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A little something extra for your spiritual walk

Author Archives: Landon DeCrastos

My belly’s full of food

My heart is full of love

My family is all around me

And even more looking from above

I can’t thank God enough

For everything I possess

I deserve none of it

It is all by grace; I confess

Sure, these material things are great

And the money I earn is fine

But I honestly can’t say

That the any of the credit should be mine

I owe absolutely all I have

To the one gives grace and hope

When I am standing on the mountain

Or at the end of my rope

I know I do not have much

In comparison to most

But, I can say I am content

Even though I cannot boast

I am truly grateful this year

For all the little things

And I pray that I will continue

To thank The Lord for what He brings.

-Landon DeCrastos

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What Makes Me Cry (In a Good Way)

I know it has been a while since I have uploaded a new blog post. The reason for this is twofold:

  1. I promised myself a long time ago that I would no longer post blogs just to put content out into the universe. When I do, I find myself giving into the temptation to simply be recognized. Thus, I am taking the glory for myself and I am no good for God’s kingdom because I am saying things that no one needs to read and do not really help them deepen their spiritual life. I want my thoughts and advice to be life giving.

  1. My schedule has not permitted it. Lately, I have been very busy but yet so fulfilled in my ministry when it comes to the people I have been able to interact with and minister to. Sometimes, there just isn’t enough time in the day.

So, with this all being said, I have something that is stirring in my heart that has been emphasized over and over in recent conversations and events in my life.

First, a little background.

From time to time, when I preach, I get emotional. It is a fact of life. My church staff and leadership often give me a hard time about the fact that I cry and there are even a few occasions when my staff has purposefully planned a portion of the worship service SO I would cry (ok, so maybe that wasn’t the full reason but they certainly knew it would happen)! Other people have commented on this, and simply say they see the passion in me and they appreciate the show of emotion. Either way, it happens and I never really have been bashful about it.

There are many reasons I cry in the context of my ministry. When I dedicate a baby to the Lord, when someone asks Christ into their life, the times when people open up and reconcile with one another, when a marriage is restored, when a person needing healing is shown unconditional love and when a person in need is helped by generosity are only a few instances in which I have cried recently. I can even think of times when I have been preaching and God impresses something special on my heart to share aside from what was prepared. The feeling is overwhelming. These all have validity and the ability to conjure emotion, but I have realized there is one constant thread that connects all of these events. That thread is the concept of “legacy”.

I cry when I think about how a message will speak to someone and how the figurative “light bulb” will be illuminated in their mind, because of how it can move them along in their spiritual journey and toward a new future. I cry when I dedicate a baby to the Lord, because of the parents standing in front of me wanting to break a generational curse of bondage or even wanting to honor the heritage of worship in their own household by trusting God with the future of this baby. When a marriage makes a turnaround, I think about the story the couple can tell of how they trusted God to repair their shattered relationship. When people are helped through a tough spot in their life, I think about how they can later share their struggles and how God got them through it.

Legacy.

It is a powerful word that has the ability to affect us and future generations. I am not only speaking about genetic descendants. In fact, many people reading this today can testify about a friend or neighbor that spoke life displayed love in a dark time and changed their future trajectory.

I cry when I think about how God can change a situation and create a “butterfly effect” that can transform the world.

I cry because I know that no matter how talented and influential we are, Jesus can use us as agents of peace and grace.

Finally, I cry because I know that my redeemer lives, and in the end, He will stand on the Earth (Job 19:25).

It’s okay to cry.

Love you all.

-Landon DeCrastos


Have you ever really tried
to grow an apple tree under your bed?
While giving it no water
And making sure it’s not fed
 
Have you tried it in winter
when there is less sun during the day?
And the wind outside is cold
And growth is chilled away
 
Have you prayed for soaking rain
to saturate that seed?
When it was hidden away from the light
Away from every natural need
 
When it didn’t grow to full height
Did you shake your fist at God?
When no youthful plant emerged
Did you find it rather odd?
 
What then happened
when you pulled the starving seed out?
Gave it light and water
Did you see the seedling sprout?
 
