Vlog Post: Two new videos on Heaven!

Well friends, I don’t know about you, but I am so excited to think about all that God has in store for us in the coming Kingdom! It is fun to think and dream about what it will be like to live in that glorified state. It is also exciting to think about the wonder and beauty that we will be surrounded by in paradise restored. Yes, the longing of all of creation is for the full manifestation of the sons and daughters of God so that creation can blossom into its full glory! That was the longing of the the prophets, and it is the promise of God!!!

View A New Body For A New Home- Part 3
At: http://youtu.be/gDd3SproutE

View Paradise Restored- Part 1
At: http://youtu.be/HPPQJ4yuCco

Longing for that day!


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Heaven: A New Body For A New Home-Parts 1 and 2

Well gang, I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait to experience the glorious liberty of the children of God in the coming Kingdom! Part of that glory will be the gift of a new body! A body like our Lord’s! It will be perfect in every way and perfectly suited to reveal Him and His glory through us forever! That’s what I share about in the following videos.

May you be blessed with the thrill of anticipating the glories to come!

view Heaven: A New Body For A New Home- Part 1
at: http://youtu.be/X9nzDO_QiHs

view Heaven: A New Body For A New Home-Part 2
at: http://youtu.be/IB5gi7w_OCM

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Where is heaven? Part 1

So have you ever stopped to think about where heaven is? As we continue looking at this subject, you may be surprised to find out that “present” heaven is closer than we realize, but also not a permanent dwelling for us forever. In fact, the Scripture is full of passages that reveal to us where “heaven” is ultimately going to be! You may be pleasantly surprised!

View Heaven: Where is heaven? Part 1
at: http://youtu.be/-j9GmDB8Xw4

Longing for heaven!


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A True Purpose Driven Life

A true purpose driven life
2 Timothy 1:9-10

9 He saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before times eternal.*
10 This has now been revealed by the manifestation* of our Savior Jesus Christ who abolished death and brought to light [both] life and immortality through the Good News.


Much has been written and discussed for years about Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life.  So many other things evolved out of that theme all the way from the Purpose Driven Church to purpose driven softball!  Everybody at some point wants to know the reason for their existence.  Churches are really big into finding a “vision from God” and spelling that out into nice vision/purpose statements, so that folks who are church shopping (or hopping as the case may be), can get an idea of who they are and where they are going.  Teams of leaders will spend hours upon hours in prayer and on retreats trying to tweak these statements into something very impressive sounding to the church looking consumer.  If you are going to catch fish, you must bait a good hook to snag and bag them!


Yet, several thousand years ago, the apostle Paul shed some light on this whole purpose/meaning issue; not just for churches, but for every human being ever created!   In fact, he let us know that our purpose was revealed and given to us long before the ages themselves were ever created!


This is what he shares with us in this passage from His last letter to Timothy.  Let’s just break it down in a very simplified manner.


“He saved us”.  This salvation was not just for a select few, but for all humanity.  He did it.  We could not save ourselves.  The salvation Paul speaks of is a comprehensive term that involves our justification, sanctification, and ultimate glorification.  It covers our complete and total forgiveness, our reconciliation to God, and our restoration as the crown of His creation.  It also includes the complete restoration of the entire cosmos!


When He saved us, He simultaneously “called us with a holy calling.”  When God saved us, He called us to holiness.  Holiness is not another term for becoming a puritanical, legalistic, prude.  Holiness simply stated is Christlikeness!  It is the beauty that Christ is in Himself being expressed through us.


Obviously, this glorious salvation was in no way earned or accomplished by anything any one of us could do.  It was not, “according to our works”.  So, this salvation and unspeakably glorious calling flowed from another source.  What was it?  Here is where Paul drops the bombshell!


He tells us that Abba saved us and called us with this holy calling, “according to HIS OWN PURPOSE and GRACE.  Ah!  This is awesome!   But it gets better!


This purpose and grace was “given to US…IN CHRIST JESUS!”  Where is our purpose revealed?  In Jesus!  He Himself is the goal!  We were created to become like Him!  And what would we need to accomplish this purpose? GRACE!!!  Where was this grace going to be found?  IN CHRIST!!!


Now listen to this.  When was God’s purpose for all humanity determined?  BEFORE the ages were ever created!


You see, this all flows back to the loving, lively, laughing, happy, dancing community that the Father, Son, and Spirit were enjoying “before”…before there ever was a second, minute, or hour.  Before there ever was anything but them.  Yes, they were happy and in love!  But, they were not content to keep that life, community and love to themselves!  No!  They just had to share it!  So, God created.  But, He created with purpose and intent.  Each member of the Godhead had something that they desired, a delightful longing within.


The Father desired a family.  But the unique quality about this family is that that they would all be like His Son.


The Son longed for a Bride that he could love and share His glorious Kingdom rule with forever.  He also longed for a Body through which He could live His life through and fill the universe with His glory!


