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Tag Archives: eternity

“Miserable Writers Are You All!” An Essay on Writing

Please forgive the reference to Job’s castigating his friends as “miserable counselors are you all!” (Job 16:2)

Writing books really is overrated. At the ripe old age of 71 I’ve been thinking, what meaningful ministry have I had and do I really have now? I love writing. I blog every day. I’ve written a bunch of books on a lotta different topics. My first book (The Other Side of the Good News) was a defense of the biblical doctrine of hell. Then I got a lot more joy by writing Heaven: Thinking Now about Forever. I wrote a three-month devotional book on Christian beliefs (DocDEVOS).

A publisher in Scotland had me write two doctrine books: DocTALK and DocWALK. I tackled the topic of sin in my book When Temptation Strikes. My latest book is a challenge to Christians to be a friend of sinners like Jesus was (Unlike Jesus: Let’s Stop Unfriending the World).

I’ve self-published several books such as Saved: Rescued From God, By God, and For God. When noted pastor Rob Bell appeared to turn away from the Christian faith, I used John Piper’s famous tweet and wrote Farewell, Rob Bell (an evaluation of Bell’s theology). Whatever Happened to Heresy began as a multi-submission to a Christian journal and then wound up as a short book.

I self-published two books from my students’ work in two of my seminary classes: Thinking about Theology and After This Life . . . What? I presented copies of these two books to my seminary dean and the university’s provost on ironically the day they ended my 20-year teaching career due to the university’s economic downturn!

I’ve also written books for students, such as The Top Ten Mistakes Students Make on Research Papersand How to Avoid Them! I even got so bold as to write a short pamphlet for preachers entitled Ten Specific Steps You Can Take to Make Your Sermons and Preaching Better!

I have tried my hand at writing fiction like John Baldacci or David Grisham (I mixed those names up on purpose for those of you who read fiction). I envy them the money they’ve made and the audience they have. I ventured into fiction with my short book Abandon All Hope. It’s about a man who dies and goes to hell . . .

But I’ve never really had an agent and none of my books has ever taken off.

There’s several reasons for that: one reason may well be that I’m not a good writer. But I think I am a good writer but I don’t have an audience. I don’t have an agent. I don’t have a name. I don’t have a platform that allows me to reach a lot of people.

Could it be that I’ve written stuff that’s not that important? But most of my books have been on the Christian life and on making the doctrines of the Bible understandable. I’ve even had people like J.I. Packer endorse my books! So I’m not sure that’s it.

Maybe another reason is that Christians are lousy readers. I talked with a Christian tennis friend who has read just about everything by John Grisham, David Baldacci, Tom Clancy, and several other fiction writers. “I just don’t read non-fiction,” he said. I asked him if he’s read anything by John Piper and he said, “Who?” I think our churches are failing to encourage our people to read.

Perhaps the question is, do we overvalue writing? I look at my other ministries: teaching online courses to 3rd world church leaders, mentoring a younger believer, editing some really good books on biblical eldership and other topics, praying for Christians that I know are broken and really hurting, seriously becoming a friend of sinners, seeking to do the best in modeling a godly marriage in our 50 years, working hard to influence our seven grandchildren to walk with a whole heart in the Lord.

I think the Evil One makes us believe that we’re not significant as Christian leaders unless we’ve got some best selling books.

But in the final analysis what impact have those fiction-writers had on eternity? Now I read their books because I enjoy reading their fiction, but have they impacted anybody for the kingdom of God?

I’ve had the privilege in my teaching career in Bible college and seminary of reaching hundreds of students, encouraging them to be strong in the basics of the Christian faith, to love the Lord, to love their families, to be willing to do all kinds of ministry.

But I’ve not been a best selling author and . . . that’s OK. I’m thinking of starting a group for authors called Hopeless Writers. What do you think?

