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Posts Tagged ‘heaven’

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My wife sent me a video today that is moving around the internet. In watching it, it was a touching moment from a couple days ago where a little boy asks the pope if his father is in heaven. His father was an atheist but had all four of his kids baptized into the catholic faith.
I have had similar questions posed to me. I find and give comfort in the fact that while someone spent their life rejecting Christ’s gift of salvation and purpose, that we simply do not know if they come to Him before their passing. Like one of the other men on the crosses, I do know that any who cry out to Jesus, even in their final moments find eternity with Him.

However, this is not the answer the pope gave. The short answer was that even if the father never had the “gift of faith”, he did have his son’s baptized which means he was a good dad. He said only God knows who goes to heaven so if this man with a dad’s heart came face to face with God who has a dad’s heart, do you think that God would not let him come into heaven. The crowd yelled “no” and the pope said “Well, there’s your answer.”

My first response was to fact check the video. Here the pope is not speaking in English so I figured someone had added subtitles to make him say something he was not saying. I was saddened to find that this is not the case.

What the pope taught here is simply wrong and dangerous. Why? Because it is contradicts the Bible and if people believe it, they could completely miss heaven and a relationship with Jesus thinking that they are good and that’s what it takes.

Look at what the Bible says…..

“And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” Mark 10: 17-18

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If you are wanting closer to God, eternal life in heaven, or a more powerful life over all… this one if for you.

If you feel Christians think they are right and everyone else is wrong … this one is for you.

If you feel overwhelmed, alone, and unloved… this one is for you.

Some of Jesus’ last words before He takes the cross are very telling of why He came from Heaven to Earth and why He sacrificed Himself. In one small conversation, He shares three important truths of the results of the Easter celebration and we explore them together and what they mean for you today.

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As the movie “Heaven is for Real” comes out on DVD, there is a renewed interest in the story of four year old Colton Burpo. While I am more a fan of the book than the movie, I will admit the movie is very entertaining and uplifting.

That said, let me address a couple things.

The main concern I have with the film is that it leaves out the most important point. The answer to the question “How do I get to go to Heaven?” They came close a couple times and in one scene had a great opportunity but missed the boat.

When Nancy from the church came to Pastor Todd, she asked him about her son that passed away and if he thought he might be in heaven or not. Pastor Todd’s answer was “Do you think God loves your son any less than he loves mine?”

The answer, of course, is God loves them (and all of us) the same. However, the implication is if God loves us, we all go to heaven. This is simply untrue.

God loves us all so much that He sacrificed His Son for us but it is up to us rather or not we accept His gift of reconciliation of reject it. Here’s the answer of how we not only go to Heaven someday but how we have a relationship with Him now….

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10: 8-13

The movie is a good start to the conversation but if we as the church do not complete the conversation, many will walk out of the movie not only with an incomplete thought but a dangerous one.

Here’s the second thing I want to throw out there….

I had a friend a couple weeks ago ask me if I believed the story was true. He asked me all kinds of questions about if I believed people looked that way in heaven, if they would act that way in heaven, and the like.

I do not know if Colton went to heaven or not. If God wanted to take him to heaven, He certainly could. However, that’s not the only answer.

Luke tells us in Acts  on ear2: 16-18 “And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.

Colton could have had a vision from God for multiple reasons including the book and the movie. God could reveal himself in a way that not only a four year old could understand but that would bring confirmation to his father Todd to bring him closer to God. While “pop pop” may or may not look like the  young man he was on earth in his heavenly body, God could surely reveal him that way so that Todd could later understand that there was confirmation within the vision.

So, am I against “Heaven is for Real”? Not at all! Go see it and/or read the book. However, bring bigger thinking and have deeper conversations about the message behind them.

Heaven is for real…. and God wants to bring you home someday. However, that is really up to you.

If you have any questions about heaven or having a relationships with Jesus Christ, feel free to touch base with me.

Pastor Tom Hypes

theshepherdsfellowship.org

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There has been a lot of buzz on the topic of Hell ever since Rob Bell came out the book “Love Wins”. Many (including myself) were concerned with some of his writings on the topic. While he brought up several good points about life, it ended up being what I call a “rubber band” book. A “rubber band” book tries to make a needed point but goes so far that it ends up snapping back on them. Bell finds it important to remind the church to worry more about hell on earth. However, it is lost in his careless yet poetic way of talking about the true hell to come.

As Chan puts it “But just because some have swung the pendulum so far in the direction of wrath and judgment, let’s not swing it back too far the other direction and do away with what the Scripture emphasizes. God is compassionate and just, loving and holy, wrathful and forgiving. We can’t sideline His more difficult attributes to make room for the palatable ones.” page 101

(Hence the balance of Truth and Love. You can’t have one and not the other…..)

Then enter several response sermons, talks, and books. This could fall under that heading but at the same time, it addresses more than Rob Bell’s teachings. Hell has been around a lot longer than this debate and there is much to be learned on the topic that impacts real souls.

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If you go to the store to buy this book to read, might as well get a box of tissues while you’re out and about. You’ll need it! However, don’t let that stop you, the testimony in this book will be very encouraging to you.

The story is about a young boy who goes through a medical emergency and almost dies (the first half of the book). He claims that he went to heaven and has observations to the effect afterwards (the second half of the book). For this reason, I wasn’t too convinced I was going to like the book.  I hate reading about kids in life and death situations. It’s one of my worst fears and have no interest in going down that road. Then to here a kid talk about “heaven”, well, I wasn’t convinced it was going to be legit let alone impactful.

I was proven wrong! While painful to travel the road with the parents through the pain of the medical emergency, it was worth it to see what God was doing in th situation and the impact of the testimony on the back-end. The things this kid says to his folks over the next couple years about heaven are matter of fact, impactful, and full of confirmation. I was so pumped about heaven and the life we have after this one that I was encouraged in some areas of perseverance I am in now.

Another quick point, for a guy who does a bunch of reviews like this, I am not a reader. However, this book sucks you right in and I had it done in one sitting. This book is worth it and the testimony is powerful.

I got this book for free from the publisher for an honest review….

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Heaven

“What will heaven be like?” is a topic I have been pondering more over the last couple years. So when the following came up, I thought I would move it this way. I won’t say it’s the most Biblical answer or not. It is more a relational answer than one filled with Bible verse after Bible verse so take it for what it’s worth.

A friend of mine (Dr. Dave) on another site asked the group…..

“As Christians we are supposed to look forward to Heaven. Getting there is something we should desire, and strive for. Yet, I don’t think most people think much about heaven.

So my question is – what will heaven be like? When it comes time for God to bring you home, what will your new, permanent, home be like?”

Here’s my response……

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