Four-and-a-half fast moving minutes, using the power of Scripture and the warmth of everyday life stories to present the Gospel and challenge believers to be rescuers.
Prove it Before You Promote it - #8935
You know, after a whole lot of airplane flights in my life, it was refreshing one day to have a pilot who really took seriously that little phrase "friendly skies." He was a friendly pilot! He was kind enough to keep pointing out what we were seeing below. Most pilots are friendly, but they don't take all the time to, you know, be kind of a tour guide and say, like, "On the left side..." "On the right side of the plane..." Seems like I'm always on the wrong side of the plane to see anything, but this time I happened to be where I should have been. And he pointed out that we were over what looked like a large, winding raceway track. He pointed out we were looking at a new car proving ground used by one of the big three automakers to test their prototype automobiles. He said that the cars are driven for long hours on end and thousands of miles on that track to detect any weaknesses. And then, and only then, do they put them on the road. You know, that's a good idea to test a vehicle before you trust it. I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Prove it Before You Promote it." You know, God talks about His vehicles in our word for today from the Word of God in 1 Timothy 3:1. And by His vehicles I mean the people He can use to carry out His leadership assignments. He says, "If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer (or spiritual leader) he desires a noble task." All right, it's okay to want to be a leader for Him. But listen to verses 6 and 7, "He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap." Short version: Don't rush into leadership. Like a new car, you have to spend a lot of time on the proving ground before you're put on the road to be a spiritual leader. Now, since we live in a microwave world where everything happens fast, and "I want it now!" we want to get in a position quickly. Or we want to promote people too soon from rookie to starting team. I've got a hunch some of the falls that we have seen in our spiritual leaders maybe if you went way back in their beginnings maybe someone promoted them before they proved them. See, it takes time to get your ego where it needs to be. Verse 6 talks about not becoming conceited. Well, it takes time to get to the place where you want to promote His kingdom and not yours. It takes time to build a reputation like it talks about here; a reputation for being real, for being authentic. It talks about other qualifications in this passage. It takes time to get your family under control, your temper, your appetites, your money - all of which, by the way, are qualifications for spiritual leadership. When you cut short the time to grow, the time to develop humility, the time to get your life lined up with your message, you're creating a potential crash. So, let's not be in too big a hurry to push one of God's vehicles out onto the Interstate. We all need to be tested first on God's proving ground. Rushing to leadership...that's man's way of doing it - it's not God's. Like a responsible auto manufacturer, God has a simple rule for His human vehicles: Prove it before you promote it.
The Ultimate Royal Spectacle - #8934
It was April 2011 - turn on the news, it was "The Prince William and Kate Show"! You bet! Man, forget about world crises and cash-burning gas. Who cares about disasters and deficits? The handsome prince and the classy commoner were getting married! Actually, you know a lot of ways you could remember that if you wanted to. Maybe you got a William and Kate saucer, or stamp. Or did you get the jelly or the coins? Or, you know, maybe you got some "Sweet William Soaps." Now, I'm not making these things up, man. How about the "No More Waity, Katie Nail Polish"? Couldn't find that at Wal-Mart. And, oh yeah, the "William and Kate Dress-Up Dolly Book." (I didn't get that one either.) But you know what? Actually, there have been so many horrendous headlines, at that point it was kind of like a dose of Prozac in the middle of that depressing stuff. Actually, it was estimated that as much as maybe one-fourth of the world's population was watching The Wedding! And to think, I was nervous at my wedding. I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Ultimate Royal Spectacle." Now, the wedding of England's future king...well, that did increase my anticipation. Not for the royal spectacle that happened that day at the wedding. No, no. for the Royal Spectacle that's going to happen on, well, actually, I don't know when it's going to happen. Nobody does. But when it does, it will be seen by every person on the planet! We're talking the return of the King - The King of all kings! See, Jesus promised He'd rise from the dead three days after He was crucified, and He did. He promised that one day then, "they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:30), and they will. Our word for today from the word of God is in Revelation 1:7. It says, "He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him." Listen, the world is not done with Jesus Christ. Oh, the first time He came, only a handful knew He had come. The second time, the whole world will know. The first time, He came as servant and Savior. The second time He will come as King and Judge. The first time people