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Looking Forward to Heaven  

What excites you about heaven?

 

I long to hear Jesus’ voice—His actual voice.

Is it possible we might kiss the feet of Jesus?

Might I also touch the hem of His robe?

 

What excites you about heaven?

• I want to TASTE the water of the river of life.

• I want to HEAR the voices of Cherubim and Seraphim.

• I want to TOUCH the gems of the gates of heaven and feel the press of gold pavers under my feet.

• I want to SEE what angels really look like—plus those six-winged creatures we read about.

 

I’m looking forward to…

• No more making apologies—we’ll never offend.

• No more guilt feelings—we’ll never be tempted.

• No more broken relationships—we’ll never be at odds.

 

I’m looking forward to…

• No more impure thoughts.

• No more selfish impulses.

• No more foolish choices.

 

What excites you about heaven?

 

I’m looking forward to…

• No more stress or distress.

• No more upset stomachs, sleepless nights, fevers, or chills.

• No more hospital visits—or doctor’s appointments.

• No more disappointments or delays, or disasters.

• No more funerals (aren’t you weary of standing around caskets?).

 

I want to listen to Nehemiah’s secret for standing up to all the opposition he faced rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls.

 

I’m looking forward to hearing David sing his Psalms in their original language—preferably accompanied by his harp. Imagine “Psalms by Request!”

 

I want to meet the thief on the cross and ask him what the turning point was when he realized that Christ could and would save his pathetic soul.

 

I long to embrace people I never thought stood a shot at getting inside the gates. People we prayed for and agonized over. Souls we felt were surely lost.

 

Imagine meeting someone who responded to a gospel tract you shared or bumping into a saint who—back on earth—appeared to reject your witness.

 

Will any of that that ever get old? Never!

 

Several years ago, I asked Tim Keller about heaven, and he shared this: "Think about the moments in your life—the two or three moments where you felt the most loved, the most delighted, the most blissful, and the most over-the-top. Then multiply that by three billion. This must be what heaven is like."

 

Now that Tim Keller is with Jesus, he knows!

 

What excites you about heaven?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Our Deafening Silence  

Lynnette and Josh had been looking forward to this dinner with their friends for months. Picture an evening with two couples at a swanky restaurant. Swanky enough, it required a reservation three months in advance. 

With babysitters watching the kids, this had all the markings of a splendid evening for both couples. Then the guy sitting at a table across the room quietly keeled over.

No one seemed alarmed. Which—to Josh and Lynnette—was very alarming.

Eventually, a lady walked from table to table, asking if someone was a doctor. But she spoke softly, hardly above a whisper. It was as if she did not want to cause a scene or interrupt, even though a man seemed to be in trouble.

Servers attempted the Heimlich maneuver. But the guy was large enough that there were not enough men to hold him in place. 

As Josh pulled out his phone to call 9-1-1, someone mentioned an ambulance was on the way. Eventually, someone started doing chest compressions until the medics arrived.  

For the entire duration of this drama, no one spoke above a whisper. Not the family. Not the diners. Not the staff.

Lynnette recalls, "You could see panic in people's eyes, but nobody yelled. Nobody demanded help. Nobody spoke out. A man was choking—and maybe dying! It was the most horrific scene ever."

 

Does that sound familiar? It should. 

 

The truth is, you and I are reliving that drama every time we pass by lost people—people who need Jesus—but say nothing about Christ. Their lives are in peril, but we are either too distracted or too embarrassed to say or do anything more than whisper.

How is it we can verbally spar over politics, shout at football games, but remain silent when others are literally walking toward hell? Our silence is deafening! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
What COVID taught us about the Church  

COVID is gone—but its scars are not. 

 

As I talk with believers across the country, I’m hearing two universal observations. Call them “False Lessons.” I say false, because though they aren’t true, our conduct suggests we believe they are. 

 

Lesson 1:Church attendance is (apparently) optional. 

Judging by the number of folks who used to attend services but no longer do, one would think that the Bible has little or nothing to say about church attendance. But that’s hardly the case. 

