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Sign up at harvest.org. Coming up today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us learn more about the future destination of every true believer in Jesus Christ. Each year, more than 30 million people in this country move, relocate.
That may explain why there are 7,000 moving companies across the fruited plain. When we move, we try to find out some details about our new home. Well, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie provides some details about our eternal home. The Bible gives us more detail than you may be aware. And none of us knows our moving date, so it's a good idea to get that information now and to be prepared. Let's talk about heaven because that is the subject I love to talk about.
That's a topic the Bible addresses many, many, many times. And heaven is a place that we all need to know about because if we're a Christian, that's where we're going to end up one day. And you want to be ready for where you're going. You know if you take a trip, you want to know a little bit about where you're going. You know what clothes do I take? What's a good place to eat? Where should I stay?
What sites should I go see? You know we prepare ourselves for a trip that we take. Well, we want to be prepared for heaven because heaven is a prepared place for prepared people. So let's talk about heaven and we're going to turn to Colossians chapter 3 tonight.
Turn over there with me if you would. Colossians chapter 3. I heard about an 85-year-old couple who had been married for almost 60 years who incredibly died on the same day.
They had been in good health actually for the last 10 years mainly as a result of the wife's interest in health food and exercise. So they reached the pearly gates and they're met of course by Saint Peter. And he takes them to their brand new mansion waiting for them in heaven.
It's equipped with a beautiful kitchen, a master bath suite, and a sauna and jacuzzi as they're oohing and aahing. The old man says to Peter, how much is this going to cost? Peter says, it's not going to cost anything man. This is heaven.
And then they looked out in their backyard and it's a championship golf course that changes every day resembling one of the great golf courses on planet earth. And the old man says, what are the green fees? Peter says, there's no green fees. It's heaven.
Everything is free. Then they take the couple to this massive buffet lunch. And it had all the food that the old man wanted to eat but couldn't eat. Great. Mexican food, Italian food, nachos with lots of cheese, pizza, hamburgers, all that good stuff.
That's the stuff I like too by the way. And the old guy is looking at all of this food. And he says, well where's the low fat and low cholesterol tables? Peter says, that's the great thing. We don't have low fat tables. We don't have low cholesterol.
Eat whatever you want and you never get fat and you never get sick. With that the old man takes his hat off, throws it on the ground and starts stomping on it. And Peter and the man's wife are looking at him like, what is wrong with you? They said, what is happening? He looks at the wife and he says, this is your fault.
He says, if you hadn't been feeding me those blasted bran muffins for the last 10 years I would have been here sooner. This is a true story. It's also a bad joke. But heaven of course is no joke. It's a real place as I said for real people to do real things. Now how many of you believe in heaven? Raise your hand if you believe in heaven.
Right. Ok. Well most Americans actually do believe in a place called heaven. 81%.
The stats are a little lower for hell. 69% believe in a place called hell. But I think deep down inside we long for a place we have never been to before. Have you ever traveled for a while especially overseas and found yourself really homesick? Wanting to get home again especially those that serve in the armed forces or those that do business overseas. They can't wait to get back home again. I think deep down inside God has pre-wired us to be homesick for a place we have never been to before. And that place is heaven.
We long for it. In fact the Bible even tells us over in Ecclesiastes 3.11 that God has said eternity in our hearts. It was Augustine who said quote, you formed us for yourself and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.
The great writer C.S. Lewis speaking of heaven said it was the secret signature of each soul. Lewis continues, there have been times when I think we do not desire heaven but more often I find myself wondering whether in our heart of hearts if we have ever desired anything else it is the secret signature of each soul the incommunicable and unappeasable want. End quote.
I love that. It is this longing deep inside of us. Like the story of the little boy who was flying this kite and it went up higher and higher and soon you couldn't see it. It was obscured by the cloud and someone said boy how do you know that kite is still up there.
The little guy said I can still feel its tug. And I think deep down inside we feel the tug of heaven. And it goes back to our childhood. I think even our excitement about Christmas in a way is a longing for heaven. There is something about Christmas apart from all the commercialism of it and also apart from the fact that it starts in August now that there really is a glimpse of heaven is it not? All the beautiful lights. The angels. The beautiful songs like I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.
No not those ones. The beautiful Christmas songs that we sing. And it is just like a little glimpse of heaven. It is sort of like a promise.
