A Word With You with Ron Hutchcraft A Word With You with Ron Hutchcraft 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. Influencers/Authors

Episodes

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    November 25, 2022 Your Will of God Umpire - #9360


    They take more abuse than anyone in professional baseball. More than the managers who make some dumb decisions. More than the players who mess up. No, it's those umpires that so many fans love to hate. Oh sure, they make some calls the fans don't like or agree with, but I'd hate to think of a ball game without some objective official deciding whether the pitch is a ball or a strike, or whether a hit is foul or fair. Let the players decide? I don't think so. It would be chaos without the umpire. Perhaps the place he's needed the most - and sometimes appreciated the least - is those close judgment calls when the runner and the ball arrive at the base at the same time. Everyone holds their breath as the umpire signals his verdict "Safe!" or "Out!"
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Your Will of God Umpire."
    The umpire decides what's safe or out in baseball - a decision which should not be left to the players themselves. Of course, baseball is just a game. It's in the decisions we make in our everyday lives that we could use a good umpire - one who could make a call as to whether what we're considering is safe for us or out. From God's perspective, that is, the only perspective that is never wrong - that's always best.
    If you've been around Christian things very long, you know about the importance of trying to find out what the "will of God" is in the decisions that define our life. Well, that's easier said than done. Not because God is trying to hide His plan for us, but because we have a hard time discerning what's His will and what's my will. We know His plans are better than ours. But we're pretty caught up in our own plans, and it's often confusing to figure out, "What is God's will for us"
    But God has provided an umpire that will help make the call for us. He writes to us about it in Colossians 3:15-16, our word for today from the Word of God. "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts...and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly." That word "rule" carries an interesting connotation in the original Greek language of the New Testament. It suggests someone officiating at an athletic contest. So it's kind of like, "Let the peace of Christ 'be the umpire' in your hearts." Or, let Christ's peace decide whether something is "safe" for you or "out" for you.
    When you're struggling with a decision, one helpful guideline in getting it right is this: trust what you have peace about in the times when you are talking about it in God's presence. In other words, believe what you feel most consistently when you're praying fervently about that decision. That peace tends to get compromised when we get off our knees and start listening to all those other voices and to our roller coaster feelings. But the peace of Christ is clearest when we're closest to Him. It doesn't mean the absence of doubts or questions, but it's a sense of rightness about a certain course, especially when we're listening to Him alone.
    That "peace of Christ" is, of course, tied directly to having the "word of Christ" permeating your life. The shaft of light shining on the right road comes as God illuminates a verse from His Word and makes it an arrow that points in His direction. Those who don't spend regular time in the Word of God, honestly are unlikely to recognize the will of God. As are those who come seeking God's direction, full of their own will. A lot of people have missed God's best because they tried to manipulate God or His Word so that their will would be God's will. It doesn't work that way. He's God; I'm not.
    You'll never know what God wants if you come to Him with a contract containing what you want Him to sign for. No, You've got to come to God with a blank piece of paper, signed by you, accepting sight unseen what He writes there. The most powerful prayer in the Bible may be Jesus' eight words in the Garden of Gethsemane, "Yet not My will, but Yours be done" (Luke 22:42).
    God promised that He would "instruct you and teach you in the way you should go" (Psalm 32:8). And if you believe Him for the answers He promised, you'll experience the peace of Christ over that road He wants you to take - God's infallible umpire to let you know if it's "safe" or "out."


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    November 24, 2022 The Message at Macy's Parade - #9359


    Well, I watched it as a kid, and then my kids watched it, and now my grandkids are watching it. Yep! Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has been around for a pretty long time! And those Rockettes, Well, the announcer said they've been around for over 50 years! That's just amazing they can still get their legs off the ground at that age isn't it?
    Well, as the balloons float by on Thanksgiving, I kept seeing this one word on the store behind them, "Believe." I guess that's inspiring - vaguely. Actually, "Believe." That's a pretty popular message these days. Think positive thoughts. Have faith...in something.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Message at Macy's Parade."
    Now, our "open-minded" culture thinks it's a good idea to believe, but it doesn't seem to matter much what you believe in. Believe in yourself. Believe in the future. Believe in the universe. Believe in a better world.
    Actually, it really does matter what you believe. You can tell that from our word for today from the Word of God. Proverbs 14:12 throws up a serious "danger" sign when it says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." I read a few years ago about some young men fighting a wildfire out west, and the wind suddenly stoked that fire and it turned on the firefighters. Well, those rookies headed in the direction that they firmly believed was the road out. It was a dead-end road! They never made it out. They really believed in the wrong thing.
    When it comes to the final outcome for our eternal soul, believing - well, now we're talking a life-or-death imperative. Acts 16:31 says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved." God emphatically says, "There is no other Name under heaven...by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Now, that's "saved" as in rescued from the forever death penalty of a lifetime of defying God. That's what sin is. It's doing what we want to do instead of what God wants us to do. And we've lost count; we could never add up the number of times in our life that we've done what we wanted instead of what God wanted.
    And that lifetime of rebellion against God? It carries an eternal death penalty, and that death penalty can only be paid, of course, by someone dying...and someone did so you don't have to. But only one someone did, and that's Jesus.
    I know there's all kinds of religions and moral philosophies and spiritualities. Listen, if a religion could have done it, if any spirituality could have done it, God would have never put His Son through the horror of that cross. No religion, including the Christian religion, can die for our sins; can get us to heaven. That's why "there's no other Name" but Jesus. It's not about there being only one religion. It's about there being only one Savior, only one rescuer, only one person who ever even claimed to die for our sins. There's only one person who backed up that claim by walking out of His grave under His own power, because only someone who has eternal life can give you eternal life. Jesus alone paid the price so you and I wouldn't have to.
    So, we've got something... We've got someone to believe in who can make this life have meaning and the life after this life...eternal. You know, if you've never begun your relationship with this Jesus, if you've never taken all of your trust and put it in Him like a drowning person would put all their trust in a rescuer, let this be the day you do that. Maybe God has sent this message to you to move you beyond just believing in something, or even trusting in your religion, to trusting His Son, the Savior who died for you. Why don't you tell Him today, "Jesus, I'm yours. Starting this day, I am Yours."
    Let me encourage you to go to our website. There's information there and encouragement that will help you get started with Jesus. Go to ANewStory.com. If you could begin a life with meaning and guarantee heaven forever with a commitment to Christ today, now that is a reason for a thanksgiving parade.


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    November 23, 2022 Dropping Everything For the Rescue - #9358


    It was the night before Thanksgiving. Boy, the Hutchcraft house was a busy place! We were cleaning house like crazy. Everybody - I mean all five of us cleaning house. We were decorating the house for the holiday weekend, hustling around getting ready to go get Grandma at the airport, a couple of folks in the kitchen working on one of the elements of our dinner tomorrow, including my mincemeat pie. I'm the only one who will eat it. Isn't that wonderful?
    Well, I think my oldest son was about six at the time. I remember that he called to us from the top of that winding staircase that went up to his room, and his Mom went to the bottom of the stairs. And he said, "What do you want me to do with this big nail I found in my room?" And Mom said, "Just bring it down here." And so she turned away, and as she did, he slipped, tumbled down the stairs, landed head first. By the time he hit at the bottom of the stairs he was bleeding all over the place. You know about head wounds.
    Well, I want you to know, there were some pretty anxious moments. We didn't know if the nail had gone into his skull. We didn't know what had caused the bleeding. Now, as it turned out, he had only hit a corner of a file cabinet at the bottom. That was bad enough. But he needed two stitches in the emergency room. Thank the Lord he was okay. But I'll tell you one thing, when he fell, the pies stopped, the decorating was forgotten. We made other arrangements for getting Grandma. No one was thinking Thanksgiving Dinner. Everybody dropped everything!
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Dropping Everything For the Rescue."
    Now our word for today from the Word of God. We're in Genesis 14. I'm going to begin reading at verse 11. We'll be reading about Abram and his nephew Lot. "The four kings who were making war against Sodom and Gomorrah seized all the goods from Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away. They also carried off Abram's nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom."
    Well, that of course enrages and concerns his Uncle Abram. And we find out "When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit." By the way, they do end up engaging the enemy and they rescue Lot.
    Lot had made a bad choice. He ended up living in Sodom; a place he never should have chosen. And as a result of his bad choices, he ended up in a mess. In spite of that, when he was in trouble, Abram dropped everything to rescue him. He applied all of his resources, got every man he could muster. He threw everything into helping recover a loved one in trouble.
    There's a model there for you and me. When someone you love is in trouble, you do whatever it takes to rescue them. Just like our family when we changed all of our plans that Thanksgiving Eve because of one child who was in danger. Maybe someone close to you is in trouble right now; maybe not so much physical trouble like Lot, but maybe it's emotional trouble or spiritual danger.
    The point is this: Have you rearranged your priorities to help bring them back, to meet their need? Maybe you're watching your marriage partner right now crying out in a lot of ways - directly or indirectly - for your love, for your time, for your attention. Maybe you have a child who is showing signs of withdrawing or wandering; making some bad choices. Don't attack them, don't nag them. Rearrange your life to be together more. Maybe you have a friend or coworker who's hurting. Or it could be you have a chance right now to return to one of your parents many of the sacrifices they made for you because they need you now.
    Remember you serve a Savior who often stopped and dropped everything to meet needs. Don't wait for a crisis. It takes much less time to prevent the crash than to pick up the pieces. You may have to cancel some meetings, sacrifice some personal preferences, maybe limit your commitments, maybe rearrange your lifestyle. But someone you love...their life may depend on it and they're crying out for help. They're falling, they're hurting, they're bleeding like my son on those stairs that night.
    And even if all the bleeding is inside, please drop everything to come running, and use your best resources to put that one you love back together again.


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    November 22, 2022 Trying to be Superman - #9357


    Okay, I'm going to admit it. Sometimes I wear a Superman t-shirt to sleep. That's about as close to being Superman as I'll ever get. As far as leaping tall buildings in a single bound? Sometimes I have trouble getting off the floor.
    But in some of the "Man of Steel" movies that were such box office hits, Superman is popping up or landing all over the place. And he would remind me of the sad reality that there really is no such thing as Superman.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Trying to be Superman."
    Oh, if you're a man, you're supposed to be Superman. Never weak, life's bullets bouncing off you, the fixer, the solver, the answer man, the tower of strength, the conqueror. Above all - the conqueror. Because a man supposedly proves he's a man by conquests, right?. You win in sports, you win in business, in the gym, and with women. I'm learning, though, that those aren't the conquests that ultimately prove your manhood. No, here's the question: "Can you conquer yourself?"
    What about that volcano temper that erupts briefly but scars permanently? How about that chainsaw mouth that rips even the people we love. That selfishness that insists "I'm more important than you are." The passions that cheapen sex, imprison your imagination. Those dark feelings that take us to some very bad places. The addiction that's calling the shots.
    The Bible presents a man's conquest of himself as decisive in his manhood. In our word for today from the Word of God, Proverbs 16:32, God says, "It is better to be patient than powerful; it is better to have self-control than to conquer a city." And young men are praised for proving that they are strong by the evil they've overcome (1 John 2:14).
    Every man has his Kryptonite. Denying our weakness only guarantees it's going to bring us down. Stuffing our pain just hastens an explosion. Pretending we've got it all together only sentences us to a very dangerous strain of lonely. Yeah, manhood is conquest - of myself. And that begins with taking off the Superman mask of invulnerability, admitting when I'm hurting, when I'm not sure, when I need someone.
    A lot of men had a dad who always had to be tough, and right, and in control. But the son would have given anything to know if his dad was proud of him...to hear him apologize...to hear him say, "I love you." Even today there are scars from a dad's criticism, a dad's anger.
    So I'm seeing now that "man up" may mean something quite different from the macho myths we were raised on. It means being man enough to say three of the most healing words in the English language "I was wrong" or "I forgive you."
    Manhood is saying those words we thought showed weakness but actually prove strength. Like, "I need help" and saying them before the explosion comes, before I hurt more people, before I'm hooked and I can't get free. I can't conquer me alone. The man in the mirror is my biggest battle. But maybe if I swallow my stubborn pride, it could be my biggest conquest.
    I have to agree with that guy in the Bible who said, "I really want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate. Who will free me?" You can't be rescued until you admit you can't save yourself, and you're willing to pin all your hopes on somebody who can rescue you.
    And "who will free me?" Well, the Bible's answers this way: "Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ" (Romans 7:15, 24-25). Because the animal inside us - sin, God calls it - can only be tamed by the Man who turned its fury on Himself. That's what Jesus did on the cross, to beat our sin and to be able to forgive us of it having paid our death penalty.
    I am one of an army of men who have surrendered our lives to this amazing Jesus. Who've discovered that a man can finally conquer his darkness by being conquered - by the Son of God. I'll tell you how to get started with Him. Just go to our website. It's ANewStory.com.
    Jesus has the power to conquer what has always conquered you. And you can trust Him because He loved you enough to die for you.


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    November 21, 2022 The Good Thing About Bad Storms - #9356


    When my wife would get her hands on the TV's remote control, which was seldom, she'd usually choose something educational. One night she was watching a feature on what the host called "good things hurricanes do." Well, I've seen some of the bad things hurricanes do, I was intrigued to hear about this. The feature told about these Australian pine trees that somehow had taken root in a place in Florida that hosted attractive plants which, in turn, attracted many beautiful birds and small animals. Well, as those pines grew and got tall, they literally created a canopy over those plants, and blocked out the sun. What had once been an area thriving with plant and animal life became this stretch of sterile underbrush - until the hurricane hit. The storm literally snapped those trees in two and I'm sure did a lot of terrible things. But the sun was back. For this little area, well, it had become a beautiful park with pools, greenery, flowers, herons, and lots of interesting wildlife. But it took a hurricane.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Good Thing About Bad Storms."
    The storm blew in and removed what didn't belong there. Strangely, I understand that. You see, God has sent or allowed storms to come roaring into my life over the years, and they did damage. But it also had that same effect. It's true in nature, it's true in our lives - what devastates can also be God's tool to cleanse, to improve, and ultimately to make something beautiful! I've seen it even through losing the love of my life.
    There's a picture of that in Acts 27, beginning with verse 14. It's our word for today from the Word of God. The Apostle Paul is being transported to Rome for trial on a large cargo ship that's carrying 276 passengers. They suddenly get hit by a massive storm system that batters and threatens to destroy them for two weeks.
    The Bible says, "A wind of hurricane force...swept down from the island. The ship was caught by the storm...and we were driven along...We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. On the third day, they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands."
    Eventually, Paul is visited by an angelic messenger. And here's how Paul reported that visit to his fellow passengers: "Keep up your courage, because only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar, and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you'."
    Storms have a way of clarifying the things that really matter and the things that really don't. In this case, they threw overboard cargo they thought they needed but apparently they didn't really need. That might be what God's trying to get you to do as the storm is battering you - set some new priorities, get rid of some cargo you've accumulated, even some sin you've taken on. Maybe there's stuff that needs to go.
    Just as God clarified for Paul what really mattered in that night during the storm. It was his life mission and the people on the ship. That's what really mattered. Not the cargo, not the ship. It could be that God wants to use your personal hurricane to get you to focus on the things that really matter. The ship might not make it, but it's the people who matter! Maybe people you've been neglecting because you've been all about the ship and the voyage. And your life mission is what matters; the things God's given you to do that also may have been marginalized. And that, too, will survive the storm.
    The hurricanes of God seem devastating sometimes, and they can hurt. But He sends them to accomplish things that might not happen any other way as well - the cleansing that your life needs. The new priorities your life needs. He's removing what has blocked the sun so something beautiful can grow there.


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    November 18, 2022 Nervous About Eternity - #9355


    Class reunions are interesting. It gives you a chance to see people you haven't seen for years and they haven't seen you. And you go hoping you'll recognize them. More than that, you go hoping they'll recognize you after all these years. And usually they'll say something like, "Hey, I remember you with hair. Didn't you used to have teeth?" It's interesting these class reunions. The conversations can be pretty superficial because honestly you don't have much in common any more. Right?
    But once in a while you stop impressing each other enough to get into something important. That actually happened to a doctor friend of mine at his 45th high school reunion. My doctor friend, a committed follower of Jesus, and he was catching up with a highly successful orthodontist, who is an atheist by his own description. But this atheist orthodontist said to my doctor friend, "So, would you talk to me about what you believe?" My friend was pretty surprised to hear that from this particular fellow. This man gave his reason for asking. He just said, "Frankly, I'm nervous about eternity."
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Nervous About Eternity."
    Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Hebrews 9:27. It actually gives us a glimpse of the beginning of eternity for all of us. "Man is destined to die once," it says "and after that to face judgment." Well this man said, "That's what I was afraid of." See, the Bible confirms we have an undeniable, uncancelable, unpostponable appointment with God for judgment.
    This orthodontist was refreshingly honest. He said, "I'm nervous about eternity." Most of us know that feeling. Sometimes that nervous about eternity feeling hits when a friend dies or a coworker or a family member and for a little while we think about eternity. I've seen teenagers ask me at a funeral, "What if that was me?" Or sometimes we'll think about eternity when we've had a close call or in those quiet moments when thoughts that we usually try to bury come to center stage.
    Actually, it's a pretty good idea to be nervous about eternity, because it's going to last a lot longer than these 70 years, or whatever, that we think about all the time. People everywhere seem to just know in their soul that there's something between them and God; something's wrong. We know there's this moral reckoning, this moral bill to be paid for the sin of our life. The judgment is coming and the Bible says when we feel that way we're right. Wouldn't it be great to know there was nothing to fear; that your eternity is secure?
    This may be the best news you've ever heard. Romans 5:8 - "God demonstrated His love for us in this: While we were still sinners..." Okay the wall between God and us right there because we've run our life. It goes on to say, "Christ died for us." The Bible says, "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). Wow! See, sin is what will keep you out of heaven, and Jesus paid for that sin when He died on the cross. If you put your trust in Him and His death for you, you can trade your death penalty for eternal life.
    John 5:24 says it so beautifully, "When you come to Christ you have crossed over from death to life." Wow! The old Plains Indians used to set prairie fires to burn their fields between their village and the approaching fire. They said, "The fire cannot go where the fire has already been." Why don't you go to the place where the fire of God's judgment for your sin fell on God's Son - the cross. You can claim His forgiveness there.
    That's what my friend asked, "If you died tonight, and God asked you 'why should I let you into My heaven?', what would you tell Him?" Well, that's a good question. You could say, "Lord..." Here's the only right answer: "I trusted in the work that Your only Son did on the cross for me."
    Have you ever done that? Has there ever been a day when you made personal what Jesus died on the cross for to forgive your sin? You say, "Well, I'm not sure." Make sure. The stakes are so high to not be sure you're ready for eternity. If you'll go to our website, listen, right there I've briefly explained to you how to begin this relationship. You could do it today. It's ANewStory.com. That's the site.
    Once you've been to the cross, and you've taken what Jesus did there for you, you don't ever have to be nervous about eternity again.


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    November 17, 2022 Letting Go of Your Little Ones - #9354


    It's common to most every religious tradition; there's some ceremony or service where you dedicate or you commit a new child to God. In some Christian traditions, it takes the form of baptism. Others have a brief baby dedication. The last baby we dedicated was our youngest child, and that was more than a few years ago. I held the little guy in my hands. Well, times have changed. I don't pick him up anymore, I'd hurt myself seriously. He picks me up - literally sometimes. He's greeted me at the airport, picked me up off the ground and spun me around. That's my baby! A lot of things have changed. One thing never has.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Letting Go of Your Little Ones."
    Well, all three of our children grew up. But the transaction that took place that day we dedicated each of them to God is one thing that is still being repeated today. We can't physically hold them in our hands anymore. But we can - we must - keep giving them over to the One who gave them to us, and their children as well. The problem is that, all too often, we actually try to keep them in our hands, don't we?
    There's no more beautiful "release your child" model in all the Bible than Hannah, the woman who prayed fervently for years that God would bless her infertility with a child. God answered that prayer by giving her a boy named Samuel, who was destined to become one of the great leaders of Israel. In obedience to God, Hannah brought her young son to the temple to be trained for spiritual leadership. Part of her prayer is in 1 Samuel 1:27-28. It's our word for today from the Word of God. She says of this child for whom she waited so long: "So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life, he will be given over to the Lord."
    Do you know how often we moms and dads need to tell God that? How about every day for the rest of your life - no matter how old or young your children are. No matter how close to God or how far from God they are. But be careful, we're talking here about releasing our son or daughter to God, which means helping them become the person God created them to be, not trying to shape them into the person we want them to be. It means talking to God far more about your child than talking to your child about God, as important as that is.
    For some of us who tend to be controllers, we have to make sure we're not trying to "play God" ourselves in our child's life. Parents who truly place their son or daughter in God's hands can lay off the nagging, the manipulating, the meddling, and the criticizing. What we try to control we often end up crushing. Our job is to say to God each new day, "You gave me this child, Lord. Again, for this new day, I'm giving her, I'm giving him, back to You. I'm available for anything You want me to do to join You in what you're doing in their life, whether You ask me to speak up, or remain silent, to apologize, to forgive, to correct, to praise, to sacrifice, or even if You want me to change."
    A surrendered parent is a parent at peace; a parent who knows that this treasure God has entrusted to them has this day been placed again in God's all-powerful hands. A God who knows the plans He has for that boy, for that girl - plans for good and not for evil, to give them a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). No matter how big your little ones get, remember Whose they really are.


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    November 16, 2022 Black Friday Bargain Fever - #9353


    Get up crazy early. Stand in a long line. Spend hours in bone-chilling cold. Try to avoid being trampled by a stampeding crowd. Doesn't that sound like fun?
    What a way to spend the day after Thanksgiving! Or any day for that matter. Guess what? More people than we can count, and that's what they're going to be doing on that "Black Friday" whenever it comes around. The news will be filled with countless stories of Americans doing just that. Although more and more are going online. But still, they'll hit the stores, and they're going to try to scoop up the "door-busting" bargains offered in the wee hours of Black Friday. For some people it will be more like a black and blue Friday maybe.
    Now, Black Friday veterans have told me it's not just a crunch, it's a rush. It's all about recognizing these short-lived opportunities and aggressively going after them before they're gone. (I'll be sleeping.)
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Black Friday Bargain Fever."
    You know that rush! Where we recognize short-lived opportunities, and go after them before they're gone. Why, that should be what it's like to tell people the Good News about Jesus. He can erase your sin. He'll love you without strings. He can guarantee you are going to heaven! It's all about recognizing the opportunities we all have regularly to bring up Jesus, and realizing that those windows of opportunity won't last long. Yeah, and going after those opportunities aggressively.
    That's part of the Bible's description of how to live smart. Did you know that? It's in our word for today from the Word of God in Ephesians 5 beginning in verse 15. Here's what it says: "Be very careful, then, how you live, not as unwise but as wise..." Okay, that's living smart. Here's living wise: "making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." Another translation talks about "buying up the time." Just like those Black Friday shoppers, going after it with the passionate sense of urgency. It's not going to be there long. Grab it while you can.
    When the bargains are gone, you lose a little money. When the Jesus-sharing opportunities are gone, it can cost the eternity of someone you care about. Because in the words of the Bible, "He that has the Son (that's Jesus, the Son of God.) has life; he that does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:12). If you've got Jesus, you've got life forever in heaven. It's up to you to share that life with those around you who don't have Him, who don't have that life.
    Okay, so what creates a natural opportunity to talk about your relationship with Jesus? It might be something happening in your life, or in their life, or something going on in the world. Anything that would legitimately provide a natural opportunity for you to reference some difference that having Jesus has made for you.
    More than anything, I think what opens natural opportunities to talk about Jesus is praying for them. You can't be around me too long without learning about the 3-open prayer based on Colossians 4:3-4. Here's what Paul says, "Pray for us, that God will open a door for our message." And then he says, "Pray that I may proclaim it clearly as I should."
    So, you pray, "Lord, open a door." That's a natural opportunity to bring up Jesus. And then, "Lord, open their heart." "Lord, get them ready. And if you're going to get me ready to talk to them, get them ready to hear about Jesus." And then, "Lord, open my mouth." Give me the words, give me the courage, the approach.
    If you start to pray that 3-open prayer, God's going to answer it. You don't have to say, "Lord, if it's Your will." It is. He wants to open a door, open their heart, and open your mouth. So, start praying that. Learn it right now: "Lord, open a door." "Lord, open their heart." "Lord, open my mouth." When you ask God for open doors, then you open your eyes to look for them. They'll be there, all over the place, because God really wants you to tell people about what His Son did for them.
    It's exciting to live the adventure of discovering life-giving, life-saving opportunities. And it's costly to miss those opportunities - really costly.


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    November 15, 2022 The Real You Lives At Home - #9352


    It was the day of our class elections, and I had hoped to be elected class president that day. I lost by two votes. Later, I found out that my girlfriend and my best friend had somehow gotten so busy that day, yeah, they hadn't gotten around to voting. While subsequent events actually showed what better plans God had for that year, I wasn't too happy on that election day. No, especially with two people who were pretty close to me.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Real You Lives At Home."
    You know, it hurts when the people closest to you don't vote for you...especially if it's your family. Something's wrong if the people who know you best aren't on the list of people who admire you, respect you, trust you.
    God seems to think it's pretty important to have your family in your corner. He makes that priority clear even when He's spelling out the job qualifications for those aspiring to spiritual leadership. In 1 Timothy 3:4-5, our word for today from the Word of God, here's what He says about spiritual leaders, "He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?" In other words, if a person is having problems in his relationships at home, don't spread that infection to the church.
    Now, the issue here is really larger than just church leaders. It says clearly that God places a high priority on how each of us is doing with our wife, our husband, our children, our parents. In Proverbs 14:1, God describes the difference between a wise and a foolish woman, "The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." A woman has incredible power to either build her family up or tear them down. Later in that same chapter, God tells us that, "He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge." So, a man is either giving his loved ones a place where they feel safe - or it's another battlefield.
    It may be that you have the vote of folks at work. They think you're great. Maybe you have the votes of the people who know the public you; you're charming, giving. And the folks at church may hold you in high regard, too. But none of that's what matters most. What matters is what your husband or wife thinks of you, your children, your parents. They see the real you. None of the fancy speeches or public acclaim or public image you have matters to them. They care if you are someone who puts others first or yourself first, if your actions at home measure up to your words outside the home, if you keep your promises or you break them. Your family cares if you lie or tell the truth, if you put them first or if they only get your leftovers, if they feel safe in your love ... if you build them up or you tear them down.
    And those are things that really matter to God, too. If you want to see what a person is really like, see what their family thinks of them. They know you without the image, without the mask, without the nice speeches. There is no greater honor than to have your family consider you a hero. There is no greater disgrace than to have your family not believe in you. If you don't carry your home precinct, you lose. You have nothing more important to do than to be what they need you to be.


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    November 14, 2022 Deadly Neglect - #9351


    Our friend, Ruthie, loved crossword puzzles, and she hates bridges. So when she's riding with us and there's a bridge, she knows what to do. She covers her face with her crossword puzzle book until it's over. I've teased Ruthie about this a lot. But then two bridges in a week collapsed in different parts of the U. S., and I was wondering if I should buy a crossword puzzle book. Oh wait - I'm driving.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Deadly Neglect."
    It really isn't funny. One minute you're on the bridge. The next minute you and your car are in the icy water below. Thankfully, no one died on those bridges. One was in Washington State, the other one was in Missouri. But when that Interstate bridge in Minneapolis caved in some years ago, it cost 13 people their lives.
    I'm not excited to hear that one in nine U. S. bridges is "functionally obsolete" or "structurally inadequate." Fact is, bridges that aren't properly maintained and repaired are in danger of going down, whether it's a bridge between cities or a bridge between people. And all too often I have been guilty of neglecting some very important bridges. Maybe it was to my wife, my children, my coworkers, my friends.
    Oh, there was a day when I put a lot into building that bridge. I wanted to be connected to their heart. I've never made a decision that I didn't care about that, anymore than I made a decision to let weeds grow in my garden. All you have to do to weaken a bridge is nothing. It's called neglect.
    It's not that we reject people we love, we just neglect them. We get too busy for them. We fail to repair the things that break. We forget to hug them, to set aside time for them, to listen to them. In short, we take them for granted.
    In our word for today from the Word of God, Proverbs 27:23-24, God says, "Be sure that you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds...for a crown is not secure for all generations." Basically, if you want it to be there tomorrow, take care of it today.
    See, relationships, like bridges, collapse when they're not cared for. Oh, the final cave-in may come suddenly, but there's really nothing sudden about it. There's a slow, almost imperceptible deterioration. Now, one day it's gone. That's why the Bible says to "be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry" (James 1:19). When you stop having time to listen, you start feeling the strain, the tension, the distance. Then comes that jolt that jars the bridge and exposes the damage neglect has done. And everything comes apart and the bridge collapses.
    Is it over? Not necessarily. See, bridges can be rebuilt stronger than ever at a price. Doing whatever it takes, changing whatever you have to change, and spending whatever it costs to rebuild that bridge. But it's worth it to recover all you've lost on the other side.
    The collapse of a relationship? It's a wakeup call to look where we haven't looked before - up. Because what I can't fix, God can: broken relationships, broken families, broken hearts. He promises, "I will give you back what you lost to the stripping locusts" (Joel 2:25 NLT). And "bestow...a crown of beauty instead of ashes" (Isaiah 61:3).
    Sadly, though, when we reach up for God, we realize how far we are from Him, and there's a reason. The Bible says, "Your sins have separated you from your God" (Isaiah 59:2). We've done life "my way" instead of His way, and we've left this yawning chasm between us and our only Hope. We need Him, but there's no bridge.
    Oh, we try to build a bridge to God. That's what every religion on the planet is. But they all fall short, because no religion can pay the death penalty that sin demands. All our bridges to God fail to reach the other side. But that's why God did what only He could do. He built a bridge from heaven to us. God's Son, pouring out His life to save yours and mine by paying our death penalty. The Bible says, "He gave Himself for our sins to rescue us" (Galatians 1:3).
    So the Bridge is open today. God's waiting on the other side for you with open arms. But you have to cross that Bridge; you've got to belong to the God who made you. If you've never experienced His love, start today. Reach out, open your heart to Him. Tell Him, "I'm yours."
    Go to our website. We've got the information there that will help you cross over. That's ANewStory.com. Because the bridge God has built will get you home safely.


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    November 11, 2022 The Danger of Your "Highs" - #9350


    Our little granddaughter, when she was little, oh what a Mickey Mouse fan! So I got her a big helium Mickey balloon. It had gone through three pretty distinct phases. First, Mickey was totally flat and folded up into a little square. Then the lady at the store gave him a shot of helium that made Mickey big and flying high. In fact, without a string to tie him down, he'd fly away and be in Bolivia. I know from past experience, though, that there's another phase. Yeah, his flying high days can't last forever. One day we knew we were going to find him all soft, mushy, and (you can picture it can't you, right?) slowly shriveling up on the floor.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Danger of Your 'Highs.'"
    The life and times of a helium balloon aren't all that different from the life and times of folks like you and me. We start out flat, we open our lives to Jesus Christ, He enlarges our life, gives us some victorious seasons where we're flying high, and then often overnight, we've gone flat and we've hit the ground. It doesn't have to be that way.
    If you know that cycle all too well, you need to see how the cycle worked in the life of one of God's great servants in the Bible. Elijah was one of the most powerful of God's ancient prophets. And he was flying high in God that day on Mount Carmel when he single-handedly challenged 450 prophets of the idol Baal to a spiritual showdown. It was sort of a spiritual "Gunfight at the O. K. Corral." Elijah's challenge is to see whose God will consume with fire from heaven the sacrifice that's just been laid on the altar.
    Our word for today from the Word of God begins with 1 Kings 18:37 as Elijah prays in front of this army of false prophets: "Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that You, O Lord, are God, and that You are turning their hearts back again." The entire prayer is only 60 words, but Elijah mentions God 9 times in those 60 words. On Mt. Carmel, it is clearly all about the Lord God. And the fire falls, consuming the sacrifice and causing everybody to cry, "The Lord! He is God!"
    Now fast forward to the next chapter. The king has threatened Elijah's life and in fear he runs to the desert. He sits under a tree, and in the Bible's words, "prayed that he might die." What? "'I have had enough, Lord,' he said. 'Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.' ... I have been very zealous for the Lord God ... I am the only one left'" (1 Kings 19:4-5, 10). On Mt. Carmel, it was all about God. In the desert, it was all about me. And that's the difference between flying high and falling flat. During the victory time, it's all about the Lord. But often in the aftermath of a victory, something happens that makes it suddenly all about me, and we crash.
    Jesus said the devil is a thief who comes "to steal and kill and destroy" (John 10:10). And every time God does something good in your life, the devil is there with some cheap shot he wants to use to rob you of the joy of what God has done. He is the joy robber! Don't fall for it.
    It's like you've just won the Super Bowl, you're walking off the field, and your defeated opponent says, "I'll make you pay for this." And he gives you a bloody nose. Yes, he hurt you a little, but he can't change the outcome. You still won, and nothing he can do can change the victory. So when that joy-robber comes in after the victory and tries to get you all focused on yourself, you tell him, "I know who this is, and I'm not falling for it! We won, and you can't change it!"
    Life won't always be "flying high" moments like Elijah's Mt. Carmel, but you can be consistently joyful and hopeful and positive, even when some of the air goes out. Because - and the Bible says - "the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10), not the joy of your circumstances. It's your Lord who inflates you with His joy, His victory, so you don't have to lie deflated in a corner ever again!


