A Truly Life-Giving Message

The following message is a teaching from one of my favorite Bible teachers, Dr. Tim Mackie. It is an amazing treatment of sex and the way Jesus looks at it.

“Jesus is intolerant of behavior that fractures relationships and abuses human beings”

 

Here I am (Monday Musings)

monday

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” 

Isaiah 6:1-8 brings up questions that are hard to avoid. First, what about this vision created a desire in Isaiah’s heart to serve God no matter what the circumstance? Next, what kind of resources was God going to supply Isaiah to accomplish this task?

Isaiah was commissioned to go to the people of Israel and preach a message of coming destruction and the hope and deliverance found through repentance. In a time when idolatry was rampant, and people began to forget about God’s faithfulness, this people group became content with the way things were. A captivity defined by self reliance and purposeless living.

Isaiah had a close relationship with God, and heard from Him regularly. He was not perfect, but God set him aside for a special purpose…to lead the children of God back to Him.

This passage shows us that God gave Isaiah the awesome opportunity to pull back the spiritual curtain and get a glimpse of the business of Heaven. Part of the business of Heaven is what happened to Isaiah…he was forgiven and purified of sin. His repentence and recognition of his depravity led to n authentic transformation. This transformation changed him so drastically that his passion for God to transformed others naturally followed.

What did God give Isaiah to accomplish this task? He gave His servant direct access to Him at all times. God gave Him a dynamic relationship that fanned the flame of love and compassion for his people. We have this same resource available to us.

If you have been changed by God, what does that transformation mean for you? Is it simply a ticket into an elite group of believers? Or, is it the fuel and animates the engine of service. We will please God if our Christian living is resourced by our relationship with the Creator. Do you have the courage to be open to God’s leading no matter the possible outcome?

Keep loving. Keep living. Keep growing.

-Landon DeCrastos

Confined By Freedom

A married couple sits in my office and there are long minutes of weeping and silence. They are trying to navigate their emotions, and the anger they feel for one another. The wife has committed adultery, and the husband doesn’t know it yet. I know it as the pastor, because of a previous private conversation with the wife. Both have spiraled downward in their walk with God and their relationship with each other. If it is possible to describe it this way they would say that they hate each other, but still love one another deeply.

The husband drinks a lot. He also has been frustrated with his wife because of her lack of interest in times of privacy. It all makes sense now.

They used to have so much fun together….they thought. They used to stay up late, party, and live however they wanted to live. When I asked them about their spiritual history the wife rolled her eyes and described a legalistic religious past that drove her away from the Church. The husband nodded as if to echo a similar history. “All they ever talked about was things we shouldn’t do”, she said “you can’t drink, you can’t smoke….you can’t have sex…..can’t, can’t, can’t.”

This couple was so broken. As a pastor, I could have sat there and told them everything they did wrong….and believe me there was going to be a time soon for stern guidance…..but right now I was there to listen.

I am not sure if it was because she was caught or she was frightened that she would lose her family as she knew it but she wept bitterly at the thought of divorce. I wish I could give a happy ending to this story, but sadly I can’t. As would be expected the couple split and the whole family dynamic changed.

Why do I tell this story? It is one that is all too common, and so many people are hurting because of this same scenerio. The fact is I can understand why people get frustrated with a church or belief system that seems to be so confining (can’t do this…can’t do that). It is much more attractive to seek to live a life in which one is not confined by such values. I get that. I am not one that could be called a legalist, but I do get tired of  seeing lives torn apart by brokenness. At the time, these lifestyles seem to bring about so much freedom….but way too many times there are people sitting in front of me….weeping….wishing they would have chosen another path. People become captive to their own desires.

God heals….yes……but if we obey Him to begin with He will show us such incredible freedom, and a life that is defined by joy.

Follow Him.

-Landon DeCrastos

The Secret Desires of a Human Pastor

For the most part, my blog posts are meant to inspire, encourage and provoke thought in those who read it. As we are ending 2013, I want to thank all of you who read/ follow my writings. I hope you and your family see God at work in a special way this coming year. Also, even if this last year was not the most memorable, I encourage you to take time to reflect about how God has provided and protected you.

Today, I want to write something a little different. I want to write something fun and light-hearted. I want to tell you all some things I have thought about for many years, but have never shared publicly.

Many people have the misguided notion that pastors sit around all day in empty, quite rooms reading and getting excited about the newest Greek or Hebrew word they just learned. Sometimes this is true, but like any other person, we have crazy desires that we secretly wish would come true but feel silly about revealing them. I would like to share a very short list of some secret desires I have had in my lifetime.

Here it goes…don’t judge me.

1. I have secretly wanted to sing with an a capella group– I know what you are thinking. “This guy must be a great singer“. Nope. Just something I have always wanted to do. I did, however, enjoy the opportunity of being in an a capella group in college. We were called “Undeniable”. We did a lot of practicing and one gig at a church in Michigan. Perhaps you heard of us and have wondered where this stellar group went…..Well, the world just wasn’t ready for us.

2. I have secretly wanted to learn parkour (free running)Look it up. It is pretty fantastic. I’m not sure how many people, in their minds, connect me with speed and agility but that’s okay. I may have been built more for liberal arts but it is a desire nonetheless.

3. I have secretly wanted to be a voice actor for a cartoon– I used to love mimicking voices when I was a child and equally loved watching cartoons. When I watch Veggie Tales (yes I do watch Veggie Tales) I think about how fun it would be to record in that way.

4. I have secretly wanted to record a children’s audiobook– This desire has come to the surface within the last several months. It is one I would like to accomplish to honor a friend who I lost recently to cancer. Janis Hires was a great inspiration to me and her personality and loving spirit was contagious. This desire was actually her life dream, and I would like to do it to fulfill her dream.

5. I have secretly wanted to learn more languages– One of these is American Sign Language. I have been inspired and encourage by people in my past who have deaf family members, or who have led deaf ministries. It is a beautiful language. I am also interested in Arabic.

6. I have secretly wanted to own an RV– The freedom of travel while still having the comforts of home is something that is appealing to me.

7. I have secretly wanted to be a superhero Shut up and keep scrolling…..

Perhaps some of you have similar desires. It is fun to day dream and there is nothing wrong with it. God gave us an imagination and He delights when we use it.