 

We don’t go to church to merely “get” a sermon. Biblically, we go to church to GIVE. We give our voices in worship. We give our listening ear to people who are hurting. We share in prayer with those sitting next to us who need comforting. You can’t do that at home in your pajamas while watching a sermon. 

 

In retrospect, COVID appears to have been just the excuse some people needed to drop church attendance from their “To do” list. While some transitioned to other assemblies, almost every congregation I know is still down a little—or a lot—in attendance. Apparently, church attendance is optional. That’s (false) lesson number one.

 

Lesson 2: We don’t need to abide by the weaker brother principle.

During COVID, most churches wrestled with two polarized positions regarding masks. Group A was appalled that some in the church would “cave in” to mask mandates. Group B was appalled that some in the church would “endanger others” by not wearing a mask.

 

What was shockingly absent was any conversation about the weaker brother principle. Namely, “If my wearing a mask makes you more comfortable, I will happily do that for the sake of our unity in Christ.” And vice versa. 

 

That biblical mandate somehow didn’t apply. Instead, many churches split. But how did we jettison the clear teaching of Romans 14:3?  We’re commanded, “The strong believer should not look down on the weaker believer.” Or what about Romans 12:18? We’re told, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” On what biblical authority did we go around that?

 

How I wish we could go back and do the COVID thing with a more godly humility. If we are this easily divided over a relatively small issue, what will we do when something truly consequential comes along?

 

Heaven help the Church!

 
 
Hearing Plus Doing  

I bumped into an awkward Bible scene this week.

In Luke 8, Jesus' mother and brothers decide to visit Him. Problem is, He is inside a very crowded house. When word is given to Jesus that his mother and brother are outside wishing to see Him, He answers, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it."

Was this moment awkward for Christ's family? Likely. But let's allow the full weight of His words to fall on us—which is what the Savior intended.

Do I want to be known as Jesus' brother or sister? Of course! And do you want the same? Certainly! Then—what are His criteria?

Those who hear the Word of God.

Those who do the Word of God.

Many of us come to church week after week—and that's good! We hear sermon after sermon—and that's good! But so often (at least for me), it fails to result in life change—and that's bad! On that basis, how can we say that we are truly hearing the Word, let alone doing the Word of God? Isn’t that more like self-medicating using the Bible as a mere self-help book?

I ask you. Do you just fill in the blanks of the sermon note page—or does Bible truth fill in the blanks of your soul? Are you a collector of sermons—or a doer of the Word?

Jesus knows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Where's the Urgency?  

What’s urgent in your life?

  • A spring yard project?
  • A new diet?
  • Setting up your will?

There's nothing wrong with any of these. But there's everything wrong with people who call themselves Christ followers—yet don't follow Christ's urgency in reaching the lost.

Jonathan Edwards declared, "Unconverted men walk over the pit of hell on a rotten covering." So—why aren't we more urgent about reaching out to our lost neighbors and friends? Why don't we sense that "rotten covering?"

Six-year-old Sadie does. For some time, her family has prayed for an unsaved neighbor (call him "Sam"). Having built a friendship with Sam, they're thinking about getting him a Bible—and Sadie is entirely on board with this. Here's a conversation she had last week with her mom:

SADIE: Mom, is there a place besides heaven when you die?

MOM: (Explains hell in age-appropriate language, describing how non-believers are separated from God forever).

SADIE: (Visibly upset and fidgety) That’s IT?! One choice for forever?! Hurry up and get me that Bible for Mr. Sam. This is serious!

Sadie is right—this is serious! So, hurry up and __________________  (you fill in the blank).

  • Who is it that God has placed on your path?
  • What neighbor, relative, or coworker is God calling you to share Jesus with?
  • What could you do to take your relationship to the next level spiritually?

This is urgent!

Just ask Jesus.

 

“[the Devil]... stands waiting for them, like greedy hungry lions that see their prey, and expect to have it.”  —Jonathan Edwards

 

 

 
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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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