Of course Christmas cannot deliver on the promise but Christ can and heaven can. And the Bible teaches that when a Christian dies they go straight to heaven. Now I came across an atheist website a while ago. I don't usually read that many atheist websites.
But from time to time I will check in on what other people are saying. And it turns out that they were quoting something I said on their atheist website. And here is what it said. They quoted me rightly with these words. They said that I said when a Christian dies it is a direct flight to heaven.
There are no stopovers. The moment we take our last breath on earth we take our first breath in heaven we go into the presence of God. That is exactly what I said. And they were outraged by this.
And here was their response. Going to heaven after death is assumed. Not only does he start with this unsubstantiated and onerous assumption but he goes on in more detail about the precise state of affairs that take place in heaven once you arrive. And what evidence does Greg Laurie have to bolster these claims?
Nothing at all. Just a bunch of Bible quotes. That is right. Just a bunch of Bible quotes. By the way I love that. I stand by that.
That is right. Just a bunch of Bible quotes. I am building everything I believe on just a bunch of Bible quotes. I am building my hope on Jesus Christ and what He tells me in His Word.
Now listen. I don't expect atheists to understand the hope of a Christian. It is hard for them to wrap their mind around the fact that we have such a strong hope. But this is something that God gives to us.
Isn't it? It is a quiet confidence. It is a supernatural certainty. And where do we find this hope? We find it from Scripture. Or as the atheist website said a bunch of Bible quotes. That is why it is a good thing to memorize the Bible and to fill your mind with what the Bible says. And the Bible actually has a lot to say about heaven. In fact Psalm 119 says, You are my refuge, my shield.
Your word is my only source of hope. That is one of the reasons the Scripture was given to us to begin with. To give us hope. Romans 15 says, Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. They give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God's promises. And by the way the word that is used there for hope is a word that can be translated a strong and confident expectation.
And we all have that. And I have the hope that one day I will go to heaven. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. It is such a blessing to hear from listeners who take time to express their appreciation. Pastor Greg I just wanted to thank you for your daily devotionals and also for your sermons. I especially liked your series on heaven and what to expect when we get there. It's helped me accept my husband's death much easier knowing that for the year and a half of him being in the hospital suffering complications from a liver transplant and him not being able to eat any food now that he's in heaven he can eat anything he wants to.
That somehow gave me great comfort in knowing this. Since my faith is in the Lord and Savior I know that he's not suffering any longer and I will see him again someday. But also learning of things that we can expect in heaven from your message just brought me a little more comfort in this very difficult time right now.
Thank you so much for being a vessel for God. If you have a story to share why not call us and give us all the details. Here's the number 1-866-871-1144.
866-871-1144. Well you've joined us for one of Pastor Greg's most requested studies of the past year called Let's Talk About Heaven Part One. Let's continue now. I was asked in a TV interview a while ago by the interviewer why do you talk about heaven all the time. He said I've noticed in your sermons I'll see you on TV or hear you on the radio and you're always talking about heaven. And I thought really well good that's a good thing to be always talking about. I wasn't aware of that but I'm not embarrassed by that or ashamed of that because really when it's said and done what's more important than that than where we spend our eternal destiny.
I mean I want to do everything to help you come into a relationship with God and find that beautiful and meaningful relationship He has for you on this earth. But when it's all said and done the statistics on death are quite impressive. One out of every one person will die. And then there's the afterlife. And the afterlife lasts a lot longer than this life on earth. Maybe we should call our time on earth the before life. We put so much focus on the afterlife. No the before life is short. The after life is forever.
Yes it's true. I admit it. I want to take as many people to heaven with me as I possibly can. And so we need to know about heaven. I've always studied heaven always been fascinated by it. I wouldn't say I'm an expert on it at all.
But I would say I'm a student of it. And I probably became a greater student of it no doubt in 2008 when my son went to heaven. He beat me to heaven. My son Christopher was 33 at the time. Now Christopher and I used to race each other on the beach. And he was a runner. He was out in track and field.
He was very good. But I was okay as a runner in high school. And so I was a bit younger.
And so we'd be on the beach. And I'd race him all the time. I'd say let's race to that mark down there. And you know and I was better at short distance and he was better at long distance.
So I always picked a distance at a distance that favored me right. Because I would run out of steam quicker than he would. Let's run to that mark. And so ready go. And I would run and I'd get ahead of him. And I beat you again. You didn't beat me yet.
And one day we're walking along the beach. I said okay. I picked a spot. Let's go. And your mark get said go. And off we went. And he beat me. Oh it finally happened.
