Be there or be square

If Heaven is real and if it is a wonderful place, we should make every effort to be there. We should not miss that place for anything in the world. My challenge for you is to be there at any cost. Put all your efforts together to go to that place. Make that your purpose, your goal, and your commitment in life. 

Why? Because we know that some people will not be there. Yes, that is right. Unfortunately some people will not be in Heaven. The Bible is clear when it says that some people will be left out. Here is one of the texts that makes it very clear: “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Revelation 21:8.”

John also mentions later the characteristics of other people who will not be there: “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Revelation 21:27.”

I know that some people would love to change or if possible to erase those texts, but we just cannot do it. They are there. We must understand that Heaven is God’s House and He is the one who makes the rules. It is important for us to understand that these people will not be there because of their own decision, or the lack of one.

On the other hand John describes those who will be there. They will be there because of the grace of God. The first thing that he tells us about these people is that they have their names in the Lamb’s book of life. This is the most important thing, “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Revelation 21:27.”That was not a decision that they made. God Himself made that decision for them.

The second characteristic of those who will be there is that they are thirsty. Since our names are there we will have a thirst for God and a desire for salvation. We will have at some point in our life a desire for salvation, grace, and mercy. We will feel our sin and realize that we are on the wrong path. Because of that we will respond to the call from God and His Gospel, and we will respond to that call. “He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.” Revelation 21:6.”

Finally,  John mentions that those who have their names in the Lamb’s book of life, and those who are thirsty will overcome. They will persevere. They will endure the decision that they made to follow Christ. They will do that by the grace of God, “He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” Revelation 21:7.”

Today you have the opportunity to quench that thirst in your soul, the thirst for forgiveness, inner peace, and salvation. Come to Jesus and give your life to Him. Tell Him that you need salvation and forgiveness. Ask Him to forgive your sins and clean your life. Tell Him that you do not want to miss Heaven for anything in the world.

Say something like this:

“Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

Have a blessed week,

Pastor Lucas

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Things to do in heaven

Boredom and laziness are not, by any stretch of the imagination, present in Heaven. Heaven will be a place full of interaction and activities. There will be so many things to do that it will be hard to pick which one will be the first. The good thing is that we will have the whole eternity, which means forever, to do everything that we want.

Now let us take a look of some of the things we will do in Heaven.

  1. Worship

This, of course will be one of the most important activities in Heaven. This is what John tells us about: “I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb is its temple. Revelation 21:22.”This text confirms for us that we will have worship there. We will see God, we will sense His presence, we will recognize His grace and mercy toward us, and because of that we will be drawn to worship Him.

  1. Learn

The other thing that will do there is to learn. There will be so many things about the universe and God that we will be able to expend a lot of time learning in Heaven. John wrote: “The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. [25] On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. [26] The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Revelation 21:24-26.”In another verse the Angel told him: “One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. Revelation 21:9.”We will see things and learn things that we always wanted to.

  1. Serve

We will not be able to worship and learn only; we also will be able to serve in Heaven. We will serve God and we will serve each other. John saw this: “The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. Revelation 21:24.” People will do things in Heaven. They will serve and have some kind of task to perform. It will not be tiresome or tedious, but it will be exciting.

  1. Fellowship

Finally we will have fellowship with God and with our brothers and sisters who will be there. John tells us this “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. Revelation 21:3.”We will not have fellowship with God only. In many parts of the book John mentions different people that he saw. He also had interaction with angels. Can you imagine how many interesting people will be there ready to share their story with us? It will be great to have the opportunity to talk with them. We also will be able to tell our own story.

For all of this we can be sure that Heaven is a wonderful place.

Have a blessed week,

Pastor Lucas

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Things that will not be in Heaven

Heaven is wonderful because some things will not be there. It is the absence of some bad and awful things that will make that place a wonderful place. We all hope to live in a place where evil and ugliness are not present. Well, Heaven is that place.

These verses from the Book of Revelation will give us some ideas about things that will not be there, and because of that they will make Heaven a great place. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. Revelation 21:1.” “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.  Revelation 21:4.”

Let us see some of them.

1 – No More Sea

The first thing that John tells us is that there will be no more sea. Sea in the Bible many times is related to chaos, evil, and anti-kingdom powers. Here in Revelation John is telling us that Heaven will not have that.

2 – No More Death, Mourning

The next thing that John did not see in Heaven was death and mourning. We have seen so many death, and destruction; we have mourned for so many friends that knowing that there will be a place where those things will not be present is a tremendous comfort.

3 – No More Crying

No more crying or tears. It is interesting that we will share at the beginning some tears that God Himself will wipe from our eyes. Probably we will realize how much time and effort we expended doing the wrong thing. But some of us who were persecuted because of the faith will bring our tears, and God will take care of them.

4 – No More Pain

There will be no more pain in heaven. This is one of the things that we look forward to in Heaven, absence of pain. All the pain and suffering will be behind us. We will leave all the pain on earth.

5 – No More Temple

“I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. Revelation 21:22-23.”This text tells us that in Heaven there will be no more temples. God and the Lamb is its Temple. The presence of God and the Lamb will be there. The whole place will be a temple.

