Pie in the Sky

via Parlay

I’ve been to Vegas, I know it can happen.  Find someone to stake you, if you can’t stake yourself, and turn the stake into something greater than the sum of a few bets.  I’ve even seen it happen. To a few.  A very happy few, and that in itself is sad.  Because the fact remains that in Vegas, only the few ever beat the house and win big.  Vegas loves the parlay.  They want to take you stake, your winnings, and invite you to parlay.  The odds are never in your favor.  That’s why they call it “beating the odds.”


What are the odds, that every day as I write these short vignettes, as I try my hand at profundity and insight, that I’m right in my observations about God’s sovereign authority over all?  I’d say about the odds are 50-50 wouldn’t you?   I mean, either I’m right, or I’m wrong. Yes? So for argument’s sake, let’s assume for a moment that I’m wrong.  If I’m wrong then everyone who reads these words can just see them as entertainment.  The musings of a mad man bent on proclaiming a gospel that is nothing more than myth.  If I’m wrong then Jesus isn’t the savior, the Holy Spirit doesn’t lead and guide us, and God doesn’t exist.

What are the odds?  50-50.

If I’m right however, if God not only exists but is the Creator of all things; if the Holy Spirit leads us to salvation, then on to relationship with the Creator; if Jesus is God and Savior as the Bible proclaims – then these short articles of faith have eternal value and truth. Then heaven is real and so is that other place no one likes to talk about.  We can’t both be right, so the odds for each of us is 50-50.

What are the stakes?

The annihilation view is one of finality at death.  Those who hold this view think when this human life ceases, it’s just over, there is nothing left of body, soul, or spirit.  We are annihilated.  Right or wrong?  50-50.  All atheists are essentially of this order.  Many people live this way, by not making a conscious choice to explore biblical truth.

The “all dog’s go to heaven” view is one of eternal optimism.   Those who hold this view are convinced if there is a heaven, all us “dogs” are going to get there eventually.  It’s just a matter of time.  Most people you pass on the street, believe this in one form or another.  Organized world religions have fostered this mentality, setting out to prove if you just follow their prescription, you too will arrive in Muhammed’s Paradise, Hebrew Paradise, the Good Kingdom, Tian, Purgatory, or Heaven.  Right or wrong?  50-50.

The Biblical view is the option I prefer to believe.  It is a choice I make consciously.  It is mine alone to make.  Just as you will choose while reading this, which to believe.  The difference in the Biblical view and all other world religions is seen in the prescription for true faith, and the requirements for entrance into heaven.  True faith relies not on any act or work I perform to gain entrance to heaven.  True faith isn’t bent on a set of legalistic rules to follow.  True faith that saves, according to the Bible, is yielding my will to God’s will, and trusting Jesus as my personal Messiah, Savior, Redeemer, Deliverer.  Upon stepping over this line of faith, (my will for His will), I become a member of God’s family.  I am given an inheritance.  One which will not see corruption from moths and rust.  An inheritance guaranteed by God’s Holy Spirit.  And one day… according to the Bible… I will live with my Creator, Father, God – forever.  Right or wrong?  50-50.


Blaise Pascal’s wager simply says it would be wise to live your life as if God does exist because you have everything to gain and nothing to lose.  If you live this way, and God does exist, you gain heaven; if God doesn’t exist, you lose nothing.  On the other hand, if you live as though God does not exist, and He doesn’t, you lose nothing.  But if God does exist, and you live as though He doesn’t, you’ve gained hell and punishment, and have lost heaven and bliss.

I’m not one of those pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by people.  I actually live more for the “right now,” and hope to gain heaven because I have faith in Jesus.  But the real point is: What do you base your life on today, that will have any eternal value?  I do choose Pascal’s wager as true.  I live as though God exists, that He loves me, and has a future for me here, and after here.  I’m betting the parlay, that God has more … much, much more in store for me there. So I live as though it is true… here.




faster, faster, faster

via Quicken

Ask those who know me really well, and they will confirm for you, I’ve never been a very patient person.  My kids learned their driving habits from me, so I’ve no one to blame but myself when they drive too fast.  I used to drive really fast, and loose, and a little on the edge.  I’m older and wiser now, but occasionally I’ll still need to lighten up on the accelerator, if you know what I mean.  This lack of patience sometimes leaks over into other aspects of my past, present, and future.

I was so in a hurry to get through college, so that I could go on to Seminary.  I knew I was headed there, so why focus on the now, when where I really want to be is there.  In Seminary I was always in a hurry to get through each semester, so I could graduate, and get on with being a Pastor.  Unfortunate circumstances (translation life-interruptus) caused there to be a 20 year hiatus on finishing that degree.  I spent most of that 20 years in the computer industry as a career, and serving my ministry desires through lay-ministry in the church we attended at the time.

When I finally got the opportunity to go into ministry full time, and later finish my Master of Divinity education, then a Doctor of Ministry degree, I pursued each of these with the same vigor and lack of patience as before.  I’ve been a driven person most of my life, always trying to go faster, faster, faster.  I wasn’t trying to run ahead of God, so much as I just wanted to get there faster.

It reminds me a little of the disciples wanting Jesus to quit taking so much time setting up His earthly kingdom.  They asked him after the resurrection, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”  [Acts 2:6]  They were wanting to get there faster.  The reply from Jesus is something we should really focus on here, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;“[Acts 2:7]  Part of the problem with having this “faster” mentality is thinking God is just a slow-poke.  But Jesus helps them (and us) understand that it isn’t just “kingdom” things that God has fixed in time, but that each minute of our lives is accounted for under God’s sovereign authority.  God saw me before I was born.  He knows the number of my days.  Don’t take my word for it, look at Psalm 139:16 – “Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began.

Today, most days, because we think God is a slow-poke, we become impatient about life, always wishing we could get “there” (wherever there is) faster, faster, faster.  In fact it’s easy to get all wrapped up in “end of days” mentality, wishing God would get it all over with already, so we can all go be with Him in heaven.  Trust me when I say, God isn’t even “nearly” through saving people yet!  Peter tells us, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”  [2 Peter 3:9]  God isn’t about to end human history until all the humans who will be saved… are saved.  God’s will is that all come to repentance.

So if you’re one of those who likes to see timelines and deadlines in the Book of Revelation, then let me offer you a small bit of advice.  Slow down.  Read the book, and study the book differently.  It isn’t all about judgment and just getting to heaven.  It is about God saving people who will say “yes” to His grace, even in the worst seven-year period of human history… the end of days.  I can help you with this, if you’d like.  Click to read more.  BOOK