had a choice. The second time the Bible says that, "at the name of Jesus every knee will bow" (Philippians 2:10), and I can't wait to see Him. I'm gonna be in that awestruck bunch the Bible talks about this way: "on the day He comes to be glorified in His holy people and to be marveled at among all those who believed" (2 Thessalonians 1:10). Look, I'm already in awe of Jesus! I can't even imagine what it will be like on the day that He comes back to take back His world. And this ultimate Royal Spectacle? It's gonna be the biggest news the world has ever known! Good news for those who have trusted the coming King as their personal Savior. But bad news for those who've never taken the gift of life that He bought with His blood on the cross when He died for their sins. The Bible describes what will happen with them in these stark words, they will be "shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of His power" (2 Thessalonians 1:9). I don't want that to happen to anyone I know. And that's why I've got to find a way to tell the people I know about my Jesus. No excuses, no more waiting, there's too much at stake. The clock is ticking. And honestly, that's why I'm urging you to ask yourself the question, "Have I ever given myself to this Jesus? Have I ever put my total trust in You, Jesus, to be my Savior from the sinning that I've done?" If you're not sure you've done that, there's just really no good reason to wait any longer. Would you reach out to Him today in your heart, and say "Jesus, I'm Yours beginning today." You say, "Well, Ron, how do I do that?" I'd love to help you with that, and that's the reason I want to invite you to come to our website right away today. It's ANewStory.com. You'll find s
How Not to Break What You're Trying to Fix - #8933
"Dad, can you fix this?" I used to hear that every once in a while. And with my mechanical abilities being what they were, my best answer was usually, "It's doubtful." But I would pull out my trusty tool chest and give it a shot. One thing even I know though, it's important to use the right tool. For example, let's say a wheel needs to come off a bike and be taken to the bike shop to be repaired. Now because I was usually in a hurry, my first choice would be to reach for a hammer. You know, hammers get jobs done quickly, right? Well, it would also be the worse choice. I mean, I might be able to knock that tire off the bike, but the damage isn't going to be worth it. It's quick, but I wouldn't call it efficient. Some jobs require a wrench, and of course you have to find the right sized wrench. Some require a screwdriver and you've got to find the, you know, Phillips, standard, whatever. You've got to get the right kind; the right size. Some jobs require pliers, and they almost all require patience. You know, fixing people is a lot like that. I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How Not to Break What You're Trying to Fix." Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Paul's last letter in 2 Timothy 4; I'm reading verse 2. Here's what he says: "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season, correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction." Okay, do you know Paul just gave us three tools in the tool box? Three tools you and I can use in fixing people. Now I'm sure there's someone in your life who could use some work right now, right? Yeah, you're thinking of them. Okay, maybe you're married to them, or maybe it's your parent, or a child, or a friend, or somebody in your church. How do you most effectively get that person to change? Well, you have to pick the right tool. And Paul suggests three here: rebuke, correct, encourage. Okay, rebuke? That means to confront someone with what they're doing wrong. Once one of our youth staff decided that she had to confront - or rebuke as it were - a young girl who was professing Christ but who was living very promiscuously and had that kind of reputation with guys. And she said to the young girl, "I care enough to tell you what people are saying about you." The girl was shocked at what her reputation was. That was rebuke. Then there's correct. You don't just tell a person what not to do. You've got to suggest a better way to live. You've got to give a "how" with every "should." And then there's another tool called encourage; noticing the good in a person, praising what they're doing right, building up their confidence, showing trust in them. And it's important to reach for the right tool. Don't encourage someone you should be rebuking. Don't rebuke someone who really needs encouragement. But notice how you use all three tools: "with great patience and careful instruction." See, we want quick results; we grab the hammer. We drop bombs on people. We push them, we nag them, and they rebel. They go the other way. They don't change. We use the hammer because it will get quick results, but it smashes everything. We break what we're trying to fix. Have you been patient in your rebuking, patient in your correcting? Or are you too demanding, condemning? Do you expect immediate response or are you just going to escalate the rhetoric? Help a person see himself or herself as God sees them and then back off. Allow time for the truth to sink in. Give them some space to change without having to crawl. Use these people-fixing tools with great patience, and I'd say gentle love, and then you won't break what you're trying to fix.