6 – No More Sun or Moon

The light will not be artificial anymore. We will have the real light. God’s glory will shine all over the place and we will not have darkness anymore.

7 – No More Abominations

“Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelation 21:27.”The last thing that John tells us is that there will be no more abominations in Heaven. All that bad stuff that we are sick and tired of seeing and suffering from in this world will not have a place there.

As you can see my friend, Heaven is a wonderful place because of the things that will not be there.

Have a blessed week,

Pastor Lucas

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heaven is a wonderful place

“Heaven is a wonderful place
Filled with glory and grace
I want to see my Savior’s face
Heaven is a wonderful place”

Do you remember that hymn? I used to sing it in our Sunday school class and youth camp in Brazil. Of course the translation was a little bit different, but the meaning was right. Heaven is a wonderful place filled with glory and grace. I wanna see my Savior’s face. Heaven is a wonderful place.

Unfortunately many people, even Christians, have a different and wrong idea about Heaven. Some people do not believe that Heaven exists. They think that it is a creation of the church to attract people and to comfort those who have lost loved ones. It is interesting that Heaven or something close to that is present in almost every religion in the world.

People believe that life does not end in the death. They believe that life will continue somehow in one form or the other. The challenge for Christians is that there are so much misinformation that they do not know what Heaven looks like. We have many myths about Heaven, and people really believe in some of them. Let me share a few with you.

1 – Heaven is Boring – The first one is that Heaven will be boring. The images that we have about Heaven sometimes do not tell the whole story. People think that we will be in a big place with clouds all over, doing nothing FOREVER. That really sounds boring. Heaven is not like that, and it is not boring at all. This myth could not be more wrong. Heaven is a wonderful place with so many things to do and to see that the word boring will not exist there.

2 – We will have religious service all day long for the rest of eternity – The second myth that we have about Heaven is that we will have religious services all day/night long FOREVER. For some churches that does not sound too bad, but for others, that would be very hard. Remember the first myth, yes; it applies to this one too. Heaven will not be boring. For some of us church services are boring, not in Heaven, they will be totally different.

3 – We will have wings and fly all over the place – Another myth about Heaven is that we will have wings and fly all over the place. This is a very popular myth that we use to say mostly when a child died. We say that they got their wings, and became an angel or something like that. Let me emphasize again, THIS IS A MYTH. We will not have wings and use them to fly around Heaven. Angels were created to serve God and His people. We are children of God, so we cannot go to Heaven and be demoted from our position.

4 – We will learn how to play the harp – Finally, some people believe that we will learn how to play the harp, and we will play them for the whole eternity. Some times we see those images and cartoons of people in Heaven sitting on a little cloud and playing the harp. Sometimes they have wings and sometimes not.

Those are the ideas that some of us have about heaven. Some people really think that Heaven will be like that. These are very poor and baseless images of Heaven. I could add a few more, and probably you have your own myths about that place.

When we come to the Bible and principally to the accounts of John in Revelation we learn that Heaven is totally different from what we had in mind. If you read the Book of Revelation particularly chapter 21, you will see something that the apostle John saw and reported to us about Heaven. It is a beautiful description of that place, worthy of our contemplation. In the next weeks we will meditate on some aspects of Heaven. Join us in this wonderful journey.

Have a blessed week,

Pastor Lucas

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Small decisions that can make a big difference – Ready? Go!

See? It did not hurt you a bit. It was just a small click and here you are, reading this text. This is repeated every minute in our lives, just a simple click, and a new window of opportunities is opened right in front of us. Some of us are struggling with this fast paced world, and others are just enjoying the ride, having a great time.

Life is full of small, and sometimes insignificant decisions that have the ability to make a big difference, not only in our lives, but also in the lives of people around us. Think for a moment how many small decisions you made to get to this point.

A small decision in the Garden of Eden, as you know it was just a fruit, changed the history of mankind forever. I do not think that for Joseph to choose Mary was a big and difficult decision. They lived in a small town, less than 700 people, and the parents were involved. He did not have many options, and she did not have many options either. That decision also altered our lives eternally.

During this series I gave many small decisions that if you make them it would make a big difference. Here are some suggestions how to proceed.

First step, pick those that seem easy for you. Take a look in the list and number them, so you can prioritize where you are going to start. Start with the ones that you are already inclined to do anyway. Choose the ones that are easy based on your temperament. I know that some of them you are already doing, and those decisions were made long before you read these articles. Others you were in the process of making, so go forth and do it.

Second step, pick those on which the Spirit has been pressing your heart lately. There are some decisions that are not so small for us, or easy at all, even though they look like that. But there is a spiritual element on them that draw us to them. It has nothing to do with how easy or small they are, it has everything to do with the work of the Spirit of God in our lives. Open your ears and heart and listen to the Spirit.

The final step is to make the decisions that will impact more people, or where the need is bigger. I am thinking about others, not you. Which decisions would have a bigger impact in the lives of others? The first thing that you should do is to make a list. The second thing that you should do is to evaluate how hard they are for you. The third thing that you should do is to decide what you have to do to accomplish that. What would be involved, like time, effort, etc.?