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    November 10, 2022 The Missing Word In Your Faith - #9349


    This might come as a surprise to you, but athletes often have egos as big as their biceps. One way I've observed that is that I used to take a lot of pictures of our local high school football team. And I would ask my youngest son, "What happens when we tell the players that we're going to show some of those pictures at an event?" And he said, "Well, instead of three people coming, about 300 come." "Why is that?" "All because they all want to see themselves on the big screen." That would happen. One of the fellows would come up to me afterwards and he'd say, "You didn't have me in any of the pictures Mr. Hutch."
    Well, at the end of the season, we had a dinner for those fellows. I had a chance to share the Gospel and give them a chance to give their lives to Christ. What we would do is that they would have a chance afterwards to take a picture from the season home with them. I'd tell them that they could pick one picture and take it home with them. and I never had anyone take a picture of somebody else! Strangely enough, they always took a picture of themselves. I don't think they're that unique. I find that people never really get interested in a picture until they see themselves in it."
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Missing Word In Your Faith."
    Our word for today from the Word of God comes from John 20:27-28. It's after the amazing resurrection of Jesus. He has appeared to all the disciples but Thomas. The disciples said, "We have seen the Lord!" Thomas said, "I don't believe it unless I can touch the nail marks in His hands and feet and thrust my hand into His side." Now Jesus appeared to them and Thomas is there. Here's what happened: "Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.' Thomas said to him, 'My Lord and my God!'"
    You know what impresses me most in this story? The pronouns. Let's go back through it and see if I remember anything from English class. It's first person and it's possessive. It's not our; it's not your. He says, "Jesus, you are my Lord, my God." You know, it's possible to be around Jesus your whole life and never make Him yours. Maybe you've heard about Christ for years, you've sung about Him, you've talked about Him, you've prayed to Him, but there's never been a moment when you really made Jesus first person singular for you.
    Listen, walk with me up that hill outside of Jerusalem called Skull Hill, and think of Jesus being on that middle cross. Have you ever looked up to Him and said the two words that make all the difference between whether you know Him or not, whether you're saved or lost, whether you'll go to heaven or hell. The two words are, "For me. Jesus, you did it for me. It's my sin you're paying for and I want You to be my Savior. I believe you were their Savior for a long time, but I want you to be my Savior."
    Many years ago a man in England toured a locomotive factory, and he was very impressed by the guide who took him around. As that man extended his hand to shake hands, he noticed the guide's hand drew up on him. Apparently the guide could tell that the visitor was a little uneasy with that, and he said, "Let me explain, Sir. Some years ago I was working on the tracks and I was in an industrial accident; I drove a spike through that hand and I've never been able to open and close that hand since."
    I want to know Jesus as Lord as closely as that. Those spikes were driven in those hands for you. He's reaching out today through this program to you one more time. You've heard about Him before, but you've never taken it for yourself. With all the faith you've got, today reach out to Him and say, "Jesus, today you are my Lord, you are my God."
    I'd love to help you cross that line and experience His love for yourself today. That's what we do at our website. I hope you'll go there next. ANewStory.com. That's it. This could be the day that the Savior who died for the whole world becomes your personal Savior.


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    November 9, 2022 Time to Choose Your Side - #9348


    Okay, I admit I'm a history guy. I stop at President's houses and all these places like that. My poor kids have gone on more tours of places: Revolutionary War, Civil War. And, of course we're going to stop and see that. We'd just come back from a vacation that had included a tour of a Civil War battlefield and we had our appropriate souvenirs. That night there was actually a revealing addition to my wife's and my room! On her side there was a gray hat, on my side there was a blue hat. We were just goofing! But guess who grew up in the south, and guess who grew up in the north. But I'll tell you what. Back in those days, as in many battles throughout history, the color of your uniform made you the other guy's target.
    There's a story about one soldier during the Civil War who tried his own unique method of staying safe. He decided he'd wear a blue coat and gray pants. One small problem: he got shot at on both ends.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Time to Choose Your Side."
    Our word for today from the Word of God comes from John 19:38 - a man who had to make that choice. We're going to look at an amazing day in the life of this man who in a sense literally tried to wear two opposing uniforms.
    Joseph of Arimathea - the scene is right after the death of Jesus, and it says, "Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilot for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate's permission he came and took the body away." We know now, and we'll know for all history that Joseph said, "I want Jesus buried in my tomb." But, see, this is a man who wore the uniform of Jesus in his heart but who operated in surroundings and with people where Jesus wasn't respected. And that could cost him a lot for people in his circle to know of his allegiance to Jesus! So on the outside he wore the uniform of his environment, blending in, but on the inside, he had his Jesus uniform. This sound a little familiar at all?
    Is there a place where you cover up your Jesus uniform because it might cost you to show it, like at your job, or in school, with a particular group of people, at the gym, with certain associates, with your family, on social media? Well, the problem is when you don't choose your uniform, you just get pressure from both sides. You haven't declared the Jesus difference in your life to the unbelievers around you so they continue to expect you to be like them. Meanwhile, you have a Christian world that knows your Jesus side and expects you to live like you belong to Him! When you don't choose, you've got pressure from both sides.
    Well, be encouraged with what happened to Joseph. Suddenly he blew his cover, he went public, he acted as if he didn't care who knew he belonged to Jesus. What happened here? The cross happened. Joseph must have seen what Jesus suffered that day and he couldn't deny his Savior anymore. Like Joseph, maybe it's time for you to say, "Jesus, if you could hang on a cross and die publicly for me, unashamed, I can live publicly for you."
    It was after an event where we had challenged Christian young people to be a Jesus ambassador to their friends. A young 12-year-old girl surprised her mom; I guess it was the next day. She'd had Jesus shirts but she only wore them to Christian places, but the morning after this rally she appeared ready for school wearing one of her Jesus shirts and her Mom was kind of taken aback. She said, "You're wearing that to school?" And her daughter replied, "Mom, today I am going to start making a difference."
    Well, it's not necessarily about wearing a Christian shirt or handing out Christian literature. But it is about making a firm decision to choose your uniform once and for all. To belong to Jesus and not care who knows it. To bring up your relationship with Him whenever there's an opportunity; to seek opportunities to tell people about that relationship.
    Here's God's charge to you in Ephesians 6:13, "Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand" Well, if you've tried maybe serving two masters haven't you done that long enough? You've postponed choosing your uniform long enough. Jesus stood for you, and He didn't care what it cost. It's time you did that for Him.


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    November 8, 2022 The Darkness In Our Hearts - #9347


    I've been to South Africa several times. I love those accents, but not when they're talking about an inspirational sports icon killing his girlfriend. You may remember some years ago there was a lot of fog about what exactly happened, but what we do know is that South Africa's Olympic hero admittedly shot his girlfriend four times. Now, he said accidentally and the police said on purpose.
    Well, it's all the more disturbing because he was such an overcomer; a double-amputee, running on carbon-fiber blades, competing as an Olympic runner. He made history. He inspired people around the world. And then suddenly he was facing first degree murder charges. It was an extreme example. But there's been a growing list of fallen sports heroes we continue to hear about. One observer said, "It seems like it's almost one a month these days."
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Darkness In Our Hearts."
    Let's see, the world's greatest biker says he did it with dope, the world's greatest golfer admitted that he cheated on his wife, Hall of Fame-bound baseball stars were derailed by the discovery that those biceps were really built with steroids. It feels like pedestals are anchored in quicksand, because our heroes, no matter what their field, keep falling off their pedestal and into the mud.
    It's not just athletes. Sometimes it's an influential politician, or maybe a respected business leader, even a gifted preacher or musician. You start to wonder, "Who's next?" What makes us put someone on that pedestal is that they do something really well. But, see, there's also character - "what you are when no one's around," or "what you are in the dark." That's real gold medal stuff.
    Personally, I've decided that pedestals are a bad idea anyway; either putting someone on one or wanting to be on one yourself. None of us should be too enamored with compliments, or awards, or the "wins" we get. From God's viewpoint - and what should be our viewpoint - it's your character, not your performance that makes you truly great. You can get some awesome headlines and have an awful heart.
    The Bible says that "man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). And in our word for today from the Word of God in 2 Chronicles 16:9, the Bible says, "The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him." Those who will "medal" in heaven (that's as in gold medal) are those Jesus is going to greet with, "Well done, good and faithful servant!" (Matthew 25:21). Not "good and successful" - "good and faithful." The true hero is the person who is a hero outside and inside. The closer you get to them, the better they look.
    What matters most is not what the folks who know the "platform me" think. It's the people who know me best - who see you unplugged, when there's no one to impress. Do they say, "Yup, he's the same guy all the time"? Or, when I'm "doing what I do," are they asking, "Where did that great guy suddenly come from?" Or, "if they only knew what he's really like..."
    An EKG reveals that someone who's the picture of health on the outside may have a deadly heart condition on the inside. Which, according to the Bible, we all do. The Bible says, "The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9 ). That's why I need a Savior. That's why you need a Savior. Not just a religion about a Savior. All that can do is make me look healthy on the outside. I need the Master Heart Surgeon. The Bible says that "He alone can cleanse you from all your impurities." And it says He can "give you a new heart" (Ezekiel 36:26). In fact, the sin-cancer is so horrific it took blood to cure it - Jesus' blood, shed on the cross.
    He makes unheralded people into authentic heroes because they have a heart like His. You're blessed if you know one. You're more blessed if you are one. You'll leave a Jesus-trail wherever you go. If you're ready for that heart transplant that only Jesus can do; a new beginning, forgiving all of your failures, and giving you the ability to be a Jesus-person in your family, at work and in all your relationships, open your heart today. Say, "Jesus, I'm yours"
    We'd love to show you how to do that. And that's why our website's there. It's ANewStory.com. And let today be the day your new story begins.


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    November 7, 2022 What Can Lift Your Sadness - #9346


    We live in one of the mountainous regions of America. And, you know, mountains are beautiful once you can see them. In areas like this, you can start quite a few mornings with fog and mist. Sometimes it just obscures the mountains in the distance, and sometimes I can't even see the neighbor's yard. If you're the kind of person who lets the weather determine your mood, you could feel pretty "blah" on those foggy days. But there's something you can always be sure of when it's foggy. It's not going to be there all that long. Because even though you cannot see the sun, you know it's shining out there. It's burning off that fog until you can see the beauty around you again.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "What Can Lift Your Sadness."
    Amy's a good friend of our family, and one on whom a heavy fog has descended in recent days, not unlike you, maybe. It's been very sad. It's been a very hurting time. Amy and her husband have been joyfully expecting their first child. They were even talking about names they wanted for a boy or a girl. Until they got the heartbreaking news from the obstetrician that the baby had stopped growing and their baby was gone. What followed was a long two weeks of waiting for the baby to pass; grappling with the numbing reality that their child's life had ended before they even got to meet him or her. The fog was thick, the sky was pretty dark, and the beautiful view was really hard to see.
    I asked Amy what stages she had gone through since they received the news. She told me, of course, that there was at first a deep sadness. Then the sadness was mixed with confusion - just trying to sort out the "why's" and the "what if's." But Amy touched me very deeply with what she told me next. She said, "But then I reached a point where God helped me to start praising Him, even if I didn't understand Him." Then she smiled and she said, "When I started praising Him, most of the sadness lifted." The fog had lifted.
    That was a secret discovered by the man who has epitomized human suffering for centuries - Job, the man who lost his health, his children, and his fortune. Somehow, he finds some peace as he says in Job 1:21, our word for today from the Word of God, "'The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.' In all this, Job did not sin," the Bible says, "by charging God with wrongdoing." Job would agree with the peace that Amy found, "I don't always understand You, Lord, but I always trust You."
    In Job 2:10, he asks, "Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" And in chapter 13, verse 15, Job says, "Though He slay me, yet I will I hope in Him." That is stubborn faith that still believes that the sun is shining even when you can't see it because of the fog; the kind of faith that looks for things to praise God for at a time when it hurts so bad.
    The dark times never leave you the same place in your relationship with God. Either you turn to Him or you turn from Him. When you let your pain turn you from Him, you've just abandoned your only possible source of hope, and healing, and recovery.
    But praise acknowledges a sun that is shining even when the fog is the heaviest. If this is a dark time, don't deepen your sadness by ignoring the Lord, or abandoning the Lord, or turning on the Lord. This is a time to throw yourself on His goodness; a time to ask Him for the grace to praise Him for all that He still is, all that He has done, and all that He is going to do. Amy said it, "Praise lifts the sadness." It dispels the fog.


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    November 4, 2022 The Cancer That's Killing You - #9345


    After a while I gave up trying to read those little blurbs that were next to the senior pictures in a high school yearbook. In our school, the seniors got to write their own, and it was usually in cryptic abbreviations so they could get in as many words as possible. Now, those abbreviations refer to something meaningful to the person who wrote it; some important people, some important memories, "Oh, yeah, sure." But most of those blurbs are like hopelessly cryptic. I guess you had to be there in order to understand what they're writing about, right?
    But I understood Scott's when I read it. He was one of the top scholars in our recent graduating class; honored many times over. At the end of his blurb he had these words, "Miss U Mom." His Mom was a teacher at the high school. She died of cancer in his sophomore year, and it added a note of sadness to the joy of graduation to know that Scott's Mom wasn't there to see him on his night of high honor. She, with so many others, was taken by that monster we call cancer. You know what? In a way, I'm a cancer victim too. So are you.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Cancer That's Killing You."
    Our word for today from the Word of God is in James 1, and I'll read verse 15 today. "After desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin when it is full grown gives birth to death." This is a description of a killer disease - a spiritual disease - called sin, and we all have it. Romans 3:23 in the Bible says, "Everyone has sinned and come short of the glory of God." So, it's a disease we all have, and frankly it does work very much like cancer.
    All of our cells are kind of programmed to do a certain job within the body. They sort of answer to central intelligence, and there's a master plan built into our cells; the millions of cells in your body. It's built right into the control center in that cell, and that's why some of them know that it's time to rush to a certain spot in your body when you get injured, or they build a wall around an infection so it won't spread. That's their job.
    But one day one cell says, "Forget the master plan; I'm going to do as I please." And it no longer takes orders from central intelligence, goes off on its own, begins to multiply, and ultimately attacks a vein or a vital organ, and then the young man writes in a yearbook, "Miss U Mom."
    Inside you and me is the spiritual cancer called sin. It's really made up of that middle letter of the word - "I" - SIN. The master plan is that I live for God and I live for others. But I've chosen to go off on my own and pretty much like the song says, "I'll do it my way." That's true of me, too.
    That disease kills the people that we cut with our temper, it kills closeness, it ruins the reality and the meaning of sex, love, and families. And we all have it! We have this disease. James 1:15 says, "When it's fully conceived it gives birth to death. There's a wall between God and us. I probably didn't have to tell you that wall was there. I mean, you can already feel it. If it's there when we die, it's there forever. Cancer uncontrolled will kill your body; sin uncontrolled sends you and me to hell.
    Your biggest problem in your life isn't death or family or finances. It's sin. This is your deadly condition. But listen to Jesus saying, "I let it kill me so it doesn't have to kill you." See, Jesus took all the dying for this spiritual cancer of sin when He died on the cross. There is a cure for the killer in us.
    I want to invite you today on behalf of Jesus to go to the place where you get the cure. It is at the cross of Jesus Christ, where the price was paid. A blood cure! His blood is the only cure. And he invites you today to go there and say, "Jesus, I'm Yours."
    Join me today at our website, would you, because I've laid out there how you can begin your personal relationship with Jesus and know you are forgiven. It's ANewStory.com. You could open your life to the Savior today and be cured of the sin that otherwise is so deadly.


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    November 3, 2022 Why Your God Is Too Small - #9344


    Your first clue that something unusual ahead is a sign on the Interstate announcing what they call "the biggest cross in the Western Hemisphere." And, sure enough, as you approach that spot in Texas, you begin to see this huge white cross on the horizon. Actually, it doesn't look all that large from a distance. But then, as you drive that direction, it looks more and more impressive. Until you are coming up on it; (or especially when you do what I did), you stop and you stand at the foot of it - that cross is huge!
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Why Your God Is Too Small."
    When you're far away, that cross is nice but it's not particularly impressive. But the closer you get, the bigger it looks. Sadly, there are people, even good church people, who go through their life never realizing the magnitude of the God they belong to. He's nice, but they never really see how big He is because they never get close enough to Him to experience His amazingness. Their God is too small, so their life is too small.
    The Apostle Paul didn't want the believers that he cared about to miss the awesomeness of the God they had. In Ephesians 3, beginning with verse 17, our word for today from the Word of God, he says, "I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power... to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." (In other words, so you can experience everything God's got.) Then Paul, who has paid the price to see God up close, describes what He's like when you see Him up close. He describes God as "Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us."
    You don't get to see God that big by just taking your place at church every time the doors are open. You never see the amazingness of your Lord by just reading the Bible when you get around to it; by praying general, predictable prayers; by obeying God's Holy Spirit only when it's not too hard or not too risky. It is possible to be around Almighty God for your whole life and just keep a safe distance. You've determined how big God's piece of your life is going to be and that's that. But you'll never know what your life could have been if you would dare to step on the spiritual accelerator and experience God up close. When you do that, nothing else in your life ever needs to be overwhelming to you again except the overwhelming size of your God.
    If you want to experience a big, big God, make a daily time with Him in His Word the non-negotiable of your personal schedule. You can't specialize in your Lord unless you specialize in His Word. Throw open the doors of your heart and tell Him, "Lord, I've played it safe long enough. I'm ready to go for everything you've got by surrendering everything I've got." Tell Him you're ready to follow Him out of your comfort zone; beyond where it feels safe.
    We make serious mistakes because we forget, or we don't know, how very big our God is. We overestimate earth-stuff and underestimate our Almighty God. A safe distance turns out it really isn't safe at all. Don't just believe in Him, pursue Him with everything you've got. The closer you get, the more amazing He looks.


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    November 2, 2022 Go-bedience - #9343


    Our sons' room was upstairs, off the beaten path where my wife and I tended to travel in our house. But usually when we did venture into Boys World, we were in for a shock. Let's just say the boys had this unlimited capacity to make a mess and this uncanny ability to live in one without even noticing the mess. (Did I mention to you they're guys?) So, often the stern command would reverberate in the halls of our home: "Clean your room!" The boys seldom disagreed. Usually they would respond with a compliant, "We will." And, I think they really intended to...maybe. They knew it was fundamental to the privileges they wanted, so they went along with our cleaning orders. But did that mean the disaster area got un-disastered? Usually, no. The boys didn't disagree with what they were supposed to do; they just somehow didn't get around to doing it.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about (here's a new word) "Go-bedience."
    Now, obedience isn't obedience just because you agree with what you're supposed to do. There's no obedience until you go and do it. It's go-bedience!
    I wonder if there's something your Heavenly Father's been telling you to do through His Word or through the inner tug of the Holy Spirit and you've been saying, "I will, Father. I agree." You know He's right. You intend to obey, but you're still sitting where you were. As surely as our sons were still disobeying until they did what we said, you're still disobeying God however politely. It's still disobedience because there's no such thing as passive obedience. If you're not moving on it, you're not obeying.
    Which leads us to a powerful example of what obeying really means. It's from the life of Abraham as highlighted in our word for today from the Word of God from Hebrews 11:8. It says, "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going."
    God had summoned Abraham to leave his family, his comfort - his comfort zone actually - to obey Him and go to a future about which God supplied almost no details. Now Abraham could have said, "Okay, Lord. I'll go." But it wasn't agreement that launched him into God's amazing adventure. It was going! It was doing it without knowing what was coming, which is what God has asked of so many of His children all through the Bible, and all through my life.
    Which is what God may be asking you to do right now, to go without knowing how it's all going to work. Maybe your Lord's asking you to start something, or to leave something or someone, or maybe to stop doing something, or to confront something, or give something, or tell someone about the Savior who died for them.
    But you're delaying your obedience. You're waiting until there's more facts, or until more of the risks are eliminated. You want to analyze the situation a little more, to get more signs. But you're not obeying! It's not obedience until it's go-bedience! And faith obedience steps out, not because you know where or you know how, but because you know Who. You know Who you are following. You're following an all-powerful Lord who will never do you wrong! Would anyone who loved you enough to die for you ever do you wrong?
    It's one thing to agree with what your Father wants you to do. It's a whole other thing to start doing it. Until you do, you're just disobeying your Father. The old song is right. "Trust and obey for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey."


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    November 1, 2022 Beyond Comfortable to Amazing - #9342


    One of our staff came back from his vacation and he reported on how exciting it had been for him and his family to see the sights of Washington, D.C. I asked him if he had ever been there before, and he said, "No. In fact, none of us had ever seen it." Then he went on to explain, "You know I'm sort of a hometown kind of guy." I know that's true. He actually has lived most of his life within a relatively short distance of home base. Then he said, "I sort of had to stretch to do this, but I'm really glad we did."
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Beyond Comfortable to Amazing."
    My friend actually had to move out of where he felt comfortable to experience some exciting things he had never experienced before. So do you and I. That is, in fact, a fundamental principle of getting everything our Lord Jesus wants us to experience. And maybe it's important we talk about that today, because someone who's listening - maybe you - could be stuck in their comfort zone, missing some scary but exciting things that God wants you to see.
    I love the picture that God gives of this dynamic in Matthew 14, beginning with verse 25. It's our word for today from the Word of God. Jesus had told His disciples to go on across the Sea of Galilee without Him. They encountered this violent storm. And during it, the Bible says, "Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake." The disciples were understandably freaked out. The Bible says, "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,' Jesus said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water, and came to Jesus."
    Peter did what no man, other than Jesus, had ever done before or has ever done since: he walked on water! Well, the boat was obviously the safe place to be. But Peter was willing to leave where it was safe on one condition, "Lord, if it's You." And that's got to be our bottom line, too. "Is that You, Lord, leading me out of the boat I've been in and out into the "wild water" of something new? Well, if it's You, I'm going!
    Like my friend who saw some memorable new things when he moved beyond where he felt comfortable, you're going to see powerful things you've never seen before if you'll get out of the boat. God's leading you beyond where you feel adequate, where you can figure it out, where you can pull it off. But what a great place to be... you're in the miracle zone! He's leading you to a new episode where you'll need Him more than you've ever needed Him before and you'll have Him as you've never had Him before. It's not the water that's going to hold you up, it's Jesus. You're headed where it's going to be not much of you and a whole lot of God! That's something to be excited about!
    One day this same Peter who dared to get out of the boat would be led by his Lord to preach the Gospel boldly on the streets of Jerusalem, calling to Christ some of the very people who had wanted Jesus crucified. (Talk about getting out of your comfort zone!) And Jesus would ask him to go where no Jew ever thought he'd go-to introduce those nasty Gentiles to Jesus.
    Once you stop defining your decisions by what's comfortable, once you follow Jesus into a place where He's everything, you've begun to blow the lid off your life. Living by faith turns out to be the only really safe way there is to live! But you'll never walk on water if you never get out of the boat!


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    October 31, 2022 Coming Back From Crashing - #9341


    You've probably seen pictures of an eagle, probably soaring majestically. You've actually seen some eagles? Okay. I'll bet they were soaring. It's always special when you see one. But apparently, from something I read recently, there are times that they can't even fly. and very few people have ever seen them in their bad times. According to this account, eagles do get sick, and sometimes when they're sick they're almost immobilized. They're weak, depleted, and frankly they're not much to see. When an eagle crashes like that he goes off to a place where he can be alone, often on top of a high cliff. And he lies out in the sun, face up, spread-eagled, totally collapsed. God has actually outfitted the eagle with eyes that can look at the sun without any damage, and that's what the powerless eagle does. He focuses his eyes on the sun and he lies there until his strength comes back. Yeah, the eagle crashes, but he knows how to come back to soar again!
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Coming Back From Crashing."
    It's not just eagles that crash...so do we. We all go through those times when we've got nothing left to give. You may be in one of those seasons right now. You're weak, you're depleted, you're exhausted, you're physically, emotionally, spiritually drained. I know the feeling. You don't have the personal resources to meet your challenges - the demands that you've got in front of you. It's in those moments that you become a candidate for resources far beyond your own. Let's call it "eagle power."
    It's described in our word for today from the Word of God in the familiar words of Isaiah 40, beginning with verse 28. "The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom." Now, if the word "weak" or "weary" would describe you right now, then this next promise has your name on it. "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
    Now, if we can grasp how it is that an eagle in crash mode renews his strength, we'll understand how we can renew ours - and then "soar on wings like eagles." Just picture that usually strong eagle, sprawled out powerlessly, eyes focused on the sun, his body and spirit soaking up its strength. He totally gives up in order to gain strength. The law of God's renewing work is pretty simple - you have to surrender to get strong.
    God has not allowed you to reach the end of you so you'll give up, but so you'll give up control! It's time to finally take your fingers off that steering wheel that you've held onto so tightly and relinquish all control to Almighty God. "I give up, Lord. I can't fix it. I can't figure it out. I can't contribute anything to a solution. I'm wiped out and I'm totally releasing all of me and all of my issues to You." At that moment, God miraculously begins to replace your weakness with His unlimited strength and your confusion with His infinite wisdom. Your exhaustion for his boundless energy and your despair for his indomitable hope.
    That surrender can't just be a one-time thing. Paul said we're "renewed day by day." You need to come to Him each new day, confessing your powerlessness, surrendering control, and downloading His strength and power. When you keep your eyes on the son of God...when you totally surrender to Him, you'll become a candidate for His strength and His power. And you know what? You are ready again to "soar on eagles' wings!"
     


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    October 28, 2022 Somebody Bigger - #9340


    When I was growing up, we had a bully in our neighborhood. Maybe every neighborhood has a bully. I don't know. Ours was named Boomer! Nobody knew what his real name was, and if we did we probably would know why he was called Boomer. It kind of sounds like a neighborhood bully doesn't it? He intimidated us little kids, I mean. I think it was his hobby, and honestly we were pretty scared of him. He'd come and take our baseball paraphernalia and call us names and threaten to beat us up.
    One day, like a lot of other days, he started after me and started to threaten and make noises like he wanted to hurt me. And all of a sudden there was a voice behind him saying, "Boomer, go home" and he did. It wasn't me. No, my Dad had arrived on the scene. And you know what? He was bigger than Boomer, even though Boomer was bigger than I was. Now, Boomer was the same bully, and I was the same shrimp, but the difference was somebody bigger was with me.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Somebody Bigger."
    Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Matthew 1:23. And if this sounds like a part of the Christmas Story, it is. But the Christmas Story isn't just for Christmas. This is all about when God came to earth, which is the beginning of the greatest news of all time. The angel is talking to Joseph and says, "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel - which means 'God with us'."
    Whoa! Hold that thought for just a minute. There was a survey a few years ago that mapped the position of hundreds of millions of galaxies. The survey revealed the large scale structure of this universe and it uncovered this giant string of galaxies that they now call the The Sloan Great Wall. They say it's 1.4 billion light years across, which makes it the largest structure in the universe. I can't even begin to comprehend it! Why don't we just laugh? There's no point in trying to understand this. I mean, it's huge!
    The astronomers said it has raised such profound questions about the origin and the structure of the universe that we actually need a major national observatory just to study it. They say and I quote, "The size of the structure indicates that in present theories of the universe, something is really wrong. That makes a big difference." The astronomer said. "No known force could produce a structure this big in the time since the universe was formed." And I just want to say, "Oh yeah?"
    Well, it is that God who is with us because Jesus came. The Creator of something that's 1.4 billion light years across (and that's just a few of the galaxies) - where is He now? Well, He came into this world and looked helpless as a little baby. He wasn't even able to grab His mama's finger, but those are the hands that created the world. He created the tree He died on. And now, that God is with you right where you are. He's there with all the power that made galaxies that big, and that power is available for your life.
    There's no excuse for an ordinary life if God is with you. There's no excuse for having small goals, for being embarrassed about your relationship with Him. That God is with you now. There's no excuse for being afraid of anything that God is calling you to do, because that God will be with you.
    Maybe you've felt like a victim most of your life, but that's changed now because God is with you. You're alone, you're worried about the future, or you're facing Mission Impossible. God with us! The excitement of life is in looking for that God where He is in your everyday life today. And, by the way, if you've never begun a personal relationship made possible with Him by the death of His Son, Jesus, on the cross for you, why would you wait another day to get started? Would you come to our website and let me show you how to begin that relationship? Just go to ANewStory.com.
    The angel said on that Christmas announcement, "This is good news to all people - God is with us." It doesn't matter how big the bully is. He's nothing! Because somebody bigger is with you, so let Him intimidate your bully."


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    October 27, 2022 Torn Between Two Masters - #9339


    Because I've had the wonderful opportunity to have a lot of Native American friends, and brothers and sisters, and be on many reservations with our On Eagles' Wings team, I've gotten to hear some of the very colorful ways that Native Americans express themselves. One of them I heard when we were with tribes in the Northeast. And it's really stuck with me, because it sounds like something Jesus said. They were talking about the choice historically that their people had to make between the world of the white people and the world of the Native people. And the elders would say, "No man can stand in two canoes." That's a pretty funny picture if you think about it. The guy trying to stand in two canoes as they drift apart. You know what? You had to choose your canoe.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Torn Between Two Masters."
    Jesus had a lot in common with the Native people of North America, because He was a tribal man; He grew up in a village; His country had been taken over by others; He loved nature; He told stories; He was poor; He died a violent death. Now, while He didn't talk about those two canoes, He said something about following Him that sounded very much like it. It's recorded in Matthew 6:24, which is our word for today from the Word of God.
    Jesus simply said, "No man can serve two masters." Or have his feet in two different canoes. You can't claim Jesus as your Lord, the decider of what you do, and have someone or something else that is your deciding factor. Like a man trying to straddle two canoes, you'll be pulled apart.
    In spite of the impossibility of living for two masters, so many who say they belong to Jesus are trying to do it - maybe you. You say Jesus is your Lord, but you've got a boyfriend or girlfriend you really revolve your life around. When it comes to a choice between what Jesus wants and what you need to do for money, money wins. Or a choice between what certain friends want and what Jesus wants. The friends win.
    You say Jesus is "number one," but what you watch, the websites you go to, what you see on TV? Is it something He died to deliver you from? No matter how much your music is about things that Jesus hates, you just keep hanging onto it. God's book commands you to not be "unequally yoked with unbelievers" (2 Corinthians 6:14), but you're in a partnership or a romance that continually forces you to choose between their values and Jesus' values. And all too often, they win. What you do with your body, what you do when you're lonely, what you do when you're tempted, what you do when your temper or your hormones are in control, "Goodbye, Jesus."
    But nobody loves you like He does. Nobody else was butchered on a cross to take your hell. He died so you don't have to serve that other master. 1 Peter 2:24 says, "He bore our sins in His own body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness." When you live the opposite of what He wants, you basically say, "I don't care why You died, Jesus. I want this." You might as well just say, "I want this more than You."
    Aren't you tired of being torn apart inside, trying to choose between your two masters; trying to live with your feet in two canoes? They continue to drift in opposite directions, and so do you. God has some straight talk to you, right from His Word in Joshua 24:15, "Choose...this day whom you will serve." And choose is what you're going to have to do. Choose the One who loves you most. Choose the One you'll be with forever. Choose Jesus.


