Posts Tagged ‘keith green


Heaven, the New Earth – enough with all the Hell-talk!

I guess it’s about time for me to write a blog about the Good News about eternity. A couple of my blog entries have focused on a couple of books, Love Wins and Erasing Hell, that talk a lot about issues of eternity.

I also picked up Randy Alcorn’s 500+ page book, Heaven, to see what he would be writing about what I have to look forward to. It’s a long book. A very long book in fact. I wanted to just put in some of the important quotes that I enjoyed and was encouraged by through reading this mammoth of a book.


“Nearly every Christian I have spoken with has some idea that eternity is an unending church service…We have settled on an image of the never-ending sing-along in the sky, one great hymn after the another, forever and ever, amen. And our heart sinks. Forever and ever? That’s it? That’s the good news? And then we sigh and feel guilty that we are not more ‘spiritual’. We lose heart, and we turn once more to the present to find what life we can” (John Eldredge in his book Desire, where he talks about eternal life with Christ being a lot more than what most Christians dare to believe)

“If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were preoccupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven, and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither” (C. S. Lewis)

“God will make the new earth his dwelling place…Heaven and earth will then no longer be separated as they are now, but they will be one. But to leave the new earth out of consideration when we think of the final state of believers is greatly to impoverish biblical teaching about the life to come” (Anthony Hoekema)

“Understanding and anticipating the physical nature of the New Earth corrects a multitude of errors. It frees us to love the world that God has made, without guilt, while saying no to the world corrupted by our sin. It reminds us that God himself gave us the earth, gave us a love for the earth, and will delight to give us the New Earth” (Randy Alcorn)

“In the truest sense, Christian pilgrims have the best of both worlds. We have joy whenever this world reminds us of the next, and we take solace whenever it does not” (C. S. Lewis)

“Everything is gone that ever made Jerusalem, like all cities, torn apart, dangerous, heartbreaking, seamy. You walk the streets in peace now. Small children play unattended in the parks. No stranger goes by whom you can’t imagine a fast friend. The city has become what those who loved it always dreamed and what in their dreams she always was. The new Jerusalem. That seems to be the secret of Heaven. The new Chicago, Leningrad, Hiroshima, Beirut. The new bus driver, hot-dog man, seamstress, hairdresser. The new you, me, everybody” (Frederick Buechner)

“Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating” (Simone Weil)

“I meet many faithful Christians who, in spite of their faith, are deeply disappointed in how their lives have turned out. Much of the distress of these good people comes from a failure to realize that their life lies before them. That they are coming to the end of their present life, life in the body is of little significance. What is of significance is the kind of person they have become. Circumstances and other people are not in control of an individual’s character or of the life that lies endlessly before us in the kingdom of God” (Dallas Willard)

These were lots of different quotes talking about eternal life on the New Earth with my friend Jesus and many, many other friends! I can’t wait! I know some Christians who don’t look forward to life on the New Earth. Maybe they think we’ll be in some weird, boring place? Maybe they are afraid they’ll miss out on something here on the Earth? I don’t understand them. Whether my life is great and I enjoy my everyday situation, or whether I’m walking through a difficult time in my life, one thing remains the same in me: my desire to experience the New Earth with Jesus! My desire to be completely free from my flesh. My desire to reconnect with loved ones and experience life to the fullest for all eternity! To quote the late, great Keith Green:

You know, I look around at the world and I see all the beauty that God made. I see the forest and the trees and all the things. And says in the Bible that He made them is six days and I don’t know if they’re a literal six days or not. Scientists would say no, some theologians would say yes. But I know that Jesus Christ has been preparing a home for me and for some of you, for two thousand years. And if the world took six days and that home two thousand years, hey man, this is like living in a garbage can compared to what’s going on up there.

And I conclude this blog entry with some of the last words of the Bible, written by John, the disciple Jesus loved, who ended the Revelation God gave him like this:

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon”. Amen, come Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22)


Blessings, Torben


Slow fade, grace and where to look

I thought these three videos complement each other very well. First, a very sharp, sadly true and thought provoking teaching from the lead vocal of Casting Crowns, Mark Hall, about the slow fade that so often happens for Christians when they start to listen to what non-Christians and Satan believe and think and slowly start ignoring the life-giving truths of God:

Keith Green talks about some of the same in this song where he laments the fact that so many of us Christians seem to lose the fire we may have had early on in our walk with Christ, but he comes to a place in the song, and came to that place at the end of his too short life on earth, where he saw that it was and is only the grace of God that we can trust to always sustain and cause us to not fall into sin and stuff that will destroy our lives and bring death in our relationships with God, ourselves and other people (Romans 6:23):

And finally this simple song about what to do when life is difficult, and you’re tempted to listen to the lies of the enemy who wants to bring you into the mud of mediocrity, sin, compromises and counterfeits. All we can do is turning our eyes upon Jesus, the initiator, author, sustainer and perfecter or our faith (Hebrews 12:2):

Blessings, Torben – who is so glad that my relationship with God is not based on what I do/say/think/feel or don’t do/say/think/feel. I’m so glad that everything is built on Jesus who never changes!


