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The Rushmore Report – Leading Pastor Identifies Three Misconceptions About Heaven

Craig Groeschel, pastor of Life Church, has identified three misconceptions about heaven. Furthermore, he highlighted why it’s important to have a proper understanding of the afterlife. In a sermon titled “The Glory of Heaven,” Groeschel made news with a riveting idea – we should imagine what life will be like one minute after we die. The three misconceptions about heaven follow.

1. Heaven will be boring.

One reason many think of heaven as boring, said the pastor, is that the devil is a liar and wants people to believe that God is a “killjoy” who robs us of everything fun.

“I hope you’ll understand – heaven will be the opposite of boredom. It is the absence of everything evil, and it is the presence of God. When you think about it, everything that you enjoy on earth is the result of a gift from the God of heaven.”

2. This world – not heaven – is our home.

Groeschel encouraged his congregation to refrain from getting upset about the small, mundane things, and rather to live for what matters most. “I want to live on earth in a way that makes a difference in eternity,” he said. “What matters is how I love. What matters is what I give. What matters is who I serve. What matters is what I say that gives life – the things that we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”

3. Heaven is a “default destination” for most people.

The misunderstanding is that most will go to heaven – if they are relatively good. “Don’t forget what Jesus said,” Groeschel warned. “Jesus said, ‘Broad is the road and wide is the path that leads to destruction and many people are on it. Narrow is the road and small is the gate that leads to life, and few people find it.'”

The mega-church pastor continued, “The truth is, good people don’t go to heaven when they die. Forgiven people go to heaven when they die.”

Groeschel concluded his message by emphasizing that those who truly understand the holiness of God are “acutely aware of the sinfulness of mankind” and that all people fall short of God’s standards. “But by the grace of God, anyone who calls on the name that is above every name in the name of Jesus, that person will be saved.”

He then said he decided to preach on the afterlife to remind those who are in Christ that they don’t need to fear death, and to create a “spiritual urgency” – to allow the reality of heaven to impact how we live today.

This was the third message in Groeschel’s message series, “One Minute After You Die.”

Heaven

A few weeks ago, I was blessed to attend First Baptist Church in Dallas with my wife and two of 0ur dearest friends. Pastor Robert Jeffress brought an amazing message on heaven. He taught from Daniel 12:2 – “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these believers to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.”

Dr. Jeffress made four great points about heaven.

1. There is the promise of a resurrected body.

God’s original design is that of spirit and flesh (Genesis 2:7). His future plan includes two resurrections, one of the dead and one for the living.

2. There is the possibility of a resurrection body.

“How are the dead raised? And what kind of body do they have?” (1 Corinthians 15:35). Paul goes on to answer his own question. We have the opportunity of a new body.

3. There is a prototype of the resurrected body.

The Scriptures say, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that, when he appears, we shall be like him, because we will see him just as he is” (1 John 3:2). Jesus is the picture of our resurrected body.

4. We see the particulars of the resurrected body.

Our bodies will be physical (1 Corinthians 15:39-44). Our bodies will be perfect (Revelation 21:4). And our bodies will  be personal (Luke 24:39). Heaven is real, and our heavenly bodies will be real, as well.

Not Home Yet

A missionary couple came home aboard a ship after many years of faithful service in Africa. It so happened that there was a very important diplomat also on the same ship who got special treatment and special attention. When the ship arrived, this couple stood back and watched from the deck as the band played and the people had gathered and there was great applause. As the diplomat walked down the gangplank and was whisked off in a limousine to the sound of applause, this dear saint put his arm around his wife and he walked off with her into the streets of New York.

“Honey,” he said, “it just doesn’t seem right after all of these years that we would have this kind of treatment when we came home, and here this fellow gets that kind of special treatment.”

Then she put her arms around her husband and said to him, “But honey, we’re not home yet.”

Is life tough for your sometimes? Is your road hard to travel? Do others seem to have the gain while you get the pain? Don’t ever forget, you aren’t home yet. There is a celebration waiting. But until your ship comes in, keep trusting. The best is yet to come.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

Passing the Exam

An attractive young college student was doing well in all her classes except Chemistry. She found that to be the most difficult class she had ever had. But she just had to pass, or she would lose her scholarship. So the student made an appointment to see her professor in his office.

“What can I do for you?” he asked her.

“I just have to pass your class,” she said. “But I am really having a hard time. I will do anything, if you will pass me.”

