The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
The Bible says there is rejoicing in heaven when we do something worthy of God's character.
Last week we talked about Jesse Owens and his fabulous long-jump record. When Jesse won the gold medal in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, his direct opponent was German LUTZ LONG.
The crowd wanted to see them face off; after all, Jesse was black and Lutz was a white German. The two athletes talked and discovered that they had a lot in common; both were Christians and loved the same God.
That was the birth of an unbreakable friendship. After Lutz died in a concentration camp in Sicily during World War Two, Jesse financed his son's education in America. The world was deeply moved by this demonstration of love.
It is no lie to say that heaven also rejoiced in that friendship. The Bible says there is rejoicing in heaven when we do something worthy of God's character. The angels are our "audience"; they see what we're doing and learn from it.
When something good happens, they shout and rejoice with us as we do when our favourite team scores a goal. Well, you know what I mean.
The greatest rejoicing in heaven occurs when someone is converted to Christianity. Then there is a great celebration and joy beyond comparison.
Every person who receives the Lord Jesus becomes a citizen of heaven, and is received with a joy comparable only to what he will feel when he finally arrives there in person, with a glorified body.
That's why we persevere in our struggle to witness to people and rejoice when a friend believes in Jesus. That joy is unequalled, unique and overflowing.
Think for a moment. How many moments of rejoicing have you caused in heaven? How many people have come to know the Lord through your witness? How many of your actions have caused admiration in heaven?
How often have the celestial spectators gasped at your accomplishments? I hope that our "cloud of witnesses" aren't bored, as we are by those matches in which nothing happens.
I hope they never have to cover their eyes because of our foolishness. I hope that after 20, 30, 40 or 70 years of watching us, they don't have to say: "Well, I haven't learned anything." I hope that there is rejoicing in heaven when they witness my life and yours.