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    October 26, 2022 Why You're God's Best Rep - #9338


    I couldn't help but overhear the conversation across the aisle on an airplane flight. The man was dropping profanity about every third word; he even mentioned God quite a few times. He stopped only to work on his meal. Apparently, he needed some cream for his coffee, so he demanded the flight attendant get some, in his usual colorful language.
    While he was waiting, he finally let his fellow passenger do a little talking. He said, "Well, what do you do for a living?" And his neighbor said, "Oh, I'm a minister," at which point the flight attendant returned with the cream. My profane neighbor across the aisle looked up at the attendant with the most angelic expression and he said, "Oh, God bless you." Suddenly, the real guy disappeared, and the religious guy showed up.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Why You're God's Best Rep."
    It's a funny thing about people. They suddenly get sort of weird when they're with a preacher. It's pretty hard to have a real conversation once a person realizes you're one of those guys who makes a living being religious. If you're not a preacher, that's where you come in.
    Our word for today from the Word of God comes from John 4:39. It's about how most of an entire Samaritan village came to faith in Jesus. He had met this one Samaritan woman outside the village of Sychar, and He shared eternal life with her. And then we read, "Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman's testimony."
    Now it's interesting that Jesus didn't reach this village by just going in and starting to preach there. Instead, He shared with one person who knew the folks in Sychar, who was one of the folks in the village. Her life was touched. She went back and told about Jesus in "Samaritanese" and that generated a lot of interest. It sparked a village revival. Which just serves to remind us that the most powerful witness for Christ is not a crusade, or a radio or TV program, or a concert. It's the testimony of one changed life.
    Think about it. We see lots of commercials with professional pitch men selling a product, but we're pretty much salesman immune. But when someone you know tells you, "I love that car," or "this shampoo cured their dandruff," or "that pill relieved my pain." That gets through! The same is true in reaching people for Jesus.
    Many lost people are honestly immune to what they perceive as professional spiritual salesmen. Meanwhile, many believers, everyday believers, are thinking, "If only I can get this lost person I know to my church to hear my pastor, or watch this Christian show, or come to this outreach event, or hear this Christian celebrity."
    But there's something much more powerful than that. That's seeing your changed life and hearing you attribute that difference to Christ. You're from their village! You walk in their world. They know you. You're closer to them than the preacher's ever going to be.
    You might say, "Yeah, but someone trained, more gifted can explain it better." Well, sure, the doctor or the pharmacist can explain better how a medicine works than my friend can. But you know what? I'll ask for that medicine maybe just because a friend told me it helped them. That was the power of the blind man's testimony in Jesus' day, "Once I was blind, but now I can see." (Why don't you fill in the blank here?) "I used to be ______, but now I'm _______ because of Jesus." It might be the kind of husband you are or the kind of wife you are, the kind of father or mother, the kind of friend, the kind of single person you are, how you are in your lonely times, or your stressful times, when there's bad news from the doctor, at the funeral home.
    Don't depend on that person you care about being reached by some professional. It's up to you. You live where they live. You feel what they feel. Jesus is sending you to them, not because you can present it best, but because you're part of their life! You are in a better position to share Christ with them than the best "professional salesman" there is, because you are Jesus' satisfied customer!


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    October 25, 2022 Looking for the Need Behind Your Child's Deed - #9337


    Non-verbal communication. You don't always need words to communicate what you need to get across. Well, our 18-month-old granddaughter didn't. It might have been one of those times when Mommy was preoccupied with one of the thousand things that, you know, you have to stay on top of. The little one didn't try to make any big noise about what she needed. She just toddled from the living room where Mommy was, into the bedroom, picked up a diaper, toddled back into the living room, and laid herself down right in front of Mommy, diaper in hand, with her legs in the air, ready for a change. Get the idea, Mommy?
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Looking for the Need Behind Your Child's Deed."
    Our granddaughter had a need. She didn't know how to put it into words. So she acted it out. In a way, that doesn't change as our children grow. They often don't know how to put the need inside them into words. They may not even know what the need is, so they act it out - in their behavior. And that behavior often isn't very cute. It may drive us nuts, it may worry us to death or baffle us. There is no more important lesson for a parent to remember than this: behind your child's deed is a need. And you won't affect the deeds until you do something about the needs that drive those deeds. A wise dad was confiding his concern to me the other day about his son's use of alcohol - that's the deed. Then he said, "You know, there's some need there." He's right.
    Using parenting as an example of how he treated the believers at Thessalonica, Paul says this in 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12. It's our word for today from the Word of God: "We dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting, and urging you to live lives worthy of God." Right there you've got three powerful tools in your parenting tool kit, each designed to meet the needs that are driving their deeds.
    Sometimes, there's discouragement deep down inside, making them act the way that they're acting. So you respond to that need with some positive encouraging. Other times, there's pain inside from something you may not know about or realize that it has hurt them. It's time to then apply some gentle comfort. Other times there's a lack of clear direction, confusion about what's the right thing to do. That may act itself out in some crazy behavior, but the need behind it is to be urged in the right direction.
    So, behind your son or daughter's actions may very well be a need that really needs some attention. They may feel like they're not worth much - so they make choices that fit that self-evaluation. But the bad choices are because of bad feelings about their worth. Or maybe your child's unduly curious about sex. Could it be because you've never given them clear and loving sexual answers? Sometimes, the need is just to feel loved. You may be showing your love by things you do for them, but their language of love may be more about your availability, or your public treatment of them, or your exclusive time you give them, or just your hugs. If that need isn't met at home, listen, they're going to go somewhere else to have it met and that can mean a disaster.
    If you're going to get behind your children's deeds to their needs, you're going to have to make James 1:19 your modus operandi - "Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry." If you listen a lot, if you listen patiently, un-condemningly, you'll begin to hear the needs behind their deeds. Just as your Lord did. It says, "When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them." (Matthew 9:36) Compassion - that literally means the capacity to feel with the other person. That's what your son needs. That's what your daughter needs.
    Yeah, the deeds need to be addressed. But it's the needs that are driving them. God has promised His wisdom upon request (James 1:5), and nobody needs that wisdom more than moms and dads. So, several times a day as you look at your children, ask your Heavenly Father, "Help me see what You see when you look at them." Then you'll know how to give them what they need most.


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    October 21, 2022 Why You Can't Afford to Drift - #9335


    I knew about lighthouses. I never knew about lightships though, until I visited Nantucket, that charming old island that's about 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. In the harbor there. You now can tour the retired Lightship Nantucket. But before the development of modern navigational technology, the work of that ship actually saved a lot of lives. See, there are deadly shoals that extend south of Nantucket, and the main shipping lanes to New York City run right along the outer edge in what's called the Ambrose Channel. Now, for many decades, the Lightship Nantucket was stationed at the eastern approach to the channel - at what was called the "Times Square of the Atlantic." Well, she dared not leave her position there - because all ship navigation was fixed on that lightship. If the lightship moved, every ship would follow her - possibly to disaster.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Why You Can't Afford to Drift."
    Now, to put you and me in this picture, and believe me we're in it, we have to go to our word for today from the Word of God. In Matthew 5:16-18, Jesus tells us: "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
    Now, you don't have to be a great theologian to get this message. If you belong to Jesus, you are a light for the people around you. Maybe it's really dark where you're the light. Well, that's OK. The darker the darkness gets, the more the light shows up. And it only takes a little light to make a big difference in a dark room. Now, here's the problem: if the light starts drifting, all the people who are watching your light will drift with you - possibly to disaster.
    See, whether or not you realize it, there are people watching your light. Oh, maybe it's your child, your coworkers, a Christian brother or sister. It might be some family members, folks you minister with. And for any person in your world who does not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you are the lighthouse or the lightship that may be their only hope of finding their way to heaven. If the light fails, if the light drifts, they will sail right into an eternity you don't even want to think about.
    For the sake of the people who are watching your light, you can't afford to drift into negativity, or criticism, or cynicism, or some rebellious attitude. They will follow you there. If you drift into selfishness, or carelessness about what you look at or listen to. If you drift into gossip, or discouragement, or compromise, it won't be just you going there. No, you're affecting other people's course every day. Don't lead them toward the rocks. You've got to hold your position. You're the light!
    Maybe you've been covering up your light where you are. You never tell anyone what you know about Jesus Christ. Or maybe you've turned off your light by doing things that actually discredit your Jesus to those who are basing their opinion of Him on you. Paul said to one group, "God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles (that's the unbelievers) because of you." (Romans 2:24) Don't let that be you. Don't be a reason that someone doesn't come to Jesus because of the contradictions in your life.
    A drifting light could cost lives. If you go off on a little detour or take a timeout, you will drag others along with you. You are the light! Stay anchored in Jesus, and never stop pointing people to Him!


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    October 19, 2022 The Most Lasting Thing You'll Ever Do - #9333


    We know well all about the World Trade Center and what happened on that September 11th. But there's those personal stories that put a face on it even to this day. I saw a particularly moving first-person story of one woman who miraculously survived the collapse of the North Tower that awful day. She tried to make her way down the long stairwell from her office on the 64th floor. She got to the 13th floor. That's when the entire tower began to crumble. She fell to the ground as the building continued to literally collapse around her. She dropped 13 floors and ended up with her head pinned between two concrete pillars and her legs trapped in a staircase. She said, "I saw that no one came, and I wasn't hearing any noises around me. So I thought, 'I'm going to die here. I'm going to see myself slowly die here.'"
    The young mother; well, she prayed, she slept, she prayed some more. And at one point, she just asked God for a miracle. That's when she heard noises. She yelled out, and someone answered back. She had been trapped under tons of debris for 27 hours. Here's how she described what happened next: "I took a piece of concrete. I kocked the stair above me. And when they heard the knocking, they started to come closer. And then I put my hands through a little crack in the ceiling, and I felt the person hold my hand. The fireman found my hand and he said, 'I've got you.' And I said, 'Thank God.'" She was the last person pulled alive from the wreckage of the World Trade Center.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Most Lasting Thing You'll Ever Do."
    There's no scene more powerful than a rescue. Whether it's a firefighter pulling someone out of tons of debris or a spiritual rescuer leading someone from an eternity without hope into the life that only Jesus can give. Someone will live instead of dying because someone else took the risks to go in for the rescue.
    If you've been rescued by Jesus, then your orders couldn't be more clear. Listen to our word for today. The Word of God says in Jude 23, "Save others by snatching them from the fire." See, someone snatched you from the fire of God's judgment. Now it's your turn to rescue some folks within your reach who have not yet grabbed the hand of Jesus; who may not even know He's extending His hand.
    I'm not saying it's easy to tell someone about Jesus. I mean, when has rescuing someone ever been easy? When has there been a rescue that didn't involve the rescuer taking risks, going beyond where it's safe? So many fears keep us from telling the people we know about Jesus; the fear of being rejected - you know the fears; the fear of messing it up. The fear of not knowing all the answers.
    But there needs to be a fear greater than any of those. You know what that fear is? That's the fear of this person we know spending all eternity in hell, forever away from God. It's that fear of losing someone forever that finally says, "I can't hold back any longer. If I don't go in, they may die. If I do go in, they have a chance to live."
    The man who rescued that young woman from the World Trade Center debris? Well, first he had to touch her. You need to be doing whatever it takes to touch the life of someone that you hope to take to heaven with you. Build that relationship. Take time for them. Go out of your way to get to know them. Find ways to serve them, to show love to them in their language. Be there for them in critical moments. Touch them so you can save them.
    And ask the Lord, who is ultimately the One who rescues every person, to open up natural opportunities for you to explain your personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I've talked before about the three-open prayer. "Lord, open a door. Lord, open their heart. Lord, open my mouth."
    There is someone in your personal world right now whose life, in a very real way, depends on you every bit as much as a trapped young woman's life depended on that firefighter who risked to save her. And there is no greater thrill, there is no greater joy than being able to reach out to a lost person and to be able to say "I've got you" and to help them move from death to life.


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    October 18, 2022 Your Safe Room in Your Storm - #9332


    Even the reporters choked up. That monster tornado tore up in Moore, Oklahoma, tore at our hearts: houses gone, neighborhoods gone, schools gone, children - gone.


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    October 17, 2022 The Secret of Finishing Your Race - #9331


    If you're into college sports, it's always a big day. If you're into professional sports, it's always a big day. Some call it Alumni Day or Old Timers' Day. Whatever you call it, it's the time a lot of those who played on that very same field come back to cheer on the men and women who are today's players. If you're a player and the game is tough, glance up there in the stands. You'll see some people up there who know how you feel, who've played the game you're playing, who've gone against that same opponent, and who are up there right now, screaming their lungs out for you. They just really want you to win!
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Secret of Finishing Your Race."
    That picture of the alumni in the stands, rooting for the ones who are wearing the uniform today? That's the inspiring picture that God gives us for those times when our game is tough. It's in Hebrews 12:1-2, our word for today from the Word of God, and maybe it's God's personal encouragement note for you today.
    Here we go. "Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus." So, the image here is one of an Olympic runner, running his race, encircled by thousands of cheering spectators in the stadium. The cheering crowd here is people who've gone before us who are watching us run the same race they have run successfully before us. And you know they've got to be cheering for you: "Don't give up now, man. Don't drop out. No, don't go off on that detour. Don't let that thing trip you up, man. Don't drop your legacy, our legacy. Don't let it die with you!"
    So who's in this "great cloud of witnesses?" Well, they're God's honored alumni, who have run for Him in previous generations. The previous chapter, Hebrews 11, identifies some of the all-stars who are watching you and me from the stands: Noah, Abraham, Moses, David. And maybe they've been joined by greats like John Wesley, and John Calvin, and D. L. Moody, and those five missionary martyrs like Jim Elliot. Or maybe it's grandparents, great-grandparents, a mom or dad, who ran their race for Jesus all the way to the finish line, no matter how hard it got.
    The previous chapter tells about some heroes of earlier races whose names we don't know but who paid a very high price for the very things you're running for. They're in the stands. They're cheering for you, too - those who it says "faced flogging" and others, the Bible says, who "were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword...the world was not worthy of them" (Hebrews 11:36-38). We're running our race under the gaze of people who paid with their lives to finish their race for Jesus. So what's that that's keeping you from running? What's tripping you up? What's your reason again for slowing down or giving up? This is a faith that people have sacrificed for, shed their blood for!
    The secret of running strong and running all the way to the finish line is still the same as it was when the lions came down the chute at the Coliseum 2,000 years ago - "fixing your eyes on Jesus." Because He didn't quit when it meant spikes in His hands and feet. He didn't quit when it was thorns in His head, a spear in His side, and all hell poured into His soul.
    So you look up in those stands and you listen to those who finished like heroes. You look up there at the finish line at the One who gave it all for you - and you remember that all of them are counting on you to finish what they started. To carry what they refused to drop. And there's Jesus waiting for you at the finish line, waiting to welcome His weary but winning runner home. You can't stop now!


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    October 14, 2022 Your Goal or Your Soul - #9330


    Our sons were - and are - crazy about baseball, and then followed the grandsons. They know the players, the standings, the stats. Did I mention they're crazy about baseball? Yeah, it's true; it runs in the family. But dark clouds again rolled in over America's baseball stadiums, because, well, there were suddenly more reports that some stars, who are a lot of kids' heroes, cheated to be great. You remember all that.
    PED? No, that's not the initials for some new government program. I guess it's a performance-enhancing steroid against the rules of baseball to have in your system. But it's all about winning, right? In professional sports, the bucks are big, the pressure is big, the temptations are big.
    But no one's bigger than the rules. Breaking them might help you win the game, but at a pretty high price. You trade your priceless character for some cheap victories. Your accomplishments aren't really you - they're you plus the drugs. What could have been the Hall of Fame can be overshadowed by the Hall of Shame.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Your Goal or Your Soul."
    Before we put on our black robe to judge some baseball players, maybe we should look in the mirror. See, I'm a very goal-oriented person. I know if you've got a goal, somewhere you're going to be tempted to compromise to get there, because we're all susceptible to that "win, no matter what" drumbeat of our culture. We all want to win in business. We want to have "super kids" so we'll be "super-parents." We want to get the girl, we want to land the guy. Whatever our arena, we're driven to come out on top, no matter what the cost to our family, our integrity, our health, our future. If "winning" means backstabbing, stepping on people, neglecting people, breaking promises, lying, betraying - hey, it's all about winning, right? It's all about getting to our big goal, right?
    No, it's all about your soul; your character, who you are, not what you accomplish. It's about giving the game your very best, but without regrets, without compromises, without betraying trust or leaving a trail of tears. After all, who can afford the most costly trade there is: gaining the world in exchange for your soul?
    That's why integrity's so important. The Bible says, "The integrity of the upright guides them." See, your integrity's like a missile's internal guidance system. It guarantees that you stay on course and reach your target. So even if I "lose," I really win. My soul was not on sale to get to my goal. That integrity Bible verse concludes by saying, "but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity." Whatever I might gain by compromising, I have so much more to lose.
    I've had some disturbingly sad conversations with folks who were nearing the end of their life; people trying to come to terms with some haunting regrets about what - or who - they sacrificed in order to succeed. Sadly, there are no "do-overs." But I'll tell you this: I am profoundly grateful there is forgiveness. In our word for today from the Word of God, Psalm 130:3, a man who had terribly failed his God, his family, his followers wrote: "If You, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness."
    Listen, it's not cheap to have every sin of your past erased from God's book. It takes blood, but not mine, not yours. In God's words, "The blood of Jesus His Son purifies us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). All sin! However hurtful; covered by the payment that was made for it when Jesus hung on a cross dying for it.
    I invite you, if you've never had that cleaning take place; that internal cleansing; the forgiving of God for every wrong thing you've ever done, let this be the day you come to Jesus who died so that could happen and give you to Him. Let me encourage you to go to our website. I'd love to show you exactly how to begin that relationship with Him there. Go to ANewStory.com.
    And once you've embraced Him as the Forgiver of your sin, He gives you the grace to retrace your regrets to work to restore what - or who - you've hurt. Because you know what Jesus said, "I make all things new (Revelation 21:5)."


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    October 13, 2022 Making It Through The Pain - #9329


    Our three-year-old grandson had been around long enough to show us that he's gonna be the one who lived on the edge. You know, trying daring things, and basically a physical kind of guy. Consequently, he might be on a first name basis with the folks in the emergency room. We hope not, but you know, he's already visited there more than once in his short career. The first time he got a bad cut on his lip from a fall - lots of bleeding, run to the emergency room, stitches. This medical stuff was all new to him. Oh, listen he fought it. It took four people to hold down this tiger while the stitches were put in. It was traumatic for everybody involved - including my wife who was one of those E. R. wrestlers that night trying to hold him down. The second time was when another fall caused a big cut in his chin. Lots of bleeding, run to the emergency room, stitches. Get a pattern here? Less fighting this time. Oh, it wasn't easy, but it wasn't as bad as the first time. Who knows, maybe pretty soon he'll be helping them put the stitches in!
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Making It Through The Pain."
    We figured out two reasons that the second time was a little less traumatic than the first time for our grandson. First, he knew from experience that the pain of this process didn't last forever. Secondly, he knew from his first time around that he got a reward when this was over - let's hear it for popsicles and stickers!
    Maybe there's something we can all gain from a little boy's emergency room experiences with pain - maybe it can even help you get through the painful time you're going through right now. What were those two things that helped you get through a process that's really hurting you? You know it won't last forever. You know there's a reward when it's over.
    God's great ambassador, Paul, learned those secrets of making it through the pain, and he had a postgraduate degree in suffering - beatings, imprisonments, attacks on his reputation, death threats, excruciating physical conditions. This is a man who's got the credentials to talk to us about the great hurts of life. And he does in our word for today from the Word of God in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.
    With all he's enduring, Paul says: "We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, and what is unseen is eternal."
    Well, you know, you can lose your health, you can lose your business, you can lose your marriage, you can lose people you love and still not lose heart. How? First, remember these four letters - TTSP. Yep, they stand for, "This too shall pass." Your ordeal is, in Paul's words "momentary" and "temporary" against the backdrop of your eternity in heaven. It won't always be this way. Secondly, think about the reward for finishing your painful assignment faithfully. Paul called it "eternal glory." At the end of this, you've got something really good, and it will last forever.
    One other thing that our grandson might ultimately learn about the pain of the doctor's procedures - the purpose of the pain is to make him better. That's the purpose of your pain too. To make you more like Jesus, to make you more of a helper and a healer for hurting people. And, by the way, they're all around you. The relatively short duration of your pain, the reward you'll get for bearing it, the good it can produce in your life - none of those take away the pain, but they sure make it bearable. They give it meaning, and they make you bearable, too.
    What you're going through has an end, it has a reward, and it has a point. So you don't have to fight it. The doctor who's got your case - Dr. Jesus - loves you deeply, holds you tightly, and He knows exactly what He's doing.


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    October 12, 2022 Living Like You Know What Time It Is - #9328


    Our oldest son and his wife, who became our wonderful daughter, were living on an Indian reservation and had ministered there for several years. And then it was time to expect their first baby. It was wonderful that this baby girl was going to come. They lived pretty far from the hospital, so of course, you needed to "get in gear" when it was time. Right? And those were the words our daughter-in-law spoke that fateful night, "I think it's time!" Well, they had gone to the classes. They knew what to do. Oh, but my son? Well, he simply started (this is what I've been told) walking around in circles in his living room going, "Okay! Okay!" Meanwhile his wife's gently going, "It's time." "Okay! Okay!" Well, listen, when you know what time it is, you need to know what action to take.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Living Like You Know What Time It Is."
    By the way, they got there in time. I thought you might want to know.
    Well, you and I have been chosen by God to live in very important times, and it's important for us to know what time it is and what to do with that. I mean, people are exploring all kinds of spiritual answers. There are big questions about all the uncertainties of the world economy, and politics, and we're so dependent on technology.
    Then there's worry about who's the latest to get nuclear weapons, and terrorism that can pop up anywhere, anytime, and a world that is looking more and more like the kind of world Jesus said he'd come back to than maybe it's ever looked before. These are extraordinary times. It's time to do some extraordinary living. It's time for some urgent action, because God is going, "It's time! It's time!" We're at a defining moment, and we've got to realize what time it is and respond accordingly.
    Like some people did at another defining moment some 3,000 years ago. Israel was emerging as a nation, as they have again today. Their first king, Saul, had turned out to be a disaster. He died as a suicide in battle, and people are deciding where their allegiance is going to be. God has His man for king: David. He's about to take his rightful throne as his descendant, Jesus Christ, will do one day when He returns to earth to rule from what the Bible calls "the throne of David."
    1 Chronicles 12 records that there were many fighting men who "came to Hebron fully determined to make David king over all Israel." We also read that "the Spirit came upon Amasai, chief of the Thirty, and he said: 'We are yours, O David! We are with you, O son of Jesse!'" And then in our word for today from the Word of God, 1 Chronicles 12:32, we read about one group of people who show us how to really be in a defining moment. And they lived in one; we live in one. The Bible describes "the men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do."
    Now if you understand the times you're living in, you will know what you should do. And those who are committed to enthroning the rightful king - and we know Christ is that king - they show us the defining choice in defining times back then and now; making the King your king and living to enlarge His kingdom. They were, it says, "fully determined to make David king over all." That's where your choices lie. To make sure the king, King Jesus, first is your king. This is a moment like never before, to say, "I am Yours, O Jesus! I am with You, O Son of God!" He's moving toward wrapping up all of history. You'd better make sure He's the center of your personal history.
    Secondly, if you really know what time it is, you're going to be living to enlarge this kingdom of King Jesus before He returns. That means getting as many people to belong to Him as you can. Throwing your influence and your money, your possessions into the greatest cause on this planet; the cause for which your King gave His life - rescuing spiritually dying people.
    It's time to look through everything we own, everything we've planned, everything we've dreamed in light of the times that God has chosen us to live in. When it's the fourth quarter, you don't play as if it's the first quarter. Be sure you understand the time and then you'll know what to do.
    It has never mattered more to live for what really matters and what will matter forever. Can you hear Jesus saying it, "It's time!"?


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    October 11, 2022 Everybody's Got a Story - #9327


    We met Gal on an Indian reservation. She wasn't very easy to get to know. Gal was a cute black and white dog owned by a missionary couple that our On Eagles' Wings Team was working with on a remote reservation. Most dogs run up to you when you come to the door, even if you're a stranger, and they're usually all over you. Not Gal. She ran the other way and cowered in the corner, no matter how gentle, how friendly you were to her. She didn't want to come out of her corner for anybody. "Strange dog," I thought. Until her owners explained that Gal had been terribly abused by her first owners. When she saw people, she saw pain.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Everybody's Got a Story."
    You couldn't understand the way that dog acted until you knew her story. People are like that, too. You watch how they act, how they treat people, you see that attitude they have, and you say, "Forget you, buddy" or you respond with the same garbage they'd just dished out to you. But the "make a difference" people in this world, the healers, are the ones who never forget this critical issue in dealing with people: you can't understand the way they act until you know their story. And everybody's got a story.
    I remember discovering how wrong I had been about some people in our class in college after many of them poured out their hearts at our senior retreat. Late into the night, people you thought you knew revealed the pain in their background. And suddenly the lights went on and you said, "So that's what I've been seeing all these years!" And you felt badly that you had been responding to them based on their deeds, and never considering the needs behind those deeds.
    That's the kind of radical love God's calling you and me to in our word for today from the Word of God in Ephesians 4, beginning with verse 29. He says, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up, according to their needs." In other words, don't say things that will tear a person down, just things that will build a person up. Why? Because you're focusing on their needs, not just their deeds. You may hate their deeds, but God's asking you to develop His compassion to respond to the needs that drive their deeds. Whether that person is your child, your spouse, your parent, your friend, your coworker, someone at church.
    If you knew their story, you'd understand that they've been made to feel worthless much of their life. So they make choices based on the fact that they're trash they think. Or maybe they treat other people that same way. Maybe their story includes some awful hurt that has turned them hard so they won't get hurt anymore. Maybe there's some morally dark chapters in their past that can make them critical and legalistic today because they hate what they used to be. Maybe they wound because they've been wounded. Somewhere behind the way they act is a story of a perfectionist parent, of trust lost because of abuse, the absence of a father's love, abandonment, failure, tragedy.
    So, the Bible says, "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger." That's our response to their deeds. "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other..." That's how we will respond if we operate, trying to understand there are needs beneath those deeds; there's a history behind those hang-ups.
    One thing I can tell you from a lot of years of learning what's really inside people - when a person is hardest to love, they need your love the most! And that's when you ask Jesus to release His love through you because your love isn't enough. React to their bad attitude or their bad treatment, and you can just be another person who just wounds an already wounded person more. Respond with the mercy and the grace and the compassion you get from Jesus and you can be part of healing that wounded person. Because everybody's got a story, and you can help write a new chapter.


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    October 10, 2022 Beyond Our Symptoms to Our Disease - #9326


    Where are those gnats coming from? Not in the studio. I mean every family member - one after another - was asking that around our house. We had this sudden outbreak of pesky little bugs floating around through the air. Have you ever seen them? And you'd see every one of us swatting back and forth. We couldn't imagine where they were coming from. Where do these guys come from? We killed as many as we could.
    One day my wife, who was no doubt the smartest member of the family, decided that we had to answer the original question, "Where are these gnats coming from?" One theory was that maybe they were coming from that flower pot in the corner in the living room. See we forgot that we had left a little water in that pot, and sure enough that turned out to be a lovely breeding ground. So, I carried that pot outside, and I felt like we had won the battle because we got to the source.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Beyond Our Symptoms to Our Disease."
    Our word for today from the Word of God, Mark 2:4-5, and maybe you remember the story. There's four friends who had a paralyzed friend. When Jesus came to their town of Capernaum, they decided that the best hope for their friend to ever get well was to take him to Jesus. It says, "Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus, and after digging through it, lowered the mat that the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven.'"
    Later it says in verse 11, "He said to the paralytic, 'I tell you, get up! Take up your mat and go home.' He got up, took his mat, and walked out in full view of them all." Can you imagine the reaction of these friends when they go to all this trouble literally coming through the roof, dropping their friend in front of Jesus to get his paralysis taken care of, and Jesus says, "Your sins are forgiven"? Sin? Was that even an issue?
    It always is, because Jesus knows what our deepest problem is. And He knows that paralysis isn't the ultimate problem this young man has. He goes first to the much more
    difficult issue of dealing with the barrier between a man and his God. He's concerned about what cripples us, and He'll deal with that. But He's more concerned about the cancer of sin that's killing us on the inside.
    I was meeting with Bill. He was a championship high school football player, but he was in rehab the second time for cocaine addiction. He learned about God's help through the 12-step Narcotics Anonymous Program. I asked him, "Bill, did you learn how Jesus could be your helper with your addiction?" He said, "Yeah." I said, "Did you know that addiction is not your problem?" He said, "It isn't?" I said, "No. Sin is your problem. Addiction is your symptom. You need now to find out how He can be your Savior from your sin."
    See, the gnats keep coming out in various ways until you get at the source of the gnats in your life, and that's sin. You say, "Well, my problem is my loneliness, my relationships, my family, this frustrating obstacle." See, the fact is the symptom isn't the problem. At the root we're trying to handle life without the help of a Savior. We're trying to figure out the future without the personal leading of the One who designed us. We're trying every self-improvement plan we can; trying every smart idea. But the gnats keep coming.
    We've got to remove the source of the problem, and only the Savior can do that. You can't carry it out. He carried it in His body on a cross. All those problems, and hurts, and frustrations have been trying to bring you to the fact that you need a Savior. You have a Savior if you'll make Him yours.
    If you're tired of the struggle, bring all those burdens, all that sin to the cross. You'll be forgiven forever. You'll be changed. Why not begin your relationship with Jesus today? Our website can tell you how. It's ANewStory.com. Jesus being your helper with your hassles just isn't enough. You need Jesus to be the Savior from your sin.


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    October 7, 2022 Prayer - Access to The Decider - #9325


    It's probably one of the most famous offices in the world - the Oval Office of the President of the United States. Every four years, two people fight it out with the voters to be the one who gets to occupy that room from which a lot of world-changing decisions are made. And with the President comes a supporting cast, of course. There's the Chief of Staff, a Political Director, a National Security Advisor, and so many more. You know. The greatest perk at the White House has little to do with how nice an office you have or even how much money you make. It's all about your proximity to the President's office and, more importantly, what kind of access you have to him there. Some of the President's staff see him barely at all; others see him occasionally. But there are trusted few who are in and out of the Oval Office several times a day. Given the weight of what goes on in that room, those are some of the most privileged and powerful people in this land.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Prayer - Access to The Decider."
    Power has to do with who has regular access to the place where things are decided; to the person who makes the decision. If you belong to Jesus Christ, my friend, you have that access, you have that power to enter at any time of the day or night the place where everything on earth is decided - the Throne Room of Almighty God. In fact, Scripture invites us to "approach the throne of grace with confidence" (Hebrews 4:16). It tells us "we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus" (Hebrews 10:19).
    At any given moment in your life, I know you're facing some things that are beyond your ability to figure out, or to fix, or to change. It can be something medical, or financial, or emotional, or marital; a situation or a person you can't change; maybe it's a mountain you can't move, a challenge you can't meet. Where will the outcome be decided? Who will decide it? Will that medical condition decide it, or your boss, or your company, the economy, the people who are against you, some human authority or some human factor? No! For you as a child of God, it will be decided in the Throne Room of the One who rules billions of galaxies and who is your Father! Which means your primary method of getting anything done must be big-time praying!
    The Bible is filled with examples of the decisive difference that desperate and dependent prayer makes. In our word for today from the Word of God in Isaiah 37, King Hezekiah is facing an ultimatum from the Assyrian army. That army has rolled like a juggernaut across the Middle East, crushing every king and kingdom in its path. Their leader demands Hezekiah's surrender with a message like this: "Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria?" (Isaiah 36:18). The answer was "no."
    According to Isaiah 37:14, here's what King Hezekiah did with that surrender demand. "He went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: 'O Lord Almighty�enthroned between the cherubim, You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth.'" And he went on to plead with God for deliverance. And the angel of the Lord came and slew 185,000 Assyrians that night.
    That divine throne room where the outcome of Hezekiah's battle was decided? It's the same place your battle will be decided.
    The powerless P's won't get it done: pushing, persuading, personalities, planning, promoting. Life's battles are won by prayer, not on the battlefield itself, but in the Throne Room of the God who governs the galaxies - who is, because of what Jesus did, your spiritual Daddy! And you have access, day or night, to the place where it's all decided and to the person who decides it. Go there often, go there in awe, go there clean, and go there expecting something so big, only God could do it!


