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What is heaven really like? (Part 1)

The story is told of a Scottish Presbyterian minister who met an angel one day. The preacher had one very important question to ask the angel. The question was: “Will there be golf in heaven?” 
The angel replied, “I’ll have to ask my superior and get back to you on that one.”
So the angel went away and came back the next day. And the preacher asked him again, “So, is there going to be golf in heaven?”
And the angel responded, “I’ve got good news and bad news.”
The preacher said, “Well, give me the good news first.”
“Alright,” said the angel, “The good news is: there is golf in heaven.”
And the preacher said, “That’s great! So what’s the bad news?” 
The angel replied, “The bad news is that you are teeing off tomorrow morning at 9 o’clock.”
Now, I imagine that many of you have heard that story before. What I find interesting is that it is a “good news, bad news” kind of story. For the Christian, it really ought to be a “good news, better news” kind of story. As Christians, we do not have to fea…
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What are we to pray for the dead?

The ultimate question we come to today is perhaps the most unusual of all those I received from the congregation: What are we to pray for the dead? I say unusual because most Protestants traditionally do not believe in praying for the dead. And yet, I think there are arguments for it.
My thinking on this subject has been guided by my literary mentor, C. S. Lewis. The last book that Lewis wrote before his death was entitled Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer. In that book, Lewis has a fictitious friend and correspondent, Malcolm, to whom he writes letters on various subjects, but mostly about prayer. In Letter XX Lewis responds to Malcolm’s question about whether or not he prays for the dead. Here is Lewis’ answer:
Of course I pray for the dead. The action is so spontaneous, so all but inevitable, that only the most compulsive theological case against it would deter me. And I hardly know how the rest of my prayers would survive if those for the dead were forbidden. At our age the majo…