Choosing one thing over another doesn't necessarily mean we love the thing we choose. If given the choice to eat spinach or broccoli, you may choose broccoli. It may only mean you don't want to eat spinach. Heaven is not for people who just want to skip Hell. Heaven is reserved for those who love Jesus, who have been rescued by Him and who long to praise Him. If someone doesn't have much use for praising Him now, it's foolish to think they're ready for Heaven.
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Heaven is not a place for those who are afraid of hell; it's a place for those who love God. You can scare people into coming to your church, you can scare people into trying to be good, you can scare people into giving money, you can even scare them into walking down an aisle and praying a certain prayer, but you cannot scare people into loving God. You just can't do it.
The universe shudders in horror that we have this infinitely valuable, infinitely deep, infinitely rich, infinitely wise, infinitely loving God, and instead of pursuing him with steadfast passion and enthralled fury "" instead of loving him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; instead of attributing to him glory and honor and praise and power and wisdom and strength "" we just try to take his toys and run. It is still idolatry to want God for his benefits but not for himself.
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Worship gatherings are not always spectacular, but they are always supernatural. And if a church looks for or works for the spectacular, she may miss the supernatural. If a person enters a gathering to be wowed with something impressive, with a style that fits him just right, with an order of service and song selection designed just the right way, that person may miss the supernatural presence of God. Worship is supernatural whenever people come hungry to respond, react, and receive from God for who He is and what He has done. A church worshipping as a Creature of the Word doesn't show up to perform or be entertained; she comes desperate and needy, thirsty for grace, receiving from the Lord and the body of Christ, and then gratefully receiving what she needs as she offers her praise-the only proper response to the God who saves us.
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The reality is that all God has to do is reveal himself to you, and you'll gladly join the mission in service to his kingdom. He doesn't force the issue; he just has to reveal himself as is: mighty, wondrous, gracious, loving, and radically saving. No man goes back to saltine crackers when he's had fillet mignon.
More often than not, we want him to have fairy wings and spread fairy dust and shine like a precious little star, dispensing nothing but good times on everyone, like some kind of hybrid of Tinker Bell and Aladdin's Genie. But the God of the Bible, this God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, is a pillar of fire and a column of smoke.
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God ultimately raises up leaders for one primary reason: His glory. He shows His power in our weakness. He demonstrates His wisdom in our folly. We are all like a turtle on a fence post. If you walk by a fence post and see a turtle on top of it, then you know someone came by and put it there. In the same way, God gives leadership according to His good pleasure.
Ladies, if you're single there is nothing wrong, sinful or wicked about desiring a husband, nothing. Anyone who would say otherwise is absolutely lying to you. God wired you for it, He built you for it. Men, there is nothing wrong, wicked, or evil about wanting a wife. I don't know when that happened, I don't, now listen I do think that you need to be content where you are today, alright, but listen I'm content with what Christ is doing in me today but I don't want to be who I am today, I'm hoping Christ will complete what He began. It's okay, it's alright, who made it so complicated? it's okay, it's okay to want a wife, it's okay to want a husband, those are good things, they're really good things. It's okay, it's okay to want.
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This passage, by the way, doesn't just give us the comparative negative of hell, but it translates well into a theology of suffering. With these words of Jesus in mind, I can now know that it is better never to hold my children, it is better never to run my fingers through my wife's hair, it is better not to be able to brush my own teeth, it is better never to be able to drive a car, it is better to be paralyzed and never feel anything from the neck down, and it is better to have stage III anaplastic oligondendroglioma than to find myself outside the kingdom of God. It is better never to see the sunset or the sunrise, never see the stars in the sky, never to see my daughter in her little dress-up clothes, never to see my son throw a ball - it is better never to have seen those things than to have seen those things and yet end up outside the kingdom of God. How horrible hell must be.
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