Monday, December 29, 2008

Hand Over Your Cup!

Daphne made her way around the table filling coffee cups and chatting with some of her regular morning customers at the diner. As she was about to fill the fourth cup, Mack told the punch line of a joke and everyone at the table roared with laughter.

Daphne was laughing so hard she didn't notice Clyde's hand covering the top of his coffee cup. Clyde didn't want coffee. But he got it anyway. Hot coffee hit his hand, splattered up his arm, and ran down the table into his lap. It must've been instant coffee because Clyde was drenched before he knew it.

"Be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18) is the daily challenge of every believer. The challenge is not due to the hesitancy of the Spirit, but to the hindrances of our own flesh. Like Clyde, our flesh gets in the way, makes a mess, and we get burned.

All the Spirit of God needs is an open, empty vessel. But too many times there's too much "u" in the "cUp."

Welcome to the table this morning. Have a seat. The Holy Spirit is pouring.

Who needs a refill?
Perry Crisp

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Joseph Christmas

The manger scene is familiar to us all. We can visualize the scene and the actors. There was a big star in the sky, but there were big stars at the barn, too. Jesus was the biggest of all. And of course, His mom has attained quite a following among our Catholic friends.

But what about Joseph? Where's his following? He was there that night. He had to endure his own labor pains as he stood by the side of his expecting wife whose expectation was not his own. He defended her purity. He packed the donkey and bravely guided the family to Bethlehem. He is the quiet hero of Christmas eve. Though Scripture makes it clear Joseph was not Jesus' father (that Jesus was divinely conceived), Joseph stood over the Baby Boy with pride that night.

The last we hear of Joseph is when Jesus was twelve. From then on, we only hear of Jesus' mother and brothers. The assumption is that Joseph died at a young age.

That thought strangely comforts me at Christmas. Maybe it will you, too. For at every Christmas with all the trees, trimmings, and tinsel; with all the laughter, joy, and celebration...there are loved ones not in attendance. Like Joseph, they left earth for an eternal home. Like Mary, at Christmastime, we miss them in our earthly home.

Every Christmas, there's a place for a person, but no person. We still want to wrap a package and put their name on it. They still sit at the table of our heart, though their chair at the dinner table is empty. Our ears strain to hear the laughter and singing of that voice that never leaves our soul.

There is a tradition among some Christian families to leave the Baby Jesus out of the manger scene until Christmas morning. Then on that morning, the family ceremoniously places the Baby Jesus in the scene to remind them of the true meaning of Christmas.

Maybe it's time to start a new tradition for those who've lost loved ones. Maybe we should, on Christmas Day, take Joseph from the manger scene and put him on a higher shelf, so that, even though his spot with the family is empty, his presence is still felt from above.

Have a Joseph AND Merry Christmas,
Perry Crisp

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Keep Roadkill Legal!

God spoke through the prophet Ezekiel saying, "I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one" (22:30).

I saw something recently that I never thought I would see in Texas. I was traveling down a two-lane road when I noticed both lanes of traffic were stopped ahead of me.

I thought maybe a child was crossing the road. Possibly a dog. Or perhaps I was being delayed by cat lovers protecting a wandering feline from people like me.

It wasn't a child or a dog or even a cat. It was an armadillo! Twelve cars were stopped so an armadillo could cross the road safely. I was amazed.

If you haven't been to Texas, Armadillos are to Texas highways what blankets were at Woodstock - they're everywhere! Armadillos are most commonly seen on the side of the road with all fours pointing toward heaven.

I've seen a few cars swerve to miss armadillos. I've seen cars aim for armadillos. But I'd never seen traffic stop for the shell-covered, lawn-terrorist...until now.

Can't you see the headlines? "Texans Join Forces to Save Armadillos." It won't be long now until I see a bumper sticker with a picture of an armadillo and the slogan,
"No More Roadkill!"

People today will stand in the gap for almost anything. Especially if it isn't human. They will place their bodies between trees and timber companies to keep the trees from being cut down. They will buy millions of acres to keep endangered species from becoming extinct. They will run a marathon to save whales or even attach bumper stickers to their $50,000 vehicles that read,
"I Brake for Armadillos!"

But who will stand in the gap for his neighbor? Who will step between sin in a friend and salvation in a Savior and become that bridge through whom an eternal connection is made?

Will you? If not, then who?

Standing in the gap - not shopping at it.
Perry Crisp

Monday, December 15, 2008

Do Over

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land" - 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV).

Which of the following would be hardest to forgive?

1. A doctor who prescribes a laxative for your migraine.
2. A beautician who thought you said "shave" instead of "wave."
3. A store clerk who asks for a price check for your zit zapping cream over the intercom.
4. A preacher who preaches on good hygiene and uses you as an example of what NOT to do.

Would you make an appointment to see that doctor or beautician again? Not likely. Could you ever show your face (pardon the pun) in that store again? I doubt it. Would you ever go back to hear that preacher again or would you rather sign up for acupuncture with horse needles?

There are not many places on earth where a person can expect a second chance. But there is a place in heaven. God forgives His children and gives them a second chance.

Whenever you fail God, He does not change His heart toward you nor abandon you. He waits patiently for you to return and repent.

A sin against God means we have moved away from Him, not the other way around. When that happens (and it will/does/has), God wants us to realize our error, return to Him in prayer, and turn away from the sin that moved us away from Him in the first place.

I know it's only Monday, but have you failed God yet? Return to Him with a humble heart and a desire to change. God will hear you, forgive you, and draw you close to His side once again.

A second-chance God begets second-chance children. Is there someone who needs a second chance from you? Follow your Father's example and forgive.

On my 2,456th chance...this year!
Perry Crisp

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Mouse, Not a Dinosaur

Barney, the mouse, found a peculiar device under a cabinet. The young rodent decided to push it out from under the cabinet for a better look.

He didn't know what it was. But he had an idea what it could be. He scurried back to the nest to get his family and friends.

"Come see!" he squeaked. Everyone followed the excited mouse. When they arrived at the peculiar device, they all gasped.

"Where did you find that?" asked his brother.

"I didn't find it," snapped Barney, "I made it."

"Wow! What is it?" asked Mikey, one of Barney's friends.

Barney hesitated, "It's a --- um ---it's a spring-a-popper!"

"What does it do?" inquired Aunt Betty.

"Well," answered Barney, making it up as he went along. "You jump on that yellow thing there and that spring in the middle pops you high up in the sky."

"Cool!" Mikey was impressed. "Can I try it?"

"Sure," said Barney.

"Wait a minute," interrupted Barney's dad. "Have you tested this 'spring-a-ma-jig' to make sure it works?"

"Of course!" Barney lied again. "Watch this!"

Barney's lies were so believable that he even convinced himself. He cleared a path to get a good running start, ran as fast as he could, jumped high to get a good bounce off the yellow thing, and...


The spring-a-popper sprung in reverse. Instead of lofting Barney high into the air, it pinned him permanently to the yellow thing.

Barney's "spring-a-popper" was really a mouse trap.*

Acts 5 tells the story of Ananias and his attempt to deceive others. He died because he lied. He, too, was caught in his own trap.

When we attempt to deceive others we usually end up like Barney and Ananias -- deceiving ourselves, becoming entangled in our own deception, and paying a price for it.

"Father, guide my heart away from all temptations to deceive."

Yours True-ly,
Perry Crisp

*No animals were actually harmed in the writing of this devotional.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Tallest in the Land

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were forced away from their homes in Jerusalem and chosen to serve the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar (pronounced neb-you-kud- Oh, forget it. Just call him Neb-nez).

Shad, Shac, and Ed were stripped of their Hebrew clothes, language, and culture, and required to learn and live the customs of their pagan captors. Even their Hebrew names were replaced with Babylonian names.

King Neb-Nez built a ninety-foot image of gold for his subjects to worship. Ninety feet? Talk about sticking out like a sore thumb! That's some serious obelisk bling. EVERYONE was forced to worship this enormous idol, including the captured Jews.

In the spirit of reverse musical chairs, any time the citizens and slaves of Babylon heard music, they were to stop, drop, and worship the golden image. Failure to do so meant death by fire. It was Babylon's twisted version of American Idol.

Once everyone understood the rules of Babylonian Idol, the king hit the play button on his 8-track tape player (it was a long time ago), and everyone hit the dirt.

Well, almost everyone.

Shad, Shac, and Ed were the only three people in the country still standing. They refused to bow.

The king was told of their refusal to give in to posture-pressure and confronted the three rebels with an ultimatum: "Bow or burn."

They opted for the oven. And in the eyes of this "One-true-God" follower, they stood taller than the image they refused to worship.

As they were thrown into the blazing oven, the king thought about what he would do with his first batch of Hebrew charcoal. But they didn't burn.

The king rubbed his eyes at what he saw when he looked into the oven. Not only did they not burn, they had a guest! Three men were thrown into the fire, but four men were engaged in a flame-broiled conversation that must have been something to see and hear. God joined His loyal followers in the oven and removed the power of the flames.

When the king called them out of the fire, neither their clothes nor their hair had been changed by the fire. Why, they didn't even get a good tan!

The faith of these three men made a believer out of the king. Neb-nez learned that he could change their clothes, address, language, and names -- but he could not change their hearts.

The sad part of this story is that, out of all the Hebrew captives, only three stood up for their God.

How about you? Will you stand up for God when everyone else assumes the posture of compromise?

Crisp, not burned...
Perry Crisp

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Who's in the Driver's Seat?

A man hauled his truck into the shop to see what was wrong with it. After giving the truck a thorough inspection, the mechanic told the truck owner that the engine and transmission were shot. The battery, carburetor, and wiring were missing. The brakes were out. And rust had eaten a hole in the gas tank.

"But why won't it start?" asked the truck owner. "The key still fits, the doors open, and the scent in my pine fresh deodorizer is still strong."

The mechanic looked at the truck owner like he was an idiot. A deserving look...wouldn't you agree?

Yet so many Christ-believers operate their Christianity in similar form. "But I belong to a church, I can quote John 3:16, and I have my own pew! Why am I not getting anywhere in my walk with Christ?"

A believer who tries to live the Christian life without surrendering to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit might also deserve the "idiot look."

An automobile needs an engine, transmission, battery, carburetor, wiring, brakes, and gas to fulfill its function. And a believer needs the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control to function effectively as a Christian.

Where does a believer find all these characteristics? "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control..." (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)

They can only be found in the Spirit of God. Where is the Spirit? According to the Bible, the Holy Spirit lives inside the believer. So, if Christ is your personal Savior, His Spirit lives inside you. And if the Spirit is inside you, guess what else is inside you? All you need to have a meaningful, productive walk with Christ. Just ask God to let His Spirit live through you today.

The Holy Spirit is the only one with a driver's license when it comes to the Christian life. So give up the keys, slide out of the driver's seat, and enjoy the ride.

Tuned-up when I Turn it Over to Him,
Perry Crisp

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Anchor Holds

There are many reasons why an anchor may not hold: The water may be too deep, the rope may be too short, or the anchor may be too small for the size of the boat or the strength of the wind.

Those are the less embarrassing reasons.

There are other reasons why anchors don't hold. I have discovered them all by myself. For example, an inadequate knot tends to result in the anchor taking up permanent residence as a prop on the set of SpongeBob SquarePants.

Also, forgetting to pull up the anchor when moving to another part of the lake can cause premature anchor detachment. And then there's the moment when you and your fishing buddy both say, "I thought YOU were bring the anchor!"

In life, we often find ourselves in need of an anchor that holds. We occasionally end up in "deep water" or fighting against the wind and waves of life only to discover that our anchor is insufficient. Or we depend on things or people that just aren't secure, reliable, or honest.

There is one anchor that holds in this life no matter how deep the water, no matter how high the waves, and no matter how strong the wind. This anchor is firmly and eternally secure, reliable, and trustworthy.

The anchor that holds is Jesus.

When we put our trust in Jesus Christ, the anchor of hope is dropped, secured, and immovable for all eternity.

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure..." (Hebrews 6:19, NIV).

Anchored in Faith,
Perry Crisp

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Book Order

Just a note that "This Morning with God" devotionals are now in book form and available to purchase!

The book is hardbound, maroon, with gold lettering on the front and spine. It is 8 1/2 x 11 in size and has practically every devotional from the first day, August 7, 2006, to the recent devotional written October 22, 2008. It weighs as much as a small child and can hold down a sizeable stack of papers in a category 2 storm. If you have a sturdy coffee table, it will look impressive...until your guests start reading it.

We are ordering 150 to begin with and will continue taking orders. The cost is $30 plus shipping. This price will cover the cost of the book. Any surplus monies above the cost of the book will go as a donation to either Walnut Creek Baptist Church's building fund or Lake Fork Baptist Church's library fund (please choose one).

If you would like to purchase one or more, please send a check or money order to Lake Fork Baptist Church, 9483 West FM 515, Alba, TX 75410. Make your check payable to Lake Fork Baptist Church and denote "TMWG Book" on your donation. Also please specify the number of books you are ordering and the fund that you would like any overage to be placed in.

Thank you for being a faithful subscriber. May God use this to bless you and others in His name.

Perry Crisp

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mr. G

"They know about God, but they don't honor Him or even thank Him" (Romans 1:21, Contemporary English Version).

A certain village was filled with car-crazed citizens. They drove cars everywhere. Every day. They did everything by car. They were nuts about their cars. And boy, were they cranky when their cars wouldn't crank!

The village had a single mechanic. He alone knew how to maintain, diagnose, and fix cars. He was a genius at work, turning out repaired automobiles like factories turn out shoe laces and bubble gum.

Though the lone mechanic had a monopoly on this service industry, his prices were significantly lower than they should have been. He could have charged ten times as much, but he barely charged at all for his services.

Through the years other mechanics had tried to compete, but none could compare with Mr. Greatwrench. Failed mechanics moved away and set up shop elsewhere. They found normal villages where people expected high prices, long delays, shoddy work, and questionable fees.

Mr. G enjoyed serving the good people of Motorville...until lately. Lately, he noticed a change in the attitudes of his customers. Smiles were replaced by grimaces. Appreciation was absent. No matter how quickly Mr. G repaired and replaced a broken this or a faulty that, the vehicle owners grew more and more impatient.

They checked their watches and paced. They let out deep sighs of exasperation. Mr. G overheard phone conversations that regularly sounded like this:
"I don't know! I thought he would be finished by now. I can't believe it's taking this long!"

Upon overhearing one such conversation, Mr. G put down his ratchet, rolled out from under a car, stood up, wiped grease from his tired, gnarled, and constantly bleeding hands, dropped the grease rag on a workbench, and walked away.

No one ever saw him again.

There's another Mr. G who lives in your neighborhood. He doesn't work on cars. He works on hearts. God.

God does amazing work. He has even absorbed the cost Himself. His Son, Jesus, paid for everything. God can fix a broken heart when we feel it is beyond repair. God can heal a neglected relationship that appears hopeless to everyone else. God works day and night. No one else can compare.

Shouldn't His patrons be grateful? Are we? Am I?

Happy Thanksgiving,
Perry Crisp

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Who Knows?

Really important words get tossed around like a plastic frisbee at a dog competition. We just fling them out there without fully appreciating them.

The obvious one is love. Without attaching any degree of priority, we say "I love God" and "I love your cell phone cover" in the same breath.

The less obvious one is a two-word phrase repeatedly repeated with annoying repetetive repetition:
"I know."

We often say, "I know" whether we do or not. For example:

"The new Air Force One is very comfortable."

"I know!"

Then there are subtle variations of "I know" that are rarely defined. Grandpa says to his grandson, "We used to listen to music on vinyl records." What does the grandson say? "I know."

But does he really? Unless he's at least 40, vinyl is what's on the outside of his house and a record is either something his favorite athlete broke or something his favorite athlete has since his recent incarceration.

"I know" is high atop the list of the most important two-worded phrases of our existence. If I tell you, "God loves you and gave His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for your sins, and He will come into your life if you will accept and trust Him," and you say, "I know" - I pray that you're not tossing me a frisbee.

Nothing in your existence could be more important than "knowing" the truth of that statement personally, intimately, and experientially.

It needs to be knowledge that doesn't just sit in a manila folder in the file cabinet of your brain, but knowledge that brightens the darkness of your mind, soul, and heart, and stirs the blood of your soul to flow throughout your whole being.

Jesus had some fellas say, "I know" after they saw Him do a few miracles. But Jesus "knew" them way better than they knew themselves or Him.

"But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men...for He knew what was in man" (John 2:24-25).

Notice it says, "He knew" twice. John used two different tenses in the Greek language when he scratched these words on a pith of papyrus. The first one means that Jesus is currently and forever knowledgeable of man. The second means that Jesus has always known man and now knows what is "in man" by experience.

If Grandpa sat the kid down and lowered the needle to the turntable, then the grandson would know by experience what his grandfather experienced at his age.

Jesus has always known us. But once He became one of us, He knew us on a new experiential level. And once you turn away from your sins, accept by faith what Jesus did for you on the cross, and invite Him into your life, you will truly know Him. can say,
"I know!"

Do you?
Perry Crisp

Monday, November 17, 2008

All Growed Up

Have you ever met a full grown adult who met the requirements of adulthood solely on the basis of age? If you haven't, let me introduce myself - I'm Perry. I'm 46 years old, and I'm still a kid.

Sure, I can maneuver my way through the adult world, making important decisions and sounding knowledgeable on politics and the economy like other taxpayers. But inside, I'm just a kid. Beneath my button-down business shirt is a kool-aid-stained t-shirt with a big "S" scribbled in crayon. Not Superman. Superkid.

I'm not alone. I've seen the child in others. I've heard grown-ups giggle and I've seen old folks play kids games. I don't know why we try to hide it. I think we ought to be long as we know when to be which.

This morning I was filling bookshelves in my new office at Lake Fork with my old books. Books from college, from seminary, from friends, from former pastors, and from my dad's library (yes, he knows I have them).

I came across a book from seminary days. A philosophy professor of mine had assigned his book for our reading pleasure. Here's an excerpt:

"One may in epistemological faith hold an interpretation of a thing, person, concept, or spiritual entity to be ontologically valid to the extent to which the 'reality' creates in one's experience the conditions which appropriately correspond to one's conceptual understanding of that which is claimed to be 'real.'"

