“Our goal is to save souls and make money for the church”

Ira Glass’ much-acclaimed NPR radio show This American Life continues to be an unparalleled source of great sermon illustrations. Episode #213 “Devil On My Shoulder”, which was re-aired just before Halloween this year, provides a devastating look at the human heart and our attempt to deal with evil. The episode references C.S. Lewis, the Amish, the psychology of a convicted murderer, and Hell House – a film by George Ratliff documenting Trinity Assembly of God Church’s annual production. Hell House is an attempt to scare teens into the arms of Jesus by threatening the fires of Hell. Several damnable sins are demonstrated (with an eerie sense of enjoyment) by the teen actors who all tend to audition for the “sinner” roles. See the trailer below – though a word of caution, as it is a bit graphic:

Audio of the Hell House portion of the show:

And then there was this past week’s flat-out incredible episode “Bait And Switch” (ht AZ and NRP), which discusses evangelism, among other things.