Tag Archives: Heaven

The Shack

You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you – Frederick Buechner, Telling the Truth – page 209

An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of his children.  He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one he gives all of himself as fully as if there were no others – A.W. Tozer (page 218)

Earth has no sorry that heaven cannot heal – author unknown (page 231)

She lives where there is no impatience.  She does not mind waiting. (page 235)

Faith never knows where it is being led.  But it knows and loves the one who does the leading. – Oswald Chambers, page 239

Earth’s crammed with heaven

And every common bush afire with God

But only he who sees takes off his shoes

The rest sit around it and pluck blackberries – Elizabeth Berrett Browning

On perceiving heaven

Jesus lived and spoke as if the whole world was a thin place for him, with endless dimensions of the divine infinitesimally close, with every moment and every location simply another experience of the divine reality that is all around us, through us, under and above us all the time.

It’s as if we’re currently trying to play the piano while wearing oven mitts.

Right now we’re trying to embrace our lover, but we’re wearing a hazmat suit.

We’re trying to have a detailed conversation about complex emotions, but we’re underwater.

We’re trying to taste the thirty-two different spices in the curry, but our mouth is filled with gravel. (page 61)

The Celtic Heart

Go on your way

Key Words Travel Discipleship Evil Devil
Source The Celtic Heart
Author Robson, Pat
Page 104
Quote From St. Anthony

“Go on your way trusting in God and making the demons look silly.”

Heaven is big and small

Key Words Heaven
Source The Celtic Heart
Author Robson, Pat
Page 85
Quote From the Celtic Psalter, attributed to Oengus the Caldee, on heaven:

“It is huge, ten times the size of earth, so that every creature ever born can find a place.

It is small, no bigger than a village, where all are friends, and none is a stranger.”

The World To Come

That’s an extraordinary complex, interconnected, and diverse reality, a reality in which individual identities aren’t lost or repressed, but embraced and celebrated.  An expansive unity that goes beyond and yet fully embraces staggering levels of diversity.


A racist would be miserable in the world to come.

Tortured For Christ – Part 1


The 14 year old son who would not let his father confess, would not die a traitor – page 33


Saying to the communists “have you no pity” – they quoted Lenin saying that you have to break eggs to make an omelette – this is pure materialism – page 34


A priest who was forced to consecrate human excrement and give them as urine; when asked why he participated, replied “don’t judge me please, I have suffered more than Christ” – page 35


The pastor who used to take beatings instead of other prisoners – page 36


The bride taken on her wedding day, saying “I thank him that I am worthy to suffer for him.”” – page 36


Making the deal, that if we preach, you beat us – page 39


“I have seen beautiful things” – (how lovely on the mountains, Isaiah 52) – page 40


The Communist Reck who would say “I am God”; later he realised his true calling – page 40


This has a truth, you have been created to be a god like being – page 41


Tithing bread in prison – page 41


How his son, Mihai, became a Christian after seeing the persecution of his mother – page 44


How Mihai witnessed at school for standing up for the Bible – page 45


The Christian daughters who became prostitutes in order to protect their family.  Please do not judge says Wurmbrand – page 46


The Church that was told it could never have 36 members, only 35 – page 47


The value of Bibles cannot be understood by “an American or an English Christian who ‘swims’ in Bibles.” – page 48


Bringing the joys of Christ to communists who are so empty spiritually – page 50


The way that the angel meets Joshua and says “Nay” – these are not human responses; I am seated in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2) – page 50 (Joshua 5)


In solitary confinement, the Lord’s prayer was too much for us, we used to pray “Jesus, I love thee” – Romans 8, groans that words cannot express (page 53)


The minister who was beaten, and as some cursed the communists, he would say “Please don’t curse them” – page 53


Only love can change the communists – love which differs from the compliance exercised by many Christian leaders (page 55)


Need for strategic view in Missionary work, and to aim for the leaders – page 57


Wars can only be won by offensive strategy and strategy in mission – page 58


Why so many Christians had nicknames, and why people use secret signals – page 58


“A man really believes not what he recites in his cree, but only the things which he is ready to die for” – page 59


What encourages us to preach the Gospel in communist countries is that there those who become Christians are full of love and zeal.  I have never met one single lukewarm Russian Christian.  – page 65


