Heavenly Tweets

Mark RandallAs most of you know, my mentor and close personal friend Mark Randall went home to be with the Lord after a long battle with congestive heart failure (CHF).  While preparing for his memorial service, I began to write some tweets complete with hash-tags I imagined and know he we would say based on our 31 year friendship.  I sat in my office with tears in my eyes laughing as I wrote.  “A cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22, NIV).  I thought if the tweets made me smile and laugh, they might be a blessing to others.  I decided to include them in the memorial service as well as share them with you today.  May we all be as present, focused, and dedicated as Mark in his relationship with Jesus and his ministry…

To close today, I wanted to share a series of heavenly tweets I have received from mark since he went home to be with Jesus. Apparently, his tech savvy has grown and I want to share the tele-tweets with you today…

  • By now you know I’m gone – #I made it   #pain-free   #halleLUjah
  • Perfect sight – #no more lost reading glasses
  • Guess what – no need for money in heaven – #no more lost checkbook
  • Jesus is more amazing than I could ever imagine – #my king    #speechless
  • Heaven is so beautiful – #Grand Canyon is just a hole in the ground
  • Just saw Mom Dad and Jay – #family reunion    #so happy
  • Worshipped the Lord with Jerry and Tim – #my voice is aMAZing
  • Just corrected Apostle Stephen on some theology – #I’m always right
  • Just saw my reflection in the golden streets – #can you say “hot”
  • Ran into the thief on the cross – tried to get him saved again – #old habits die hard
  • Going to a banquet – #cheese    #mountains and mountains of cheese   #I feel like I’m in heaven    #cheese sandwiches
  • Tell my kids I love them – #the greatest group in the world    #world changers    #the purpose of my life
  • Tracy is the best sister ever – #amazing    #gone through so much    #strong and godly
  • Listen to Pastor Art – #greatest pastor in the world    #don’t make me come down there
  • Students don’t forget morning prayer – #7:14   #I will come find you
  • This service had better not last more than an hour – #didn’t you learn anything?
  • Heaven is real – it’s all real – #don’t miss it    #don’t miss it for anything    #help get everybody you can here.

Don’t Pull the Pin, Part 3

My spirit was deeply stirred when I first heard the vision given by a Hope Harbor Church staff member regarding the grenades of deception, distraction, and dis-ease the enemy has been hurling at Christians hoping that they will pick them up, pull the pin, and set off a chain reaction of devastation in their lives. As a pastor I see many believers today pulling the pin rather than ignoring the efforts of the enemy to steal the abundant and victorious life God has for them. The blog series, Don’t Pull the Pin, is designed to help you understand the nature of the grenades and how to overcome the temptation to act on those devices or schemes. 

In today’s blog I want to discuss the grenade of distraction. Unlike deception which is designed to outright deceive the believer into wrong decisions and behavior, the grenade of distraction is designed to steal and disrupt our focus, concentration, diligence, and follow through so that we are fruitless, frustrated, and defeated believers. Distraction literally means to divide the mind or the attention, to block concentration through amusement, entertainment, or diversion. We have all seen the carnage caused these days by drivers on the road distracted by loud music, passengers, eating or drinking, or texting. Our lives face disruption or destruction as well when we are distracted from a holy concentration on the priorities of God. Too often, our breakthroughs are delayed not by God’s will, but because we did not stay focused or single-minded long enough to get the job done.

We are all subject to loss when we allow ourselves to be distracted by the enemy. We lose opportunities when we are not focused. We lose revelations when we are not focused. We miss vital signals from the Lord when we are distracted. Many believers have made enormous mistakes just because they could not pick up the still small voice warning them about the direction they were headed or the choices they were making. We miss deadlines and fail to complete vital tasks when we are not focused. We compromise our very destiny when we are not focused. The amazing plans God has for our lives will never materialize if we can’t stay focused long enough to pursue those plans. We lose a measure of effectiveness when we are not focused. We all know how hard it is to do something with excellence while being interrupted repeatedly. We miss divine appointments for our lives when we are not focused. The Lord has ordained a series of divine appointments along our path that are designed to make a huge impact and difference in our lives but too often we are distracted or apathetic and miss out on a life-changing encounter. Finally, we fail to complete our objectives when war are not focused. Life becomes a series of half-hearted efforts and half-completed projects. We could become great but we never seem to be able to finish anything.

If you desire to overcome the grenade of distraction and stay focused and productive in your Christian life there are some things you must do. First, make Jesus the clear focus of your life. This one quality decision made daily will keep the rest of your life vision clear and in balance. Second, focus on the unseen realm. For the believer, the seen realm is not the ultimate authority in life. You may see and hear things in the natural realm that demand your attention but you do not have to give in to them. Third focus on God’s instruction. Keeping God’s Word in our eyes, ears, and hearts will help keep us focused on what really matters. Fourth, focus on right thinking. When we think right our vision is right. Blurry spiritual vision is often the result of fuzzy and unscriptural thinking. Finally, focus on heavenly things rather than temporal or carnal things. Carnal Christians tend to be undisciplined and unfocused in their lives and their efforts are constantly sidetracked by the appetites and screaming of the flesh to be catered to or fed.

The next time the enemy tosses the grenade of distraction your way, have the wisdom to stay focused on the things of God instead. We all have too much to do in the Kingdom of God to be distracted even momentarily from our high call and destiny. When you see that grenade flying through the air just turn your attention to the voice of the Word of God and the Spirit of God and make up your mind that you are not going to be distracted from God’s best for your life.  

Leaving Podunkville

Podunkville is a mindset of mediocrity indicated by a lack of excellence in life, work, or ministry. Although I am not speaking of a literal town (“podunk” means any small and insignificant inaccessible town or village – and there are towns literally called Podunk like Podunk, Vermont), it is nonetheless where many people – God’s people – live and dwell when it comes to their personal standards and thinking. It’s obviously fine to live in a small town many might deem to be insignificant or hard to reach, but we don’t have to let an attitude of Podunkville live in us.

I’ve always been amazed that some Christians can perform at extremely high levels of competence and excellence in the secular world or in private endeavors, but have the attitude that the Church does not warrant or deserve such diligence. I could not disagree more (in fact it is one of my pet peeves to be sure). The Church and the Lord who purchased her with his blood, deserves the highest levels of performance an individual can give. As Spurgeon used to write at the bottom of his sermons when finishing early Sunday mornings, “Jesus deserves my very best.”

The concept that, “it’s good enough for the Church,” couldn’t be further from the truth and nothing could be more inconsistent with the standard of the “all in” mindset that Jesus demonstrated on the cross over two-thousand years ago. He held nothing back from us and we should hold nothing back from him. In reality, our efforts in the world or private life should be straining to rise to the level of our efforts in the Church (and not the other way around).

Let me encourage you today to pack up your attitude, thought life, and standards and move out of Podunkville forever. Keep in mind that eternal souls are on the line and nothing should motivate us more to do the most excellent job we can for the Lord, His ministry, and His kingdom. Let the Word of God inspire you to give the Lord your very best: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus…” (Colossians 3:17, NIV). How about it? Like Jesus, let’s also go “all in” for the glory of God in these last days.