If possible, some of those decisions should be done with others. Find people who are interested in doing those things and join them, work together. You are not the first one who thought about those things. Finally, all those things must be done with prayer. God should be involved from the get-go. God is the One who is more interested in those actions more than anybody else. His help is indispensable, and He is willing to help us to make those small decisions.

Have a blessed week,

Pastor Lucas

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Small decisions that can make a big difference – The most important first

We live in a time when things are going so fast that we do not have time to evaluate what is important and what is not. We keep tackling the first subject that comes our way, without paying attention whether it is the best option or not.

That attitude can bring many problems into our lives, business, and church. We can make the wrong decision and find ourselves in a terrible situation. When we do not have time to evaluate what is the best way, or at least the better option among those that are in front of us we begin to play Russian roulette. We know that we can get lucky, but we never know when our luck will run out.

When Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem he stopped by a house in Bethany. It was the house of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. We all know the story very well. You can refresh your memory by reading Luke 10: 38-42. It is interesting that in this family we remember Lazarus for his resurrection; we remember Mary for anointing Jesus and sitting at His feet to learn; and we remember Martha just for complaining to Jesus about her sister.

In this story we learn that Martha was the one who opened her home to Jesus. She was the one working hard to get everything right for the guests. If you know a little bit of their culture you know that it involved many things. It was a large group of people. She needed to have everything ready, food, the house, and the wellbeing of the people coming to her house.

You also need to take in consideration that Lazarus would be with Jesus and the disciples, and the ladies would have to do all of the work by themselves. We do not know if they had any servants. It doesn’t appear that they had since Martha complained about the lack of help from her sister.

Those things were very important in that culture. Martha was doing everything that she was supposed to do according to her position, but Mary took a totally different path. Mary decided to challenge those ethnic rules. She just sat down at Jesus’ feet and with her brother and the other disciples she was listening to His teachings.

Martha, upset and distraught with her sister’s behavior, took her complaint to the highest court, Jesus Himself. She could have talked with her brother, since he would be the authority in the house, but she thought that going straight to Jesus would look better for her. She was sure that Jesus, like all the other men that she knew, would side with her and order her sister to go back to the kitchen where she belonged. What a surprise! Jesus not only pointed out her flawed attitude, but also approved and supported Mary’s attitude.

My friends, how many times does our culture dictate what we are supposed to do? Like Mary we should decide what is the most important now. Sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to Him should be our first option always. It is a small decision, but it is the one that will make all the difference.

Have a blessed week,

Pastor Lucas

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My New Book – C’mon God, Give Me a Break!

Everybody has a story of sorrow to tell. The Psalms of Lament are a cry for help. It is like a 911 call. We find ourselves in a bad situation and we need a Divine intervention right away. We do not have any other recourse and we cry. Maybe we will not have the right words, and our attitudes will not be the best, but our hearts will be wide open to God.

In this book Dr. Lucas Pina, a Brazilian immigrant who lives and serve in US since 1990, reflects in some of the most well known Psalms of Laments that we have in the Bible. The intention is not only to reflect in their meaning, but also to examine the causes, helping the readers to identify with the psalmists and pray those beautiful psalms.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Small decisions that can make a big difference – Pray for the authorities

Some of you would say, “Come on Lucas, don’t go there, not now.”Others would have said the same thing a few months ago. That is not the case. It does not matter who is the leader and who occupies the leadership position. The Scripture is clear, we should pray on a regular basis for our leaders.

One of the most important texts about this is the one that Paul wrote to Timothy, his disciple, here it is: “I Timothy 2:1-2 – I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

This is a very small decision, but it has tremendous consequences not only for our personal lives, but for the lives of a whole city, state, and country. Paul is not asking Timothy to pray only for those who are on the side of the Christian faith or the church. No, on the contrary, Paul is asking Timothy and the church to pray for a terrible leader. His name was Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, known generally as Nero.

The other thing that Paul is asking of Timothy is to pray for and not against the authorities. We should pray for their personal life, family, health, and spiritual life. We should ask God to guide them and help them to make righteous decisions. We also should pray for peace, so we would be able to live our Christian life without interference.

When we pray for the authorities we recognize God’s sovereignty, not only over the affairs of His people, but also over the whole universe. God controls everything and everyone. This is what the Bible has to say about kings and emperors: “Dan. 2:21He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.” And in Proverbs we have this: “Prov. 21:1The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.”

When we pray for our leaders we recognize that God is the One who establishes the authorities, all of them. This is what Paul wrote: “Romans 13:1 – Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”Believing in that would help us to do another thing that Peter asked us to do, to honor them: “1Pet. 2:17Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honortheking.” The word means: “to honor, show respect, give recognition.”

My friend I do not know which side you are on. If you are a disciple of Christ, it is your obligation to pray for the authorities, all of them, not only for those who you like, sympathize with, or are on your side. Things in our cities, states, and countries would be different if all of us would make this small decision to pray for our leaders.

Have a blessed week,

Pastor Lucas

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment