Author Archives: Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield
By Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” 1Peter 5:8 (KJV)
The bible is very fond of metaphors, and 1Peter 5:8 gives us one of the most vivid and scariest ones of all. Thing about it for a minute a roaring lion big angry and its coming after you ! Its enough to keep you up at night isn’t it ? But what makes the Devil so scary ? Why is God through his word so worried about us because of him ? Why should we care ? To understand these question we must understand Satan’s (The Devil) own past.
Most people when they think of the Devil think of the cute little cartoon character with the horns and pointy tail. Nothing could be further from the truth. Satan is anything but cute, and his pitchfork should be the least of our worries. But let’s take a look at where he got his start.
Satan is also known in scripture as Lucifer. Lucifer is one of the three archangels mentioned in the Bible. He was created by God to be very powerful. He was also created to be in charge of worship of God. He was God’s “go to man” for many things. Much of what happened we find in Ezeliel 28 Chapter 14 beginning with verse 14 “ You were a winged creature, were installed as a guardian. I placed you on God’s where you walked among the stones of fire. From the day you were created until injustice was found in you,your ways were assured. But because of your trade, your oppressive business practices piled up and you became impure. So I expelled you from God’s mountain.” (CEB) This is the flowery version of how Satan despite being one of God’s right hand men rebelled against God, and was cast of of Heaven along with one third of the angels who lived there. Satan is so dangerous because he was created by God to be one of the most powerful beings in creation. Satan is also very knowledgeable about the nature of man and knows just where to attack each one of us where we are most vulnerable.
Satan is a dangerous enemy who holds no allegiance to the truth. He will say or do anything to get his way. Most of us can think of politicians who started out great, but as their wealth and power increased they became something else entirely. It go to the point that no amount of wealth or power was enough, and they ceased caring about the people who put them there. It was the same with God and Lucifer or Satan. God placed him in one of the highest most powerful positions in all of creation. But that wasn’t enough. He wanted the throne of God himself, and he went after it with all he had.
So the primary reasons that Satan matters are that he was created to be and still is very powerful. He is also the mortal enemy of God and everyone on God’s side. Satan would love to steal you or anything else from God, and he is willing to stop at nothing to do it. Fortunately God is willing to stop at nothing to save and protect those who serve and worship him instead of falling for the enemy’s tricks.
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New Release of GriefShare Prepares Churches for Grief Ministry to Aging Baby Boomers and Their Families
With the U.S. elderly population expected to nearly double by 2040, the GriefShare support group program offers churches a vital ministry outlet.
WAKE FOREST, N.C., July 22, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — Pastors, church staff, and lay leaders searching for ways to improve their church’s bereavement, pastoral care, and outreach ministries have an easy new solution: a fresh, updated edition of GriefShare, a 13-week support group course that ministers to those mourning the loss of a loved one.
With a rapidly aging population in the United States — the number of Americans aged 65 and older is expected to nearly double by 2040 — more individuals and families than ever face the challenges of grief, giving churches that use GriefShare a unique angle of ministry.
“The need for GriefShare has never been greater, so this update couldn’t arrive at a better time,” said Steve Grissom, president of Church Initiative, the nonprofit that publishes GriefShare. “Fresh and innovative, the new version of GriefShare is built on 15 years of experience working with local churches to provide ministry to grieving people. This collaboration has helped us create ministry tools that are deeper and richer than ever before.”
Here’s what GriefShare group members experience during a weekly meeting:
- A magazine-style video seminar featuring insights from 46 leading Christian experts on grief and recovery subjects
- Profiles of people who have experienced healing following a loss
- A small group discussion
- Workbook and journaling exercises during days between the weekly sessions
Mastered in crisp, beautiful HD video, the newest update of GriefShare includes hours of all-new content:
- Powerful new testimonial interviews
- New insights from an expanded lineup of respected contributors
- Compelling new mini-dramas
- Updated and expanded leadership training and workbook materials
Today, over 12,000 churches worldwide are equipped to offer GriefShare. Pastors and care ministry workers have found the biblically based support groups an invaluable outreach tool. As GriefShare support groups become established in churches, they become known throughout communities as places where people can get help.
“GriefShare brings people to your church who are desperately hurting, desperately looking for answers,” said Nancy Guthrie, who cohosts GriefShare with her husband, David. “They are so open to find something to soothe their pain, to find some answers for their questions. And I think GriefShare does that like nothing else.”
For ordering information, visit the GriefShare website or call the Church Initiative offices at 800-395-5755.
ABOUT CHURCH INITIATIVE
Church Initiative is nondenominational, nonprofit ministry serving more than 20,000 churches worldwide. From its headquarters in Wake Forest, North Carolina, the ministry creates and publishes video-based teaching materials to help churches minister to people experiencing life crises. Church Initiative programs include GriefShare, DivorceCare, Single & Parenting, and DC4K (DivorceCare for Kids).
By Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield
I often warn people about those who worship at The Church of The Almighty Dollar. Unfortunately there are people in our modern society to whom money is morality. There yardstick for the rightness of their actions is last month’s sales rankings, or the latest quarterly earnings report. Such people are anchoring their morality in loose sand ! Morton Blackwell founder of the Leadership Institute in Virginia once said “ Don’t fully trust someone until he has stuck with a good cause which he saw was loosing.” Now Blackwell at the time was talking about politics. However I believe there is a more basic principle involved here. The point is someone who does something only when he has something to gain personally is not to be trusted !
Now lets look at the often miss-quoted words of the Apostle Paul, ” For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1Timothy 6:10 (KJV) Some people quote this verse as saying money is the root of all evil. But as you notice this is not quite right. What the verse plainly says is the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. It is what you make the priority in your thinking that matters. Your behavior should be driven by you love of God and his word not by your bank balance ! God cares about the contents of your heart, and could care less about your earthly riches.
So are we saying that money is a bad thing ? Certainly not ! Am I saying that we do not need money in this world ? I am not ! Look at what Paul says at Romans 8:28 (KJV) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. “ So you see The important thing is not the money. Money in fact can be used and is used to do great things for God in this world. The important thing is our love for God, and the call he has placed on each of our lives. When we are saved, we no longer belong to ourselves but to God. When we place our priority on money on any earthly thing instead of God’s word we distance ourselves from the call he placed on our lives.
So what am I saying ? I am saying that we should not gauge the rightness or value of our actions against what we get out of them. The values people of this world place on things are constantly changing. Instead base you actions on your love of God, and his word which does not change. Do not waste your love on meaningless things. Invest your love instead in God, and those he has placed around you, your family, neighbors, co-workers etc. Money tends to be temporary. General Motors used to be the biggest most powerful company in the entire world. There even used to be a saying in the investment business “ Nobody gets fired for buying General Motors.” It was the ultimate “blue chip” a “no brainer.” Well about that, times change. Not that long ago General Motors had to be bailed out by the American taxpayer. No bank or group of banks, no investment firm or group of such firms in the entire world was big enough to save it. Enron was one of the 10 biggest companies in the world. But highly placed people there started to worry more about their own gain, than the things that really matter, and Enron fell. Its stock became worthless !
Paul warns us against the love of money because in the first century just as in this one money isn’t a solid enough standard by which to judge or govern our actions. The word of God however always will be.
IN HIS LATEST ARTICLE ANDY STARNES ONCE AGAIN SHARES WITH US HIS UNIQUE “FIREGROUND” PERSPECTIVE ON THE CHRISTIAN FAITH, AND ITS APPLICATION TO OUR DAILY LIVES. HIS ARTICLE CONTAINS USEFUL INSIGHTS FOR ANYONE FACING TOUGH CHALLENGES IN THEIR LIFE.-PASTOR CRUTCHFIELD
By Andrew J. Starnes
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character hope. “ Romans 5:3
How do we glory in our sufferings?
Not many of us look at the problems of life as something to be happy about. As firefighters, we solve problems for others but respond differently when they affect us.
Why is this?
As a firefighter, we understand this concept better than we would like to admit.
We understand that in order to be a better, stronger, and more disciplined that we have to endure many hardships.
Training, education, and exercise are some of our disciplines. But what about applying those disciplines in our own lives?
In our actual service we see tragedy, illness, death, and loss almost on a daily basis. This can carry over into our personal lives and cause us to cope in unhealthy ways that are destructive to those around us.
Let us pause for a moment and ask ourselves:
Do the hard times we face in life make us weaker or stronger?
Each moment and each experience is an opportunity to produce “perseverance, character, and hope”
These moments and experiences are not meant for us to internalize and let them destroy us from the inside out.
They are meant for us to share, draw on each other’s comfort, and to use them in the future when we face even more difficult moments.
We are not meant to carry these burdens alone. Remember that!
“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
This is a brotherhood and that means we carry one another’s burdens together! We do everything as a team so why should one of our brothers/sisters have to face a personal crisis alone?
These moments can define us or destroy us. Through Faith and Fellowship they can be a source of strength.
As we face hard times in life we must remember to share our pain with others. It is not a sign of weakness, but a sign that we are human.
Without others calling for help, the fire service would not need to exist. With that in mind, begin by calling out to God and to our brothers/sisters for help.
Consider this tactical benchmark check list for our lives:
Size-Up: Pray! Tell God what your facing and share it with someone you trust.
Transfer Command: On an incident, the higher ranking officer takes command upon arrival. In our lives we don’t have to wait on God’s arrival. He is always there. Let Him take Command.
Follow His IAP: Immediately Apply Principles- God wants us to do our part; which demonstrates our faith (trust) in Him. Start mitigating the problem by following His plan.
Report to Rehab: As we work on the struggles we face we will become weary.
This is where we are to radio Command: “God, I am tired and weary”
And Jesus replies “Come to Me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Remember as a firefighter, when we arrive at an emergency what do we do?
We go to work resolving the problem. Why?
Because we have confidence in our training and in knowing that help is on the way.
“Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear” Isaiah 65:24
So Pray and remember that our confidence is directly correlative to our dedication to God’s word. Our ‘training’ is our study and application of God’s word.
Then we are get to work on the problem knowing that help is on the way.
