Will Heaven be… Boring?

What does heaven look like?

I recently asked that question to a group of young children. Here is how they responded.

“It’s in the sky.”

“There are lots of clouds and it’s really, really bright.”

“It’s not the red place (hell).”

“There’s a big castle in the middle of it.”

“There are golden steps all over.”

When you think of heaven, do any of these images come to mind? Ask anyone – Christian or not – and it’s likely they’ll agree with this list.

Now. Have you ever thought to yourself something like this: “I know I’m supposed to want to go to heaven, but I think I’ll really miss some of this earth’s beauty. I just love trees and mountain peaks. I know my life isn’t perfect here, but there are parts I truly do enjoy. Will I really enjoy heaven? I mean, what will I be doing up there… for eternity?”

If you’ve ever had a thought like this, you’re not alone. The great news is, heaven will not be boring. And it won’t be pastel blue and bland, either. The Bible gives us some really amazing clues about what heaven will be like.

First, we know that heaven will be paradise. When Jesus spoke to the thief on the cross, he called it just that (Luke 23:43)! In the book of Genesis, God’s word tells us that, before humankind fell into sin, life was very good. Adam and Eve lived in a paradise. The garden of Eden gives us a glimpse of what heaven may be like. Picture fresh spring waters, newly blooming fruit trees, fantastically unique animals, and landscapes like you’ve never scene. If Eden is a taste of what heaven looks like, then heaven will be complex, vibrant, and beautiful.

Second, we can bet that we won’t be bored. Adam and Eve had tasks to do. They weren’t bored. They took care of the garden, and nurtured it. God even had Adam name all of the animals (that would have been a very creative and stimulating work day)!

Revelation 7:15 says that people in heaven “are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple.” When we are made new and brought to our perfect home, we will be worshiping and serving God according to our callings.

In his book “What Happens When You Die” Pastor Michael Newman describes how fulfilling heaven will be.

Heaven is a place of stimulating and creative activity. It is a place where we will find our niche, our calling, and our purpose. It is a place where we will be engaged in what we were created to do. If you’ve ever jumped out of bed in the morning, eager to tackle the tasks that awaited you, you’ve experienced a taste of heaven.

The Bible even talks about food being in heaven. Isaiah 25:6 describes a “feast of rich food” and “the best of meats” and the “finest of wines.” Doesn’t that sound satisfying? In heaven, we will feast like we’ve never feasted before!

All of this rich fullness, vibrant beauty, and peaceful complexity is God’s gift to us, his children. When Jesus defeated sin, death, and the devil, each of us was given the promise of life in this beautiful heaven with Jesus. When we think of how glorious and fulfilling heaven will be, it’s hard to not want to be there.

When we speak to our children about heaven, we can go beyond the “stereotypical” descriptions of light blues and clouds. We can, in confidence, tell them how colorful, spectacular, and satisfying life in heaven will be. Heaven will have the most beautiful trees, the clearest waters, the tastiest food, and the most engaging activities. And best of all, we will all be living together in complete peace and happiness with our God, Jesus.

Boring? Not even close!

 

 

 

 

Testimony of Faith from an Olympic Gold Medalist

Testimonies are fascinating. They are encouraging. They can be down-to-earth or miraculous. Moreover, they are moments of true life that convey the unyielding grace of our Savior. Each Testimony of Faith post will feature God’s grace through the unique experiences of various individuals. 

Beijing, 2008. Gymnastic starlet Shawn Johnson was projected to bring home 4 gold medals. Millions of eyes watched her flip and vault against the best gymnasts in the world. Cheering fans rooted hard for the 4 foot 8 muscular gymnast from Iowa.

She was 16 years old.

That’s a lot of pressure on a teenager – or anyone.

Click here to watch Shawn’s testimony.

 

 

5 Ways to Pray with Kids

When we call on God’s name, he listens. And he is ready to answer. Even when we don’t know what to say next, he already knows how to help. “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:8).

Prayer is a powerful connection that we have with Jesus. We can talk to him – the Lord Almighty – whenever we want. And Jesus loves it when we do! Just as we enjoy catching up with friends, sharing a concern with our spouse, or giving praise to our kids, Jesus likes it when we converse with him, too.

Prayer is powerful. It’s important. It’s a large part of a faith-life. How do we make sure we are sharing the importance of prayer with our children? How can we, as families, make prayer a normal part of daily life?

There is no correct answer. But here are a few ideas.

1). Teach your family a new prayer.

Whether it’s refreshing your children on the Lord’s Prayer, making up your own family prayer, using Martin Luther’s morning or evening prayer (typed below), or using one from a devotional book, repetition is the key. Choose a time each day when your family will be together, and introduce the prayer. Then each day, say it again, helping your family say it along with you. Kids are quick learners. They’ll have it memorized in no time! And very likely, the words of your family prayer will stick with them for a very long time.

2). Pray for your child during some quiet time.

Our kids – even teens – appreciate it when we give them genuine attention. The next time you play a video game (or just watch) with your 3rd grader or ask your teen if you could treat him to some pizza, find some time to spend alone with your child. Ask to pray, just for him or her. It doesn’t have to be long or fancy – just thank Jesus for the gift of your child and ask Him to keep him or her in His care.

3). Use meal time.

Meal time is a great time of the day to thank Jesus for all he gives to us. Have your family say a common meal time prayer together, or go around the table and ask each of your children to thank Jesus for something. Or use this family time to lift up specific concerns or family issues. The sky is the limit!

4). Praise God during good times.

Enjoying a family weekend on the lake, heading to the cabin, taking a vacation, playing at a park, or laughing at your goofy dog are all healthy and happy family moments. Talk to Jesus during these happy times, too! Children will be glad to hear that Jesus likes it when we have fun. Even a simple “Jesus, thank you for our cabin” or “That was a great day at the beach! Thanks, God” can show our children just how important – and easy – it is to include Jesus during the good times, too.

5). Talk to God while in the car.

This might seem especially important before taking a long trip or before heading to a big event, but we can ask Jesus for safe travel wherever we go, and no matter how close or how far it is. Safety for our family is something we all strive for, so we can ask Jesus to keep us safe while en route, too.

These are just a few ways to incorporate prayer into family routines. The most important thing we can do is show our children how to pray, to pray with them, and to pray for them. Since Jesus promises to be with us all the time, we are not bound by limits! We can pray when we want, where we want, and for whatever is on our minds. Jesus listens. He cares. He loves families. And he is pleased when we talk to him.

 

Martin Luther’s Morning Prayer:

I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Martin Luther’s Evening Prayer:

I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day; and I pray You to forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.