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Easter Reflections 2017

I began Easter by posting the following message to FaithInspires’ Facebook page, and to my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

” Today we celebrate the fact that Christ went to Calvary, also known as Golgotha (Hill of Skulls.) He went there to be executed in the most demeaning, inhumane way the Romans had at their disposal, crucifixion ! As the Son of God he could have avoided it all without an once of effort. Yet he willingly submitted to what was about to happen.

He did so for a very good reason. He did so so that EACH one of us could be freed from death, and from our sins. For only the Son of God could die for each person who lived, or would ever live.He was born, lived a sinless life only to spill his own blood for each person. To claim his victory and eternal life we need only to claim his sacrifice and believe in it.

What would seem like a sad tragic day is actually a happy one of great victory ! The cost of Easter has nothing to do with the price of candy. The price of Easter is beyond calculation and was paid for each of us on that far away hill, long ago. Happy Easter !”

 

After what seemed like a very successful Easter Sunday service I returned and posted this, about what I am sure will become a treasured Easter memory.

” I just got back from preaching Easter service at the nursing home. One of my regulars from among the residents got a rare treat, which played out in a way which blessed me mightily.

His daughter who lives out of town came to get him because the family had gathered locally for Easter. She actually apologized to me because with the preparations involved in getting him ready to go out etc. he was going to miss my service. She made a point of telling me how much she enjoyed my service and sermons when she was in town.

I actually got to speak for a moment with the resident as they were leaving. The man was practically in tears at missing my service and literally kissed my hand. I told him that he should go and enjoy his family because they are precious gifts from God.

I know many appreciate my ministry and preaching. But I was touched by the appreciation this man and his family made a point of showing me today. I wish more people understood how much a word or small gesture of appreciation means to those of us in pastoral ministry. Especially those of us who are bi-vocational. Sometimes a simple act such as this one is all that keeps us going when we want to just give up.

This frail, old nursing home resident, and his family gave me a gift of kindness today that will endure as one of my favorite Easter memories.”

 

It has for me been a mostly quiet Easter. I have had the opportunity to get some much needed rest and relaxation. However Christ and his sacrifice have been very much in my thoughts as they are most days. Having the opportunity to  contemplate what our savior did for us on Calvary is a blessing in itself.

The Day Christ Cleared the Lights for Me.

By Rev. Robert A.Crutchfield, Founder & Editor FaithInsipres.Org

In many cities modern traffic lights have what is called preemption equipment installed. Fire Engines, Police Cars, Ambulances etc. have transmitters on them that trip this equipment. The point is to turn all the lights green for the first responders so they can get where they need to be as quickly and as safely as possible. They “ Clear the lights.” The obstacles presented by traffic and red lights are kept from their path.

On Tuesday, July 12th 2016 I had an experience that showed me all too clearly that my savior Jesus Christ is like having my own set of preemption equipment. I had a heart attack. Shortly after waking up, I felt pain in my chest. I had suffered indigestion, bronchitis etc. so it wasn’t the first time my chest had bothered me. But Jesus spoke to me and made me understand this time it was different. From this point on many things could have gone wrong,many obstacles could have gotten in my way.

The type of heart attack I had kills one in four people in minutes. If I had blown it off as some weird case of indigestion, or waited to “see how it goes,” I would be dead now. But I didn’t, Christ Cleared the Lights ! I might not have had the presence of mind to call 911. Christ Cleared the Lights ! The ambulances could have been on other calls,but they weren’t. Christ Cleared the Lights ! The Hospital ER bays could have been full, the Cath Lab could have been busy, The doctors and nurses already tending to some other urgent case. Obstacle after obstacle between me and what I needed fell away. Christ Cleared the Lights ! Like the first responders and their preemption equipment, I was sped along. Christ cleared all the lights !

