A loving grandmother out to celebrate her 80th birthday, among five struck down in a hail of bullets from a drive-by shooting, including a young couple contemplating marriage.
It's a storyline that could be ripped from the headlines of any newspaper, but it's the script for the third installment of "Judgement House" sponsored by Broadway Baptist Church in Southaven.
"Judgement House," which opens Friday and runs through Sunday, deals with real-life-and-death issues. The portrayal by actors from Broadway Baptist has been described as "gripping" and "authentic."
"There are consequences to our actions," said Broadway Baptist Youth Pastor Jason Grissom, adding that teenagers especially are in need of that reminder as well as individuals of all ages.
Grissom said Satan manifests evil in everyday temptations and situations like pornography, drug abuse and addiction.
"As the Scripture says in Second Corinthians, Chapter 11, Verse 3, our enemy masquerades as an angel of light. He is a wolf in sheep's clothing. He is present in alcohol abuse, stress, worry. The love of money. It is very powerful but God is more powerful."
Broadway Baptist purchased the rights to utilize the script from the Judgement House organization in Florida.
"This will be year three," said Grissom, who was named Youth Pastor at Broadway Baptist in 2005 and has served in that capacity for the past 13 years.
"Our first major character is a grandma we call Nana," Grissom said. "Her family wants to take her to a nice restaurant for her 80th birthday. Another couple also decides to talk over their relationship over bite to eat. She is a believer. He is not. There is a drive-by shooting. It's a typical scene in the restaurant. She is busy being sung "Happy Birthday" to by the house band and suddenly a spray of gunfire breaks out. Life can change on a dime."
The lives of the young couple are also impacted. Sadly, there are five people who are killed by that drive-by shooting. After that, they go to Judgement. We follow that story of five characters in eight scenes. 'Deadly Encounter is the theme.' We all face our own deadly encounters with sin and death. We want everybody to see the reality of heaven and hell. Jesus actually talks about hell more than He does heaven."
Judgement House is slated to begin Friday night from 6 p.m. until 9:30 p.m., and continues Saturday from 4 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. and Sunday from 3 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Admission is free.
"Last year we had more than 1,100 people walk through," said Grissom, adding that it takes about an hour to go through all the scenes in the re-enactment. "We've had over 100 people come to know Jesus Christ over the last three years. It's a great event to bring your family through. We have many returning regulars and church groups from as far away as Greenwood and Cordova. God is at work."
Grissom said "Judgement House is recommended for ages 12 years and up/
"If a parent comes through with a child aged 10 and under that is OK as long as their parents are fine with it. Some scenes are very intense."
Grissom said reservations are encouraged. Individuals or churches wanting information should call 662-349-5005.
Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252