Heaven is for real…and so are we! (Don’t be a blind label follower)


I wouldn’t attempt to criticize “Christian” movies coming out onto the silver screen.  I think perhaps they have a message that might reach certain people.  Take the most recent movie, for example – “Heaven is for real” based on the book and real life account of Colton Burpo: 




I am certainly not in a place to judge the authenticity of his story, this isn’t my purpose for this blog entry.  I recognize too that Heaven is for real.  That when Jesus said that He was going there to prepare a place for us (starting with His original disciples) that He meant it.  Life does not end at the final exhalation of breath, but continues…How or where that will be is still a mystery to us all.  But here is where faith comes in.  


I don’t draw my criticism of the content of this story nor the content of other such movies recently released that also have faith-based themes.  Where my criticisms lie is in the cheap budgets and production content.  

I understand the need to be relevant in the world…and I don’t necessarily go to see a movie just because it is labeled “Christian” just as I don’t necessarily patronize certain businesses because they also happen to be “Christian(s)”.  Does that label make the product better in some way?  Will their services far exceed the services of others who don’t label themselves as “Christians”?  

Another thought that comes to mind within this realm of “Christian” labeling is: Do I solely live within a “Christian” bubble then?  


Every where I go, everyone I see, the things I choose to buy are they all “Christian”?  Is my worldview solely engaged in other Christians out there so much so that I have no contact…with “those“. “Other“.  “People“.  ????


Don’t get me wrong, I need to hear encouraging and challenging teachings about Christ and about faith too, but what happens next?  What will I then do with those teachings if my entire ecosystem is “Christian”?  How does that impact the lost?  How can I reach out a compassionate hand of understanding…if I don’t understand?  


I’m not knocking the movie “Heaven is for Real”…I think there is some serious merit in exploring Eternity and our destination there one day…but what I am knocking (for lack of a better word) are Blind Label Followers.  

Ephesians 6:12 says – “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” 

This is sandwiched right in between the verses about putting on the whole armor of God.  
In one hand we put on our armor and gird ourselves against sin, temptation and the dark forces of evil.  In the other hand we recognize that people around us who are lost (as we once were) are not the enemy!  Sin is the enemy and we wage a spiritual war within this world.  

If we only exist within the “Christian” label ecosystem how can we reach out to those who are completely blind to sin and its trappings? 

Here’s what I am not saying: 
I am not saying stop watching strictly “Christian” movies…there’s a time and place for them and at times an active evangelistic tool.
I am not saying don’t buy anything “Christian” either…that’s just plain dumb and we need edification and challenge through authentic Christ-following authors and teachers.  

What I am saying:
Break the Christian bubble if you’re living in one.  
Reach out into the world (don’t be conformed to it mind you) and love as Christ did to the whosoever.
Be wise and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in discerning how you should act and be instead of living through “group think”.  
Live out-loud your faith but take the time to listen to the needs of the unsaved around you!

-Just a thought.

ATTENTION: Join me tomorrow as I explore what others have said about seeing Jesus face to face.

Just something else to ponder.












‘The Way’ or the ‘LOST’ way


They gathered there in the stained glass chapel, the final meeting of a group of people from all walks of life.  The stain glass depicted various cultural and religious forms, from Jesus to Buddha, to the prophet Muhammad…they gathered there and reflected, realizing they were dead and they would enter eternity together as the lost members of Oceanic flight 815.  

I absolutely love the show ‘LOST’, I enjoyed the plots, the characters and the notion of being stranded on this amazing deserted island in the middle of the Pacific ocean.  It kept me coming back for more until…This series finale of the show ‘LOST’ which left me with a bitter taste and heavy heart.  Still to this day I look back at this finale and shake my head, ask myself “did I understand that right?”…I tell myself they ended the show poorly…an amazing journey only to end in some cosmic universalistic afterlife experience which pleases everyone from every religiosity yet offers no consequence or judgement upon evil and wrongs…I recognize redemption and acknowledge the plight of man, but this finale truly bothered me.  It bothers me still to this very day because there’s a lie involved within the premise of the final show and I don’t buy the lie!

The lie is “All roads lead to heaven”…this lie is so immersed in our culture today that many blindly accept it without looking deeper.  It’s an attempt to be all inclusive and yet muddies the waters of morality, ethics and theology.  I don’t buy the lie because I’ve read the words of Jesus when He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).  Jesus said I am THE WAY, not one of the ways, or just another path to the Father.  


Do I believe that Jesus is THE WAY?  You bet I do!  I believe that there is only one path to God and Hindu, Islam, Buddhism or any other ‘ism’ aren’t paths leading to God.  Our Creator and loving Father wants us to accept Him and that of His one and only Son Jesus who is the only way to the Father.  

One day we will see Him and all will know the truth of Christ’s words.  Don’t buy the lie and get ‘Lost’.  Just a thought for today. 


Ashamed? Hell No!

2 Timothy 1:5-8 (NIV)
5 I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God,

I hope I didn’t offend you…not my purpose.  My purpose in my title is to ask which do we prefer Eternity in Heaven or Eternity in Hell.  My choice?  Hell?  NO!  Heaven?  Yes!  From this perspective I will not be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ!  I know in whom I have placed my trust and I will not back down from that!  

