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The Truth About Heaven and Hell

Posted by Pastor J.D. on January 18, 2017

You probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that most people have a fear of hell. But you may be one of those people who also has a secret fear about heaven—because sitting against an all-white backdrop, wearing diapers, and playing the harp while Morgan Freeman recites poetry all day just doesn’t sound like your idea of paradise.

Thankfully, the Bible gives a much different picture of the joys of heaven as well as a sharp picture of the torments of hell. The Bible contains all the truth from God we need for our questions about heaven and hell. We may need to dig a little to understand its symbolism. But once we do, we’ll see a vision of heaven and hell that does more to shape our lives than anything else in the Bible.

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This guest post is written by KJ Hill, one of the Summit’s local outreach pastors. He will be joining LaToya King, Raudel Hernandez, Walter Strickland, and me (J.D.) for a panel discussion Tuesday, January 17, 7-8:30 p.m., at the Summit en Español venue of our Brier Creek campus. The panel’s topic is “Martin Luther King Jr.: Race, Church, and Culture 50 Years Later.” RSVP today and I’ll see you tomorrow!

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday.  Dr. King was born on January 15th, but the holiday would be celebrated every year on the third Monday of January. The following year, President Reagan signed a proclamation for observing Sanctity of Human Life Day on the third Sunday in January to coincide with the January 22nd date of the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion.

As a Christian, I believe both of these days are important. In fact, I think that in many ways these days represent two sides of the same coin. Unfortunately, sometimes in the church, people who are only focused on one side of the coin can feel at odds over which is of greater importance and can feel like the other group doesn’t even acknowledge their fight for justice.

Continue Reading…

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I’ll Take This One

Posted by Pastor J.D. on January 12, 2017

If you ever want to see the whole gospel displayed in one story in the Old Testament, look no further than the story of Ruth. After following her mother-in-law to an unfamiliar land and making it her own, Ruth meets Boaz, who becomes her kinsman redeemer, restoring her family’s inheritance and turning Naomi’s bitterness into sweetness.

Through Boaz and Ruth’s union, the line of David would be established, from which was born Jesus, who took on the curse of death itself to buy us back and become our Kinsman Redeemer.

The story of Ruth is a beautiful picture of Christ, and it gives us two important gospel truths that are key to understanding this concept of redemption.

First, God uses the least likely as his instruments of redemption.

At the same time that Samson, an Israelite hero strong enough to knock down the walls of a huge temple, is off messing around with Delilah and swapping his country’s safety for some cheap thrills, a Moabite girl is forsaking everything to follow God. Ruth had everything stacked against her. She was a poor, childless widow from a hated race.

Yet Ruth, not Samson, brought Jesus into the world.

You see, God works through availability, not ability. He doesn’t need your ability, your money, or your talents. He calls only for your complete and total obedience. Continue Reading…

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