Offend the Night

That lump in your throat.
It’s injustice and hate.
It’s disappointment
when God seems to be too late
 
we see kids dying
adorned with flies.
We see politicians
replacing truth with lies
 
we see disunity
among those dark and light
as if human skin color
is looked at as a plight
 
we wish to go our own way
and regard our bodies as our own
we witness unbearable evil
invading our comfortable homes
 
we are desensitized to greed
because we still want more
we let impurity in
through the front door
 
We are utterly surprised
when people are sold and bought
As if everyone else is to blame
and we are not
 
when are we going to really see
the true cause of this all?
A dependence on our own wills
Humanity has devolved to a crawl
 
The God who made human hearts
Is calling us to obey
Not to confine our freedoms
But because abundance comes through His way
 
Many can’t do the equation
The dots simply do not connect
If we will look at the world around us
And simply pause to reflect
 
“Giving Jesus a try”
is simply not enough
He wants our whole hearts
No matter how impure and rough
 
Transformation will infect the world
And will show people what is right
If we embrace freedom’s call
And offend the seemingly endless night
-Landon DeCrastos

Mass Marketing

It happens to all
when going for a drive
we get distracted by marketing
Meant to make businesses thrive

They are seen when our eyes wander
when we are not looking ahead
They try to sell us goods
expecting us to believe what we just read.

Some are for public service
warning us to stay on track
to keep our lives together
giving us information we may lack

Others may be rather crude
selling things we dare not buy
for fear of a tarnished reputation
with messages so sly

I am interested in a message of hope
one that will take away my pain
not another gadget
to flush my money down the drain

There was one billboard I heard about
displayed back in ancient times
One that advertised love
through a man paying for his crimes

The odd thing about this ad
was he didn’t do anything wrong
But this marketing piece
seemed to sing a different song

The one on display was called a fake
for the whole world to see
shown on the side of the road
humiliated publicly

I still can’t help but think
there was something good about this guy
The one they called Jesus
With compassion in His eye

I hear he came for joy
and to set the captive free
a billboard painted in blood
a marketing piece meant for me.

-Landon DeCrastos

Do it anyway

Your life is falling apart…trust anyway

You’re tired and scared…love anyway

Things are not going your way…believe anyway

You’re not sure how things will work out…give anyway

You’re discouraged and angry…minister anyway

You’re in pain and feel used…forgive anyway

You feel as if you are not worthy…show compassion anyway

You have so many excuses…surrender anyway

You feel dead inside…choose life anyway

You simply don’t feel like it…worship anyway

You are tempted and tried…grow anyway

The enemy is attacking…be bold anyway

   With God as our resource, we can do all things. Don’t forget that…

-Landon DeCrastos

The Tyranny of More

Today, I enjoyed an extremely unhealthy cheeseburger at a fast food establishment. It wasn’t organic…..it wasn’t supporting local farmers and family business…it had preservatives in it and the proceeds did not benefit a charity…it was simply a greasy cheeseburger…..and I needed it. Don’t judge me. You don’t know my life…..

Anyway….I ordered this meal and requested the smallest size they had when they asked for my drink size preference. We have all been to this place, which surprisingly has served more people than actually exist in the world. The smallest size they had was a “medium”. When I got my food, I was astonished at how large the medium was…There had to be some mistake. The cup was so big that it made me slightly nervous.

As anyone else does, I took my tray and proceeded to the drink fountain where I made plans to enjoy a tall lemonade. After my drink was full I reached over to grab a lid…then I discovered something interesting. My cup actually was a large. I needed a large lid.

This happens all the time. No matter how may times I ask for the smallest size, I get the largest possible one. I am not complaining, but as I thought of this concept I began to think about the direction of our culture. Now, “small” isn’t even an option. Why? Perhaps, it is because we have conditioned ourselves to never be satisfied. We want a drink that we can guzzle in excess and refill on our way out. We want this drink to last all day until we are on our way home from work, so that we can be content until the next day when we repeat the process. As a culture, we have left no room to feel disappointment and a sense of loss.

Look in the Old Testament and you will see an Israelite people that begged God for abundance in the wilderness. He didn’t give it to them at first. Why? Because they had what they needed….and the only reason they wanted more is so they didn’t have to spend the energy to come to Him daily for provision.

Don’t get me wrong. I love cheesburgers. I love large cheeseburgers. I just think God cares more about enough than He does about excess. This is because, when we rely on excess, we forget that life is meant to be lived in the midst of a healthy amount of uncertainty. Our faith grows in this condition. We also begin to find contentment in God’s presence instead of only God’s provision.

