Dear Boy

josiahHey Bub,

It’s your Daddy. A few days ago, I wrote a letter to your sister and I wanted to continue to convey my feelings by writing one to you. There are so many things I would love to tell you. I could spend days typing out a message to you and the surface level of my love for you would not even begin to be described. I do think there are some specific things you need to know, and today I want to take the time to tell you. As I am writing this letter, you are an energetic, stubborn, smart, loving 4 year old boy. You are my boy. Never forget that.

First, you have to know how proud I am of you. No matter how many times I get on your case about being obedient, or how many things in our house get damaged beyond repair, it is vital for you to know that I think you are amazing. I am old-fashioned, I know this, and for a first-born son I have made it a point to raise you carefully with the understanding that your name means something. In the Old Testament, King Josiah was known as the king who led his people back to God. This followed generation after generation of people who disobeyed God’s word and went their own way. I see this influence in you already. You are a strong, smart, and determined little boy who will lead many to God. Your middle name, just like your sister’s, was named after a person who loves Jesus more than anything. To me, I want to see you thrive, and I know you can be whatever you choose to be. God chose only you for your calling. Run after Him and you will see blessing.

A few days ago, I seemed mad at you for a few minutes because you jumped on me and punched me in the back. Can I be honest with you about that experience? I loved it. Why? Because of what you said when you did it. Let me explain. Your sister and I were having an epic tickle battle and I had her pinned on the couch. I was tickling her and nibbling on her belly, and you were pretending you were a superhero. You jumped on my back and told me you were protecting her and you fought me to get me to stop. I had to discipline you because it was the right parenting move because “we don’t hit”, but deep down inside I was so proud. I couldn’t show it because I would have gotten in trouble with Mommy… The point is, you are right. You are called to be a protector of your sister. Don’t ever forget this…It is a serious job. You have super powers. Use them wisely.

Your sister watches every move you make. Be wise. She will look to you when she gets older as a resource and a person who will always be there when her heart is broken. Be the knight who slays the dragon for her.

More than anything else, you must remember that Daddy loves you more than life. When I saw you for the first time, it was a spiritual experience for me. I felt as if I knew you…as if your face was familiar to me. You are so special.

You are a DeCrastos. Make that mean something. I want to use this letter as one of the ways I impart my blessing on you…as your father…and the only one who can.

I love you Bub. As your Papaw always told me…you make my heart smile.

-Daddy

P.S. When you get up from your nap, I am challenging you to a wrestling match. Get ready to go down.

What Does God Think?

What does God think when He looks down?

When He observes our cities; when He sees our towns?

Does He see the sick, the dying, the weak?

Does the outlook, to Him, look fairly bleak?

Does He see the children; who struggle for food?

Does He hear the the parent whose actions are crude?

Could it be that what He sees

Is the exact opposite of what we percieve

While we spend so much time in fear

He displays His power when He is near

Could it be that this is all explained

By human sin and resulting pain?

This is easy enough to say

But, why does it have to be this way?

The good news is easily defined

as the majesty that flows from God’s mind

Christ’s saving grace and death on the cross

can redeem a man’s soul; can save the lost.

What if…and this is not a stretch…

souls are what Jesus came to fetch

The answer is God’s presence;  that will make us free

If we trust in His son and fall on our knees.

So, what does God think when He looks from above?

He probably thinks of what else He can do to show His love

-Landon DeCrastos

Do Doggies Have Knees?

My son asks so many questions. Most 3 year olds do. It seems to be their job. Some answers to the questions are really easy and others really stump me. There are questions that we can answer in a few words and there are others that we know the answer to in theory but have a very hard time verbalizing. For instance, try telling a 3 year old how his little sister came out of Mommy’s tummy. The words just don’t exist to help him wrap his mind around the concept.

Today, my son asked me a question that I had to really think about. This morning he jumped out of bed, and ran into my bedroom where I was getting ready for my work day. He did not start with “good morning!” or “hello!” but a very random question. “Daddy, do doggies have knees?”

Do doggies have knees? Umm…..I think yes. I really had to picture the canine anatomy for a second to come up with my answer. I told him they did, and he ran away completely satisfied with the answer. I still don’t know what this research project will produce.

This got me thinking about questions we have in our faith-life. Sometimes there are things that we really want to know, but are afraid to ask because we may be judged. We may be looked at as a bad Christian if we have “silly” questions that we genuinely desire to know. Perhaps we think we will even be looked at as immature.

The truth is….a believer who desires to know more about God is one that is growing in their faith. At a faster pace, in fact, than a follower who thinks they know it all.

Do you have the courage to ask, learn and grow? Do you really want to know if doggies have knees? It’s not as silly of a question as you may think.

Focus on Joy

My son is so fun to watch. He is now in a phase in his life where he loves to jump. He loves to jump in place, from one tile to the other, over cracks in the sidewalk, and even off the couch. The couch jumping had me nervous for a while until I saw him do it. He actually has pretty good technique.

When watching him play, I have noticed that he focuses intently on what he is working on. If he is putting together a puzzle then he holds his tongue out slightly like a golden retriever until he can figure it out. When he is building a block tower worthy of a medal, he does the same thing. The best time to watch my son is when he is playing with no restrictions or structure. You know…the times where is just spinning, jumping, or running laps around the dining room table. In those moments, the only purpose he is seeking…and the only resource he is reacting out of is joy.

Do you know why it is so fun to watch him? It is fun because my son has not allowed the world’s problems to steal his joy. They are still there, and he knows that sometimes people get “owies” and mean people push each other at the playground, but for some reason he has the ability to put that aside for a simple expression of joy. There is no worry about the mortgage payment or fear of Mondays…he doesn’t think about where the next meal will come from. He trusts.

Sometimes I think we are sinning by not living life in this way. In a way we are…because this is the life that God intended for humanity at the very beginning. Sure, Adam in the Garden of Eden still had important work to do, but everything he did was punctuated by the trust he had in God and His
very presence. We, as humans tend to lose our focus on joy.

Today, seek to find joy. Seek to live for the purpose of joy. Not fleeting and temporary happiness, but true delight in the fact that God is in control.

-Landon DeCrastos

Those Crazy Church People Part 5

ImageMy son is 20 months old now. I can’t tell you how many times I hear my son looks more like his mother. This is okay with me though because he is such a handsome boy and I am glad he inherited her traits. Just like my wife, he has the most beautiful blue eyes. They are somewhat hypnotic. In addition to those comments, people also tell me that my son has many of my personality characteristics. He loves any sport that includes a ball; he has my sense of humor, and he loves to read books (or act like he is reading…which is what I did to get through college).

If we are determined to live a life of faithful surrender to God’s plan, then we have to figure out who or what we resemble the most. The answer to this question will help guide us so we are more aware of our place on the spectrum of spiritual growth. Do we have more of the characteristics of popular culture, persuasive peers, or convenient preferences? Or, do the traits of our life closer resemble the sacrifice, surrender, and passion of Jesus Christ? In case you didn’t know…the world is actually not looking for a Christianity that resembles everything else they are used to. Deep inside all humanity is the need to hear the truth of God’s mercy, love, and righteousness.

We have a message that is so profound that we can’t afford to let it be put aside because it is unpopular. Christ is risen…God is love… Salvation is available to all. Go and represent this to the world.

-Pastor Landon