Thursday, March 26, 2009

Crowns for Coffins

What do Khafre, Dedefre, Khufu, Hotepibre, and Methotpe have in common (besides the fact that they all make you sound like you're ordering coffee at Starbucks)?

Good guess, but no -- they are not Arnold Schwartzennegar's kids. They are names of kings who once ruled Egypt. Don't even pretend that you remember that now. Unless you have a Ph.D. in Egyptian Archaeology or had a really intense history teacher, you are not likely to know these guys. If you DO remember these names --- you need to call Jeff Foxworthy right now and get on his show, "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader."

There's one more Egyptian ruler whom I found especially interesting. I saved this guy for last because I wanted to "surprise" you. King Aha! Makes you wonder how he earned it, doesn't it?

Archaeologists dedicate their lives to digging up facts about dead kings whose accomplishments are lost in obscurity. All six of those kings matter to Egypt's history. They all mattered tremendously to their respective subjects over whom they ruled. But they matter to almost no one now.

It is interesting to note that they all held a common belief that they would still be kings in the next life. But they were all in for a surprise -- even Aha!

Every one of them gave up their crown for a coffin. And the moment they drew their last royal breath, they learned that there is only one true King.

They discovered an eternity where only one name is praised and adored. That name --- that King of Kings --- is Jesus Christ!

"On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS" (Revelation 19:16, NIV).

Don't be surprised,
Perry Crisp

Monday, March 23, 2009

New Normal

Things I can't explain:

1. Fashion. I'm sure those who DO understand fashion look at me and know instantly that I do not understand it. But I am comfortable with fashion ignorance. Especially when I hear the experts talk and see the way they dress. Hair color from Baskin-Robbins. "Men" who accessorize. Women talking for three hours about a pair of shoes I won't even notice. And what about fishing and hunting fashion? Where is that? Can't the fashion networks provide at least one token hour of programming to Larry the Cable Guy or Bill Dance?

2. On a similar note -- Clothing that fits. Is it just me or do we seem to have trouble admitting our waist size? The large want to wear the tight so tight that you feel sorry for those asphyxiated fat cells. The young among us want to wear grown up pants six sizes too big and keep having to pull them up. Someone should tell them they wouldn't have to walk so funny if they bought the right size pants.

3. Reality shows. Apparently, in some parts of the country there is a shortage of one or the other of the opposite sex. One woman has fifty guys lined up who want to date her and vice-versa. I say we put both sets of fifty on the same island without cameras and be done with it!

4. Government. I could write a 6,000 page document on what I don't understand about the government, but I'm afraid no one would read it and congress would immediately pass it without ever acting on it. The government couldn't fix a flat on a unicycle without debating over which side of the tire was flat or questioning whether there was really only one tire. The government thinks it can fix our economy by taking from us and giving it back to us after they've done something with it that no one can explain. No thanks. I'll change my own tire.

5. A living God at work among His people, touching and changing lives, and leaving a fragrance of peace everywhere He goes. I can't explain it. But I'm so thankful for it. How do you explain peace to a soul that has never experienced it? I wish I could explain the peace that comes from knowing and walking with Christ. But Paul already said it. It truly is a "peace that passes all understanding" (Philippians 4:7).

Some things defy both explanation and experience. Having them explained to you and experienced by you would only solidify your confusion. You could explain fashion, reality shows, and politics to me and never reach me. I could try to wear checkered sweaters and shorts that fit Shaq. I could sit on the set of a reality program. I could listen to the chatter of White House aids. As soon as those things were over, I'd run as fast as I could back to my clothes, my reality, and my common sense.

Other things defy explanation and experience. But once experienced, you will never go back to the old normal. The peace of knowing and walking with Christ is like that. Though it defies explanation, I will spend the rest of my life trying to explain to others what I have experienced until they experience it, too.

