Between Heaven and Earth
This world is a mess. It doesn’t matter where you look, what you read, or the news channel you prefer, everywhere things seem to get worse and worse. Just a quick review is proof. Unemployment is at high levels, divorce rates continue to climb, families struggle, addiction and natural disasters bombard and paralyze people. We’re afraid to go to the mall or even take our kids to school because of what might happen.
Many feel a level of despair. People are looking for answers and many of them aren’t finding any. The truth is Jesus is the answer; and when believers understand His eternal perspective and share it with others, needs are met, hope is given, and everything changes!
Ironically, the apostle Paul faced many of the same issues in the city of Philippi as we do today. Philippi was a big city and its citizens had all the problems and concerns of anyone in such an environment. There was tremendous pressure from the outside as well as from the inside, not unlike the church today. The church faced the possibility of internal strife (Philippians 1:28,29), internal disagreements (4:2,3), and a threat from outside rival teachers who taught a message different from the gospel of Christ.
There were all kinds of distractions and temptations that tried to pull believers away from the will of God.
For Paul, Philippi was a place with painful memories. In this city he was arrested and beaten. He was placed in stocks and humiliated in front of crowds of people. Even with these harsh circumstances, Paul chose to have an eternal, heavenly perspective and continued to meet people’s needs and give them hope. A jailer, and then his whole household, came to Christ as a result of Paul’s painful yet steadfast witness for Jesus.
In Philippians 1:11 Paul encourages the church to do the same thing. He wasn’t interested in their simply going to church and passively sitting around. He wanted them to know the joy of producing fruit—seeing the Kingdom of God expand in their lives and through their lives. Paul’s fruit came as he faithfully shared the gospel. He literally gave his life so others could hear about Jesus. In this intensely personal letter he encourages the people—citizens faced with many of the same issues we are faced with today—to step out into the harvest field, the world around them, and make a difference in someone’s life for Jesus’ sake.
This next fact might surprise you. As committed as Paul was to reaching people for Jesus, Paul was a man who lived a conflicted life; he was torn between heaven and earth. For him to remain alive meant benefit to many, many people, but beyond that, to be with Jesus in heaven was much better than anything he could possibly experience here on earth (Philippians 1:21–24). Paul’s heart was passionately fixed on heaven while his hand was purposefully working to produce fruit. Paul’s dilemma is the focus of my latest book, Between Heaven and Earth. As you read it, you’ll discover, as Paul did, the joy of having your heart rooted and grounded in heaven. You’re going to understand its glory and beauty. You’ll read about the hope of heaven, your ultimate home. You’ll see how heaven heals your hurts. You’ll come to appreciate its promises and how a heavenly focus will lead you to a renewed faith, encouragement, and a life that is full.
You’ll also learn why this heavenly mindset matters today. There are wide-open opportunities to reach out to people in this broken world who are ready to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. You see, when your heart is in heaven, you begin to see as Jesus saw. You’ll see people who have deep hurts and unmet needs who are desperate for a Savior. You, like Paul, will be torn. You’ll desire to be in heaven and be a part of all that God has for you there, but at the same time you’ll see people who need your help here.
Heart in heaven, hand in the harvest. That’s exactly what God wants from each of us.
I’m excited for you to read this book. It will give you Jesus’ perspective in a world gone mad. It will help you set your heart where there is hope and it will help you give hope to people who so desperately need it.
You can pre-order Between Heaven and Earth today. It will be available the week of March 4.