I am a living testimony that miracles happen! I passed that class by the grace of God. Or maybe it was drop-and-add. Either way, I passed philosophy without ever understanding my own personal connection with existentialism.

After I read that sentence and slammed the book shut, I rubbed my eyes and pondered my thoughts. I had mixed emotions. I was torn between the shock that I could pronounce "epistemological" and the frustration that I should be able to understand what that sentence means by now!

I put that book on a shelf and opened God's Word. Immediately, I found a fellow kid in David:

"God, I'm not trying to rule the roost, I don't want to be king of the mountain. I haven't meddled where I have no business or fantasized grandiose plans. I've kept my feet on the ground, I've cultivated a quiet heart. Like a baby content in its mother's arms, my soul is a baby content" (Psalm 131, The Message).

David is saying what I'm saying. Sometimes I'm just content to be a kid. God is my Father. I'm His child. I can go to the playground of life and take an occasional recess because I know my Father has all things in His hands.

I can relax. I can rest. I can recreate. I can sing "Hakuna Matata" and enjoy a problem-free philosophy. So can you. The world will not fall apart if you take time to enjoy what your Father has provided. But you will fall apart if you don't.

You can't be Samson 24/7. God can. God is. Hear Him say,
"I've got go play with your friends until I call for you."

Thanks Dad,
Perry Crisp

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I am currently in a time of transition, moving from one church and community to another. The demands of selling a home, moving, buying a home, and getting settled into a new ministry make it impossible to post devotionals at this time.

I plan to resume posting devotionals next week. Thank you for your patience. If you are a subscriber to my mailing list or the blog, nothing will change. You will continue receiving the devotionals as before.

Thank you for your patience, prayers, and continued encouragement and support.

And thank you, Veterans and current Service Personnel in our nation's military, for your generous and exceptional service throughout the world. Happy Veteran's Day!

Perry Crisp

Monday, October 27, 2008

Gospel According to Lightning Bugs

A Texas firefly, commonly referred to as a "lightning bug" by the locals, lofted his way across a field of flowers late one evening. Like hundreds of other lightning bugs, this little guy's tail was flickering on and off, punching occasional holes in the darkness.

The tiny Texan with the glowing tail was suddenly carried away by an enormous gust of wind made by the engines of an airplane lifting off from a nearby airport. The gust blew the tiny firefly into the cargo area of an airplane that was being boarded by travelers to Siberia! But he didn't know that.

Before the little lighted Texan could disembark, the cargo doors closed and the engines started. The little lighted insect lit on a suitcase and waited for the doors to open again. He waited and waited and waited. He slept. He explored. He slept again. Finally, the engine noise stopped and the cargo doors opened.

With less than a two-inch opening, the excited lightning bug flew out of the airplane, ready to shout, "I'm freeeeeee!" But as soon as he hit the outside air, his shout changed to, "I'm freeeeeezinggggggggg!"

He flew this way and that way, looking for a warm place. His sensors picked up on warmth coming from a nearby truck. The firefly flew into the truck just before the door closed. The truck was warm and the firefly was scared.

By the time the truck stopped, it was dark outside. The door of the truck opened and the firefly flew out into the darkness, instinctively using his tail in hopes of signaling fellow fireflies as a call for help.

It was terribly dark and bitterly cold. Even though it was springtime in Siberia, his little body was shivering against the cold. The little lightning bug kept flashing his tail as he flew about aimlessly in the dark. A high-pitched bug voice cried out from a bush, "Look at that! That strange looking bug has a tail light!"

Suddenly the Texas lightning bug was surrounded by big-headed bugs with large eyes and small bodies. He had never seen anything like it. They had never seen anything like him. They were completely enamored with his bright backside.

The Siberian big-headed bugs were enthralled by his light. He told them he was cold so they gave him a warm leaf to wrap himself in. He told them that he was a firefly. They had never heard of such a thing. No one in Siberia had ever seen a firefly.

However, the ancient prophecies passed down from generation to generation of the big-headed Siberian bugs spoke of a bug who would one day bring light to the villages of the big-heads. It was obvious to the Texas firefly that they believed HE was the fulfillment of that prophecy.

He tried to tell them he was just a regular bug and there were millions more just like him back in the United States, but they never really listened to him. They were too busy celebrating their new celebrity. The lightning bug was adored, worshipped, and villified throughout the big-headed bug kingdom.

Everyone wanted to get close to the firefly. Everyone cheered the firefly. Everyone brought him gifts and treated him like a king. He was even given his own private and cozy bed chambers. The little lightning bug never felt bigger. He thought for the first time that he was truly loved and appreciated.

One of the chief big-headed bugs grew a bit jealous of the new guy. One day, he waited until the lightning bug celebrity was asleep and snuck into his private chambers. The big-wig big-headed bug touched the tail of the sleeping firefly and discovered that flecks of the flourescent light rubbed off onto his own tentacles.

He emerged from the chambers of the firefly glowing from tentacle to tentacle. Soon, every big-headed bug wanted to touch the firefly. The noise awakened the lightning bug and he stepped outside to see what was happening.

A mob of big-headed bugs moved toward him. What started as affectionate, tender touching of the lightning bug's light turned to mauling. Everyone grew greedy for a piece of the light.

When the frenzy was finished, the firefly was unconscious on the ground. He was bleeding. His wings were spread straight. Almost unnoticeable was a tiny stick underneath the fallen firefly that stretched from the tip of one wing to the tip of the other. A second stick intersected the first, starting under the stunned firefly's head and poking out from under his tail. Only a flicker of light remained in his tail. As the other bugs watched, the firefly died and the tiny remaining light in his tail dimmed to darkness.

The big-headed bugs never really wanted to get to know the firefly. Nor did they ever want to know and understand the truth of his light. They only wanted to feel the light.

I wonder how many people really only want to feel Christ or rub up against His light rather than know Christ and be changed by His light and His love.

Hoping to Enlighten You,
Perry Crisp

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I am currently sandwiched between memories and vision. God has blessed me with eight amazing years serving Him as pastor of Walnut Creek. I look around my office and this community and see memories everywhere.

It is not until God leads somewhere else that you take the time to look back. He has. I am.

God has provided a new place and a new people for me to lead, and I look forward to the future knowing it is in the hands of the same One who blessed the past.

I look forward to what God is going to do at Lake Fork. The potential is exciting. But for this moment this morning, I am taking the time to thank God for this place and this people.

"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you" (Philippians 1:3).

Perry Crisp

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Parable of the Tool Shed

The First Hardwood Church of Carpenterville held a business meeting that had the sawdust flying. Here are the minutes from the business meeting:

The meeting was called to order by the moderator, Brother Claw Hammer. The minutes of the previous meeting were read by Sister Blue Prints. There was no old business. There was no new business. Brother Hammer asked for a motion to adjourn.

Before anyone could make the motion, Brother Sledge Hammer stood up and grunted, "I think it's time we got a new moderator. Claw has no vision and his leadership is weak. It takes him ten licks on a nail that I could drive with one blow."

Brother Claw responded, "So you think YOU should be the moderator? You have no gentleness whatsoever. Everything you touch gets smashed to pieces."

"Well, at least we don't have to listen to that constant banging from Brother Sledge like we do when Brother Claw is tapping away incessantly," piped Brother Hand Saw.

"If you think constant banging is annoying, Brother Saw, you should hear your monotonous sliding back and forth," buzzed Brother Power Saw.

Sister Plane, hoping to smooth things out, said, "What if we let Brother Claw and Brother Sledge alternate as moderator?"

"Why does it have to be a Hammer?" asked Brother Screw Driver, "Haven't the Hammer's run this church long enough?"

"Well, nobody's going to follow a screwdriver, for crying out loud," said Sister Tape Measure, "We would all just be going in circles until we buried ourselves!"

"I think the obvious choice would be me," said Brother Ruler.

"If Brother Ruler becomes moderator, I'm leaving," said Sister Sand Paper, "He would wear me down to nothing with his perfectionistic legalism."

"At least I don't rub everyone the wrong way," answered Brother Ruler.

In the middle of all this discussion, Brother Latch was quietly lifted. The Carpenter of Nazareth opened the door unnoticed by the fussing tools. He donned His apron and walked right into the middle of the tools. When they saw Him, they all got quiet and bowed down, as if offering themselves to His hand.

The Carpenter went to the work bench, opened the original Blue Prints, and began working. He used Brother Saw, Sister Plane, Brother Ruler, and all the other tools. When He was finished, there stood two objects side by side: A cross and a pulpit.

The Carpenter laid the tools down, took off His apron, and left the shop. Each tool stared at the objects in silence. No motions. No moderators. No meetings. They KNEW what they were here to do. One by one, each prior statement was confessed, withdrawn, and forgiven.

The Great Carpenter has work for each one of us. Though we are all different, we all have a purpose. We should all work together to proclaim the sacrificial love of the Son of God to the world around us.

Colossians 3:12-13,
Perry Crisp

Monday, October 20, 2008

Oh Man...

Only a man would buy his wife a pocket taser stun gun for an anniversary gift.

