Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wishes That Won't Last

A bus carrying only ugly people crashes into an oncoming truck, and everyone dies. As they stand at the Pearly Gates waiting to enter paradise and meet their maker, God decides to grant each person one wish because of the grief they have experienced.

They all line up, and God asks the first person what the wish is.

"I want to be gorgeous." God snaps his fingers, and it is done. The second one in line hears this and says, "I want to be gorgeous, too." God snaps his fingers again and the wish is granted.

This goes on for a while, with each one asking to be gorgeous. When God is halfway down the line, the last guy in the line starts laughing. When there are only ten people left, this guy is rolling on the floor, still laughing.

Finally, God reaches this last guy and asks him what his wish will be.

The guy calms down and says, "Make them all ugly again."

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

First Post-Op Doctor Visit

I received a good report from Dr. Mark Petty, my hip surgeon, today.  The hip revision performed four weeks ago is healing very nicely and everything looks very stable.  In fact, Dr. Petty said it looks much better than it did following last year's surgery.  However, he did say I must remain on the 50% weight bearing status for two more weeks (January 6, 2010).  At that point I can add more weight while still using the walker for another week (January 13, 2010).  If this goes well I can begin moving to the cane for 3-4 weeks.  He will then determine if I must continue using the cane all the time or if I can lay it down.

Due to remaining on the walker and being unable to drive for another 3 weeks, my first revival meeting of 2010 has been rescheduled to February 21-24th.  This meeting will be in Bushnell, Florida at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church.  I appreciate Pastor Phillip Howe's understanding and willingness to reschedule the event to allow more time for recovery.  I do have a couple of single-day events in late January that I hope will help me ease back into a full schedule.  A full revival meeting requires not only spiritual preparation, but mental, physical and emotional stamina too.

I very much appreciate your prayers during this time of recovery and hope you will continue to ask for God's perfect will in every area of my life and ministry.

NOTE: Read previous posts related to the hip surgery here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Feeding Reindeer And Singing Jingle Bells

This is one of my favorite Christmas memories!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

JOY Box Deadline Tomorrow

The JCEA 2009 Christmas JOY Box Ministry submission deadline is tomorrow, December 17th.  You are invited to help bring Christmas JOY to residents of nursing homes by filling a shoebox sized container with a few needed and enjoyable items.  The JOY Boxes will be delivered to area nursing homes the week after Christmas.  Boxes may be dropped-off at the following locations:

If you would like to participate in this ministry, but are unable to prepare a shoebox by the deadline, you may invest financially by credit card or PayPal.  Donations will be used to prepare additional boxes.

Additional information about the JOY Box Ministry is available at these links:

You will experience true Christian JOY when you put Jesus first, Others second and Yourself last.  Share this JOY with others!



“JOY to the world, the Lord is come...”

Becoming Whole


Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. —Philippians 2:12-13
 
When a friend fell off her bike and suffered a severe brain injury, doctors weren’t sure she would survive. For several days she remained suspended between life and death.

The first good news came when she opened her eyes. Then she responded to simple voice commands. But with every small improvement, anxiety remained. How far would she progress?

After one difficult day of therapy, her husband was discouraged. But the very next morning he shared these welcome words: “Sandy’s back!” Physically, emotionally, psychologically, and mentally, Sandy was becoming the “self” who we knew and loved.

Sandy’s fall reminds me of what theologians refer to as “the fall” of mankind (Gen. 3). And her struggle to recover parallels our struggle to overcome the brokenness of sin (Rom. 7:18). If only her body healed, recovery would be incomplete. The same would be true if her brain worked but her body didn’t. Wholeness means that all parts work together for one purpose.

God is the one healing Sandy, but she has to work hard in therapy to improve. The same is true of us spiritually. After God saves us through Christ, we must “work out” our salvation (Phil. 2:12)—not to earn it but to bring our thoughts and actions into agreement with His purpose.  — Julie Ackerman Link

More like the Master I would ever be,
More of His meekness, more humility;
More zeal to labor, more courage to be true,
More consecration for work He bids me do. —Gabriel

To become whole, keep yielding to the Holy Spirit.
 

Late Water Bill


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Allergy


Monday, December 14, 2009

One Outing, Multiple Blessings

I had my first "out-of-home" experience yesterday since returning home from the hospital two weeks ago.  I attended the morning worship service at my home church, First Baptist of Lake Butler.  It was great to participate in corporate worship again and to hear my pastor, Jason Johns, preach again.  I also saw the "JOY Tree" in the church lobby surrounded by JOY Boxes for nursing home residents.  This is a ministry initiated by James Croft Evangelistic Association two years ago.  The church has set a goal of 200 boxes!  Praise the Lord!!