My eyes are dry

Finally! This Monday my nine week advanced exchanged life training program starts. Check out Grace Ministries International’s website for more info about what that is. Or just log on to this blog site, where I’ll be writing about what I learn and experience.

It’s been weird looking at myself these past few weeks. I feel so dry. I feel so empty in many ways. And ironically enough I think that means that I’m in the perfect place to start these nine weeks. I certainly don’t come with a sense of having “arrived”, thinking that I know all this stuff about identity in Christ and having Christ living his life through me. I don’t. It’s still all very new and fresh to me. I’m hungry. Very hungry. And thirsty to taste the life giving water of Christ that I’ve tasted some of before. I want more. More life. More intimacy with my friend and Savior, Jesus Christ. I want to know him more. I want to die to my flesh and my own ideas of who he is and who I am. I want to step away from the lies that I still believe about who God is. I want to know and experience the truth of who God is. 

For the third time in my life I feel like I have all my eggs in one basket. If this fails, if God doesn’t show up, I don’t have a plan B. Because I know this is it. I know this is where life is. And every other time I’ve been without a plan B, God has shown up in incredible ways. And I know he’ll do the same this time. I know he wants me more than I want him. I know he loves to reveal who he is, and I know he’ll be faithful to complete the good work he has begun in me (Philippians 1:6). I’m excited to see where my Good Shepherd will take me these next nine weeks. I expect both the valley of the shadow of death where I die to me and get to experience Jesus’ life as a reality in my life. Those valleys are dark and lonely places, but Psalm 23 promises me that he will go there with me, so I’m not afraid. And I know there’ll be places of rest where he’ll restore my soul as it’s also promised in that wonderful Psalm.

For now I’ll leave you with this great live recording of Keith Green singing the song “My eyes are dry” which I’ve been singing many, many times the past week. Such good lyrics, where the conclusion to Keith’s (and my) poor state of mind is not to try harder on my own, but to invite God to soften my heart, and bring life. I want a soft heart, but only God can do that.

My eyes are dry, my faith is old. My heart is hard, my prayers are cold. And I know how I ought to be, alive to you and dead to me. But what can be done for an old heart like mine? Soften it up with oil and wine. The oil is you, your Spirit of love. Please wash me anew with the wine of your blood

Blessings, Torben



Last Sunday Jeannette and I were playing Keith Green songs for pretty much 10 hours straight, and I have had his wonderful songs in my head and heart ever since. Whenever I feel drawn towards mediocrity, compromising my faith, giving up on God, myself and other people I put on Keith’s songs, and I’m drawn back to a life of passion, excitement, expectation and wonder. I have already written about him in this blog entry, but it seems appropriate to point to some of the youtubevideos with this influential young man.

I so wish that there were more like Keith. I never met him, and yet I miss him, and I’m looking forward to seeing him some day. Even though it was impossible to capture Keith’s energy and passion in a studio, I thought I would point to “I can’t wait to get to heaven” as the video I’ve chosen. I love this song about the wonderful eternity that awaits us who are God’s children. Unfortunately there are few songs being made today about life on the new earth with God, though I do also love Mercy Me’s “I can only imagine” As Keith put it: “God created this world in just six days, and now he has been working on heaven for 2000 years. So this is like living in a garbage can compared to what it’s gonna be like up there”  🙂                                      

Here are some more links to wonderful Keith songs: Asleep in the light,  Your love broke through  and an old live recording of Soften your heart. If you don’t know Keith Green’s story, I recommend searching for The Keith Green Story on youtube and watch the seven clips from a DVD about Keith and his life, but I also recommend the wonderful book about Keith’s life with the extremely fitting title “No Compromise” (I still haven’t made it through that book without tears in my eyes). Unfortunately the book is out of print right now, but you should pre-order it for yourself and have it to read during the long August evenings when it becomes available again 🙂                                                                                                                                

Torben – who survived his medical check up at the Clinic for Oil-Refining Industry of Ukraine. I now have my doctor’s word for that I’m healthy enough to get a visa to the United States!    

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