Martin Luther said, “It is pleasing to the dear God whenever thou rejoicest or laughest from the bottom of thy heart.” And who does that more frequently and sincerely than children? Talking to kids about Heaven was the focus of an interview I did with Greg Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, for his radio program about my book Heaven for Kids.
Greg and his wife Cathe certainly get how tough life can be. Years ago, Greg called me after his son Christopher died to talk about Heaven, and we have talked about Christopher and Heaven many times since. I always enjoy our conversations, in part because we talk about deep and meaningful subjects, including grief and suffering, but we also have a lot of fun together.
At the end of the interview, Greg and I spent some time ribbing each other. I asked his permission while we were recording to use some of the humorous outtakes, which wouldn’t be included in the official Harvest broadcast, and put them on our website. I thought people might enjoy hearing the kinds of things that are done in interviews that never make it to the public, but are just harmless fun.
As the years have passed, God has enabled me to experience more frequent times of happiness even in the midst of difficulties. His gift of laughter is a huge part of that; in fact, sometimes it’s like a ladder that helps me climb out of deep holes. A close friend once told me, “I always know when you’re hurting. You joke and laugh more.”
I will grant that I am an unusual person; however, Greg is one of the most unusual people I have ever known! Several years ago when I was visiting Harvest Church, at each of the three services, he introduced me and announced I had written a “new” book. These are the three titles:
Years later, we’re still joking about burgers. In fact, Greg asked me about hamburgers in Heaven at the end of our interview, and he recently shared that clip from our EPM website on Twitter. Unfortunately, a few commenters didn’t seem to understand that we were having fun. One said, “Seriously?” Another said, “I only care about seeing Jesus in Heaven. Anything else is superfluous and irrelevant.”
I do, in fact, believe there are a lot more important questions about Heaven to cover than whether we’ll eat hamburgers! But as Charles Spurgeon said, “Those who are ‘beloved of the Lord’ must be the most happy and joyful people to be found anywhere upon the face of the earth.” And I believe it pleases Jesus when, in childlike faith, we delight in and look forward to the wonderful home He’s prepared for us.
You can listen to my full interview with Greg, or listen to the parts that interest you below:
1. How are things going personally for you as grieve? Do you see Heaven differently because of your experience of grief? Why should we think deeply about Heaven?
2. Is Heaven going to be a boring place?
3. What is the biggest misunderstanding kids have about Heaven? Won't life on the New Earth be even better than our present life?
4. How do we train young minds to see Heaven as real? Will this book help kids understand Heaven is real?
5. What is Heaven? Where is Heaven? Most importantly, how do we get to Heaven?
6. Why do you invite kids to have their parents take them on an excursion to the junk yard? Why does investing in eternity matter? Why should Christians be generous in this life?
7. Will we be different than angels in Heaven? Do we become angels?
8. When a child experiences death and loss, is that a good time to begin a conversation about Heaven?
9. What happens to pets when they die? Might there be talking animals in Heaven?
10. Should children's understanding of Heaven be based on a progressive explanation?
11. What is the most challenging question to answer about Heaven? What about sports in Heaven?
12. How can investing in others' success during playing sports be a preview of Heaven?
13. When you order a burger, what do you order on it? Will there be hamburgers in Heaven?
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch
Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.