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For all the Rob Bell fans out there: Reconsider!

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment

“Love Wins” a new book by Rob Bell, coming out March 29/2011. Let’s all get excited about Bell’s new book! Maybe not!  He addresses one of the most controversial issues of faith, the afterlife, arguing that a loving God would never sentence human souls to eternal suffering. Really Rob? Read Justin Taylor’s comments on the book at the link below. Thank you Justin!

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2011/02/26/rob-bell-universalist/

Categories: Book Commentaries

Heaven

February 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Sermon notes of a series on “Heaven” by Ovi Petrascu

Part 1

John 14:1-3 “Do no let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

The sense that we will live forever somewhere has shaped every civilization in human history. Although the depictions of the afterlife differ, the unifying testimony of the human heart throughout history is belief in life after death. Anthropological evidence suggests that every culture has a God-given, innate (unconditioned, unlearned) sense of the eternal- that this world is not all there is.

Early Christians’ preoccupation with heaven

The Roman catacombs, where the bodies of many martyred Christians were buried, contain tombs with inscriptions such as these:

  • One who lives with God.
  • He was taken up into his eternal home
  • In Christ, Alexander is not dead, but lives.

These early Christians’ perspectives sound almost foreign today, don’t they?

But their belief were rooted in the Scriptures, where the apostle Paul writes in Philippians 1:21, 23 “To me, to live is Christ and to die is gain…I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.”
He also writes in 2 Corinthians 5:6, 8 “As long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord…We…would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord

A Physical Place

This place is not an ethereal realm, or celestial kingdom, of disembodied spirits, because human beings are not suited for such a realm. A place is by nature physical (we are also spiritual). What we are suited for, what we’ve been designed for is a place like the one God made for us: Earth. An exiting and strangely neglected truth in the Bible is that God never gave up on his original plan for human beings to dwell on Earth. In fact, the climax of history will be the creation of a new Heavens and a new Earth, a resurrected universe inhabited by resurrected people living with the resurrected Jesus. (Revelation 21:1-4)

Our Terminal Disease

As human beings we have a terminal disease called mortality. The current death rate is 100%. Unless Christ returns soon, we’re all going to die. We don’t like to think about death, yet worldwide:

  • 3 people die every second
  • 180 every minute
  • and nearly 11,000 every hour
  • if the Bible is right about what happens to us after life, it means that more than 250,000 people every day go either to Heaven or Hell.

What will it mean to see God?

If we were dealing with aspects of Heaven in their order of importance, you have to begin with God and our eternal relationship with him. There are a few things that we need to know before we move on speaking about this because we will have a skewed assumption of the nature of the afterlife. If we don’t base our prospective of Heaven on a clear understanding of our coming bodily resurrection and the truth about the physical nature of the New Earth, our concept of being with God will be more like that of Eastern mysticism than of biblical Christianity.

My main focus in this series is to explain the importance that heaven is a place for people who love God not for people who fear hell.

More on “What will it mean to see God” in the next blog.

Sources: Heaven by Randy Alcorn

Categories: Heaven

Attractive Youth Ministries

December 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Despite not having too much experience, I’ve quickly grown tired of attractive youth ministry. These ministries can eat up huge chunks of the budget, their pastors and leaders are under immense pressure, and at times their satisfaction in Jesus varies with the number of teenagers that shows up on a given Wednesday night. And yes I include myself in there, because I have heard of it in so many local churches and I have seen it in my church, to a certain degree.

What I mean by attractive youth ministries is namely, the videos, skits, games, the 30 minute worship time without any solid prayer, the watered down 20 minute message, and the non respectful atmosphere that we create in order to be inviting to the younger generation.

Discipleship

Could it be that we are missing the point? Could it be that we became so focused on being so relevant that we might have forgotten our goal? If you ask me, I’d say, yes we are missing the point and yes we have forgotten our goal. I believe our goal with youth ministries, as we see it in the bible, is discipleship.

Statistically speaking 60%-80% of our youth will not attend church as they hit their twenties. Could it be that our idea of discipleship, being relevant but not nurturing, brought this epidemic upon the church? Do we even know what discipleship means? Do we even know what it takes to make disciples?

I am all in for being relevant, yes let’s use the videos, yes let’s use the games and skits, but the moment you start to neglect the most important elements that keep you alive, spiritually speaking, it is the moment you become sick. No matter how good the book that you’re reading is, how much of an “ice breaker” the game that you’re playing is,  how relevant the skit is,  how trendy and cool you dress, no matter how efficient technology is, if you don’t have the right kind of food, if you’re feeding them junk food, they’re going to die of malnutrition.

So what if they are not attracted and leave right away? At least you can use the money you would have spent on the attractive amusement park, or your big budget movie for a better purpose. Most importantly you wouldn’t be compromising and you would be faithful to God and to the Word.

Preaching the Word

Jesus’ ministry included feeding the hungry, healing the sick, loving the outcast, and befriending the sinner. But we must never forget that Jesus’ ministry began with preaching. Thus, preaching is the first priority of ministry that leads God’s mission, which is accompanied by various other ministries that support, supplement, and sustain the preaching of God’s Word in truth with passion. Preaching the Word should be our primary source in presenting Jesus. I am not saying that videos, games, skits, etc are not useful or cannot be used to display or present Christ and the normal Christian life. What I’m saying is that all of these things are a way through which we convey, express, present and display the truth. If we exclude preaching the Word as a primary source in displaying Christ in our ecclesiastical youth ministry context or in any church context for that matter, we have a huge problem.

So I guess this is what I’m trying to say; we need to find a balance between understanding that our primary source is the spoken Word (preaching), and between being relevant and updated. If you are not sure that you have that balance, I would even recommend you chip away from your relevance rather than taking away from our primary source, namely the preaching of the Word.

Categories: Church