Well that happened in life too. You know I expected that I would go way before him to heaven. In fact written on his tombstone are the words I fought the good fight. I kept the faith. I finished the course.
And that is what we're all going to do. And we don't know how long that course will be. Some of us may run that course for 85, 95 years. Some of us may run that course for 45 years. Some of us may run the course for 18 years.
Some may run it for 33 years like my son. We don't know. None of us know.
That's why we want to run as well as we can and as hard as we can while we can. Because one day will be our last day. And then we're in eternity. And then we're standing before the Lord.
So what is heaven like? Let's talk about that a little bit here in Colossians chapter 3. I'm going to read two verses.
Since then you've been raised with Christ. Set your hearts on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above. Not unearthly things.
We'll stop there. So we are to set our hearts and we are to set our minds on things above. This phrase set your mind can be translated think or more thoroughly have this inner disposition.
Let me put it another way. The verse is actually saying simply think heaven. Think heaven. That's something we're all supposed to do as Christians. And by the way the verb that's used in this verse is in the present tense so it can be translated keep thinking heaven or keep thinking about heaven or keep seeking heaven.
Put it all together. It's saying constantly be seeking and thinking about heaven. You see our feet must be on earth but our minds and our hearts can be in heaven. But if we're honest many of us have gone an entire day without a single thought about heaven.
And that's not a good thing. We should always be thinking about it. Warren Wiersbe a great Bible commentator said quote for the Christian heaven isn't simply a destination it's a motivation. You say okay well that that's fine but you know how do I think about a place I've never been to before.
How do I wrap my mind around a place I know so little about. Well you need to learn about heaven and see what the Bible says about Scripture. Because when you're thinking about heaven and you're seeking heaven you will be a heavenly minded person in the best sense of that phrase.
I know it's used to critique people oh they're so heavenly minded they're no earthly good. And I know a lot of people who are so earthly minded they're no heavenly good. And I think if you're heavenly minded in the right way you'll be of the greatest earthly good. Fact of the matter is those that think the most of the next life do the most in this one. Because if I believe there's an afterlife and I believe there's a reward waiting for me for my faithfulness won't that make me want to serve the Lord. And if I believe in an afterlife and I believe there's a potential judgment for me won't that make me want to fear God and avoid sin. So you see how my belief in the afterlife affects me in this life. But if on the other hand I don't believe there's a reward waiting why do anything for anyone but me. And if I don't think there's a future judgment out there why can't I do whatever the heck I want to do to whoever I want to do it to. Because there'll be no eternal repercussion. So as you can see you're thinking about the afterlife has a dramatic effect on you in this life. So let's just start with what is heaven. What is it. Well it's the dwelling place of God.
All right. Where is heaven. Where is heaven.
Well we know it's up. We know that there's a third heaven. The Bible talks about three heavens. And the first heaven would just be basically walk outside to look up you see the sky. The second heaven would be the solar system.
And the third heaven is that supernatural realm. But it may be closer than we think. I think we think it's so far away you know.
And maybe it's just next to us in a way. It's really another dimension. You see right now we live in the physical dimension.
But at the same time we coexist with an eternal dimension. It's a dimension of God and the devil. Of angels and demons.
Of the supernatural world. A great illustration of this is found in the book of Kings with the prophet Elisha and his servant Gehazi. They were surrounded by their enemies.
They were closing in with chariots and armed soldiers. And Gehazi started to freak out and panicked. He said what are we going to do master. He actually woke Elisha up.
Elisha said oh whatever okay. Lord just opened his eyes. And his eyes were open and he saw the supernatural forces of God all around him.
And he discovered that they had more on their side than the enemy had on their side. And right now we're surrounded by the supernatural world. The Bible says that the angel of the Lord encamps around those that fear him. And we may even have guardian angels.
I'm not sure of this but I think you can make a fairly good case for it. At least maybe children have them because Jesus talks about how our little children have their angels. So it may be that we have personal angels and it may be we just have angels that just do God's bidding but they're working around us every single day.
God's at work. So this supernatural realm this place called heaven we don't know where it is but it is where God is. And that is the most important thing of all because really the greatest thing about heaven is going to be seeing God. From one of the most requested messages of the past year, Pastor Greg Laurie is offering compelling insights on what's waiting for us in heaven.
