From the Mouths and Pens of Youth
One more reminder of the schedule for Hope for Eternity, which will be held in the sanctuary of Sycamore Reformed Presbyterian Church.
7:00 P.M. Wednesday, April 23
Hell: Thinking the Unthinkable
7:00 P.M. Thursday, April 24
Hell: Biblical Basics
7:00 P.M. Friday, April 25
Hell: Everlasting Destruction
10:30 A.M. Sunday, April 27
Heaven: In the Presence of the Lamb
6:00 P.M. Sunday, April 27
Heaven: Being Made Like Him
And in case you need some encouragement, how about these invitations from some young people in our congregation?
Listen to this radio ad.
It will air three times a day this week on WWKI.
Read an editorial published this week
in the school paper, the IUK Correspondent.
Students ask about hope for eternity
By Candace Jones
Finals. Looming finals. Are they really worth all the pain? Every semester we reach the crunch time just when we feel like a week-long nap would be better than big tests. But what if a crazed senior decided to forgo their finals and spend their last week watching reruns of Happy Days. Would it be so bad?
Well it all depends on your level of preparation. If you’ve been making a solid A+ in every class, no problem. But for the rest of us, let’s say for a senior with a GPA of 2.0, the effects could be disastrous. Picture them finding a letter from IU Kokomo, and opening it to realize the truth. Their GPA has dropped below a 2.0, and during their last semester they flunked out of college. Four years (or five, or ten) have passed, and they have nothing to show for all their work.
“Well what a lovely thing to think about right before finals,” you may say. But like it or not, the point is the same– finals matter. When we aren’t prepared, it shows, and we can flunk out of everything we’ve been working for.
Recently a group of students went around campus and surveyed others on their views of heaven and hell. You may have seen us roving the halls with clipboards, speaking with anyone who would talk to us. The questions were brief, the answers were multiple choice, and we really wanted one thing–their honest opinion. Why did we go to the trouble of asking 100 students about eternity? In short, we were concerned about finals.
For oddly enough, everyone believes that life has its own final too. Atheist or Christian, Muslim or Zenist, everyone has an opinion about what the afterlife is like. When the questions started cranking, the answers would come, and there are certain significant points to note. For instance:
• Nearly three-fourths of the respondents (73 percent) thought that hell was an eternal place of judgment. Some students called it “a ticket for being judged,” or “contrary to what heaven would be,” even “a toilet bowl for all eternity.” But very few (only 4 percent) thought that they personally would be sent to hell when they died. Clearly, for many, flunking this final was out of the question.
• A significant majority (69 percent) believe that we will be judged by God for our behavior in this life. And if judgment has any connection to being in hell, we must find a way to avoid it.
• When asked how someone might get into heaven, the students had something of a variety. Around a quarter attributed it to religious or personal duty, and a sixth were not sure, or said that everyone is going to heaven. The rest, 58 percent, said that one must trust in Jesus Christ to get there. For this majority, then, it’s safe to say that we humans are not A+ students. We have to have help to make it.
And interestingly, the ratio of those who thought they would go to heaven versus those who said they were going to hell was 17-to-1. Is this ratio true to life? Are most of us going to end up in heaven?
The Lord Jesus Christ had a different message; He said expect the ratio to be the other way around, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matt 7:13-4 NIV). If so many of us want to go to heaven, why was Christ so sobering? Because we are not preparing for the final.
The survey ended with this question, If what you believed about the next life was wrong, would you want to know? 66 percent said yes. This is important enough to think about right now. But are we really doing anything to prepare for this final? Are our beliefs about eternity right? Are they wrong?
The students who participated in the survey were invited to come to a free series of talks April 23 to 27, called Hope for Eternity. The Sycamore Reformed Presbyterian Church in Kokomo is bringing Edward Donnelly, a special speaker from Ireland, to discuss this very subject. He will give five talks about heaven and hell with follow-up discussion afterward. Everyone is invited to attend. If you have been wondering about eternity, come prepare for the true final, and not flunk out of life.
In the end, the analogy doesn’t wholly fit. In college you could miss some finals and scrape by. You could even flunk out and go on to do great things. But we cannot flunk out of existence and go on. And no one is getting a 4.0 GPA on life. Be prepared for the end, listen with an open mind and heart, come to Hope for Eternity, and find hope to live by, now and forever.
Sycamore Reformed Presbyterian Church is located at 300 E. Mulberry St, Kokomo. For more information call (765) 864-0850 or visit www.hopeforeternity.info.
This Sunday I found a note scrawled in crayon on my desk saying, “Please use this to help pay for Hope for Eternity advertising.” On top was a ten dollar bill. The young people want you to come. Will you?