Only a man would then take the stun gun home and play with it before giving it to his wife.

Only a man would ignore the instructions that came with a stun gun.

Only a man would test the stun gun on his wife's stainless steel microwave oven that leaves a permanent black mark on it.

Only a man would shake his head and say, "I have no idea!" when his wife asked how the black mark got on the microwave.

Only a man would enjoy seeing the blue arc of electricity so much that he would taser the toaster, the refrigerator, the stove top, the metal stools, and the kitchen sink...and THEN notice the trail of burn marks similar to those on the microwave.

Only a man would sit in his recliner with the stun gun and pursue the urge to advance from stainless steel to living tissue.

Only a man would contemplate experimentation with Fluffy, the wife's cat.

Only a man would cross his arms and say, "Hmmmm...that IS strange!" when his wife showed him Fluffy's new look: Eyes permanently crossed, fur standing on end, and tongue that no longer retracts into mouth.

Only a man would ignore the effects of the stun gun on Fluffy and ponder the nature of human response.

Only a man would sit in his recliner in shorts and no shirt and logically calculate which part of his body would be least affected by the 100,000-volt surge of electricity if applied there and removed quickly.

Only a man would fail to realize that once a taser is self-applied, it cannot be removed quickly. Either the batteries have to die before you do or you have to pass out and hit the floor to jar the taser from your hand.

Only a man would deduce that his inner thigh is a logical place to test the stun gun.

Only a man would unwrap a stick of butter and apply it to the burns on his body once he regained consciousness and stopped screaming, and then put the butter back in the refrigerator.

Only a man would act shocked and say, "How did THAT get there?" when his wife saw butter-soaked burn marks all over his body.

Sorry guys. Just making a point. Here it is: What have you done today that only a Christian would do?

Only a cat would lick the butter off a man who tasered her while the man enjoyed a vicodin-nap on his recliner.

NOT that man...
Perry Crisp

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


"Every decision I've ever made in my entire life has been wrong. My life is the complete opposite of everything I want it to be. Every instinct I have in every aspect of life, be it something to wear, something to eat... It's often wrong. So, from now on, I'm going to do the opposite." - George Costanza, Seinfeld.

"Whenever I’m about to do something, I think, 'Would an idiot do that?' and if they would, I do not do that thing." - Dwight Schrute, The Office.

These two characters from television get extremely close to a Christian principle without realizing it. There is an "Opposite Mentality" to the kingdom of God. Christianity flourishes when it swims upstream. Successful believers live in contradiction to conventional wisdom.

The world's way is not God's way. The world tosses failures (people who fail) onto the garbage heap of oblivion. God often brings success to someone's life right after failure. God looks for the person who is empty of himself. The world admires those who are full of themselves.

In God's kingdom, the way up is down. Jesus said, "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 14:11). The world exalts the self-exalted.

The world throws a party and invites the favored among us, then waits for an invitation to a "return the favor" party. Jesus told us to invite the poor and the disabled to our shindigs (Luke 14:13-14). Those who can't pay us back. If we minister down, God will reward us up.

Think about this principle: The way up is down.

Conventional wisdom, logic, and basic human emotion says, "Hate your enemies." What does Jesus say? (Matthew 5:44)

The world tries to find the smartest, brightest, deepest thinking, and most qualified to run things. God calls preachers. Enough said.

When Jesus was asked about greatness in the kingdom of heaven, He didn't point toward the temple or the palace. He pointed toward the playground.

It's everywhere in Scripture! Take some time to see it for yourself: Proverbs 16:19, 22:4; Psalm 145:14, 146:8-9; Isaiah 57:15, 66:1-2; Luke 14:10; Romans 12:3; James 4:10; 1st Peter 5:5.

Since I started by quoting George and Dwight, let's finish with a quote from Martin: "God creates out of nothing. Therefore until a man is nothing, God can make nothing out of him." - Martin Luther.

Comfortable with doing things backwards,
Perry Crisp

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Backwards Thinking

God has no reverse. God's kingdom doesn't beep. The back-up lights don't exist. We may wish for a time machine, but God deems it unnecessary.

We think a time machine would be fantastic. We would love to go back and fix, erase, redo, or delete some event, word, thought, or deed. God doesn't see the need. He makes no mistakes, forgives us of ours, and heals those that have harmed us from others.

There are no rewrite's in God's script of human history. God allows us (the actors) to improv. He manages somehow to allow us freedom of choice in what we say, think, and do while His involvement in our lives remains true to the script. God doesn't write in chalk. He writes in permanent marker. The only eraser God owns is the one He uses to forgive our sins.

The prophet Balaam understood this when he said, "God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent" (Numbers 23:19). God doesn't back up because He always does it right the first time.

God not only does it right - He does it great! When God chooses to bless, He blesses so good that His blessings have no reverse either. Why anyone would want to reverse a blessing is beyond me, but just so there's no mistake, Balaam added, "He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it" (verse 20).

God deserves an awful lot more credit and praise than we give Him. God is good. All the time. He makes no mistakes. His gifts never have to be returned. You don't need to keep the receipt. Just enjoy and celebrate His blessings.

The "R" on God's steering column stands for Rejoice!
Perry Crisp

Thursday, October 9, 2008

You Gonna Fish or Fight?

I remember well the great pond war of 1972. My fellow 10-year-old fishing buddies and I made our way to our "secret pond" to enjoy some afternoon fishing. We walked for miles back into the deep woods of the Big Thicket National Forest in southeast Texas. It was a long, hot walk, but it would be worth it to sneak up on those unsuspecting fish and ease our lines into the water.

It would have worked, too, if there hadn't been another group of boys our age already there fishing! They were on the other side of the pond. Five of them. Four of us. The shouting ensued.

"What are ya'll doing fishin' at our secret pond?"

"What are WE doing here? What are YA'LL doin' here?"

Diplomacy was out of the question. This was war, pure and simple. We dropped our poles and picked up rocks. A direct hit was when you tossed a large rock and it landed in the water right in front of the enemy causing him to get hit with the splash. The enemies returned fire. The pond became a war zone of massive splash explosions on both sides.

We came to fish. We ended up fighting. Then a miracle happened. My friend, Jody, got tired of throwing rocks and started fishing. None of us knew it. We were all still heaving rounds across the battlefield.

Had I noticed Jody fishing, I would have ridiculed him with my professional opinion: "The fish ain't gonna bite now! We done scared 'em into lockjaw with all these rocks" (yes, I was a minnie hick in those days).

But I didn't notice. Neither did anyone else. Until we heard splashing over by Jody that didn't sound like rock-splashing. It sounded like fish-splashing. Like BIG fish-splashing! We looked over at Jody. His pole was doubled over and he was struggling to get that fish to the bank. When he finally landed the fish, he held up a 5 pound bass! Spinner baits and plastic worms from eight other fishing poles hit the water within seconds. The war was over. It was time to fish!

Jesus said to His earliest disciples the same thing He still says to His followers today, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19).

What is the church supposed to be doing? Fishing. What are most churches known for? Fighting. What do we need in our churches? Jody. We need someone to get tired of fighting and start fishing. When one person catches a fish, it inspires everyone else in the boat or on the bank. And when one person gets saved, it inspires the whole body of Christ to go after more.

"Father, I lay down my rocks and I pick up my gear. Show me where they are and guide my every cast."

Tying on my cross-shaped, crimson-colored sinner bait...

Perry Crisp

Monday, October 6, 2008

I Be Besetted

Sitting in an airplane on a tarmac in Munich, Germany, I was surrounded by people who didn't look like me or talk like me. The pilot announced over the intercom something that sounded like this: "Altoids! Vos splikken goose veetlejuice unz snitzer splat Sarajevo!" Half the passengers gasped at the announcement.

The pilot repeated the message in a second language that sounded something like this: "Palsja! Sapna skendervakuv trebinje adidas soj deanmartin llickaroach vunt Sarajevo!" The other half of the passengers gasped.

I waited for the pilot to key up the mic again and report the news to his one or two english-speaking captives. The mic finally keyed up, then a muffled scratching noise, then...elevator music. Elevator music? (Picture a rubber band wrapped around the key button on the mic handle of a cb radio, leaning against a small transistor radio...and you get the idea.)

After several agonizing minutes, a stewardess saw the look on my American face and was apparently fluent in perplexity. She shuffled to the front of the airplane and spoke to the captain on her cb radio. A few seconds later, the elevator music ended, the muffled scratching noise resumed, and the pilot struggled with his unrehearsed translation in english: "Attention! We have been strictly warned not to continue with this flight and denied permission to fly safely into Sarajevo." I gasped.

Two minutes later, without a word from the pilot (in any language), we taxied down the runway, and took off! We were in the air over the Balkans and none of us knew if we were flying to Sarajevo with or without clearance or if we were going to visit the pilot's in-laws in Croatia.

When Sarajevo came into view, we made our descent toward the airport. The runway was lined on both sides with a welcoming committee of tanks spread out about fifty yards apart. Before I prepared to meet my Maker, I noticed that the tanks' gun barrels were all pointed away from the runway. Whew!