The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy to remind him to carry on the mission of Christ…to fan it into flame to ignite others and to never be ashamed of the Lord.  I can imagine the early Christians facing all kinds of ridicule, mockery, imprisonment and death…Paul’s words go beyond basic embarrassment or  shame it picks at the very heart of being a Christian.  We are to be in essence gate keepers of heaven…guides if you will to the one who holds the keys of heaven and eternal life – Christ himself.  

When we shy away from this role, when we passively allow injustices to occur and we look the other way because we’re afraid to get involved or how it will look we may as well be gate keepers of hell.  I know that sounds pretty harsh but we have to stand for something or else we’ll fall for anything or allow anything to go in this life.  And if we’re wise in our understanding of scripture we ought to acknowledge that scripture certainly doesn’t endorse an ‘anything goes’ notion in this life.  

Timothy took up the gauntlet from the Apostle Paul.  He did continue in spreading the word of Christ to all the world.  He was a pivotal early church leader.  

In our lives are we ashamed of Christ?  Are we afraid to share our faith of Him to those we meet?  I’m not talking about handing out “Get Saved Or Else” pamphlets here.  I’m talking about developing trusting relationships with people so that when you present the gospel you are making a lasting impact on them.  Being unashamed is a part of the role of a Christian.  We can’t do this in our own strength however.  We need the strength and power of the Holy Spirit to get it right and to be effective.  

Ashamed?  If we allow hell to prevail…I say Hell no!  Stand up, be bold, be unashamed..and heaven Yes!   

“What Do I Stand For?” F2 = −F1 Action = Reaction…Choice=Consequence


“…and that in consequence of their fall (Adam and Eve) all men have become sinners, totally depraved, and as such are justly exposed to the wrath of God.” (The Doctrines of The Salvation Army, Doctrine #5)

“We believe in the immortality of the soul; in the resurrection of the body; in the general judgment at the end of the world; in the eternal happiness of the righteous; and in the endless punishment of the wicked.”  (The Doctrines of The Salvation Army, Doctrine #11)

What do I stand for?  This is the question I’ve been asking and trying to answer all week…

Thus far we’ve explored: Selflessness over selfishness; God’s Justice & Social Justice.  These are fundamental areas of a Christian life.  So let me throw some fuel on the fire, so to speak…when we recognize what it is we are standing for, where our ideologies lay and are guided by specific principles in our lives we must begin to recognize that Isaac Newton’s third law of action-reaction applies to our spiritual lives as well.


Isaac Newton’s 3rd Law – Action/Reaction:

When a first body exerts a force F1 on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force F2 = −F1 on the first body. This means that F1 and F2 are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction.

Did you catch that?  Just kidding, unless you’re really into physical laws and laws of mechanics you might not understand this definition…here’s the definition that I understand:  “To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction.” 


In our world, morally speaking, this reaction is called consequences.  Everyone who makes choices both consciously and sub-consciously will find that there are consequences to each and every choice we make.   All too often, however, in our world today many people have chosen to ignore these consequences by blaming other people for their mistakes, or simply running away from the consequences.  Adam and Eve, as I’ve mentioned before faced God’s justice in the garden because of the choice they both consciously made:  Action (Choice)  = Reaction (Consequence).

Similarly, if we continue by this line of reasoning we come to a junction in the road that brings us to ultimate consequence.  Everyone whole heartedly embraces and understands that all humanity will one day face death…as it’s been said, it’s inevitable like taxes.  We will one day die.  It is quite sad to consider those who are Atheists who believe that there is no further existence after death…that this is all there is to this existence.  In the Christian perspective, we believe that our souls do have an afterlife and that within this afterlife there is heaven and there is hell.

As I’ve stated before some people have a difficult time facing this reality and that God would eternally punish those who reject Him.  But as I’ve mentioned before if our action is to purposefully and willfully turn our backs on God, then the eternal consequence of such an action is the reaction which leads the soul to eternal separation from God.  Hell is a real place!  Hell will be inevitable for some people…and I am not the judge, never will be and I’ve never claimed to be.  But if we are to embrace such a reasoning as an afterlife and the notion of heaven, then ought to understand that there is such a place as hell.


Here’s are some closing thoughts on this for today:

1) Own up to your actions!

You and you alone are responsible for the choices that YOU make…I am responsible for the choices that I make!

2) Consequences are real!

If you make a poor choice the consequences are yours.  If I make a poor choice the consequence is mine.  Not someone else’s.  Stop blaming others when consequences come that we don’t like that are based on our poor choices.

3) There is always a right and better choice!

God doesn’t simply want a relationship with us, He want to transform us to become like His Son Christ on our spiritual journey!  He doesn’t want us to remain the way He has found us.  He wants us to choose Him every time in our daily lives.  This means consider the consequences of our actions, consider the path that we wish to take and also consider God knows what He is doing!  Choose Him, and His path…it won’t be easy but His path is right!

4) Believe in Eternity and live for God’s kingdom in the here and now! 

If we choose His path, His direction in our lives, we not only fall in step with His will but we recognize that life is so much more than just this human experience.  Eternity is so much longer and lives are at stake.  We must be Christ’s ambassadors in our world!  We are called to this higher calling to not only look forward to heaven, but to introduce Christ to those who have yet to believe and add to this heavenly family on this journey.

What do I stand for?  What do you stand for?  I will own up to my choices…I will face the consequence of my poor choices and strive, with His Holy Spirit’s help, to live a Holy life in word and in deed!

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