Meet Me in Heaven!
Nathan Warren Gourley
November 15, 1981 - April 28, 2005
Son of Larry & Janet Gourley
Grand nephew of Clayton & Jean Harriger
On Friday, June 11, 2004, a day of mourning was observed in the United States for former President Ronald Reagan who had passed from time into eternity on June 5th. Special services were observed in Washington DC and in California at the site of the President Reagan Library where the former president's body will be interred.
A common theme in the observances was reference to Ronald Reagan's faith -- not just in general terms -- but very explicit in reference to his faith being centered in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. His witness to this experience was shared by many, including close family members, and their expressed gratitude for the impact his faith had made upon their own lives. Many songs of faith were sung and/or played which spoke of the hope we have for eternity through Jesus Christ -- songs such as "Just As I Am," "Amazing Grace," and "Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling."
In the course of the remarks that were made were those which referred to Ronald Reagan now being "home" and that he has been "set free" -- for 10 years his devoted wife, Nancy, had cared for him as he became a victim of Alzheimer's disease. Our blessed hope according to the promises of God is to dwell eternally in a place where there is no pain, no disease, no grief and sorrow of any kind, and no more death! (Revelation 21).
Much information related to Ronald Reagan can be viewed at Reagan Ranch -- also at this site are statements made on the occasion of former President Reagan's death. [Use return feature on your browser to return here.]
Below are some remarks and an invitation to meet me in this most wonderful place we refer to as Heaven.
"Let's meet at ________ for lunch at noon."
"Great -- we'll see you then."
How many times over the years have we been called or made a call to meet someone somewhere for a lunch at noon or for an evening meal and the experience was always a memorable and blessed one. Or in some cases it was one of those special moments we had someone come to our home or we went to theirs just for an evening of visiting with each other without interruption of TV, radio, or a stereo system blasting away!
In our years of serving a number of congregations in Kentucky and Western Pennsylvania, Jean and I were many times blessed as we were invited to meet with people for a meal. One older couple in our later years of ministry at Triangle UM Parish would call and invite us to go to eat at Red Lobster in the Altoona PA area. And sometimes we were invited to come and share a meal in their home. It was always an exciting experience as we got together with these folks who were among the most supportive of their pastor and church that we ever knew over the years.
To everyone who reads this, I want to issue an invitation -- I want you to meet me in heaven! Will you make plans for that?
Now I need to make something clear -- if by chance a very few people out of 3 of the 12 congregations which I have served over a period of 40 years should happen to read this, their response will likely be, "I sure don't want to meet that guy in heaven. I couldn't stand him when he was our preacher!" Too bad -- heaven is where I'm going, and if you don't like it, there's only one other place for you to go (Luke 16:19-31) and according to what my very best Friend has said about it, you're not going to be very happy there!
Just a bit of explanation at this point -- you see, over the years of ministry my main job, as God plainly spelled it out, was to preach and teach His eternal truth. And what happened in some rare instances was that a few people got some light they weren't willing to accept and when I took a strong position for truth -- what was right vs. what was wrong on issues and situations, they insisted that the wrong was right (Isaiah 5:20), and I became the enemy! So sometimes they would plot and conspire, disrupt a church or the whole parish, complain to the District Superintendent, or do some boycotting of meetings. Actually this breed didn't really want a pastor -- they wanted a puppet! Usually they made no secret of the fact that they hated certain parts of my digestive system with a passion and sometimes would pressure others in the church to go along with their anti-preacher crusade! One lady told me of such pressure she and her husband had experienced by putting it this way -- they were confronted with, "Whose side are you on anyway -- ours or the preacher's?" And if these wanna be "puppeteers" could have done it, they probably would have performed a hocus-pocus dance, looked at me cross-eyed, and aimed a Harry Potter "magic wand" at me and I would have been
But apart from the few aforementioned individuals who would give a thumbs down on my invitation, I say again -- meet me in heaven, OK?
Now someone may say, "Hey, Clayt, how do you know you're going to heaven? You won't know until you die which way you are going, and where you will end up!" Sorry friend, but I positively know right now and here's why:
First, many years ago the Holy Spirit convicted me of my sins, and I repented of my sins and accepted Jesus into my life as Savior and Lord. A short time after that He called me into the ministry to preach His eternal and unchanging Word.
The steps in this experience were:
repentance (Luke 13:3); conversion (Matthew 18:2,3); being born again (John 3:3)
receiving Jesus into my life and believing on Him (John 1:12,13)
walk in light (1 John 1:7) and grow spiritually (1 Peter 2:1-3)
engage in daily prayer (Matthew 7:7-11) and the serious study of God's Word (2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16,17)
worship in fellowship with other followers of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:19-27)
abiding in fellowship every day with Jesus (John 15:1-27)
growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus (2 Peter 3:17,18)
Second, by experiencing the above there are some things that God does:
He forgives totally (1 John 1:9)
He gives peace (Romans 5:1,2)
He makes life brand new (2 Corinthians 5:17)
He gives me a new nature (2 Peter 1:2-4)
He bears witness that I am now a child of God (Romans 8:16,17)
He works in and through my life (Philippians 2:12,13)
Third, in light of all of the foregoing workings of God in my life I now have the rock solid assurance that I'm heaven bound! Here is what I have by way of future expectation and reality:
a place prepared by Jesus (John 14:1-3)
an inheritance (1 Peter 1:3-5)
a trouble free environment in which to live (Revelation 21:1-7)
getting acquainted with persons who were part of God's wonderful purposes down through human history (Matthew 8:11)
reunion with family members and friends who served Jesus in their earthly life (1 Thessalonians 2:19; 4:13-18)
Yes, I have a confession to make! I don't deserve this high and honored privilege of going to heaven when my journey on earth is over or when Jesus returns -- whichever shall take place first. But He loved you and me so much that He bore our sins in His own body on the cross (1 Peter 2:21-25), was made a curse on our behalf (Galatians 3:13), and made to be sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21) in order to fully satisfy God's justice regarding sinful offences -- as a result we can become righteous and made acceptable in the presence of God (Ephesians 1:3-6).
So, how about it? Will you plan to meet me in heaven? We'll have a great time! Oooops! Sorry about that slip up in the use of that word -- what I really mean is, we'll have a great forever!
Now if it should happen that you are among the majority which is caught up in the spirit of this world living for self and the gaining of those things which are material in nature, and just as it is with that majority, you have no assurance concerning your eternal destiny -- that is, what is going to happen when you die, then why not review those steps listed above -- and why not ask God to have mercy and forgive you of your sins -- and why not ask Jesus to come into your life to be your Savior and your Lord -- and why not tell Him you want to live the rest of your life under His guidance and control -- and then plan to meet me in heaven, OK?
And it's quite alright to email me and let me know you will be among the number of those of us who are planning to meet in heaven. That email address is at the bottom of this page.
Don't forget, I'll be looking for you!
Clayton D. Harriger
For texts of above cited Scriptures go to:
Looking At God's Word on This Matter
For related subjects see:
Reminders When Mansion Shopping!
How to Become a Christian
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