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Probably my favorite memory in the ministry.

February 2, 2017

I stepped up to1a1 speak before sixty middle school children at a fall retreat.

“I want to talk to you about Heaven tonight,” I said, picking up the PowerPoint remote.  I pushed the button and a picture of a gorgeous white beach with clear water and curved palm trees lit up the room.

“Hey,” said Charlie.  “That looks like Hawaii.”

“Heaven will look like that?” asked Camryn, raising her eyebrows. “I thought Heaven was like … well, you know…”

“Like clouds and boring stuff, right?” I replied.  Some of the kids nodded their heads.  I continued.  “Like you may have heard that we will all have to be in one big praise service for thousands and thousands of years?”

“Yeah,” someone called out.

“Well, let me show you another picture,” I said, clicking on a picturesque village tucked away in a green valley in Norway.  “And you tell me if it looks like it’ll be boring.”

“Ooooooh,” said Charlie and Mark.  “Lookit that.”

“Oh, Heaven will be better than that, “ I said.  “Man made that little village.  God will make our village.   It’ll look better than this –“ I clicked on a Grand Canyon picture – “and this” – an Alaskan mountain range – “or this” – the Danube River. I ran through other slides of an Italian street festival, a New Year’s celebration, and a Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

The little eyes were taking it all in.

“In the book of Revelation it says there will be no more sickness or death,” I continued.

Whaaaat?” I heard someone murmur in the back.  Clearly this was news to them.

“No more sorrow, either,” I said.  “Or pain.  You can play football and never get hurt.”

Steven laughed delightedly.  I clicked through some more pictures.

“And Matthew chapter 8 talks about a feast that we’ll have.  And oh, the grand food that we’ll be able to eat!”  I ran through a maddening display of pictures of steaks, chicken, french fries, souffles, cakes, pies, and mounds of ice cream.  Randy clapped his hands and laughed.  He was from a broken home and lived in a decrepit trailer park.

I showed them the grandest castles of Europe.  “And Jesus said that God the Father has a mansion – a mansion, ladies and gentlemen – that has room enough for all of His children.”

The room was absolutely still.

“Because that’s the best part, you know?  Christians have a special treat waiting for them.  We’re going home to be with our Father.  Home. We’re going to sit down for some home-cooked meals … and you know what?  I looked up Luke chapter 12 and found a shocking thing.  Our very best friend in the whole universe – the One who sacrificed everything to make our Home possible – will actually seat us and serve us.”

I turned and looked at the picture on the screen – a huge country lodge dining hall loaded with smiling, laughing people of all colors, shapes and sizes.  They were happily passing plates of food along a long, candle-lit table.

“We’ll laugh and joke with Jesus.  We’ll thank Him and we’ll listen to Him.  And we won’t have to turn off the lights and go home.  We are home.  The fun will never stop.”

I turned around.  The kids were all standing.

Their eyes were shining.  They were grinning.

And they started cheering.

They started cheering.

That, my friends, is one of my favorite moments in the ministry.

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