Monday, March 29, 2010

In Full Spring?

Spring is having a hard time springing and staying sprung here in east Texas. Passover is here. Easter is nearly here. The flowers, grass, trees, and bass all know it's time. They are trying to do their spring thing, but the weather is a bit temperamental and uncooperative.

One spring day barely clocks in a full 24 hours before cold winds, cold rain, and white, fluffy stuff shoves spring aside. Somewhere in Minnesota a young child must have prayed for Texas weather, and God answered by swapping theirs with ours.

Be not disheartened! This one thing I know --- Spring will prevail! The grass will need mowing. The flowers will need photographing. The bass will need a few moments of oxygen and a photo op with a proud fisherman.

Fear not, grandpaw! You WILL get to wear the plaid shorts over your belly button and your black socks over your calves. Fret not, biker friend! A day is coming when you can ride sleeveless again without your teeth chattering. Keep the faith, everyone. Spring will spring and stay sprung.

How do I know? Because that's the way God set the seasonal table of earth. God is a God of order, not chaos. God set the earth and all other planets in perfect order. God scheduled the rotation precisely so that spring would follow winter, summer would follow spring, autumn/fall would follow summer, and winter would follow autumn/fall.*

It is no coincidence that Jesus died and rose again in the spring. Spring is symbolic of new life returning to barren ground, branches, vines, and limbs. In the spring, stuff underground breaks out of earthly graves and rises to fulfill its purpose. So did Jesus.

Like the seed in the soil, Jesus was buried. But only for three days. On the third day, the Seed split, Life burst forth out of that grave, and the Lily of the Valley arose!

Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Just as surely as He arose, He will return. Just as surely as spring will win out over winter, Jesus will come back for His bride, the Church. Just as surely as the allergists among us need to refill their prescriptions soon, so the redeemed of the Lord need to renew their faith that Jesus is risen and coming again soon.

Sprung Free,
Perry Crisp

*Translation for Men: Spinner bait and spawn/Turkey season follow jigs/Duck/Deer/Quail season, worm/topwater fishing follow the spinner bait and spawn/Turkey season, crankbait/Dove season follow worm/topwater fishing, and jigs/Duck/Deer/Quail season follow crankbait/Dove season.

*Translation for Women: Shopping for Easter clothes follows Christmas shopping, Memorial Day/4th of July/Back to School sales follow Easter shopping, Labor Day/pumpkin/turkey sales follow Memorial Day/4th of July/Back to School sales, and Christmas shopping follows Labor Day/pumpkin/turkey sales.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Feelin Froggy?

A farmer loved to sleep with his window open so he could feel the gentle night breeze and hear the soft noises of the night creatures. However, the night noises were getting louder and louder due to an invasion of frogs at the farmer's pond fifty yards from his bedroom window.

The noise of the frogs continually got worse each night. The farmer was not able to sleep because of those amplified amphibians. So, one morning the farmer got in his truck and drove to a nearby restaurant owned by a friend. They had a little business meeting together, shook hands, and the farmer left with a smile.

He had convinced his friend in the restaurant business to add frog legs to the menu. The farmer guaranteed his buddy that he could supply him with a million frog legs. The restaurant owner didn't need that many frog legs, so they agreed on a few hundred.

A week later, the farmer returned to the restaurant with a bag of frogs. The restaurant owner met the farmer in the parking lot, excited to see the new additions to his menu. "Well," said the restaurant owner, "Let's see what we got!"

The farmer let out a deep sigh and had an odd, sheepish look on his face as he reached into the bag and pulled out two scrawny frogs. "I thought my pond was overflowing with frogs. They were driving me crazy. These two little frogs were making all that noise! I never woulda guessed that two scrawny frogs could sound like a million."

Oh, but they can! The voices of those who croak defeat into your ears are few, but loud! Everyone has one or two croakers who make it difficult to hear all the other voices of encouragement and victory.

Learn to hear the hundreds beyond the croaking of a couple. Don't allow a couple of scrawny frogs to ribbit your attention toward the negative things of life. Set your mind and rivet your ears to hear the higher, softer pitches of the goodness of God and His plans for you.

And please...don't be a scrawny croaker in anyone's life. In spite of the fairy tale, people really don't go around kissing frogs. But they do like to gig em.

"Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones" (Proverbs 16:24).

Not About to Croak,
Perry Crisp

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

One Coffin To Go, Please

Seventy-nine years ago, a man in Stanstead Abbots, England bought himself a solid oak coffin for twenty-three pounds --- about $100 at the time. He loved his coffin. He kept it in a shed out behind his house. Every day, he would go out to the shed to give his coffin a polishing.

He did this for at least thirty-three years. Someone discovered this rather unusual routine when the proud coffin-polisher was still polishing that box at ninety-two years of age. At that age, the old fella would occasionally get tired before finishing the daily polishing ritual and hop into his prized casket for a nap.

At this point, I have two observations: 1) The guy who sold that coffin to this gentleman must have been some kind of salesman! 2) I wonder how many door-to-door salesmen stumbled upon the old man while he was taking a nap in his coffin!