After service one of my sisters, Melissa, and her daughter and I went to Lake City for lunch at Applebees.  I'm still unable to drive, so she was my chauffeur - don't tell her I said that.  Anyway, we saw a family from my church and a family from a church in Lake City, and we all spoke.  During the meal the waiter handed me an Applebees gift card and said "Santa Claus" wanted me to have it.  He would not divulge the name of the donor, only saying they said it was from Santa.  It was a $75 gift card, what a blessing!

I don't know if the gift was from one of the two families or not, but the Lord knows the donor and I have asked Him to bless them tremendously for this random act of Christian kindness.  It's so interesting how the Lord works, because Brother Jason's message was about letting others "see" your kindness.  Basically, we should not just let the world hear the message of Christmas, but let them see the message of Christmas.  You can hear his message here.  I had a similar experience three years ago and you can read about it in this post.

To top the day off, the youth group from First Baptist Church of Olustee came for a visit Sunday night and brought a couple of boxes of food they have been collecting.  We had a great time of fellowship and laughter.  I pray the Lord greatly blesses them for being such a blessing to me and my family.

It was wonderful day and felt good to finally get out of the house even though it was somewhat tiring.  I hope this is just the beginning of a full recovery that will allow me to soon continue doing what the Lord has called me to do.

Let's Say Thanks


Saddle Ridge Ranch VBS In 2010

Evangelist James Croft will be teaching during Vacation Bible School sponsored by Chapel Hill Baptist Church. The event will be held Monday-Friday, June 7-11, 2010 from 10am to 12pm.  Additional details, including location, will be posted soon.  The VBS will feature lessons and activities included in the Saddle Ridge Ranch Vacation Bible School. For more information call (850) 222-6900.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

FBCLB Youth Visit

I've had many great visits to my home since my release from the hospital following hip surgery.  I don't think I've ever had as many visitors at one time as I did this past Wednesday.  Twenty-four members of the youth department at my home church, First Baptist of Lake Butler, came to minister to me at my home.  We had a wonderful time of devotion, prayer, fellowship, and sharing.  It was a great blessing to me!


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Monday, December 07, 2009

War . . . Then Peace


The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:7

On December 7, 1941, a Japanese war plane piloted by Mitsuo Fuchida took off from the aircraft carrier Akagi. Fuchida led the surprise attack on the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Through the war years to follow, Fuchida continued to fly—often narrowly escaping death. At war’s end, he was disillusioned and bitter.

A few years later, he heard a story that piqued his spiritual curiosity: A Christian young woman whose parents had been killed by the Japanese during the war decided to minister to Japanese prisoners. Impressed, Fuchida began reading the Bible.

As he read Jesus’ words from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34), he understood how that woman could show kindness to her enemies. That day Fuchida gave his heart to Christ.

Becoming a lay preacher and evangelist to his fellow citizens, this former warrior demonstrated “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7)—a peace enjoyed by those who have trusted Christ and who “let [their] requests be made known to God” (v.6).

Have you found this peace? No matter what you have gone through, God makes it available to you.  — Dennis Fisher


There is peace in midst of turmoil,
There is joy when eyes are dim,
There is perfect understanding
When we leave it all to Him. —Brown


True peace is not the absence of war; it is the presence of God. —Loveless


CSI: Palestine


Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Truth About Christmas

The truth about Christmas is found in Luke 2:1-20 in the Holy Bible. Robin Croft shares this truth during a Christmas celebration with her family.


Friday, December 04, 2009

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Big Diet Pill


The Best Of Gifts


Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! —2 Corinthians 9:15

Having trouble selecting that perfect gift for someone? A friend shared with me a few suggestions:

The gift of listening. No interrupting, no planning your response. Just listening.
The gift of affection. Being generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, and pats on the back.
The gift of laughter. Sharing funny stories and jokes. Your gift will say, “I love to laugh with you.”
The gift of a written note. Expressing in a brief, handwritten note your appreciation or affection.
The gift of a compliment. Sincerely saying, “You look great today” or “You are special” can bring a smile.

But as we begin this special month of celebration, why not pass on the best gift you’ve ever received? Share the fact that “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:23). Or share this verse from John 1:12, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” Remind others that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

The best gift of all is Jesus Christ. “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Cor. 9:15).  — Cindy Hess Kasper


The greatest Gift that has ever been given
Is Jesus Christ who was sent down from heaven.
This Gift can be yours if you will believe;
Trust Him as Savior, and new life receive. —Hess


The best gift was found in a manger.