Many would say that it was just a string of happy coincidences. Others that it always happens so well. Sadly for others it doesn’t always turn out so well, and that’s an awful lot of coincidences. Some would think because I give Jesus Christ so much credit I must be ungrateful to the doctors, nurses, medics, clergy, and family members who united around me to make sure I was so well cared for. Nothing could be more ridiculous ! I have thanked God for each one of them many times in my prayers over the past week, and I do so again here, now. However I am left with the sense that Jesus Christ is the one who made sure they were all where I needed them when I needed them. And it was he who Cleared the Lights to get us all where we needed to be.

Chances are you are not having a heart attack so what does this mean to you ? Easy, we are all facing challenges in our lives. We all have obstacles between us and where we need to be. More importantly as Christians, we all if we choose to call on him have our own sort of “preemption equipment” to move the obstacles of this world aside. We have a comforter, and healer when we need one. Like 911 that Tuesday,he’s waiting on us to call to spring into action. He is Jesus Christ ! He is waiting to Clear the Lights for you just like he did for me !

Texas Archeologist Uncovers an Early Link to the Story of Jesus

Corcovado jesus

Corcovado jesus (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

GONZALES, Texas, Nov. 25, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — In what appears to be a very significant discovery of Art and Art History from the 1st century A.D., historian, historical archaeologist, and imaging inventor Ronald Stewart, ThD, PhD is stating that he has possibly uncovered hand-struck coins minted sometime between 33- 47 A.D. which have images and depictions of Jesus Christ– many which correlate to well-known Biblical events. Research is ongoing, but these initial findings would be a major development throughout art history, Christianity, Near Eastern history, and numismatics.

Prior to this unique discovery, the earliest known depiction of the face or likeness of Jesus Christ was in 235 A.D., in what is known as “The Healing of the Paralytic.” This has long been a concern for believers (and others), insofar as there were no (extant) drawings, painting, or other images of Jesus for the 200 years immediately after Christ’s death.

Likewise, the earliest image of Jesus on a coin showed up in a Byzantine

gold coin estimated to be from 692 A.D.

Examples of readily-identified Biblical stories of Christ which Stewart has seen on these coins include: Jesus healing the blind man, Jesus raising Jarius’ daughter from the dead, and Jesus being bound and dragged on his way to Pontius Pilate.

In order to arrive at his conclusion, Stewart has relied on his own advanced imaging technology called Infinite Microscopic to Macroscopic Imaging, a system that has been used and improved upon for the past 25 years. This imaging system has been used by the federal government, select State and county agencies, private museums in the USA and the UK, and other researchers and archeologists over the past several years.

“I am excited by this work. This is exactly the kind of in-depth research of which Christians need to stay apprized. The 3D imaging analysis of early coins with possible pictures of Jesus is very intriguing,” says Dr. Tim White- adjunct professor at Northwest University and senior pastor of Washington Cathedral.

Dr. Stewart plans on displaying the coins at some pending exhibits throughout the USA in 2014.

The complete journal entry on this topic can be found online at:
www.independentarchaeologynotes.com.

Sermon Notes:THE MIRACLES OF JESUS CHRIST

THE FOLLOWING ARE PASTOR CRUTCHFIELD’S NOTES FROM THE 3/10/2013 SERVICE AT COMPASSION CHURCH OF KATY.

Jesus performed many miracles during his time on earth. The Bible tells us about many but probably not even all of them. There were at least three reasons behind the miracles that Christ performed 1) To prove that God was real 2) To prove that he (Christ) was real 3) To prove that which he taught us was true. Jesus must have known the people of Missouri, long before it was established because he certainly had no problem with the “show me” approach !

 

Today I want to look at a handful of examples of the miracles Jesus performed while on earth. Beginning with the words of ,

 

John 2:1-10

 

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They don’t have any wine.” Jesus replied “ Woman what does that have to do with me ? My time has not come yet.” His mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby were six stone water jars used for the Jewish cleansing ritual, each able to hold twenty of thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water,” and they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “ Now draw some from them and take it to the headwaiter, and they did. The headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine. He didn’t know where it came from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew..