When the basket-case casket owner was interviewed about this odd possession (or was it obsession?) of his, he smiled and said he was real happy with his coffin. He had taken enough good naps in it that he felt satisfied that it would do him well for his longest of all rests.

He said, "I even had my photograph taken in it! Wanted to see how I'd look when the undertaker lays me out."

When asked why he valued this polished oak coffin so much, he answered, "I came into the world a bit rough, as one of nine children. Now, I'm making sure I go out respectable --- with an oak coffin that has solid brass handles and everything!"

A couple more observations: 1) I think he can give up on the whole "going out respectable" idea since everyone who read his story made the circular finger motion around the ear and let out a whistle. 2) What exactly is "everything"? Oak. Okay, I got that. Solid brass handles. I got that, too. But what else is there? He sounded like his coffin had extra amenities that not every corpse would be able to enjoy for eternity. (Join me now in doing the finger motion around the ear and the slight whistle).

In today's world, it is not uncommon for the aging to visit a funeral home and make prearrangements for when that time comes so that their family will not have to make all those decisions. It is a very thoughtful and wise act on their part. Some even pick out the type of casket and begin making payments on the whole burial package.

But I haven't seen or heard of any of them strapping the casket to the roof of their sedan like a Christmas tree to carry it home and try it out! Obviously, the British chap, who is now enjoying his long rest in his prized coffin, was the fruit loop in the box of Cheerios.

However, his bizarre behavior raises an important issue. Are you prepared for the inevitable? I'm not trying to sell you a prearranged funeral plan and I don't have any brochures or fliers on premium caskets. When death comes, it only comes to the body. Not the soul. I'm not worried about the quality of the box you'll be buried in. I'm concerned about where the rest of you will go when your body ceases to function.

The most important decision concerning death has to be made while you still have life. Your destination is the issue at hand. Not your transportation. It won't matter if you have a black or a white limousine or a finely polished casket. What will matter is the preparation of your soul's destination for eternity.

You would look rather silly going to the airport and picking out an airplane because it's pretty without a clue as to where it's going.

Be sure to get this right. There's no changing flights once you're in the air. There are no mulligans. No do-overs.

Jesus made it as clear as it can be made: "I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

Jesus also said, "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world (or even a fancy coffin made of oak with brass handles and everything), and lose his own soul." The parenthetical part isn't in the Bible, you understand.

You don't need a coffin in your shed. You need the Christ who shed His blood for your sins in your heart. THAT, I can help you with.

One Satisfied Customer,
Perry Crisp

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Join Us!

Dear Blog Readers,

I want to thank you for reading the thoughts that bounce around in my inner space as I talk about my Lord. It blesses me to see and hear from so many who want to spend more time with God. It also challenges me to stay fresh and consistent in my time in His Word. His Word never ceases to come alive and restore my soul.

This past November, God's Word came alive to me in a whole new way. My wife, Dorinda, and I were blessed with a magnificent gift. We were invited to go to the Holy Land with our dear friends, David and Cindy Dykes from Tyler! We had an amazing, unforgettable time seeing God's Word come alive right before our eyes.

David and Cindy are not able to lead a group this year and have graciously extended the use of their resources to us. So, Dorinda and I would like to invite you to prayerfully consider going with us to the Holy Land, October 31-November 9 of this year. We can take a small group of 35-45 friends (most groups are much larger and much less personal) to walk where Jesus walked.

I cannot find the words to describe what it means to see Jerusalem, to pray at the rock of agony where Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, to float in the Dead Sea, to stand on the Mount of Olives, Mount Masada, Mount Carmel, and in the Jordan River, to observe the Lord's Supper between Golgotha and the empty tomb, to worship on Sunday morning at the edge of the Sea of Galilee, and so much more.

A trip to the Holy Land will bring you closer to your Lord and His Word, and you will never read your Bible the same again. Can you imagine? When you read that Jesus went to Capernaum or got in a boat on the Sea of Galilee or was crucified at Calvary and rose again...and you can say, "I've been there! I have seen these places with my own eyes!"

Our ten day trip will start and end in the parking lot of our church, Lake Fork Baptist Church in Alba, Texas. A bus will take us to DFW airport. We will change planes in Newark, NJ and fly to Tel Aviv. Then we will spend 3 days in Jerusalem, one day at the Dead Sea, 3 days in Galilee (and surrounding areas), and stop by Megiddo, Mount Carmel, and the beautiful city of Caesarea on our way back to the airport in Tel Aviv.

Our price includes everything except lunch and souvenirs. All flights, tours, buses, hotels, large buffet breakfasts, large buffet dinners, and tips are included in the price of $3,599 per person. If you would like more information, I will gladly mail you a brochure. If you have questions, please email or call me. Or, if you are ready to sign up now and send in your deposit to reserve your spot, just send a check for $250 (per person) to: Travel Masters, 915 WSW Loop 323, Tyler, TX 75701 and let Sharon Howell know that you want to go to the Holy Land with Brother Perry.