Friday, November 27, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Surgery Day 2

I received a glowing report from my surgeon, Dr. Mark Petty, this morning.  He is very pleased with the results of the procedure and said that everything went as planned.  I have not had as much pain as I did with last year's surgery.  I am already at 50% weight bearing, which took 9 weeks to accomplish last year.  Physical Therapy had me take a few steps this morning and I am currently sitting up in a chair.  I may be discharged as early as Friday to a rehab hospital for continued physical therapy.  PRAISE THE LORD!!!

I have received many calls and visits and they are much appreciated.  I ask for your continued prayerful support for me, the medical staff and all those assisting me during my recovery.

I'll post additional information as it becomes available.

God Bless You All!

Pray For Sick Turkeys

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Surgery Update

The surgery is complete.  Dr. Petty provided the update at 6:50 pm.  A decision was made earlier today to replace the femoral rod regardless of it's condition.  The extra bone was added to reinforce the grafting and all strapped in place.  Dr. Petty expects to have James up on a walker tomorrow.  You continued prayers and support are appreciated.

PRAISE THE LORD!!!

Turkey Fights For Freedom

Monday, November 23, 2009

Surgery Scheduled For 2pm Tuesday

One year ago, I was facing some of the most challenging news in my life: a complicated hip revision surgery and the accompanying rehabilitation.  Nearly three months of immobility left me unable to accomplish the primary task to which our Lord called me back in 1994: Gospel preaching and evangelism.

During those uncertain days, you responded with grace and generosity.  You interceded with prayers that lifted me to God's close care.  You called, wrote and visited.  You gave financial gifts to cover medical bills and loss of income.  A few churches in my area renovated my home, and repaired my roof.  You showed love in Christ.

I received news in recent weeks that my surgery last year wasn’t completely successful.  My options at this point have narrowed to two: a second surgical attempt or the permanent living with pain or possible loss of walking ability.

Needless to say, I have opted for the surgical option now slated for 2pm tomorrow, November 24th.  Dr. Mark Petty plans to insert cadaver bone for grafting at the top of my femur.  A substance that will help promote grafting will also be utilized.  The goal is for the rod in my femur (implanted during the surgery last year) to be stabilized by the grafting, which should (hopefully) eliminate the pain.  The presence of pain seems to indicate the femoral rod is "loose".  This is, obviously, not the proper medical terminology, but it's the best explanation I can offer at this point.

The surgery will take place at North Florida Regional Medical Center in Gainesville, Florida.  It is estimated the surgery will last 2-4 hours.  If there are no complications, I will stay in the hospital for three to four days and then be transferred to a rehab hospital for physical therapy.  Dr. Petty tells me, if all goes well, I will use a walker for about a month and then move back to using a cane.  If the femoral rod is slipping more than is currently thought, another rod will be implanted during the surgery and the recovery period will be greatly extended as it was last year.

My desire to serve the Lord will once again be greatly impeded.  And, once again, the reality of financial woes are upon me.  I don’t like to make such pleas, but should God lead you to make a one-time or continuing donation, no matter the size, it would be an extraordinary investment.  Little is much when God is in it.

I know God is in total control, but I must confess to being anxious, fearful, and a little "down" (no pun intended) at the thought of another major surgery.  It has been a long and very tough year in many areas of my life since the middle of last November, but I know God's grace is, and will once again be, sufficient.  The last year of my life has taught me to depend on the Lord and be of good courage.  The year ahead will put to use what God has desired to teach me.

Please join me in praying that the Lord's "Perfect Will" is done all along the way.  I have a revival meeting scheduled to begin January 10, 2010 in Bushnell, FL, so you know how I'm praying.  I do know God also knows about the meeting, after all, He led the pastor to call me.


Your prayers and financial gifts are appreciated.  Mostly, I am looking for 2010, a recovered body, and a foundation of faith from which to preach Christ to the nations.

NOTE: Additional information will be posted on this blog and on Facebook as it becomes available.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Help With A Home Run

NOTE: A video about the story in this devotion is below, it will bring tears of joy to your eyes.


As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. —1 Peter 4:10

Sara Tucholsky, a softball player for Western Oregon University, hit the first home run of her life in a game against Central Washington. But she nearly didn’t get credit for it. As she rounded first base in excitement, she missed it! When she wheeled back to correct her mistake, she injured her knee. Crying, she crawled back to the base. By rule, she had to touch all four bases on her own for the home run to count. Her teammates could not assist her in any way.