 

The headwaiter called the groom and said “everyone serves the good wine first. They bring out the second rate wine only when the guests are drinking freely. You have kept the good wine until now.”

 

This was one of our Lord’s first miracles. It also illustrates the point that anything that comes from God, is in every way better than that which comes from this world.

 

Now let’s look at what he did for the fishermen in,

 

Luke 5:3-7

 

Jesus boarded one of the boats, the one that belonged to Simon, the asked him to row out a little distance from the shore. Jesus sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he finished speaking to the crowds he said to Simon, “Row out further and drop your nets for a catch.” Simon replied, “ Master, we’ve worked the nets all night and caught nothing. But because you say so I’ll drop the nets.” So they dropped the nets and their catch so so huge that their nets were splitting. They signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They filled both boats so full they were about to sink.”

 

They had caught nothing all night. But Jesus came and taught, and they were obedient to him. Then their catch was so large they they could barely get it all to shore !

 

Our Lord and savior is so powerful even the forces of nature heed his command. We see an example of this in,

Luke 8:22-25

 

One day Jesus and his disciples boarded a boat. He said to them, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the lake. So they set sail. While they were sailing, he fell asleep. Gale force winds swept down on the lake. The boat was filling with water and they were in danger. So they went and woke Jesus, shouting Master, Master, we’re going to drown ! But he got up and gave orders to the wind and the violent waves. The storm died down and it was calm.

 

Can you imagine ! Christ in this miracle proved his dominion over, and authority over the earth. He is so powerful that even the wind and the rains obey his commands !

 

Most of us have at least heard of the story of the loaves and the fishes. What many do not know is that Jesus performed this miracle twice days apart. We read of the first example in,

 

Mark 6;35-44

 

Late in the day, his disciples came to him and said, “ This is an isolated place, and it’s already late in the day. Send them away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy something to eat for themselves.” He replied You give them something to eat.” But they said to him, “ Should we go off and buy bread worth almost eight months pay and give it to them to eat ?” He said to them, “ how much bread do you have ? Take a look.” After checking they said “ Five loaves of bread and two fish.” He directed the disciples to seat all the people in groups as if they were having a banquet on the green grass. They sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. He took the five loaves and two fish, looked up to heaven, blessed them, broke the loaves into pieces and gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. Everyone ate until they were full. They filled twelve baskets with the leftover pieces of bread and fish. About 5,000 had eaten.

 

What a mind boggling miracle ! All at once God provided food for their stomachs and showed them how massive his power is. Now let’s read about what happened several days later at,

 

Mark 8:5-8

 

Jesus asked “ How much bread do you have ?” They said “ Seven loaves.” he told the crowd to sit on the ground. He took the seven loaves, gave thanks, broke them apart, and gave them to his disciples to distribute; and they gave the bread to the crowd. They also had a few fish. He said a blessing over them, then gave them to the disciples to hand out also. They ate until they were full. They collected seven baskets full of leftovers. This was a crowd of about four thousand people ! Jesus sent them away.”

 

I know a lot of people who wish they could stretch their food budgets like that !

 

Can you remember when you learned to swim ? When you begin it can be hard just to keep yourself on the surface of the water, and that’s in a nice quiet pool. Remember that as we see what Christ did in,

 

John 6:16-21

 

When evening came Jesus’ disciples went down to the lake. They got into a boat and were crossing the lake to Capernaum. It was already getting dark, and Jesus hadn’t come to them yet. The water was getting rough because a strong wind was blowing. When the wind had driven them for about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the water. He was approaching the boat and they were afraid. Then he said to them “ I am Don’t be afraid.” Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and just then the boat reached the land where they had been heading.”

 

Understand what this verse is describing. Christ didn’t just walk a few feet across the water, but several miles. He didn’t walk across a nice calm pool, but a storm tossed lake.