The Unquenchable Thirst for Freedom - #8932
There it was again, displayed for all the world to see; hundreds of thousands of people, willing to risk everything for one thing - freedom. Oh, it was a few years ago, but over the weeks in that square, we watched a powerful, real-life struggle for freedom played out in a place called Liberation ("Tahrir") Square in Egypt. Once again, as we've seen in other countries, there was this unquenchable passion to be free. And it changed the nation at that time. Oh, it's not the first time. It's what happened in 1989 in that Old World Square in Romania where I walked a couple of years ago. On those cobblestones, 200,000 people dared to stand up to brutal oppression, and they toppled a dictator in a matter of days. The freedom flame is what drove thousands of oppressed people to "tear down that wall" in Berlin. And that yearning for freedom? It's what inspired a ragtag gaggle of farmers to grab their muskets 200 years ago to fight the British Army, the mightiest army in the world. And America was born. I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Unquenchable Thirst For Freedom." Few passions run deeper in the human heart than this desire to be free. There's something in the human soul that just knows that being in bondage is not how we were created to be. But it turns out that this yearning goes much deeper than we imagined; much deeper than any political or social freedom could ever satisfy. So Jesus came, as the ultimate Liberator. No, not from a political system or a human despot. He came as the Liberator from the ultimate bondage. A personal bondage that no demonstration and no war can ever shatter. He said of His mission, "If the Son" - that's Him, the Son of God - "shall make you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36). From the dark despot that keeps every human soul in bondage. Just before He talked about "free indeed," He said, "Anyone who commits sin is a slave of sin" (John 8:34). Now, at first thought, "sin" may not seem like that big a deal; certainly not our "slave master." Especially if we think sin is just breaking some religion's rules. But it is so much more. And it is at the heart of our broken families, our broken relationships, our broken hearts, our broken world. Sin is every selfish, dirty, dishonest thing we have ever done. Every word, every reaction that's hurt someone, most often someone we love. It's that disease of "me" that, multiplied by almost eight billion "me's" on this planet, exacts a horrific price. And for all our attempts at self-improvement, we just keep doing the things that we hate...that those who love us hate...that God hates. It is, in fact, the hijacking of our life from the very One who gave us our life. In the words of one of the writers of the Bible, "I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out...no, the evil I do not want to do, this I keep on doing" (Romans 7:19). Who doesn't know that struggle? No matter how good we manage to look on the outside, we all have this dark side that just keeps winning; a dark side known all too well by the people closest to us. We are, as Jesus said, slaves to the sin that we can't stop doing. Well, the same Bible writer ended up with this impassioned cry to be free: "Who will rescue me?" A cry for rescue? Well, that's an admission that I can't liberate myself. Then this man, who's desperate for change, comes to the answer: "Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 7:24). You know, as we've seen in all the upheaval in all the countries recently, freedom often comes with a price of blood, and mine did. But not my blood; the blood of God's only Son. There was no way to break the enslaving power of sin than to pay its unspeakable death penalty. That's what Jesus was doing when He died on the cross. As the Bible says, "He loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood" (Revelation 1:5).
Relief From Fit-In Pressure - #8931
One day I caught a snatch of a TV talk show which I otherwise would never have seen. But the host was interviewing a former FBI agent. He's a man who successfully infiltrated the mafia for several years, and he'd been responsible for bringing evidence in some major indictments against mob leadership. Now, one factor in his underground life was a major source of criminal income. OK, here he was, a pretty straight person, surrounded by cocaine. Well, the host asked the FBI man an interesting question. He said, "Did you ever have to use cocaine?" That's a pretty good question, I thought. After all, his life depended on his fitting in, right? Well, he said, "No, I never did." And the host said, "Well, how did you avoid it?" I liked his answer. It might even help you when you're feeling the pressure to fit in. I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Relief From Fit-In Pressure." Now, how does a mafia infiltrator deal with the pressure to use cocaine? Here's what he said, "Well, the first time I ever got offered any, I hit the guy." Now, wait a minute. I'm not suggesting when somebody pressures you to do something wrong you hit him. That's a wrong thing too. Don't blame me for that if you do. That's your temper, not me. I like the next thing he said, "If you let them know from the start where you stand" - This is a good part - "they'll leave you alone." Our word for today from the Word of God is from the book of Daniel. He was not in the mafia, but he did very much the same thing to relieve the pressure around him. He had the opportunity, it says in chapter 1, verse 5, to become a leader in the king's court. I'm quoting now, "The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king's table. And they (including Daniel) were trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king's service." OK, look. He's got a great career path ahead of him. The only thing is he had to eat food that he considered to be by his biblical standards defiled. Here's what it says, "Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine." Now, this is a test. A few days of testing to eat just what would be legal and righteous for him. "At the end of ten days," it says, "they looked healthier and better than all the rest." And they ended up being leaders in the kingdom. Now, Daniel could easily have waited to take his stand. He could draw the line maybe later when there was a major compromise. But he let them know from the start where he stood and they left him alone. I think that could work for you too. My daughter began as a freshman to say, "I'm going to take my stand against what a Christian ought to stand against." And I watched as she got very pressured. But she was consistent. And then it kind of turned to respect. Eventually her friends started defending her, and they'd say, "Hey, don't even bother her. She's not that kind of person." See, as long as people are trying to live like Jesus in a dirty world, they're going to be pressured to fit in. You've been. You probably feel it where you are...little compromises of the truth, of your purity, or you know, maybe you don't want to be clearly identified with Jesus. Every time you compromise just a little bit to fit in, you increase the pressure. Once you take a firm stand and pass a couple of tests, people will let you be what you said you'd be. My son summed it up one day. He said, "Dad, life is so much simpler when you've decided to be totally for Christ." He's right. Starting now, why don't you verbally, clearly let it be known where you stand? And pretty soon they'll back off, and they'll expect you to be what you said you'd be. That's actually the very best relief you can buy from the pressure to fit in.