Then Mallory Holtman, the first baseman for the opposing team, spoke up. “Would it be okay if we carried her around?” After conferring, the umpires agreed. So Mallory and another teammate made a chair of their hands and carted Sara around the bases. By the time they were through carrying her, many were crying at this selfless act of compassion, and Sara was awarded her home run.

The lesson for followers of Christ is clear. When fellow Christians stumble and fall, we need to follow the example of these ballplayers. Reach out. Lift them up and carry them along. It’s a wonderful opportunity to “minister . . . to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10).  — David C. Egner



When a fellow Christian stumbles
And he needs some help to stand;
Don’t ignore his circumstances—
Offer him your outstretched hand. —Sper


No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. —Charles Dickens





Bad Things Happen To Good People


FBC Lake Butler On Sunday Morning



I will be preaching in supply for my Pastor Jason Johns this Sunday morning, November 22nd, at First Baptist Church of Lake Butler. The services will begin at 9:30am and 11am. The church is located at 195 East Main Street in Lake Butler, Florida. For more information or directions call the church at (386) 496-3704.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Precious Fruit


The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. —Galatians 5:22-23
 
How much would you be willing to pay for a piece of fruit? In Japan, someone paid more than $6,000 for one Densuke watermelon. Grown only on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, this beautiful dark-green sphere looks like a bowling ball. The nearly 18-pound watermelon was one of only a few thousand available that year. The fruit’s rarity brought an astronomical price on the market.

Christians have fruit that is far more precious than the Densuke watermelon. It’s called the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23). Each “fruit” is a different aspect of Christlikeness. In the Gospels, we see how Christ exemplified these virtues. Now He wants to produce them in our hearts—in what we say, how we think, and how we respond to life (John 15:1-4).

A rare and delicious fruit may bring a premium price in the marketplace, but Christlike character is of far greater worth. As we confess all known sin and yield to God’s indwelling Spirit, our lives will be transformed to the likeness of Christ (1 John 1:9; Eph. 5:18). This spiritual fruit will fill our lives with joy, bless those around us, and last into eternity.  — Dennis Fisher

Think not alone of outward form;
Its beauty will depart;
But cultivate the Spirit’s fruits
That grow within the heart. —D. De Haan

Fruitfulness for Christ depends on fellowship with Christ.
 

Attack By A Marching Band


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Witness Protection Program


Angelic Assistance?

An old-time pastor was riding furiously down the road, hurrying to get to church on time. Suddenly, his horse stumbled and threw him to the ground.

Lying in the dirt, his body wracked with pain, the pastor called out, “All you angels in heaven, help me get up on my horse!”

With extraordinary strength, he leaped onto the horse’s back—and fell off the other side.

From the ground again, he called out, “All right, just half of you angels this time!”

Monday, November 16, 2009

FBCLB Sunday Morning


I will be preaching in supply for my Pastor Jason Johns this Sunday morning, November 22nd, at First Baptist Church of Lake Butler. The services will begin at 9:30am and 11am. The church is located at 195 East Main Street in Lake Butler, Florida. For more information or directions call the church at (386) 496-3704.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

No Deal!


It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” —Luke 4:4
 
We’ve all seen and heard advertisements that entice us to take shortcuts to happiness. Buy our product and make no payments for one year! Instant gratification!

When the devil tempted Jesus (Luke 4:1-13), he offered a shortcut to “satisfaction.” He tried to tempt Jesus to take matters into His own hands rather than trust His Father.

When Jesus was hungry from 40 days of fasting (v.2), Satan suggested that He use His power to turn stones into bread. Had the Lord done so, He would have been using His powers for His own benefit, but He refused.

Why didn’t Jesus accept the devil’s offer of ruling all the kingdoms of the world right away? (vv.5-7). He could have avoided the cross. But that would have gone against God’s plan for Him—to give His life on the cross, to be resurrected, and to sit at the Father’s right hand in His kingdom. Satan’s offer of a shortcut was no deal at all.

Beware of enticements that seem to cost little for the present. Satan hopes to get you to do things his way. And he doesn’t give up easily. Even after Jesus overcame a third temptation, Satan left only “until an opportune time” (v.13).

Whenever you are offered a shortcut to happiness, watch out to see who’s behind the cashier’s counter!  — C. P. Hia

Lord, help me see the devil’s offers for what they are—enticements to sin. Help me to keep my eyes focused on You and Your Word, and my ears attentive to You in prayer. Amen.

The best way to escape temptation is to run to God.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Shankapotomus

This is one of those rare commercials that make me laugh out loud.  It's the E*TRADE Golf Baby at his best!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Need A Presence On The Web?


