Posted by: Jeff Warren | March 23, 2007

What’s Up with Heaven?

There’s a buzz in McKinney these days about Heaven.  Thousands are talking about it and with so many varied opinions about Heaven, it’s worth thinking about, especially during this Easter season.  I’m convinced that most of us don’t think much about Heaven because we don’t know what to think. Regardless of your religious beliefs, you can’t deny that some day you’ll leave this planet.  Isn’t it amazing that, weeks after her death, Anna Nicole Smith continues to dominate American news reports? (Are we tired of this?)  Her tragic story should remind us all that whether we’re rich or poor, famous or not, the death rate is still 100%.  Worldwide 3 people die every second, 180 every minute, about 11,000 will die this hour, and more than 250 thousand people go to either to Heaven or Hell today. 

Years ago, R.C. Sproul said, “Modern man is betting his life that there is no judgment and there is no eternity.”  Vance Havner once said, “Some people are so heavenly minded they’re of no earthly good.”  I understand what he’s saying, but I don’t think that’s our problem.  It’s seems that we don’t think about heaven enough.  C.S. Lewis was right when he wrote, “The people who have made the most difference in this world are the ones who thought most about the next.”  When you don’t live with God’s ultimate plan in sight, you live only for the here and now- and that gets hard and hopeless real fast.

So, what do you think about Heaven?  Maybe your opinion is like so many, but you’re afraid to say it:  “Heaven is going to be boring.”  John Eldridge, in his great book, “The Journey of Desire” writes, “Nearly every Christian I have spoken with has some idea that eternity is an unending church service.  We have settled on the image of the never-ending sing-a-long in the sky, one great hymn after another, forever and ever amen.  And our heart sinks.  Forever and ever?  That’s it?  That’s the Good News?  And then we sigh and we feel guilty that we are not more spiritual.  We lose heart and we turn once more to the present to find all the light we can find.”  The problem is that many of us have reduced worship to sitting in pews and singing songs.  Singing is one of about a billion ways to worship God.  Worship is not an event; worship is life.  Randy Alcorn, in his definitive book on Heaven, writes, “Our belief that Heaven will be boring betrays a heresy that God is boring.  There is no greater nonsense.  Our desire for pleasure and the experience of joy come directly from God’s hands.  He made our taste buds, He put the adrenaline in our system, He gave us our sex desires and the nerve endings that convey pleasure to our brains.  Likewise our imaginations and our capacity for joy and exhilaration were made by the very God we accuse of being boring.”  The real question is this:  How could God not be bored with us?

Nothing is more often misdiagnosed than our homesickness for Heaven.  There’s something missing and we know it.  We can try to deny it or medicate it but in the end, we long for something that this world cannot satisfy.  When I feel fully alive, in the most glorious moments of life and beauty and purpose and joy, I’m experiencing what is to come.  At times, this life really is “a foretaste of glory divine” (in the words of the great hymn writer, Fanny Crosby).  I want to embrace all that life has for me.  I want to be fully alert and alive to all that God is up to in my world.  I want to love the things He loves and join Him in what He’s doing.  In the words of Paul Marshall, “What we need is not to be rescued from the world, not to cease being human, not to stop caring for the world, not to stop shaping human culture.  What we need is the power to do these things according to the will of God.  We, as well as the rest of creation, need to be redeemed.”  And that’s what God is up to.  God’s big plan is a resurrected people, on a resurrected Earth, worshipping a resurrected Savior throughout eternity.  This is where all of history is heading.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “In the truest sense, Christian pilgrims have the best of both worlds.  We have joy whenever this world reminds us of the next, and we take solace whenever it does not.”  I hope you’ll find yourself in a great church this Easter season.  Check out whatsupwithheaven.com and join the conversation. 

You can hear more about Heaven as we preach through a series of messages on Heaven leading up to Easter.  We’re also anwsering your questions about Heaven on Wednesday nights!  Also check out our podcasts, or to watch live- go to http://www.fbcmckinney.com.    

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