Wednesday, May 25, 2016

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It was enough to make a girl stop talking for years to come-when it comes to talking about her relationship with Jesus, that is. One day in high school, God laid it on my wife's heart, (of course she wasn't my wife yet), to share Christ with one of her fellow band members. Ricky was a drummer. In my experience, drummers are usually cut from a little different piece of cloth than everybody else, and Ricky was no exception. He was a wild and crazy guy with a mouth to match. But one day my wife got up the courage to rise above her shyness and tell him about her Savior. Ricky didn't exactly fall to his knees in the band room and repent. In fact, he said, "Well, if you're going to heaven, I want to go to the other place!" Ouch!

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  • rescue
  • outreach

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

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I don't think I've ever "teared up" during a President's State of the Union Address to Congress - until that unforgettable moment during President George W. Bush's State of the Union early in 2005. For me, it had absolutely nothing to do with politics. It was just an intensely human moment that almost transcended politics.

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  • sacrifice
  • Salvation
  • Jesus
  • forgiveness

Monday, May 23, 2016

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Laura Ingalls Wilder was the American author of the popular series of books called the "Little House" books. However, her name only became a household word after her death after the "Little House on the Prairie" became the #1 TV series in America. Even though the series has been off the air for years, you can still find it just about any given day in any American city. And Laura's books about her family's life on the frontier have sold far more after her death than when she was alive. And as you read those books, you find that Laura really was a gifted storyteller. In touring the home where she wrote them, we learned one of the reasons why she was such a good story teller. As the TV series portrayed, her older sister went blind as a teenager. And Pa Ingalls told Laura she now had a mission - to be her sister's eyes, to put into words what was going on around them. That gift would later help her tell the stories that would touch the lives of millions.

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  • hurt
  • stress
  • tragedy

Friday, May 20, 2016

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When our oldest grandson was I5-months old, he was our favorite entertainer. Who needed TV? Who needs some show you have to buy a ticket for? No, the Jason Show was free! It seemed like he had a new trick every day. His parents used to throw a blanket over his head and ask, "Where's Jason?" He would pull that blanket off, flash a big smile, and his parents would say excitedly, "There's Jason!"

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  • Salvation
  • Jesus
  • forgiveness

Thursday, May 19, 2016

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It's an English-speaking church. The visiting pastor was Hispanic. He spoke in Spanish, using an interpreter to help his audience understand. I've spoken through an interpreter. So, you either have to say half as much or it takes twice as long. The pastor chose the latter. It took quite a while to get through his message. To be honest, I know some minds started to wander at times. At the end of his message, the pastor surprised everybody. He spoke to them completely in English. And he made a promise-the next time he would definitely speak in English. Of course, some folks were just a little frustrated. He could have spoken in the language of the people he was talking to; he just chose to speak in his own.

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  • rescue
  • outreach
  • your hindrances

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

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It was almost nighty-night time – which is always a challenge when a grandma is sitting on the babies – I mean, well, we call it babysitting I guess. My favorite grandma was babysitting our five and two-year old grandsons at the time and reading them a night-night story. That's when the thunderstorm decided to really start doing its thing. I mean big thunder! Big lightning! Big grandson eyes! I would have helped, but I was under the bed. Now, my wife is a very resourceful person. She said, "Hey, guys, did you know that every time you hear thunder, it's time for a thunder hug?" Well, they were eager to feel Grandma's hug right then. And a few other times that night. I even came out from under the bed for one. You know, the sky would roar and they'd come running saying, "It's time for a thunder hug!"

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  • rescue
  • outreach
  • your relationships

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

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I had just finished speaking for a Christian leaders' gathering that was part of the countdown to a Franklin Graham Festival. The setup team there was in their early days of working together on this massive mobilization. The team leader thought it would be a good idea to get his team together for a few minutes after the meeting ended, and he invited me to join them. Then he handed me a cluster of helium balloons tied together. Suddenly, I felt like I'd gone from speaker to circus clown. And, you know, I've read Winnie the Pooh stories to our kids enough that I couldn't help but picture Pooh Bear being carried into the sky by a bunch of balloons like that.

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  • the cross
  • daily devotions
  • your relationships
  • christians

Monday, May 16, 2016

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La Conchita, California – a community sitting on this narrow strip of land between the Pacific Coast Highway and a steep cliff. In 1995, 600,000 tons of mud collapsed and buried nine houses there. Well, thankfully it moved slowly enough that everybody was able to get out alive. Well, not this time. In January of 2005, a chunk of the 300-foot bluff that towered over the town collapsed with a loud roar. In moments this sea of mud had crushed 15 homes and damaged 16 others. One man who missed the mudslide because of a quick trip for ice cream ran back to his buried home and began frantically digging for his wife and family with the rescuers. Tragically, they were some of those who died in the mudslide. It had been such a nice place to live; such a deadly place to live.

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  • Death
  • Salvation
  • Jesus
  • your hindrances

Friday, May 13, 2016

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I'm not much of a photographer, but I'm married to one. A number of years ago, I was able to open doors to minister to our local football team by being on the sidelines and shooting pictures of them in action. Well, my wife gave me a crash course in photography, and the one thing I had to learn fast was how to focus my lens. See, I was shooting from all different angles, all different distances. If I said, "Well, I'll just focus my lens for the first photo and leave it like that," I would have had a pile of blurry pictures and not many friends on the football team when they came looking for a picture of themselves. See, the picture kept changing, so I had to constantly refocus for each new situation.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Focus That Sinks You."