Have you been considering creating a website for your church, business, organization or for personal use? Have you been considering registering a domain name for your new site or maybe an additional domain name for an existing site? Do you have an existing website and domain name, but you're wondering if you're paying too much? Well, if you answered "yes" to any of these questions, I invite you to check-out my online business called Giant Web Plans.

You'll find very competitive prices for various levels of hosting plans and website enhancement tools, as well as domain registrations and transfers. If you're not exactly sure what you need, a knowledgeable representative is just a phone call away 24 hours a day. Giant Web Plans also offers around-the-clock tech support to help you with any questions that may arise.

Please visit Giant Web Plans if you're considering a presence on the World Wide Web or just looking to enhance the one you have. If you're not in need of these services at this time, but know of someone that is, I would appreciate you passing this information along.


The Answer


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bottle Bank Arcade

I find this to be VERY cool, but as mentioned in a previous post, I worked in the solid waste & recycling industry for 17.5 years with New River Solid Waste Association before entering evangelism on a full-time basis.  Yes, I was a professional "trash talker"!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Biblical Bumper Stickers

If Bible Characters Had Bumper Stickers:

Jonah: Save the Whales

The Israelites: Honk If You Love Moses

Elijah: My Other Chariot Rolls

Goliath: Support the Ban on Slingshots

Methuselah: Be Kind to Senior Citizens

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Piano Stairs

Now this is cool!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Share Some JOY

The video provides a brief overview of the JCEA Christmas JOY Box ministry for nursing home residents.  This video will also be available for download from our video blog and on iTunes by this weekend.



A special "God bless you" to Jon Fletcher for this production.  God has certainly used Jon to enhance the JCEA ministries in so many areas.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

More Pics From Lighthouse Baptist


I have added a few pics to the photo gallery from the Lighthouse Baptist Church revival meeting last week.  I had a wonderful time of ministry and fellowship.  I met up with some old friends and made some new ones.  The most exciting thing about the week was two young ladies accepted Christ's free gift of salvation!!

The Revival Hymn Redux

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Pre-op Completed

I completed the pre-op with my doctor and hospital yesterday for the surgery scheduled November 24th.  The surgeon, Dr. Mark Petty, said the x-rays showed no change or worsening in my hip condition (this is good); although, the pain is increasing.  Dr. Petty plans to insert cadaver bone for grafting at the top of my femur.  A substance that will help promote grafting will also be utilized.  The goal is for the rod in my femur (implanted during the surgery last year) to be stabilized by the grafting, which should (hopefully) eliminate the pain.  The presence of pain seems to indicate the femoral rod is "loose".  This is, obviously, not the proper medical terminology, but it's the best explanation I can offer at this point.

The surgery is tentatively scheduled for 11am on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving at North Florida Regional Medical Center in Gainesville, Florida.  It is estimated the surgery will last 2-4 hours.  If there are no complications, I will stay in the hospital for three to four days and then be transferred to a rehab hospital for physical therapy.  Dr. Petty tells me, if all goes well, I will use a walker for about a month and then move back to using a cane.  If the femoral rod is slipping more than is currently thought, another rod will be implanted during the surgery and the recovery period will be greatly extended as it was last year.

Please join me in praying that the Lord's "Perfect Will" is done all along the way.  I have a revival meeting scheduled to begin January 10, 2010 in Bushnell, FL, so you know how I'm praying.  I do know God also knows about the meeting, after all, He led the pastor to call me.

NOTE: Click here to read past posts and future updates on my hip surgery.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Be A Stander


A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. —Proverbs 17:17
 
Western novelist Stephen Bly says that in the days of America’s Old West there were two types of friends (and horses): runners and standers. At the first sign of trouble, the runner would bolt—abandoning you to whatever peril you were facing. But a stander would stick with you no matter the circumstances. Unfortunately, you wouldn’t know which kind of friend you had until trouble came. And then it was too late—unless your friend was a stander.

Rather than being concerned with what kind of friends we have, however, we ought to consider what kind of friends we are. In the final days of Paul’s ministry, as he awaited death, some who had ministered with him turned into runners and abandoned him to face execution alone. In his last letter, he listed some (like Demas) who had run off, then simply stated, “Only Luke is with me” (2 Tim. 4:11). Luke was a stander. While undoubtedly disappointed by those who had deserted him, Paul must have been deeply comforted to know he was not alone.

Proverbs tells us that “a friend loves at all times” (17:17). During times of adversity, we need friends we can rely on. When the people we know face trouble, what kind of friend will we be—a runner or a stander?  — Bill Crowder

Dear Lord, help us to be the kind of friend who doesn’t run when our friends are in need. Give us the courage to stand by them, the wisdom to know what to say, and the ability to serve them. Amen.

