Do Christians "go to Heaven" when they Die?

There is a loud chorus of voices these days denouncing, in a somewhat condescending way, the long-standing belief among evangelicals that when Christians die they go to heaven. In one sense, this outcry is good and constructive. It is an understandable and much-needed response to the unbiblical gnosticism of some “fundamentalist” Christians who denigrate material creation, diminish the reality of a future bodily resurrection, and fail to reckon with the centrality in God’s redemptive purpose of

Your anger is not your friend

Anger, sometimes it just feels right. When your husband is insensitive, when the kids are selfish and squabble constantly, when your wife is disrespectful, anger stands ready to come to your defense. When others are not helpful anger is there to encourage you. When your pride is wounded, anger offers its healing power.

Self-control: the gateway to joy and peace.

Self-control: the gateway to joy and peace Self-control is the fruit of the Spirit. It is the evidence of the Spirit's work in the life of God's people. This means more than just physical or mental discipline. Only someone who is born of the Spirit of God can practice biblical self-control. What this means is that self-control is the way to joy and peace in this life. Here is one biblically based definition of self-control:

Unity, Not Politics, Takes Spotlight During National Prayer Breakfast

Politics took a backseat to prayer on Thursday morning as many Democrats and Republicans joined President Donald Trump for the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. "The world around us has always been divided," Congressman Robert Aderholt, a Republican from Alabama, said standing alongside Congressman Juan Vargas, a Democrat from California. "It's not just a recent phenomenon, but in all such time there have been men and women who have found a true path to unity and cooperation throu

And then there were none: Christian Portrayal in the Media and Literature

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (ANS – January 31, 2017) -- As I sat watching Albuquerque Little Theater’s production of a play based on Agatha Christie’s mystery book And Then There Were None (originally published with a derogative name in 1939), I couldn’t but help notice how the “Christian” was portrayed in the play [1].

Have you been Surprised by God Lately?

GROVE, OK (ANS – January 22, 2017) -- “The whole earth is full of his glory” — Isaiah 6:3 (KJV). Listening as our associate pastor read the familiar words, I marveled anew at God’s love for us. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” God didn’t have to create anything. He didn’t have to create the birds of the air or the flowers we love to pick or the other multitude of creatures and plants for our enjoyment. Just as He created us for His pleasure, He wanted us to enjoy a

Heaven – God’s gift

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Matthew 13:44 The gift of heaven makes sense of life as nothing else can. It is a gift that cannot be earned by man, but won by Christ. It is a gift that exposes our faith, but is given in faithfulness. It is a gift that we are tempted to exchange for the treasures of this life. It is a gift looked upon with doubt, but, once g

Understanding The Power of Caged Momentum

In church planting, I learned an important leadership principle. I'm not sure you can learn this one without being forced into it, so learn from my experience. Let me illustrate it with a practical example: Launching Grace Community Church was an 18-month process from the time I agreed to obey God's encouragement to start a new church, we met with a group of interested people in our living room, and actually held a first service. (I had resisted His encouragement to plant a church for 10 y

Vision Slayers: 2 Big Culprits

Recently, my friends at Exponential released their new FREE eBook, Dream Big: Finding Your Pathway to Level 5 Multiplication. This new title is the third in the series of books focusing on Exponential's annual themes-all focused on seeing the local church multiply. This year, Exponential is talking about the critical need to identify a vision for multiplication and make a workable plan for actually becoming a multiplying church.

Worship is an End in Itself

Worship is utterly and eternally unique in one critically important respect: unlike every other Christian responsibility or experience, worship is an end in itself. In other words, worship that glorifies God must be expressed in conscious awareness that this is the ultimate goal for which we were created and redeemed. We do not worship God in order to attain some higher end, or to accomplish some greater goal, or to experience a more satisfying joy.

More Observations on the Nature of True Revival

Yesterday we looked at ten things we should know about revival. Today I want to continue this focus by looking at some of the characteristics of true, heaven-sent revival. It will soon be evident that my observations are heavily indebted to the writings of Jonathan Edwards and J. I. Packer. 1. In revival, God draws near. God comes down. This is certainly the imagery found in Isaiah 64:1-2 where God's presence is portrayed in terms of a brushfire. "It is with this searching, scorching manifest

Fairness: a Fangerous Request.

Where would you and I be if God treated us fairly? Does God ever have a reason to be fair with me? In pride, I want to say yes. I don't deserve unfair treatment. But such thinking is not helpful. In light of what God has given for me and how I act in return for his mercy, any demand for fairness is stupid. To demand fairness is to live like a fool, to live has if there were no God.

Moon Walkers’ Heavenly Perspective

DONCASTER, UK (ANS - January 12, 2017) -- Following in the steps of Jesus was more exciting than walking on the moon. These are the words attributed to Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon's surface, during a visit to Israel. And fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who accompanied him for the Apollo 11 lunar landing, was similarly taken up with a heavenly perspective. Shortly after touching down where no man had been before, he took communion with bread and wine he had carried from

7 Of My Favorite Compliments I Receive as a Pastor

Everyone loves compliments – me included. I received a compliment recently from someone who met me for the first time and it was so encouraging. I met some visitors in the hall at church one Sunday. It was their first time and they didn’t know where the preschool area was, […] Continue Reading…

Cling to Jesus instead of the past (writer's opinion) featured

GROVE, OK (ANS – January 8, 2017) -- “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV).

The Vine, The Branches, and Christian Perseverance

A lot of people struggle with John 15:1-11 and our Lord's teaching on the vine and the branches. This week I've been looking at the question of the relationship between professed faith in Christ and consistent obedience to his commands. This passage speaks directly to the issue. Let's look closely at it.

Did God Save My Life?

God doesn't give second chances by accident. Read on for Billy Graham's full answer.

A Prayer for worry

The human mind is not compatible with worry! Worry is anxiety about things that you cannot control. Jesus tells you not to worry about even the most basic needs of life. He even tells you how to pray so that you will not worry. In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus instructs you to ask God for your daily bread. By reading the verses that come after the Lord's prayer in Matthew 6, we see that Christ was talking about more than just asking God for bread. Three times, (in verses 25, 28, and 31), Jesus com

Psalm 23: your guide to 2017

In Psalm 23 the Holy Spirit provides what you need to make your life count for God in 2017. Whatever issues you may face this Psalm provides the biblical framework for you to make a difference for God. Here are two principles to get your started: God is your shepherd. Verses 1&2: The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.

Let's Start a Prayer Revolution in the New Year (writer's opinion)

GROVE, OK (ANS - January 1, 2017) -- "I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness" - I Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV). Unless you have no access to media, you know that the word "divisive" would best describe 2016. Lines were drawn. Anger increased and hate-filled words filled the airwaves and appeared on Internet sites. Christians w

7 Tips to Read the Bible Through in One Year

Are you up for a challenge? How about reading the Bible through this coming new year? I've heard so many people who would love to read the Bible through in a year, but never completed the task. It's nearly impossible for the pastor to preach through all of it, so you are going to miss something unless you study on your own. Sadly, most believers haven't read all the Bible. Some of the best nuggets of truth I discovered on my own, reading through the Bible in a year.