We landed safely. I looked out the window and saw thirty or forty military personnel holding weapons. Before I asked for a cigarette and a blindfold, I noticed their formation. They stood shoulder-to-shoulder in two lines, making a walkway from the steps of the airplane to the door of the airport. They were there as human shields to protect us from sniper fire.

I was surrounded by people with guns and tanks, and it was humbling. There stood men willing to take a bullet for people they knew nothing about.

Being surrounded is not always such a bad thing. Psalm 139:5 in the King James Version says,
"Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me."

"Beset" has two possible meanings. It can mean "perplexed or harassed." But its deepest meaning is "to surround." Watch how the translators captured the meaning of this word:

New King James - "hedged"
New International -
New American Standard -

They all tell me the same thing: I am surrounded by God. Not only does God surround me, He's close enough to touch me.
"...laid thine hand upon me."

Your stereo and entertainment center may have "surround sound." But your God has soundly surrounded you with His love, mercy, and power.

Gladly Surrendering to His Surrounding,
Perry Crisp

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Loss Doesn't Mean Lost

Loss. What a powerful word. That one word can stop you in your tracks. It can turn your world into a matrix of uncontrollable emotions and unexpected behavioral changes.

The object of the loss is not as relevant as it's significance to you. The loss of a job, a home, a pet, or an irreplaceable heirloom or memorabilia can divert your emotions down an unexpected path. You may not even notice it. Others will.

The loss of a loved one is usually "the big one." When Jacob heard that his son, Joseph, had been killed, he saw no way out of his grief: "I shall go down into the grave to my son in mourning" (Genesis 37:35).

Loss can feel that bad. That hopeless. That overwhelming.

For many of you, I'm not telling you anything new. You've been down that path. You've been through the valley of the shadow of death. And it wasn't a walk in the park. You didn't stroll. You crawled. Sometimes, you just laid there in surrender.

Getting out of that valley can be one of life's greatest challenges. Once out, you never forget. No matter how much progress you make from that valley, you can still hear the voices from the shadows calling you back from time to time.

How do we deal with loss? Don't expect easy answers. Don't listen to those who offer them. There aren't any. The only thing you need to know is that God is with you and will lead you out in time. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death...Thou art with me" (Psalm 23:4).

Forget about trying to figure out the timetable. We're all different and grief doesn't care about calendars and schedules. Seek advice from your family, your pastor, and your physician. Listen to them.

If you need ongoing spiritual and emotional guidance, do not hesitate to seek out a licensed Christian therapist. You will be amazed at how God can use him or her to help you heal. I know...

I've been there...
Perry Crisp

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


"Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils" (Isaiah 2:22 NIV).

Name your hero. Tell me who your favorite athlete is. Shower me with excessive accolades of an incredible actor. Convince me of the greatness of a politician, entrepeneur, philanthropist, or business executive. Then hear my question: Can he hold more than one noseful of air at a time?

The greatest of all earthlings are equipped with one set of both nostrils and lungs. We pull in tiny amounts of air and push tiny amounts back out. Not very impressive.

Should we get a cold or suck daily doses of smoke-filled poison into our lungs, we find ourselves fighting a huge battle over a little event called breathing. We wheeze, we hack, we struggle to get it in and back out. Sometimes we have to take a seat so we can "catch our breath." My, what powerful creatures we are! Yeah, right.

Isaiah is asking us to think soberly about the confidence we place in man. Do we really want to put all our marbles in humanism when two marbles appropriately placed can plug one up and end his life?

The Message reads,
"Quit scraping and fawning over mere humans, so full of themselves, so full of hot air!"

Stop being amazed by what man can do between wheezes. We can be easily stopped by simply being stopped up.

God, the creator and sustainer of all that exists, is the One we should adore. He puffed a little whiff of His air into the first human lungs and now, billions of people later, we are still reaping the benefits.

If we will personally invite Him to enter our lives through trusting in His Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for us, God will grant us eternal life. So that, our last breath of oxygen on earth ends nothing but our flesh and blood. The soul's oxygen never flickers.

If you want to compare man's nostril capacity to God's, spend some time on the following passages of Scripture: Exodus 15:8-10, 2nd Samuel 22:14-16, Job 4:9, 34:14-15, 37:10, Psalm 18:15, Isaiah 11:4, 30:28, and 40:7-8.

Unlike God, we are all, from time to time...

...tissue dependent
Perry Crisp

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What's After If?

What comes after "if" in 2nd Chronicles 7:14 is the key to correcting our nation's corruption. Since you may not take the time to look it up, let's talk about it.

"If ________________________ will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

We tend to fill in the blank following the "ifs" of our nation's moral, social, and economic collapses and challenges a little differently than the Bible does.

"If the President would..."
"If Congress would..."
"If the Supreme Court would..."
"If the media would..."
"If government would..."

We fill in the blanks wrong. God put a different set of folks behind the "if." Don't get me wrong, I enjoy tossing blame grenades as much as anyone. But it doesn't transform anything or anyone. It only destroys.

In spite of how I might think the whole world needs to change, God keeps telling me to narrow it down a bit.

Willing to agree with God, I confess
,"You're right, God. The whole NATION needs to change."

"Narrow it down a bit more," He replies.

I keep trying and He keeps making the circle smaller until I'm the only one standing in it. What's behind God's "if"? Me. You. Everyone like us who claims to be a child of God.

"If My people who are called by My name..." We thought we were spectators watching a movie called, "Why the World is Going to Hell," and all those other folks were the actors and stars in the movie. We're expecting to see drug dealers, corrupt judges, and liberal college professors on the big screen of blame. God takes our popcorn, hands us a script, and says,
"You're needed on the set. You've got the starring role."

We have a part to play.

"But God! THEY took prayer out of our schools!"

"Yes, but who took it off YOUR schedule?"

Solutions to life's problems are not, as a rule, external. They involve us meeting with God at the altar inside our hearts, bowing before Him, confessing and turning away from our sins, and seeking a personal encounter with God. That's when the "if" turns to "then."

THEN things change. When we change.

If...Perry Crisp

Monday, September 22, 2008

Uncapsized Souls

"...then the waters would have overwhelmed us..." When I saw these words in Psalm 124, my mind went back to pictures of Ike's devastation on the Texas coast.

Friends of mine who owned a home in Gilchrist don't have that house anymore. Family members on Tiki Island, barely north of Galveston, experienced significant loss. The waters have overwhelmed many.

My brother-in-law, a pastor in Orange, Texas, has been through Rita, Gustav, and Ike with a devastating house fire in between. Rita ripped the roof off the sanctuary of the church. All was rebuilt just in time for Ike to take a shot at it. Thankfully, it withstood much better this time.

The waters have overwhelmed many people. Many coastal residents have decided enough is enough. They are looking for jobs and homes in the cities and towns to which they evacuated. They've lost more than possessions. They've lost dreams. Understandable. I can explain, understand, appreciate, and respect that.

What gets me is the spirit of those like my brother-in-law who take hit after hit and keep going. Repair ANOTHER roof. Cut up ANOTHER fallen tree. Wait for electricity ANOTHER week. How do they do it?

Take the whole 124th Psalm into view. Back up to the beginning. "If it had not been the Lord who was on our side..." Whether we realize it or not, God is always on our side. He never left our side. He created us. Thus, He created our side.

If it hadn't been for the Lord, then "the waters would have overwhelmed us, the stream would have gone over our soul...the swollen waters would have gone over our soul" (vs. 4-5).

Certainly the swollen waters went over the seawalls, the coastal borders, and all barriers of land and man. But not the souls of the saints. God is the keeper of the soul. Nothing can touch it.

Though I haven't specifically asked my brother-in-law or my aunt or my friends how they have survived with such hope and optimism, I feel confident that their answer would echo the words of the Psalmist: "Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth" (v. 8).

Praying for all south of here...
Perry Crisp

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Praise the Lord and Pass the Geritol

The aged may walk slowly, but aging is a speed demon. How did I get so old so quick? I find myself facing challenges of the future today. Stuff that should happen to me in another season of life is sprouting early.

I have hair growing on my shoulders. I walk with a pedometer. How did this happen?

I'm only 46 years old (at least, I think that's right). My memory isn't what it used to be. Is it? I'm not sure about that, either.

I walked by a basketball goal the other day. That's it. That's all I did. I just walked by it and looked up. When did 10 feet get so high? That old urge to look for a ball, dribble, feel the ball leave my fingertips and swoosh through the net is gone! It went somewhere without warning. The only dribbling I do now is during a good nap.

Did I mention I have HAIR GROWING ON MY SHOULDERS? There must be steroids in my Geritol. It's bad enough I have to weed-eat inside my ears and up my nose. Now I have to mow my shoulders.

A pedometer. I walk with a pedometer. I wear a counting device on my pants and shorts to tell me how many steps I have taken per day. I'm amazed by my own ignorant surrender to the aging process. I won't be surprised if my pants are eight inches above my shoes and over my naval tomorrow.

But who can stop it? I'm not particularly fond of the alternatives. The best we can do is grow old with grace. Or as the Psalmist viewed aging: "Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing, to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him" (Psalm 92:13-15).

So, even if follicles flourish in unfamiliar places, what is more important is that I stay close to my God so that my soul stays fresh and vibrant. God is my rock...even when I can't get out of my rocking chair.

