Chapter 12—The Life Everlasting
1. Why might Christians who “have it pretty good” in here and now not think much about Heaven?
2. Discuss the opening statement on p. 176, “Why is it that Christians today have such contempt for otherworldliness?”
3. Using Matthew 22:20 and other verses cited on pages 178-179 discuss the immensely practical question of knowing others in Heaven.
4. Discuss the communal aspects of Heaven and Kenny’s opening view of a privatized cubicle of his dreams.
5. Discuss the connection between the “holy catholic church” and ‘everlasting life” using the book’s point that “the church is going to heaven” and our life in the church down here is preparation for a life with these people in heaven as well.
6. Spend considerable time discussing the life-altering approach of seeing heaven as the goal of life rather than a reward for life or a consolation prize after the real event down here. How would this classic way of seeing everlasting life alter our view of life here? What are the problems that can come with this view?
7. Open a discussion of how we can see heaven in ways that are less then accurate (fishing in a stream, backpacking without pain etc.) but actually portray something true about heaven. Invite views at this point that might even be funny but actually portray a truth about heaven—after each list on the board what it tells us that is probably true about heaven.
8. Lead an extended sharing time where your students tell about people they look forward to seeing in heaven. Make this a time of repositioning thoughts toward the afterlife and the joy of everlasting life. Then turn the stories to “questions I hope to have answered in heaven.” Finally, have several students describe what they’d like to say to Jesus Christ when they met Him face to face.”
9. Have the group read the “What about us” ending to this chapter to themselves as a closing meditation, or have someone prepared to read it aloud for the group. Consider closing by having someone read the prayer at the end for the group, or praying their own prayer based on the response we have to this part of Christian beliefs.
I invite you to post your own ideas on this chapter by adding a comment to this post to help other leaders. -- Keith Drury