A true friend stands with us in times of trial.
 

Buried By Life


Saturday, October 31, 2009

JOY Box Exhibit At Association Meeting


JOY Box information was distributed this week during the annual meeting of the Beulah Baptist Association in Lake City, Florida.  Volunteers Melissa Ring and Jeanna Crenshaw provided meeting attendees with information about the seasonal ministry of James Croft Evangelistic Association.  The exhibit also displayed examples of items that may be included in the shoe boxes for nursing home residents.

Pumpkin Carving Game


Here's a cool pumpkin carving game and you get to listen to Bobby "Boris" Pickett singing Monster Mash while you play.

FBC Lake Butler In November


I will be preaching in supply for my Pastor Jason Johns Sunday morning, November 22nd, at First Baptist Church of Lake Butler. The services will begin at 9:30am and 11am. The church is located at 195 East Main Street in Lake Butler, Florida. For more information or directions call the church at (386) 496-3704.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Scary Story

This incredibly funny story was recorded in 2007.  I should be in stand-up comedy, don't you think?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Meeting Ends Tonight At Lighthouse


Revival services will close tonight at Lighthouse Baptist Church at 7pm.  This meeting began Sunday morning and has been well attended.  Mark Shaw, Minister of Music at Countryside Baptist Church, led the congregational singing and provided special music for three nights.  The service this evening will feature the music of Dr. Royal Colbert.  The final service begins at 7pm.  Lighthouse Baptist is located at 2611 NW 68th Ave. in Gainesville, Florida  32653.  For directions or more info call Pastor Mike Killian at (352) 372-6090.

NOTE: View more photos by Bill Whidden in our Lighthouse Baptist gallery.

Monday, October 26, 2009

2009 JOY Box Update


VIDEO
The JCEA JOY Box Ministry got underway last week as Jon Fletcher and I spent 4 hours shooting video and photos for our promotional video.  I'll post the video on this site as soon as it is available.  This overview of how the program works will also be available to participating churches, businesses and organizations for download or by requesting a DVD version

PROMO TOOLS

A promotion kit for JOY Box program coordinators has been prepared.  This kit includes brochure, poster, box submission form and video (if needed).  These items may be downloaded from the Promo Tools page of our website.  If you would like to coordinate this program for your church, business or organization send us an e-mail or call (386) 867-3199.

EXHIBIT
Tomorrow night volunteers will set-up a JOY Box exhibit for the Beulah Baptist Association's annual meeting and ministry fair in Lake City, Florida.


DROP-OFF LOCATIONS
Currently, three drop-off locations for JOY Boxes have been established in Baker and Columbia Counties:
Additional locations will be established in other counties as participation warrants.


FUTURE UPDATES
JOY Box updates will be available on this site, by clicking the JOY Box category in the left column, or on our ministry website.

SHARE JOY
Please share this information with others.  The more participants we have... the more JOY we share with nursing home residents!

“JOY to the world, the Lord is come...”

Failing Memory



Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way. —Psalm 119:37
 
A New York Times article linked the increase of computer storage with the decrease of data in the human mind. Our electronic aids now remember phone numbers, driving directions, and other information we used to learn by repeated use. In schools, memorization and oral recitation are disappearing from the curriculum. We have become, according to the Times, “products of a culture that does not enforce the development of memory skills.”

Yet never have we as followers of Christ been in greater need of hiding God’s Word in our hearts (Ps. 119:9-11). Scripture memory is more than a helpful mental exercise. The goal is to saturate our minds with God’s truth so that our lives will conform to His ways. The psalmist wrote: “Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end. . . . Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way” (Ps. 119:33,37).

Why not begin committing Scripture to memory? Daily consistency and review are keys to success. And just like physical exercise, this spiritual discipline is enhanced when done with a small group or with a friend.

Let’s not forget to remember and follow the life-giving wisdom of God’s Word.  — David C. McCasland
God’s Word will change your life
If you will do your part
To read, to study, and obey,
And hide it in your heart. —Sper

Let the Bible fill your mind, rule your heart, and guide your life.
 

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Legalism


The Back Pew

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The World's Deepest Bin

I find this to be VERY cool, but after all, I worked in the solid waste & recycling industry for 17.5 years with New River Solid Waste Association before entering evangelism on a full-time basis.  Yes, I was a professional "trash talker"!

The Evangelizing Barber

There was a barber who paid close attention at his parish whenever the topic of evangelization was discussed. He thought he should be doing more to share his faith with his customers.