The Spirit was fully intent on having a temple built with living stones that He would inhabit and fill, through which He would declare the excellencies of the Father and the Son!


This eternal purpose was set in stone before the ages, and everything that needed to be done to accomplish it was done before anything ever started!  Think about that!


There are a thousand different directions I could go in to develop this, but my main point here is to remind you and all mankind, that the reason you exist is to become like Jesus.  That is why God saved us.  That is why He made us one with Himself through Christ.  This is why He reconciled the world to Himself not counting their trespasses against them.


He wants you to experience life as His child.  He longs for you to accept His love for you and be transformed by that reality.  Jesus wants to live His life through you and express His character and love through your unique personality.  He desires with each passing day, to continue the work of transforming you into His likeness as you behold His glory.  The Spirit of God delights in filling you with Himself and bearing the fruit of love, His fruit, through you to a needy world, thereby declaring the excellencies of Jesus through you.  The world around you sees that fruit and sees how great, good, and loving He really is.


If a gathering of believers (otherwise known in our day as a church), in whatever form it takes, wants to have a purpose or vision, I would suggest God’s eternal purpose might be a good place to start!  The way to gauge success would be different though.  It would not be gauged by nickels and noses, or bigger and better programs and facilities than the group down the street.


No, it would be gauged by one thing…are we like Jesus?  Are we becoming collectively more and more like Him in our character and conduct?  Does a watching world see the Abba of Jesus revealed through us, as He was through His Son?  Are we bringing life, light, and love wherever we go?  Is the world experiencing His all encompassing embrace for all through us?  Remember, “as He IS, so are WE in this world” (1 John 4:17).


God is going to get what He is after.  The Eternal purpose of the happy Trinity will be fulfilled, and there is no power in any realm, seen or unseen, that can stop it.  The Calvinist can scream and pitch a fit all day about how this plan encompasses “all” and not the select elect.  The Arminian can protest with great fervor that while the term “all” sounds godly, it can’t include “them” can it?  All the “ism’s” in Christianity and the world can stomp their feet and cry aloud that it is not fair, God can’t be that good, ad nauseam.  It’s not going to change the fact of His love for all and that what He determined before the world began is going to get done.  So, just believe it/Him, and began to experience the reality of His eternal purpose for you!  It is an adventure He’s had in store for you for a very, very, long time!


Randy for all

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This Journey

This Journey

As I sit and reflect on my walk with God, I see a journey that began nearly 44 years ago.  As a small nine year old boy, I had the honor of having had the good news proclaimed to me through loving parents, dear friends, and a loving fellowship of believers.  When the exact “moment” of new birth took place, I could not tell you. All I know, was that in the ninth year of my life, I believed the good news about Jesus.  I was changed, transformed, and made a new creation.  Deep within me was birthed a longing to know Him…period.

Through the years, there have been many ups and downs, twists and turns on this road.  As the apostle John described in 1 John 2:12-14, I have found myself discovering in the reality of His forgiveness, and glorying in the reality of Who He is and what He is like.  I have learned the importance of having the Word of God abiding in me, and the truth of overcoming the evil one.

Certainly, my journey has not been perfect.  I have made a ton of blunders, fallen on my face more times than I care to remember (I’m glad Papa does not remember!), and fallen into sin often…just ask my wife and my kids!  I am not perfect!

But, as I have journeyed on, especially in the last decade or so, I have discovered depths of His love and grace, mercy and forgiveness, and eternal purpose, that have blown me away.  Through all those early years, I never really knew how very much I/we are loved by Abba.  The discovery of the heights, depths, widths and breadths, of His love have left me speechless.

I have shed a lot of theological baggage along the way, much of which was very condemning and destructive to the lives of others…including myself.  I found that so much of what I did was motivated more out of “fear” than love, and “performance” rather than rest.  I have reached a place in my life where all that matters is, as John said of the fathers in 1 John 2:12-14, knowing Him Who is from the beginning.

Someone asked me recently about what I believed after all these years.  I shared that my fundamental statement of faith can be found in the Nicene creed.  Beyond that, a lot is up for discussion and discovery.  A lot of what I “thought” I had nailed down, has been ripped out of its place by the tornado of the revelation of His love and grace.  All that matters to me now is to love Him and others, and to believe/trust in Him. Simple is so much better!

All I desire now is to know Him.  What that means and where that takes me, is an adventure waiting to happen and one that I long to take.  I may lose friendships as I dive deeper, but I also know that I will find new ones  forged in the fires of His love.  I may find myself a great odds with the systems of men, but I think I may be in good company historically in that realm.

My longing is to radiate Him.  Like many couples who have been married and known each other intimately for years begin to look like each other, I want to look like Him.  All that really matters is love.  Period.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Not how much theology you know, not how many degrees you have on a wall, not how big the fellowship is you pastor, nor how much you have “done” for Jesus.  Love is the bottom line.  And I am finding that living a life of love truly flows from an intimate knowledge of Him on a relational level.

