Here’s the buzz from the small groups week 10:
Our group discussed what it means to “trust in Jesus Christ”; that it is more than knowing He existed, but following His teachings and doing what He instructed us to do. That our “trusting” is a verb requiring action and that our reward for having that trust is eternal life with Him in the New Heaven. We talked about the freedom that comes from that knowledge. About how that motivates us to spread the gospel message to others. We also discussed what Heaven and Hell might be like.
We noted that almost everyone who believes in life after death believes they will go to heaven! We liked “Pascal’s wager”. Believers have everything to gain, and nothing to lose. From childhood on we have experienced that warm and happy feeling inside when we share a kindness with another, when we do what God desires. Who in their right mind thinks waking up with a hangover or being caught in the web of addictions, or living for self brings more blessings than seeking to live for Jesus?
I shared that as a retired pastor, I have been so blessed by being able to serve as a pastor for many years, spending my working life among so many fine people, having the privilege of being able to be with others during challenging times of life… all this, and heaven too!
Key Idea: I believe there is a Heaven and a Hell and that Jesus will return to judge all people and to establish his Eternal Kingdom.
Our Monday night group is in total agreement with this key idea. Yet, it is safe to say, each of us has a different perception of Heaven, and of Hell, and of what the Eternal Kingdom will resemble. While our perceptions may differ in detail, they generally follow the same stream of the Eternal Kingdom being “total perfection”. Each of us has had differing experiences with death of family members, friends, etc. Our experiences and our faith (our belief) is what has shaped our perceptions. This was a difficult chapter for everyone – like catching the mist and holding it in your hand. After struggling with it, we took away with each of us the question, “What do you think happens after you die?”, and how we would, should and must be prepared to answer that question (based on our personal belief, not rhetorically) when posed to us by someone who is deep in grief.
We talked about time and the way we measure time as humans has nothing to do with how God views time. Being the human creations that we are, we try to apply our understanding of eternity and we can’t – we aren’t equipped to understand what it really means. God’s way of looking at time is so supernatural that we can’t fathom it, but we always try to define time based on our limited understanding. When it comes to accepting what eternity means personally, it’s a black and white thing. If you’ve accepted Christ, your eternity is secure with God by God’s grace. There was a question about when we “find out” what our eternity will be but if we believe, we already know what our eternity will be. We just don’t know when.
Our BELIEVE discussion on eternity sparked some very interesting conversation. While we certainly don’t have all the answers, we are assured that, one day, we will be reunited with our Lord in paradise.
Wrapping up our ten-week exploration of “What we believe”, our group took the time to go through The Apostles’ Creed and match each statement with one of the core beliefs from the BELIEVE series. This was a great way to help us personalize and even understand the declaration that we recite on communion Sundays.