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    October 6, 2022 Running After You've Fallen - #9324


    Now, you know something huge has happened when my Yankees are playing the Red Sox fans' favorite song - at Yankee Stadium! Well, that's what happened when bombs suddenly rained death and destruction on the Boston Marathon. The shock waves, of course, reached around the world. And it brought back an all-too-familiar wave of sadness to my heart and a lot of others.
    As always, of course, the images were seared into our memories. You know, the blast, the victims and ultimately the capture. Oh, yeah, and then there was Bill; the 78-year-old runner in the orange tank-top. He was almost to the finish line when that bomb went off, and he was the one that was blown to the pavement by the blast. With the help of a race assistant, Bill was up in a moment crossing the finish line. He finished second in his division.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Running After You've Fallen."
    The President of the United States talked about Bill when he spoke at the memorial service. He used him as an example of hope and resilience. Then he looked right into the camera and addressed those who were now fighting to recover what the bombs had stolen. Twice he said, "You will run again." I was pretty moved.
    Since then, I've found myself mentally replaying Bill's fall and the President's words. Replaying Bill's race because of the race I run, and the times I've been knocked down. We've all had those sudden blasts that blew us over. Right? They threatened us reaching the finish line: the medical bombshell, the marital explosion, the layoffs, the accident, or the injury, the loved one you lost.
    And then there are the painful outcomes of our own bad choices: failing to do what we knew was right, or letting down the people who were counting on us. But time and again, I've heard a voice saying, "Get up, Ron. You will run again." And I did. I am.
    He's done the same for so many people I know. People hit with a blast that leveled them. People who might have stayed down or been carried off, but they rose again. Because He did, after He got the most savage blast anyone has ever endured.
    All the weight of all the wrong of all the world on Jesus' shoulders. All the selfishness and the pain it's caused. All the hell of all the sinning humans have ever done - that I have done.
    When millions of Americans watched the bloody portrayal of Jesus' death on a mini series called "The Bible," it literally lit up social media with viewers whose hearts were breaking over what they saw Him go through. But the reality is, it was awful beyond what Hollywood could ever show. As the Bible says, "It was our sorrows that weighed Him down...He was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten so that we might have peace. He was whipped so we could be healed..." The Lord laid on Him the guilt and the sins of us all" (Isaiah 53:4-6). Wow! Knocked down, nailed to a cross, and buried behind a boulder.
    But He came back. And He's been running ever since. He guarantees that all who run with Him will cross the finish line with Him. And He picks up fallen runners, and tells them, "You will run again." Whatever you've lost. Whatever you've done. Whatever's been done to you. Our word for today from the Word of God, John 14:19 Jesus says, "Because I live, you will live also." He is the Hope the blast cannot touch. He's the death-beating Savior who says, "We will finish this race together."
    However far you've fallen, however devastating the blow you've endured, this Jesus can forgive you, He can restore you, and He can carry you. I'd love to help you know Him personally. In fact, today you could just say "Jesus, I'm Yours. You died for me, You love me that much. You came back to life so You could come into my life. Come in and change me."
    Go to our website. You'll find there a lot of hope, a lot of answers for how to know you belong to Jesus. It's ANewStory.com. And listen to Jesus as He tells you how you can run again, and run with Him from here all the way to His heaven.


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    October 5, 2022 They Need to Hear Your Story - #9323


    It was shocking and it came on the day my Dad went to heaven. I flew in; I couldn't make it back in time before he took his last breath. But we had some great conversations before he died. And that was the day that my Mother made an announcement. She said, "You have a brother." Okay, here I am a grown man with children of my own. Now, I knew I'd had a baby brother who died when he was six months old, and that's how all of us came to know Jesus as a result of the tragedy that went into our family through that. But that was the day I learned about a brother I never knew about all those years. Now, there's some complicated circumstances that would explain why I didn't know. But the fact is, my Dad and Mom had never told me about this brother by another mother. Since then I've had a chance to meet that brother I never knew about, and wow, what a blessing. And it's so enriched both of our lives, along with our wives as well. But it was a story I'd never heard. It was a story I wish I had heard. It was a story that changed my life. But it was a story that I almost never heard.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "They Need to Hear Your Story."
    You have a story! You have a story to tell that literally lives depend on; that can change lives forever. But you can't sit on it! Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Matthew 28. What an exciting chapter! It's the resurrection of Jesus. The angel has just appeared to these crest-fallen women who think the body of their Savior was stolen. He said, "He is not here; he has risen!" Now listen to these words, "Then go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has risen from the dead�' So, the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples."
    Now, what good is a story, especially if it's good news and you don't tell it? Well, this is the good news about a death-crushing, life-changing Savior who conquered death that morning. The greatest fear we all have. The story you've got to tell is the story you probably know so well if you've been around Christian things very long.
    You know about Jesus dying on the cross to carry the wrath of God upon Him for all our sin, to set us free, to make it possible for us to be free and clean and forgiven and heaven-bound. And He's powerful enough to walk out of His grave under His own power. I mean, your Jesus is the greatest love a person can experience; a love that would die for you. The greatest power a person can experience; a power that can conquer death. Wow! Don't you want to tell that story to someone? You know it; they don't.
    We're living in a post Christian world; people around us probably aren't going to go to a religious meeting to hear a religious speaker talk on a religious subject in a religious place. They may be surrounded by Christian resources, and TV and radio, and websites. But they don't know about all that. They have yet to find out what Jesus did on the cross for them. And the only way they're going to know is if you tell them the story you know so well.
    They desperately need to hear about that. They desperately need to hear about a Jesus who is alive, who changes people, who does things that no one else can do and saves lives. It may be old hat to you about the sin and Christ dying for sin. But it's life-saving news for somebody you know. The words of the angel on that resurrection morning were, "You've come and seen. Now, go and tell." That's Jesus' command to you. "Go and tell!"
    And you have a Hope Story. You are living proof that Jesus is alive, because He's done things in your life that no one else could have done. Right? He has fixed what no one else could fix. He's changing what no one else could change. He's providing hope where nothing else could. You have a Hope Story my brother or sister, and that story of what Jesus did on the cross and how He's changed you? Well, that could be the difference between life and death and heaven and hell for somebody in your world.
    Would you tell them the story you know? Give them the good news! You have a life-changing story to tell. But what good is a story if you don't tell it?


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    October 4, 2022 Who You Are, Who You Could Be - #9322


    I remember the time my daughter volunteered to clean the house, and it was a mess! No, it wasn't our house, it wasn't her house, it was the house that her college boyfriend and some other guys wanted to move into. Now when I use the word mess, that's charitable.
    Well, after two years of those guys living there, you can imagine! Layers of dirt and trash everywhere, and holes in the walls. It was filthy! Well, I saw her at the end of a very hard-working day. She was beat, she was sweaty, but she was satisfied. I asked her, "What kept you going all those hours?" She said, "Well, Dad, it was really depressing to look at, but I kept seeing what it could be."
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Who You Are, Who You Could Be."
    Our word for today from the Word of God; it's in John 1:42. Andrew has just discovered who the Messiah is. He now knows it's Jesus Christ. So he decides to bring his big brother, Simon the fisherman, to Jesus. And it says, "He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, 'You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas' (which, when translated, is Peter)." Let me go just one step beyond that verse and tell you what Peter means when it is translated. It means "the rock."
    Now, a lot of people I think may have looked at Simon and they just saw John's son. He's this sort of unstable, brazen, loud mouth, sometimes just like an impulsive guy. But Jesus looked at him and said, "He's going to be a rock." Some other people might have said, "Well, that's funny! I see a flake! He's Simon the flake not Simon the rock." But Jesus has becoming eyes. He looks at you and He sees what you can become. Others look at who you are; Jesus looks at what you could be.
    Remember the Apostle John? He was called Son of Thunder. Sounds like something that would be on the back of a black, leather jacket on a motorcycle doesn't it? He tried to call down fire from heaven on the Samaritans that wouldn't let him come to their village, remember? That's a little over the top. He's an angry young man. But he becomes, when Jesus gets hold of him, the Apostle of Love of the New Testament church. He goes from Son of Thunder to Apostle of Love.
    See, when Jesus looks at you, it's through His becoming eyes. Maybe you've lived most of your life not feeling highly valued by people. They've picked on your handicaps, they've emphasized your failures, and they've attacked your weaknesses. Maybe you think more about what you aren't than what you are.
    I want to invite you today to look at yourself through Jesus' eyes. He's like my daughter walking into that dirty old house. She saw what could be. Maybe you're feeling like a nobody, but Jesus says, "You shall be a person who makes a difference in other people's lives." You say, "Well, I'm impatient." Jesus says, "You are, but I'm going to make you patient. I see a patient man that could be there." You say, "I'm pretty self-centered." Uh-huh. But Jesus said, "You shall be someone who puts other people first." You say, "Well, I've been a victim most of my life." He says, "Well, you're going to be a victor when I'm done with you."
    See, the Bible makes this great promise in 2 Corinthians 5:17. It says, "If anyone is in Christ, he's a new creation. The old has gone; a new life has begun." This is what happens when you go to the cross where Jesus died to pay for the sin that warps and distorts what we were meant to be. And He forgives you, He cleans you up, He moves inside you and starts to make you what you were created to be.
    I hope you've had that day when you've turned your life over to Him. One event, asking Christ in, changes everything. By the way, if you've never done that, let me invite you to join me at our website ANewStory.com. Let's get this taken care of today - ANewStory.com.
    See, if you've pinned your hopes on Jesus, you're being re-built. You're being remodeled by the Master Carpenter. Maybe this catches you on a day when you're feeling discouraged, or defeated, or small. But Jesus is changing you. He isn't finished with you yet. He sees the mess, but He sees beyond it. Thank Him that He sees a rock. No matter what anyone else has seen, He's making something beautiful out of your life.


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    October 3, 2022 When the Devil Pulls Your String - #9321


    When you have young grandchildren, hey, you're back in the toy business again. And sure enough, man, have we had a closet full of toys that, contrary to some vicious rumors, are not mine. They are there for the grandchildren. And they quickly learn to relocate those toys from the closet to our living room every time they would visit. One of them is this furry blue puppet with bulging eyes - good old Cookie Monster of Sesame Street fame. You know him. And he's got this string in his back. When you pull it, he starts chewing and moving his arms and uttering his trademark phrase: "Cookie. Me want cookie!" Pull the string again and he'll say the same thing again. No matter how many times you pull that string, he's going to do the "cookie" thing every time.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "When the Devil Pulls Your String."
    You pull that puppet's string, and he'll respond the same way every time. Now the sad thing is that's exactly what happens when Satan pulls our string - we act like this puppet. We respond in the same old sinful, destructive way almost every time�until you cut his string. We've got some insight into how to do that in 1 Samuel 17, beginning with verse 16, our word for today from the Word of God. You may recognize that as being the chapter about David and Goliath.
    The Jewish army and the Philistine army are at a standoff, and their armies are each holding a hill on opposite sides of this valley. The Philistines send out their nine-foot giant every day to challenge the Jews to send out some champion to fight him - with the people of the loser serving the people of the winner from then on. Every day the giant tries to make them afraid; every day the Jewish soldiers run for cover. Goliath's tactics, well they actually mirror our enemy's tactics. We can discover here the ways that Satan gets you to do whatever he wants you to do every time he pulls those old strings.
    Verse 16 says, "For 40 days the Philistine came forward�and took his stand." Tactic #1 to keep you in a pattern of defeat - persistent attacks. Satan just keeps hammering, pulling that string that has always worked before, stalking, tempting, twisting your feelings until you finally do again what you've always done. Here's a second way your enemy can get you to do what he wants - Goliath says in verse 9, "If I overcome him" - that's whoever the Jews send against him - "and kill him, you will become our subjects." Second enemy tactic - raise the stakes. The devil gets his way by saying, "Look at all you have to lose if you don't give in. The stakes are too high this time to do it God's way."
    Well, young David finally steps up to the challenge, and he takes on the enemy. But his older brothers, who are part of that cowering army, accuse him of being "conceited" and "wicked" and coming there for the wrong reasons. Even the king says, "You are only a boy." Tactic #3: discouragement from your fellow soldiers. Ever had that happen; cowardice, criticism, negativity? They're contagious, and they're Satan's favorite tool to discourage a believer - another believer. Don't fall for it. One other string your enemy loves to pull: lies about who you are. As David challenged the giant, he mocked David's youth, his pitiful weapons, and he said "I'll give your flesh to the birds" (verse 44). Satan's gotten you to do what he wants over and over by getting you to believe lies about who you are.
    You've responded to the enemy pulling the same old strings long enough haven't you? Do what David did - don't be compliant. Be defiant against your enemy! David said to him, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty" (verses 45, 47). God says, "Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). It's time you defied that enemy in the conquering name of your Jesus. It's time you say, "Go ahead, pull my string. But because I've got Jesus on my side, I am not going to do what I've always done before. I am not your puppet anymore!"


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    September 30, 2022 How to Melt a Frozen Heart - #9320


    Snow I can handle, I grew up with it okay. But ice - that's another story. Driving on that slick stuff, walking on it - that's just downright treacherous. Some of the most dangerous winter weather I ever experienced was a few years ago. There was a series of ice storms that dumped this triple layer of ice on every surface in our area. And then the temperature was stuck below freezing for nearly two weeks, so we did some fancy-dancin' for a while. One thing I was glad we had, though, was a stock of that ice-melting compound, those little crystals that you scatter on the ice. And slowly but surely it starts to soften that slippery stuff and then it starts to melt it. And when there's hard ice everywhere, man, that's a breakthrough!
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How to Melt a Frozen Heart."
    It's not easy to melt the ice that's frozen over a sidewalk. It's even tougher to melt the ice that's frozen over someone's heart. That hard, frozen heart might be yours right now, and it might be the frigid condition of the heart of someone you know. Any hard or frozen heart is something that can cause a lot of injury and that can be holding inside a pile of hurt.
    When a hurt turns cold and hard, it can destroy a marriage, a friendship, a longtime relationship. It can destroy a church, a child, a parent. A heart can even turn hard toward God. And a thick layer of ice around our heart means we essentially shut out the voice and the love of the person that we've frozen out. Probably because we perceive that they've wronged us or hurt us. But a hard heart is a wall for those on the outside and it's a prison for the person who's carrying that block of ice on the inside.
    The thick ice around any heart; it can be melted, but not by us. Because we can't get in there. But God can. And He has a promise that someone listening today needs to hear and to claim, either on your behalf or on behalf of someone you care about. It's in Ezekiel 36:26-27. It's our word for today from the Word of God. The Lord says: "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you" - maybe you want to put the name of someone you care about here - "I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit in you..." Maybe you're thinking of someone whose heart has turned hard and frozen. Maybe you even want to even put their name in that verse that God will do that for them.
    A few months ago a dear friend talked with me about his anguish over his wife's leaving him and her announcement she was going to get a divorce. She refused to even take his calls. This couple is having a powerful ministry in their community. So, we prayed together. We defiantly claimed this promise on her behalf and on his, and a few days ago we talked again. He was more humble, more gentle, more tender than I've ever heard him. He said, "Hey, Ron, we're talking now and we're getting close."
    See, that's nothing less than a miraculous answer to specific prayer. God is melting the ice around two frozen hearts. He wants to do that for you. He wants to do that for someone you know who has shut down and frozen up. Will you believe Him for His ice-melting miracle? As you pray, He may very well show you things that He wants you to do, things He wants you to change. They may be part of what has created the ice. Tell Him, "Lord, here's my heart. Take it wherever You want it to go."
    And then open yourself up to the warmth of His love, and His grace, and His goodness, and His amazing ability to do whatever it takes to get our attention. Pray that for someone else's frozen heart. And you may want to add those words I so often add to a desperate prayer, "Lord, whatever it takes, within Your will."
    Then let God do what only He can do. Don't accept what should never be accepted - ice around a human heart. It is so treacherous. God's fire and God's warmth can melt the ice that no one else can penetrate. He's done it so many times before. He can do it again.


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    September 29, 2022 Black and White and Jackie Robinson - #9319


    I was 12 years old. I was on a Southern vacation with my folks. I've never forgotten those signs I saw on the bathrooms: "Colored" "White."
    See, we didn't have those signs in the racially mixed neighborhood where I grew up, so I didn't have a file folder for "colored" and "white." Jackie Robinson did. As America's first black baseball player in the Major Leagues, the baseball field was a battlefield. Before President Truman integrated the military, before Rosa Parks, and before Dr. King, Jackie faced a firestorm of brutal insults, racial taunts, and death threats. But he passed the test, and he helped open a door that helped change a nation.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Black and White and Jackie Robinson."
    America was talking a lot about Jackie Robinson not too long ago. Thanks to the movie titled after his number - "42." We were discovering there the powerful human drama behind a decisive victory in America's long journey to racial equality and two brands of courage that are in short supply these days. Courage that is still game-changing in a family, or an office, a church, a school, on a team, in a neighborhood.
    Branch Rickey - he was the Brooklyn Dodgers' General Manager in the mid 1940s - had the courage to sign Jackie Robinson. And in so doing, he shattered baseball's color barrier. His was the courage to defy a culture that's just plain got it wrong.
    And, man, do we need that courage today to defy a messed-up "normal." Like letting children do and see and listen to what's popular but poisonous. Joining in - or just condoning by our silence - the gossip and the backstabbing. Compromising the divinely established fence around sex called marriage.
    Accepting that a certain amount of deceit and surrendered integrity is "just the way it's done these days." Or even today's more subtle - but just as destructive - versions of prejudice. Branch Rickey displayed the courage to defy the ugliness around him. Jackie Robinson displayed the courage to deny the ugliness inside us.
    In a fateful three-hour meeting in the Dodgers' front office, Rickey told Jackie Robinson, "I'm looking for a man with guts enough not to fight back." And he showed him the words of Jesus: "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the cheek, turn to him the other also" (Matthew 5:38-39).
    That's what Jackie Robinson did time and time again, and he opened a door no one could shut. In the face of endless provocation, he refused to succumb to the anger and the retaliating that was boiling inside. One man had the courage to defy a widely-accepted wrong. The other had the courage to deny his right to fight back, lash out, and hurt those who hurt him. That doesn't come naturally. It's got to come supernaturally.
    Branch Rickey made it plain to everyone that the Bible was his playbook and Jesus was his Manager. Jackie had a history of doing damage to white people who insulted him, until a black pastor showed him a Jesus whose love really changes a man; a Jesus who didn't just talk about forgiving. He did it all the way to the cross where He died so we could conquer our inner ugliness called sin. That's who Jackie downloaded when he got on his knees every night to find the strength to do another day; a very personal, personal Savior.
    See, Jesus is the One of whom the Bible says in our word for today from the Word of God in Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." See, He changes a man from the inside out so that a man can change his world.
    When you open your life to Jesus, you start to act like Jesus. He changes you in ways you could never change yourself. If you would like to experience that for yourself and the difference Jesus can make, join me at our website, ANewStory.com. You might be ready for a new beginning.


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    September 28, 2022 The High Cost of Christians Divided - #9318


    I think we all have awful memories of the painful scenes at Ground Zero in the rubble of the World Trade Center after September 11. I was kind of close to that because of our years in the New York area and even the people we knew in that building. And the firemen, policemen, emergency personnel, combing through the wreckage for their fallen brothers and sisters. You can remember. They would pause for a moment of silent tribute as the remains of one of them would be carried out. But at a time when there was talk of reducing the number of workers at the site, I saw a scene that was painful in a different way. Tempers flaring in the raw emotions of that moment, and some of those firefighters and police who had been fighting together to save or find people in the rescue and recovery effort were suddenly fighting with one another at Ground Zero.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The High Cost of Christians Divided."
    The moment was short-lived, but it still hurt to see it; people who on September 11, and the days that followed, had been so united in trying to rescue the dying, were now fighting with each other. Let me tell you, that kind of heartache is something God's been all too familiar with for a long time. His people, who should be united in an all-out effort to rescue the spiritually dying, are instead battling one another. That's not a new issue.
    Way back in Philippians 4:2 and 3, our word for today from the Word of God, Paul was writing about some rescuers who had turned on each other. "I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. (These two women had been co-workers of Paul's.) Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life."
    Now, notice, when these women were actively involved in what Paul calls "the cause of the gospel" - in other words, getting the life-or-death message of Jesus to people - they were together. But when they drifted away from the rescue mission of Jesus, they stopped contending for the Gospel and started contending with each other. That's still happening today.
    Rescue unites God's people. When believers, when a church, when a ministry is focused on rescuing the spiritually dying whatever it takes, there's no time to battle with each other. We're too busy battling for the lives of the lost people around us. There was no conflict between those New York police and firefighters when they were in that wreckage desperately working together to bring some people out alive. Turf, ego and divisive issues: they're just not important when people are dying.
    But so many of us, so many of our churches, are focused on ourselves rather than on those who are dying all around us spiritually. And, when we start focusing on our issues, our kingdoms, our distinctives, our likes and dislikes, our agendas, our opinions, we start bickering, forming cliques, power blocks, criticizing our brothers and sisters, and elevating things that are relatively trivial to being way too important. Important enough to even fight over, to split over.
    Remember this: rescue unites - self-focus divides. It's a sad scene when the people who are supposed to be rescuers start turning on each other. You see, while God's spiritual rescuers are battling with each other, we're losing the battle for people who will die if we don't get to them. We have to fight for them, not fight against each other!


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    September 27, 2022 God's Magnificent Magnet - #9317


    When we were living in New Jersey, boy, Giants Stadium - it was a mecca in northern New Jersey. At that time, 70,000 people. before the new stadium was built, were... I mean it's bigger now. But, boy, that's a lot of people descending on the Giants football game; cars clogging every artery anywhere near the stadium. And I was one of those crazy people sometimes! All across the New York area, countless others did nothing that afternoon but watch television to see what was going on there at the Meadowlands. It was like that stadium had a giant magnet inside it, with the power to pull multitudes of people to focus on one place and one event.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "God's Magnificent Magnet."
    For 2,000 years, there's been a magnet that has captured the hearts of millions of people, pulling people from every generation, every background, every corner of the world to one man. That man is Jesus Christ, and that magnet is an old rugged cross on a hill called Skull Hill, just outside the gates of Jerusalem. Even in our day, one of Hollywood's great blockbuster movies was "The Passion of the Christ," a vivid portrayal of the death of Jesus; the power of that cross to still move millions of people.
    That should come as no surprise really. Jesus said it would happen before He ever died. In John 12:32-33, our word for today from the Word of God, Jesus said, "When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to Myself." Then the Bible goes on to explain His meaning: "He said this to show the kind of death He was going to die." So, Jesus said, "If I am lifted up on a cross, I'll draw people to Myself."
    And, sure enough, for twenty centuries, His love poured out on that tree, has melted the hardest hearts and brought hope to the most hopeless hearts. If many people aren't being drawn to Him, maybe it's because those of us who know Him have been lifting up something other than Jesus and His cross; like our church, our politics, our causes.
    Since that brutal day on Skull Hill, a lot has happened. Churches have been built in Jesus' name, a religion bearing His name has spread across the world, rituals and creeds and ceremonies have grown up around His teachings. A lot of good, and too much that wasn't good, has been done in His name. But a trip back to that blood-stained cross strips away all the Christianity that has grown up around Christ over the centuries, and it takes us back to what the central issue is for you and me.
    It's you; it's me standing at the foot of that cross, looking into the face of the Son of God. It's you or me watching the blood trickle down from a crown of thorns jammed into His forehead; the spikes in His hands and feet. Beyond all the religious things you've done in His name, beyond those Christians who may have hurt you or confused you, beyond all the facts about Jesus that you have in your head - there's that man dying on that cross. And there's you, one of the people He's dying for, to pay for every wrong thing you've ever done. Your eternity will not be decided by what you do with Christianity. It will be decided by what you do with Christ.
    This very day, I invite you to walk with me up Skull Hill, to stand there and say the two words that are the difference between heaven and hell, "for me." Maybe you've missed that decisive step of actually giving yourself to the Man who died for you, of abandoning your trust in anything else to make it with God and you put all your trust in Jesus. Tell Him today, "Jesus, you died for me. I can trust you. I'm Yours." And you won't just be believing in Jesus. You'll finally belong to Him.
    If that's what you want, I invite you to visit our website. I've got a very simple explanation there of how to get started with Jesus. It's ANewStory.com. That's the web address.
    On the day you stand before God, there's only one thing He's going to ask you. "What did you do with My Son and His death for you on that cross?" Please, get that settled today.


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    September 26, 2022 The Power of Together - #9316


    They advertised a special on "flying sharks." And the TV channel didn't disappoint the people who tuned in. They showed an island off the coast of South Africa where great white sharks jump as much as 15 feet in the air with their prey, and the seals are their meal du jour. The area around this island is called the "Ring of Death"...and a whole lot of seals would agree. No one knows exactly why the sharks there get airborne as they do. It's apparently the only place on earth where they behave like this. But the TV special showed real footage of a shark suddenly coming up underneath an unsuspecting seal, grabbing it in his jaws, and soaring into the air with his catch. Now the seals have learned something about these jumping jaws. The sharks seldom attack when they're traveling together. So they tend to stay in groups of seven or eight. Smart! But occasionally a stubborn seal will just go off on his own. And the scientists say when a seal goes off by itself, he is just asking to be shark lunch.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Power of Together."
    There's a powerful lesson to be learned from those seals who live in the "Ring of Death." You want to avoid being your enemy's prey, stay with the pack!
    We know from 1 Peter 5:8 that you and I have an enemy, the devil, who is "looking for someone to devour." And I'm convinced that he operates much like those sharks - he looks for someone who's off on their own and pounces on them. You're a lot less vulnerable as long as you're sticking close to your spiritual brothers and sisters, and to your family. The problem is that right now maybe you're allowing yourself to be isolated, distant, and even cut off from people who love you and people you love. The shark from hell loves that.
    The first followers of Christ were living in a "ring of death" in Jerusalem after Jesus' death, resurrection, and return to heaven. But they knew one of the great secrets of safety and strength. In our word for today from the Word of God, Acts 2, beginning with verse 42, the Bible says, "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts." Did you notice the key word here? Together. Right! They stayed together, and it was very difficult for any predator to get them.
    So, here's the question. Have you allowed some walls, some distance, some resistance to develop between you and the people you've been close to? Maybe you've been wounded, maybe there's been misunderstanding, poor communication, some careless words spoken, a lot of frustration, maybe you didn't get your way. Or maybe you're just hurting or struggling and you don't want people to see you like this.
    For whatever reason, you're like one of those seals. You're away from the protection of your brothers and sisters. Remember, God said way back in the Garden of Eden, "It is not good for man to be alone." That's still true. And you're allowing yourself to be way too alone. Shark bait! Out there by yourself. And that's where Satan can get you to believe all kinds of lies, get you to fall for all kinds of temptations, and get you to do all kinds of things you never thought you'd do.
    Please, whatever your reasons for isolating yourself, get back to your family, get back to God's fellowship, get back to the church, get back to those you were serving the Lord with. You just can't afford to be swimming out there all by yourself. The sharks of hell love it when they can get you alone. So don't give them that opportunity to strike.


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    September 23, 2022 The Danger of Waiting - #9315


    Okay, I'm traveling. I get off the road because it's lunch time. I have a choice. My vehicle is empty, and I'm empty. Which one shall I fill up first? Well, there's a gas station on one side of the road; a restaurant on the other. Guess which one I fill up first? Yep, me. So, I went in, ordered my food. Looking out the window, I noticed that the attendant over there was changing the sign out in front. Does this sound familiar? He's posting a new gasoline price, and it's several cents higher per gallon than the price it had been a few minutes earlier. Oh, you can believe that can't you?. That was a costly choice.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Danger of Waiting."
    Now, our word for today from the Word of God, James 1:15, and there's a sobering equation here. Listen to the sequence of events, "After desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin. And sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death." This verse describes the escalation in the cost of sin. First it's a desire, you're just thinking about it. Then you begin to do it. Then you do it some more, and sin ultimately will kill everything that really matters, because when it is full grown it will give birth to death.
    When I waited to fill up with gas and I waited to take care of things, it cost me more. Sin is like that. The longer you wait to deal with that sinful compromise; that dark corner in your life, the more it's going to cost you. And after you're done you say, "Well, man, why did I do that? I shouldn't do that any more; I feel so crummy when I do." Oh, it's not that you haven't thought about cleaning things up, but you're still doing it dishonestly, you're still doing it immorally, you're still doing it selfishly, bitterly. I want to urge you now, deal with it today. Why?
    Well, first, because that sin will never be smaller than it is now. Every day you wait, it strengthens its grip on your heart. And it will, inevitably, follow the biblical sequence: desire will become sin, and sin will become death. It will never be easier to change than it is today. Fight it when it's the smallest it will ever be. And that is right now!
    Secondly, deal with it now because it's going to be doing more and more damage. There was a prominent preacher whose sexual problems brought great embarrassment to the name of Christ. He had reportedly struggled with pornography since he had been a teenage boy. And the Devil let him get away with it for years and years. The Devil always does this. And then he waits until it will do the maximum damage to the most people, and he yanks your chain and says, "See, you were never getting away with it."
    Maybe you feel like you're getting away with it right now, and all the while the Devil is just raising the price on the pump. It will cost you in your reputation, your relationships, in your distance from God, in the slavery that it creates And the worst of all, God's judgment.
    The Bible says that "man is destined to die once, and after this the judgment." And when you and I stand before God with an appointment we don't know when it's scheduled, and we can't really postpone or cancel it. When we have that appointment with God, there we will stand to answer for the sin of a lifetime. Unless it has been forgiven and erased. Of course there is only one person who can do that. That would be the only person who died to pay for it. That would be God's Son, Jesus.
    It is so good to know that every sin of my life has been erased from God's Book, not because of what I have done, but because of what Jesus did for me by shedding His blood on the cross. And then He walked out of His grave under His own power three days later. He's alive! He waits to walk into your life and be your Savior from your sin today, and to give you the resurrection power He has so you can be free from the sin you've never been able to stop. Why don't you tell Him today, "Jesus, I'm Yours." Go to our website and there you can find how to begin that relationship with Him. The website's ANewStory.com.
    The bill's never going to be smaller than today. Victory will never be more within your reach than it is today. The cost is going up! Take care of it before the price goes up any more.


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    September 22, 2022 Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives - #9314


    Traveling with our On Eagles' Wings team of young Native Americans, we had an opportunity to make an interesting scenic stop at the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River; except the Mississippi isn't very mighty at that point. Now I've crossed the Mississippi many times - you know, over long bridges that span the "Father of Waters" at places like St. Louis and Memphis and it's impressive. But not where it begins. No, after walking this little trail through the woods, you come to this very unimpressive little stream. Actually, "stream" is probably a compliment. It's sort of an overgrown puddle at that point. I mean, you can easily wade through the shallow water. You can walk through the Mississippi without even getting very wet. That's at the headwaters. And it takes less than a minute to walk across, or through, the Mississippi. But as it flows down its 2,500-mile course to the south, something amazing happens to this humble little puddle. But who would ever guess that just standing there looking at where it comes from?
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives."
    The Mississippi River is actually a living example of how God loves to work. Something very big comes from something very small. Something very impressive comes from something very unimpressive. It's how He makes mighty rivers...and mighty lives.
    Paul expressed these strange ways of God in 1 Corinthians 1, beginning with verse 26. It's our word for today from the Word of God. He says, "Think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong...so that no one may boast before Him." No kidding. God loves to make something great out of something, or someone, that seems small and unimpressive, because it's obvious to everyone, then, that God has to get all the glory.
    The Old Testament spells out this same principle in Ecclesiastes 9:11. It says, "The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong..." See, we have a God who delights in surprising the world with who He uses, what He uses for great things. Maybe you feel pretty inadequate. You say, "I don't have much to give." Maybe you feel that you're like terminally average or terminally uncool - an unlikely candidate for God to use mightily. Hey, you're His type! He loves to start big things from little churches, for example. Revelation describes seven churches, some of which are big and rich - none of which God will use. But He says to the church that has, in His words, "little strength," "I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut."
    See, God loves to use small, unseen acts of kindness that we do to start great things. He loves to take a little seed that we sow quietly in someone's life and do a miracle through it one day. He looks for people who aren't full of themselves, who know their only real asset is their God, to be in the middle of awesome things that He wants us to do. And all these years, He's been feeding into your life the tributaries that increased the strength of your Mississippi.
    You've been growing in spiritual strength and power, maybe you haven't even realized it. And now He's ready to enlarge your territory, to lead you into something really important for Him, to use you beyond your wildest dreams. Unless you just settle for being a puddle when He wants to make you a mighty river that touches many lives.
    The world may look at you and see an unimpressive little pond or a little puddle. But God has great plans for you if you'll let Him take you where He wants you to go. As you go with His flow, He will take you from your humble beginning to being a mighty river for Him.