“Anything?” asked the professor. “You are willing to do anything to pass my class?”

“Oh, yes,” she replied. “Use your imagination. I am willing to do anything you want, one time, if you will give me a passing grade.”

Then, as she began to undress, the professor stopped her.

“Are you sure you mean this? You are willing to do anything one time, in order to pass my class?” he asked.

“Yes, I said that. Now just tell me what you want me to do.”

To that, the professor responded with one word: “Study!”

The Bible says we will face final exams one day. It is called the Great White Throne Judgment. But if you want to pass the exam then, you need to prepare now.

“Study to show yourself approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Just One Road

It happened in the big city of Kingman, Arizona. A dude rancher filed a notice of appeal with federal authorities to stop the use of a bypass road to the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Nigel Turner is the owner of the Grand Canyon Ranch Resort, which supplies his total income and livelihood. His problem with the bypass road was that it was an unnecessary route into the Skywalk area because two other routes already exist.

Here’s the real issue. Nigel wants all tourists to the Grand Canyon to pass by his resort. This means more business for him. He is already upset that two routes exist; he can’t stand the thought of three.

Most places have multiple routes. When my wife and I drive somewhere, her smart phone tells this dumb driver about three possible routes, whether we want three possible routes or not. But that comes in handy in times of heavy traffic.

But there is one place that only has one route. That place is heaven. Jesus said, “I am the way.” There is one way in and no way out.

No Place Like Home

Dignitaries lined the street when the funeral procession passed. Thousands waited just to catch a glimpse of the coffin. In fact, the people of the United States and all parts of the world loved and revered the deceased man so much that his remains were disinterred in Tripoli and brought to the United States for a magnificent funeral.

His name was John Howard Payne. You probably haven’t heard of him. But his well-loved poet was best known for composing one simple verse:

“‘Mid pleasures and places, though oft I may roam, Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.”

There’s no place like home. And the good news for the believer is that he isn’t home yet. This world is full of struggles, illness, and pain. But remember, we aren’t home yet.

So the next time you complain about life’s problems, remember that it gets better. God said, “I know the plans I have for you – plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). And the greatest hope of all is . . . there’s no place like home.

The Rushmore Report – At Billy Graham’s Funeral, Daughter Anne Graham Lotz Calls Church to ‘Wake Up’

Under a large white tent evoking her father’s “Canvas Cathedral” revival nearly seven decades ago, Anne Graham Lotz urged the Church, the world, and herself to “wake up!” as she joined her siblings and some 2,000 others at the funeral of her iconic evangelist father, Billy Graham, in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Friday.

“I believe, from heaven’s perspective, that my father’s death is as significant as his life. And his life was very significant. But I think when he died, that was something very strategic from heaven’s point of view,” Lotz said about her father’s passing.

The world-renowned evangelist is credited with inspiring more than three million people to commit their lives to Christ in a ministry that spanned 185 of the world’s 195 countries, according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Like a modern-day Moses, Lotz said her father brought liberation to people through the Gospel and she sincerely believes her father’s death on February 21 at the age of 99 “is a shot across the bow from heaven.”

“My father also is a great liberator. He brought millions of people out of bondage to sin and it gets us to the edge of heaven, edge of the Promised Land, and then God has called him home. And could it be that God is going to bring Joshua to lead us into the Promised Land to lead us to heaven?” Lotz mused.

“And do you know what the New Testament name is for Joshua? It’s Jesus. And I believe this is a shot across the bow from heaven. And I believe God is saying, ‘Wake up Church! Wake up world! Wake up Anne! Jesus is coming. Jesus is coming,” she said, pledging to preach God’s Word for the rest of her life.

Donald J. Wilton, of First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina, who was Graham’s longtime pastor, recalled Graham’s deep belief in the Bible he loved and how “it governed how he lived, and it governed how he died.”

Graham’s son, the Rev. Franklin Graham, who serves as president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said in the main address that his father believed every word of the Bible even though he never understood all of it.

He praised his father for the love he had for his late mother and noted that “the Billy Graham that the world saw on television, the Billy Graham that the world saw in the big stadium was the same Billy Graham that we saw at home. There weren’t two Billy Grahams.”

About the Author

Leonardo Blair writes for The Christian Post.

How to Get to Heaven

A teacher asked the children in her Sunday School class, “If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church, would I get to heaven?”