I need a nap.
Perry Crisp

Monday, September 15, 2008

Special Delivery

We knew Ike was coming. We planned ahead and watched Ike make his way straight toward us. We tied everything down. We prepared for the loss of electricity. We braced ourselves for the 80-100 mph wind gusts. We sat back and watched the radar. We could see it...three hours away...two hours away...

Our pets had no idea. They didn't know Ike was coming. And when Ike hit with all his gustav, their eyes were wide open and their bodies were shaking. Each one made his or her own cry of alarm in his or her own animal tongue.

Preparations were made for their safety before the hurricane arrived: plenty of food, water, and shelter. But they were without our knowledge of what was coming. Any attempt to communicate it to them would have been futile and straight-jacket worthy.

Limbs crashed all around Lady, our horse. Pot plants, yard tools, and patio furniture on the porch were tossed around like leaves where our little dog, Jake, was hiding. Poor Talley (our rabbit) watched his/her (?) roof lift off and fly into the woods. When I stuck my head out the door to check on them, each of these animals looked at me as if to say, "Helpppppp! Rescue me from whatever this is!"

Jake received an open door into the house. He was scared, but grateful. Lady took refuge in her stall. I picked up Talley's cage and brought her/him (?) to the front porch out of the rain.

Storms hit us whether we know they are coming or not. Including the storms of life. News of a loved one who has died. The phone call that you never want to hear, informing you that your child has been in an accident. Test results that come back from the lab with unexpected results.

Storms of life come without radar or seven-day forecasts. They hit us and we shiver with wide-eyed amazement. But we have a promise of rescue. "Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me" (Psalm 50:15).

We have two parts. God has one. We call on Him. We glorify Him. He delivers. His hand slips under us and picks us up or hovers over us in protection.

If you are in trouble, expect a delivery. Then give God the glory when the mailman of heaven arrives with your package of provision or protection.

Glory to God,
Perry Crisp

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Liquid Lessons

Peter wanted to go toward Jesus. Jonah wanted to flee from God. Peter stepped out of the boat. Jonah was tossed. Peter walked on it. Jonah swam in it. Peter saw the waves beating against his legs and doubted his ability to walk on water. Jonah saw the gigantic fin coming toward him and doubted it was Flipper coming to take him for a dolphin ride. Peter started sinking and asked for help. Jonah started sinking and asked, "What's that sucking noise?"

Jesus reached out and lifted Peter up. The monster fish opened wide and swallowed Jonah down. Peter joined Jesus in the boat and learned a lesson on faith. Jonah joined the oceanic buffet inside the big whale's tummy and learned a lesson on obedience.

We can learn both of these lessons from both of these soaked souls.

Peter, with towel wrapped around his shivering body, might say:

"It was awesome walking on water! It's amazing what you can do when you're keeping your eyes on Jesus. And it's surprising how quickly you can sink when you lose your focus. I'm glad I left the boat and walked on the water, but oh, how I wish I'd never let doubt sink my faith."

Jonah, with seaweed dangling from every orifice, might say:

"You better do what God tells you to do. Go where He tells you to go. You can't outrun God. You can't outswim God. You can't hide in the belly of a boat or a fish. I was afraid to follow God and do what He told me to do. Then I learned that the only thing I need to be afraid of is NOT doing what God tells me to do. There is nothing to fear when you are in the center of God's will. But I could tell you stories of what all there is to fear outside of God's will!"

Reporting Seaside,
Perry Crisp

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Big Rig, Little Know-How

In my younger days, I worked at a loading dock, unloading shipments and packages from trucks of all sizes. I spent most of the time on a forklift. Occasionally, I would have to move empty trucks out of the loading area and park them out of the way to make room for other trucks.

Most of our trucks were the size of large moving vans or UPS trucks. Very few big rigs. But all it takes is one big rig to learn a lesson. My boss stomped into the loading area one day and barked at me to back an eighteen-wheeler into one of the loading docks. It was a completely enclosed loading dock with little clearance on either side. Barely big enough for a big rig.

I had no experience, no training, and no business even trying. But that never stopped me before! I just thought,
"I can back a boat, a camper, or a horse trailer with my pickup truck...what's the difference?"

There's a difference. Those big rigs aren't normal. They don't back up normal. I was used to backing up by craning my neck to the right and looking out of my pickup truck's rear window. You can't do that in a big rig. You have to use mirrors. Since mirrors are backwards, you have to do everything opposite of normal.

My boss watched for a good ten minutes until I got dangerously close to a concrete wall. Then we traded places. He backed it up and jumped out fifteen seconds later.

I wasted time, sweat, energy, and transmission metal trying to do something I had no business doing when someone who could do it much better was not in the driver's seat. Oh, how we do the same as followers of Christ!

We once drove our own lives before Christ came into the picture. While we ended up on the wrong roads, in ditches, and even causing some nasty wrecks here and there, we still managed. But the Christian life is no go-kart. It's a big rig. Once Christ enters our lives, it's time to move out of the driver's seat and let Jesus take control.

When we get behind the wheel, we grind gears, get jack-knifed, and wear out the gravel in a six-inch radius because we aren't qualified. We'll never get it straight and we'll eventually hit a wall.

The Christian life is not about keeping our eyes on the road. It's about keeping our focus on the King of the road of life. It was said of King Asa that he did that which was "good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God" (2 Chronicles 14:2).

We need right eyes. The litmus test for everything we say and do should be,
"Is this good and right in the eyes of God?"

Ten-Four Good Buddy,
Perry Crisp

Shaken and Stirred

On April 19, 1995, I was walking down the hallway of a hospital in southeastern Oklahoma when I felt the ground shake. I later learned that the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City had been bombed. I was more than a two hour's drive from Oklahoma City, but still within trembling distance.

Several years ago, some friends asked me to tend to their pool while they spent some time in Alaska. Every couple of days, I treated the pool by pouring chemicals into the water line just a few inches away from the pump.

The pump itself was surrounded by a small picket fence. The space between the slats of the fence was just wide enough to slide my arm in and dump the chemicals. I repeated this process countless times without giving it much thought.

Then one day as I was about to slip my arm through the slats, I stopped. I'm not sure why. Something (or Someone) told me to look around inside the fence before sticking my arm through. Less than two feet from where my arm would have been was a napping rattlesnake. I trembled at the close call.

Not long after that, I was walking back to my house from the barn. My neighbors had a redneck shooting range behind their house. The sound of gunfire coming from that direction was not at all unusual. Then I heard the unmistakeable sound of a bullet cutting through the air. In milliseconds that felt like matrix seconds, the bullet whizzed by my head and smashed into the side of my barn.

I embraced the earth. After crawling to the house and calling my neighbors to let them know they missed, I sat down and trembled at the close encounter I'd had with lead poison.

As you can see, I've come within trembling distance of things that caused me to stop and take inventory. But nothing compares to the day I stood within trembling distance of the cross of Jesus Christ.

The bomb, the rattler, and the bullet could have killed me if I had been closer to them. But the day I knelt at the cross, I truly died. My past no longer mattered. My failures and mistakes were buried and lifeless. I died to who and what I used to be. I invited Jesus into my life and felt new life surge through me. I was born all over.

When God told Moses to bring the people of Israel to the foot of Mount Sinai to see the Lord come down the mountain in their sight, the anticipation of the nearness of God caused them to tremble (Exodus 19:16).

The songwriter asks, "Were you there when they crucified my Lord?" The songwriter's personal response and testimony is consistent with all those who have drawn near to God:
"Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble."

Have you been within trembling distance of God? Iffy answers only mean you haven't scooted up close enough yet. Get within trembling distance. It may be shaky at first. But from there, you will forever stand on solid ground.

I was there.
Perry Crisp

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Who's in the Right House?

"But there is a God in heaven" (Daniel 2:28).

A refreshing reminder. I don't know about you, but I sure could use it. As presidential candidates are picking running mates, prancing in football stadiums, tootin' their own horns, making promises that we all know they won't keep, vying for attention, and elevating themselves to savior-hood... let's just remind ourselves who the real thing is.

I don't stand on either side of the aisle when I say this. I'm not Democrat or Republican. I'm Theocratican. I believe God has the last word on all of us and our security rests solely in Him. When God makes a promise, you know He doesn't have a two-sided mouth. It'll happen.

You would think that this election was the most important thing in the whole wide world or in the history of humanity by the way the news channels and papers are talking. Oh really? Maybe it would be IF there wasn't a God in heaven.

You see, heaven is higher than the white house. Just thought I should remind you. The human in the white house can veto the humans on capital hill. But the God in heaven has veto power over them all. The human in the white house can appoint judges and justices. But the God in heaven holds the only gavel that matters. His justice is consistent and overrides man's inconsistent idea of justice.

Democrats are afraid that McCain will be four more years of the last eight. Republicans are afraid that Obama will be... well, they're not sure what he will be. But they don't want to find out. Everyone wrings their hands in fear.

Need I remind you? Republicans survived eight years of Clinton and Democrats survived eight years of Bush. Have any back-to-back, two-term presidents been as despised and maligned by their opposing parties as these two have?

Yet we survived. We're still the most powerful, affluent nation in the world. While others walk ten miles to use a telephone, our five-year-olds are packin' blackberries and surfing the net from their tricycles. Can we all agree that we can probably survive just about anything as long as there's a God in heaven?

