Posts Tagged ‘salvation’


One of my Christmas gifts this year was a collection of eight books by C.S. Lewis. So far I have read four. They are amazing. These are not the Narnia books, but rather his philosophical books. I have to admit that while I am enjoying them, they are definitely at the top end of my reading level, and I’m not getting it all. No worries I can always reread them at a later date and even at this point I am learning a lot.

The book I’m reading now is different. This book is the Lewis I really love. The allegorical kind, where Lewis teaches great truths in the guise of stories. The book is called The Great Divorce, and no, it has nothing to do with marriage. It’s about heaven and hell and Salvation. In this allegorical story, Lewis imagines a bus trip from hell to heaven where the passengers are allowed to stay if they want. I know this is nowhere near correct theological but again remember, it’s an allegory. The stories relate to people now alive and their attitudes toward life, faith and the afterlife. One particular account features the protagonist (who seems to represent the author himself) is speaking to his “guide.” He at first is wondering why “the solid people” (the residents of heaven) don’t go down to hell to rescue those who are there. His question then goes to what about the people who never board the bus for heaven, who he calls “poor souls.” His guide, who he calls George MacDonald (a man who was a strong influence on Lewis in real life). This is his response.

Everyone who wishes it does. Never fear. There are only two kinds of people in the end; Those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says “Thy will be done.” All that are in hell choose it. Without that self choice, there would be no hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock, it is opened.

Again this is allegorical language, not necessarily theological and yet there is a lot of truth here. The point is very simple. Salvation is offered to everyone who will believe, and everyone who believes will receive. So many people want to overthink it, or look for the loophole, or try to outsmart the Lord. So many are caught up in their own plans and contrivances and beliefs that are not scriptural. The simple truth of the matter is Jesus is the way the truth and the life. He is the only way. He sets the terms and if we enter, we enter through Him alone.

Lewis is a powerful storyteller, who brings the point home masterfully. Those of us with creative gifts were given those gifts to share the Gospel truth. How would you tell His story?


So right now I am reading the brilliant book Miracles by C.S. Lewis, I came upon two passages that I think really bear repeating. I thought I’d share them here today as a little bonus.

The mention of that nation [Israel] turns our attention to one of those features of the Christian story which is repulsive to the modern mind. To be quite frank, we do not at all like the idea of a “chosen people.” Democrats by birth and education, we should prefer to think that all nations and individuals start level in the search for God, or even that all religions are equally true. It must be admitted at once that Christianity makes no concessions to that point of view. It does not tell of a human search for God at all, but of something done by God, for, to, and about Man. And the way in which it is done is selective, undemocratic, to the highest degree. After the knowledge of God is universally lost or obscured, one man from the whole earth (Abraham) is picked out. He is separated (miserably enough, we may suppose) from his natural surroundings, sent into a strange country, and made the ancestor of a nation who are to carry the knowledge of the true God. Within this nation there is further selection: some die in the desert, some remain behind in Babylon. There is further selection still. The process grows narrower and narrower, sharpens a last into one small bright point like the head of a spear. It is a Jewish girl a her prayers. All humanity (so far as concerns is redemption) has narrowed to that.

A little bit later in that same chapter, Lewis refines his point.

For when we look into the selectiveness which the Christians attribute to God, we find in it none of that “favoritism” which we are afraid of. The “chosen people” are chosen not for their own sake (certainly no for their own honour of pleasure) but for the sake of the unchosen. Abraham is told that “in his seed” (the chosen nation) “all nations shall ve blest.” That nation as been chosen to bear a heavy burden. Their sufferings are great: but as Isaiah recognized, their sufferings heal others. On the finally selected Woman, falls he utmost depth of maternal anguish. Her Son, the incarnate God, is a “Man of Sorrows;” the one man into whom Deity descended, the one Man who can be lawfully adored, is pre-eminent for suffering.

Leave it to Lewis to break down the point of what He calls (and this writer agrees is) God’s greatest miracle; the incarnation. God always knows what He’s doing and He is always working for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Trust Him!