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    September 21, 2022 Your Mission Lives Depend On - #9313


    I got this wonderful letter from Mark, who was a teenager in one of my Campus Life Clubs a looong time ago. He was reflecting on those high school years and his summer job as a lifeguard. I'll just quote from his letter. He said, "Lots of city folk who couldn't swim came out to our beach, and we went in many, many times for them. I was paranoid that I'd lose someone on my watch and we never did." Then he went on to describe another nearby beach as a place where "suburban trained swimmers go. They did lose a child when no one else was looking."
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Your Mission Lives Depend On."
    There was a reason Mark wrote to me about his lifeguard experiences. He put it in the context of how hard it was to get the folks in his church involved in being spiritual rescuers for the lost and dying people in their own world. Pouring out his heart, my friend said, "I can't think in terms of not reaching my neighbors, my co-workers, and the people I run into for Jesus."
    My friend understands something a lot of us forget all too easily - that every believer in Jesus Christ is God's lifeguard on their stretch of beach. And just like the lifeguard job, the stakes of doing it or not doing it are life-or-death.
    Our word for today from the Word of God, which makes it crystal clear, in Ezekiel 33:6 God says, "If the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood." God reinforces the seriousness of our assignment again in verse 8, "When I say to the wicked, 'You wicked man, you will surely die,' and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood."
    If the watchman of the city knows the people of the city are in mortal danger and does nothing about it, isn't the watchman accountable for their blood? If the lifeguard knows that someone is in danger of drowning and does nothing about it, he's accountable. If you know someone who's in eternal danger because they don't really understand what Jesus did on the cross for them, you're accountable for their blood.
    When Jesus sees the people in your neighborhood, where you work, where you go to school, where you exercise, the club, He sees them through a rescuer's eye, which sees dying people. And He does whatever it takes to give them a chance to live. Would you ask Jesus to help you see what He sees when He looks at the people around you? This stretch of beach is up to you. He's given you an eternal responsibility for the people there. If they go down forever, will it be like my lifeguard friend said, "because no one was looking"?
    Would you pray daily for a natural way to tell those dear people about your Jesus? I suggest what I call the 3-open prayer. "Lord, open a door." That means the Lord will give you a natural opportunity to bring up the difference Jesus makes in your life. "Lord, open a door." And then, "Lord, open their heart." Get them ready to hear what you're asking me to tell them. And then, "Lord, open my mouth." Give me the words. Give me the approach. Give me the tone that I need. Give me the courage to say it.
    Get closer to them so you're in a position to rescue them. You can't rescue them from a distance. Love them as Jesus would. Then tell them about His love.
    The price of failure, the price of looking away, the price of your fear could be a life that Jesus died to save. Somebody has got to tell them, and God's assigned you. Don't let anyone be lost on your watch because no one was watching, or because no one went in to save them.


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    September 20, 2022 A Treasure Called "Faithful" - #9312


    Our grandsons experienced an unforgettable vacation when Mom and Dad took them out West to see the Tetons, Big Sky country, and Yellowstone National Park. God made sure they got plenty of memories; the herd of buffalo that basically surrounded their vehicle, the moose that was right by the side of the road, that elk that posed patiently for all the pictures anyone wanted to take. But as impressive as all that was, nothing impressed them so much as this water that kept shooting high out of the ground. You guessed it - that amazing geyser known as Old Faithful. In fact, our older guy told his mom, "I want a geyser." We're working on that. That geyser! That really is something to see. This tower of water and steam, exploding out of the ground, high into the air, and always at the same time intervals. Well, of course, it's Old Faithful.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "A Treasure Called 'Faithful.'"
    Our grandson said he wanted an Old Faithful of his own. Well, so does God. He's looking for some "old faithfuls" He can count on. The Bible makes it clear that a lot of the things we do don't really impress God much, if at all. But there is one trait that gets His attention and triggers His blessing. It is faithfulness. Like a certain geyser, always being there, always doing what you're supposed to do when you're supposed to do it. To all of us who know someone like that, (Maybe you're thinking of someone.) those folks are the anchors of our life. To God, they are the folks He loves to reward.
    God expresses what He values in a man or woman in our word for today from the Word of God. It's not flashiness. It's not friendliness. It's faithfulness. In 1 Corinthians 4:2, He says plainly: "It is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful." Notice, He doesn't say you have to be successful - faithful. A friend of mine said, "Ron, I think I've figured out your job description: stay pure and show up." That pretty much says it. Keep pure and keep showing up. Paul put it this way in his final challenge to his son in the faith, Timothy, "Keep your head in all situations, endure hardship...discharge all the duties of your ministry" (2 Timothy 4:5).
    See, faithfulness is so valuable because it's so rare. Today people stick with a responsibility or a commitment as long as it feels good, as long as it's fun, until the novelty wears off, or so long as I'm being treated right or appreciated. But our Lord modeled something much more noble - seeing your job through, even when everyone deserts you, even when you want out, even when the world's against you, even when they nail you to a cross. He is faithfulness. That's why He wants faithfulness. The Book of Revelation says that when He makes His glorious appearance at His Second Coming, He will be the rider on the white horse who "is called Faithful and True" (Revelation 19:12).
    I hope that's what they call you. Or they will start to call you as you move from being one who's in and out of commitments to becoming one of God's "Old Faithfuls." However small your assignment, however tired you may feel, however unappreciated you are - by people that is, stay faithful.
    What an honor to be a man or woman about whom Almighty God can say, "I can count on her. I can count on him." He is looking for warriors who will continue to stay at their post, whose commitments He and others can depend on, who will finish what they started. If that's hard for you, remember that faithfulness is part of what the Bible describes as "the fruit of the Spirit" (Galatians 5:22). You can actually ask God to produce His faithfulness in you!
    And up ahead, there stands your Lord Jesus at the finish line, and listen to what He's going to reward. It's not success. He's telling His champions, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Oh, live for that, warrior!


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    September 19, 2022 Looking Christian, Really Not - #9311


    I had to stop at a convenience store on Halloween night. I was not "trick or treating." I was just trying to pay for the gas I put in my car. That's when I saw this interesting sign they had posted; it was a sign I had never seen anywhere else. It simply said, "Please remove your mask before you enter." I wasn't wearing one. But for one unhappy moment, I did remember what they used to tell me in school long after Halloween, "Hey, Ron, Halloween's over! Take off your mask." I wasn't wearing one then either. But the sign was no joke. Obviously, they didn't want someone to try to pull off a Halloween heist, wearing a mask that would conceal their identity from the security cameras. Honestly, I didn't see anyone in the store that night with a mask.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Looking Christian, Really Not."
    I can almost imagine a sign like that one at the store, being displayed at the entrance to the Throne Room of Almighty God. And that's what we enter when we pray. Can you imagine a sign there, "Please remove your mask before you enter"? See, God isn't impressed by our religious words or our religious image. He doesn't want to hear a recitation of the same tired old prayer script that we often repeat without thinking. He insists that we come as we really are - totally unmasked. The real God can only help the real you.
    The futility of pretending or masquerading before God is abundantly clear in our word for today from the Word of God. It's in Hebrews 4, beginning with verse 13. It says: "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." So it's useless to come before God pretending we feel how we're "supposed" to feel instead of how we really do feel. It's a waste of time to come with our rationalizations, our cover-ups. We are laid bare before Him.
    There's no point in putting on a tie when you're spiritually and emotionally naked before Him. Tell it all. Let it go. Be real with Him. He won't love you less. He already knows what's behind the mask that you show everybody else. You won't shock Him. You won't surprise Him, but God operates on an invitation basis. He comes into a part of your life when you open it up to Him. So He's asking you to check your mask at the door of His Throne Room and come, as the hymn says, "Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me."
    This passage goes on to tell us that "we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet without sin. Let us then approach the Throne of Grace with confidence so we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." So, come in with your burdens and leave with His grace, which is always greater than the burdens. But come honestly.
    Maybe you've prayed many times, acting as if you really belong to God, as if He's really your Father, when in fact, you've never really put all your trust in His Son, Jesus. You've never trusted Jesus to be your personal rescuer from the death penalty for your sins. You've never turned your back on the sin that killed Jesus and said, "Jesus, You're my only hope of having my sins forgiven." So while everyone around you may think you really know Him, even though you may have fooled them and maybe even yourself, for years, Jesus knows there's never been that moment of personal surrender to Him.
    He may be in your head, but not in your heart. This very day; this is the only day you're sure you'll have, you need to "remove your mask before entering." All that Christianity, that religion, leave it at the door and let God know you're just in desperate need of His Son to be your Savior. I'd love to help you with that. Just go to our website. It's ANewStory.com.
    When you come to God honestly, and you admit your need, you can begin your relationship with Him. Well, you know what? You will enter His presence lost. But you'll leave there found, and you will finally know that you belong to Jesus for real.


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    September 16, 2022 Your Prayer Decides It - #9310


    When I worked with our championship high school football team, I was there for a lot of timeouts called by the coach. And I know how important they were. He told the players what they were doing wrong, what they needed to do more of, and how to play against the other team and their weaknesses. It was a strategy for winning, actually. When you watch sports on TV, they usually run commercials during the timeout. A timeout may not be very exciting to watch, but what happens during a timeout can determine the outcome of the game.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Your Prayer Decides It."
    We're busy playing the game. We lose our perspective because we can only see things from the position we're playing. But the Coach, of course, he can see it all. It's worth it to stop the game for a little while to get the perspective of the one who's got the big picture. So, if you're a child of God, that timeout is called prayer. And we can't win without it, but we sure try.
    There is probably no more dramatic Biblical example of prayer as a non-negotiable than the story in Daniel 6, beginning with verse 10. It's our word for today from the Word of God. Daniel has so won the confidence of the Persian king, Darius - the most powerful man in the world at that time - that he is placed in a top position in the Persian government. And the word is out that he is about to be promoted as basically second-in-command to the king. He has some jealous associates, who try everything to slander Daniel and find some way to discredit him with the king. But he has so much integrity, they can't even find anything to accuse him of. But knowing Daniel is a man of prayer, they set him up by convincing the king to issue a decree that anyone who prays to anyone but him, the king, would be executed.
    Daniel's response is utterly amazing. It says, "When Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. These men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help." Even when Daniel knows it may cost him his life, he will not miss his timeout with his God. He will let nothing preempt his praying. Wow! We are pretty pitiful by comparison! We let almost anything preempt our praying; we're too busy, we're too tired, we're too wounded, or we're too distracted.
    When we don't pray our way through our day, we start to make more and more mistakes, we start fighting battles that aren't ours to fight, we start stressing out, and we start taking detours from the great plan of God. Prayer can't just be a compartment in your life where you pray in sort of prayer meetings, pray at the beginning of your day and the end of your day. Can you imagine a sports team only having a timeout with their coach at the beginning and the end of the game? You need what only He can give you throughout your day.
    So pray before you take that call. Pray before you make that call. Pray before you write that email, send that text. Pray before you start your journey. Pray before you answer. Pray before you make that commitment, Pray before you make that purchase, or before you ask someone for a date or accept that date. Pray through your day before you face your day.
    And then all through your day whisper a prayer to heaven for what's in front of you at that moment. It may only be, "Lord, give me Your wisdom" or "Lord, give me Your strength" or just "Help, Lord!" But it opens up all of heaven and all that heaven has for the moment you're facing. Get used to getting in touch with heaven all day long. Checking in regularly with your Coach could make all the difference in the final score.


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    September 15, 2022 No Man is Superman - #9309


    One Saturday morning years ago my son called me into the living room to see what was coming on television. I knew it was Saturday morning, and I thought, "Oh, great! The Smurfs! That's not my idea of a Saturday morning." Well, when I saw what it was, I dropped what I was doing, I sat down and I watched the whole thing. It was the original episode of my favorite boyhood television show, The Adventures of Superman.
    Yes, he's back! Yes, there he was again, "Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound." Ah, yes! And as it concluded, I felt a touch of sadness. Because I remembered what eventually happened to Superman; I mean the actor who played him in that series. He took his own life. You see, he was type cast. Everyone expected him to still play Superman, and he couldn't be Superman for the rest of his life. No man can.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "No Man is Superman."
    You know, it was kind of a Superman syndrome that every American male grows up with. Not that he has to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but almost. See, if you're a modern, macho male, you're supposed to show no pain, no weakness, no tears, no tenderness. You're always playing a Superman role that says, "Hey, I'm fine. I can handle it, man. I've got everything under control." Then one day all the feelings that you've denied explode.
    There's an Old Testament superman, and 2 Kings 5 gives us our word for today from the Word of God that describes Naaman, a commander of the Syrian army. It says, "He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy." See, underneath his cape, so to speak, there was this fatal flaw. He was dying, but he was determined to still be in control. He knows that there's a man, a prophet named Elijah, in Israel who can cure him. But he tries to keep control as long as he can. He tries to use politics to get cured; he tries to use money to buy a cure. Finally, he's told to bathe in the Jordan River; the dirty, muddy, stinking Jordan River; take off all his clothes, all his medals, all his Superman stuff, and be humble and weak.
    Well, he'd almost rather be dead than weak. He says, "'Aren't the rivers of Damascus (where he was from) better than any waters of Israel?' So he went off in a rage. Naaman's servants went out to him and said, 'My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, "Wash and be cleansed!" So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy."
    See, there was no healing for Superman Naaman until he was willing to quit being Superman, and the same is true for you and me. Maybe you're a guy trying to be so strong, so together, so in charge, but you're dying inside. Would you take off your big letter "S" and your cape? Open up to God. Open up to a friend. Open up to your wife. Open up to your children, to a counselor. Be courageous enough to face your real feelings. That's not a sign of weakness; it's a sign of strength.
    You've gone too long being a wounded man who has no place to bleed. You can't always be Superman! You were never meant to be. When you admit you're weak, you've never been stronger. And maybe it is that guy pride that's kept you from opening up your life to the God who became a man - Jesus, who caused the guys who followed Him to say, "This is the one cause I can lay down my life for. He's worth it all!" They found in Him the freedom to be who they really were.
    Would you today be willing to say, "Lord, I was never meant to control my life. I can't any longer. I am yours. You died for me. I know you love me. You're powerful enough to walk out of your grave. I surrender my life to You." Man, when you've done that, you've made your way into true manhood.
    Go to our website today. Check it out for yourself. There's the information you need - ANewStory.com. There you can meet the ultimate man, Jesus, who makes you and me into the man we were meant to be.


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    September 14, 2022 Why You Are Where You Are - #9308


    For some reason, for over a century, people are still intrigued with the Titanic. I mean, it hit an iceberg and it sank over a century ago, and there have been a handful of big screen movies made. And the story - then it was made into two television miniseries. There have been explorations of the wreckage, even sales of pieces of coal from the Titanic.
    It's hard to get that image out of our minds isn't it? The proudest ship ever built. It was supposed to be unsinkable, and on her maiden voyage she sank; haunting images of her disappearing into the icy waters of the Atlantic. Over 1,500 people died that night. It wasn't, of course, that the Titanic didn't try to get help. They set off flares. They radioed an SOS. And the signal was picked up by a ship called the California. Historians for a while thought the California was about 20 miles away that night - too far away to help. That was until we learned exactly where the Titanic went down.
    Looking at the location of the California that night and the location of the Titanic revealed something very disturbing. It turns out that the California was only about five miles away! Which means they were close enough to save people. And they just didn't respond.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Why You Are Where You Are."
    The passengers on the Titanic did not have to die, many of them. There were people close enough that could have saved them; those who were in the water, you know, in their life jackets. They were still alive after the boat went down. But there were those people that rowed off in their lifeboats with room still in them for others, and they left the others in the water to die ultimately from hypothermia.
    They were in a position to save those people! That tragedy is not unique to the night the Titanic went down, because it's happening all the time spiritually.
    Here's our word for today from the Word of God, Matthew 9:36-37. "When Jesus saw the crowds, He had compassion on them..." By the way, in the Greek language, it means He felt something way down deep inside him, and it says He felt that "because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." His heart broke over these lost people. Then He gave this heartbreaking scenario, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few."
    Of course, the harvest that He is talking about is people. Like harvest crops, they're ready. And folks today are probably more ready for Jesus than they've ever been. They don't know they are, but inside their soul, and their family, and all around them; the kind of world we're living in, there are issues that can only be fixed one way - by a Savior like Jesus.
    But also like harvest crops, if you don't get to them in time, they will die. Or just like those people who died the night the Titanic went down. The greatest heartbreak for Jesus isn't that those people are dying. It's that they wouldn't have to die if only some of His people would get to them with the life-saving message about Jesus; the message you have in your heart. He's got lots of lost people ready to hear about Him. His problem is His own people. He can't get us to go in for the rescue!
    God's assigned you to a neighborhood, a workplace, a school, a gym, a social circle to put you in a position to represent Jesus there. That's why you're there. With your life, but also with your words. See, people aren't going to figure out that Jesus took their place on the cross just by watching your life. You have to tell them that!
    So you are, like that ship the California, close enough to rescue these people. In fact, you may be closer to some lost person than any other Christian on earth. They're more likely to listen to you than anybody, as imperfect, as inadequate as you may be. The Bible is crystal clear that people who die with their sins unforgiven cannot go to heaven and they will die eternally. And only the Savior, Jesus, who died for their sins can forgive their sins. And you know that.
    This is the Jesus you know. He is the Jesus they need. This is life-or-death stuff. You're in a position to rescue someone from a life on earth without a Savior and from a hopeless eternity. To do nothing? It's tragically - it's eternally - wrong.


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    September 13, 2022 Feeling Unlovable - #9307


    Another sad story from the "entertainment capital of the world." A lot of that goes on behind all the Hollywood hype.
    The sadness behind the stardom hit me again when I read about something that happened to a woman who at times, has been the highest-paid actress in Hollywood. She's been married to two of Hollywood's biggest actors; she's been a cover girl on national magazines. And then she was the subject of a friend's urgent 911 call. She was rushed to the hospital for her reaction to the dangerous drugs she was using.
    Her own words in a recent interview I think reveal the hurting heart behind the glamor. She said, "What scares me is that I'm going to ultimately find out at the end of my life that I'm really not loveable; that there's something fundamentally wrong with me." I thought, sadly, a lot of us non-celebrity types hear those words and think, "I know the feeling."
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Feeling Unlovable."
    We've all had disappointing relationships - people who've made us feel like we weren't "worth loving." Experiences that have caused us to conclude that there's "something wrong with me." We know the ugliness behind our smiling facade. I know all too well the things about me that are anything but loveable.
    We're made to be loved. Literally, made by God to be loved. Loved by Him. Love with two words attached that give our lonely hearts one safe harbor - unconditional, and unloseable.
    His love isn't "I love you if..." or "I love you because..." It's just, "I love you." His love for me is all about Him and nothing about me. How do I know? Because He says in His Book, "God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were yet sinners." That's our word for today from the Word of God in Romans 5:8.
    God initiated the greatest act of love in the history of this planet when He sent His Son to die an unspeakable death on a cross. Not because I was so loveable, but because I was so lost. I'm a rebel against God. I defy the One who runs the universe by refusing to let Him run me. According to the Bible, we're all rebels, dissing His laws, acting like we're God, breaking the heart of God.
    But still He loves us. He offered up His Son to do the dying for my rebellion. As the Bible says, "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son" (John 3:16). Love without conditions; love that has nothing to do with your performance or your lovableness. It is love like no other.
    And since it's all about Him and not about you or me, it's unloseable love. If God was ever going to turn His back on me, it would have been when His Son was hanging on that cross. But He turned His back on His Son, who was carrying our sin, so He would never have to turn His back on us. So, in the Bible's words, "nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39).
    His is the only love in the world that will never disappoint you, never divorce you, never die on you. It's a love that you can finally begin to experience for yourself if you will respond to that love and say, "Jesus, nobody loves me like You do. You died on that cross for me. You're powerful enough to walk out of Your grave and into my life, and I want You to do that today. I am Yours starting today."
    At our website I've tried to lay out there as simply and briefly as I could how to be sure you know Jesus. Let me urge you to go there today. That website is ANewStory.com.
    I think of the mistakes we make and the hurt we experience looking for this love anywhere else. The little kids singing their little church song, they "get" it: "Jesus loves me, this I know." You know that when you finally open your heart to His love. And your lifetime search for love ends in the welcoming arms of Jesus.


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    September 12, 2022 When You Can't See Through the Fog - #9306


    Even though I was really busy speaking at a conference, I was blessed with this beautiful mountain cabin as my accommodation while I was there. The best time, and about the only time I could enjoy it, was early in the morning. This cabin has a large porch. And from it you can see these majestic forest views, this awe-inspiring tapestry of green mountains and deep valleys. As I stepped out onto that porch one morning, the scenery had undergone a significant makeover. The fog was winning, and I watched as these large clouds of fog billowed up. First they filled the valley below and then steadily rose to totally obscure the mountains. It looked almost as if the mountains were being consumed by the fog. So, the morning light from the sun that should have been illuminating the area by that time was nowhere to be seen. Well, briefly. Because you know what happened. The sun continued to rise behind that conquering fog, and in a short time, that fog began to quickly shrink and pretty soon it was gone.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "When You Can't See Through the Fog."
    The fog ultimately never really stands a chance; it's no match for the inevitable victory of the sun in a majestic mountain landscape, or in the dark moments of your life and mine. And maybe you're in one of those seasons right now. It's been a time of loss, and grief, doubt, confusion, maybe a prodigal loved one, or just no answers. Maybe you've been walking through a fog where it just seems like evil seems to be winning and injustice seems to be prevailing. The fog has rolled into your life and it's obscured things that you once were really sure of and it's covered the joy you once had with a sense of sadness and fear and apprehension and maybe even thoughts of giving up.
    But if you belong to the Sovereign Lord, the One who rules the galaxies and cares about your daily bread, the fog cannot ultimately win! The sun of God's power and love on your life is more powerful than any fog in your valley, no matter how dense, no matter how stubborn that fog may seem to be. Psalm 84:11 promises that "the Lord God is a sun and a shield...no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless."
    And in our word for today from the Word of God, you've got five hope-filled words straight from your Father's heart to yours. They're in Psalm 112:4 - "Even in darkness light dawns." All right, let's get the context of that promise for every foggy day. "Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man." So don't let the darkness change the kind of person you are. Your mission is to keep on being gracious, keep on being upright, and keep on being compassionate. Don't let the light inside you go out. Psalm 112 goes on to say: "Good will come to him...surely he will never be shaken...he will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord...in the end he will look in triumph on his foes."
    Bottom line: the fog that seems so impenetrable right now actually stands no chance against the rising sun of your Lord's breakthrough. The evil may have its hour of filling your horizon, but the Son is going to win! The grief will not last forever. Your prodigal will one day be carried home on the shoulders of the Good Shepherd. The doubts you're having in the darkness will not change what you heard from God when it was light. The answers you need will break through your confusion and struggle. The sadness of the fog is going to succumb to the joy of God's much more powerful sunlight.
    Yes, the fog's been billowing up. Yes, it's been filling your view and maybe even making you forget the sun sometimes. But the fog can never ultimately win. Don't lose hope now. Don't stop trusting now. Don't stop doing what you know is right just because the fog has rolled in. The light may have been delayed, but there's no way it can be canceled. The sun's coming up, and the fog doesn't stand a chance!


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    September 9, 2022 Urgent Messages From the Towers - #9305


    A friend called that morning and said, "Ron, You should turn on the TV. An airplane just hit one of the World Trade Center towers." There was no file folder in my heart for what I was about to see. I quickly found a news channel. And from that moment on, I did not turn it off.
    My wife and I were in Manhattan, in that area not long before, and we were friends with a lot of people who worked in Manhattan. We'd been occasional visitors to the observation deck atop the Trade Center, and we watched one horrific event after another unfold before our eyes that day. And when the towers collapsed in that killer cloud of dust, we couldn't contain the tears. Neither could the TV reporters who, for those gut-wrenching moments, lost their journalist's detachment and they melted with all of us. They were stunned and shocked - disbelief.
    And I prayed. I was groping for what to say and what to pray. And I found myself praying, "Lord, would You please help me see this through Your eyes? What are You seeing in this tragedy that's just too big for our hearts to handle?" And in the hours that followed, I believe He answered my prayer. And what I saw - beyond the unspeakable events that raked our souls - has stuck with me for over a decade. Every year, watching those deeply moving remembrances of the events at "Ground Zero," the echoes reverberate again in my heart. "Make every day count with the people you love."
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Urgent Messages From the Towers."
    All those heart-rending cell phone calls from hijacked planes and burning buildings were pretty much about one thing - "I love you." Who can know now that this day might be our last day to ashure people that we know that we love them. It's not good enough to just leave our dear ones on an "I love you till further notice" basis.
    Each of them needs to know it, and feel it today. The psalmist said, "Teach us to number our days aright" (Psalm 90:1). Live and love like today is all you've got, because someday it will be.
    Ask the "make a difference" question. A lot of folks did after they saw so many lives end so suddenly before our eyes. "Am I just making a living or am I really making a difference?" People changed careers after that. They changed their life plans in light of the powerful wake-up call of September 11.
    With our life and the lives around us so fragile, it's good to stop and weigh the most significant use of this one short life. The God who created us as "His workmanship for good works He prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2:10). He doesn't want us settling for less than our destiny. This time of remembering is also a time to be reflecting on the changes that we need to make in order to make the greatest possible difference with the rest of our life.
    Life's real heroes are the rescuers. In the days that followed September 11, sports stars and paparazzi-ed celebrities were saying, "Don't call us heroes. Heroes are those guys who went into the flames and the rubble to save lives." All over the country, America honored and continues to honor our first responders. I think heaven honors them too.
    Now, our word for today from the Word of God, Proverbs 24:11 says the hero like that sees and understands that their friends and loved ones who've never met their Jesus are "staggering toward slaughter" and "being led away to death." And God says.: "Rescue them."
    Be ready for eternity whenever it comes. More than anything, I think that's what screamed - and still screams - to me from the rubble of Ground Zero. We just can't count on tomorrow. That's why the Bible says, "Prepare to meet your God" (Amos 6:1).
    He's not a Savior you "get around to someday," because we live one heartbeat from eternity. We can only be ready to meet a holy God if He's forgiven our sins based on the fact that we've put all our trust in what Jesus did on the cross when He died for those sins.
    If you're not sure you belong to Him, don't count on another day. Go to our website. Find out how you can belong to Him. It's ANewStory.com. That's the website. There's no greater peace, there's no greater security than to know for sure that you are ready for eternity whenever and however it comes.


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    September 8, 2022 Everything You Need For Your Assignment - #9304


    My friend, Donna, had never been on a rafting trip before, until someone gave it to her as a gift; which meant she felt obligated to go. Little did she realize that the river her group would be rafting on goes from being a river of glass at the beginning of your journey, to the sudden violence of Class 3 rapids, at a point they simply named "Surprise." And ultimately, through the most challenging, most dangerous level of white water there is, Class 5 rapids. Thankfully, there was an outfitter that prepared them for this perilous journey. He coached them as to what to expect on the river, where to sit on the raft, and how to paddle in various situations. He equipped them with a life jacket, a paddle, and a helmet. Donna was not particularly thrilled that her helmet had an unexplained dent in it - she didn't even want to know how it got there! The outfitter had provisions for his crew, including the food and basic medical supplies they might need. And, best of all, he was with them all the way. They had one wild ride, but they all made it just fine...even Donna.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Everything You Need For Your Assignment."
    The outfitter makes the difference on the river, and in your life. And if you belong to Jesus, you have no less than the God of the universe as your Outfitter! He knows what's ahead on the river you're navigating. He knows everything you'll need to make it, and He's making sure you have what you need.
    His total provision: that's the theme of this wonderful prayer in Hebrews 13:20-21, our word for today from the Word of God. "May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant, brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever."
    Isn't that awesome? "Everything good for doing His will." And if God can bring back Jesus from the dead; if Jesus, the great Shepherd, is looking after you, is there any need He won't take care of? Any need He can't take care of?
    Now you may be stuck on the shore, too scared to get into the raft and go where Jesus wants to take you. You're afraid you won't be able to handle the turbulence ahead. You're afraid to go where you've never gone before. You're afraid to move ahead because you're not sure you'll have what you need. But did Psalm 23:1 suddenly get erased from your Bible? "The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want!" Check, it's still there. The journey ahead, the white water ahead? It isn't about you and what you can do anyway. It's about your Divine Outfitter, and Navigator, and Provider, and Protector, and Guide. It's not about you doing stuff for God. It's about God doing stuff through you! So what are you waiting for? What are you worrying for? Your job's pretty simple: stay pure and show up. The rest is up to Jesus.
    When my friend went through the roughest of rapids, her security was not her ability to navigate them. It was all about the man who knows the river, who has navigated that river and piloted people through safely many times. Jesus is committed to do that for you. He's not pushing you off on a raft, standing on the shore shouting, "Good luck!" He's in that raft with you, every mile of the way! He's really just asking you to participate with Him in an exciting ride that ultimately He is going to navigate. And He has promised that He will provide everything you need for the trip!


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    September 7, 2022 Your Mission's Out There! - #9303


    Gayle was part of our ministry team. Her parents were away and they asked her to check on their house while they were gone. It was a pretty cold night, and Gayle thought the heat should be on in the house. So she called her Dad, and Dad said, "Well, you should know what to do. You've done it before. It's probably just the zone valve is stuck."
    So Gayle went to work on the zone valve. She really went to work on it! I mean, we're talking desperate measures here like beating the valve to death with a screwdriver and actually breaking blood vessels in her hand in the process. It refused to stay open in spite of (shall we say) Gayle's vigorous encouragement. Well, when Dad got home a few days later, he went to work on it, and it was very easily fixed. Of course he worked on the other valve, the right valve.
    She'd been working on the valve, it turns out, that was already working. He told Gayle she'd made a simple mistake. She put a lot of effort into fixing what was already working and she made no effort on what really needed the attention.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft (and I'm sympathetic) and I want to have A Word With You today about "Your Mission's Out There!"
    Our word for today from the Word of God comes from John 4:35. Here's the scene. Jesus has taken His disciples on a spiritual mission into Samaritan territory, and now He's waiting outside the village. The disciples are in the village buying groceries. The Lord met a Samaritan woman at that well and He introduced her to eternal life while He's waiting for the guys to come back.
    She runs back, tells the town about her excitement about the Savior, and the Samaritans are now flocking to the well to meet Jesus. What a spiritual opportunity - this sea of unreached people coming to them! Well, notice what the disciples are focused on - lunch. In verses 31-33 that's all they could talk about.
    Chapter 4, verse 35 - Jesus says, "Open your eyes and look at the fields. They are white for harvest." Well, what does harvest mean? Ready! And Jesus is saying, "Wake up, guys! We're surrounded by people who are ready to come to Me." And they were about to miss it. They're focused on their own personal concerns. They were ignoring the lost and dying people that were right within their reach.
    Two thousand years have come and gone and not much has changed. Today we're too often like Gayle trying to get that valve working. We spend so much of our Christian effort on the people who you might say are already working spiritually. They already know Christ; they're headed for heaven. Everything from our meetings, to our radio programs, to our websites, to our books, our social life largely are focused on blessing the saved, fellowshipping with those who've already been rescued. And that's not bad unless we spend all our energy and time and money there and put almost no effort into the people who are eternally broken and eternally lost without a Savior.
    We're just spending everything with and all on the people who've had a Savior for a long time and missing the people who've never had one day with the Savior. It's as if we're so busy worrying about our lunch, our needs, what's going to fill us up that we miss those who are starving.
    But Jesus is saying to you, "Open your eyes to those people around you that you work with, that you live near, that go to school with you, that you shop with, you recreate with. That's what the people in hell are going to look like. Then He says, "Look at the fields, not just at the house." Yeah, the house is where you can feel comfy and cozy, but "look at the fields. They're ripe for harvest."
    Harvest is urgent business. If the harvest workers don't get busy and act quickly, the harvest dies. So will it be said, "There were people all around us who were ready for Jesus and we weren't ready to go get them, and they weren't ready for eternity." That's going to be true unless we move beyond just fixing those who are already fixed and start working on the ones who are broken.