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2021 in writing

 

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Time for one more C.S. Lewis Quote: On God’s Will

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2019 in God's will

 

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Living Now in Light of the Future! (A Study in 2 Corinthians 12) (Part 1)

Friends:

On September 23-24 I get to speak to the supporters of Camp Elim in Woodland Park, Colorado!

I’ve been working my way through 2 Corinthians 12 and want to begin a series of posts on this incredible chapter. Here’s the passage I’ll be speaking on:

So the title for my series is “Living Now in Light of the Future!” Paul gets a visit to heaven, but he is not sure whether he actually traveled there or experienced a series of visions.

A few words about our future: The overall context of this section of 2 Corinthians has to do with Paul’s defending his apostleship. He pulls his trump card — a visit to heaven itself! No one can top that credential!

What do we learn about heaven from Paul’s experience? We learn at least two truths: (1) The sounds in heaven will be amazing! They are described as “inexpressible things” (v. 4). In fact, they are so incredible that “no one is permitted to tell” about them. What will we hear in heaven? We don’t know. But we will be blown away by the sounds of the celestial kingdom! (2) Secondly, the sights in heaven will be overwhelming! We learn that Paul received “surpassingly great revelations” (v. 7) as he was “caught up to the third heaven” (v. 2) which he later describes as “caught up to paradise” (v. 4)

The “So what?” for today: Knowing the Lord Jesus should get us excited about eternity! The greatest sounds and sights in this broken world don’t hold a candle to what God has prepared for those who love Him. Thank Him for that today.

 

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2019 in 2 Corinthians 12

 

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Time for a Great Cartoon! (the afterlife)

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 9.26.24 PM
Don’t you love how Watterson brings up the most critical questions of life (and the afterlife) in his characters?  Several important theological points occur to me from this cartoon:

1. At least Calvin is thinking about the afterlife.  How many in our culture give little to no thought about life after death.

2.  As Hobbes looks around, he sees a beautiful creation that is to be enjoyed.

3.  Hobbes seems perfectly content to lie back against the tree and enjoy the present, good world.  He has no thoughts or worries about a next life.

4.  Calvin, who is always behaviorally challenged, worries about future judgment/rewards.  He wants to know for sure if he is going to be rewarded for his behavior, implying that if there is no judgment, he doesn’t need to be good.

How clear the Bible is about the afterlife.  And he has placed that wondering about eternity in the heart of man.  The central question is not, “How good or bad have you or I behaved?”, but “What have we done with Christ?”

Your thoughts?

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2015 in the afterlife

 

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Psalms of My Life (Psalm 90)

Psalm 90

A prayer of Moses the man of God.Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 8.15.09 AM

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
    or you brought forth the whole world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn people back to dust,
    saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
A thousand years in your sight
    are like a day that has just gone by,
    or like a watch in the night.
Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death—
    they are like the new grass of the morning:
In the morning it springs up new,
    but by evening it is dry and withered.

We are consumed by your anger
    and terrified by your indignation.
You have set our iniquities before you,
    our secret sins in the light of your presence.
All our days pass away under your wrath;
    we finish our years with a moan.
10 Our days may come to seventy years,

Isn't it amazing how much Moses looks like Charlton Heston?

Isn’t it amazing how much Moses looks like Charlton Heston?

    or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
    for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
11 If only we knew the power of your anger!
    Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
12 Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

13 Relent, Lord! How long will it be?
    Have compassion on your servants.
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
    that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
    for as many years as we have seen trouble.
16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,
    your splendor to their children.

17 May the favor[a] of the Lord our God rest on us;
    establish the work of our hands for us—
    yes, establish the work of our hands.

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2015 in the book of Psalms

 

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Time for a Great Quote! (Piper on getting serious about eternity)

“Fight for us, O God, that we not drift numb and blind and foolish into vain Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 7.18.21 PMand empty excitements. Life is too short, too precious, too painful to waste on worldly bubbles that burst. Heaven is too great, hell is too horrible, [forever] is too long that we should putter around on the porch of eternity.” (slightly edited)
John Piper

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2015 in eternity

 

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