The next morning the barber told the Lord in prayer, “Today I’m going to witness to the first customer who walks through my door.”

A man came in as he opened his shop and said, “I need a shave.”

The barber said, “Yes sir! Just have a seat and I’ll be right with you.”

The barber went in the back and prayed a quick prayer saying, “Lord, the first customer just came in and I’m going to witness to him. Give me the wisdom to know just the right thing to say. Amen.”

Then the barber came out with his straight razor in one hand and a Bible in the other and told his customer, “I have a question for you: Are you ready to meet your Maker?”

Friday, October 23, 2009

Lighthouse Baptist Meeting Begins Sunday In Gainesville


I will be preaching revival services at Lighthouse Baptist Church on Sunday, October 25, 2009 at 10:45am and 6pm.  The services will continue Monday-Wednesday, October 26-28, 2009 at 7pm nightly.  The church is located at 2611 NW 68th Ave. in Gainesville, Florida  32653.  For more info call Pastor Mike Killian at (352) 372-6090.

Please be in prayer for these services.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Share 'JOY' This Christmas


Christmas can be an all-consuming time of year for many people.  Dilligently trying to find the perfect gift for those on your list, special church programs, family gatherings, office and community events can make you wonder how to fit it all into the schedule.  Unfortunately, there are some in our community that are unable to participate in such activities because they now are residents of a nursing home.  These folks may receive a visit from a church or civic group, maybe some of the family will stop by with a gift, but many will be alone during this joyous time of year.  The James Croft Evangelistic Association desires to stand in the gap with nursing home residents during the Christmas season with the JOY Box Ministry.

JOY Boxes are shoebox sized packages prepared for nursing home residents.  The boxes, preferably plastic so they can be used for other purposes by the resident, include items such as shampoo, body wash, socks, hand lotion, baseball cap, magnifying glass, large print activity book, stationary, ink pen, comb or brush, lap blanket, or even a small portable radio/CD player.  Baked goods, hard candy, food, and sharp objects should not be included in the box.  JCEA will include a Gospel tract in each box.  These may not sound like great gift items to you and I, but residents appreciate that you have chosen it for them and it hasn't been "issued" by their facility.  We must also keep in mind each resident has a limited amount of storage space in their room.

JOY Boxes will be delivered to nursing homes just before Christmas or during the week following.  Depending on schedule considerations a program of music and a Christmas message will be used to distribute the boxes.

The JCEA website at jamescroft.org contains all of the information about this ministry including box content suggestions, a printable form to be included with each box, JOY news updates and more.  It is requested, not mandatory, that you include a $2 donation with each box to cover program expenses.  If you are unable to prepare a box, but would like to contribute financially toward this ministry visit our website for details.

Drop-off locations will be listed on the website and the deadline is Thursday, December 17, 2009.

Posters, brochures and a promotional video are also available online or upon request by calling 386.752.1563 or e-mail evangelist@jamescroft.org.

Share true Christian JOY this Christmas by putting Jesus first, Others second and Yourself last.

“JOY to the world, the Lord is come...”

Praying for Coffee Cake

An overweight business associate of mine decided it was time to shed some excess pounds. He took his new diet seriously, even changing his driving route to avoid his favorite bakery. One morning, however, he arrived at work carrying a gigantic coffee cake. We all scolded him, but his smile remained cherubic.

"This is a very special coffee cake,” he explained. “I accidentally drove by the bakery this morning, and there in the window was a host of goodies. I felt this was no accident, so I prayed, ‘Lord, if you want me to have one of those delicious coffee cakes, let me have a parking place directly in front of the bakery. And sure enough,” he continued, “the eighth time around the block, there it was!”

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Surgery Scheduled November 24th

As many of you know, I underwent a hip revision surgery in November of 2008 (see related posts).  Unfortunately, the problem of a "slipping" rod in my femur has returned, and with it, pain that makes walking difficult.  The problem appears to stem from a lack of bone grafting at the top of the rod in my femur.

My surgeon, Dr. Mark Petty, will perform another procedure on Tuesday, November 24th in hopes of correcting the problem.  If the option being considered works, I should be well on the road to recovery by the first of the year.  However, the doctor will make the decision during the surgery to try this option or proceed with another major reconstruction as was required last year.  If the latter occurs, the recovery will take several months.

