My brother-in-law Mark is an amazing man. More so now even than a few years ago, when he was truly tremendous. He was always our favourite Uncle Mark (he pays the kids to tell people this) but now he is also a walking miracle. Its not just the fact that a couple of years ago he survived a stroke which could have killed him, and threatened to leave him unable to walk and talk, and that now he is back plumbing and probably healthier than ever. The fact is, Mark went in for brain surgery on a nerve condition that caused him excruciating and constant pain and while he was in there, God did a little heart surgery on him as well. Mark is a different man than he was before he went into hospital for that operation. I’m trying to be polite here – now, I really loved Mark before his operation – but, he was, well…different than he is now. He’s…really nice now. And gracious. And loving and non-judgemental. And I can honestly say, before Mark had his heart surgery – er, brain surgery – I had never really met someone who authentically fits the phrase “on fire for God”. Heffo (as Mark is known) is lit up from the inside by this constant passion to share God’s love that just disarms people. I fall back in wonder at the things he does every day to win people to the life he believes everyone deserves…a life loved and loving Heffo’s Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Heffo has been writing to pastor and author Darrin Hufford. Hufford likes Heffo and what he has to say, and even though Heffo seems surprised by this, those of us who know Heffo’s story aren’t. Heffo is the real deal. He’s been sending me his writings, and I love them. I’ve published one of his letters to Darrin here before, and here is his latest offering. Interesting, considering the current controversy surrounding Rob Bell’s new book.
I give you Heffo Plumbs The Depths – #2. The No-Brainer Of God’s Love.
Sorry to take up your time and I know that you must be busy, but I have something that I want to confess because I think you are one of the few people I know who may understand. My confession is “out of the box” and may sound far-fetched but please bare with me and I’ll try and explain.
I’ve heard you talk about your God-given love for people, and this is why I choose to tell you. This is it –
I don’t think that millions of people are going to hell (let me explain).
Six years ago I had a major operation in the centre of my brain and as a result, I had a stroke. I was left with a very bad memory and the inability to get my head around things as easily. My communication skills aren’t as good as they used to be.
Anyway, what I want to tell you is that the good news is that although I’ve lost the ability to use my head for a lot of things, my heart has kicked in and gone into overdrive. It’s like it grew ten times its size that day (just like the Grinch!) and I have learned to follow it, because that’s where my Father is. It’s what he sees when he looks at me and it’s what he speaks to me through. I cannot deny it, because denying my heart would be like denying my Father.
After the operation I would tell people that I wasn’t able to understand it, but I’m just so in love with God!
They would just look at me with a look that said “Good on you Heffo…you looney” or tell me it sounded a bit on the “sick” side.
Now, the point that I am making is that my heart is telling me that millions of people are not going to hell. I’ve just spent days searching the scriptures and going through my concordance, looking up the Greek and Hebrew meanings trying to find a scripture to back my theory. To be honest, this theory (as I like to call it) can be argued with just as many scriptures opposing it as I have confirming it. This leaves me with no choice other than to listen to my new heart that my Father has given me – and it screams “No”.
I recognise the fingerprint of my Father, and sense his fragrance in the most unlikely places, and on the most unlikely people; even people who will unashamedly tell you they are not religious at all. In the process of talking to them and getting to know them, they can sometimes (even by accident) show me their heart for others, their friends, family or injustices done…and I see Christ. I see their compassion and love for others, I see their hearts and for this reason my heart breaks for them when I hear a preacher clicking his fingers as fast as he can, telling me that people are going to hell “this fast”. The other day, I was talking to a bloke who told me about his great compassion for spreading the gospel because people are going to hell. It may seem crazy but my heart is ripping when I hear this and it screams “No”.
Even now I want to chuck in a couple of scriptures that help support my theory, but I will refrain because what I am telling you can be argued about or debated when read from a book – but this is written in my heart, and therefore to me at least it is fact.
I am told that I should keep my theory to myself and that people already think that I’m loopy, but I will explode and there will be Heffo guts everywhere if I don’t declare to the whole world the unbridled love God has for us. 1Corinthians 9 verse 6.
How can I read 1 Corinthians 13 and believe all the things that love is, knowing that God is love and then add to it that he will send those who don’t believe to a place where they will be tortured, tormented and be in agony forever? To me to read all of the following scriptures and then tell me that millions are going to hell is very contradictory.
1 Corinthians 13 v1-8, 13 v 13, 14 v 1,
Romans 8 v 35-39, 5 v 8-10, 5v 5
Jeremiah 29 v 11-13, 31 v 3
Psalms 40 v 5, 139 v 17-18, 36 v 5-7, 91 v14
1 John 3 v 1
Titus 3 v 4-5
Ephesians 3 v 17-19, 2 v 4-6, 5 v 2
Deuteronomy 7 v 6-9, 10v 14-15, 23 v 5
John 15 v 9 –17, 14 v 21, 3 v 16
Zephaniah 3 v 17
Galatians 2 v 20
2 Thessalonians 2 v 16-17
I was going to tell you stories about all of the people that I have read about, heard about or know who possess all of the qualities that love is but who don’t necessarily recognise Christ (yet); heart warming stories, stories of compassion, bravery and love, stories about my fellow Australians who I’m just so proud of and humbled by. Stories of people who it appears are hard and tough but have a heart of gold. If I did, this would be one long letter.
So let me confess this; I figure that according to God’s word the main requirement for salvation is to believe in Him and that God’s heart is that we should know Him. Is it not possible that if a person believes in all the things love is (and we know that God is love) that they whether they know it or not my actually believe in God? Is it not possible that the main reason people reject God is because their objection is not actually toward God himself, but to the God that they have been told about? If they were presented with the true God I believe they would undoubtedly recognise Him straight away.
Have we not all said when we have learned a truth about our Father that it was as if we had always known?
Maybe I’m just too hopeful, but doesn’t love hope all things? Maybe I am nuts and I’ve lost it. Maybe my pastor was right when he said to me that God had just told him that I am deceived and don’t understand the gospel. But could it be that God chooses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise? The thing about people who are nuts is that you can’t tell them that they are nuts, so bring it on! My life with Christ is not always easy…but I LOVE IT !
I’m Heffo…I’m a plumber, I love my Father, and I’m crazy.