Standing Before God in an unlikely place

​By Duane Cragun
Sometimes I just feel tired, maybe you know what I mean. People calling you and everyone asking questions, and don’t get me wrong, I love helping people, but sometimes it just seems as if the ministry can make you drained. 

That’s where I was a few days ago, nothing bad happened, just a lot going on at one time, and on top of that, Now It was Friday and I have made a commitment to my son each Friday that I would take him to his Pathfinders Bowling night. (I should explain that my son is disabled and in a wheelchair, he attends day services at an organization doe disabled people in Huntington County, IN. call Pathfinder Services.) So this mean that I load him in the car, take his wheelchair apart and then drove to the bowling alley and put everything back together and assisted him in the chair and then assist him with the wheelchair bowling ramp he uses each time it is his turn and then take it away for the other bowlers, then repeat each time it is his turn. Now I don’t mind doing this in fact I love spending time with him, but after working all day, I beat, common 10 frame!

Well last Friday something wonderful happened, while I talking to the other clients that were there bowling with my son, one young man came up and talked to me like he does each week, and I enjoy talking to him as well, but this week he was different, we talked about the game and how he was doing, then he said see you later as he was going back to his  alley, then he stopped and turned around and said, “I like you, thank you for being my friend.” Wow. That hit me hard. Here I was thinking how much I would like to go home and rest, and I did not event see that God wanted me there, not only for my son Ryan, but for  all of them, if nothing else, just to say “Hi, Good job.” The place went from being a loud bowling alley to the very throne room of God, I had to ask for his forgiveness for having such narrow sight and missing the bigger picture. 

How about you, how you every worked and just want to rest, when God wanted you just to be there for someone at that time? We need to remember that we do not work with our own strength, but that of the Lord, when we are tired, he will carry us on, but we must not just stop, to many people are depending on us to show them the love of Christ, even if it is to only haying Good job in a noisy bowling alley, where ever we go, we standing and an ambassador of the Lord, and we standing before him as well. May we never grow to weary to do that He has called us to do. In the words of Paul, “be all things to all people.” For His glory!

God Bless

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Surrender, Never Quit

By R. Duane Cragun

I was raised by a former US Marine who served in Korea, in fact even though I knew he was wounded during that war I never know until he passed that he had been given two Purple Heart medals (I only know this after reading his discharge papers.) I tell you this because he had a saying that he would repeat often, “never surrender, never quit.” He would say this to my brother and I every time things got tough, in fact he would mumble this to himself when time’s were difficult for him as well.

I know that any role in the Ministry of Jesus the Christ can indeed be tough and I think it may even be truer for those of us that serve in smaller church settings. Often when hard times come we feel alone, we have no staff people to talk to, maybe no close fellow pastors to discuss the situation with. It can be daunting to say the least. We can’t let the congregation down, and let us not forget that we are also our families pastor, we have to be strong for them as well. “Never surrender, never quit.” This become a way of life for us even though it may be tearing us apart inside. But I have something that I hope you will consider, what if we change this old saying to something a little more biblically true. How about saying “I’ll only surrender to the Lord, then I will never give up.” What will this do for our sense of being in this alone? After all it’s not our church, but His, so if He has called us, then we are never really alone are we.

I have mentioned that I served in my past small church assignment for 10 years, some were very good years and some not, and I felt very much as if I were alone during the bad times, that was until I came to understand this point of view that I’ll only surrender to the Lord, then I will never quit. This understanding allowed me to do a few things. (1) I found an accountability partner. We need someone to open up to and also to hold us accountable to our calling. (2) It drove home that fact that the Lord go’s before me, after me and beside me. I am never alone, never left hanging and I am never out of his protection. (3) It gave me confidence to do what he has told me to do. I listen to wise counsel and gave matters much prayer, but when I sensed he will, I discovered that I had a new confidence to go forward in His name and power.

So, what does this mean for you? The same is it does for me. I am nobody special, just a man set free from his sins through the grace and blood of Christ, and called to ministry, but I offer this to you. Call upon Him, trust in Him, and He will be with you, he won’t take away the trouble all the time, but he will go through the problem with you! I offer my ear and my prayers to you if you need to talk to someone, and I know that my friend and editor of this blog will do the same, you can contact him or me at robertcragun@frontier.com if you need someone. You’re not alone my friends, the Lord is with you and so are we. Its one big team and we all belong to Him and each other.

God bless

Duane Cragun

 

(Photo via <a href=”https://www.goodfreephotos.com/”>Good Free Photos</a>)

Purposeful Living: Lessons From a Leaf

By Duane Cragun
Today it was unseasonably warm outside so I decided to clean the gutters. As I was working I saw some of the few leaves left in the yard that had fallen from the maple tree out front. They were being blown around in a whirl wind. As I watched them, one of the leaves escaped its little vortex and landed by my feet, I picked it up and looked it. It struck me somewhat odd that something that was once green and alive, is now brown and dead. This caused me to look at the tree with its bare branches and think about how short time is. This very leaf was a sign of warmer weather coming last spring when it started to bud, and now here it is, in just a few short months, dead and gone.

What about our lives, are they that short? Most of our lives are usually much longer than that of this leaf, but how do our lives look to God? Are they short or long? Are they productive or wasted? Are we like this leaf, here today and gone tomorrow? If so how can one measure their own life and worth?

The thought came to me that it’s not the amount of time we are given in this world, but what we do with it. Think about all that this little leaf did during its short life time. It helped bring shade on a hot summer’s day, it gave protection from the rain and sunlight for the birds that nested within the tree, and it even helped make oxygen for this world. For something so small it has made a lasting impact, can this be said for us? Can anyone see that we have made things better for others?

You see, God made this leaf for a purpose, it had a job to fulfill, and so do we. We are called to be witness for the Lord (Matthew 28:19-20). This means to bring them the Good News of the Gospel, to share what we, as believers, have found with others.  This hope brings life and protection from the Lord and stops the plans of the Evil One in his tracks. Just as we saw the good that a leaf can do, so others need to see the good that we, in the power and grace of our Lord Jesus the Christ, can do. This is how we as believers should have our lifetime measured, not by how long we may live, but by how much we followed the will of the Father, and became good servants for Him.

Just like the leaf, one day we to will come the end of this life. The leaf does this by giving us a beautiful show of color before it ends, let us do it by giving the beautiful light of Christ for all to see, so we can brighten their lives.  Then, just as in the spring the tree is rewarded with new life in its branches, so we to will be given a brand new life that will never end. I guess you can learn a lot from a leaf

By Duane Cragun