Heaven.

'Will you come with me to [heaven]?'

'Well, that is the plan.  I am perfectly ready to consider it.  Of course I should require some assurances…I should want a guarantee that you are taking me to a place where I shall find a wider sphere of usefulness—and a scope for the talents that God has given me—and an atmosphere of free inquiry—in short, all that one means by civilization and—er—the spiritual life.'

'No,' said the other.  'I can promise you none of these things.  No sphere of usefulness; you are not needed there at all.  No scope of your talents; only forgiveness for having perverted them.  No atmosphere of inquiry, for I will bring you to the land not of questions but of answers, and you shall see the face of God.'

The Great Divorce.  C.S. Lewis

For some reason this dialogue really hit me.  Lewis says that he hasn’t intended this book to be even a guess toward what Heaven might look like or any of the ‘laws’ of heaven.  But still this passage made me think, not about heaven, but of the Kingdom of God.

I heard this sermon a few months back, God asked this guy, “if you were stranded alone on an island all by yourself and could never influence another person again for my glory, would I be enough for you?”

Would this sort of relationship with Jesus be okay with you…where your influence is not needed?  Would this sort of heaven be okay with you….where there are no more mysteries, only answers?   Do you approach your relationship with the Lord with this mindset: that we’re simply not needed, that we can bring nothing to the table, that the only thing we can offer God is our empty handedness?  I don’t know what I think..what do you think?

Each Day by Max Lucado

It’s quiet. It’s early. My coffee is hot. The sky is still black. The world is still asleep. The day is coming.

In a few moments, the day will arrive. It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding of the human race. The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met. For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day’s demands. It is now I must make a choice. Because of Calvary, I’m free to choose. And so I choose….

I CHOOSE LOVE…

No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.

I CHOOSE JOY…

I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical…the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.

I CHOOSE PEACE…

I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.

I CHOOSE PATIENCE…

I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clenching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.

I CHOOSE KINDNESS…

I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. I will be kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.

I CHOOSE GOODNESS…

I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.

I CHOOSE FAITHFULNESS…

Today I will keep my promises.

My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My spouse will not question my love.

I CHOOSE GENTLENESS…

Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice, may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it only be in prayer. If I make a demand, may it only be of myself.

I CHOOSE SELF CONTROL…

I am a spiritual being… After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek His grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, he said:

lifeasadaydream:

“Man.

 Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.

Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.

And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;

the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;

he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.

No Greater Love…

Today I read an article on a Marine that died during training.  This man dedicated his life to fight for America in order to maintain our liberty as Americans.  When he died, he donated his organs to be used for medicinal purposes.  These organs have been used to save the lives of others.  Society as a whole would consider this man nothing less than heroic, and rightfully so.  A selfless man that gave up his rights so that we could keep ours, and even when he died, his altruistic legacy lives on through the lives of people that he indirectly saved via his organs.  Probably not in the way he imagined it, but at age 24, through his death, this man’s life ambition of saving others by giving of himself has been accomplished.  I am sure his father stood at his funeral and deeply mourned, yet was so proud.  As I read this, I have not the slightest clue if this man knows Jesus, or if he is saved, or if he has “said the prayer” (whatever that means).  But one thing I do know is that the Father is looked down from heaven in honor saying, “there is no greater love than that.”

 This man just lived the gospel. 

 We, as Christians today, often think of Jesus’ sinless life and triumphant ministry on Earth, but rarely do we think about what He gave up before He got here.  The Son, from eternity past, only knew complete bliss, marvelous light, and eternal harmony with Father and Holy Spirit.  There was no darkness, no heaviness, no tears, and no pain—physically or emotionally.  He sat on a throne as billions of angels worshipped Him day and night, night and day, “Holy, Holy, Holy…” One day the God-Head is hanging out, and over the worshipful angels and souls praising them, I imagine Jesus saying “Guys, now is the time.  They’re too broken right now, I can’t stand it any longer.  Before the creation of the world, I promised I would.”  Without a single regret, He starts to walk out of heaven.  I imagine the angels saying, “Master, where are you going?  With a joyful smile on His face, He says, “To save my Bride from herself.  I cannot stand to be apart from her one more day.”  How did the angels respond to that statement?  The book of 1 Peter says that angels long to look in to our eyes.  I can imagine silence swept over heaven for the first time…they didn’t understand why.

 Jesus enters earth.  He begins his 33 year fast of His rightful glory and heavenly bliss.  From eternity past, this is all Jesus knew.  What did it feel like when He first had consciousness on this earth?  It would be like us walking out of our perfect little postage stamp homes into the slums of India….times infinity.  No more angels praising Him 24/7, no more natural perfect unity with the Father, no more throne.  For 33 years, Jesus gave up heaven….so He could call you friend.