I just thought we should start the day with this important announcement:
"but there is a God in heaven..."

From the Platform of the Theocratican Convention,
Perry Crisp

Monday, August 25, 2008

More Power

"I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works" (Psalm 145:5).

The power of God is bigger than we figure. Of all that we know about the world around us, we still don't know half of all there is to know about the world around us.

Some braniacs say there was no God involved in the creation of the world. It just happened. It evolved. Yeah, right. And Michael Jackson never had cosmetic surgery. He just morphed into his current confusion of self.

God is the creator behind all creation. The designer behind the design. The lawmaker behind all law. God is the supreme fact of history, science, and philosophy. Take God out of any of those things and you're just a babbling idiot. There will always be a job for you at a major university...but you're still a babbling idiot.

Taking God out of your worldview is like an ant standing on the F1 key of a computer keyboard thinking that the F1 key is all there is to the computer.

Apparently, when our heads swell with knowledge, we can't imagine anything bigger than us. We strain to contain all the knowledge we have of this vast universe. So to think of a super-sized God looming over the unfathomable might be a bit too much for an overstretched cranium.

If the biggest river you've ever seen is the Mississippi, and you've never heard of a place called South America, then it might be hard for someone to convince you of the size of the Amazon.

If you've studied the Niagara Falls and been overwhelmed by its raw power and majesty, and you've never heard of the African continent, you might scoff at a South African who says he's seen falls five times greater than the Niagara Falls. You would doubt that such a river as the Zambesi exists that could be two miles wide and take a 400 foot plunge. Your mind could not fathom the 35 million horsepower of the Victoria Falls compared to the 7 million of Niagara that your mind already has trouble wrapping around.

That's a place you've never seen and a power you've never experienced. But because you have neither seen nor experienced it, does that make it untrue? The same is true of a believer who speaks of the power he or she has experienced in God.

Thank God I learned to be a believing man before I ever became a thinking man. Thank God I listened to the testimonies of those whose souls were saved by a super-sized Savior named Jesus Christ. Thank God I learned that there is power in the blood.

God is bigger than we figure. And I'm not finished with this. Stay tuned.

Perry Crisp

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Are You Ready to Order?

I was in line at a fast food restaurant recently, waiting my turn to place an order. There were two lines at two registers. The lady in front of me stepped up to order at the same time her friend (another lady) stepped up to order at the next register.

The two ladies looked at each other before they ordered and both said the same thing to one another: "No super-size."

That was my first experience with fast food accountability partners. But what a great idea! Two women who recognized that super-sized meals lead to super-sized clothing, and held each other accountable to refrain from super-sizing.

Super-sized meals and super-sized clothes may not be in our best interest, but there is one thing we all need super-sized in our lives: We need a super-sized faith in our super-sized God.

"Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable" (Psalm 145:3). David wrote this out of a heart filled with super-sized faith.

Several years ago, while preaching to my church family, a statement flew out of my mouth without ever being born in my mind. In other words, it was as if God used my mouth to say it without giving it to my brain first. It has become a statement of our faith within our fellowship: GOD IS BIGGER THAN WE FIGURE.

A young man who grew up in our fellowship lost his brother in a tragic accident. It was a deep loss for our church, our community, and his family. Out of this young man's grief, he wrote these words:
"Just when you think you have grabbed ahold of who God is, you realize you are just holding a leaf that God has allowed to fall into your hands...and then you look at the Giant Redwood that is our God, and just stand in awe."

God is bigger than you figure. I just need to tell you that and remind me of that today. God is bigger than your biggest problem, enemy, bully, sin, temptation, doubt, fear, decision, ulcer, debt, disease, headache, heartache...and your biggest __________. Whatever it is, God is bigger.

You have a super-sized God. But you must connect with Him through a super-sized faith. You must believe. And because you believe, you must remain rooted in the soil of His presence.

May I take your order?
Perry Crisp

Monday, August 18, 2008

Holy Crow!

Beauty may only be feather-deep, but I have to rank crows among the ugliest birds in Texas. Ironically, this foul fowl is quite taken with himself. Why do you think the dictionary says that to "crow" is to "boast"? Crows boast, alright. I just can't understand why.

The glass doors to my office building have a mirrored tint on the outside. Every morning a flock of crows is gathered at the mirrored glass, each one vying for a place to gander at his or her own reflection.

It amazes me. I don't see the attraction. At the risk of sounding oxymoronic (or perhaps, moronic), I just want to yell at the crows,
"Have you looked in the mirror lately?"

That's ALL they do! They are enamored with themselves. They like the front view so much that they peck at the glass in an attempt to kiss themselves. They like the side view because they can watch themselves strut. I may have even heard one crow ask another,
"Do these legs make me look fat?"

Crows have no song. They have a note. It's loud and proud. They repeat it constantly. "Caw, caw, caw." Whether they are sitting in trees, flying through the sky, or pecking the church door mirror, it's always a one-noted karaoke contest.

Peacocks can strut. I see their beauty. Mockingbirds can sing. I hear their talent. But crows?

Let me interrupt myself now that I've expressed a great deal of prejudice and judgmentalism toward one species of God's creatures. Jesus said, "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you" (Matthew 7:1-2, NKJV).

In other words, the same way we view others is the same way we will be viewed. It is hard to measure up to our own scrutiny of others. This devotional isn't about crows. It's about Christians. Oh, how we judge one another. My rantings about the crow is an example of how we pick one another apart without ever having pruned in their feathers (aka, walked in their shoes).

To me, the visual image of a crow may be plain and drab. His song may irritate my ears. I may think he's full of himself. But what if "caw" in Crowese means, "Praise God!"? What if his strut is a dance of joy before his Creator? Maybe he's looking in the mirror to try to find the beauty that his Creator sees in him.

Do I need to take this silly illustration any further? Do we get the point? Let's leave the judging to the Judge. Let's not judge a bird by his feathers or a man by what we only choose to see on the outside. There's more to us than meets the eye. God created us in His image. We are precious in His sight.

Even if we get booed off the stage, God loves our song of praise to Him. Even if we take first place in the contest on, God has a picture of us in His wallet. The only One who should judge is the One who has all the facts. Only God knows it all. Only God can define beauty. When He looks at you, He sees what no one else sees. And He likes what He sees.

Sorry...I was just in a fowl mood,
Perry Crisp

Monday, August 11, 2008

What's That You're Wearing?

"Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings" (Genesis 3:7).

An increasing number of television documentaries take aim at the Bible in an attempt to question the validity of its content. Scholars with a bias against belief in a sovereign God or sinful man pick apart Scripture by developing theories of logic that seek to trap God within the confines of human limitations. Like a glove that doubts the existence of a hand, they ignore the obvious.

They also ignore Biblical scholars with equal or greater credentials than the ones they interview because such scholars believe the Bible is true and accurate. Instead, they seek out like-minded doubters with the same agenda to convince us all that the Bible is not a valid source for the creation of the world, the existence of man, or the explanation of life.

Forgive me for being blunt, but the question begs to be asked: Why, then, do those who spout their doubt so freely against God's story still wear clothing? Don't get me wrong -- I'm GLAD they do! But why?

If the Bible-attackers and naysayers of God who diligently work to convince the world that the Bible is a myth and God is dead truly believe what they are spouting, shouldn't their logic lead them to stop covering themselves?

I'm not advocating a revival of nakedness. I'm asking those who are certain of the absence of God or the irrelevance of Scripture why they are still clothed. If, according to them, the Bible isn't true, including the creation and beginning of man through Adam and Eve, and the whole Garden of Eden thing -- then humans are not sinners and shame, guilt, and embarassment are not valid.

I, for one, am glad they are inconsistent at this point. But think about it. If there is no God, no sin, no fall of man, and all that follows according to Scripture, then why are we the only species shopping at JC Penney? After all, we're born naked. Yet we are quickly covered. Frogs are born naked and swim nude the rest of their lives.

Oh, I know what their answer would be. It is a social etiquette engrained in our society based on a false belief system that would be too shocking to our culture to reverse. Plus, you can get arrested.

I wonder. Is that an answer based on logic or is it a personal conviction? I have a sneaky suspicion that even if we removed the laws, even the loudest Bible haters would never feel comfortable removing clothing from their closets. Even the atheist thanks God for clothing.

I thank God for clothing, too. Especially at restaurants. But I believe the origin of the whole clothing thing goes back to the first couple. I believe it had everything to do with sin, shame, and the fall of humanity. I know I'm sacrificing my opportunity to be a guest theologian on PBS and the History channel, but I believe the Bible.

Blessed to be Dressed,
Perry Crisp

Wait Right Here!

"Wait for the Lord; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord!" (Psalm 27:14, NASB).

I was ADD before those initials were invented. The reason they call it ADD is because none of us who have it can focus long enough to hear, "Attention Deficit Disorder."
Just hurry up and give me the initials!

"Wait" is a dirty, four-letter word to someone with ADD. The sound of that word makes us wrinkle our nose, fidget, groan, moan, roll our eyes, and huff.