In closing, hard times will come but it is how we choose to respond to these moments that will impact our lives and the lives of those around us.
Let us practice the principles of God’s word as the ultimate training for the problems we will all face.
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Yours in Christ,
A special message for our readers in Israel, and those who support them.
Salvation is so much more than being able to check a box on a form. Its not about being able to say “I love Jesus, of course I’m saved.” Salvation in its true sincere form is a transformational experience. Your life will be changed forever and these changes have a purpose. Salvation is the first step in preparing you for the future God has always intended for you. In this respect salvation is not entirely an individual event. Salvation is a first step in preparation for service to God and the people around you. God works through his people, so if you are unable or unwilling to allow God to work through you then you are not the only one who suffers. The salvation experience should open your heart and mind to of your acceptance of God working in you, and through you. Salvation occurs through the grace of God, by way of your acknowledgment that Christ died for you on the cross. There is now way to earn your way into Heaven. But as you are saved and after you and everyone else should see dramatic changes in how you face the world. Changes that come from being immersed in the Holy Spirit and God’s word !
Our behavior is the most obvious sign of our spiritual condition. Salvation is not a blank check ! Being saved, and under God’s grace does not mean we can do anything we want because God forgave our sins. Paul makes this point to the Christians in Corinth when he says “ “Everything is permitted, but everything isn’t beneficial. Everything is permitted, but everything doesn’t build others up. No one should look out for their own advantage, but they should look out for each other.” 1 Corinthians 9:23-24 (CEB)
Does anybody not believe that God could safe every person one Earth with a snap of his fingers ? Of course he could. But this would not be the point. Don’t you think that God could force us to follow his way if he wanted to. Of course he could ! But this would miss the point. God wants thinking willing followers not an army of brainless robots. For salvation to do what it is meant to do we must willingly accept Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. For God’s Word to do what it is supposed to do we must voluntarily follow the understanding of it the Holy Spirit gives us.
Anything less is a “junk food” kind of salvation. Junk food may taste good, its convenient, and it fills you up or at least makes you feel full. Junk Food can also be expensive, and over time lead to obesity, heart problems etc. A junk food salvation works the same way. We may say we are a Christian. We may even go to church, read Christian magazines etc. But like with junk food, if we do not allow salvation to open our minds and hearts to the Holy Spirit then our salvation is only a convenient but dangerous substitute for the real thing. If we do not allow God to enter our lives and make dramatic life changes to our world, then we are in reality not saved at all. So pray that your hear and mind will be opened to that which God has reserved for you. Commit yourself to not only reading God’s word, but integrating it into your daily life. Not only will you reap the rewards, but so will the world around you.
ANCHORAGE, AK (FEMA) – Faith-based organizations in Anchorage and Fairbanks are welcoming hundreds of volunteers with open arms, providing them food, transportation and shelter as they prepare for the final leg of a journey to help rebuild communities hit by last year’s flooding and ice jams along the Yukon River. Armed with a wide range of construction skills, men and women from across the country began arriving in Fairbanks on the first of June and more arrived in Anchorage starting the first of July.
The host groups are partnering with the State of Alaska and Federal Emergency Management Agency to ensure the volunteers have a local base where they receive training and orientation before heading out to the affected communities. Many are returning to continue the repair efforts they supported last summer.
“I feel really good about the volunteers coming in,” said FEMA Voluntary Agency Liaison Susie Calvert. “The churches are prepared to host them in ways that will be a pleasant transition. I feel we have the staff to support them and spent the whole winter preparing for their arrival.”
Where volunteers stay prior to their departure depends on which community they will assist. About 55 volunteers from Disciples of Christ and Mennonite Disaster Service stationed in Emmonak or Alakanuk are scheduled to connect in Anchorage throughout the summer.
The majority of volunteers, around 210 from the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, Samaritan’s Purse and Mennonite Disaster Service aiding Galena or Circle will arrive in Alaska via Fairbanks.
“This year, eight different churches in Fairbanks have stepped up to the plate to share the hosting responsibility,” said Disaster Response Coordinator Debbie Ervin for the Alaska Methodist Conference. “We’re all taking turns and helping one another to make sure that this goes as smoothly as possible to help Galena and the other communities return to where they were before the flood happened.”
Churches and other faith-based organizations hosting volunteers in Fairbanks include the Fairbanks Native Chapel, Fairhill Community Church of God, Friends Community Church, First United Methodist Church, University Community Presbyterian Church, Monroe Catholic School, Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Bible Baptist Church, True Victory Baptist Church and the Salvation Army.
Participating organizations in Anchorage include the First Presbyterian Church, Prince of Peace Mennonite Church, Trinity Christian Reform Church, Anchorage Lutheran Church, the Presbytery of Yukon, St. Patrick Catholic Church Parish and First Christian Church Disciples of Christ.
“I think there’s been a good collaboration between state and federal government and the voluntary agencies,” said Anchorage pastor John David Thacker with the Mennonite Disaster Service and chairperson of the Alaska Voluntary Agencies Active in Disaster. “We all have a common goal in mission: serving Alaskans who have been affected by the disaster, and if we all work together, great things can happen.”