To know Him is to love Him.  To love Him is to know Him.  And as WWE legend Stone Cold Steve Austin says, “That’s the bottom line!”

Randy for all

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God, A Need , And a Dog

God, a need, and a dog

I don’t think that there is a day that goes by where we are not reminded that we have needs.   Some of the needs that we have are pressing, others are still a little way down the road.   They may be physical, spiritual, emotional, relational, financial, etc., but they are important to us, and can be the source of a great deal of stress.

We are told that our God will supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).   But, we are not told “how” He will do it, nor “when” He will do so.  The very two things that we all want to know!   So, we hang on “by faith” and sweat bullets while we “wait”, wondering all the while if He is really going to come through.

We remind Him constantly of the need or needs, and at times, it seems like He is completely oblivious to our mortal nudges.  Sometimes we even go so far as to go without food for a time, hoping to put a little pressure on Him to act.   We also shift into intense praying, adding to our humble petitions, tears and loud cries, thinking that these heart rending actions will touch His heart and He will move…still nothing.

What gives?  Why oh why is He not doing something?   Does He even care?  Or, is He at work in a way we don’t yet see, and doing exactly what He promised, just not according to our timeline or our methods?  He just said He would meet the needs, He never said how, when, or where.  In fact, the way the need is met may ( and usually does) catch us completely off guard.

I was reminded of this not too long ago.  I happened to be taking our dogs out for an evening jaunt and of course, being the spiritual guy that I am, thought I would do some praying while I was walking and they were out playing and exploring.  It was pitch dark, and the sky was clear and filled with stars radiating like diamonds.  As I gazed heavenward, I was reminding God of some needs we had and that certainly if He could manage all that above me, our little needs were a piece of cake for Him to meet.  But, I let Him know that He was being a little slow in keeping His promise and it sure would be nice if He would speed things up a bit.  I also could not see a specific way that He would supply.

In a bit, our little cocker spaniel Millie, came running out of the woods and began to run in circles around me.  Every once in awhile she would stop and nudge my leg and I would say, “Stop Mill!”, as I was thinking to myself here I am trying to pray and get this need thing worked out with God, and she wants to play.  Well she kept on running around in circles, and every few minutes stopping to nudge me.  Finally, I gave in and thought that I would play a bit and she would leave me alone so that I could continue to converse with the Almighty.

As I bent down to acknowledge her, I could see in the dark, that she had something in her mouth.  Not being able to clearly make it out, I reached for it and she took off.  I could see her wheels spinning, “Oh boy!  Now we get to play keep away from the old guy!”  I was not amused.  So, being the smart human that I am, I led her over near some light where I could get a good look at what was in her mouth.  I called, she came, and finally obeyed when told to sit still. I reached down, and there, gingerly being held in her mouth was a $10.00 bill!  It was in perfect condition, and she was glad to hand it over.

Then it hit me. God was, in a very simple way, reminding me that He would meet our needs, but it would be in His way and His time, and if he wanted to supply them through a dog bringing me money, He was able to do that!  “Stop worrying, trust Me, and enjoy the journey.  I will do what I said I would do!”  I started laughing and was reminded that He paid temple tax once through a shekel appearing in the mouth of the first fish Pete caught.  He does weird stuff like that.

My problem was that I was so focused on talking about the need, that I could not see a picture of supply right under my nose.  Why?  Because it came in a way and at a time when I did not expect it.  It was a means of encouragement from Abba to trust Him.   He really does do what He promises, just ask my dog.

I don’t know what needs you have today.  Most of them are probably more that a $10.00 bill found by a dog will cover.  BUT, our Father knows what you need and He already has a plan to meet it.  Just remember it will all be done on His terms and timing.  Don’t get so focused on the need that you miss Him and something that may be right under your nose.  I am learning that there is a lot of laughter and joy to be found in the waiting.  Just ask Millie.

Randy for all

Ps.  Since that night, I send her out on money finding hunts regularly.  So far, she has not returned with anything but a rock.

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God Will Never Take “NO!” For An Answer!

God Never Takes “No!” for an answer!

When rejected by man in the garden, when man ran “from” Him, God pursued, forgave, and restored.

When rejected by Israel as a people, time after time, God pursued, forgave, restored and promised a New Covenant that would fix everything and everyone…forever.

When rejected and forsaken by His closest friends in the garden of Gethsemane (what is it about men rejecting and running from God in gardens?!), He pursued, forgave and restored them all.

When rejected by all mankind (Jews and Gentiles), and killed on a cross, He pursued, forgave, and died to guarantee restoration for all.

Now that He has been raised, and seated in the highest of all places, in all realms, in all times, He continues to pursue, seek and find all who reject Him.  He then leads them into the reality of an already given forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration.

He will do this until every prodigal has come home and every lost sheep has been found…in this age and in the ages to come.

He will NEVER take “NO!” for an answer.  Why?  Because He loves us ALL and wants us to experience full union and life with Him forever!  Now that really is good news!

None of us are or ever will be beyond the reach of His love!

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