You probably saw something
Perhaps a glimmer of hope
When out of the dirt you began to see
nature’s periscope
 
A seedling erupts from the soil
It has everything it needs
To flourish and live it’s life
Even among the weeds
 
God is the author of all growth
And he applies it to our soul
He wants us to step into the light
He is the water that makes us whole
 
We can’t expect to have joy in life
If we are always in the dark
If we always search for the negative
And never revive our spark
 
We could get angry with God
About why our fruit does not thrive
But ultimately, we could seek the light
And do much more than just survive.
-Landon DeCrastos

I Struggle TooIf I were to be completely honest with you, I would say that this blog post is one of the hardest I have felt led to write. The reason is not because the topic is a difficult one to articulate or the fact that it is a particularly controversial stance on a “hot button” issue, but because of my heart attitude behind it.

As I get closer to Jesus, I have learned that God honors thoughtful response over angry outbursts. He values the offering of hope over a self-righteous decree of condemnation from my own personal soapbox. So, I want to write today out of love, grace, mercy, but firm resolve and I pray that God will be in my words. I want to talk about the concept of racism.

THE PROBLEM

I sat in a big leather chair in front of a woman who had cried so much that I was afraid she would become dehydrated. He husband had cheated on her. The adultery was getting to be too common in their marriage, and after multiple transgressions, he once again told her it “would never happen again”. This woman was broken, angry, and had practically given up on long term joy in her life. My heart filled with my own brand of anger when she told me the lies that were told and the sins that were committed. The man that she was married to made her feel inferior. He made her believe things about herself that were not true. He made her think this was all her fault. On top of this, over the period of several years, he had made sure that she was removed from opportunities, relationships, more education and much of the outside world as a method of domination and control. She prayed that God would help her and He did. She divorced him and years later, she married the man of her dreams. She also forgave her ex-husband.

The problem is, I really want to hate this man. The carnal part of my human existence wants to show him how wrong he is, and make him pay. I know, however, that a life lived controlled by God’s spirit compels us to seek a much higher level of conduct.

You see, if Christ lives in a person, has complete control, and has forgiven them…it is really hard to go on living with hatred towards another human being. That doesn’t mean that the temptation is not there, but there is a power that is greater in you than that which is in the world.

Racism, at its core, is a systematic desire for a group or groups to express their perceived superiority over others. Often times they will single out a particular community, and do what they can to separate them from society, tell them lies, and openly display their hate for them. In essence, there is not much difference between an adulterer and a racist individual. With that being said, there is a part of me that wants to treat someone who is racist with the same contempt as I would the adulterer. I can’t though. I can’t because I have no idea what type of lies that person has been told throughout their life, and I have to believe in my heart that they are eligible for restoration and love as much as I am. If Jesus cannot heal them, then His death on the cross was a waste of time. Sin is sin.

This doesn’t make the whole issue any less frustrating though. I have heard people who wear gold crosses around their necks say the most awful things about people of different races. This is confusing for many reasons.

So, here is my overall thought. There is no such thing as a Christian racist. I say this, because I have heard people getting upset at the Church for racist acts they have seen in media outlets. And, there have been people who have displayed racism in their lives who claim to be believers. Let me make this very clear. Not disagreeing with the Bible, going to church on occasion, and being raised in a semi-religious home does not  make someone a Christian. Nor does giving oneself the label of “good”. A Christian is someone who desires to be like Christ, associates themselves with His crucifixion and resurrection, allows God to transform them, allows the Holy Spirit to guide them, and who has accepted the forgiveness that Jesus offers; all while bearing the fruit of the Kingdom. So, there is no such thing as a “Christian racist”. It cannot exist. Christianity and racism are like oil and water. Sure, there are people who have accepted Christ and who have had to repent of old habits that have arisen temporarily, but that leads to deep grieving and change.

THE HOPE

Jesus led by example, and when He wanted to emphasize a virtue, He displayed the virtue through His action. Look at the story of the Woman at the Well in John chapter 4. There were two main issues being addressed when we look deep into this story. The first issue was the sin (and thus the cure) in the life of the woman (who happened to be a Samaritan). Water was just the illustration. Jesus offered her a way out of her constant searching for love, fulfillment, and forgiveness. Jesus took care of all of that, and offered her abundance. The second issue pertained to race. This woman was astonished that a Jew would even speak to a Samaritan, not to mention offering her something to drink. This was unheard of, because of the deep racial divide. In other areas of scripture, the implication is that even the disciples accepted this divide as common. Jesus shatters this mentality, loved this woman, and contradicted the culture.