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    September 6, 2022 Navigating Your Storm - #9302


    It must have felt like a scene from the book and the movie called "The Perfect Storm." Their vessel was a 61-year-old wooden fishing boat, making the Inside Passage from Sitka, Alaska to Port Angeles, Washington. It was supposed to be a one-week trip. It was late in the season - a time of year when wild storms can develop. They sink ships; they take lives. Sure enough, their boat hit hurricane-force winds that threatened to take them to the bottom. At one point when green water washed over the pilothouse and the boat plunged for what seemed to be the bottom, one passenger heard the captain mutter beneath his breath. But as this 30-year veteran of Alaska's ferocious storms worked that wheel, he turned to his passenger, smiled and said two words, "No problem." No matter how vicious the storm became, no matter how perilous the situation seemed, the captain remained calm, and he helped steady his very frightened passengers...and they made it.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Navigating Your Storm."
    A calm captain who has been through these fearful storms before, who knows everything will be okay at the end of the day and has brought so many others safely through. Now, that's what makes the difference when it feels like the storm is going to sink you. If you belong to Jesus Christ, you have a Captain like that! That's why the writer of "Amazing Grace" could write: "Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come. 'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home."
    Right now you might be going through a storm that has shaken everything you have. Sometimes it feels like you're headed for the bottom. You're afraid. You're discouraged. You're panicked and desperate. You need to get close to the Captain of your life right now and remember who is piloting your boat. Unless, of course, you've grabbed the wheel from the Captain or if you've jumped overboard in panic.
    The Old Testament hero, Daniel, knew well what it was like to be hit by life's hurricanes. As a boy, he had been forcibly moved by invaders from his country to a strange country and to the culture of Babylon. He faced the demands of a pagan culture, even the death sentence of a lion's den, from which, of course, God delivered him. In Daniel 7, where we find our word for today from the Word of God, he has just been given by God this frightening prophetic vision of the turbulent world that was to come with images of a ravenous lion, a vicious bear, an inescapable leopard, and a rapacious beast that crushes and devours everything it touches.
    Then, the Bible says in verse 9, "Thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took His seat...thousands upon thousands attended Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him." Then the Son of Man approaches that throne and it says, "He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped Him... His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed." Wow! So let the lion roar, let the bear threaten, let the leopard pursue. There is a throne with authority over every beast, every storm, every disease, every enemy, every tragedy, and your awesome Lord sits on that throne.
    There is not one thumb-breadth of this universe that is not under His control! And whatever has come into your life has had to pass through His hand first. He's either sent it or allowed it. And He loves you and He knows what you need. He knows what you can handle, so long as He is at the wheel.
    A friend of mine tells of years of struggle with violent storms that hit his family. He said it was as if God kept falling off His throne. Well, He never has and He never will. And He is in command at this very moment. Relax in His sovereign control. He's brought every one of His children in every generation through every storm, and He'll bring you through. The storm won't decide what happens to you - your Captain will!


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    September 5, 2022 Love That Could Not Leave You Lost - #9301


    In the old Westerns, they said the hero was the guy in the white hat. Well, in the life-or-death moments of September 11, 2001, it was the man with the red bandana.
    A red bandana had been Welles Crowther's trademark, I guess, since he was a boy. He still carried one even when he was a 24-year-old equities trader in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. And he had it on that fateful September day when the tower was in flames.
    Ling Young will never forget the man that she called "the man with the red bandana." She was sitting, bloody, dazed, waiting with others for help in the Elevator Sky Lobby. That was on the 78th floor where the second hijacked plane had sliced through the tower, and that's where she was. She said, "All of a sudden I heard a gentleman come out of the corner saying, 'I found the stairs. Follow me.'" The man was carrying a woman on his back, and he had a red bandana in his hand. After leading the group to a stairwell and giving them a fire extinguisher, he disappeared back up the stairs to help some other people. That was the last time she saw him, and she said, "He's been on my mind every day."
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Love That Could Not Leave You Lost."
    Judy Wein was in that same Sky Lobby. She was badly injured, and that's when she saw a man with a red bandana over his nose and mouth come running across the room, and he led them to this unseen staircase that would take them to safety. And in her words, "He was the cowboy coming in to save the town." Ling Young is sure that "Without him, I would not be here" she said. "He definitely saved my life." Six months after the towers fell, they found his body in the rubble.
    I can't read this story without remembering the man who gave His life to save mine, and to save so many others. On the fateful day when He died to rescue me, it was not a red bandana He wore. It was a crown of thorns. He bled red for me. And the way I'll know Him when I see Him is by those awful nail prints in His hands. The scars that will forever declare how much my sin cost and how deeply He loves me and you. Our word for today from the Word of God is Isaiah 49:15-16. He tells me, "I will not forget you! I have engraved you on the palms of My hands."
    See, I'm not alone in my desperate need for a spiritual rescuer. We all sit in the darkness, the danger of being away from our God. We're all away from Him. We're on the edge of being swept into an awful eternity after our last heartbeat, because we've run our own lives. We've hijacked our life from God. It's His life, and we took it. We've said, "God, I'll do it my way instead of your way." And the only way to pay for that is to pay the penalty for an eternity in hell. But here comes Jesus with His hand extended saying, "I have made a way out. Come on, follow Me!"
    Our eternal destiny depends on whether or not we do follow Him. He said, "Whoever believes in the Son" - that's the Son of God - "has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life" (John 3:36). That's the crossroads we all come to - it's the crossroads to which God might be bringing you today, "What will you do with Jesus, My Son, who gave His life for you?" God asks. The crown of thorns, the nails in His hands and feet, the spear in His side, the separation from God the Father Himself, all for you because of your sin and because of His love for you.
    Today, as He reaches out His hand your direction, are you going to grab it or are you going to walk away? This could be the day you settle your eternity and trade in that hell for His heaven. Reach out and grab Him and say, "Jesus, I'm pinning all my hopes on You to be my Rescuer." Listen, you want to know more about this? Go to our website today - ANewStory.com.
    Welles Crowther's father said, "His last hour was his legacy." Well, Jesus' last hour, when He was on that cross and chose to be cut off from God so we would never have to be, that was His legacy.
    And with a very full heart, I can tell you, I'm part of that legacy, and you can be too.


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    September 2, 2022 Prayer - and The Power You Need - #9300


    There was this violent thunderstorm, and about 18 hours followed without electricity. Fortunately, my wife was never without candles, so we had a nice candlelit dinner at home. I read the newspaper by flashlight. We easily survived without our television. We even played a board game by candlelight. Go figure! But there was no electric power in the house. Not after that huge lightning bolt found its target in our yard - the transformer that sets on a telephone pole not far from our house. My wife saw it, and apparently it was a pretty impressive hit. But there's no way you're going to have power when the transformer's down. I mean, that's what brings all that power in those wires down to where we can use it to like run our house.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Prayer - and The Power You Need."
    It could be that the power's been out where you live - I mean, in your life. You're facing some issues that just can't seem to be resolved, that problem that's defying a solution, some mountains that aren't moving, that just aren't getting answered. Maybe there's an overload, and I mean, you're just overwhelmed right now. It could be that it's in your family, or at church, at work, in your personal life - there just doesn't seem to be anything powerful enough to meet the need, to handle the demands. Maybe the transformer's down.
    For those of us who belong to Jesus Christ, there's this thing called prayer that brings all the power of God Himself down to where we can use it to change our everyday lives. Prayer is your spiritual transformer. And it's possible that it's gotten lost in the storm that you've been going through.
    There's this vivid picture of both powerlessness and power in our word for today from the Word of God. In Mark 5, beginning in verse 24, the Bible says, "A large crowd followed and pressed around [Jesus]. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for 12 years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better, she grew worse."
    This woman had tried all the earth-solutions she could think of, but the need was just much too great for anyone on earth to be able to meet. She'd thrown money at the problem - nothing happened. She went to all the human experts - nothing happened. But as the Bible continues, it says, "when she heard about Jesus, she came up behind Him in the crowd and touched the cloak, because she thought, 'If I just touch His clothes, I'll be healed.' Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering." (Boy, that's great!)
    Only one thing brought a solution: desperately lunging for Jesus, believing that His authority and His power were greater than her massive need. That's going to be the only place you're going to find a solution. By getting back to the one weapon that can prevail in your battle, coming in desperate faith to your all-powerful Lord, waging war with prayer. Maybe you've been scurrying around, trying everything to find a solution. But you've overlooked fervent, frequent, faith-filled praying. You don't need a planning meeting; you need a prayer meeting. You don't need a program; you need to pray. You don't need a fund-raising strategy or a new methodology or some human expert. Now, God might use that. But you need to pray like you've never prayed before, believing God for something so big, only God could do it!
    You've been so overwhelmed with your situation that maybe you've neglected the only power source that can possibly change things - releasing the power of Almighty God through intense and intensive prayer. The storm isn't the reason you don't have the power you need. It's the transformer of prayer that brings God's power down to where you live, where your need is. So, get your "transformer" back on line. You'll have all the power you need!


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    September 1, 2022 Satisfying Your Thirsty Soul - #9299


    It's a miracle my wife made it through college. Not because of her grades. I'm talking about because of finances. Halfway through, her parent's financial help suddenly stopped. It wasn't because they didn't want to help, they just didn't have it. See, they were running a small dairy farm at the time, and they needed a well desperately. So Dad sank most of his money into digging a well. The drought came. The well came up dry. You know what? Wells have a way of doing that don't they?
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Satisfying Your Thirsty Soul."
    Now, our word for today from the Word of God comes from John 4. It's a great story; I love this. You may recognize this as an account of Jesus' trip through Samaria where He met a Samaritan woman who had come to draw water from the well. She had a pretty sordid background; she'd been pretty busy with the men in town apparently, and she's got the reputation that goes with it.
    Now Jesus says to her after offering her living water, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again." I can almost picture Him pointing to the well. "But whoever drinks the water that I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'
    The woman said to Him, "'Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to come here and draw water.' He told her, 'Go call your husband and come back.' 'Well, I have no husband' she replied. Jesus said to her, 'You're right when you say you have no husband. The fact is you've had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.'"
    This lady went to a well that day just to meet her need. She'd been doing that for a long time emotionally and spiritually as well as physically. I think emotionally her well was men. She kept trying to quench her incurable heart thirst with male attention. "Maybe this relationship will do it... maybe this will do it." She always needed one more, and that one more never did it apparently.
    Jesus proposed something better. He said, "I want to give you an internal life source that will allow you to finally relax, and end your search, and have peace." See, we all have wells that we depend on for our emotional life. Maybe your well is people's applause and approval, or another career conquest, or buying things that make you feel secure. Or maybe it's really depending on one of your children, or your position, your money.
    But there's a problem with wells. First of all, they dry up during droughts and they leave you adrift. Secondly, you always need another shot, you're always restless, you're never filled, always like that lady - thirsty again.
    The Bible uses this wonderful word to describe the result of beginning a personal relationship with Jesus. In Colossians 2:10, it says that with Jesus you're "complete in Him." Not always having to look for something to fill me up, make me feel loved, make me feel important or satisfied. The reason only Jesus can do that is, according to the Bible, we are "created by Him and for Him" but we haven't lived for Him. We've lived pretty much for ourselves. Right? So we're chronically restless because there's this missing person in our life. The person we were made by and made for. It wasn't His choice that we're away from Him. No, it was His choice, though, to do whatever it took to bring us back. It took Him all the way to a cross to take my hell for my sin so I could be with Him forever.
    And today, you know what? He may be knocking on the door of your heart, giving you this chance to finally be complete in Him. Just tell Him today, "Jesus, I'm Yours." Let me urge you to go to our website. There's a simple, non-religious explanation there of how you can be sure you belong to Him. Go to ANewStory.com.
    Jesus wants to make you secure by putting your life source inside you. The key to peace, the end of roller coaster living, is to depend on the spring of water welling up inside of you. And that's the identity Christ can give you.
    So, be sure you know who you are without your wells. They go dry. They're never enough. That's the trouble with wells.


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    August 31, 2022 Doing Something Eternal With What Cannot Last - #9298


    Our friend, Mary Ann, was just driving down the road and her precocious five-year-old piped up from the back seat. It was one of those moments. He said, "Mommy, didn't you say that Jesus was building a beautiful home for us in heaven?" She assured him that's exactly what Jesus is doing. "Well, Mommy, we've got our house here, right? And then we've got the mountain house, right? That seems like too many houses. Shouldn't we give one of them away?" I'm not sure how you answer a question like that.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Doing Something Eternal With What Cannot Last."
    That's the problem Jesus has with many of us. He's entrusted some of His assets to us. Everything we have is from Him of course. He expects that we'll be investing His assets in the interests of His kingdom. Unfortunately, His assets are frozen, and we froze them. Some of us have most of Christ's resources all tied up in our own kingdom. It's that kind of thing that caused God to ask in Malachi 3:8, "Will a man rob God?" Well, unfortunately, yes.
    We're living in a turbulent, unpredictable, maybe even apocalyptic world. It's time to take the kind of inventory that five-year-old boy was suggesting, and see if we are hanging onto anything that Jesus wants to use in the work He died for.
    The economics of Jesus are pretty much summed up in Matthew 6:19-21, our word for today from the Word of God. "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal." In other words, what the world calls "security" is all so "loseable." Then Jesus says, "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." In other words, what you give is all you'll really be able to keep. Then Jesus' sobering bottom line: "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." He didn't say your treasure will go where your heart is. He said your heart will go where your treasure is.
    The great missionary leader, Hudson Taylor, really convicted me with his reflections on Jesus' coming back. Listen to what he said: "The effect of this blessed hope was a thoroughly practical one. It led me to look carefully through my little library to see if there were any books there that were not needed or likely to be of no further service, and to examine my small wardrobe to be quite sure that it contained nothing that I should be sorry to give an account of should the Master come at once. I have never gone through my house, from basement to attic, with this object in view, without receiving a great accession of spiritual joy and blessing."
    "I believe," Hudson Taylor said, "we are all in danger of accumulating...things which would be useful to others, while not needed by ourselves and the retention of which entails loss of blessing. If the whole resources of the Church of God," he said, "were well utilized, how much more might be accomplished! How many poor might be fed and naked clothed, and to how many of those yet unreached the Gospel might be carried."
    You know, I think it's time for all of us to take a walk through our stuff and through our bank accounts and look at it all through heaven's eyes. He gave it to us to give away, and something's very wrong when His work has such deficits while some of us have surpluses.
    There's nothing more exciting than releasing what you have to help finish the work that Jesus came to do. There's nothing more unsettling than to imagine Jesus returning, looking at all you have, and asking this question, "What are you doing sitting on all of that?"


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    August 30, 2022 That Magnificent Magnet - #9297


    Some kids aren't even sure what their school bus driver looks like. They're still asleep when he picks them up in the morning. But every child who's ridden in that yellow "limo" knows that the "chauffeurs" come in all kinds of flavors.
    You've got the kind bus driver who greets everyone by name, the grumpy ones who seem to want to be somewhere else, the wisecrackers, the happy road warriors, and then there was Chuck Poland, who really loved his Midland City, Alabama passengers - to death.
    But when a man with a gun boarded his bus and demanded to take some children with him, Chuck Poland stopped him. One student reported that the intruder kept saying, "I'll kill y'all." No children died, and all but one got out safely. Chuck Poland didn't however. He died there with four bullets bringing him down. As America prayed for the safe return of the one child being held hostage, the story of one caring man's heroism touched us all.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "That Magnificent Magnet."
    Back at Super Bowl time, which preceded this incident, there had been a lot of talk of "heroes" in the game. But the real hero was a man who drove a school bus that week. His daughter said that he always considered his young passengers as "his kids." Yes, he did. He put himself between them and the danger.
    Honestly, I couldn't watch that story back then without two things happening. My heart was moved, and I thought about Jesus. So did people at the man's funeral. One fellow bus driver said, "What Chuck did was the same thing Jesus Christ did. He laid down his life to defend those school children." Those words are right out of the Bible, and they're our word for today from the Word of God, 1 John 4:16 - "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us."
    What gets me here is those words "laid down." Jesus actually said, "I lay down My life; no one takes it from Me" (John 10:17-18). How could anyone take the life of the all-powerful Son of God? He made the tree He died on. He created the men who nailed Him there. He let them beat His back bloody. He let them jam the thorns into His scalp. He let them drive spikes through His hands and feet.
    But more than any Hollywood portrayal of His crucifixion could ever show, He endured a soul torment no one ever has, because He had poured out on Him all the hell of all the sin of all mankind. From His shredded soul, He cried out, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?"
    And some of those sins He died to pay for were mine. Some of them were yours. Nobody ever loved me - nobody ever could love me - like that. The burden of my sin was forever lifted the day I said, "Jesus, I'm Yours." It was said of that Alabama bus driver, "You died knowing you kept everyone safe." I think that's the word I feel - safe. Because Jesus stood between me and the "bullets" of the judgment I deserved for my sin. Jesus died. I'm safe. I'm speechless. It's no wonder that the only thing God's going to want to know when you stand before Him is, "What did you do with My Son?"
    The only life-saving choice is to put all your trust, pin all your hopes on the Man who died for your sins so you do not have to. If you've never done that, I invite you right where you are to say, "Jesus, I'm yours." You might be ready to receive the pardon and the life that Jesus died to give you.
    You can find out how to do that. Just go to our website, and I hope you'll go there today. It's ANewStory.com. I pray you'll do that, because it's time to get this settled and go to sleep tonight knowing you are forgiven.


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    August 29, 2022 Standing Against the Tide - #9296


    For many years, our family went to Ocean City, New Jersey, for vacations and conferences. There's this three-mile boardwalk, great Atlantic beaches, and family atmosphere. Those are all things that we can all get excited about, but something happened over those years at the beach. The beach shrank. Not all at once; it was a little at a time. It just got eroded. Eventually, the city fathers had a major challenge on their hands. They had to rebuild their bread-and-butter; those beaches that were slowly disappearing!
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Standing Against the Tide."
    Some great places have been really damaged by the slow process of erosion. So have some great people. That's why you've got to make the choices that will stop the erosion in your life.
    And we've all got a powerful example for that in our word for today from the Word of God in the Book of Daniel 1, beginning with verse 5. Daniel is one of a handful of promising Jewish young men who have been taken to Babylon after King Nebuchadnezzar's invasion of their land. The king includes them with some of his own Babylonian "first round draft picks" in this leadership development program that will ultimately propel them to greatness in the kingdom.
    Everything was fine until the king, "assigned a daily amount of food and wine from the king's table." This was a special like "training table diet" designed to make them into the best physical specimens possible. But that kind of food was totally out of bounds for Jews back then, as defined by the laws of their God. Tough choice here. You're on your way to greatness, and right here at the beginning you're being asked to compromise a little. At stake could be your whole future - maybe even your life if you defied the most powerful man in the world.
    But the Bible says, "Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself in this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel." This official was afraid he might be executed if Daniel and his Jewish comrades ended up looking worse than the other guys. So Daniel persuaded him to allow a ten-day test of an alternate diet of vegetables and water. Long story short, Daniel and company, the Bible says, "looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food" and "the king found none equal to Daniel" and his friends.
    God may be asking you to risk everything right now on what looks like very expensive faithfulness. It could really cost you to do what's right, to hold to your convictions, to refuse to compromise your integrity or your purity. You're risking everything on the faithfulness of your God. It's tempting to give in to get ahead, to get that need met, or to get out of that jam. But with your compromise goes a huge piece of you and the blessing of Almighty God. Resist that eroding tide.
    And remember that God's favor is for God's faithful. You may, like Daniel, find yourself in different environments, pressured by different expectations, but you've got to be sure it's always the same you! You have to "resolve not to defile yourself" to build an uncompromising wall against even the first step that would take you outside the ways of your God.
    In the words of Psalm 4:5, "Offer right sacrifices, and trust in the Lord." Do what's right - even if it's a sacrifice - and trust the Lord for what happens after that. His greatest rewards are reserved for those who will not betray Him, even for another king. Erosion will take what you cannot afford to lose. Stand against that temptation, stand against the tide, and let God give you what you could never have any other way.


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    August 26, 2022 It Starts at a Cross - #9295


    I'm used to turning on the news and hearing about bullets or ballots or budgets. But the Bible? On newscast after newscast a while back, the Bible was one of the lead stories. I mean, actually "The Bible." It was the ten-hour History Channel mini-series. It stunned everybody with blockbuster ratings, especially among young viewers. There were epic moments from Noah's Ark to the parting of the Red Sea, and of course David decking Goliath.
    But the last night is what so many people were talking about; particularly the one scene that literally they said "lit up" social networks like Twitter - the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. All over the cyber-universe, people said they were in tears watching Jesus die. Jesus' sacrifice on the cross was like in so many conversations.
    For those of us who belong to this Jesus, there's a message in all of this that could change eternities. That message could be summed up in four little words, "It's all about Jesus."
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "It Starts at a Cross."
    This heartfelt response to the portrayal of Jesus on the cross, I think it's a wakeup call - for those who don't know Him and for those who do. For those who don't, the choice that actually determines your destiny is what you do with what Jesus did on that cross for you. For those who do know Him, that cross and that miraculous resurrection is our message - unencumbered by anything else.
    The famous preacher, Charles Spurgeon, called the cross of Jesus "that magnificent magnet." It really is. Over and over, I've seen that when you can get someone to that cross, their hearts are stolen away. So why do we Christians spend so much time on detours that distract from that destination? Like expounding on what we're against, or promoting our church, or arguing about politics or religion.
    What that series "The Bible" did in its final episode was strip away 2,000 years of Christianity and bring us back to the heartbeat of God; His Son dying on a cross for us. In our word for today from the Word of God, 1 Corinthians 2:2 Paul said, "I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified."
    Before there were churches, before there were "Christians," before there were creeds, there was a cross. That's the Good News that we have for our friend, our neighbor, our family member, our coworker. Not a church to go to. Not a religion to join. Not some belief to sign up for. Not an indictment of how they're living.
    But a Savior, hanging on that cross, paying the awful price for all the junk of our life. It's not just how Jesus died that's so heart-rending. It's the reason He died. The Bible says, "He was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped and we were healed! The Lord laid on Him the guilt and sins of us all" (Isaiah 53:5-6 - NLB).
    It's not about Christians. It's not about Christianity. It's about the living Christ who loved you enough to die for you; a love that would pay any price not to lose you. That's the Good News we're commanded to share. No more. No less.
    Jesus' repeated invitation was simply, "Follow Me." Not My followers, not My religion, not My rules. Just "follow Me." Jesus made it all about Jesus. We should, too. Bring people up Skull Hill with you. Stand them at the foot of that old rugged cross and whisper two words, "For you. This was for you."
    Maybe you've never done that for yourself. You've never made personal what Jesus did on that cross for you. Would you let this be the day you get it done for yourself? It's at that moment when you make personal what Jesus did on the cross; that's what changes everything. It changes the rest of your life. It changes your eternity!
    This is the time you should go to our website. If you're not sure you belong to Him, it will help you be sure - ANewStory.com. You can get this settled today, my friend, once and for all.


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    August 25, 2022 The Good News About a Cold Season - #9294


    It was one of those winters when the bottom dropped out of the temperature in our area. I mean, folks there just aren't used to visits from North Pole weather. For a while, our favorite song was, "Freeze a Jolly Good Fellow." I was discussing this extended freeze with a friend who has lived in the area most of her life, and she actually helped me have a very positive outlook on the cold weather. She just said, "Well, just think - it's killing a lot of bugs!" Okay! Well, with all the ticks and the other pests we had the previous summer, I guess that was good news. So the next time I walked outside and felt a blast of that chilling cold, I said to myself, "Well, I'm turning blue, but the bugs are dying!"
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Good News About a Cold Season."
    Most of us have lived long enough to see it happen - something good coming out of something that's difficult and unpleasant. If you're in a season of your life that's pretty cold right now, that may be an encouragement that would be good to remember. As you're feeling the chill of the moment, God's doing something that you're going to benefit from later on; something that could not happen without this time of bitter cold.
    Just ask Joseph. The Book of Genesis tells us about a very long winter season in the life of this Old Testament hero. His brothers hated him because he was his father's favorite. They threw him in a pit and nearly let him die there. At the last minute, they changed their minds, lightened up a little, and settled for selling him into Egyptian slavery. Joseph got a great job in the house of a powerful man, and then lost it when he refused the advances of the boss's wife and she falsely accused him of assaulting her. Then, two long years in the king's prison as a result.
    Ultimately, Joseph came to the attention of Pharaoh who eventually promoted him to second in command in the mighty Egyptian empire. That's when a famine drove Joseph's brothers to Egypt in search of food - food only the brother they had betrayed could give them. When they finally realize who he is and then experience his forgiveness and his mercy that they do not deserve, Joseph speaks these words in Genesis 50:20. It's our word for today from the Word of God. He says, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."
    From the pit to the prison, Joseph was sustained by one thing he knew had not changed - God was working a bigger plan. If you belong to Jesus, then Joseph's God is your God, too. And He is a God who uses even the wickedness of man to accomplish great things. For Joseph, vengeful brothers, false accusations, terrible injustices. They became the tools that God used to take him to places and positions he never could have gone otherwise.
    If it's cold right now, if it's dark right now, don't let discouragement win. Don't let bitterness or resentment or resignation ruin the greater plan God is working on. The question to ask in times like these isn't, "Why, God?" You may not have that answer till you get to heaven. The better question is, "How can You use this, God?" He really does, as the verse says, "work all things together for the good of those who love God" (Romans 8:28).
    During this winter in your life, He wants to build in you qualities that will lead to future greatness. He wants to give you a closeness to Him that you've never had before and would never get any other way. And then, He wants to use this season to position you to make a greater difference with the rest of your life than you ever imagined.


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    August 24, 2022 Being a Person a Lost One Will Come To - #9293


    She was just seven years old; the lone survivor of a plane crash that killed her parents, her sister, and her cousin. The sheriff said "she literally fell out of the sky into a dark hole." They called her survival "a miracle."
    This "miracle" survivor somehow crawled out of this upside-down wreckage of her dad's plane dressed only in shorts and a t-shirt on a winter night. She was shoeless. She had to go through brambles and underbrush. This what they called "remarkable" young girl navigated two embankments, a hill, and a creek bed in the dark.
    And then the light. Actually, just a single security light on a house. When she knocked on that door, a kindly, grandfatherly man brought her inside. Then she was safe. One report said this: "He thinks his security light may have been a beacon." Yeah, a beacon for a little girl who had lost so much. But, thank God, she was alive.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Being a Person a Lost One Will Come To."
    This story got me to thinking about who I need to be for people who've lost so much, whose world has suddenly crashed, who need someone to be a light - a "beacon" - in an otherwise dark night.
    Actually, this is what my Jesus said I should be as His follower. It's actually in our word for today from the Word of God in Matthew 5, beginning with verse 14, "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
    I've been thinking, what it means to be a light for people in my personal world. Well, it means being one person they know who is all about their need, not about my own. Who has time to listen. Who doesn't just ask the obligatory "How you doin'?" But who asks that second and third question to see if that obligatory "fine" is really how they're doing.
    Being a light means being the one who refuses to hear or speak trash talk about anybody. Who protects a person's name when they're not in the room. Who builds a person up and never tears them down. Who says, "Thank you" and "I'm sorry" and "I was wrong."
    It's always treating people, as the Bible says, "with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15). Not "turning off the light" by making them feel condemned or put down.
    The "light" is the person who remembers a person's birthday, who checks on them when they're sick, who's at the hospital, or the wedding, and the funeral. Who drops what I'm doing when they're hurting. Who offers to pray with - not just for - them when God is needed so much.
    So I ask myself: do people around me see me as "safe," the "go-to" person when it's dark, when it's lonely? Have I so lived that when they hit a wall, they'll think of me as a safe place to turn? I'll know it's because of the Jesus in me. Am I the light on the porch when people around me are feeling lost?
    I can be for one reason. Jesus Christ has been that for me. As a dad who didn't know what to do, when there was no money, in the cold chill of that cemetery. When I was spiritually lost with no hope of heaven, because of running my life instead of God running it, I found one beacon in my storm - a cross and an empty tomb. It is, by the way, where you will find that same light, that same help, that same forgiveness; that light inside of you.
    If you've never begun a relationship with Jesus, who changes everything by planting His love and His hope inside you so you could survive any storm, I'd invite you to go to our website and let me walk you through the way you can be sure you belong to Him. That's ANewStory.com.
    Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12). He's kept that promise for me every time. If someone in my personal world is wandering in the dark today, I just pray that they've seen the Light in me, because I want them to find a way home.


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    August 23, 2022 The Surprising Secret of Greatness - #9292


    The book is called Good to Great. It's a thought-provoking book on management written by Jim Collins and a research team that he headed. They identified eleven of the most effective companies in the United States, and then they pursued this question: "What specifically makes these companies so different?" This research actually challenged many of the author's preconceptions. There were actually lots of surprises. Interestingly, the first thing Collins and his team point to as common to every one of these consistently successful companies is this, and it is a surprise - the modesty of the various CEOs who led them. They suggest that the starting point of a great company is a humble leader - highly focused, sometimes driven people - but known for being gracious, self-effacing, understated. I guess in a word, humble.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Surprising Secret of Greatness."
    If you've listened much to what Jesus says about leadership, those recent "discoveries" shouldn't be a great surprise to you. In Mark 10, beginning with verse 42, our word for today from the Word of God, Jesus presents what most people believe about being a leader - and then the truth according to Jesus.
    He says: "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them...not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all." Then Jesus backs it up with the way He lived His own life: "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many."
    Jesus believes that you can earn your authority in people's lives by serving them, by putting them first, by helping them succeed. And, sure enough, the most contemporary research only reinforces the importance of humility in leadership. The Good to Great authors illustrate their conclusions in this area with what they call windows and mirrors. When these successful CEOs do something right, they walk over to a window and point to all the reasons out there (especially all the other people) that are the reasons for their success. When they do something wrong, they walk to a mirror and they assume the blame themselves. Less effective leaders? Well, the authors say they do it just the other way around - when things go wrong they point out the window and point to excuses and explanations. When things are going right, they go to the mirror to admire the one who deserves the credit they think.
    Whether you're in a position to lead your children, or lead a business, or a staff, or a church, a class, a project, a ministry, don't fall for the popular lies about leading people - that success means being pushy or punishing, pulling rank, playing politics, manipulating, promoting yourself. No, it's humble servanthood that is the surprising secret of success. That's humility as in always being teachable, and courteous, vulnerable, willing to accept responsibility rather than place blame; caring about the person, not just the project.
    Former Attorney General John Ashcroft's godly father tried to prepare him for life in the nation's Capitol after his son had gotten elected to the United States Senate. Listen to what he said, "John, the culture of Washington is a culture of arrogance." (By the way, most power-centers are.) He said, " But the culture of Jesus is a culture of humility. Don't get sucked into the culture of arrogance."
    That's good advice for any of us who have someone to lead. Remember, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:5).