God is “the Truth”.  The Bibles the “truth about the Truth.”  Theology is the “truth about the truth about the Truth”.  Fundamentalism is the “truth about the truth about the truth about the Truth”.  – page 66


Some tell me to “Preach the pure Gospel!”  This reminds me that the communist secret police also told me to preach Christ, but not to mention communism.  Is it really so, that those who are for what is called “a pure Gospel” are inspired by the same spirit as those of the communist secret police? (page 71-72)


My suffering consists first of all in the longing after the unspeakable beauties of the Underground Church, the church which fulfils the old Latin saying Nudis nudum Christi sequi (naked, follow the naked Christ). (page 73)


The suffering Church are like those who receive only cabbage with unmentionable filth when they ask for bread, yet continue to praise God (page 73)


“I suffer in the West more than I suffered in a communist jail, because now I see with my own eyes the western civilisation dying.” – page 73


On the defence of the individual and those who complain that Christ is not an intellectual – page 79-80


Ordained next to the tomb of a martyred bishop because the communist bishop would not ordain – page 81


In Russia no-one remembers the arguments for or against infant baptism or millennial controversies – page 83 (and more on arguments with the communists)


The professor being asked to drink the water he said he had turned into wine.  “This is the whole difference between you and Jesus.  He, with His wine, has given us joy for two thousand years, whereas you poison us with your wine.” – page 89


Elsewhere there is talk of Communist tracts which attacked the scriptures in doing so gave the Christians access to the Christians (do not know page)


Constantly the argument is that man is more than matter, that people are spiritual beings (page 90)


It is only when a train goes over a bridge that it proves its great strength (page 90)


There is something positive in the enormous amount of drunkenness in communist countries, it is about people seeking something beyond the material – page 91


Meeting a Russian captain who was getting drunk, sharing Christ and it turning out to be a former Orthodox priest who now regretted all that he had done for the communists – page 91


The soldier who turned up at a Church and held the gun to a ministers’ head.  When the minister refused to change the Russian said “It is true” and turned to Christ (page 93)


The Russian soldiers who said that those who did not abandon the faith would be shot at once, and when they were left with those who stayed, were delighted to share fellowship with true believers.  “We too are Christians, but we wished to have fellowship only with those who consider the truth worth dying for.” (page 93-94)


The parts of the communist Church – the underground pastors and leaders, the laypeople, the official clergy who have a parallel life running the underground Church – page 96-98


The remarkable street demonstrations of Churches in communist countries (page 101)

Celtic Heart

Go on your way

Key Words Travel Discipleship Evil Devil
Source The Celtic Heart
Author Robson, Pat
Page 104
Quote From St. Anthony

“Go on your way trusting in God and making the demons look silly.”

Heaven is big and small

Key Words Heaven
Source The Celtic Heart
Author Robson, Pat
Page 85
Quote From the Celtic Psalter, attributed to Oengus the Caldee, on heaven:

“It is huge, ten times the size of earth, so that every creature ever born can find a place.

It is small, no bigger than a village, where all are friends, and none is a stranger.”


In Heaven

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp–
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alcoholics and the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice.

Bob, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, ‘What’s the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How’d all these sinners get up here?
God must’ve made a mistake.

‘And why is everyone so quiet,
So somber – give me a clue.’
‘Hush, child,’ He said,
‘they’re all in shock.
No one thought they’d be seeing you.’


Remember…Just going to church doesn’t make you a
Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.

Every saint has a PAST…
Every sinner has a FUTURE!
Now it’s your turn… Share this poem.



Look at the history of humanity and think what time on the 24 hour clock did humans appear – 11.59, 59.3 seconds (NG – remember the sequence at the start of the “Age of Stupid”)


Eternity – we have to have meaning to live.  It is like spiritual oxygen.  Meaning can only be determined from the larger context – e.g. with a word – “date”, what is the context.  I don’t want to date you, I just want to be friends.  Gary Moon was very disappointed to discover her last name was a verb and not a noun.  Every life is an unfinished sentence.


How does the gospel change us?  How does it give us a chance to get in on eternity.  Indebted to a message by Rob Bell and teaching by Tim Keller.


Augustine was once asked “what was God doing before he created the earth?”  He answered “He was creating hell for people who ask questions like that.”


God was enjoying fellowship with God’s self.


