By Jon Krist –
We’re committed to my friends experiencing heaven instead of hell. I don’t think that’s preached on much anymore. There have been these mixed messages where you go to sports games, and someone has that big fiery sign that says, “Turn or burn.”
But the reality is, if Jesus came to earth — and left the perfection of heaven — hell must be that bad!
Separation from God for all of eternity must be that bad. If Jesus were to leave the perfection of being with the Father in heaven, with perfect peace, perfect love, perfect holiness, the glory of the Lord manifest all the time…
He left that to save us! That is the reason why his primary title is called Savior. What’s he saving us from?
What is he saving us from? if he were to leave that and live an ordinary, unrecognizable life, but then become this bloody mess of a man suffocating on a cross to die for me and you? How bad must hell be? What’s he’s saving us from?
And what’s he saving us to? The reality of Jesus coming for you, and coming for your friends, is that heaven must be that good and hell must be that bad. And I think we need this holy urgency again in church.
And I’ll be honest where I lose it at times. I can have those moments where I’m maximizing, I’ll maximize the moment on the staff retreat, and I’ll just fling my body everywhere, because I want to have the best moment ever. I want to create the best moment. I’m that annoying guy on a retreat, let’s play pickleball, let’s surf, let’s maximize the moment.
And then I’ll lower myself to sleep and…I think we all might be living forever here on planet Earth. I don’t actually believe that, but I live that way. When it comes to my friends, do I tell them this is urgent? This is life or death. If they don’t experience the life of Jesus, they will literally go to hell and be separated from God for all of eternity, and I will never get to see them or hang out with them again.
That needs to grip us again. You know, we have 90% of the people in Orange County and in San Clemente that are lost and disconnected and are not here today. One out of 10 people.
I was reminded going to the surf contest (yesterday). I was hearing conversations on the beach (and especially with the next generation), and I’m thinking, This world needs Jesus!
Sometimes we can be overwhelmed by the stats. But I remember what Billy Graham said on his deathbed when they asked, “What’s your last dying wish?”
And he said, “I just want to reach just one more for Jesus.”
Jon Krist is the lead pastor at Zion Church in San Clemente, California. He is a fourth generation pastor.