 

Many were witness to these miracles. We even have multiple independent written accounts of some of them. They were performed and recorded so that we without doubt could know some simple truths. God is real. Jesus Christ his son is real. They are one and their power knows no restriction on earth or elsewhere.

Don’t forget to visit our audio sermon archive. Listen to Pastor Crutchfield as he teaches to Compassion Church of Katy, and  the residents of Spanish Meadows Nursing and Rehab.

Our Savior Announced !

THE FOLLOWING ARE PASTOR CRUTCHFIELD’S NOTES FROM THE 12/23/2012 SERVICE AT COMPASSION CHURCH OF KATY.

ANNOUNCING THE ARRIVAL OF OUR SAVIOR !

By Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield

Senior Pastor, Compassion Church of Katy

 

LUKE 2:10-20

 

The angel said, “ Don’t be afraid ! Look ! I bring good news to you-wonderful, joyous news for all people. Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, “ Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those he favors”

 

When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, Let’s go right now to Bethlehem and see what’s happened. Let’s confirm what the Lord has revealed to us.” They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw this they reported what they had been told about this child. Everyone who heard it was amazed at what the shepherds told them. Mary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully. The shepherds returned home, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen. Everything happened just as they had been told.”

 

This is how the birth of Jesus was announced. Not among the privileged, wealthy or powerful so that the news might be kept to a lucky few. His birth was announced very publicly, before common people so that the savior and news of his arrival would belong to everyman. After the shepherds returned from Bethlehem news of Christ’s birth quickly spread throughout the then known world.

 

The visit from the angel was not the first these shepherds had heard of the coming savior. Prophecy had foretold the event for generations. Can we ever imagine the excitement in their hearts as they realized that not only is the savior coming in their lifetimes, his birth had just occurred. That the savior of all mankind was physically with them at that moment ! It is not hard to understand the urgency with which they left their flocks and made their way to Bethlehem. Could any of us pass up the chance to witness such an event ?

 

These days it would seem that Christmas has been transformed into what I call GimmeMas. Gimme because that’s all too many people seem interested in these days. And Mas which is Spanish for more. This day is not about game systems, or T.V.’s or what have you. The true spirit of Christmas is about loving and giving. It’s not the season of “Give me more .” We need to rekindle in ourselves overwhelming excitement, not in what we unwrap on Christmas Day. But in the almost incomprehensible idea that God could love each one of us so much that he would become flesh, live an entire lifetime on earth only to die for our sins not his.

 

The true spirit and meaning of Christmas is about love starting with the sacrificial .love of God himself. This alone should make us excited beyond containment ! The mere idea of what God has done for us should put us on our knees in gratitude.

 

So in this Christmas season let us marvel at God’s boundless love which on Christmas took human form for our sake. Let us unleash great excitement at what has been happened. For this is not some vague promise, to be fulfilled sometime in the future. As people say these days its a done deal ! It has happened. So when somebody tells you Merry Christmas translate that in your head to say “God loves you big time !”

By the way Merry Christmas !

Bethlehem Gate

Bethlehem Gate (Photo credit: almasudi)

Christmas in Bethlehem this Year: Guess Who’s Missing?

 

BETHLEHEM, Dec. 16, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — Almost 50 years, Buffalo Springfield recorded For What it’s Worth, a song that symbolized an era of turbulence and confrontational feelings arising from events during the 1960s particularly the Vietnam War. Some of the lyrics for us in Bethlehem still resonate today:

There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear.

The birthplace of Jesus is devoid of his presence this Christmas. Our Christian holiday has been publicly reduced to symbols of Santa Clause, bells and snowmen. Jesus cannot be found anywhere.

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away

Of the 76,000 people who live in Bethlehem only 15% are Christians. Over last three decades, I have seen Christians flee from my hometown for a variety of reasons. Those who have remained are put into a position to never rock the boat. The dominate culture does not make it easy to be a Christian. For my beliefs and my willingness to profess the Good News, I have personally been beaten, the church has been fire bombed, and my uncle murdered.

