Who goes to heaven?

I got a text from a friend of mine today who was strugglin, and wanted to hear my thoughts.  This is what he wrote…

Hey bro. I am struggling with something. Could u email me your thoughts on: does the person who never hears the gospel go 2 heaven?email me

I typed up a quick yet lengthy response on google documents. Check it out here if your interested, be sure to get back and freestyle with me.

An Itch…

I must be honest, I have an ever growing itch to live truly shaped by the life of Christ and within His Kingdom. I know some think of me as radically living out my faith, and probably because of american christian complacency it may sometimes appear that way. However, when I step into reality and allow the Word of God to search me and measure me up to what we as a church have been called to, I am deeply humbled. I guess we all get to that place where we see that God is desiring much more from us in our lives. I know I am there, and have an ever growing itch that I have been ignoring for a while now. However, there are real choices to be made. Faithfulness to me, requires that I choose between the things of this world and God. Everyone is always quick to say that they have chosen God over this world, but we nonetheless make all our decisions based on consumerism, comfort, and security. Those things have enculturated our thinking so much, that we do not always recognize how impacted we are by main stream thought and culture. We are like a fish in water, that is all we know.

I have this itch… but I have been scared to scratch it. It means a complete letting go of the things I have been taught to trust. It is literally putting on a funeral for an empty system and recognizing that it is truly dead, letting it go. I think that at the point that you let go, you find a whole new freedom never experienced before. The whole system and the world and all its promises needs to be let go of. Deep down in my core I have an itch to let go completely.

I want to be able to be like the apostle Paul who said “Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”

I don’t know about you, but comfortable Christianity is just not cutting it for me. It promises a lot, but in the end seems empty and watered down. I have this itch, and like any other itch, as I/you try to ignore it, it only grows in intensity. I have this itch and I believe that the time to scratch it has always been now.

I Never Expected This… What An Honor!

Well I didn’t win a noble prize… but another blogger and frequent guest to my site has awarded me with this GBA award!!! Speechless. Well I don’t want to thank God first for the inspiration, my Mom and Dad who believed in me, my wife for all her support, and all the other little people who made this possible!

Thanks Pam (from Notes Along the Path blog) for joining the cypha over at freestyle theology and for your generous award!

Transformation Vs. Information

Have you ever ran into somebody who could quote the Bible like nobody’s business and simultaneously cut someone to pieces with their words as if they were a child of the devil? How is this so? How is it that someone can be so mean and nasty, while still having such a strong foundation in God’s Words?  Is it possible to be grounded theologically and to master the biblical text, while not bearing the likeness of Christ?

If so, maybe it has something to do with how we read our bible.  It seems very easy to read the bible only to gain knowledge and build up more information in our heads.  However, it is a completely different task to engage the bible spiritually, allowing God’s Word to shape and mold you into a new creation.  How do we read these inspired words in a way that it forms us into a people that reflect God faithfully as his children?

Is our biblical reading for transformation in our lives and communities or is it just more information that we can wield and use to impress others?  Are we allowing God’s word to master us, letting it rearrange our lives to be in line with Him, or do we try to master God’s Word so that we can use it for our purpose and for our own agenda? Freestyle with me…

The Weightier Matters

I remember when I was moving into my new house in Philly last October and I invited a bunch of people over to help me move. I sent out a general invitation to a bunch of people, but I also specifically asked a few  friends who are big and strong to help as well.  There were some heavy and weighty items that needed to get moved into the house and I had these folks in mind. Funny thing is, there always seems to be that one person who you asked to come because you wanted them to carry the heavy stuff, and instead they are carrying the lightest stuff out of the truck, while some of the ladies are slaving over heavy items as they break their backs. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for every item that gets taken off the truck, everything needs to get inside the house.  Nonetheless, there are some main pieces that need to be moved that I had in mind for that person to move.

Christians have often done the same thing, we miss completely what God desires from us, and are all worried about the little stuff. God has called us to do Justice and show mercy, and we completely ignore those parts of the faith. We completely miss the weightier matters of our faith, because we are too busy majoring the minors.

Matthew 23:23
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others.”