I will most certainly appreciate your prayers in the weeks leading up to the surgery, the day of the operation, and during the recovery period.  I ask you to pray for our Lord's perfect will to be done.  Please ask for wisdom, clarity in thinking and discernment for Dr. Petty and all involved in the pre-op, surgery, hospitalization, and physical therapy.  Pray for me to have physical and emotional strength through the entire process.  I also ask you to pray for my finances during this time and the added burden of the medical expenses.  I have health insurance, but as you know, there are always co-pays, deductibles and uncovered expenses.  Pray for this ministry as I hope to have preaching opportunities up until surgery time and will initiate our JOY Box Ministry which will continue with the assistance of volunteers.

This surgery will be one year to the day from the last one, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.  I told someone recently that the Thanksgiving lunch at North Florida Regional Hospital in Gainesville was so good... I made reservations again for this year.  8-)

I know God is in total control, but I must confess to being anxious, fearful, and a little "down" (no pun intended) at the thought of another major surgery.   It has been a long and very tough year in many areas of my life since the middle of last November, but I know God's grace is, and will once again be, sufficient.

Additional information will be posted on this blog and on Facebook as it becomes available.

Jesus Messiah - Chris Tomlin

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Futures


Sunday, October 18, 2009

I Am Second - Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford



Share your thoughts about this video by clicking "comments" below.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

On Shoulders Of Giants


 
As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. —Joshua 1:5
 
Giants hold a special place in our lore—both historical and literary. From the real giant Goliath to the fictional giant of Jack and the Beanstalk fame, we are fascinated by these larger-than-life characters.

Sometimes we use the word giant to honor ordinary-size people who have done extraordinary things. One example is the 17th-century physicist Sir Isaac Newton. A committed Christian, he credited his success to other “giants” who had gone before. “If I have seen a little further,” he said, “it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Indeed, Newton became a giant on whose shoulders later scientists stood—even as they used his observations in the conquest of space flight.

When God commanded Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, Joshua certainly had a giant’s shoulders to stand on. He had watched Moses’ leadership for 40 years, and now he would put what he had learned into action.

Joshua had another advantage—his walk with God sustained his life’s mission. Therefore, he had both Moses’ example and God’s promised presence as he led Israel.

Looking for help as you face the future? Look for a giant to follow. And never underestimate the importance of your walk with God.  — Dennis Fisher

There is a destiny that makes us brothers:
None goes his way alone;
All that we send into the lives of others
Comes back into our own. —Markham

A good example is someone who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.
 

Plank Removal


Friday, October 16, 2009

The Defeat Of Death



Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. —1 Corinthians 15:57

Christian faith ought to make a difference in how we live from day to day. But the final test of our trust in the gospel is how we react in the face of death. When we attend a memorial service for a departed friend who loved the Lord Jesus, we gather to honor a believer whose stalwart trust has richly blessed the lives of those who knew him. The words spoken are more an expression of praise to God than a tribute to an admired fellow pilgrim. The service is a God-glorifying testimony to our Savior’s victory over death and the grave (1 Cor. 15:54-57).

How different from the funeral service of Charles Bradlaugh, a belligerent British atheist. Writer Arthur Porritt recalls: “No prayer was said at the grave. Indeed, not a single word was uttered. The remains, placed in a light coffin, were lowered into the earth in a quite unceremonious fashion as if carrion were being hustled out of sight. . . . I came away heart-frozen. It only then dawned on me that loss of faith in the continuity of human personality after death gives death an appalling victory.”

Christians, however, believe in a face-to-face fellowship with our Lord after death and the eventual resurrection of our bodies (1 Cor. 15:42-55; 1 Thess. 4:15-18). Does your faith rejoice in victory over death?  — Vernon C. Grounds


From earth’s wide bounds and ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl stream in the countless host,
Singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost— Alleluia! Alleluia! —How


Because Christ is alive, we too shall live.


"The Cross" Digital Tract




Thursday, October 15, 2009

Welcome To Our Church

Share your thoughts about this video by clicking "comments" below.


Welcome to our Church from Life Quest Church on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Illusion With A Message

We can frequently learn important lessons about life and communication from optical illusions. Here’s one. Which square is darker, A or B?




Now click here to find the truth.

Our perception of almost anything depends on our background, culture, preconceptions, and life story. This is equally true of us as Christians attempting to communicate something, or for a not-yet Christian as they hear, or don’t hear, an inadequate or uncontextualized version of the good news.

Note how the truth is only discernible when you build a ‘bridge’ from square A to square B. This reflects the importance of the bridge strategy, a biblical, strategic, approach. Popular culture is one God-given bridge starter. Felt needs are another.

Another thought: the person we may have unconsciously categorized as ‘them’ (ie. unlike ‘us’), turns out to be ‘us’ too, the same ’shade of gray’, just in a slightly different place.

Source: Digital Evangelism Issues