Chris Papazis

Sense and Nonsense about Heaven and Hell [Part 2] – The Make Your Own Heaven Game

FUEL podcast, episode 1: Sense and Nonsense about Heaven & Hell


FUEL Podcast Transcript

Hello. My name is Chris Papazis. I am one of the Pastors at RockChurch, in East Peoria, IL. And it is my great pleasure to welcome you to the very first episode of the FUEL podcast.

Now, if you are not familiar with the FUEL Bible Study, let me share with you the basic concept. FUEL is RockChurch’s mid-week Bible study and the main need it is meant to address is the need to get our spiritual tanks refueled. Most would agree that this world can be draining sometimes. This world that we live in can deplete us – not only physically, but spiritually as well. And so, just like the purpose of FUEL in the natural world is to replenish energy so that something can continue to function. IE, we need to FUEL up our cars, or they will not take us where we need or want to go.

In that same way, we are in constant need of a spiritual FUEL up, to ensure our spiritual tank is full so we can live this life to the fullest. So that we can live our lives in the way that God originally intended.

It takes power to live for God. It takes power to love people who are sometimes unlovely. It takes power to raise our kids. Sometimes it takes power, just to get out of bed and do the things that are required of us on any given day.

And so, a couple of years ago, I had the desire to create a mid-week fueling station where people could come and soak in the Word of God. Get refreshed and refueled so they could go back into the rest of their week and finish stronger than they would have without it.

And it has been a wonderful experience. We have gone through several books of the Bible. Daniel, Jude, and Revelation. And we have also gone through the book – The Forgotten Way, by Ted Dekker and Bill Vanderbush. And it has been a wonderful time of fellowship and growth for those that attend. For me it has been one of the most personally fulfilling things that I have ever done and I have found myself better and stronger because of it.

So we’ve been going strong for just over 2 years now, but recently something began stirring in me. I have started to feel the need to start doing some additional topical teachings. And the inspiration behind this is the hunger that I see in people. Both the people that come to FUEL, and just the random people that I have met and conversed with throughout my life.

And so – I know that hunger is not just limited to our little study, but there are questions people have regarding the great issues of life. God. Heaven. Hell. The Bible. Jesus. How can a person be right with God? What is my responsibility to God? Is there even a God? Or, if there is, is it possible to know that for sure? Is there purpose? or is everything just random? What about other religions? Is Jesus really the only way to get to heaven? On and on it goes. And so, out of the hunger that I feel is out there, and after praying about it, I feel that my next step is to start this podcast and start talking and teaching on these topics that deeply interest so many people.

So I just want to welcome you. Welcome to this first episode. If you consider yourself a follower of Jesus Christ, it’s my hope that these teachings will strengthen and encourage you in your faith.

But also if you don’t consider yourself a follower of Christ, I just want to invite you and tell you that you’re welcome just to kind of hang out and listen to what we have to say. I know a lot of people are seeking so that’s what this is for. That’s what this podcast is all about so, welcome, welcome welcome.

So, that’s a little bit about me and a little bit about the podcast.

And now what I’d like to do – in the time that remains is just jump right in and start our first series.

Like I said, we are going to be exploring some of the deep topics of life on this show. And for our first topic I can think of no greater subject to begin on than the subject of the afterlife.

What happens to me when I die?

This is a universal question that I believe every person asks themselves at one time or another in their life. And so the title of our first series is going to be called Sense and Nonsense – A biblical look at Heaven and Hell

Yup. No easing into it with a light subject – we are going to go for it right off the bat.

And the reason why is simple. If heaven and hell exist there is no subject of greater importance for a person.

Steve Jobs said this “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share.”

Death is the destination that all humanity shares

Benjamin Franklin said, “there were only two things certain in life – Death and Taxes.”

On Jan 22nd, 1997 the satire news site the ONION ran the following headline
World Death Rate Holding Steady At 100 Percent

Nobody gets out of this life alive. When we are younger we don’t worry too much about it, because it seems so far away – so far in the future. But as we get older we begin to realize that it is looming just ahead. And when we realize how fast a year goes by. How fast a decade goes by. How fast 30 years go by we begin to realize – hey this thing is happening. We are all heading to this one singular meeting. Woody Allen said, “I am not afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

And so because of the surety and imminence of death, heaven and hell become subjects of momentous importance.

So we are going to tackle this subject and we are going to do so in a series of podcasts, and the way we are going to navigate it is by using the book Sense & Nonsense About Heaven & Hell.