Three gifts that God gives in Genesis:

  1. Relationship with himself – he keeps and guards the garden – these are priest words.  Adam was a priest.  And they walk with each other in the garden.
  2. Intimacy with other human beings.  There was no hiding, there were no secrets.  To know and be known without reservation
  3. Work for God to do.  God had not run out of ideas.  Like giving Adam the animals to name.  Nice routine on the naming of animals from Rob Bell.  Dominion, art, husbandry – spiritually humans are fully alive.


To eat from the tree of life was to live life with God.  God compares himself to a tree in Hosea.


Go to Revelation which is a story of endings and yet also newness – and the tree is one of life, and for the healing of the nations.


In Genesis the start is a garden.  In Revelation it is a city.  This was a city that Adam was meant to have built (Keller).  You and me could not build this city, but the second Adam, Jesus, was able to do this.  This is spiritual intimacy restored.  We will see the face of God.  Every culture will bring its riches, redeemed, to place at the feet of God for the flourishing of the new earth.  Creation groans in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.


This is the aim of the Church – relationship with God, relationship with each other, and good work.  We have a story.  We all live between the trees. (From the Rob Bell Nooma trees).  Compared to eternity, this is the pop of a flashbulb.


We have to look beyond the trees to see humanity’s true meaning, or we will live in illusion or despair.  It will change everything.  God is not damaged, limited, hurt by time.  God is not confined to life between the trees.  This is one of the most important attributes for us to think about – God is eternal.  God is the alpha and the omega.  In Psalm 90, great reflection on time.


God’s experience must be nothing like ours.


An economist comes to God, “is it true that a million years is like a day to you?  Is it true that a billions years is like a minute to you?  Is a million dollars to you like a penny?”  yes says God, “I’ll go and get one, just stay there a minute.”


God’s time frame is so much not like ours.  To have a relationship with God we are going to have to adjust our time frames to each other.  Which one is it going to be.  Because God does not run around saying “I am so pressed for time.”


We misuse our language of time.


We say

“The service in that restaurant was so bad, we had to wait forever”

“That sermon went on for an eternity”

God you have no idea what it is to wait for all this time, and God says “Actually I do.”


God who knows exactly what time is like, it is you who have no idea what eternity is like.


Implication #2

If God lives between the trees, then when will eternity begin.  Actually eternity is already in session.  God is not saying “I am waiting until eternity, so that I don’t have to work so hard.”


That means that you do not have to wait to enter eternal life.  It is not waiting for the end of life between the trees.


Eternal life only gets defined one time, a very different definition, John 17 – this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God.  Eternal kind of life is to know not only about God, but to eat from the tree of life.  Life between the trees matters because there is life beyond the trees.


My job is not to get God to conform to my time frame, the challenge is to get my life to conform to the reality of eternity.  Many of us live as virtual, agnostic materialists, because so much of our life pressures not to think deeply about time between the trees.


Psalmist – teach us to number our days aright.  Maybe from the perspective of eternity is not so slow at all.


Maybe God is watching these creatures who have all eternity to do things, that they live with a 1,000 things to do that they can never get done.  And God looks at these people, and some times God just wants to yell at them “be still.”


Maybe it’s life between the trees that’s abnormal.  At some point, every one of us has preferred sin to God.  We all live with this separation between God and ourselves.  There is something wrong here.


Everyone one of us at some point someone has preferred sin to God,

And we are not the people we are meant to be

And there is something wrong.


Sin messes up the relationship between the man and the woman


An alternate version of the Genesis story “God says to the man, Adam I want to create a partner for you, she will love you, always admire you, she will love sports… what’s that going to cost me… that will cost you an arm and a leg and an ear… what would you give me for a rib.”


Broken in marriages, in families and work, and we culture

And we have gotten used to that kind of life.


Looks at an object in his home, that was a tree that was lovely.

Think about the way that we get used to our inadequacy.


When we are connected to God, we are like trees by a river,

And every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut off and thrown into the fire.

On our own we stand condemned, we are cut off, destined to die our little deaths between the trees


So God in Jesus invaded life in between the trees

And this seems strange

But this is because we have got used to this tiny little moment in eternity

I want to get the human race from this tree, to this tree

And so there came into the story one more tree


Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law

Cursed is everyone who is hung by a tree.


