It’s amazing how Monday rolls around just about every seven days. And here it is again. I saw on Facebook someone comparing how a shark views Monday with how we should view Mondays. I’m not sure we need to come out biting (like a shark) but I say thank God for another day to be alive! Each day is a gift from Him . . . including Mondays!!
I was trying to decide today whether to talk about the Presidential debate tonight or about a new TV show I happened to watch. OK, I’m pretty much kidding. I have zero interest in the debate tonight. But if you’re interested in the debate check out Jim Denison’s commentary on it. I did see a new TV show this last week called “The Good Place.” It is a new comedy on the networks and as you can imagine by the “Good Place” they really mean “Heaven” though they never say that. In the “old days” my parents would have called this “sacrilegious.” Today? It’s just pretty normal network TV. The show is based around the idea of a young woman who wakes up to find herself in the “Good Place.” This Heaven/Paradise world is of course not really anything we might imagine. Things go wrong and it bears almost no resemblance with what we might think of when we think of the “Good Place.” It is interesting that they do talk about the only other alternative being the “Bad Place” and from the sounds we briefly hear it doesn’t sound like a place anyone would want to go. They do denigrate Christianity by saying that every world religion, including Christianity, only got about 2% right. In other words, Christianity doesn’t have much clue about what the world is like when we die. The basis for the show is that the young woman at the center of the story is really there by mistake. She is not supposed to be in the Good Place. We also find out that only a very small percentage of people make it to the Good Place based entirely on how good they were when they were alive. All the good things they did are added together and only the very best get to come to the Good Place. This is where the show sort of lost me. But this is also largely what our culture teaches. If you do enough good things during your life, then you will be fine when you die. Many people are convinced that a good god would not send good people to the bad place. Obviously we know, as believers, that our eternal destiny is not based on our good works but on our relationship with the Savior. It is He who did enough good, who lived a perfect life, and who allows us to go to the good place because of what He did. We could never do enough good things to get there on our own and that is where our culture largely misses it. In the TV show it is even more absurd (that is part of the intended comedic effect) because of some of the things that are counted as “good.” For example, being a Vegan gives you extra credit for doing good (not my idea of Heaven). But being Vegan and not bragging about it gives you even more points. Now that is kind of funny but you can see how ridiculous the idea is. And the idea that good outweighing bad is an awful way to decide who goes to the Good Place and who goes to the Bad Place. How would you ever know for sure where you stood? What if you came up one good deed short? Talk about an eternity of regret. Thankfully, the “Good Place” is just a TV show that is intended to make people laugh. But it is often shows like this that subtly reinforce in people’s mind a wrong view of eternity and how we get to Heaven. While I can laugh (a little) at this show, I am also saddened that many people hold some version of this in their minds. We need to share with people that their hope of eternity has been secured. All they need to do is accept the Savior who died so that they would not have to.
This Sunday is the beginning of Missions Month!! I am very excited to welcome our first missionary. Her name is Kyleen Bare and she and her husband Russ served as IMB missionaries for over 20 years. They were in Venezuela from 1991 to 1999 and in Ecuador from 2003 to 2015 working as church planters. I know you will want to come this Sunday morning and hear how God is working in South America. What a great way to kick off our month. Check back here next week to find out who will be coming in week two.