I want to start off by saying, for the umpteenth time, I love what I do. Being a pastor is great, arts ministry is great, and as a whole all of my other creating pursuits are a real blast too. Lately I’ve been creating some new graphics. like this guy…

it’s mainly just for fun and to improve my skills. I enjoy that too. I’m writing a novel, that I really feel is coming together nicely for a first effort. I feel led to this stuff, well maybe not the just for fun art, but everything else. Lately, though I have been wondering, “What am I doing?”

Here’s my struggle, I see so many things going on in our world and it’s hard. I’m especially having a hard time with the things that are happening within the church as I see a great many teachings being perpetrated on the church from within. This is happening largely as people try to mold the Scriptures to fit the culture. That’s not how it works. We don’t change the Scripture, the Scripture is supposed to change us. I see all this stuff happening and I wonder am I doing enough about this stuff. Am I taking enough of a stand? I know I am going out and sharing the Gospel. I know I am building up my congregation, or at least I am putting forth my best efforts, but when it comes to he forces that come against the church and the culture, am I fighting? Am I supposed to be fighting? Is drawing silly pictures a waste of time, or is there a way that it can all come together to speak God’s truth in love to the culture and to the church?

My creative brothers and sisters, we have been entrusted with taking the unchanging message of the Gospel to the world. To find new and exciting ways to communicate that unchanging message is our calling and changing that message is heresy. Let’s be faithful to God’s truth and take that good news to the world. Jesus saves and He is Lord. Our job is to point people to Him. He can and will handle the rest.


About a week ago, I woke up with an idea for a new video clip. It uses a fish to talk about making the right choice. Hope it blesses you. Feel free to share it and spread it around.


While I’m on this subject of rest, (I have about an hour before heading out) there is something to be considered. When one day you walk through the gate of Heaven, remember this. You won’t have entered on your own merit. You won’t be going in because you were in any way deserving. You won’t be there because you earned it. The only way into our forever reward is grace. You get Heaven because you received it as a gift from the one who knows you best and loves you most. Heaven is a gift, not a payment for services rendered.

Why do I share this? I share it because there is a great temptation to try to earn what has been freely given and this can really skew our view of the work we do, not to mention our view of our heavenly Father. Your works aren’t going to be what gets you through the gate, so watch your motivation. When we start to feel deserving, we get into trouble.

Does that mean our works are unimportant? No, not in the least. Our works are acts of gratitude for unmerited favor. They are a way of showing how grateful we are for what God has done for us. They are acts of love and obedience to a God who loves beyond measure.

The only way to heaven in Jesus, period. So do what you do with a grateful heart, to the best of your God-glorifying ability, realizing there is eternal life in paradise for all who believe and when we get there it won’t be because we deserve it.

Heaven is a gift. It is utterly and completely

Unearned.


Today is a great day for two reasons, first it’s my sister Kathy’s Birthday, and secondly it was 32 years ago today that I went on my first date with my wife, Dawn. Dawn has changed my life in so many ways but first and foremost is she introduced me to Jesus and she has walked side by side with me through the many ups and down of this journey. Today is the anniversary of the day it all began.

I praise God for this day, for my sister (she set my wife and I up on our first blind date) for my wife and for the God who loved me enough to reveal Himself to me.

God is good!


I just finished writing the sermon for a funeral service, I’m doing tomorrow. I didn’t know the man, though we did meet once. That’s always a challenge, but it is an honor to have the opportunity to bring a message of hope to hurting people. The idea that came to me is not all that original but it hit me in a way I hadn’t thought of before. It’s the idea of the “dash”—how our whole lives are summed up with a single hyphen, that little line between the dates of our birth and our death. So much summed up in so little, but then I had a thought. This is what I want on my tombstone. (I gave myself the benefit of the doubt and give myself a hundred years. That number is, of course, up to God.)

What really hit me in this Easter season is, because of what Jesus did for us, believers get a second dash… a really long one. Ain’t God good?!?