So the gospel story becomes the story of three trees

One at the beginning, one at the end and one in the middle

Sin was defeated at this tree by the second Adam

In Jesus the cross has become the tree of life


What was intended by human beings to be the tree of death has become the tree of life


He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live to righteousness

By his wounds you have been healed

This is eternal, this is cosmic, and we gather to remember above all other things

These few moments, this pop of a flash bulb.


Look at sports celebrations, what do you think it was like in heaven when Jesus was raised from the dead.


Jesus was raised from the dead, and God the father jumping round like a 12 year old boy

The angels emerge from the dugout in heaven


This is the good news

You really have nothing to worry about now that this has been sorted

This is not a major major deal

We don’t wave our hands


Since Jesus really was raised from the tomb

Since he really did overcome the curse (brillian section here at 31:20 onwards)

Since he gave us a promise to electrify us

He will renew all of creation that you love

Since this cosmic victory will last not just until spring training but until eternity


This is the story of your life, this is the meaning of your life

Not because everything hinges on when did you win and when did you lose

Because he already won


Now here is the question, have you responded to the gospel


Gospel, God has set eternity in the hearts of men, And you know this is true.


It is not in your power to destroy your life, you face an eternal future

With God or without God,

And you can enter into the eternal kind of life right now

But you have to come to the tree


This is the place of divine exchange

Where human beings lay down at the seat of the cross, they lay them down here

All sin and brokenness is laid down here

And I will receive life and forgiveness

As a gift of grace


And it becomes the place of divine exchange (fuller version of this about 34 mins)

I exchange my sin for your forgiveness

I exchange my curse for your blessing

I exchange my brokenness for your wholeness

At the cross of Christ’s death I receive my life

At the cross where he was rejected I receive my acceptance


We don’t want anyone to be fuzzy about this, about where you are in your story.

Beyond Miracles

La Sagrada Familia

Page 301

Gaudi had begun planning La Sagrada Familia in the 1890s, and was still working on it the day he died, some 40 years laterrr.  Other architects have since continued to apply and interpret his designs, tbu the bsasilica will not be finised until 2026, at the earliest.  Gaudi’s vast project reminds me that we are called to pour our lives into something bigger than ourselves.  “My client”, joked Gaudi on one occasion, “is not in a hurry.”

The Bowls Of Prayers

Page 302

It’s awesome to imagine that our unasnsered prayers – all the frustrations, the tears,k the dashed hopes – are being stored up by God in those golden bowls and my, eventually, become our most powerful contribution to the world.  Let me say it again: opur unanswered prayer mey be the real ministry of our lives.  As Time Chest writes in The Message of Prayer:

Prayers we think of as directed at the present are in fact being stored up to be answered on the final day.  When we pray for those suffering ill health we are expressing our longing for the day when there will be no more sickness.  When we pray for God to end wars and oppression we are expressing our longing for the day when the kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdom of our God and of his Christ (Revelation 11).  When we pray for mercy on those suffering natural disasters we are expressing our longing for the day when creation itself will be remade (Revelation 21).  The prayers we think have gone unanswered may in fact be stored up in the bowls of incense held by the twenty four elders, waiting for a greater fulfilment than ever we anticipated… Many of your prayers are lodged there and one day they will determine the ultimate course of history. (page 302)

Lifelong Pilgrimage

Page 306

And so I began a solemn lifelong pilgrimage that some might deem a little morose.  My aim?  To find a thrilling vision for the eternity we will spend with Jesus.


Page 307

On passages that talk about our inheritance, quoting N.T. Wright

The point of such passages as in 1 Peter 1:4, 2 Corinthians 5:1, Philippians 3:20 and so forth is not that one must ‘go to heaven’ as in much popular imagination in order to enjoy the inheritance there.  It is rather that heaven is the place where God stores up his plans and purposes for the future.  If I tell a friend that there is beer in the fridge, that doesn’t mean he has to get into the fridge in order to enjoy the beer.

We Miss You

Words found on a wreath of flowers near the site of a car crash. Page 311

A thousand words can’t bring you back

We know because we’ve tried

Neither will a thousand tears

We know because we’ve cried.

You left behind broken hearts

And happy memories too,

But we never wanted memories

We only wanted you.

RIP Mate