Core Ideas of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Posts tagged ‘faith’

TV Time Machine

Yes, you could call it escapism.  TNT just enjoyed the biggest cable television debut of the year with their updated version of Dallas.  Who would have thought that the oily Ewing Clan and the Southfork Ranch, vintage 1978, could reclaim their sizzle in 2012?  Two weeks ago, The Hatfields & McCoys gave the History Channel a ratings surge and heated up Google’s Search Engine.  That feud ended in 1891 but the story is suddenly in cultural currency once again.

The trend is not limited to TV.  The biggest movie of the year has been The Avengers, based on a comic strip popular in the 1960’s.  The leader of the Avengers, Captain America, operates on the values of the 1940’s.  And yesterday, I picked up my Wall Street Journal to learn that in the world of fashion, the bikini is so yesterday.  The hottest swim suits of 2012 will feature the one piece look displaying lots of fabric, no navels and little cleavage.  I’ve never actually seen an Esther Merman movie, a 1950’s phenom with curvy swimmers and water choreography, but the swim suits in the WSJ called Esther’s name to mind once again.

Speaking of water, tonight a member of the famous Wallenda Family will attempt to walk a cable across the gorge of the Niagara Falls.  The event will be televised nationally on ABC.  You can’t get much more old school than tight rope walking.

There’s no doubt we Americans still love high tech toys.  We are addicted to our smart phones.  We fixate on our giant screen HD-TV’s, and we are learning to love our I-Pads and Kindles.  Isn’t it ironic that we are using them to escape to an age when the highest technology was named Sputnik and when Bozo the Clown was a popular TV show?  We could count on Flash Gordon to save the planet.  We could trust Lucy and Desi to give us a laugh with the children without being embarrassed.  And a trip to the beach took us to a distant shore where even the sexiest swimwear left something to the imagination.

As Americans welcome the Summer of 2012, we have created a world with big questions and very little certainty. Our leaders are shrinking along with our personal wealth.  Life feels like a very hot day from 1955 when you’re still holding an old fashioned cherry bomb, and you’ve lit the fuse, but you haven’t tossed it away yet.  You can’t hold that thing one more second!  And it no longer feels like we’re all in this together.  We’re all watching different channels on our I-Phones.  We’re listening to different stations on our ear buds.  Can you hear me now?  Can you hear me now?

I’m glad God is not finished with America yet.  And I don’t think America is done with the Gospel either, no matter what the pollsters say.  Sure, we can take comfort in this new wave of nostalgia, but we always wake up the next morning to the mess we’ve made in 2012.  Suddenly, the grace of God and the lordship of Jesus Christ look really good, don’t they?  Maybe better than ever!

Lift up the Cross!

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Lost in Space

Christians carry on the goofiest conversations about Heaven.  Just think about  it: we are convinced that there is a utopian paradise where people who love God will live forever.  We say we believe something as exciting and mind-bending as that, and then we make these outrageous and uninformed comments.  We believe in a real place where God reigns for all eternity, and then we become utterly lost in space.   We say things like:

  • “Will we have pets in Heaven?  If my dog can’t be there, I could never be happy.”
  • “I think I’ll get bored sitting around playing a harp all day!  There will surely be sports and games in Heaven, won’t there?”
  • “You know there will be sex in Heaven!  How could we ever be happy without being married and having sex?”
  • “I hope Heaven looks like a painting by Thomas Kinkeade!  Wouldn’t it be amazing to live in a place like that?”
  • “Do you think we’ll all have mansions?  Do you really believe the streets are paved with gold?”

Even as we affirm the existence of Heaven, we utterly miss the point!  The most important thing about Heaven is that God is there in all his glory, in all his fulness.  We will be in God’s presence, seeing him face to face, for all the ages to come and beyond!  We will see more of his power, understand more of his character, experience more in worship than we ever have before.  Who cares whether the streets are 28kt gold or just 14kt?  Why would I quibble about being asked to play a harp or an oboe?  What’s the difference if we eat pomegranates or T-bone steaks brushed with white chocolate?  The Almighty God is there and people who love him get to live there in paradise forever!

Sunday morning in Bible Study, I reminded a good friend of mine that he and his wife have lived in 10 different cities over the course of his career.  They really enjoyed some of those cities and didn’t care at all for a couple.  But they were happy in all those places.  My friend’s wife never quibbled about the variety of restaurants or the standard of living or even the crime rate in any of those places before moving there.  She cheerfully relocated to every single city and enjoyed being there because she could be with the love of her life; and he would be with her.  Everything else was inconsequential compared to being with the one you love most.

In Heaven we will get to be with God in all his glory.  That’s the point.  That’s why godly martyrs in every age have gladly exchanged life here for life eternal there!  It’s about God, not the paving materials used for highways.  If I inherit a mansion or a shack in the woods, I couldn’t care less.  If I am asked to be a worship leader or a spiritual garbage collector, it doesn’t matter.  If there’s chocolate there, I will smile; but if sugary foods are prohibited in Heaven, I’ll be happy all the same.  Because after all these years of loving God through a glass darkly,  I will finally see him face to face… forever.

That’s why Heaven is special.  Never lose sight of who really makes that Kingdom truly unique.

And lift up the Cross!

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