both of pesticides and of false teaching.

Choice Contemporary Stories & Illustrations For Preachers, Teachers, & Writers
Craig Brian Larson, Baker Books, p. 134.


Thirty-Nine People Said Yes To The Wrong Thing

In March 1997 police came to a Rancho Santa Fe, California, mansion and found the corpses of thirty-nine people who had said yes to the wrong thing. They were members of the Heaven's Gate cult, impressionable people who had left homes, friends, and families all across America to follow cult leader Marshall Applewhite. The police found their bodies clothed in black and shrouded in purple. They had committed mass suicide, believing that their souls would leave their bodies and join up with a spaceship that they hoped was trailing behind a comet passing near earth. In the aftermath of the suicides, journalists talked with individuals who had at one time been proselytized by the cult and had seriously considered joining. Writers Jeff Zeleny and Susan Kuczka reported in the Chicago Tribune that a young man named Donald had heard about the cult while he was at the University of Wisconsin. His roommate became a believer. Donald put the cult out of his mind until a few months later when he received a phone call from a representative of Heaven's Gate who offered to send him a videotape entitled "Beyond Human--The Last Call."

"At that time in my life I decided I needed something to grasp on to," he said. Donald responded to the offer and watched the videotape. A few weeks later the cult representative phoned again and offered to send Donald a bus ticket to join the group. Donald thought about it, but eventually he declined, he said, because his girlfriend got upset about it. When the suicides later became public, Donald and his family shuddered with relief.

Just as it is vital to say yes to what is right, it is equally important to say a firm no to what is wrong. The word no can save you.

Choice Contemporary Stories & Illustrations For Preachers, Teachers, & Writers
Craig Brian Larson, Baker Books, p. 59.