A couple of weeks ago, I returned from a "softball" vacation in Florida. I was accompanied during the trip by the Hogans and my wife, Laura. What a trip it was! We went down there to watch my daughter Lizzy and her softball team during their spring training games and had a fun and wonderful time meeting new people, going to old amusement park attractions, and enjoying good food and fellowship. We started every day off with a devotional and prayer and sought opportunities to share our faith with those with whom we came in contact. In fact, right from the start of the trip on the plane going to Florida, we met a young woman who was going to Turkey as a missionary. She told us that she was from Hicksville, Ohio and had believed that God was calling her to that particular country. I called her the "Hick from Hicksville" from that point on, and we enjoyed a wonderful conversation during the plane ride. I got the chance to share with her all the wonderful things that God was doing through the people at Downriver Christian Community Church.
Maybe the most fun Laura and I had on the entire trip was in trying to keep up with the Hogans wherever we went! You see, the Hogans do not operate at "normal" human speed, but rather at superhuman "warp" speed at everything they do. From walking through the airport approaching the plane terminal to grocery shopping at the local Walmart in Orlando, the Hogans take "walking" and "relaxing" to a whole new level. One time while we were inside Walmart, I was looking for some milk and eggs for our breakfast when Sandy took off "walking" down one of the aisles. I'd be darned if she didn't look like the Road Runner from the old Bugs Bunny Cartoon series jetting off, leaving me looking like Wiley E. Coyote standing there looking stupid with my tongue hanging out! I swear I could see a cloud of dirt slowly settling on every aisle that she "walked" up and down.
I tried the best I could to follow her, but she was just too quick. I wondered why she was in such a hurry, but some things are better not asked. Mark, on the other hand, was setting speed records of his own. He amazed me with his dexterity and coordination while walking- plucking items off the shelves without even breaking his furious stride. His movement was incredible - all the while breaking land speed records. It certainly was a "feet" you had to see to believe. Also, his extraordinary feet were only slowed down by a bad knee he suffered from golfing. Seeing him "walk," you would have never known he was injured!
("I'll be back!"- Mark Hogan -The Running Man)
For those of you who know nothing of my constant harassment of Mark...constantly referring to him as the "Hoganator" from his Arnold Schwarzenegger-like cadence and voice when he shared his personal testimony in Mexico a couple of years ago to his dry but hilarious comments like "SWEET," "AWESOME," "NEGATIVE," or "EXCELLENT"...I was relentless in my comments about his sense in urgency in everything he attempted. At the store, he moved like the Terminator seeking out Sarah Connor, letting nothing stop him or get in his way. Old ladies, children, people in wheelchairs and even security guards were all smashed or crushed if they did not yield the right of way to Mark and his high-powered NASCAR shopping cart.
Mark and Sandy's "walking" made me think of people who "ran" in the Bible. You see, running in the Bible was always indicative of someone either running toward or away from God in obedience or disobedience. The following are some examples of people who "ran" in the Bible and what they accomplished either good or bad.
1. Elijah - Outran the horses and chariot of Ahab after the spirit of God came upon him after his defeat of the priest of Baal. His "running" was an example of the people of God when they are victorious in spiritual battle and the anointing of God energies them for ministry beyond their natural capabilities.
2. Philip - Outran the chariot and horses to catch up to the Ethiopian eunuch returning to Ethiopia from Jerusalem. His "running" is an example of the people of God who are empowered by the Holy Spirit to minister to catch up to, overtake and minister to those who are being called by God.
3. Peter - Getting outran "running" to the grave of Jesus to check out the story of his resurrection. His "running is an example of people who hear the good news and respond to it in excitement and curiosity!
4. Ahimiaz - Outran the Ethiopian who was taking bad news to King David regarding the death of his son Absalom. Ahimiaz represents men or women who "run" to be in "ministry" or "recognized" before their proper time has arrived for entrance into the ministry.
5. Paul - His encouragement to all Christians to "run" the race with the intention of winning it is the motivation we all need at various times in our walk with the Lord.
6. Mark - At the capture of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, he ran away naked after he was identified and grabbed by one of the soldiers as a disciple of Jesus. His "running" away naked is a dire warning to all of us to never shrink back from being associated and marked as one of Jesus disciples and to be willing to die with him.
7. Jonah - Serves as an example of "running" away from our responsibilities before God. God has assigned each of us with tasks to fulfill for His glory and the building of His kingdom and to neglect those responsibilities could prove disastrous!
"Running" with God and His anointing is a desire for which I hope every Christian longs. It may not be an easy thing to "run" in the calling He has placed in your life, but it is far better than the consequences of "running" away from God. Like Mark and Sandy Hogan "running" with full force and energy, may we "run" the race set out before us with passion and confidence in His enabling power. And since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith! ...Now, where did that Sandy go?
Stay Holy, My Friends!