This is a great book co-written by Kenneth Boa and Robert Bowman Jr. – Both Biblical experts in their individual fields. Dr. Boa focusing on Spiritual formation and discipleship, while Dr. Bowman specializes in the study of apologetics.

These gentlemen have put together a gem of a book when it comes to answering the question = “Is what I believe about heaven and hell Biblical?” The goal of the book and of this series will be to help us think clearly and critically about this most intense and sensitive subject.

So, I’m a pastor and I’m coming to this, as you can tell, from a biblical perspective. And that’s another big question people ask. “Is the Bible trustworthy? Is it reliable?” throughout my studies over many years, I am 100% convinced that it is trustworthy. But that is a topic we will dig into on this show. So, hang in there if you have that as a question.

That’s the angle we are coming to this from. The next time we get together we will be looking at the first chapter, which is “The Make Your Own Heaven Game.” It’s going to be a fascinating study. We are going to look at things that people believe about the subject of heaven and are those beliefs biblical? There are some ideas that have entered into our culture and they really don’t line up with the Bible, so we’re going to take an in-depth look at that.

This is pastor Chris, I hope to see you next week. Until then – God bless, and have a great day!




New Year’s Day 2017 – Pastor’s Tag Team

I had a great time starting 2017 off right at RockChurch. On New Year’s Day, I had the privilege of participating in a “tag-team” service with my fellow RockChurch pastors. This is always one of our favorite times of the year – we all love doing this together and sharing our short messages with our amazing congregation. This year, my part was titled – Stir It Up! God has deposited some amazing things inside of you – this year determine that you are going to Stir It Up! 🙂

Entering the Rest of God – Hebrews, Session VII [Heb 4:1-13]

In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus gave what is known as The Great Invitation:

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest…”

There is rest for the weary soul of man. In this study, we explore obstacles to entering into God’s rest as well as practical help so that we do not miss all that God has for us.

(Hebrews 4:1-13)
Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.

For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.

For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST,” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS”; and again in this passage, “THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.”

Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS.” For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that.

So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

Fuel Bible Study – 3/1/2017

The Book of Hebrews: Session VII – The Rest of the Story


  1. Tonight’s session is the last one of the 1st Semester. We will take a 2-week break and pick back up on Wednesday, March 22nd
  2. FUEL podcast will launch this month. Covering the topic “Sense and Nonsense about Heaven and Hell”
    1. Posted on the FUEL FB page as well as

7 benefits of studying Hebrews

  1. Helps believers stand strong during times of persecution
  2. Presents a Highly exalted picture of Jesus
  3. Helps us more fully understand the Old Testament
  4. Helps us more fully understand and appreciate the gospel
  5. Help us understand Jesus’ role as our High Priest
  6. Learning from its author
  7. Helps us learn how to navigate hard passages


  1. Using the list of the 7 benefits of studying the book of Hebrews, share one thing that has made a positive impact on you.
  2. When it comes to Bible study, what does it mean to say that “Context is King”?
  3. “The best defense against heresy is the whole counsel of God.” How does verse by verse study of the entire Word of God protect against teachings that take things out of context?
  4. Can you think of any verses commonly taken out of context?
  5. How does knowing the context of the book of Hebrews help us understand its message?
  6. Read Matthew 11:28-30. In this passage, Jesus offers the world “The Great Invitation” An invitation to find rest for our souls. Right now would you consider yourself resting in Christ or are you “laboring and heavy laden” – stressed out, worn out, and burnt out?
  7. According to these same verses, what is the remedy? How can we appropriate the rest that Jesus promised us, and then purchased on the Cross for us?
  8. Hebrews 4:1 states “Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.” The word fear is from the Greek word phobeo [where we get the word Phobia from] what kind of fear should we have regarding not entering His rest?
  9. Entering God’s rest comes not from ceasing our activities but from ceasing from striving in our own strength and surrendering. Read Psalm 131:1-3. How does the illustration of a weaned child demonstrate how we enter into God’s rest?
  10. Hebrews 4:2 tells us that in order for the Word of God to profit us, it has to be mixed with faith in those who hear it. How do we “mix the Word with faith”?
  11. In verse 4:11 the writer uses the paradox “…Let us be diligent to enter that rest…” How can we be diligent in the way described and ensure we enter God’s rest?
  12. Read verses 4:12-13 – What are these verses saying about the Word of God?