It's almost as if the Psalmist was writing specifically to people like me. He not only says, "Wait!" He then follows it up with a parental tone that says, "YES, wait!" How did he know I was saying, "Noooooooooo" to the first "wait"?

The New King James Version is definitely parental: "Wait, I say, on the Lord!" That redounds with echoes of my mom saying, "Perry Wallace Crisp -- I said, 'WAIT'!" Why do they encumber us with such embarrassing middle names?

That memory just made me slouch, sigh, and slump. I think you get the point. I do not enjoy waiting. I don't know that anyone does. But some are better at it than others.

The good thing about waiting on the Lord is, it always brings good things. According to the Psalmist, waiting brings courage and strength. Our faith is rewarded with muscle every time we endure another season of waiting.

The word, "wait" in this passage is translated "trust" in other translations. To wait on the Lord is to trust Him. It is to believe that God is at work while we wait.

God always has a reason for telling us to wait. When I waited in the Sarajevo International Airport waiting to return home, I heard an announcement over the intercom in the Bosanski, German, French, and Korean languages. None of those are in my repertoire (okay, so I know ONE French word).

Passengers started shuffling toward the gate. I followed. The security guard/airline employee looked at my passport and ticket, pointed to a wall, and said something in a foreign tongue.

This was Bosnia. The smoke from their war was still rising from the ruins of their buildings. I didn't argue. I went and stood by the wall afraid that I was about to miss my flight and face a possible firing squad.

Ten minutes later, a fellow Bosnian guard/airline employee came to me and explained in English that I was about to board a flight to Korea. My flight would be called next. We may not always understand why we have to wait. But the guarantee of Scripture is that waiting on the Lord will always bring good things.

What are you waiting for?
Perry Crisp

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ghost Church, part two

"Be not far from me, for trouble is near..." (Psalm 22:11). We all have a light bulb that comes on at certain times. I call it an "a-ha moment" when we catch onto something or figure something out.

When my dad emerged from the back of the sanctuary, bent over in laughter, only two light bulbs came on. My brother, Mark, knew instantly that my dad was the "church ghost." My light came on just a few seconds after Mark's. Andy's light bulb needed replacing.

He didn't understand. He still thought there was a ghost in the church. When my dad found out that Andy was still in the dark, he continued with his evil ways.

Dad recorded his ghost voice onto a tape recorder. "Who-o-o-o's in my chur-r-r-rch?" repeated over and over for fifteen minutes on that recorder. Dad placed the tape recorder in a classroom at the end of a hall in the church.

My sinister dad then gathered up the three ghostbusters and said,
"Boys, come with me back to the church. I want to prove to you that there are no ghosts."

Maybe it was the same blood running through our veins, but Mark and I knew Dad was up to something. We played along. Like father, like sons...we wanted to see Andy's "scaredy-cat" face again.

We trekked across the field back to the church. Dad led the way. Mark and I were side by side. Andy was in our back pockets. Oh, and my sister was poised at the end of the hall, waiting to turn the tape player on when she heard us enter the building.

Dad gathered us together in the foyer and held his finger up to his lips, "Ssshhhhhh...listen." With Stephen King-ish timing, the voice on the recorder began moaning down the hall. Mark and I smiled, then acted afraid. (Okay, so I was fifty/fifty on the fear scale).

Andy camouflaged himself by turning as white as the walls, and he lunged forward with a death grip on the back of my dad's jeans. The boy was scared. The boy was bordering on permanent trauma.

The fear in Andy's face frightened my dad. The joke had gone too far. Dad smiled and said to Andy, "It's okay. It's just a tape recorder with my voice on it." Andy didn't blink.

Dad decided the best thing to do would be to show Andy the tape recorder. Bad idea. When Dad took a step toward the ghost voice, Andy's grip got tighter and his face turned whiter. They both let out a scream.

Andy screamed, "No, Brother Crisp! Nooooooo!"

Dad screamed because Andy had two fistfuls of leg hair. After several minutes of verbal persuasion that it was all just a hoax, Andy's light bulb flickered a little. Eventually, it came on full bright and Andy released his grip. The blood returned to his face and to my dad's legs.

Andy survived the ordeal and still loves to hear my dad tell the story. The picture of Andy firmly attached to my dad's legs is still vivid in my mind. "Be not far from me, for trouble is near..." was fulfilled that day on a human level.

Trouble is always near. It never moves to Siberia. It's always right next door, in the next lane, around the next curve, behind the next curtain, under the next step, or over the next horizon.

It's a good idea not to get too far from God. Fear is not the only reason we should want to stay near God. If we always did what we should, things might be different. But a little healthy fear can be a good thing.

Right at home with my finger in God's belt loop,
Perry Crisp

Church Ghost

"Be not far from me, for trouble is near..." (Psalm 22:11). The closer trouble gets, the louder the knees knock. We want God closest when we feel most afraid.

The church of my childhood was a little Baptist church in southeast Texas. My dad was the pastor and we lived in the house provided by the church. The church was less than a hundred yards from our house. The church parking lot was paved and circled around the buildings making an excellent track for me to ride my bicycle.

One Saturday morning as I was racing around the church parking lot, something spooked me. A window at the back of the sanctuary was opened. To an eight-year-old who watched cartoons all morning, it could only mean one thing: We had a ghost in the church. I was determined to investigate.

Fear told me to enlist fellow investigators. I enlisted my older brother, Mark. He was three years older and three years tougher, so he would be all the muscle I would need.

My second choice was Andy. Andy was my best friend. He was younger than I and would do anything I asked (which may explain why he was my best friend).

Mark and I met Andy in our front yard. Andy was wide-eyed with excitement. It was his first adventure with us "bigger boys." My dad was close by, raking pine needles. He watched with curiosity as we bravely trekked across the field toward the church.

The combined confidence level of the three of us was one hundred percent when we left our driveway. By the time we stood in front of the sanctuary, our confidence registered at about eleven percent.

Rather than crawl through the open window at the back of the sanctuary where the ghost had apparently made his entrance, we decided to go in through a front window that we knew was always unlocked.

An argument ensued as to who would enter first. Mark and I endorsed the "survival of the fittest" approach and shoved Andy through the open window. As soon as Andy was in, I looked at Mark and knew I was going in next.

I no more than straddled the window sill, when Andy said,
"Did you hear something?"

Time stood still and I sat still, listening for something I hoped I would not hear. Then I heard it. A ghostly voice floated from the back of the sanctuary, "Who-o-o-o's in my chur-r-r-rch?"

The fear of that moment completely erased a small portion of my memory. From the time we heard the voice until we reached our front yard is blank history. Somehow, Andy reached our front yard first.

He used all his blood for fuel to escape the ghost because he was as white as the ghost he imagined was chasing him. We searched for my dad to tell him about our close encounter. He was no longer in the yard.

His rake leaned against a pine tree, but he wasn't there. A few moments later, we saw dad emerge from the back of the sanctuary, bent over in laughter. Our "ghost" was all too familiar.

The story continues tomorrow...
Perry Crisp

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Coordinates to Truth

Johnnie was looking for direction in his life. He desperately wanted peace, truth, and happiness, but he didn't know where to turn.

He entered "peace" into his GPS and it gave him 286,354 different addresses. "Truth" opened up millions of addresses. And "happiness" seemed to be on every corner, or so the GPS claimed.

Johnnie began to get frustrated. Tears streamed down his cheeks. "Is there any hope?" he cried. He knew better than to type "hope" into the GPS. It would only lead to more dead ends.

Without really knowing why, Johnnie slowly entered three letters: "G-o-d" and pushed the search button. The list of addresses wasn't as long, but still Johnnie was puzzled that God had so many. "Why can't there just be one clear way to God?" Johnnie whispered.

The moment he asked that question, the cursor on his GPS hovered over the name of Jesus. Johnnie felt something stir inside him. His pulse quickened. His breathing became audible. What was happening?

Johnnie clicked on the name of Jesus and read these words, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).

Below the words of Jesus were the following directions:

1. Realize that God loves you and has a personal plan filled with meaningful coordinates for your life. Follow these directions and you will find peace, truth, happiness, and hope. "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" (John 3:16).

2. To get to God, you must realize you are going in the wrong direction and turn around. You have sinned against God and it is leading you away from Him. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). The direction you are going will lead you to eternal death and separation from God. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

3. Look for the cross of Jesus Christ. Stop at the cross. That is the only place anyone's life can truly be turned around. "But God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). At the cross, admit to God that you are a sinner. (Sin is the "Bridge Out" to your relationship with God). Invite Jesus to come into your life personally, forgive your sins, and save you. (Jesus is the only bridge that reaches God).

4. You are now ready to turn away from the direction you were going and start a brand new journey. Give Jesus the keys. Let Him drive. Place all your trust in Him. You will find peace instantly. You will find truth constantly flowing from the lips of your new Driver. As long as you allow Him to drive, you will find happiness no matter how bumpy the road may become.

Oh, and by the won't believe your final destination! There is a description of it in the Map (the Bible). It is an incredible place.

Johnnie followed those directions to God and found what he was looking for. When he types "G-o-d" into his GPS now, only one clear choice exists -- Jesus. The rest deleted themselves. They must have just been a mirage.

GPS...God Provided Salvation for you. Will you follow these directions?

Perry Crisp