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    August 22, 2022 Together on the Other Side - #9291


    You get pretty immune to the scenery on the roads that you travel all the time. Right? There's an entrance to an Interstate where I used to live in New Jersey that was like that for me. I used that ramp all the time, and there's a sharp bend in it and there are these big SLOW signs, and I was used to those.
    One night I was driving that stretch, basically paying no attention to those familiar markers, and then I noticed something that wasn't usually there, and it stood out! It was a hand painted sign sticking up from the railing and it had a simple inscription that haunted me for a long time. It just said, "10-28-88 Together Forever." Now, I don't know why it was there. Maybe it could have been some kind of a romantic remembrance, but my hunch was that there was probably an accident on that treacherous curve and maybe even a couple died together there, and someone assumed that they would then be together forever. Not necessarily.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Together on the Other Side."
    Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 1 Thessalonians, and I'm going to begin reading in chapter 4, verse 14. "We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him." Verse 16: "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will be with the Lord forever."
    Oh, that's a great passage. Now, did you notice here how it uses that word "together" people who will in fact be together forever? And the people it's talking about are those it says who believe that Jesus died and rose again. We're talking about people who have committed themselves to the man who died for them, to the man who walked out of His grave under His own power so He could walk into our lives. They're committed to Jesus Christ.
    Now, I feel like my Dad; he just died too young. He was just in his 50s when he died. But my Father and I will be together forever because we both have been to the same cross to have our sins forgiven. I could say even at my wife's funeral, "See you again soon, Baby. See you soon, together forever." But there's one thing that will keep you or someone you love out of heaven. God wants you there, but He can't let sin in, and you and I've got it. You've got it until you come to the cross where Jesus died to erase your sin. And then when you die, instantaneously you are with Christ and heaven. You are with Christ and heaven begins. It's a place where there are no goodbyes.
    People look at the other destination and try to laugh it off. They think about hell and they say, "Hey, listen! We'll be together forever there. You know, I'll have my friends there." Well, if they're there you won't know it. The only eye witness account we have from hell is in Luke 16, and it points out that the man who is there has no company. He is totally alone forever, not hanging out with his friends.
    But no one has to spend eternity there. Jesus took my hell so I don't have to. He did it for you. Is there someone you want to be sure is going to heaven with you? Well, then, don't wait until it's too late to lovingly tell them about Christ, who's the only way to get there, because He's the only one who paid for our sin. Maybe there's someone that you really want to have there: your Mom, your Dad, a child, a friend. Or maybe it's someone you sent on ahead. You know, maybe there's someone who did know Christ for sure and they're in heaven now. But, you know, their faith will not get you in, only yours will.
    And so this could be that day. To not just know about Christ, but get to know Him personally. To actually personally take for yourself the life Jesus died to give you. It's eternal life in heaven. "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ" the Bible says. Tell Him today, "Jesus, I am Yours."
    We'd love to help you get that settled. Go to our website. It's ANewStory.com. Because the day you tell Jesus you're trusting Him as your Savior, you can write that date down and know then that you'll be together forever.


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    August 19, 2022 When Nothing's Happening - #9290


    I seem to vaguely remember this old nursery rhyme from when I was a kid. It went like this: "Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?" If you asked our grandsons that question, they'd probably say, "Real slow!" Maybe that's why Mary was so contrary. There was a spring that the boys worked with their Dad to clear a little area in the yard where they could have a vegetable garden. And they were all excited about planting those seeds in the ground: tomato seeds, green beans, carrots, and lettuce. They went out the next day to look at what they had planted. Nothing. Then the next week, and the week after that. They watered the garden when it didn't rain. They pulled up weeds. For the longest time, they went out to that garden to see what was happening. Guess what was happening? Nothing...or so it looked. Had they tried to dig up the seeds to see if anything was happening, they would have ruined everything. But you know the story. It finally happened: The tomatoes and beans and carrots and lettuce. It just took a little while.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "When Nothing's Happening."
    Something had been happening all along to those seeds. Right? Just because you can't see what God is doing doesn't mean He isn't doing anything! In fact, that may be something important for you to remember right now. You've been praying about that need, that situation, that person for a long time and it just looks like nothing's happening. Key words: looks like. When a seed's been planted, it looks like there's nothing going on for some time until that plant breaks through and ultimately produces some wonderful fruit. When a new life has begun in a woman's body, it doesn't look like anything's happened for quite a while. But every day, that life is growing where we cannot see it grow. Until it first reshapes that mother's body and ultimately appears as that precious little baby being born.
    The problem is that when it looks like nothing's happening, we tend to say, "Well then, I've got to do something!" And most often, it's the wrong thing - take it from me - digging up the seed to see if it's growing. In 1 Samuel 13, beginning with verse 7, our word for today from the Word of God, we've got a sobering example of how much we have to lose when we can't wait for God to do it His way. Saul, who's Israel's first king, has been told by God's man Samuel, "Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings...but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do."
    With the Philistine forces massing against them, the Bible says, "Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel, but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul's men began to scatter." Saul panicked, and he did what no king was allowed by God to do: he offered the burnt offering himself and he crossed a sacred line. And "just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived." And Samuel asks, "What have you done?" Saul answers by talking about what "I saw"... "I thought"... "I felt." Samuel says, "You acted foolishly. You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you...now your kingdom will not endure."
    Saul forfeits the major legacy of his life because of disobedience that disqualified him; a disobedience that came because he couldn't wait for God to do it His way. You and I are so prone to make that same mistake. Nothing seems to be happening, things are starting to fall apart, and it looks like we're at the point of no return. So we take matters into our own hands and, in so doing, we ruin what God was going to do.
    God is so often the God of the eleventh hour. He waits until the moment when everyone will know it had to be Him. He waits so our faith can stretch farther than it's ever stretched before so He can do greater things for us than He's ever done before.
    God's working in ways we can't see, so ultimately something beautiful will be born for all to see. So, as the Psalmist says: "Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this...be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him" (Psalm 37:5, 7).


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    August 18, 2022 Impressive on the Outside, Empty on the Inside - #9289


    Hollywood is kind of a world of illusions. If you don't know it already, well you learn it when you tour a major studio. I did that once and I got to see where movies and TV series were filmed. You find out, for example, that when you see a man speeding along in a car he might be sitting still on the set. They put in all the scenery that makes it look like he's moving, later.
    I remember reading about Gary Cooper, who was a legendary movie star of another generation. And they had a great illusion for him in this western town. One of the buildings had a door that they actually "shrunk" for Gary Cooper, because Gary Cooper wasn't very tall. You're not supposed to have a short hero, right? And they wanted a tall leading man, so they made the door small so he would look tall. (I need these guys to help me out.)
    It's a world of illusion. And it didn't stop with the western town. There was a street in WWII vintage European village, and there was old Chicago. And the buildings! Oh, impressive until you open a door and go inside. There's nothing there! Did you ever get that feeling about your life?
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Impressive on the Outside, Empty on the Inside."
    Impressive exteriors! That's what 2 Timothy 3:5-7 talk about, and they happen to be our word for today from the Word of God. And Paul, in describing what people are going to be like near the end of human history, gives this description. He says they are "having a form of godliness" - okay, they look good on the outside - "but denying its power." Then in verse 7 he says, they're "always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth."
    Now, notice here he describes people who have religion; they have a form of godliness. The problem is it's a set. They go to the right meetings, they say the right words, they give in the right offerings, they support the right causes. There's just no power behind it. Then he talks about people who have an education but no answers; they can't arrive at the truth.
    In the book of Ecclesiastes, which is King Solomon's personal diary, he described the great set of his life. And he talked about all the monuments he had built, and the palace he had built, and the women he had loved, and the pleasures he had partaken in, and the musicians he brought in, and the wealth he had amassed. What a set! And then he describes what was going on inside over and over again in these three words, "chasing the wind."
    I remember a time when I'd had like just one person after another tell they felt empty inside. A high school athlete at the top of his career with all the scholarships said, "Ron, why do I feel so empty?" A community leader, a leader in his church, looked at me and said, "Ron, why after all this religious effort do I feel so empty?" Maybe your life has a great set for people to see: success, a sense of humor, friends, religion, but you're aware that behind that set there's no power, there's no answers, there's no peace. After years of wearing the right masks and saying the right thing, well we find out there's nothing behind that set - nothing there. Why don't you deal with what's missing or actually who's missing?
    Solomon said in the book of Ecclesiastes, "We have eternity in our hearts." What's missing is the person who made you. Colossians 1:16 sums up our life in six words. Speaking of Christ it says, "We were created by Him and for Him." Could it be that you are missing the relationship you were made for? Even religious people; you can have a religious set and maybe never have Christ.
    This could be the day that you finally experience the reality, the ultimate reality of God not around you but God in you. Of the peace and the love and the forgiveness and the heaven that only Jesus can give you, because only He died to make it possible. And He walked out of His grave so He could walk into your life today. If you want to know how to begin that relationship? Go to our website at ANewStory.com.
    If you're tired of just repainting the scenery of your life and making a more impressive exterior, why don't you open the door of that set and let Jesus Christ into the emptiness behind it. He can build a house there that you really live in.


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    August 17, 2022 Lots of Blessing, Not Much Impact - #9288


    I was in a city that a hurricane had just missed. And we were very blessed to have not been hit by all that wind. But we did get two days of the wet weather leftovers. I mean, we're talking drenching rain here! One morning it was pouring, and I drove by a bank. And I saw something, and I had to laugh in the middle of the torrents coming down. The sprinklers came on right on schedule. Yeah! They were doing a beautiful job of watering the lawn, which really didn't need any water.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Lots of Blessing, Not Much Impact."
    Now our word for today from the Word of God. We're in 2 Kings, with this curious story that's in the 7th chapter. The capital city of Samaria is under siege, and the Syrian Army has cut off all food. So the people in the city are literally starving to death. I mean, it's so desperate in the city that people have even resorted to cannibalism to stay alive.
    Now, there are these four lepers who live outside the city. And they decided since they're already going to die, they might as well try to surrender to the enemy army. If they're captured as prisoners of war, maybe they'll get fed. So when they get to the enemy camp, they discover that God has performed a miracle. The camp is empty. So they find all this food, and empty tents just standing there. And they stuff themselves all night.
    Then we come to verse 9, "They said to each other, 'We're not doing right.'" It was about time they figured that out. Then it goes on, "This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let's go at once and report this." What a scene this is! These four men are sitting on this pile of food, while multitudes in the city are starving.
    It reminds me of those sprinklers on that rainy day. Water wasn't really needed; it was just soaking what was already soaked. A Christian from the former Soviet Union once said to the team our daughter was on, "The problem with American Christians is that you are 'over-feeded'" Well, he's right. We are so blessed.
    We're soaked with blessings no Christians have ever had before. We've got Christian everything: Christian radio, Christian TV, Christian internet, concerts, festivals, retreats, and seminars. But it's almost all for us. We're already stuffed, but we line up for another helping of blessing don't we? We're already soaked, but we turn on the sprinklers for more showers of blessing. Something's wrong here. Let's not forget what our Master's heart is. He said, "I have come to seek and to save..." Not that which is found, but He says "that which is lost."
    He talks about a harvest where "the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few." He says, "I can't find laborers to go get the harvest. They're too busy eating the harvest." A self-focused church, a self-focused Christian? That's not the will of God. We follow a Savior who left the comfort of heaven, to live among the lost. He laid down His life to bring them home to God.
    He sure can't be very happy with us when we focus on going to our Christian meetings, going to our conferences, listening to our Christian speakers, our songs, keeping all busy with our Christian schedule and ignoring the dying people within our reach. The spiritually destitute are starving to death as surely as those people were back in the book of 2 Kings.
    Like our Master, we need to live our lives for the lost people that He gave His life for. In the words of those lepers, "This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves." There are plenty of lives that get no spiritual rain. Let's not aim our sprinklers at the already soaked. Let's take them to the places where it never rains.


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    August 16, 2022 Answers at the End of Your Rope - #9287


    I was ten years old, and I had one of the most frightening moments of my life. I was out with some of my friends about my age in Lake Michigan. Some reason I panicked in the water and I started to go under. I can still remember it like it was today. I really, really felt like I was going to die. Now, unfortunately, my friends did not take my cries for help seriously. "Oh, there's Ron! He's clowning around again! He's goofing off!" I guess that's the price you pay for being a clown, which I guess I was...and I am. Well, I began to flail around; I was desperately trying to save myself. And someone, thank God, saw me. I mean, they saw I was really in trouble and they came to my rescue. And when they did, I quit thrashing, I quit trying to swim, and because I did they were able to rescue me obviously. You know why? I quit trying to rescue myself!
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Answers at the End of Your Rope."
    Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Mark 5. I'll begin reading at verse 25, "And the woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors, she'd spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His cloak because she thought, 'If I just touch His clothes, I'll be healed.' Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering."
    Well, here's a lady who had spent years, you might say, thrashing around trying to save herself, and every time she goes under. Then when she ran out of human solutions and earthly resources, she almost literally lunged for Jesus. Here's a desperate woman grabbing His robe and she got the answer that had eluded her for all those years. You know what? That's probably the only way you'll get your answer.
    See, there's a condition that God can do the most with. It's called desperation. When I'm out of answers, I'm willing to admit I'm out of answers. At that point, you can choose to go to the Lord broken and powerless. But you know what? We usually have to be driven there. But there's no condition God can do more with than powerlessness. It's the most powerful position you could be in. See, we already are powerless; we don't have the resources. We just have to get to the point where we know it and we'll admit it.
    Why do we wait until we're driven to the edge? We North American Christians have so many other resources we can trust in. Other believers in other parts of the world only have God. Actually that's all we have too.
    Maybe you've been trying to plan an answer, or engineer an answer, politic it, manipulate it, talk an answer, work an answer, you prayed but not in desperation. You still have other things you're depending on. God's using this need to teach you one of life's sweetest lessons: Jesus is enough. He's the source. You learn that, not when you casually approach Him to help you, but when you lunge for Him, cry out for Him, come broken to Him, and grab His robe. It's only when you realize when Jesus died on the cross to become your Rescuer from your sin, because there was nothing you could do to rescue yourself, that's when you finally change your eternal destination from hell to heaven. That's where you finally experience having every sin of your life forgiven. That's where you get this peace of knowing that when you die you will be in heaven with Him.
    Maybe this is that day for you - your day of personal rescue. Take it from a boy who almost drowned, thrashing around getting nowhere. As long as I was flailing around I was pretty hard to rescue. So are you. Your religion, your goodness, it will never get you to heaven. It can't possibly pay the death penalty for your sin.
    I'd love to show you the way to begin that relationship with Him. That's what our website's for. Would you go there? It's ANewStory.com. When you know you're going down for the third time and you grab your Savior, you will finally be safe in those arms that have wanted to carry you all along.


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    August 15, 2022 Paralyzing Predicaments - #9286


    Our friend's horse was in a jam. She had accidentally stepped into a small feeder that's usually used to hold a mineral block. It was so bitter cold that the bottom cracked when the mare stepped on it and her hoof went all the way through. Of course, that created something like a plastic bracelet around her hoof and she couldn't get it off. Visiting relatives saw the mare just standing there like a statue; traumatized and paralyzed by this thing that wouldn't come off her foot. So, they went out there to help. One of them calmed the horse while the other worked on setting her free. This is interesting because usually this horse would balk at letting strangers get near her. Not this time. She stood perfectly still, somehow realizing that these people had come to help her out of her jam. And they did.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Paralyzing Predicaments."
    Even though that horse was scared, she was smart enough to let someone help her. Sadly, she was smarter than many of us when we're hurting or when we're in a predicament. Maybe you're struggling right now, but you're struggling alone. You're not letting anyone else in to help you and you're stuck in your problem. Like that horse, you may not be able to move on unless and until you open up to some help.
    Some of us are trying to be Lone Rangers, keeping everything inside, stuffing it, proudly trying to handle it all by ourselves. But even the Lone Ranger had Tonto! In our word for today from the Word of God, the Lord makes clear that He believes in the power of two more than the power of one. Ecclesiastes 4, beginning with verse 9, actually says, "Two are better one... if one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls down and has no one to help him up! ... Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
    By the way, I believe those three strands are you, God, and someone you open up to and let them help you. And right now you may be standing, basically paralyzed, because of your reluctance to let someone get close enough to help you. It's time to share that burden, however frightened or ashamed or wounded you may be. Share it with a pastor, a counselor, a mature Christian friend ... a family member you trust. You need their perspective. You need their support. You need their wisdom. They'll be able to see things you can't see. They'll think of things from an objective perspective - whether it's your marriage, or your past, your addiction, your big decision, your dark secret, or any other struggle. You were never meant to face it alone.
    By the way, after that horse was rescued from her predicament, she responded in an interesting way. She didn't move for hours - even though she was free. That could be a picture of someone who's listening right now. Christ has given you His new identity, His forgiveness, His grace for your grief. He's given you His freedom to make your future different from your past. But you're still standing there like you're still a prisoner; like you're still a victim. Hey, you're free! You can walk, you can trot, and you can gallop. It's time to get moving again!
    God commands us to "forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!" (Isaiah 43:18). Open up to the help of your Lord. Open up to the help of someone He will use to help you get moving again. Then, don't keep dwelling on the trouble or the trauma. You don't have to be paralyzed. You're free to run again!


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    August 12, 2022 Hope When You're Running On Empty - #9285


    Over a lifetime I've done a lot of the driving. But this time, I was the passenger. It's a good thing I was the passenger. I glanced over at this little amusement area by the side of the road. We just zipped by it, but I saw a water slide, a miniature golf course, and then I was really startled by what I saw. There was a giant, plastic water faucet and it was hanging, suspended above the ground with water falling out of it. It wasn't attached to anything, or nothing you could see anyway. There was just a faucet hanging there.
    Now, if I had been driving, my insurance company would have probably gotten a call that day. Here was this faucet, apparently connected to nothing, running a steady flow of water. I still don't understand how they did it, but I do understand how you and I can.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Hope When You're Running On Empty"
    Jesus made a promise to His disciples that could not be fulfilled at the time He gave it. But He can now; that's the good news. And if you'll claim it, you can keep running even when there are no pipes. Our word for today from the Word of God, John 7, beginning at verse 37, "Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, 'If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.' By this He meant the Spirit whom those who believed in Him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given."
    Jesus is saying here, "When my Holy Spirit comes, my followers will have a spiritual fountain in them that will never run dry." That Spirit came at Pentecost, and has come into people's lives on the day they open up to Jesus Christ. If you've done that, then the Holy Spirit is in you. And Jesus said that the supply of resource will come from within like that faucet I saw in mid air. It wasn't connected to any conventional water supplies, but it was pouring out water. There was an inner source that would keep it supplied, even when there were no outside sources helping it seemed.
    That's a good picture of you right now. Maybe the conventional sources of support, the pipes in your life, just aren't there for you right now. Maybe your job just dried up, or key support people. Maybe you're just in a situation where you feel isolated or overwhelmed. Maybe you're dried up, and earth has nothing that can help you right now. People, even those who would like to help you, really can't do much. You're suspended in mid air with no visible means of support or supply right now. But the security of a follower of Christ is never around him anyway; it's in him Jesus said.
    God will supply what man cannot supply, but He'll supply it from the inside. That's why Paul could be as confident and content in a prison as he was at the peak of his popularity. He reached in for His resource, not around him. You never know Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you've got. Maybe you've been coming up empty because you've never plugged into the resource that Jesus Christ brings into a life when you give your life to Him.
    Jesus met a woman at a well one day who had come every day to get water from the well. And He said, "Are you tired of being thirsty again?" It turned out He was talking about all the relationships with guys that had never satisfied her soul thirst. He said, "I'll put inside of you a spring that will well up into everlasting life. When Jesus comes in, you've met the One you were made by; the One you were made for. And you can be His. You can belong to Him and have that endless stream from heaven in your life and in your soul. When everyone else has let you down, you'll have one love that will be unloseable.
    He proved that when He died on the cross for you. If you've never begun a relationship with Him; if you've never known what it is to not be thirsty in your soul again, I'd ask you to join me at our website ANewStory.com and find out how that source of peace and satisfaction can be yours. From that day on, with Jesus in your life, the well will be in your heart.


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    August 11, 2022 Choosing Your Battles - #9284


    Many Civil War scholars would consider the Battle of Gettysburg as the turning point - or certainly one of the turning points - of that bloody war. And Civil War buffs have discussed for decades what factors actually decided the outcome of the battle that may have decided the outcome of the war. One key factor happened before the real battle actually began those three days in July of 1863. Soldiers from both North and South were on the move as General Lee's troops launched an invasion of Union territory. Union General Buford unintentionally encountered some of the advance Confederate forces. Well, he sized up the terrain around Gettysburg, and he decided that the ground called Cemetery Ridge would be the decisive high ground when the forces of Blue and Gray finally came to blows. And he determined to keep the advanced southern troops from having that ground, and he succeeded. In so doing, he secured for the North, ground that would indeed help decide the outcome of the Battle of Gettysburg.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Choosing Your Battles."
    Throughout military history, victories have been won because someone knew which battle was worth fighting and which battleground was best to fight on. It might be an important part of whether or not you'll win in some of the battles you're fighting right now as a parent, or at work, in keeping people together, maybe in your church.
    King David! There's a veteran warrior, and he understood that it was important to be sure that you're fighting the right battles. In 2 Samuel 5, beginning with verse 18, our word for today from the Word of God, the Bible says: "Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; so David inquired of the Lord, 'Shall I go and attack the Philistines?'... The Lord answered him, 'Go, for I will surely hand the Philistines over to you.' So David went...and he defeated them."
    Later, the Philistines invaded again. "So David inquired of the Lord, and He answered, 'Do not go straight up...'" Now, notice here, David did not undertake a battle until he had checked with God to see if this was a battle he should fight. That's a powerful model for you and me.
    Some of us as parents or leaders, we tend to make everything a battle. We just can't keep our mouth shut, we can't let anything pass. And even if you're fighting good battles, if you're always fighting, people become immune to you. And when you've got a really important issue to fight for, they'll just say, "Here he goes again." That's not good. Some of us parents, we so want our kids to do the right thing that we're like all over them all the time. And they eventually just turn us off. Same with any of us who are always fighting.
    So don't make every issue a battleground. Don't make everything a battle. Fight for the real issues, not over every incident. Don't try to settle issues based on an incident that's got everybody all inflamed right now. Deal with it at a time when there's not an incident. Save your ammunition for the battles that really matter.
    Above all, always check with God to see if this is His battle; one that He thinks is worth fighting and that you're the one to fight it. So that you can say with David against Goliath, "The battle is the Lord's." Choosing your battles, choosing your battlegrounds, and sometimes holding your fire. Those are keys to winning the battles that decide the war.


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    August 10, 2022 Why You Don't Have to Be Afraid of the Unknown Ahead - #9283


    My wife grew up on a little farm in the Ozarks just down the road from her grandparents. It was almost like a page out of that television program, The Waltons. The family was close and they never had much materially, but neither did the families around them. In fact, my wife told me if her family was poor, she didn't realize it, she didn't know it. She thought she was rich!
    And then I hear the stories of her growing up, and I think she was. On one of our visits to her "old homeplace," she told me about those occasions when her grandfather would hitch up a mule to a plow and start turning up the garden with his four-year-old little granddaughter in tow - that's my honey. She said she loved to follow behind her granddad, and she'd walk barefoot in that newly plowed ground. And then she said, "You know, before granddad got to it, the ground was all hard, but after he plowed it I loved to feel that warm, moist soil between my toes." Well it wasn't uncommon then to see this little dark-haired girl following a mule, a plow, and an old man through that newly plowed soil.
    Well I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Why You Don't Have to Be Afraid of the Unknown Ahead."
    Which brings us to our word for today from the Word of God; it actually is one of the promises of Jesus that is one of my anchors. John 10:4. And I have depended on this one more times than I could tell you, "When He has brought out all His own, He goes on ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice." Jesus kind of says here, okay Ron, you sheep, Me shepherd, wherever I ask you to go I'm getting there ahead of you.
    He goes ahead of them, kind of like granddad went ahead of my wife. He's getting it ready for you to walk on. You'll never be led anywhere by your Savior where He has not first gone ahead and prepared the way for you. Which means you can dare to go someplace, to risk some things you could otherwise never consider. You take risks for Jesus. You know why? Because you know He is plowing that ground ahead of you. Wow!
    Look, maybe right now you're heading into this whole new season of your life, or you're moving into a new area or a new job or a new relationship, a challenge. It's possible the Lord is leading you to leave your comfort zone to do something for Him. He often asks us to do that. Or there could be ahead of you a conversation, or a confrontation, a responsibility that honestly you're not looking forward to. Listen to Jesus, He's saying, "I'm going there ahead of you. I'm going to get there ahead of you." See, that makes all the difference. Jesus is going ahead of you there; He's preparing the resources that you're going to need. He's preparing the hearts of those that you're going to be talking to. He's going to be preparing the people you'll need, the support you'll need. And He'll be taking care of any wolves that just might be there to threaten His sheep.
    And if He's leading you to share Christ with someone - and He probably is - isn't it wonderful to know that He's going on ahead to get hearts ready to make a heart that otherwise might be hard - a soft heart. You could even pray for that, "Lord, please go on ahead of me before I go and talk to (fill in the name)," and that's why you can go with confidence, that's why you can go with boldness to share the difference that Jesus can make because the shepherd is getting there ahead of you.
    Look, the ground ahead right now, well it might look pretty hard to you, but by the time you walk on it, He'll have it all opened up. Like that little girl in her grandfather's garden, there's someone out in front of you turning up the ground.


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    August 9, 2022 The Painful Road to Greater Results - #9282


    When it comes to growing things, I'm not exactly Seedling Sam the Gardening Man. I grew up in an apartment in the city, OK? But my farm girl wife and some friends who have amazing green thumbs? Oh, they've taught me a lot about how things grow and flourish. I was reminded of one of those lessons when I read an article about growing blueberries in our local newspaper. Not growing blueberries in the newspaper. It was I read about it in the newspaper. And the writer of that article is a recognized expert. He's a blueberryologist I guess. He explained how one of his most important steps in making blueberry bushes fruitful is to chop off branches. Sounds destructive, but actually it's constructive. He prunes away a lot of top branches so the interior branches are exposed to the sunlight. The result? Big blueberries and lots of them!
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Painful Road to Greater Results."
    I need to understand this pruning thing, because it's one of God's most important tools in growing me - and you, for that matter. In fact, some of the difficulty and loss that you're experiencing right now could be your Heavenly Father is cutting you back to help you grow. And the results are going to be far greater than they ever could have been if He left what He's been taking away.
    As Jesus was in His final hours before the cross, He prepared His disciples for the battles and the assignments ahead with some powerful teaching. And since they saw grapevines pretty often, He chose that as an analogy of their, and our, relationship with Him. In John 15, beginning with verse 1, our word for today from the Word of God, Jesus says: "I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." In short, leaving you less so you can do more.
    Jesus went on to explain that all the things we do for Him have to flow from our deep relationship with Him - "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing...If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you." So, if you keep loading up on Jesus and getting ever closer to Him, your life's going to be really fruitful. You're going to make a greater and greater difference with your life than you've ever made before. You're going to be more and more spiritually magnetic, and having you around is going to be more and more like having Jesus around.
    But before the fruit, comes the pruning. I imagine if a vine could talk, he'd say to the pruner, "You're killing me, man!" And the gardener would say, "I know this hurts, but I'm actually removing things you don't really need so you can explode with greater fruit." That could be exactly what's happening in your life right now, and It doesn't feel good. But it is good. God is lovingly removing things you think you need, but things that actually might be holding you down, holding you back, or holding you captive. The cutbacks? They're painful, but your Lord is taking out and subtracting so He can shine on what's left and do what He never could have done if you still had what you've lost.
    Pruning is actually God's loving surgery to let His light go deeper into your life than it has ever gone before. You may not enjoy the process. You probably won't enjoy the process - but you, and everybody else is going to love the results!


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    August 8, 2022 Your Permanent Record - in Heaven - #9281


    Schools and teachers frequently run into what we might call a motivational challenge; how to motivate a student to do the right thing and stop doing the wrong thing. Now, they used to hit students on the hand or even spank them in the old days. Of course, not any more. Disciplinary actions have gotten less and less as parents have been willing to even sue if a school violates their son's or daughter's rights. A teacher can still threaten a zero, or a detention, or a trip to the principal's office, and the principal can even threaten a suspension. But there are two words that can strike terror into many a student's heart, "This will go on your permanent record."
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Your Permanent Record - in Heaven."
    If your school years are a distant memory, you're probably glad you don't have to be concerned about your permanent record any more, right? Well, as a matter of fact, we all have one in heaven. King David was concerned about his, and back in the 51st Psalm he said, "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love. According to Your great compassion, blot out my transgressions." He was afraid of his record with God. In verse 9 he says, "Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities." Don't you wish you could have erased the record of all the times you've done things, thought things, said things that were out of God's bounds? Well, the Bible has a word for that - sin. Any time I run my life instead of God running it.
    See, God's recorder has been running during every conversation of your life and mine. His recorder has been picking up everything you've ever done, even the things no one else knew about. And David said in another Psalm, "If I say surely the darkness will hide me, even the darkness will not be dark to You, God." If we have to face that permanent record when it's our time to appear before God, we don't stand a chance. The good we've done? It's not going to cancel out a lifetime record of doing things my way.
    Thank God your permanent record doesn't have to be permanent. Our word for today from the Word of God in Colossians 2:13. Listen to this good news: "You were dead in your sins, but He forgave us all our sin having canceled the written code that was against us. He took it away, nailing it to His cross." Wow! In other words, because of what Jesus did when He died, it's possible to trade in punishment for forgiveness; a death penalty that I deserve, I can trade for eternal life I could never deserve.
    We might want to argue over some of the entries in our permanent record in heaven and say, "Hey, I don't think that's sin. Our culture doesn't think it's sin." Well, if God thinks it's sin, it is and it's on your record. But because Jesus Christ died to make possible the erasing of our sin record, God can make this promise recorded in Hebrews 8:12 in the Bible, "I will forgive their wickedness" - listen to this - "and I will remember their sins no more." Wow! Wouldn't it be liberating to know that your eternal record with God is clear; that you'll never have to face that record in God's presence some day and the judgment that goes with it?
    Freedom and forgiveness - they're yours. And the moment you put all your faith in Him you get a new permanent record in heaven. It's talked about in Luke 10:20. It says, "Rejoice that your names are written in heaven." Today your name could be entered in what God calls His Book of Life. That's His permanent record of all those whose sins are forgiven because they've invited Jesus Christ to be their own Savior from their own sin.
    If you've never done that, if you want to know how, if you want to be sure you have, I invite you to get to our website today - ANewStory.com. Find out how every sin of your life could be erased from God's Book today by beginning that relationship with Jesus.
    That Book of Life in heaven? That's a permanent record you want your name in. It's a reservation for heaven written in God's indelible ink.


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    August 5, 2022 Always Beyond Your Reach - #9280


    There's this age where a toddler just starts exploding with words they're learning and hour-by-hour discoveries they're making. Those "discoveries" quickly teach new parents a survival skill. It's called "baby proofing" - as in removing anything that little person could get their hands on that might do them harm or vice versa. The way you discover what needs to be removed is usually by the toddler getting their hands on it. Suddenly, parents are playing defense against this strong, and suddenly very independent, toddler offense. I've watched this time-honored human drama being acted out in our son and daughter-in-law's home when our then one-year-old granddaughter started exploring each new day. When she wanted something she couldn't reach, she made sure that they knew that. Our son explained our little angel's frame of mind this way: "All she ever wants is just beyond her reach."
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Always Beyond Your Reach."
    Let's face it, fellow grownup babies - that toddler's reach syndrome is not limited to little people. It's a fact of life for many of us; all we want always seems to be just beyond our reach. I call it the "as soon as" syndrome: I'll be satisfied as soon as I graduate, as soon as I get that job, get that better job, get that house, get that bigger house, as soon as I get a boyfriend or girlfriend, or get a little more money. I'll be content as soon as I'm married, as soon as I'm divorced, as soon as I have children, grandchildren, as soon as I lose weight. I'll feel better as soon as I move, or as soon as I retire. It's the life never-ending cycle of "never enough."
    And therein, is one of life's brutal truths - more is never enough. John D. Rockefeller was asked how much money is enough money. His answer was classic: "A little bit more." Well, in spite of its futility, many of us are driven to do whatever it takes to get more of what we think we need. But what we want is always just beyond our reach. Our "reach" syndrome condemns us to actually a life sentence called discontentment; never at peace, never satisfied. You know that feeling?
    After passionately pursuing more of almost everything in his life, King Solomon wisely concluded in Ecclesiastes 4:6 - "Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind." What a great word picture for always wanting more. It's like chasing the wind. The Bible says it's much better to settle for less; one handful and have some peace and sanity, than to constantly push for more; two handfuls, but with a life that's basically out of control.
    Which brings us to the liberating perspective of our word for today from the Word of God in 1 Timothy 6:6, "Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." In other words, I will go with whatever God gives me, trusting Him to provide what He knows I need. We're talking like 23rd Psalm here, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." We're talking the wisdom of Job: "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised." Praise - that's the language of contentment and the key to a peaceful heart. The Greek philosopher Plato said: "Contentment is not getting everything you always wanted to have; it's realizing how much you already have."
    For every child of God, what you already have is the wise and adequate provision of your all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful Heavenly Father. And you don't have to be a slave to the frustrating drive for more.
    Celebrate everything you do have. Focus on all the good things your Father has done for you, and let Him turn praise for Him into blessed contentment for you. Because this stubborn push to always get what we don't have - well, it's for babies.