The Beacon From the Graveyard - #8930
J. R. R. Tolkien, one of England's literary greats from a generation ago, wrote about this fantasy world called Middle-Earth, and that world has captured the imagination of millions of people in this generation. His trilogy of books known as "The Lord of the Rings" has really been popularized through three blockbuster movies that were based on them. In one drama-packed moment, one of the main characters climbs to the top of this daunting mountain, where there's a massive pile of wood waiting to be ignited. And then he takes a torch, lights the signal fire, and a waiting sentinel sees that fire and lights the fire on his mountain. And that summons-by-fire spreads across the kingdom, from mountaintop to mountaintop, and the sentinels shout this triumphant news "The beacons are lit!" I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Beacon From the Graveyard." Two thousand years ago, it appeared that the forces of darkness had won their ultimate victory. The Son of God was dead, buried in a tomb. Those who followed Him - total despair. That was Friday, but Sunday was coming. And when it did, Jesus blew the doors off His grave, walked out under His own power, leaving death - man's ultimate enemy - vanquished and powerless. And that Easter morning, the beacons were lit. From the mountaintop of that generation, the message that Jesus is alive and death has lost has ignited a fire on the mountain of the next generation. And today, 20 centuries later, we are the ones left here by Jesus to light the beacon for our generation. Listen to what the resurrection of Jesus has done, as recorded in 1 Corinthians 15, beginning with verse 54. "Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." Now, I love what one of my friends often says: "If non-Christians want to know what belonging to Jesus is really all about, let them come to our funerals." Well, it's there - the beacon from Easter morning shines the brightest there where everything from earth has no answers. It is there, at the moments of our greatest loss, that we win because Jesus wins. In Revelation 1:17-18, our word for today from the Word of God, the living Christ appears to the Apostle John in all His glory and He says: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades." WOW! The blazing beacon of Jesus' victory over death means there is nothing in your life that is bigger than He is, and if you belong to Him, nothing can defeat His plans for you. You know, today He's counting on you to light the fire for the people in your world. They can't see Jesus, but they can see you. Tell them that He died for them. Tell them He's alive for them. Don't let the fire die in your hands. Don't let them die without a chance at Jesus. And speaking of a chance at Jesus, if you've never given your life to the rightful King; if you've never committed yourself to the King who died and rose again from the dead for you - then let this be your day to trade your guilt for His forgiveness and your death penalty for His eternal life. You just say, "Jesus, I've been running my life. I'm done. I believe when you died on that cross it was for sinning I've done. And beginning today, I'm yours." I invite you to go to our website, ANewStory.com, because I think there you will find the biblical information you need to be sure you belong to Jesus this Easter. You don't have to live in the darkness anymore. From the empty tomb of the Son of God, the beacons are lit!
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I have grown busy in life and forgotten about my subscription to A Word with You by Ron Hutchcraft. After listening to one episode I was kicking myself for getting out of the habit of listening to this program each day. I look forward to starting my day with this 4 minutes of Godly wisdom. Thanks Mr. Hutchcraft!
I heard the timely message about undying hope, about praying for prodigals and the unsaved loved ones. This was a message right out of Heaven. So encouraging and comforting. Every message has something for everyone. Highly recommend.
When I am feeling down, pained, depressed. I listen to this so much wisdom, that gives me clarity, to get my eyes of myself and back to Jesus I miss you papa hutch. Thank you for everything that you do.