I'm praying that God will put together a group of 40 people (a good Biblical number) to join us on a trip to the earthly homeland of our Savior. It would be wonderful to have you among that number of friends.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Brother Perry

Perry Crisp
Lake Fork Baptist Church
Alba, Texas

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's Your Funeral

At a museum in Deadwood, South Dakota, tourists can read the following inscription left by a prospector: "I lost my gun. I lost my horse. I am out of food. The Indians are after me. But I've got all the gold I can carry!"

That scenario not only aptly defines the pursuits and obsessions of most Americans today, it also begs the question: "When you finally get all that you want, will it be worth what it cost?"

There's not much room in a casket. Even if your casket has a safety deposit box filled with millions or you are buried at Fort Knox, it wouldn't mean a thing to you. The only thing that will matter then is what you do with Jesus now.

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." By "life," Jesus means eternal life. Let's face it. You and I are headed for an unavoidable statistic: 1 out of every 1 of us will 1 day die.

People have all kinds of opinions about what happens after we die. Most of it is a lot of guesswork that is oddly empty of any homework and strangely dependent upon a stranger's opinion. We are quizzical creatures. We research every product we buy, scrutinize over every investment we make, and thoroughly examine the reliability of a toothbrush before we buy it. But when it comes to eternity, we accept popular opinion, embrace those who offer something that sounds "right" to us, and swallow a trendy philosophy because it was on Oprah. We want truth to conform to us. Who cares if it's really the other way around?

I would rather trust an Eyewitness. Someone who has been there. I'll trust the Manufacturer of life over a shade-tree philosopher. The Creator over the creature. And I'll take my chances with the One whose word has never failed. You should study His book. It makes more sense than you've been led to believe.

Jesus said, "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"

In the end, you and I won't hope for all the gold we can carry. We will hope for a God who can carry us.

I'm thinking that old prospector wishes he would have pondered that thought a bit further.

Preparing for Finals,
Perry Crisp

Monday, March 8, 2010


You didn't know. You had no idea. I want to thank you anyway. You might consider your example or your act of kindness minimal. You may not even remember it. But it was a piece of the puzzle. The fingers of God picked it up out of the box of my confused life and put it in place.

There were thousands of them along the way. Yours was equally important to all the rest. So, thank you. God used your witness, great or small, to reach me.

I was blind, but now I see. His light through you flickered in my darkness. My ears were closed to the truth of God's love and stuffed with the sounds of the world's lies. Your voice didn't scream. It didn't shout. Had it not been injected with God's power, I would have never heard what you said. But I did. You spoke. Now, I can hear Him. Because I once heard Him through you.

The knowledge of truth was hidden from my mind, like a convincing matrix manipulating my reality. You knew what I did not. Your knowledge was from another world...another reality. was from the truly real. My world was a world of deception, built upon smug lies and flimsy philosophies. A world of mistrust. You dropped a seed of truth into my thoughts that didn't fit in the mirage of my mind.

That seed grew.

Now I know.

Oh, what a penetrating knowledge. Life-changing. Soul-freeing. Hope-laden. Peace-providing.

My eyes see Him! My ears hear Him! My heart and mind know Him!

Thank you...
Perry Crisp

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Take a Hike!

"This is a test of the Emergency Electronic System. This is only a test. BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE (inhale) EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP.
This has been a test of the Emergency Electronic System. Had this been an actual emergency, which is highly unlikely but we have to do them anyway to keep our stimulus money, you would have been asked to step away from your electronic devices and see the real world around you."

Wait. That's not a bad idea. Sometimes we can't see the road for the GPS. We can't hear the ikids for the ipod. We text someone else somewhere else instead of talk to those around us. I wonder where all of this is leading and what effect it will have on future generations.

What message does a plugged-in mom send to her toddler? Will the toddler have to text "More spaghetti, please" to get mom's attention? Is your handheld keeping your child's hand from being held? If our televisions get any more HD than they already are, will anyone ever drive or hike to a river or mountain? Has all this software made us soft?

I'm just asking. I'm certainly not king of the unplugged world. After all, I'm sending this to you through my email and blog. I'm aware of the pot and kettle thing. I confess my iguilt. Hang on. I just got a text.

Okay. Where was I? Drats! I haven't even finished this email and I've already blown it. Have you? Here's my point. Let's be intentional about this. Don't let all the devices of life distract you from living life. Put down the phone and pick up your child. Uncork your ears and listen to the birds. Replace the PS3 controller in your hand with an actual basketball or football and go outside with a family member. Get into your friend's actual space, not just MySpace. Talk to someone's face, not just their facebook. Hug more people than you nudge.

The electronics and social media outlets are fine and wonderful tools for helping you connect with family and friends miles away. Just don't neglect those who are inches away.

Had Jesus chosen this day and time to come to earth, how different might the Scriptures read? In Mark 14:37, Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, moments away from being arrested, beaten, and crucified. Jesus had asked Peter, James, and John to stay close by and pray. After Jesus prayed for a while, He turned to see His disciples asleep. He asked Simon Peter, "Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour?" What if that had been today?

"Simon, are you tweeting? Could you not focus for just one hour?"


Perry Crisp