Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Another Glimpse of Heaven

Last week at OCC, I challenged our congregation to think of three ways that meditating on Heaven impacts our lives today, and to journal about those implications. I was so pleased that hundreds of Overlakers took up the challenge! Here’s the heart of the matter…

CS Lewis observed in Mere Christianity:

“If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.”

I’d love hear your thoughts on this. And I wonder how specific we can be…the big picture answers are things like: Meditating on Heaven inspires us to work to bring heaven to earth, or to make sure that people know they’re invited, or it eliminates the sting of death…which are all true. What I’m looking for is how these things specifically work themselves out…how our lives are specifically fuelled with joy and significance as we think about eternity. What comes to YOUR mind? How is God stirring in YOU? (incidentally, if you’ve missed our series thus far you can find them at www.occ.org on the media page)

I’d also like to use this opportunity to invite people to come to Overlake this week, as we rap up this series. I’ve received many comments and emails, and had many conversations regarding how God is inspiring people through this topic. I’d love to encourage you to join us on Sunday, where we are talking about eternal rewards and reigning with Christ…just a little heavenly R & R!

We will discover that Heaven fuels and excites our passion to glorify God through Good works, to love others tangibly through meeting needs, and to store up treasures in Heaven which will last for eternity!

Can’t wait to see you Sunday!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Heavenly Musings #2

I'm finding WAY too many of these nuggets of truth and glory to preach them all. But you gotta check this out...
Theologian A.A. Hodge writes:

“Heaven, as the eternal home of the divine Man and all of the redeemed members of the human race, must necessarily be thoroughly human in it’s structure, conditions, and activities. Its joys and activities must all be rational, moral, emotional, voluntary, and active. There must be the exercise of all the faculties, the gratification of all tastes, the development of all talent capacities, the realization of all ideals. The reason, the intellectual curiosity, the imagination, the aesthetic instincts, the holy affections, the social affinities, the inexhaustible resources of strength and power native to the human soul must all find in heaven exercise and satisfaction. There must always be a goal of endeavor before us, ever future…Heaven will prove the consummate flower and fruit of the whole creation and of all the history of the universe.”

Meaning: Heaven will be completely and wholly “human” and “home,” while at the same time being completely glorified and untainted by curse. There will be learning and growth, future and forward looking, while at the same time no possible wistfulness at the brevity of time or the scarcity of resources. Relationships and personal talents will flourish, culture will bloom, all to the glory of our very Present Lord, Savior, and Father.

Heavenly Musings

At our church, we are mid-way through a series on Heaven. It’s the first time in 20 years that I’ve taught through significant portions of biblical thought on Heaven. The more I research and study, the more I realize how incredible God is in revealing snapshots of that goodness in the here and now.

C.S. Lewis writes: “All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness. The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it, or else, that it was within your reach and you have lost it forever.”

And as Randy Alcorn says, “You are made for a person and a place. Jesus is the person. Heaven is the place.”

Personally, the way that God has been firing me up as I’ve meditated on the way He has revealed bits and pieces of His plans for our eternity: I have a renewed passion to make sure that I’m dragging as many with me as possible!! Glorified bodies, Glorified beauty, Glorified desires, No disease, No scarcity, No Sorrow, AND we'll be in the manifest presence of our Loving God. Jesus IS that awesome, and Eternity is THAT amazing!