 What did heaven sound like when they whipped Jesus for the first time and saw the flesh ripped off Jesus’ back?  I bet they were all weeping.  The one they have worshipped forever is now beaten beyond recognition. But Jesus?  Isaiah 50 is a prophesy that talks about Jesus and it says “his face was set like flint…” as it goes on to talk about suffering.  Hebrews 12:2 says Jesus died “for the joy set before Him”, namely, you.  I think Jesus said, bring it on.  You, my son/daughter, are worth this.

 The Marine entered into the service knowing he could very well die, but he saw our freedom was worth his life and death.  Jesus entered Earth in the same exact mentality (Gal 5:1).  We are so quick to judge who is saved and whose not.  But when I set my life next to this Marine next to the life of Jesus, I am deeply convicted when I discover this man lived a life more closely to the gospel than I ever have.

The Vision - by Pete Greig

So this guy comes up to me and says:
“what’s the vision? What’s the big idea?”
I open my mouth and words come out like this:
The vision?

The vision is JESUS – obsessively, dangerously, undeniably Jesus.

The vision is an army of young people.
You see bones? I see an army.
And they are FREE from materialism.

They laugh at 9-5 little prisons.
They could eat caviar on Monday and crusts on Tuesday.
They wouldn’t even notice.
They know the meaning of the Matrix, the way the west was won.

They are mobile like the wind, they belong to the nations.
They need no passport.
People write their addresses in pencil and wonder at their strange existence.
They are free yet they are slaves of the hurting and dirty and dying.

What is the vision ?

The vision is holiness that hurts the eyes.
It makes children laugh and adults angry.
It gave up the game of minimum integrity long ago to reach for the stars.
It scorns the good and strains for the best.
It is dangerously pure.

Light flickers from every secret motive, every private conversation.
It loves people away from their suicide leaps, their Satan games.
This is an army that will lay down its life for the cause.
A million times a day its soldiers choose to loose,
that they might one day win
the great ‘Well done’ of faithful sons and daughters.

Such heroes are as radical on Monday morning as Sunday night. They don’t need fame from names. Instead they grin quietly upwards and hear the crowds chanting again and again: “COME ON!”

And this is the sound of the underground
The whisper of history in the making
Foundations shaking
Revolutionaries dreaming once again
Mystery is scheming in whispers
Conspiracy is breathing…
This is the sound of the underground

And the army is discipl(in)ed.
Young people who beat their bodies into submission.
Every soldier would take a bullet for his comrade at arms.
The tattoo on their back boasts “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain”.

Sacrifice fuels the fire of victory in their upward eyes.
Winners. Martyrs.
Who can stop them ?
Can hormones hold them back?
Can failure succeed?
Can fear scare them or death kill them ?

And the generation prays

like a dying man
with groans beyond talking,
with warrior cries, sulphuric tears and
with great barrow loads of laughter!
Waiting. Watching: 24 – 7 – 365.

Whatever it takes they will give: Breaking the rules. Shaking mediocrity from its cosy little hide. Laying down their rights and their precious little wrongs, laughing at labels, fasting essentials. The advertisers cannot mould them. Hollywood cannot hold them. Peer-pressure is powerless to shake their resolve at late night parties before the cockerel cries.

They are incredibly cool, dangerously attractive

Inside.

On the outside? They hardly care.
They wear clothes like costumes to communicate and celebrate but never to hide.
Would they surrender their image or their popularity?
They would lay down their very lives - swap seats with the man on death row - guilty as hell. A throne for an electric chair.

With blood and sweat and many tears, with sleepless nights and fruitless days,
they pray as if it all depends on God and live as if it all depends on them.

Their DNA chooses JESUS. (He breathes out, they breathe in.)
Their subconscious sings. They had a blood transfusion with Jesus.
Their words make demons scream in shopping centres.

Don’t you hear them coming?

Herald the weirdo’s! Summon the losers and the freaks.
Here come the frightened and forgotten with fire in their eyes.
They walk tall and trees applaud, skyscrapers bow, mountains are dwarfed by these children of another dimension.
Their prayers summon the hounds of heaven and invoke the ancient dream of Eden.

And this vision will be.
It will come to pass;
it will come easily;
it will come soon.

How do I know?

Because this is the longing of creation itself,
the groaning of the Spirit,
the very dream of God.

My tomorrow is his today.
My distant hope is his 3D.
And my feeble, whispered, faithless prayer invokes a thunderous, resounding, bone-shaking great ‘Amen!’ from countless angels, from hero’s of the faith, from Christ himself. And he is the original dreamer, the ultimate winner.

Guaranteed.

Check it out, so good!

Check it out, so good!

Laura Hackett’s new song.  AMAZING!

wearehughes:

he’s so huggable!

wearehughes:

he’s so huggable!

OS X Lion….beautiful.

OS X Lion….beautiful.