Movies, novels, and folklore have all influenced what you think about heaven. If you believe in heaven or not, you have some ideas about what it will be like. Every major religion has a view of heaven, but what about Christians? What do they think heaven will be like?
John Eldridge describes in The Journey of Desire, an image I can relate to.
“Nearly every Christian I have spoken with has some idea that eternity is an un-ending church service… We have settled on an image of the never-ending sing –along in the sky,….. And our heart sinks. Forever and ever? That’s it? That’s the good news? And then we sigh and feel guilty that we are not more ‘spiritual.’ We lose heart, and we turn once more to the present to find what life we can.”
Is that true? What will Heaven be like? Where do we go when we die? We all want to know what the destination after this life will be like.
I believe God has placed within all humans an understanding of the eternal. We all have a sense that we will live forever somewhere. But what specifically happens after death? Where do we go?
Jesus provides illumination in his words of comfort to his disciples before his death.
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?
In the movie Pay It Forward a fictional social studies teacher gives an assignment to his junior high class to think of an idea to change the world for the better. Then put it in action.
One student passionately contrives a plan of paying forward good deeds for 3 other people. Choose the people do the good deeds. The story unfolds his actions which not only affects the life of his struggling single mother, but also starts a wave of human kindness that grows into a national movement to change the world.
A feel good movie that stirs in everyone who watches it the good intentions to put the concept into practice. It’s exciting to think that a small act on our part can have big and far reaching impact. But for many that intention just fizzles – it gets parked along with the other “someday” to-dos. That’s how it used to be for me. But I’ve learned something.
When you watch a movie or read a book it summons a response from you. Some you either love, hate or are unaffected by. You’re engaged by the characters and themes or disenchanted with who they are and the lives they live. What if your life was unveiled as a “story”?
Did you know the most impactful and memorable are based on true-life stories? As Joseph Campbell mentions in The Hero With a Thousand Faces it’s human nature to relate to story.
Up until this year my life story was concealed, shared only with those who lived it alongside me. Most of us share safe “bullet points” – basically demographic information that keeps us in a safe zone because we fail to understand the impact of our own story or know how to live a better story. If you think that you are watching a badly lived life unfold before you watch this 2-minute video called A Better Story.
Learning to live and tell a better story are skills we can learn.
Doing the right thing, for the right reason and at the right time is the sweet spot of success. Sometimes being stretched by too many tasks in life others are making the choices for me and I bet it’s the same for you. We often confuse being busy with being productive with little Margin. Accepting every opportunity, squeeze in one more commitment, one more phone call, one more email. We operate on the principle of scarcity rather than abundance and are tempted to take everything on all at once! Change your thinking and it will change your life.
In ancient times, Moses father in law Jethro was the first life coach and business consultant. Watching Moses exhausting himself judging all the Israelites, he suggested the appointment of others to handle the simpler cases and freeing Moses to judge the complex ones.
Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.
Sit with a toddler for more than a few minutes and you will discover a repeated question – “Why?” Curiosity, persistence and observation are a toddler’s key strengths. Then we “grow up” and stop asking “why” and focus on “what”. Most of us get drawn into the motions of life without thinking or inspiration. Reactive and missing a framework for understanding THE Story of life we don’t see how life matters or WHY? Where do you turn for inspiration, meaning and purpose?
For me, God provides illumination. The purpose of my life as a believer in Christ is to obey Jesus when He said,
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel.”
Can you imagine what your life would be like if you didn’t imagine? Seriously, complicated or simple our lives can be influenced by what we imagine. Strategically we call this vision. Our vision, passion and purpose are of utmost importance. Most people’s biggest deathbed regrets could have been avoided if they’d thought about vision, passion and purpose.
But what if you are doing your best? Isn’t that good enough? NO! This isn’t about effort or intentions, it’s about your vision, purpose and passions coming together to guide your efforts.
Everyone ends up somewhere. Few people end up somewhere on purpose. Many people spend their days and even lead organizations with only a sense of plodding along and not working with vision, passion and purpose. Are you ready for a change?
God through King Solomon, the wisest and richest man who ever lived provides us with truth.
Where there is no vision the people perish
Proverbs 29:18 KJV
It’s time to get personal and share with you some of my journey to redirecting my own story. Wondering about how to make a difference? Want to redirect your journey?
In Finding Your Purpose, by Regi Campbell, an eBook on his blog Radical Mentoring there is a simple analogy; “if your life is a dollar bill, what are you spending it on?’ The average person meets over 10,000 people during their lifetime. That’s 10,000 opportunities! It’s often small things that are done that accumulate to a big difference. Don’t overlook the little things!
Young or old, we all wonder if our life is going to make a difference? We all want to find purpose in life and make our lives count for something. But how do we find out where to invest our time and our money? It’s not enough for us to do our best. We need to figure out God’s plan for our lives and THEN do our best. But where do you turn to for insight?
God through the apostle Paul provides illumination
We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.
Wondering and wandering, I’ve done both. Why am I here? What am I here for? Where am I going? Often feeling spiritually empty, I questioned my meaning and purpose in life.
Nobel laureate economist Robert William Fogel says, “Spiritual inequality is now as great a problem as material inequality, perhaps even greater.”
Spiritual emptiness is a universal chronic disease. King Solomon, the wisest and richest man who ever lived, warned us over 3,000 years ago in the book of Ecclesiastes about the futility of life “under the sun”. However, he also told us that God has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart and our existence is beyond living “under the sun”.
Then in concluding the whole matter of life, Solomon said,
“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter; Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
You can listen to a full message on meaning and purpose by Andy Stanley called Under The Sun.
Regrets, we all have them. Can you think of someone you wish you hadn’t met? An emotion you wish you’d have controlled? A job you would rather not have taken? A piece of cake, you should have left on the buffet table? Really, regrets are all around us. Some with bigger consequences than others.
Just so you don’t feel alone in any of your regrets, here are some statistics.
Personal fitness: 36% are obese, 33% overweight
Personal finance: 76% are living paycheck to paycheck
Personal relationships: 50% of all marriages end in divorce
The trouble is we only know how big some decisions are in the rearview mirror. In the moment we lack experience, focus, or discernment to really understand the consequences of our decisions. This lack of understanding leads to regrets.
Habits, discipline and results all begin with motivation. It’s widely accepted as the key ingredient for both positive and negative outcomes. Think about an elite athlete or a terrorist, they each have motivation. One for good the other for evil! How to motivate people is often the deciding factor for your success. As a parent, teacher, manager or politician you need to know how to motivate others, otherwise you’ll never experience success. Theories on human behavior and what motivation really is and how it works are unfolding based on new research and science.
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink answers the motivation question!
“When it comes to motivation, there’s a gap between what science knows and what business does. Our current business operating system–which is built around external, carrot-and-stick motivators–doesn’t work and often does harm. We need an upgrade. And the science shows the way. This new approach has three essential elements: