“Who Do They See When They Look at Me?”

By R. Duuane Cragun

I was told last evening of a man that during his
churches passion play had been the actor that played the role of Jesus for
several years. This was a big production that always drew people from the
entire area. Within the rural community was a well-known child that was gravely
ill, in fact she was in attendance this performance and this would be her last
Easter season here in earth. The play went on and by all accounts the young
sick believer age 4 loved the program even though she was very weak, she had a smile on her face during the program, then came Jesus turn to enter the city (no
donkey in the church) the other actors ran in front of him yelling “Hosanna
here comes the Messiah” everyone watched as this actor now playing the Lord
walked and waved at the people smiling and loving them, when all of a sudden
the actor felt a pulling at his robe, he turned around to find this frail sick
little child looking up at him and crying “Help me Jesus!” the actor did not
know what to do, he looked down and recognized the child from her pictures
asking for donations at the local store, he could tell she was in very bad
shape and how she was asking him as Jesus to heal her, and he did not know what
to do. What would you do?

I wonder, who do they see when they look at us? When
the sick, scared, hurt, abused, dying, and lost look at us do they see people,
or do they see the God of the universe in our eyes, in are voice and in our
actions? After all, we who are called into His ministry called to be his
Ambassadors? Who do they see in us and who will we show them? Do we see them
with His eyes or ours? O God, forgive us when we get so involved in ministry
that we forget what it is to minister. It’s not about schedules, programs, or
church numbers, it’s about God, it’s about loving His people.

You see, It’s about the Lord. His love for everyone
and our being obedient when he gives us the opportunity to be Him to someone. I
know your tired and pulled a thousand ways, but please brothers and sister, let
us never again get so wrapped up in life that we won’t stop when someone looks at
us and see’s the Lord upon us and cries for help. I know some can be draining,
but what about the one that maybe hasn’t much time left, or has no one else to
turn to, what well we do? Please allow me to end this with a prayer from my
heart for you. “Lord, please keep us ready to act when the need shows its self.
Keep us all ready to serve you by serving those in need and Lord, please let
each of us be you to someone today. Amen!

Blessings to all of

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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>)