 

Life’s Most Important Question

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
      Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”- Luke 9:20

I can only imagine that Peter was caught off guard by this important question. He was simply reporting about what others are saying about Jesus, and somehow the subject was flipped to Peter’s reaction. He wasn’t prepared to deal with the implications of this answer, but he chose his words carefully.

Truth be told, this is a question that each of us need to answer at some point. Who do we say that He is? Is Jesus only someone we can learn from? Will following Him make us a good person? Do we teach our children about Him so they will be nice, and play well with others? OR…..Is Jesus truly Lord of our life?

Does following Him suggest a way of living, or a pattern of life? Is it predictable or unexpected?

I am convinced that far too many people forsake the abundant life found in Christ, because of the example shown by those who claim to be followers. I have said it many times….each day I must wake up and make a decision to put Christ back on the throne of my life. The truth is….sometimes I take that spot from Him. Making Jesus the Lord of my life involves more than just reading my Bible, or praying a lot, or even giving my income to the local church. Surrender involves starting the day asking “what now?”.

Take the leap today….ask God to be in control and let Him take care of the rest. Abundance will flow from this practice, and a new fire will burn within your life.

-Landon DeCrastos

Seek Him and Live!

This is what the LORD says to the house of Israel:
“Seek me and live;
 Amos 5:4

This passage comes at the end of an indignant tirade on behalf of God. Amos, up to this point, has been describing the deep sin that Israel has been involved in, and also includes the iniquities of the surrounding regions. Israel had fallen into pleasing themselves, and bowing down to idols and God was teaching them a very important lesson. It was a lesson brought on by their refusal to seek God’s will, and fashion their own empty truths.

One can read the book of Amos and sense the anger that was spoken through the prophet. God had given Israel a strict warning that there would be hell to pay if they turned their backs on Him. Many would interpret this series as “God taking back His love.” This is because God is describing the destruction that will be coming their way as a result of their actions. In all reality, it is quite the opposite. God had warned Israel of consequences from the very beginning. Israel shouldn’t have been surprised at the coming punishment. In the midst of this angry rant, God is also reminding them of all He has done for them. This situation became an essential teachable moment for God’s chosen people, and later we see true tenderness, and concern for a nation in real trouble.

The book of Amos balances on this one verse (listed above). God asks Israel to turn back to Him and experience life. The fact is, we can experience true life when we seek God. Many are lost and drowning in a world that seeks to desensitize them to the calling of the spirit, but God is constantly wooing us back to a relationship with Him. God doesn’t desire to fight us, and destroy us if not obeyed……He simply lets us know what life is like without Him. It is empty, destructive, cold, and useless. Only He can change that. Seek Him and live!

-Landon DeCrastos

Building with Fire

ImageTwo men set out to build tool sheds behind their houses. They were determined to get this project done in one day. They knew that they had to have the right tools to get the job done. These men wanted to build structures that would last a long time and be useful for many years to come. Each man had the same supplies delivered (paint, wood, windows, etc.)  to make sure the shed would be complete.

So, the first man began his morning early and set out to build a sturdy haven for his miscellaneous storage needs. He brought a hammer with him and some appropriate nails to finish the job. At the end of the day he stood in front of a completed work and he was proud of his accomplishment.

The second man brought the tools he thought he needed to finish the job. He brought gasoline and a blow torch. He spent all day trying to construct this shed but only ended up with a pile of smoldering wood. The dream to create this building went up in flames.

As Christians, God has given us all the necessary equipment to impact the world and have a successful Christian life. Why, then are so many believers struggling in their growth? The answer to this question has nothing to do with the supplies God has already delivered, but with the tools we are bringing to the project. Are we using these tools to build or destroy? God has given us the power and authority to do both.

This concept applies to many scenarios. Do we spend our time gossiping and tearing people down behind their back OR, do we desire to help guide them toward success? Do we constantly complain, OR do we try to find a way to get involved to make things better? Do we spend most of our energy becoming the victim in every circumstance, OR do we celebrate the victories in our life?

If we were to ask God what He desires for our life as a Christian what do you think He would say? Well, I am glad you asked because it is actually very clear in His word. He desires that we may experience abundant life! We are already saved. We are already going to enjoy Heaven when we transition from this life, but abundant life means a productive life of growth and joy. We must spend our time and energy offering freedom and forgiveness to others, and searching for opportunities to display the joy you have found in Jesus Christ.

Stop bringing fire to the project. Choose life and abundance!

-Landon DeCrastos