Give ’em Heaven!!!

I doubt that this will be a very popular post, but I’m just going to throw how I feel out there.  After being in a real-world job for a while and seeing ministry from the outside of the “churchy” box that so many preachers live in, I see a different method of reaching people emerging in its relevance.

Before I dive any deeper into the subject, let me make myself clear.  Do I believe in a real hell?  Yes.  Do I believe that many will go there.  Sad, but I do.  So if you were expecting me to jump on the band wagon with Rob Bell, Dale Thompson, and the like, you may be disappointed.  I’m not a universalist, nor have I bought into its theology.

But this I have bought into.  So many churches make darkness the focus of their ministry.  I heard a pastor say the other day that Jesus spoke more of hell than He did of Heaven, so therefore he intended to do the same.  What he failed to realize was this, Jesus spoke of hell some… while living out a life of Heaven, twenty-four seven. He radiated Heaven by just being himself.  Being touched by Jesus was being touched by Heaven.  Gazing at Him as he healed the masses was catching a glimpse of Heaven on Earth… no sermon necessary.

Here’s what I’ve been getting to… the bottom line.  People are beat up by this world.  They are daily pounded down by their jobs, their schools, their peers, their surroundings, and in many cases they are beat up by their own home-life.  When going to church, they need to hear a few things often.  They need to hear that they are loved.  Folks need to be shown how to find peace.  They need to know that there is a place prepared for those who trust Jesus.  They need to be told about hope.

Preacher, if you want to talk about Hell, that is fine.  Speak about it boldly in truth. But, if you are going to talk about the reality of Hell, ALWAYS follow it up by spending even more time and attention on Heaven.  Never preach about despair without placing a deeper emphasis on HOPE!  Never tout damnation without spending double the time on PEACE.  Here is what Paul says that we should spend the bulk of our time on:

Philippians 4:8 The Message (MSG)

8-9Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

I suppose if you want to be prideful in being a “Hellfire and brimstone” preacher, that is your prerogative;  But I think I would rather be known as a “Heaven’s gates and Streets of Gold” kind of guy.  I’m not saying that preachers should candy-coat the truth, nor am I saying to teach a sissy gospel.  But I am saying that this world is a dark place.  It needs light.  We are placed in it to be a beacon of hope, love, joy, and ultimately a reflection of Heaven.  Lift up the ones around you.  Be the Samaritan and mend the wounds of our world, clean them up, feed them and show them that there is a light at the end of this journey.  Be a blazing fire that they warm themselves from the cold in this world.  Let’s give this world Heaven!

There you have it…

Truth wins!

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~ by Scott Herrin on September 25, 2011.

9 Responses to “Give ’em Heaven!!!”

  1. I agree whole-heartedly. Yes, we should preach about hell – it is a real place – it is Biblical. People will go there. What we shouldn’t do is scare people into trying to simply getting a “get out of hell free card”. Too often I think this is what people do and if they have done that and it ticks someone off – oh well, I’ve done my “Christian-duty” to tell others”. I don’t think that’s the point. I saw a church sign the other day that sort of follows this and it just didn’t set right with me – it said “Heaven is sweet, Hell is hot. You’re going to one – Ready or Not.” True, yes. But is this the best way to reach folks?

  2. Totally agree with you Scott. Focusing on the negative will bring you down… Negative thoughts turn into negative actions…. I teaching 3rd grade Sunday School, I teach my kids the positive things… The right way to act… Instead of saying don’t do this and that… I say DO this and that!!! And constantly teaching them of what a LOVING God we have… NOT what a punishing God we have. Keep doing what you are doing my friend!!!!

    • I actually have had the basics of this written for quite some time now. I was somewhat worried about it’s reception, but a friend and I were talking about it and the subject came up. It seems that there are a lot of folks that may feel the same way.

      • Well, obviously – I know you, Scott – it’s easier for me to say the things I did here because, well I know you – I know what you believe. I think what happens is – we have too many people that go to the two extremes. They either only focus on hell, as you mentioned the one preacher, or they focus too much on the fru-fru, all-love side of things. We have to give a balanced presentation. And I think you pointed that out in your original post – when we do preach about hell, don’t just leave it about that – offer hope. Makes sense to me anyway!

  3. Amen! Thanks Scott!

  4. You’ve just eloquently said what I’ve thought for years, Scott. Especially in times like now, people need to know that there’s hope. They need to understand that peace can come from knowing Him – no matter what the world throws at them. Constantly beating people down with Hell, fire, and brimstone will not bring people to Jesus. The Word needs to be taught but there is so much hope, love, and joy in the Bible. I’ve heard people say they were basically frightened into becoming Christians.. because the alternative was.. well, Hell. And who wants to end up there, right? Although I’m grateful for each person who will enter the gates of Heaven, I don’t think scaring them into it is the right approach. And if they come into the relationship that way, what is the likelihood that they will pursue a deep and meaningful relationship with Christ? I have so many thoughts on this.. GREAT post!

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