Skip Down to #5 - Trust me...
Perry Crisp

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Preacher in Heaven

I remember seeing man take his first steps on the moon. Although it was exciting, I never had a desire to walk there. I've seen mountain climbers scale tremendous mountains. I admire their skill. But I have no desire to walk there. I've seen pictures and television scenes of beautiful golf courses. But I don't golf. There's no desire within me to walk there, either.

But yesterday...yesterday, my fellow pastor and brother in the Lord, Dick Stagner, went to heaven. He now walks where I long to walk. While I have only stood outside the windows of heaven and seen glimpses from God's Word, Dick is in the house. He is there.

I have a reservation there, but he has a room.

I've spent some time reading comments about Dick's impact on people's lives on his facebook wall. Lives he's touched. Eternity's that have been changed through the sharing of his faith in Christ. Pastors, youth pastors, ministers of every kind who call him their mentor.

The rewards of a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be measured on the same scales as those of politicians, philanthropists, educators, famous actors and athletes, or any other.

Their reward is earthly fame, recognition, and prestige. People look at them and say, "I want to be like them."

Not so for the pastor. Our rewards are deeper. They are eternal. Dick doesn't want anyone to say, "I want to be like him." His smile increases when people he has touched say, "I want to be like Jesus."

We weren't ready for Dick to leave here. Or maybe we were. I can only find joy in my heart knowing that God was ready for that dear pastor to come home...and that dear pastor was ready to go home and see his Father.

Well done, my brother...
Perry Crisp

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How to Look Good

*Disclaimer: Though this devotional delves into the imagery of fashion and wardrobe, the author in no way typed any of this with a limp wrist and never once smacked his lips.

Imagine a closet in your heart that says, "Emotions and Attitudes" on the door. When you open the door you find a walk-in closet with clothes hanging on two racks; one on the left and one on the right.

Immediately you notice a disparity. The rack on the left has an abundant supply of clothes. The rack on the right has half a dozen. A closer examination of the clothes reveal that each article of clothing has a label. The labels are not names of famous designers, but adjectives that describe different emotions and attitudes.

A quick peek at each of the six labels on the right rack gives you a variety of positive emotions: happy, ecstatic, perky, confident, content, witty. It looks like a spring wardrobe with bright colors and comfortable fabrics.

The rack on the left has an enormous selection, but is quite drab in appearance. Dark tones. Lots of wool and tweed. It's too depressing to read all the labels, but you manage to glimpse a few:
tired, angry, hurt, lonely, jealous, frustrated, depressed, bored, somber, stressed, etc.

Though this is the first time you've actually been in this imaginary closet, you realize that the clothes on the left are nearly worn out from use and the clothes on the right have rarely been off the hanger. You've been going too often to the wrong side of your emotional closet.

When was the last time you robed your attitude in positive attire? How long has it been since you added to your wardrobe on the right side of the closet? Bargains are to be found if you learn to shop smart.

The greatest bargains for dressing up your positive wardrobe are found in one place -- Christ Jesus! If you will allow the Holy Spirit to dress you each day, He will add to your positive wardrobe section. He will suit you up in satisfaction. He will offer you festive footwear and brighter britches. He'll even wrap the coat of contentment around your shoulders and give you a hug.

But be prepared. The Spirit of Christ will not only add to the right side of your closet, He will do away with your overstocked left side. But, that's okay. The more you have to select from on the right side, the less you need on the left.

You can come out of the closet now. (No, not "Ellen's" closet.) Come on out of the closet of "Emotions and Attitudes" and realize that everyone around you is your emotional wardrobe inspector. Others may not notice your actual wardrobe, but I guarantee they will notice your emotional one.

My prayer is that someone will see your attitude today and ask, "Where did you get that? It is simply divine!" And you can reply,
" is actually."

Lookin' Good,
Perry Crisp

Monday, March 9, 2009

Rescued by Big G

Can you believe the nerve of some people? A complete and total stranger entered my house recently, saw something he liked, and picked it up without asking. When it was time for him to leave, he didn't want to give it back to me. He tried to steal it!

