Tag Archives: hell

Loving Against the Grain

Tuesday Re-mix –

You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”…While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.  Acts 7:51-53, 59-60

Learning to show love to a lost and broken world is hard enough for us as individuals…that challenge is magnified a hundred fold for the church corporately.  We, the church, must live in the tension between standing for holiness (separateness, not giving in to the ways of the world) and loving the broken people around us, who are still well-entrenched in the ways of the world.  It is tricky, isn’t it?

When I read Stephen’s amazing sermon in Acts 7, and I see him brilliantly making the case for the pattern of rebellion throughout the history of the Jewish people (it is very much like an intervention…laying out all the evidence in a rational and indisputable way) and then leveling his charge against the church leaders of his time by associating them with that same pattern…I think to myself, “Now THAT is definitely going against the grain and calling out an entire culture!”  I have seen churches who have no problem with walking against the grain…railing against our culture, screaming at all the sinners in the world and telling them they’re going to burn in hell, even telling them that …

A Surprise (or Two) in Heaven

Tuesday Re-mix –

“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” Luke 13:24

I dreamt death came the other day and Heaven’s gate swung wide;

An Angel with a halo bright ushered me inside.

There to my astonishment stood folks I had judged and labeled

as “quite unfit” or “of little worth” or “spiritually disabled”.

Indignant words rose to my lips but never were set free,

For every face showed stunned surprise…not one expected me!

Anonymous

I think we are all in for some huge surprises if/when we get to Heaven.  I think we are going to find out that we didn’t know quite as much as we thought we knew about God and His ways, about Heaven and Hell, and about the doctrine of salvation.  I think we will be surprised to see some people there we never thought would be there.  I think we will be surprised to NOT see some people there whom we just assumed would be there.  And I think there may be some folks there who will be surprised to see you or me there!

But not everybody is expecting to be surprised.  There are a lot of Christians out there today who are pretty certain they already know everything about God and Heaven and salvation and who is in and who is out.  I suppose my first point in this post is that I always want to be a part of a church who does NOT think they have it all figured out.  I want to worship alongside friends who are actually expecting (even hoping for) some surprises in Heaven.

And while we are talking about surprises, I also happen to believe that many of us who …