“Heaven IS For Real”
I read the book a while back and loved it. I was so excited to hear that it would be a movie. Kristy and I recently had the opportunity to see the movie “Heaven Is For Real” and we both loved it. There are things that took place with that little boy that can’t be explained away. When you consider his knowledge of certain events the only logical answer is heaven is for real. I knew before I read the book or saw the movie that heaven is for real. I didn’t read the book or watch the movie for confirmation just affirmation of what I already knew.
I don’t understand why some doubt the existence of heaven and God. After seeing all the negative things that we see in this world even if I was not a member of the church I think I’d still believe in heaven. Just that hope for a better place after this life is enough to keep even those of little faith going day to day. The hope of heaven is what keeps me motivated to do what I do. I believe with all my heart that heaven is for real and that God is there.
The apostle Paul wrote, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”(Phil.1:21) Folks, in all honesty, death is only a gain if there is a heaven and you are a Christian. Death was a gain to Paul because he had the “desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.”(Phil.1:23) In other words, Paul was looking forward to heaven. After all, “our citizenship is in heaven.”(Phil.3:20) I don’t care what anyone says, heaven IS for real.
“A Mother’s Influence”
“She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.”(Prov.31:27-28) I’m never surprised when the athlete, after scoring a touchdown, hitting a homerun or winning the big game, turns to the camera and says, “Hi Mom”. It doesn’t surprise me at all because his mother has influenced him his whole life. It may be that our mothers are the single most influential people in our lives. Many people influence us throughout our lives but our mother has been there since the beginning and has influenced so many of our decisions. When a child is sick, afraid or in need most of the time he wants his mother. That speaks volumes for the influence of a mother.
Sunday is Mother’s Day which should be a very important day to us all and a day in which we honor our mothers. Mother’s do so much for us from the time we come into this world and even after we’re grown adults. According to the above cited Scripture mother’s watch over their family and they put off their much needed rest to care, provide and enjoy their family. A mother’s children should arise and call her blessed and not just on this Mother’s Day holiday but every single day. A mother’s influence goes much farther than childhood, middle school or even high school. A mother’s influence runs deep into the heart of her children and far outlasts the test of time. Happy Mother’s Day to the most influential people on the planet!
“Why I Preach”
I’m sure I’ve offended my share of pew packers over the years by my preaching. God only knows the exact number, but I know I’ve preached a ton of sermons in several different places since 1996. Some sermons may have offended the Christians in the audience while others offended the non-Christian hearers. There were those sermons that offended the more seasoned and experienced Christians and those sermons that bothered the newer and less experienced Christians. You see, I’m confident that my preaching has offended plenty of people from every age to all walks of life. The interesting thing to me is that I’ve never preached one single sermon ever with the intent to offend anyone.
I know, I preach to step on toes, right? No, not at all! In fact, when I step on toes I missed the mark with that particular sermon because I was aiming at hearts. I preach for one specific reason and that’s to move man. Maybe you’re scratching your head by now. I preach to move man into a relationship with God. That’s what Peter did when he told the Jews in Acts 2:38 “to repent and be baptized.” I also preach to move faithful Christians into a closer and deeper relationship with God. No matter the audience, the whole point in preaching is to move the hearers closer to Jesus.
“You Gotta Go”
Let me start by saying my family loves Coach Leon White. Coach White was my daughter Faith’s 8th grade science teacher last year. Coach White is one of my eight elders in the church here in Cabot and my occasional partner in golf. He has been Dylan’s high school track coach the last two years. As you can see Coach White knows the Ball family probably better than he’d like. (hopefully not)
As Dylan runs around the track during competition he told me he can always hear Coach White repeat the same motivating phrase, “you gotta go Dylan, you gotta go”. Coach White is not only watching the clock to keep Dylan’s time but he is cheering him on and pushing him to “go” run his best time. As I think about the phrase, “you gotta go”, I quickly see the spiritual parallel with the church. Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”(Mt.28:19) Mark records it like this, “He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”(Mk.16:15)
There are similarities in both texts of course since both writers are recording what is known as the Great Commission. Teaching and baptizing are taught and are usually where we put our emphasis and rightly so but I tend to believe the key word or thought in this text is “go”. That’s right, Jesus is saying to His disciples then and to the church today, “you gotta go”. Very little teaching and baptizing will take place if we don’t “go”. The church today has “gotta go” outside our buildings into our communities, neighborhoods, inner cities, jails and foreign fields. Yes, we want to teach and baptize as many as possible but to do that we “gotta go”. Jesus is standing near the track saying to the church, “you gotta go”, as we run the race of the Christian life and seek to make disciples.