What you focus on in any given situation will determine your attitude and ultimately your response, and quite possibly your outcome. So, it's important that you fill up your lens with the right thing. That you ultimately, of course, focus on Jesus and not on the circumstances. But your heart and your mind are a lot like my camera-you can't just focus once and leave it set there and think it's going to stay there. The picture keeps changing, right? You have to get back in focus for each new situation.

There's a memorable example of this in our word for today from the Word of God in Matthew 14 beginning in verse 25. The disciples were out on the lake in a sudden, violent, life-threatening storm. And then, the Bible says, "Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw Him walking on the lake, they were terrified. 'It's a ghost,' they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: 'Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid.' 'Lord, if it's You,' Peter replied, 'tell me to come to You on the water.' 'Come," He said. "Then Peter got down out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus."

Wow! Peter had his mental camera focused completely on Jesus and he was unsinkable. But then things slipped out of focus. The Bible says, "But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink cried out, 'Lord, save me!' Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. 'You of little faith,' He said, 'why did you doubt?"

Well, there I am. There you are. Focused on Jesus, walking where we could never walk otherwise. And then focused on the storm, the circumstances, our fears – going under. That's why we need to constantly refocus on Jesus, because we keep slipping out of focus. We get halfway there, and we start looking around. We lose our focus on Jesus.

Let's say, for example, you start your day praising the Lord, really hanging onto Jesus. But throughout your day, there are just so many distracting problems and temptations and pressures and emotions and people. And it is so easy to focus on those stresses and those issues. And suddenly Jesus has become this kind of blurry figure in the background.

Over and over, we need to stop and consciously get our eyes back on Jesus-to breathe and just say, "Jesus is Lord." "Jesus is first." "Jesus is in charge here." "Jesus has got this." Often I'll find myself stopping several times a day when the winds have suddenly picked up and saying those three peace-producing words: "Jesus is Lord. Jesus is Lord."

Satan's great strategy for sinking you is to get your eyes off Jesus because he can beat you, but he doesn't stand a chance against Jesus. So keep readjusting your focus. Keep Jesus always in the foreground, clearly in focus. Remember, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace."

  • Jesus
  • faith
  • distractions
  • temptation

Thursday, May 12, 2016

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An upscale restaurant in Manhattan's iconic Rockefeller Plaza, filled with Wall Street "movers and shakers." A dusty reservation basketball court, surrounded by impoverished, hope-starved Native American young people. I've ministered in both worlds, within weeks of one another. Worlds that – at first glance – seem to be really far apart. But when it comes to what God is doing, these divergent worlds share some striking – and instructive – similarities.

The "natives" in both worlds are hard to reach with the Good News of Jesus. The success, the drive of those marketplace men and women spawn a confident, self-reliant façade that doesn't open up easily. The young people on that reservation have been hardened by years of pain and a strong belief that "Jesus is the white man's God."

But – amazingly – there's a great move of God in both of these hard-to-reach cultures. I've seen it! And many are choosing to follow Jesus. The secret of these breakthroughs reveals a simple, but powerful, strategy for helping people from any culture or subculture find our Jesus. People from a tribe are the key to reaching lost people in that tribe.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Your Tribe, Your Mission."

In Manhattan, it's Wall Street men and women reaching Wall Street men and women; opening their heart to share the brokenness in their lives and relationships, and the Savior who was broken for them so they could be healed.

On the reservation, it's Native American young people reaching Native American young people. Through our ministry's all-Native, On Eagles' Wings teams reservation young people, pouring out the desperation and despair of lives surrounded by abuse and addiction and sharing how "a brown-skinned, tribal man named Jesus changed everything."

I'm convinced that tribal rescue is the key to breaking through to countless lost people in every culture and every subculture. Moms listen to moms. Soccer players listen to soccer players. Hunters listen to hunters. Rotarians listen to Rotarians, cancer survivors listen to cancer survivors. We're all in a tribe: an occupational tribe, a recreational or educational tribe, a generational tribe, maybe an associational tribe like the PTA, the booster club, the country club.

So whatever tribe you're in, you are the best possible Gospel messenger to the people in your tribe. You face the same stresses, you talk the same language, you share the same experiences. All those are bridges you can cross to open their heart to Jesus.

Do you understand that you've been positioned by God? You've been credentialed by your very biography to represent Christ in your tribe as no one else could. No evangelist, no pastor, no professional God salesman. It's you, because you're one of them. In fact the Bible puts it this way in our word for today from the Word of God, "We are Christ's ambassadors" (2 Corinthians 5:20).

What's that mean? An ambassador – a chosen representative assigned to a particular place. You've been assigned to your personal world to be the voice and face of Jesus there. This is an outreach strategy that any church can employ. Identify what tribes you have represented in your congregation. Take that as God's clue as to where your church should be targeting an outreach strategy. Mobilize and equip your "tribal ambassadors" to claim their tribe for Christ. Then identify the needs of people in that tribe and how the church could address those needs.

This isn't new. When Jesus wanted to reach Samaritans, He didn't just go blazing into their village. He reached a Samaritan woman at a well. She told her tribe about Jesus and the Bible says, "and many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman's testimony" (John 4:39). People from a tribe listened to someone else from that tribe.

So just think what could happen in our country if every believer claimed their tribe for Christ and stepped up to be the face and voice of Jesus there. Praying for and looking for God-given opportunities to use their tribal credentials as a bridge to tell about the difference Jesus Christ makes for someone just like them.

There's a world of "Samaritans" out there who would trust our Jesus if only they could hear about our Jesus from someone from their tribe. Like you!

  • rescue
  • outreach
  • your tribe
  • samaritan

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)

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