Those who have made a conscious choice to convert to Christianity in Bethlehem have paid a dear price for their new found faith; estrangement from the family to being physically harmed. It is quite amusing to observe the U.S. news reports about the War on Christmas in America, when the real battle is where our Savior was born along with other places in the Middle East that have persecuted Christians.

The message of Christmas is more than a tree, gifts and drinking eggnog. It is about salvation as it states in the Gospel of John: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (3:16). Yet, the message is not visible and people are afraid to speak up. While the sound in Buffalo Springfield’s song is quite loud, ours is a deafening silence.

This week, I decided to be no longer silent. Using the largest billboard space on the main road to the Manger Square, I posted a 1,356 square foot billboard message of Christmas for all to see — “Jesus born to die and rose again. Invite him into your heart so you might live.” The message is in Arabic and English with a Christmas bow around it. In the last few days, traffic has been at a standstill with people coming out of their cars to take a picture of this sign.

As it states in Micah 5:2: But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans[a] of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times to keep the faith despite the danger. As Christians, we believe this verse to be referring to Jesus Christ. For God, our Father, to choose Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus is no coincidence, but a biblical fulfillment.

Since Jesus’ time, there has always been a Christian presence in Bethlehem. In your Christmas celebrations this year, I encourage you to pray and support the remnant that remains. Join us in this cause to once again make room for Jesus in the city of his birth. God gave us the indescribable gift of His Son. Express your gratitude by giving back a portion of His blessings in your life. Present your Tax deductible gift right now through our website www.holylandmissions.org.

Merry Christmas!

Steven Khoury is pastor of Holy Land Missions, a church with seven ministries in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

You can watch our video about the Billboard via the link below:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9yiRa05geA&feature=youtu.be

Church Group Launches Nationwide Evangelical Campaign — Bringing Fresh Appeal to an Enduring Message

ASHEVILLE, NC, May 7, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — A young-adult church group has announced the launch of

Corcovado jesus

Corcovado jesus (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

, a website showcasing an ingenious Christian retail product that resembles a common security sign–at first glance.

The idea for the sign originated in 2011 when two members of the group were discussing the security-system yard signs posted in nearly every front yard. One of the members noted, “Hey, what about me? I don’t have an alarm system. I don’t have a gun. I go to sleep at night comfortably knowing I’m eternally protected from all things.”
Paul Randstack, spokesperson for the “Protected By Jesus Christ” campaign explains, “That’s when it hit us. Jesus yard signs. What a neat, new and creative way to spread the name of Jesus.”
The group spent the next few months perfecting the sign’s layout and design, which features crisp white text on a contrasting blue background. Local test marketing indicates the Christian signs will appeal to Christian homeowners who want a fashionable way to publicly demonstrate their faith.
For more information contact: Paul Randstack, Protected By Jesus Christ spokesperson, paul@protectedbyjesuschrist.com.

Christmas Message 2011

Luke 2:8-11 Now there were out in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, Do not be afraid, for behold, bring you tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you on this day in the city of David, a savior, who is Christ the Lord !

Today is the day we celebrate the birth of our savior Jesus Christ. With the birth of Christ not only did God assume human form, but so did God’s love for us. Its not the kind of love we usually think about either. its a very profound love. the kind of love that cause you to do super human things for someone or something. God knew the sinful nature that was in this world. He knew that it would take something God sized to reunite man back to him. So God the father became God the son. To walk among us, to be one of us, and to live a sinless life so he could sacrifice himself for our sins. That’s a lot of very very powerful love !

In or time we spend this day with friends, and family. With the people we love. This is as it should be. Beyond enjoying ourselves we should on this the holiest of days recommit ourselves first to our love of Jesus Christ as our savior, but also to molding ourselves into the kind of loving servant leader that he would want us to be.

The standard for the depth and breadth of our  love should always be guided by the words of John 3:16,

For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever shall believe in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.