Hope exists, because there is a God who fashioned all of us from the same dust. This same God declared that we were made in His image. This is a foundational belief in the Judeo-Christian world view. Hope comes from the fact that God forgives and transforms human hearts. He forgives.

The old me wants to hate people that are full of racism and hatred. I have realized that this type of hate is the same brand of hate as those wielded by racist individuals; only in different packaging.

So, a Christian, if guided by the Holy Spirit would spend more time serving, loving, giving, feeding, clothing, proclaiming truth, and praying than complaining and allowing anger to fester and grow. In fact, Jesus did his ministry in the shadow of pagan statues, unholy temples, and hateful hearts. His mind and heart were focused on the people, and He knew the only true kingdom was not this way.

The heart of the Christian is occupied and Jesus does not need a roommate. Hate does not fit.

As followers of Jesus we are called to speak out against hatred of every kind. We are also called to serve those who are not following God.

I end all my blogs the same way…but today I mean it more deeply than I have in the past. With a broken heart yearning for reconciliation, I say it once again…

Love you all.

-Landon DeCrastos


PapawIn ancient times, names had significantly more meaning that they do now. We often name our children based on an inspirational word, or significant person from our past. Sometimes names become synonymous with an influential (or infamous) person. For instance, you may meet a wonderfully nice and respectful person named Charles Manson (you can imagine it would be common) but you may be a little skittish to allow him to come over for dinner.

Long ago, a name associated a person with their life’s work or even their ancestors. A first name that carried down from a father would carry certain responsibilities. There would be a requisite legacy that would be implied. A last name would often display the person’s craft or occupation. Tanners tanned animal hides. Smiths made things with their hands. Archers were skilled hunters. You get the idea.

My middle is Byron. If you were to look at the meaning of this name in a database of name origins, there would be nothing that really stood out. In my family, there is deep meaning in this name.

This name that is often only represented by an initial on important documentation comes from my grandpa, Byron (nickname: Barney). He was a soldier in the Korean Conflict, and understood what it meant to fight, survive, and experience immense suffering. His job in the military was to make sure the infantry had their supplies so they could fight and withstand the enemy’s advances. He told stories of times when he would be in a fox hole, and lacked confidence that he would live to see another day. In those moments, he leaned on the word of God and prayer. You can imagine that they were prayers that were hurried, imperfect and broken, but those utterances began to lay a foundation for the future. A long lasting relationship was formed because his prayer life started out of desperation.

Throughout the rest of his life, his prayer life grew, matured, and deepened. This was so much the case that people sought him out to give him special prayer requests. When he prayed, things really happened. Often I would catch him seemingly referring to Jesus as a brother and friend. He knew God was far above him, but there was such an intimate closeness that he imagined himself as an ancient disciple, following his best friend around, doing miracles out of habit. My Papaw was known to be a mighty prayer warrior. Daily he would take hours to spend time doing his real business; praying. For him, the time went quickly as it often does when one spends time chatting with an old friend. He didn’t just ask God for things either. He praised, learned, and got to know Jesus better through these times.

I had the privilege of seeing power released during these times when he called out to God. I have seen miracles happen in front of me because of things whispered. I learned to never look at prayer as a high and lofty pursuit, or as a business meeting with the CEO, but a relationship building conversation with a friend or a tired cry in the lap of a father. So, please forgive me when I grin when people call this life a fairy tale. To me, it is just like telling a recently deployed soldier that war is not real.

I have my Papaw’s DNA in me. I have his name too. This carries responsibility. I am not sure why, but people come to me often with prayer needs, and I get excited to include that in my daily visit with my Father. I want to have a deeper prayer life like he did. I want to be closer to God in ways people dream of. I don’t care if He ever answers another prayer I pray. I just want to talk and listen. I want this, because I know power is released when this happens.

Papaw was a warrior (my Mamaw is also one). Until the day he died, his job never changed. I gladly pick up the job where he left off and make sure those on the field have what they need to withstand the enemy’s advances.  All I know is that, when I pray, things happen. You can call it chance or luck, but these “coincidences” seem to occur more when I cry out to God. So, I will stick with my routine. I just need to keep my heart clear, and stay serious about the work.

Next month, we will celebrate 4 years since he left us to live with his best friend and King.

My grandfather was not overly special. He just prayed.

Love you all.

-Landon DeCrastos


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