From Me to You

For my new friend.

I recently sat by a young man on an airplane. Rather than putting in our earbuds or going to sleep, we struck up a really fun conversation. What opposites we are! I’ve been married 25 years, live in a small town, am raising children, and work with youth to overcome challenges. He is young, has no kids, is engaged to be married, loves huge cities, works in the tech industry, and grew up in India. He has never lived in a town with no stop lights. He loves crowded streets and high rise buildings. I ride my dirtbike on lonely mountain roads.

It was fun to hear the details of planning a wedding in India and what it was like to grow up there. He spoke of his bride-to-be with such a sweet look on his face I could tell how much he loves her. No, there are no elephants in their wedding ceremony, but their celebration will last several days. His knowledge of computer science is way over my head. He seemed genuinely interested in my work and blog. The long flight felt like it only lasted a few minutes and we found an instant connection that transcended countries, religions, age, or race. When it was time to part ways, I thought to myself— I will never see this guy again. I wonder if he will like my blog. What is the best gift I could give a reader? I wonder if he knows Jesus.

We live in a complex world with politics, religions, cultures, and theories that compete for our attention and divide us. The message of the gospel is simple, refreshing, and pure. Good news, like a gift, is meant to be shared. Friendships are meant to be enjoyed.

I thought of John Lennon’s song, Imagine.

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace, you

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world, you

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one

I like this song- it’s got a catchy tune. I like the idea of peace and unity with no wars, no battling religions, no greed, no hunger, no hell. Jesus didn’t like the idea of people going to hell either, which is why the Bible says he gave his life. He thought that there was something worth dying for— YOU!

But, I don’t like the idea of “no Heaven.” That is a terrible thought!!! I can’t wait for the day when I am reunited with loved ones who have passed on, have a pain free, youthful body, all sadness, disease, and hatred have vanished, and to be overwhelmed by perfect love, unity, and beauty all the time. Jesus said we find peace in Him. Maybe John Lennon was painting a picture of Heaven and he didn’t know it.

There is a difference between relationship and religion. Jesus claimed that He is the answer. Here are a few of the questions.

Q: How can I have eternal life?

A: Jesus

for god so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. john 3:16

Q: How can I know God?

A: Jesus

anyone who has seen me has seen the father. if you really know me, you will know my father as well. John 14:7,9

Q: How can I know that God wants a relationship with me?

A: Jesus

god was reconciling the world to himself in christ, not counting people’s sins against them. 2 Cor 5:19

Q: Which of my Friends has done the most to prove their love for me?

A: Jesus

greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. john 15:12

Q: How can I know that God loves me no matter what I’ve done?

A: Jesus

you see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, christ died for the ungodly. God demonstrates his own love for us in this: for while we were still sinners, christ died for us. romans 5:6,8

Q: Who has the greatest intellectual capacity in the universe?

A: Jesus

for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the lord. as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. isaiah 55:8,9

Q: Whose death and resurrection were recorded in history by eyewitnesses?

A: Jesus

he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. they were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘men of galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? this same jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.’.. those present were peter, john, james, andrew, philip, thomas, bartholomew, matthew, james, simon, and judas. acts 1:9,10

Q: How can Christianity claim that salvation is not based on being a good person or doing good things?

A: Jesus

i do not set aside the grace of god, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, christ died for nothing! Galatians 2:21

for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith— and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of god— not by works, so that no one can boast. ephesians 2:8,9

THIS IS HIM is not about religion or politics. It is not about me. I’m not interested in how you vote or your religious affiliation. I don’t make any money from writing; in fact, it costs me money. I just want you to know the Friend who loved you first. When He died for you, He didn’t care if you knew it yet. He didn’t do it for the thanks. He didn’t set conditions before He took your sins upon Himself. He did it because He loves you, but you are free to reject the gift. He is the way to the Father. He willingly left the lifestyle of a King to lay down his life because you are worth knowing and saving. He wants you to know how much His Father loves you and for you to enjoy a relationship with Him.

I love you. Jesus loves you more.