When I asked him if I could please have it back, he pulled it away from me and gave me a look that could kill. I wrestled it from his fingers and he screamed like....a baby.

Okay, so he was only eighteen months old, but still. That was MY Mr. Potato Head! How dare he think he could enter my house and walk out with my stuff as if it belonged to him! As if he was entitled to anything within his grubby little grasp!

Unauthorized entitlement seems to be a cultural trend in America these days. Parents teach entitlement to their children at a young age. Rambo moms and dads will endure any torture to make sure their precious angel has the newest, the brightest, the prettiest, the most, and the best.

Those babies who wear designer diapers grow up to be teenagers who feel entitled to designer cars and adults who feel entitled to...EVERYTHING.

Newlyweds run out and purchase all the necessities on credit: the satellite dish with 500 channels, the plasma HD-TV that's bigger than their refrigerator, two of the latest cell phones with all the bells and whistles, two new cars, new furniture, and a monthly mortgage that takes two month's salary to pay.

Unearned, unauthorized entitlement is everywhere. This disease has now spread to corporate America. Banks have forgotten how to balance their books. Auto makers can't steer their way onto the highway of fiscal responsibility. So who comes to the rescue?

Not Superman. Not Batman. Not even Mr. Potato Head. This Rescuer is wearing tights the size of a circus tent and has a great big G on his chubby chest ---- the Government! If it weren't so serious, we should all be doubled over in laughter. Government to the rescue?

Yeah, right. The same people who epitomize irresponsibility and waste. That's like asking Atilla the Hun to teach anger management. And we fall for it. Why? Because it's better than US having to assume responsibility for ourselves.

We want someone else to assume responsibility for us. We want to take because we shouldn't have to wait.

Oh, that dirty four-letter word: WAIT. Makes you shudder, doesn't it? Wait. And yet...

...Therein lies the answer. The solution. The only plan that will work. The only hope for this country. The only hope for you.

The first place to wait is on the Lord. "My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him" (Psalm 62:5, NKJV).

Wait for who? God.
And who else? God alone.

"He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved" (v. 6). This country was built on a solid foundation. Every corner of it was anchored in an absolute faith in God alone. Yet we've allowed others to put wheels under it and move it to the beach. The tide has rolled in. The sand beneath is shifting. Our foundation is no longer solid. We are being moved.

"In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God" (v. 7). There is a rescuer worth waiting for who has a big G on His chest. He is God, not government.

"Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us" (v. 8). Trusting in God requires waiting upon God.

If we could all learn the value of waiting, we would learn to appreciate what we have and truly enjoy what we eventually acquire. It is in the moments of waiting that we grow. It is then that we learn to value what would otherwise be a blur in the high octane race to the next Mr. Potato Head.

I'm not waiting for the government to bail me out. I know many will. That's their choice. "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. They have bowed down and fallen; but we have risen and stand upright" (Psalm 20:7-8).

While waiting on God, I noticed a trailor hitch and a chain on the bumper of America. Several God-followers are pulling on that chain, trying to get us off the beach and back onto a solid foundation. It seems like we're stuck pretty bad. But I think I'll join them. Won't you?

It's stuck pretty deep. So we may all need to get on our knees...
Perry Crisp

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

*Free from Astericks

Perry loves everybody equally all the time.*

God loves everybody equally all the time.

Oh, what a difference between the two statements above. We live in an asterisk world. People give away expensive vacations for free.* You can buy a car with no money down, no credit, bad credit, pay 0% financing, and not make a payment for twelve months.*

God doesn't use an asterisk with His promises. He loves you. He has a purpose for your being and a plan for your life. He wants you to spend eternity with Him. He purchased your freedom from sin. He forgives. He heals. He provides. He strengthens. No asterisks.

For every sentence above that has an asterisk at the end of it, you may interpret it thusly...

*Yeah, right...
Perry Crisp