Oct 02

Do All Dogs Really Go To Heaven?

dog-deadEvery year on October 4, a growing number of churches involve themselves in a “blessing of the animals” service. This “blessing of the animals” is rooted in the Roman Catholic Church as a part of observing “Saint Francis of Assisi Day.”  However, in more recent times, more and more protestant churches have picked up the practice of “blessing their pets.”

Just today, an announcement of one such “animal blessing” crossed by desk and it stated that “Pastor Tim” would bless your pets if you bring them to church with you on Sunday.  And, if you pet has died, if you will bring a picture of the deceased pet, he will also bless your dead pets as well.

Of course, there is much that could be said about this, but I want to restrict my comments to this question, “Do animals go to Heaven when they die?” Here are a few considerations.

  • It was man who was made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26), and the rest of God’s creation was contrasted with the creation of man. Man differs from the rest of God’s creation in that he has been given an undying spirit that returns to God upon death (Acts 7:59). When an animal dies, there is no immortal part that survives the death of its body.
  • Think of the implications.  When asking this question, we typically have in mind our lovable pets. But does God only give “pets” immortality, or does he give all animals immortality? If the former, what scripture teaches this, and if the latter, then all the mosquitoes, flies, leeches, and maggots that have ever lived, from the time of Adam till now, will be joining us in Heaven as well. That’s just not what people are usually thinking about when they affirm animals will join us in heaven, but that’s the logical end.
  • More implications. If both men and animals are immortal, then why is man not allowed to kill his fellow-man (Exodus 20:13; Matthew 5:21-22), but he is commanded to rise, kill, and eat animals (Acts 10:13)?  Surely it is because man and animals are different. Man was created in the image of God, and animals were not.

Friends, Heaven is a place of reward for faithful living (Matthew 5:12). It is a place of redemption for “just men made perfect” (Hebrews 12:23-24). Consequently, animals don’t qualify. Animals do not possess the ability to comprehend morality, and if they do, well… does that mean some animals will be in Hell as well?

Personally, I’m an animal lover, and I’m thankful to God for creating animals, especially pets, to be our companions while we live on the earth. I’ve also suffered at the loss of several of my pets and know the hurt that can be associated with that. But as for any hope of seeing them again in Heaven, the Bible, which is the only source of information we have about Heaven, provides no evidence that animals will live forever, let alone, live in Heaven with us forever.

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Oct 01

What’s The Glory In That?

20140204_153054When I was in college, I was privileged to drive about 50 miles from campus to preach for a small country church in West Tennessee. This church was located just off a narrow, curvy, country road. When you arrived, you would just park your car in the grass anywhere around the building, for it had no parking lot. This church had two restrooms, but they were both outside; out back behind the building. The building itself was a little white frame building with maybe 15 pews, and an old pot bellied stove toward the front of the building. There were no classrooms, no air conditioning, and no p.a. system. What it did have was a strong musty smell from being closed up all week, and a lot of wasps that would somehow find their way into the building (upon reflection, I think I fought the wasps as hard as I fought sin!)

But tell me, what’s glorious about what I just described to you? Paul speaks of the church as being glorious (Ephesians 5:27). Does that sound glorious to you?

Well, the glory is seen in the fact that the church is not a building, but the people. And these people, as “country” as they may have been, were children of God! These “simple” people had discovered and embraced what more “sophisticated” people had failed to to appreciate. These good people were forgiven, no longer stained by sin, and consequently, heaven-bound. That’s the glory of the church!

The glory of the church is that people from every walk of life, every nation, privileged and disadvantaged, educated and uneducated can all be called children of God (1 John 3:1)! I hope you too will share in this glory!

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Sep 26

A Timely Reminder

168896_544921781729_4235337_nTomorrow will mark two years since my dad passed away. Over the past two years, I have missed so many things I used to take for granted, but one thing I am sure of is that my sadness has been tempered by the faithful life that my dad lived and the faithfulness of the God whom he served.

For over sixty years, dad preached the gospel (fifty of those years, working with the same congregation). During those years, not only did he record a daily 15 minute radio program called “Bible Meditations,” he also recorded a weekly, one-minute program called, “A Moment of Meditation.”

Today’s post comes from one of those weekly one-minutes recordings that I think is timely, not only because of the anniversary of dad’s death, but because of the nature of his message.  Here’s what dad had to say…

At this time of the year, many people pause to remember their loved ones who have gone on to their eternal reward.  This is as it should be.  Lessons can be learned by the lives of those who have died.  In Hebrews 11:4, we learn that Cain and Abel, even though they are dead, teach us lessons.  Abel is an example of faithful service to God while Cain misused his life in trying to do his own will.

The reason that God wrote about many men and women of Old Testament times is so that they might provide an example for us (1 Corinthians 10:11). The great  lessons they all teach is that life is the time for us to serve God and to get ready for eternal life.  There is nothing more sad than to see a life wasted.  Many who could have been remembered with fond memories are not remembered this way because they chose to disregard God during their lives.  Be an example worth remembering. You will never regret it.

Dad, thanks for your words and the life you lived to back them.

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Sep 23

A Quick Bible Word Search

Here’s a brief Bible word search that I believe speaks for itself. Just let it sink in.

  • Pope – Not Found
  • Supreme Pontiff – Not Found
  • Papacy – Not Found
  • Vicegerent – Not Found
  • Vicar of Christ – Not Found
  • Holy Father – Not Found
  • Prince of the Apostles – Not Found
  • Archbishop – Not Found
  • College of Cardinals – Not Found
  • Mass – Not Found
  • Holy See – Not Found
  • Magisterium – Not Found
  • Synod – Not Found
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Sep 17

A Great Idea for Churches

Bright Idea 3 In today’s post, I want to share a really neat tool for your congregation. All of us have probably participated in the making of a church pictorial directory. And we have probably all come to the realization that by the time the directory is completed, it has become outdated.

Well, here’s a solution to this problem — A digital pictorial directory.  The Karns Church of Christ in Knoxville, TN (where I preach) has recently created a digital directory.

What’s a digital directory? Well, it’s a directory that can be downloaded to your Android or Apple smart-phone or tablet (including Kindle). And as a new member is added, or as someone moves away, these changes can be made in the office and automatically and instantly updated on everyone’s devices.

Here are a few details.

  • We use an app called, “Instant Church Directory.” It can be downloaded from your Google Play Store or the Apple Store.
  • The members download the app, add their password (which only has to be done once) and they have access to the directory on their phone or tablet.
  • It is secure. The only people who can access your directory are people who are in the directory and the information is encrypted.
  • The information for each family is hyperlinked so that if I tap the phone number, my phone feature will pop up.  If I tap the email address, my mail program will pop up.  And if I tap their home address, my map program will pop up and give me turn-by-turn driving directions to their house.
  • In addition to Name, Address, Phone, Email, you can also add birthdays and a paragraph sharing details (i.e. hobbies, work, background, etc.).
  • As a member leaves or is added, that change can be made in the church office, and it will instantly update the information on everyone’s devices.
  • If you’re worrying that not everyone has a smart-phone or tablet and you don’t want to exclude people, this program also allows you to print out paper copies that can be bound and used just like a typical pictorial directory.
  • The cost is free to the members to download the app.  There is a monthly fee of just “$10.00” to the church for the service.

If you have any questions or want further information about this, please feel free to contact me, or visit Instant Church Directory. Below are a few screenshots.


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