Good encouragement here on A New Beginning. Well we're happy to have Pastor Levi Lusko with us today, lead pastor of Fresh Life Church in Montana, Utah, Oregon, and Wyoming. And he's the author of the new book, a 90-day devotional for kids called Roar Like a Lion.
Levi, if you would, explain that title for us. Well it's an incredible thing to follow Jesus because he's the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the book of Proverbs says if we follow him in his footsteps we can be as bold as a lion as righteous followers of Christ. And so I love the idea of the strength and even the tension because that strength is exercised through humility because even though Jesus is the lion when we see him he's a lamb who's been slain and so there's that tension of majesty and meekness of strength but exercised through weakness and I want kids to know that they don't have to feel afraid they're going to feel afraid lots but that's where you have the occasion for true bravery. Now you have a book also called Through the Eyes of a Lion. Are they connected?
Yes they are. So our daughter Lenya who went home to be with Jesus in 2012, we nicknamed her Lenya Lion and when she went to heaven we were able to donate her corneas through an amazing organization called Sight Life to two blind people who received sight and they see life through her eyes. And so we wrote the book Through the Eyes of a Lion to help people know that if they trust in Jesus he can turn their pain into power and that book by God's grace touched people. I know Pastor Greg you guys had had it on the show as a as a gift that you gave out to a lot of people who supported the ministry A New Beginning and this book is basically the kid version of Through the Eyes of a Lion so that we can now help kids understand the same principles. You know Dave we've known Levi and his family for years and I can tell you that Levi and his wife Jenny they just love their family.
Levi's a real family man and his kids love to be with him and he's so much a part of their lives and Levi I'm so appreciative that you want to take these truths and bring them to the children. You know we're told in scripture that the role of a parent is to teach these things to our children when they rise up, when they lie down, when we walk on the way and I think what you've done here in a fantastic way is starting with the graphics. You know as an artist I notice things like that it's a super cool looking book great design really fresh graphics really engaging and then the layout of the pages is very appealing and broken up and so it's not just a barrage of type and it's something that the kids themselves can read and participate in the process as they go through it and and you know the great thing about doing devotions with your kid is or your children is is you know you learn as they learn right so one of the cool things I like about your book is you have like here's chapter one roar like a lion so you talk about why you chose this picture and and what it's like to roar in a lion then there's this little side column and you do these and in each story you tell a little a bunch of factoids right so here you talk about roaring like a lion and then you tell us in the sidebar there in the wild lions roar for three reasons number one to let other lions know where they are number two to show how powerful they are and thirdly to scare off an enemy and then you say your life should be the same for the same reasons and then you expound on that that's just so cool it's bite size it's appealing it's colorful it's engaging and I think kids are going to like it and I think adults are going to like it too and this by the way is our gift to you this month for your gift of any size what a great new year's resolution to say I want to study the bible with my family and specifically with my kids so whatever you can send to us here at a new beginning we'll send you your own copy of roar like a lion by my friend Levi Lusko yeah it's a great resource for your kids your grandkids neighbor kids or even to donate to the children's ministry at your church and we'll send it to thank you for your donation that's an investment in changed lives through a new beginning and through our large evangelistic events so we hope you'll make a donation today and you can donate securely online at harvest.org or call anytime around the clock 1-800-821-3300 that's 1-800-821-3300.
Is heaven just some ethereal metaphysical idea or ideal? Next time, Pastor Greg points out heaven is a real place and it's really paradise. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and bible teacher Greg Laurie. Here's some bonus content for our podcast listeners. As we were visiting with Pastor Levi Lusko, he had some good things to say to Pastor Greg about the importance of godly fatherhood. Let's listen. Watching you as a dad over the years and watching you as a grandfather it's just been such an inspiration to us you and Kathy the way you've prioritized your kids and and of course walking through grief as you guys did through Christopher's homecoming we had that as our I've always called you our footsteps in the snow because we've been able to follow your footsteps and it helped us navigate our way through grief and I think it is just like you said so important you know your kids you blink and they're I mean my oldest is 16 and I think she's about to get her driver's license and you just think how quickly that happens and you know so before you know it everyone listening your kids are going to be out of the house and you're going to be an empty nester and what did you do to get God's word in their heart we all want to save up for college we all want to save up for our daughters weddings but more than anything the spiritual deposit we can make into them is what's going to last not only on earth but into eternity very true the preceding podcast was made possible by harvest partners helping people everywhere know God learn how to become a harvest partner sign up for daily devotions and find resources to help you grow in your faith at harvest.org
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