A Jesus Freak’s Destiny

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. https://http://www.biblegateway.com

The key phrase:  “in Christ.”  

The key question:  What does it mean?

The key observation:  To whom does it apply?

The key take-away:  Is it worth my time to discover what “in Christ” means and how it could possibly apply to me?

“Who Are You, And Why Are You Here?”

It’s a line from the movie Sahara.  The Tuareg chief Modibo asked Dirk, Al, and Eva the question after they drove into Tuareg territory.  It’s a Ivor’s question which can be asked in many different scenarios.

I am Tim Randall, son of Harlife’s d Carol Randall.  I am currently in Valley Center, CA wrapping up a short vacation with my parents and sister Betsy, bro-in-law Bart Schwarz, and nieces Lauren and Kelsey.  I hardly ever get to see them all since I live in PA with my wife and two kids.  Next year I want to bring the whole family out for an extended vacation.  My parents and sister and family haven’t seen my family in several years.  We need a Randall family reunion. 

So why was I here in Southern CA?  It’s where I grew up.  Escondido was my home for the first 21 years of my life.  What a beautiful town in which to grow up.  Not only did I spend lots of time with my family, but I was able to connect with my wife’s Aunt Mary and her cousin Mark, his wife Roxanne, and their three kids with several other of her other cousins’ kids.  They are such cool people.  I was also able to get together with some of my friends whom I hadn’t seen in ages and some of my parent’s friends, many of whom I have known since I was knee high to a grasshopper (wow – that corny expression dates me 😎).

This has been such a fun trip, seeing family and friends.  It’s hard when you live 3,000 miles away.  But it’s well worth the effort to get together annually or semi-annually.

I was able to connect with one of my best friends growing up, Jay Miller, along with his parents Barry and Loretta Miller.  I hadn’t seen them in almost 30 years and it was like I never left.  We had a great time reconnecting, talking about life’s challenges, perseverance through trials, and faith in God.  It was so rich. And then we spent an hour swapping stories of fishing trips to the Sierras.  I could have stayed the whole day.

This trip has been a breath of fresh air, wind in my sails, gas in my tank. My sister Betsy and I went up to Palomar Mt. the other day and went to Doane Pond and the Baptist camp and just took it all in.  We are in our 50’s but it was just like when we were kids again.  Every tree, every blade of grass, every picturesque view: magical.

As if my trip wasn’t awesome enough already, Betsy, Bart, and I went out to Ocotillo Wells yesterday.  Bart and Betsy have an RZR, an off-road machine that could climb Mt. Everest. It was ridiculous.  Betsy drove at first, then Bart drove, then I drove.  Ivan the Ironman Stewart has nothing on me!  We were flying all over the place.  Bart was having a blast.  He practically grew up at Ocotillo Wells.  He was totally in his element.  It was so much fun to spend real quality time with my sis and bro-in-law. 

And then . . . we went out to dinner at Fat Ivor’s Rib Back in Valley Center with my parents and Kelsey my niece. It was non-stop laughing the whole meal.  At one point my sister was telling this utterly hysterical story and I almost stopped breathing I was laughing so hard!  

It’s been such a great trip but I miss my own family.  I can’t wait to see them.

Cherish the time you have with family and friends.  Slow down and make the effort to get together.  You never know how long you have.

“I Am Not Afraid To Die”

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

I’m out in CA visiting my parents and sister, brother-in-law, and my two nieces. I will be going this morning to the church in which I grew up, Emmanuel Faith Community Church in Escondido. So many great memories over the years of being taught and influenced by so many faithful servants of Christ at EFCC.

One of those faithful couples was Dean and Sylvia Hedlund, neighbors of ours growing up and dear friends of the family. They had three children who all preceded them in death. The last one, Paul, was killed as a teenager in a car accident. Such tragedy but more lovely people in spite of it all one would be hard-pressed to find.

Dean passed away several years ago. Sylvia is still alive but has struggled with health issues. We went to see her at Palomar Hospital yesterday. It was a pleasant visit with Sylvia being more alert than my mom expected. And then my mom did something which moved me to fight back tears. She leaned over so Sylvia could hear her and prayed for her. My dad and I bowed our heads and listened as my mom showered Sylvia with love, faith, and trust in God Almighty. It was absolutely powerful and moving.

Sylvia has lived a long life. She has suffered through several tragic losses. Yet even yesterday she said with conviction, “I am not afraid to die. I know where I am going.”

She knows where she is going: to spend eternity with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To be near the end of one’s life and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are going to see Jesus: well, it just doesn’t get any better than that.

Chaos in Philly

via Daily Prompt: Reprieve

I needed a reprieve.  My 5:35 p.m. flight from Philly to Phoenix was a 6:15 board, get in line on the tarmac, and then 3+ hours later get off the plane at the same gate I got on 3+ hours earlier.

I needed a reprieve.

While everyone stood in line to find out what was going on with their connecting flights, I sat by a wall, charged my phone, and played the part of the fly on the wall.  Flies on walls live in reprieve.  They just hang out and watch humanity strive to figure out their problems.  I decided that my problem could wait because . . .

I needed a reprieve.

An hour or two later I decided to stop being a fly and get in the much shorter line and hear whatever my flight solution was.  It was simply to get back on the plane.

I guess I got a reprieve.

So here I sit in Phoenix, waiting for my time to board my flight to San Diego, waiting for breakfast and yes . . .

Getting another reprieve.

He’s hot, I’m nothing

“Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:

‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and  power, for ever and ever!’

The four living creatures said, ‘Amen,’ and the elders fell down and worshiped.’ ” (Revelation 5:13-14)

Paradigm Shift: We Are Way Overdue II

MANDELAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

How could my third cousin, 4-5 times removed, have been caught?  Why?  We are just minding out business, swimming upriver.  Why are humans so cruel?

“Keep fighting Mandela!  Keep fighting!!!!  Don’t give up.  These humans think they own us.  They think we are chattel, that we are their slaves to be abused at their whim and fantasy.  IT IS NOT TRUE MANDELA!!!

FIGHT!”

Mandela was listening.  He was fighting.  He was also getting exhausted.  Fighting an uphill battle against intransigent humans is about as easy as kissing a swordfish.  It’s possible with a lot of perseverance and not a little chutzpah, but in both cases you might need stitches afterwards!

“I’m fighting Darwin but I’m getting tired.  I need your help.  We can only overcome this stupid human by working together.  But hurry.  My strength is giving out.”

“Okay Mandela.  I will try to bite the line.  It’s a long shot but I don’t know what else to do.”

“Try it.  If there is a god, maybe he’ll wake up and let your teeth bite just right.”

I angled in for the bite to save Mandela.  Would it work?  Would Mandela go free?  Is there a god capable of overriding the laws of probability relative to a fish biting and severing a fishing line?  Can I save Mandela?

Listen more, talk less, work TOGETHER

The couple upstairs was having another of their yelling matches. Why did these morons have to do their fighting between the lovely hours of 1:00-3:00 a.m.? Didn’t they care that I had to go to work in the morning, my wife likes to sleep during the night and that our newborn has ears that pick […]

via Words, Words, Words – Are You Dumb? — sparkythejesusfreak’s Blog