“Life works best when lived from God’s rest”

Chase The Lion – Developing A Lion Chaser Mentality

– Lessons from Benaiah
– In a pit with a lion on a snowy day
– The grasshopper mentality
– 3 traits of a lion chaser
– Dismantling your lions


Locked and Loaded – Going Nuclear

Locked and Loaded – When soldiers say this they are making a declaration: “I am ready. I am prepared for the battle that is to come.” The Bible tells us that as followers of Christ, we too are in a battle. However, the fight is not against people – it is against the spiritual forces of darkness – unseen, and yet very real. Are you prepared? It’s time to Lock and Load!

This message covers the believer’s map, compass, first aid pouch, and something called the Nuclear Option

Locked and Loaded – Weapons, Resources, and Equipment

Locked and Loaded – When soldiers say this they are making a declaration: “I am ready. I am prepared for the battle that is to come.” The Bible tells us that as followers of Christ, we too are in a battle. However, the fight is not against people – it is against the spiritual forces of darkness – unseen, and yet very real. Are you prepared? It’s time to Lock and Load!

This message covers some of the weapons, resources, and equipment God has given us in support of His Mission in our lives.

Locked and Loaded – The Battle

Locked and Loaded – When soldiers say this they are making a declaration: “I am ready. I am prepared for the battle that is to come.” The Bible tells us that as followers of Christ, we too are in a battle. However, the fight is not against people – it is against the spiritual forces of darkness – unseen, and yet very real. This message covers: The Battle, The Enemy, The Victory, Our Authority, and The Mission

At The Movies: Spiderman

During this three part series we talked about some of our favorite movies and how they teach us about issues like overcoming giants, not wasting our God-given potential, and as illustrated by Peter Parker in the movie Spiderman – dealing with and overcoming resistance.{position:relative;width:100%;height:0;padding-top:56.25%;}>iframe{position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;}

Hebrews, Session VI: Staying faithful, part 2

Fuel Bible Study

The Book of Hebrews: Session VI – Staying faithful, Part 2

  1. Hebrews 3:719 Positive power of a negative example; Encourage one another to prevent hardening of heart; deceitfulness of sin

Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME, AS IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS, WHERE YOUR FATHERS TRIED Me BY TESTING Me, AND SAW MY WORKS FOR FORTY YEARS. “THEREFORE I WAS ANGRY WITH THIS GENERATION, AND SAID, ‘THEY ALWAYS GO ASTRAY IN THEIR HEART, AND THEY DID NOT KNOW MY WAYS’; AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, ‘THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.'” Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, while it is said, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS, AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME.” For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.  (Hebrews 3:7-19) 

  1. What is the main theme of chapter 3?
  2. How would you define faithfulness?
  3. There seems to be a crisis of faithlessness in our culture today? Why do you think that is so?
  4. In chapter 3 the writer uses 3 examples to make his point about staying faithful. Name 1 of the 3.
  5. What are your thoughts concerning the faithfulness of Moses as the leader of the Children of Israel during the time of the Exodus?
  6. In what way(s) was Jesus faithful during his life on earth?
  7. Can you think of a time when Jesus demonstrated his faithfulness to you? Encourage the people in your group by sharing it with them
  8. “To be forewarned is to be forearmed” How does knowing that you will experience times when you will be tempted to be unfaithful in your walk with Christ prepare you to resist the temptation?
  9. Have you ever been tempted to act in an unfaithful way towards Jesus? If you feel comfortable doing so, share your insights with the group
  10. Even when we blow it, when we come to God with a contrite heart, he is faithful to dust us off, clean us up, and continually work with us until we get it right. How has this worked itself out in your life?
  11. Another title of tonight’s message could be “The Positive Power of a Negative Example” or “Their Pain our Gain” Can you think of a time when somebody in your life (parent, sibling, friend, co-worker, etc…) displayed negative behavior, but when you saw the consequences, it influenced you to do the opposite?
  12. It is wise to learn from our own mistakes. Why is it wiser still, to learn from the mistakes of others?
  13. Proverbs 4:23 says “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” Break down the meaning of this verse with your group. Then share ways you can “keep your heart with all diligence.”
  14. Encouragement is in short supply in our world. It seems many people feel that they can elevate themselves by tearing others down. What are some creative ways we can encourage others in our circle or sphere of influence? (include both believers and non-believers)
  15. How can habitual sin deceive somebody and cause their heart to harden?
  16. As we finish chapter 3 answer the following questions
  17. Is there a promise to claim?
  18. Is there a warning to heed?
  19. Is there a takeaway to apply to your life?
  20. Is there something new (or something made fresh to you) concerning God in our last 2 studies?


Stay faithful, even when it’s hostile!


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