Monday, February 24, 2014

Rattlesnake gets the best of man of God

When will those snake-handling preachers ever learn?

Another one died a few days ago in backwoods Kentucky after being bitten by a rattlesnake.

He had handled the deadly serpent at his church-- Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in Middlesboro, Ky.

The angry snake sank its fangs into him during the church service, but preacher Jamie Coots refused medical treatment, declaring that his life was in God’s hands.

He went home and declined quickly.

The rattlesnake’s venom quickly did its thing, and when an ambulance crew arrived and tried to treat him, Coots—gradually losing consciousness—refused their help.

When the medical crew returned to his home about an hour later, the Pentecostal minister was dead.

The snake that bit him on the hand had been handled many times previously, over several months, by Coots and others at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name. This according to Coots’ son, Cody Coots: "It's been carried hundreds of times, handled all kinds of times but now when it's your time to go, it's just your time to go."

What a painful, horrible way to leave this world—and all because of a verse in the Bible (Mark 16:18) that asserts (some fundamentalist preachers fervently believe) that if you handle deadly serpents, God will protect you from being hurt.

It’s mind boggling that snake-handling preachers—many of them in the Southern Appalachian Mountains—continue tempting the Almighty.

ABC News reported that about poisonous snakes are used in about 125 churches in America every day.


On a more positive note, I heard an interesting sermon yesterday. Seems, according to Rob Sweet, teaching pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Johnson City, Tenn., that all of us are confronted with what he calls an “ever-present gap which leads us to a never-ending pursuit.”

A pursuit of what?

A pursuit toward closing the gap that hinders the joy and fulfillment of our loving and understanding Jesus. The gap is there because of junk or misdeeds we’ve committed in our past. But we have to get beyond all that, forget what lies behind and focus on having a deeper, more meaningful relationship with Jesus.

We need to press on toward the positive. We need to keep striving and pursuing that which is Holy and good and right.

And we don’t need to be handling rattlesnakes to underscore our faith.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Our book due out in a few months

I've blogged about this before but finally I believe it's going to happen.

I'm about to become an author (more accurately, a co-author) of a published book.

Our novel is titled "Fish Springs: Below the Surface" and you can click here for our teaser website.

It's a teaser site because "Fish Springs" won't actually be available on Amazon or in book stores till June 1, 2014.

It's also possible that it'll be made into a TV movie. But more about that in the coming months.

"Fish Springs" (named after the remote mountain community in East Tennessee where my Dad was born and raised) has been a long time coming. A lot of writing, rewriting, writing, rewriting (you get the idea).

It will be published by Ingalls Publishing Group--based in the N.C. High Country. Thank you, Bob and Barbara Ingalls for publishing our novel! Heartfelt appreciation, too, to Ingalls senior editor Judy Geary for taking a diamond in the rough (my opinion) and helping make it sparkle.

So this blog post is just an early shout-out from yours truly and my coauthor, Michael Manuel.

Stay tuned for more information.