“No!” the children all screamed.

“If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would I get into heaven?”

Again, the answer was “No!”

“Well,” she continued, then how can I get into heaven?”

In the back of the room, a five-year-old boy shouted out, “You gotta be dead!”

Indeed, that is a requirement for getting into heaven. You have to be dead. But that’s only half the answer. You must be dead to get into heaven, but first, you have to be alive. And that happens through faith in Christ.

The Bible says it is appointed to man to die – and then comes the judgement. We will all meet the “you gotta be dead” requirement, eventually. The real question is, are you yet alive?

The Rushmore Report: Jesse Jackson – ‘Trump Not Going to Heaven’

Imagine that a white conservative religious leader had said that President Obama wasn’t going to heaven. Imagine that, say, Franklin Graham or Jerry Falwell, Jr. said Obama “would not qualify to get into Jesus’ kingdom.” Well, that’s exactly what Rev. Jesse Jackson just said about President Trump. That deafening silence you hear is the response of the mainstream media.

The civil rights activist said this week that the Electoral College “must come down,” and then warned that President Trump may have trouble making it into heaven because of his views on immigrants.

Jackson said that Trump demands people “speak English, be qualified and have a job skill,” The Daily Wire reported.

“Jesus would not qualify to come into Trump’s country, and Trump wouldn’t qualify to get into Jesus’ kingdom,” Jackson said, going on to quote the Book of Matthew’s passage about helping the underprivileged.

Jackson also called for reminders of the Confederacy to be removed from public view, adding that “the statues must come down.”

It’s not clear why these so incredibly offensive statues never registered a complaint from Rev. Jackson over the past 60 years of his public life.

We live in amazing times. A leading religious leader can say the sitting president of the United States isn’t going to heaven, and no one says a thing. Had a conservative, evangelical leader said the same thing about President Obama, they would be criticized from within their own ranks, not to mention the outrage we would hear from every late night comedian and pundit on every television network.

But it is okay for a black liberal religious leader to do this. And no hate speech is off limits, so long as Mr. Trump (or his family) is the target.

The most prominent civil rights leader and black religious leader of the past 50 years just said, essentially, the president of the United States is not going to heaven. And it’s not even reported by the mainstream media.

This is not the American I grew up in.

The Rushmore Report: Michael Strahan on Who Will Be in Heaven

When sports stars and famous actors speak out on politics and religion, people notice. That’s why mega-star Michael Strahan made news with his recent declaration, on ABC’s morning show, on who will be in heaven. The NFL hall-of-famer didn’t stop there. He offered a new definition of the church. I like Michael Strahan. But what he said – if he really believes it – is scary.

1. Multiple roads to heaven

First, let’s consider what the TV star said about heaven. Strahan said, “There are so many different religions,” but “they are all the same,” offering “many ways to the same heaven.” He continued, “There’re so many different religions that they all end up boiling down to the same thing, but at some point in my heart of hearts, I think we’ll all end up in heaven.”

Theologians call this universalism. The idea goes like this. God is an all-loving being who will, at the end of the day, welcome into heaven all who have ever been born, because his grace is the ultimate response to our sin.

If Strahan is right, Jesus is a liar. He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). If all roads lead to heaven, Jesus lied by saying he was the only way.

If Strahan is right, God is the worst father who ever lived. He sent his Son on a death march to the unnecessary cross – if Strahan is right. Since all roads lead to heaven, why let Jesus die as though this was the only way?

But Strahan is not right. There is one way to God and that way is through his Son, Jesus Christ.

2. New definition of church

When asked on air if he goes to church, Strahan said, “On occasion . . . I mean, I’m pretty much working six days a week and then football on Sunday.” Then he excused, “I’m always at church because sometimes church can be in a state of mind.”

The Greek word for that is bologna. Each believer makes up a part of the church. We, the church, are Christ’s bride and some day he will return for his church. At that same time, some will be left behind and not be in heaven. The church is not a “state of mind,” but rather a body of blood-bought, faith-filled, regenerated and Spirit-sealed believers in Jesus Christ – the only way to heaven.

I like Michael Strahan. He was a great football player. He is a wonderful entertainer. Of course, when it comes to getting to heaven and the subject of “church,” he has a right to his opinion. And I don’t doubt his sincerity.

But on the most important issues man will ever face – issues of eternal life – Michael Strahan is sincerely wrong.