I’ve Been Up Since 2:30…

Sep 11, 2006

SO…pardon me if I ramble!  :-)

The past week has been amazing for me—AMAZING!  I cannot begin to tell you how God has been working in my life…it’s so awesome when things are SO clear.  AND…I am sure you have had those times…times when you KNOW you are doing exactly what God wants you to do…times when you feel as if you could charge hell with a water pistol!  We’ve all been there…BUT…

Reality is this—we live in a world at war!  Jesus said in John 10:10 that the enemy comes to steal and kill and destroy.  For right now I want to focus on that first part—the word steal.  One of the primary targets that the enemy aims for in a persons life is their joy—because IF the enemy can steal our joy then the world will look at us & not desire what we’ve got because we are more focused on our circumstances than we are on Jesus.  

I think He has two main ways He does this…one is through isolation...if he can isolate you from your walk with God AND from hanging out with God’s people—He can rip you to pieces.  Look at what happened to David in I Samuel 11 when he was isolated from his men.  Look at what happened to Peter when he ran from the scene of Jesus’ arrest, separating himself from Jesus and his best friends…he denied Christ…and the same will be true for us.

However, I am speaking on this in about four weeks…what I want to talk about today is his second big gun that he brings out—distraction.

I have always taught here at NewSpring that satan cannot destroy you unless he first distracts you.  No one has EVER fallen away from God when their eyes have been fixed on Him…it is when we turn our eyes away that the enemy can establish a foothold.

Let’s talk about Peter again, shall we?  Remember the story of him walking on the water—he was fine as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus; however, in Matthew 14 we are told that Peter “saw the wind.”  STOP!  You have to REALLY be looking for wind to see it don’t you?  He SAW the wind…and while he was busy looking for the wind he took His eyes off of Jesus and began to sink.  Distraction equals destruction every time.

Let me give you an example from my life—and WARNING—I am going to be brutally honest—so those who do not like it when a pastor is honest may want to stop reading now!  :-)

As I said at the beginning of this post—this past week has been awesome—I’ve been able to meet Joel Osteen and Bill Hybels…as well as some other awesome pastors all across the US.  John Maxwell spoke at NewSpring yesterday—and did an EXCELLENT job I might add!  God’s Word has been more real to me over the past few days that it ever has been.  Our church is growing (over 6,000 yesterday) and lives are being impacted…

BUT…the enemy wants to distract me—BAD!  Example—I have had two conversations this past week with some close friends who have told me about two other pastors in this community who have attacked NewSpring in random conversations.

Let me be very honest—VERY HONEST!  People ask me all the time, “How does that make you feel when people attack what God is doing at your church?”  Honestly…I sometimes would like to get the person who bashes our church into a room and wear their rear end out!!!  They have no idea the price that has been paid—the sweat—the tears—the sleepless nights…they just don’t know!

BUT…if I get into a contest to see who can tee tee the fartherest with other pastors in this community then guess what—that is allowing the enemy to distract me.  AND…as SOON as I let that happen I am one step away from destruction.

Maxwell addressed this in Houston at the round table I participated in…he told me, “Perry, you will always experience this…you are 35 and in a small community—Perry, listen to me, always take the high road—ALWAYS.”

That was HUGE for me because God used him to speak into my life…and so what I have decided to do is let their comments go…literally…it’s amazing…I have such a peace it isn’t even funny.  (NO, I will NOT tell you who those pastors are!!!)

(To the people at NewSpring—please hear me on this.  I know from time to time you feel like you have to answer for what God is doing here…but remember—this is HIS church, we are HIS bride…and He will defend what is going on—we don’t have to.  Please don’t fight with people in our community about this church…and please do not begin to call out other churches and pastors and bash them.  Don’t get me wrong—I will speak out against bad theology…but to attack what God is doing…uh, that’s playing with fire.  All I would recommend you do is challenge them to read Acts 5:29-39)

This post is not intended to begin a Holy War…I just wanted you to see that I wrestle with temptation and distractions just like everyone else.  I have times I want to take over—to seize control from God.  I have told God, “Hey—Peter cut off the guys ear—you fixed it…that means I can go out and whip tail and you will clean up the mess, right?”


Our job is this—to keep our eyes focused on Jesus.  NOT on circumstances—but Jesus.  NOT on popular opinion—but Jesus.  NOT on our illness—but Jesus.  NOT on our dating life (or lack of one)—but Jesus.  NOT on the fact that Clemson lost to Boston College in flippin’ overtime for two years in a row—but Jesus!

If satan can distract you…he will destroy you.  Is there anything in your life that is taking your eyes off of Christ?