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    August 4, 2022 Mama and Daddy Can't Get You to Heaven - #9279


    Albert Einstein's great-grandson doing a commercial? Yeah, he did a few years ago. This particular auto manufacturer was showing that a new generation of drivers was choosing their make of car; not just their fathers and grandfathers. And he would go, "This is not my father's ___." Now, I'm not going to name the car. They've got to pay for that. No, wait, we don't have commercials here.
    But they also had the sons and daughters of famous people peeling out in their - shall we call it their new car X - sometimes with their father as a passenger. This is not my father's car X. Obviously some advertiser thought that they needed to develop a new market among the sons and daughters of the older generations who had bought that car. The next generation has to make their choice of how they're going to travel.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Mama and Daddy Can't Get You to Heaven."
    Our word for today from the Word of God is in 2 Timothy 1:5. Paul was writing to his spiritual son in the faith, Timothy. He says, "I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother, Lois, and in your mother, Eunice, and I am persuaded now lives in you also." Okay, here's a guy with a great heritage. He has a godly grandmother who has chosen Christ. He has a godly mother who knows Christ. And now, it says, "It's reached to you, Timothy. I remember your sincere faith." Even though Timothy had a great spiritual family, a great heritage, a great environment, that wasn't enough. It took his own, personal, sincere faith in Christ to bring it into his life. He couldn't hitchhike on a godly grandmother. He couldn't hitchhike on a godly mother.
    That word sincere in Latin, it means "without wax." They used it to describe plates that you'd buy at the market, or pottery that had not been patched up with wax by the merchant. So, you know, he tried to use that to cover up the cracks. When you held it up to the sunlight, really it was what it appeared to be. It was cynacera; sincere - without wax. Well, God is saying here, "Timothy, I know about your sincere, un-fake, first-hand stand-the-test faith.
    See, you need to have a personal visit to the cross. You can't get by on somebody else's. You might be able to rewrite the commercial and say, "This is not my mother's Christian faith. This is not my father's Christian faith." Possibly you've been trying to get by on a "me too" faith. Maybe you wonder why your efforts to live the Christian life keep collapsing. Maybe there's no foundation. Could it be that you've never begun a relationship with Christ yourself? You've sort of been coasting on your Christian environment instead of really digging into Jesus for yourself. That's why it's so hollow.
    See, a "me too" faith won't make it in a world that's running away from God. You've got to have a faith that's skin like part of you, not like clothes that you change for every different occasion. Maybe it's time for you to step out of the false security of a nice Christian environment. You need Christ in you, not just around you. You don't need to rebel against your parent's commitment just to prove your individuality. You've got to find your own commitment to Christ...personal, powerful, and stronger than your parent's.
    Second Corinthians 13:5, "Examine yourselves to see whether or not you are in the faith." You're not going to be able to get to heaven on your family's faith or your church's faith. Can you look at your commitment and say, "This is not my parent's Christian life, it's not my church's." Because you're going to crash if you try to drive someone else's faith. It's time for you to say, "Jesus, you loved me. You died for me. I'm making you my Savior, my Rescuer from my sin."
    If you've never done that, tell Him, "Today is the day, Jesus, I'm Yours." Go to our website. Make sure you know that you belong to Him. It's ANewStory.com. See, then choose how you're going to travel and go from "me too" to "my personal Savior."


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    August 3, 2022 Surprise! You've Got Something God Can Use - #9278


    Brian's a Youth Pastor, and Earl? His most unlikely volunteer. See, Earl wasn't the right age to help out with teenagers. A pretty simple guy, not very well educated. He had one of those faces that looked like it had been lived in for a long time. And he didn't think he had any abilities that would help. In fact, that's what he told Brian. He said, "You know, Brian, I can't do anything. But I really have a heart for the kids." So Brian said, "Well, do you make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?" Earl said, "Well, sure! I can do that!" Well, that began a series of events that changed a life; well, really two lives forever.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Surprise! You've Got Something God Can Use."
    Our word for today from the Word of God, we are in Matthew 20:6-7, where Jesus is telling one of His parables. It's about a man with a vineyard. He's gone out many times to get people to help him reap his crop, and as he gets to the end of the day he still needs more help. And here's what it says, "About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, 'Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?' 'Because no one has hired us' they answered. He said to them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard.'"
    Now, we're looking here at people who did not know that the Master had work for them. But the Master's got work for everybody, including you; including Earl. Earl went to work in that Coffee House that the youth ministry had going... you guessed it, he was making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Right!
    One night this hard, rough and tumble biker - pretty intimidating guy - he came in. And he angrily walked up after he heard Christ presented and he went to Brian and said, "I don't buy any of this! Show me one reason why I should!" Earl heard this, put his peanut butter knife down, and he started to cry in the corner. Brian pointed over and said to that biker, "You see that man over there? You see his tears? Those are for you man. He's praying for you." Suddenly that biker was soft for the first time that night, and he said, "That old guy's praying for me? He's crying for me?" Brian said, "Yeah, Jesus loves you, man." And that biker came to Christ that night.
    There are a lot of Earls; maybe you're one of them. Maybe you think you don't have any outstanding abilities. You're like those people who said, "Well, no one hired me. No one has asked me to do anything." Would you be willing to say, "Lord, I don't know what I can do for You, but I want to make a difference with whatever time I have left. So, here am I. Send me."
    You never know what God's going to use. Maybe your smile, your driving. Maybe he'll use your abilities as a preparer of home-cooked meals, or your ability to bake mouth watering cookies and cakes to reach hurting, lonely people. Maybe He's going to use your listening. Or your tears, like Earl's tears. Maybe He'll use your letter writing, your background; the pain of your background that really could connect you to some other people with the same kind of background. Or maybe, He'll have you make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
    But would you let God lay some needy group of people, some ministry, some work for Him on your heart? And then tell someone that you have that burden, that you're willing to do anything. And trust God. He knows you intimately and He will put you some place to minister. You are that unique person that could make a unique difference for Him. Even if you can't imagine it, Jesus is saying to you right now, "You also go and work in my vineyard."
    Earl? His peanut butter and jelly sandwiches put him at the right place at the right time. His heart, and his tears, brought a seemingly unreachable man to Jesus Christ. Changed a biker's life and changed Earl's. Jesus needs you, to be one of His surprising heroes.


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    August 2, 2022 The Real You And The Wannabe You - #9277


    I thought "catfishing" sounded like a Friday night feast in Mississippi. Until the absolutely weird news story came out about Notre Dame's All-American football star, reportedly falling in love with a girl who wasn't there. To be sure, his moving story of the death of the woman he loved on the eve of a critical late-season game raised tons of questions. He claimed that she turned out to be only an Internet invention. And that's why "catfishing" was suddenly in the news.
    I found out that "catfishing" is defined as "building a fake online person and trapping others." And apparently, I guess it's happening more and more. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? Convincingly portraying a "person" that isn't really there at all. That's actually not all that new. Humans have been doing that for a long time.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Real You And The Wannabe You."
    We date and sell ourselves as someone we're not - which is why so many people are shocked to discover they unknowingly married a stranger. We write, shall we say, "creative" resumes to get a job. We put on a great "church me," concealing the truth that it's more like "Sunday saint, Monday ain't." Happy-go-lucky on the outside, bleeding on the inside. All friendly to their face; all backstabbing when they're not around. Claiming to love the person you married while your eyes and your passions are on roam. Or acting like you've got it all together when inside you are falling apart.
    Most of us are pretty good at giving folks the person they want us to be. Teenagers fool their parents, employees fool their boss, students con their teacher, husbands deceive their wife and wives their husband, guys and gals scam each other with lies to land a catch. Yeah, there are a lot of people out there who don't really exist. Like the sets for Hollywood movies; you know, impressive on the outside, but really only a front. There's nothing on the inside.
    And then there are the people with integrity. They're rare. Therefore, they're really valuable. In math class, we learned that an "integer" is one whole number. Right? Well integrity means you are one whole person. There's only one you. You're the same person at home, at work, at the gym, at the store, in the classroom, in public, and when you're all alone. Real all the way through. A light in a sea of fake.
    Unfortunately, we get so used to being great pretenders that we're prone to a truly deadly mistake; thinking we'll make it with God if we look good on the outside. But none of our spiritual masks fool God for a second. The Bible says, "Do not be deceived, God cannot be mocked. A man sows what he reaps" (Galatians 6:7).
    Our word for today from the Word of God in Hebrews 4:13 tells us that the Judge we will all stand before says (listen to this), "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account" (Hebrews 4:13).
    In preparation for that day, God tells church folks in the Bible, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you - unless, of course, you fail the test?" (2 Corinthians 13:5). That's because it's possible to have tons of Christianity and somehow miss Christ, which sets the stage for this chilling Judgment Day verdict from Jesus in Matthew 7:23, "I never knew you."
    Jesus on the outside won't cut it with God; only Jesus on the inside, in your heart, for real. If you're not sure you belong to Jesus, and you want to be sure, would you say, "Jesus, I'm yours today."
    Join me at our website and let me help you be sure you belong to Him. We'll walk you through very simply how to make sure. Because it's time to find the road that will finally get you all the way home.


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    August 1, 2022 Step-By-Step - The Road to God's Will - #9276


    If you're not a "Trekkie" you might know someone who is. A Trekkie, of course, is a rabid fan of Star Trek. I guess there's seldom been a TV series in American television history that so captured people's imaginations like Star Trek did and has, and in new form still is. Then there were the movies: Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, the Starship Enterprise. Really part of America's sort of fantasy memory bank.
    There's one part of Star Trek I wish wasn't fantasy. Scotty, who's the Enterprise's chief engineer, mans a device called The Transporter. And if you ever saw Star Trek, you know that The Transporter does this molecular magic that allows the transportee to stand under this beam and to be beamed down to a planet, or beamed up to the ship in just a matter of seconds. Now, that maneuver has given birth to a very familiar refrain, "Scotty, beam me up." Don't you wish you could be immediately transported to your destination sometimes? (Are we there, yet?) Well, Scotty can't do it because he's not real, and the only One who could do it, well...
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Step-By-Step - The Road to God's Will."
    Our word for today from the Word of God - Psalm 84. It's a blueprint for how God gets us to our destination. Listen to what He says, "Blessed are those whose strength is in You (referring to the Lord) who have set their hearts on pilgrimage." Verse 7 says, "They go from strength to strength till each appears before God in Zion."
    I was caught by these words, "Blessed are those who have set their hearts on pilgrimage, who go from strength to strength." These are people who realize that there's a regular, day-by-day, strength-to-strength journey involved in getting us to our destination in God's will. It's referring to people who realize that following the Lord is a step at a time process, not some spiritual transporter that takes you instantly to spiritual maturity. It's more like, "Take a step, see a step. Take a step, see another step." It's not, "Lord, beam me up to spiritual maturity."
    He says, "No, I bless those who are committed to that step-by-step process." You say, "Well, I know that! I know it's a process; it's not just a zap you get." But the problem is we don't live like we really believe it's a day-by-day process. We tend to live from spiritual high to spiritual high, "Lord, I'm going to make this great spiritual commitment. Now, beam me up to where I ought to be." So we make our annual, or semi-annual, or whatever decision it is to dedicate our life or re-dedicate or re-re-dedicate our life.
    We want some experience to be a spiritual transporter; to give us instant arrival in Christ. But God says, "I bless pilgrimage." He talks about our walk. It's a daily choice to let Christ be the Lord of your life that day. You wake up in the morning to discover "today's journey," "today's turnover to Him." What am I going to turn over to the Lord today? What am I going to give Him today to consciously let Him be Lord of that part of me today? You make Christ the Lord of this 24-hour chunk of time, 24-hour strength for a 24-hour commitment. "Your strength will equal your days," the Bible says. "Take up your cross daily" Jesus said. That's pilgrimage.
    It's pretty liberating to know that we're not failing if we haven't suddenly been transported to spiritual perfection. The question is, are you committed to the journey? Are you crowning Christ Lord each 24 hours?
    Really knowing Christ is a million little victories. Then you're exactly where you should be if that's where your mindset is. No, God won't beam you up, but He will walk with you every day until you see Him.


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    July 29, 2022 Your Attitude and Your Altitude - #9275


    I knew this guy who, several times a week, would suddenly make this announcement, "Attitude check!" That never meant much to me until I began to have some friends who are private pilots. Up to that point, the only pilot I knew was, you know, Pontius. But that word "attitude" can be a life-or-death word for a pilot. One of my friends described a plane's attitude to me as its position relative to the ground, and to the horizon - or, as he says, your angle of attack. After decades of flying, including landing on aircraft carriers, he summarized the importance of a plane's attitude this way, "Right attitude, you keep flying. Wrong attitude, you stop flying."
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Your Attitude and Your Altitude."
    Every pilot knows if your attitude is incorrect, there'll be tragic results. Every person knows that, or at least we should. If your attitude is right, you can make it through almost anything. If your attitude is wrong, you're going to start losing altitude, tumbling, maybe eventually crashing. See, in life, we usually don't get to choose our circumstances, the kind of stuff we have to fly through. A lot of that is determined by forces or people beyond our control. But we can choose our attitude. And it will be our attitude, not our circumstances, that determine whether we stay up or go down.
    Pilots tell me that when you're flying by your instruments, in those times when conditions won't let you fly visually, you adjust your attitude based on this instrument called your artificial horizon. It actually shows you where the real horizon is. But when you can't see any points of reference, your senses start playing tricks on you. One veteran pilot friend of mine said that even he has sometimes to fight his instincts and feelings that are telling him lies about whether he's going up or down. The only thing that's telling him the truth is his artificial horizon.
    For us, the horizon is the Word of God. After the loss of the Shuttle Columbia and its crew, I heard an interview in which it was reported that Commander Rick Husband read a Scripture passage to his crew on the night before their launch. It's our word for today from the Word of God. Joshua 1, beginning with verse 7, "Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or the left...Do not let this book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."
    Every new day, we've got to reset our attitude based on quality time in God's Book; not just where we read the Bible, but where we let the Bible read us. For me, that means setting my attitude on "horizons" like these: "Jesus is Lord" over everything that's going to come up today. "Love covers a multitude of sins." If I love people, I'll overlook their mistakes today, not keep a record of them. That's a right attitude for the day.
    Then, there's those Biblical words "Whatever you do, do it with all your heart" (Colossians 3:23). So, whatever I have to do today, whether I particularly like it or not, do it with all my heart. When you're setting your attitude, set it on this: "The battle is the Lord's" (2 Chronicles 20:14), every battle you're going to face today. And finally, "Fix your eyes on Jesus" (Hebrews 12:2). Don't let anything or anyone distract you from Jesus being your focus.
    Set your attitude by the "horizon" of God's unchanging Word, even when your feelings and your surroundings are screaming to go another way. If your attitude is right, you'll hold your course, you'll fly steady as she goes, and you will complete your mission. So choose your attitude.


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    July 28, 2022 Peace That Stands the Test - #9274


    I was on an airplane flight from Chicago to Newark, and suddenly the pilot came on and he said, "You may have noticed that we are not going East any more, we're headed North. We're going to have to make an emergency landing in Detroit."
    Well, I want to tell you; those words didn't thrill everybody particularly. Not because there's anything wrong with Detroit. It's fine, but emergency landings aren't real exciting. No. He went on to say, "We're having a little problem with our hydraulic system." Then the next thing we knew, before the landing, the flight attendants came through and three times they checked to see how tight our seat belts were. Of course, everybody on the plane is starting to speculate about, "Do we have a problem with our wing flaps, or our landing gear?" This could be pretty serious!
    Now, my immediate neighbor was a very sweet grandma. She was really anxious. The next guy down said, "You know what? I'll bet our wheels aren't down. This could be really bad." Oh, that helped! Thank you.
    Now, we had a very shaky approach to the airport, but I've got to tell you, thank God we had a smooth landing. Then I saw the welcoming party; fire engines and emergency equipment all over!
    Now, who knows how close a call it really was? But I'll tell you this, the possibility of a crash squeezed out the inner emotional contents from all the passengers. And it was a good test for me. You know, actually I tried to lighten up the grandma's anxiety with a little humor. I told her we were going to get a trip to Detroit for no extra charge, and I kind of kept on doing my work. I honestly felt pretty much as safe as if I would in my living room.
    And that's when grandma asked the question, and I'll tell you what I told her.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Peace That Stands the Test."
    Now, our word for today from the Word of God comes from John 14:27. It's a good word for a man whose plane may have trouble landing. "Peace I leave with you." Now, can you think of a sweeter word? "My peace I give you" Jesus said. "I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid." You know what? I wasn't.
    Grandma said to me, "You know, you were so calm. You were totally calm. I was glad I was sitting next to you. That other man didn't help very much, but I'm glad I was sitting next to you." And I said, "Well, can I tell you why I was calm?" She said, "Yeah, why?" I said, "It's because of Christ in my life. See, the peace doesn't come from what's going on around me. The peace comes from who is going on inside me."
    Jesus said He doesn't give you peace like the world gives. World peace-the world's kind, you're okay if the surroundings are pleasant, the situation is stable, and if your life or security isn't in danger. That's external, therefore it's 'loseable'.
    I know a couple and one is facing lymphatic cancer, the other, bypass surgery at the same time. And they're giving a simple testimony. The Lord has virtually said to them almost verbally, "I will never leave you or forsake you." And I said to them, "You are facing death and suffering with God's peace and it has stood the test." See, that's peace that nothing can take from you - a peace that you might desperately need right now.
    Well, you know, peace is a person. The person is Jesus. He forgives your sin, He guarantees heaven, He promises His powerful care, He'll be the constant no matter what changes. That's peace! My life isn't in the hands of a pilot, or a surgeon, or an adversary. It's in my Savior's hands. When you make your peace with God, you have God's peace. The worst can happen, the best remains. What a rock solid calm you can have at the center of your soul if you'll make the Prince of Peace, your Prince.
    If you've never opened your heart to this forgiver of sins, this giver of peace, this guarantee-er of heaven, Jesus Christ, let this be the day you say, "Lord, I stop running my life. You pilot my life from here on. I'm giving myself to the One who died for me."
    There's more about this at our website. I encourage you to go there - ANewStory.com. Ask anyone who's been to the edge with Christ in their heart. This peace - His peace stands the test.


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    July 27, 2022 What's Missing In Our Worship - #9273


    Some of the most exciting moments heard in the history of the U.S. space program were these: "3...2...1...Liftoff!" In the beginning, the Gemini and Apollo rockets, and then later the space shuttles. You could see the blazing fire lifting that rocket and its precious cargo off the pad and into the sky. Very impressive! But that wasn't all. You don't just say, "Great launch. Let's go home." No, no. All that fire and smoke isn't just to have a powerful experience. The purpose of it is to launch a mission, to make some things happen that would never otherwise happen without that launch.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I'd like to have A Word With You today about "What's Missing In Our Worship."
    One exciting trend among God's people today is a growth of praise and worship. I mean, church services and conferences begin with extended times of praise and worship. These have often brought about deeper and more meaningful worship where we can feel the majesty, and the presence of our God in a very real way. I've experienced it many times. They are powerful times-like the fire and smoke of the space launch. But also like a launch, it's not the end; it's not all there is. Worship is supposed to launch us into some things that would never otherwise happen.
    In our word for today from the Word of God in Isaiah 6, this prophet experiences an incredible launching of his life's work. And in his experience, I believe God shows us three transactions that He wants us to have with Him each new day. It all begins with worship, but it doesn't end there.
    Isaiah says, "I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of His robe filled the temple." And he describes these mighty angelic beings who were "calling to one another: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory.' At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke."
    So, the first transaction in a powerful life is to see the awesomeness of your God. You spend time with Him early in each new day until you are overwhelmed by this holy God of yours who's totally in control of billions of galaxies and everything in your life. This is worship where you get lost in your Lord until you can say with all your heart, "Lord, You are awesome!"
    But praise and worship are incomplete unless they lead to the next transaction-to see the awfulness of your sin. Isaiah was possibly the most godly man in his nation, but here's what happens after He experiences the greatness of his God. He says, "Woe to me! I am ruined. For I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King." See, with this confession, an angel comes with cleansing fire and says, "See, this has touched your lips. Your guilt is taken away and your sin is atoned for."
    So, true worship results in repentance. So you say, "Lord, you're awesome, but I'm a mess." When He points out the dark spot, you melt into repentance. And because He shed His blood to pay for that sin, Jesus comes, cleans you up for this new day and says, "Your guilt is taken away and your sin is atoned for."
    But Isaiah's vision leads us to one last transaction with God. "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'" See, God takes His man or woman from worship, to repentance, to rescuing the dying. You see the awesomeness of your God, then the awfulness of your sin, and then the lostness of the people around you. "I have seen the King, but I'm surrounded by people who haven't. And I've got to tell them about Him." And looking at the people in your world, you say, "Lord, they are dying and I'm going to them."
    That's the complete worship experience. You leave your comfort zone to reach those who have never seen your Lord as you have, because that's the mission that the launch of worship sends you on.


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    July 26, 2022 The Bad News and Good News About God - #9272


    Our babies were all born in nice, warm hospitals. But with the frigid weather systems that blew across the country, you know, last winter and just about every winter, I can't imagine a baby being born outside...on a city street, no less. But that's exactly what happened in Toronto. As a 20-year-old young woman was trying to walk to the nearby hospital, she didn't get there in time - the baby came.
    It couldn't have happened at a worse time; an extreme cold alert had come out from the city, the temperature was dropping below five degrees Fahrenheit. By the time an emergency team could get the fragile little newborn to the hospital, it was apparently too late. The baby was declared dead. Just even saying that makes me sad.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Bad News and Good News About God."
    Two police officers at the hospital were asked to guard the baby's body while they contacted the coroner. And that's where it gets pretty incredible, because the policemen thought they saw movement under the sheet. They called for medical staff, who confirmed that the baby was alive! The police officers have been credited with saving that baby's life.
    Medical folks speculated that it was a case of hypothermia slowing the baby's metabolism and brain activity to where it seemed like the baby had died. One way or another, it feels like a miracle to me. And a miracle that reaches into my soul and says, "Ron, can't you see yourself here?"
    Yeah, I can, because of the Bible's startling description of me. In Ephesians 2:1 it says, "You were dead." Oh yeah, lungs breathing, heart pumping but dead - spiritually dead. Because we're so much more than protoplasm and proteins. When God breathed life into man, Genesis says, "man became a living soul." Bodies die. Souls keep going - forever. And that's the part of me the Bible reveals was dead. Spiritually flat lined.
    Oh, I didn't know it, but I was still dead. Because I've taken the life God gave me to live for Him and I've done with it what I wanted to do with it. Which essentially means enthroning myself as "God" for me. Cosmic rebellion. "Sin."
    So God's diagnosis from the Bible says: "You were dead in your sins." Separated from the source of all spiritual life, away from God, living without any meaning here, and then away from God forever.
    Yet like that "dead" little baby in Canada, I'm miraculously alive. Here's the miracle in our word for today from the Word of God in Ephesians 2:4-5, "God...loved us so very much, that even while we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead." See, that's what it took. Only God could do it.
    If you're dead, you can't resurrect yourself. If we've just got defects, doing a lot of good things should balance heaven's scales. Right? But we're dead. There's not one thing a dead person can contribute. So anyone who's hopeful that being good will get them to heaven is depending on a life preserver that's got a fatal leak.
    No, only God gives life. And this is where it gets amazing beyond words. Here's the Bible again: "God saved you by His special favor when you believed. You don't take credit for this; it's a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done" (Ephesians 2:8-9 - NLB).
    The gift of eternal life was purchased at a hellish price - the brutal death of God's only Son. It was His sinless life, laid down for my sin-wasted life. There is no greater love. Then He blew death away; He walked out of His grave. There is no greater power.
    I can't do a thing to resurrect my sin-deadened soul. Jesus did it all. It's got to be all Him and no me. But when you pin all your hopes on His life-giving sacrifice, man, that's when life really begins.
    If you've never done that, if you would like to make sure you've got this settled with God, I invite you to join me at our website ANewStory.com. This is the day that life can begin for you. You will have a new story.


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    July 25, 2022 Never More Than You Can Carry - #9271


    A new staff couple had just arrived with their U-Haul truck, moving to our area from the Southwest. And a bunch of us were there to meet them and help them move into their apartment. Our then-four-year-old grandson insisted on joining the moving crew. I was inside the truck, handing out items as helpers came to get some more, and no one made more trips than the youngest mover there. Now, I didn't give him the couch to carry, or the dresser or the TV set. You know, I gave him small boxes, small appliances, light objects to carry. There's only so much a four-year-old can handle. Or even someone who's a lot more than four years old - like me, for example.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Never More Than You Can Carry."
    We all have some loads to carry; that's the nature of life. And sometimes it's so heavy that it takes everything we've got to keep from dropping it or caving in beneath the weight. Maybe this is one of those seasons of heavy burdens for you. I've got some good news for you-news that's contained in our word for today from the Word of God in 1 Corinthians 10:13. Here is your Heavenly Father's promise: "God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted (or the word can also be translated "tested") beyond what you can bear. For when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so you can stand up under it."
    Did you get that, "Never more than you can bear"? Just like that day I handed loads to my grandson for him to carry. I knew what he could handle. I wouldn't give him more than he could carry. Well, neither will your Father in heaven who loves you infinitely and knows you completely. Everything comes into your life as a child of God, it has to be Father-filtered first. Whether your Father sends it or allows it, no burden, no temptation can come into your life unless He has first signed off on it. Will He allow burdens that take you to the limit? Yes, He will. Ask any athlete who's ever used the weight room. The only way you can get stronger is if you have to lift something heavier than you've lifted before. But God knows your limit, and while He may allow you to go to the edge so you can experience His power, He will never allow you to go over the edge.
    Maybe you feel like Mother Teresa who is reported to have said, "I know God trusts me and He will never let me have more than I can handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much." Well, in a very real way, God's trust is what your burdens are all about. Look at Job. He had no idea that his motives for serving God were being challenged by Satan himself in heaven. And the devil knew he couldn't do anything bad to Job unless God allowed him to. And God looks at his servant Job and says, "I can trust this man with a very heavy load. He will not betray me. He will not stop trusting me." And with one tragedy after another flooding into his life, Job proves he is a man God can trust. And, in the process, he humiliates the devil who was sure he could embarrass God with Job's betrayal.
    If you're having to carry something really heavy right now, realize you are indeed being trusted by God with this burden. He believes you can handle it, with His unlimited power as your strength. He believes you won't let Him down. And He knows you will emerge from this struggle stronger and more valuable than you've ever been. For Job, it meant receiving twice what he had lost during his time of testing.
    Your Father loves you. Your Father knows what you can handle. He knows what He can trust you with. There's something much bigger, something much more eternal going on here than you could possibly imagine, maybe even a contest over you between the devil and God Himself.
    Carry your burden faithfully, with undiminished allegiance to your Lord and daily downloading of the mighty grace of God. And as your Father hands you today's load to carry, be sure that He knows how much you can handle, and He will never give you more than you can carry.


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    July 22, 2022 Looking for a Leader We Can Trust - #9270


    I can't remember the names of all of Snow White's dwarfs, but I don't feel bad about that. I mean, I do remember one - Grumpy. Actually I've heard the Grumpy shirt is one of Disney's big sellers. Yeah, I might know why. Grumpy is a kind of mood a whole lot of people are in these days.
    I mean, you know, when you take just the state of politics in America, we've got one group who wants us to stop spending money, and some who want people to stop making money. And there are some people who don't like what the President's doing, and some who don't like what Congress is doing. "Hello, Grumpy!"
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Looking for a Leader We Can Trust."
    See, if there was a "none of the above" choice on the ballot, he might just win. I mean, it doesn't matter whether you're in America or many other countries of the world, we're just hurting for a leader who won't let us down; who can actually do something about the baffling tangle of problems we have. And it's not just politicians who've let us down. Sometimes parents fail us...a church, a pastor fails us...a leader we've looked to disappoints us...betrays us.
    I guess we shouldn't be surprised, because our leaders are a lot like us. And I know I sure haven't been everything people needed me to be. I'm sure I've disappointed folks along the way.
    As much as human leaders may have let us down, it doesn't change the fact that our hearts are hungry for someone to look to; someone who can take us where we haven't been able to go ourselves. Who totally lives what he says...who not only promises hope but delivers it...who can fix the unfixable...who we can follow with the confidence that they care about us more than they care about themselves.
    That's Jesus, only Jesus. As our word for today from the Word of God in Romans 10:11 says, "Anyone who believes in Him will never be disappointed." I sure haven't been. This man who had the power to walk out of His grave has had more than enough power to change what I couldn't; people I couldn't change, problems I couldn't fix, dark parts of me that I couldn't change. He's led me on roads that didn't always make sense on the first mile, but always ended up putting me in a better place.
    And there's no doubt about Him caring more about me than about himself. He offered himself to be nailed on a cross and separated from God so my sins could be erased, so I could be with Him in heaven forever. And anybody who loves me enough to die for me will never do me wrong.
    There really is a hole in our hearts that is starved for a loving leader for our life. A "shepherd" as Jesus said. He said, "My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me." And where does following Him end up? He said, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish" (John 10:27-28). That's a promise that only Jesus can make, and only Jesus can keep. And it may be that in a heart that's listening today that feels lost inside, needing someone to look to, looking for that person who can fix what you can't fix, make sense out of the scattered pieces of the puzzle, then you're ready for Jesus and He's ready for you.
    Why don't you reach out to Him today and say, "Jesus, I'm Yours. You died for me; I can trust You. I'm Yours." You know, our website is a place where there's information that will help you be sure you belong to him; that you've begun your relationship with him. I urge you to go visit there. It's ANewStory.com.
    A few years ago there was a plane that crashed in the Hudson River, remember? And I thought it was just going to be like massive carnage. Instead we saw "the miracle on the Hudson." This jetliner's engines had been totally disabled. It looked like there was going to be a tragic crash, but their captain, "Sully" Sullenberger, was a veteran fighter pilot, an airline pilot and crash investigator; probably one of the few pilots who could have brought them in safely. And he was the one at the controls.
    I've been on some flights where I wish I could have picked the captain in the cockpit. I've never been able to pick the pilot for my flight, but I got to pick the pilot for my life, and it's Captain Jesus.
    He's the one pilot who can bring you in safely...no matter what happens.


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    July 21, 2022 Falling Down, but Not Staying Down - #9269


    Our then-18-month-old grandson rapidly became a bulldozer on two legs. He didn't actually walk anywhere; he ran everywhere. And no comments about being like his grandfather here, OK? Of course, he didn't always get around like that. First, he only went where one of us carried him. Then the crawling started. He didn't do that for long. He graduated to walking real fast. And, like every baby who ever learned to walk, he began by taking a step or two and then he fell down. I guess he could have said to himself after a couple of falls, "Oh well, I guess I wasn't cut out to walk. It's just too hard. I keep falling down. I think I'll just lie here from now on." Oh, great! Now he's 18 years old, his mother has to vacuum around him. His friends come over and he says, "Hey, you want to roll into my room with me?" No, it didn't work that way. After he went "step-boom," he got back up and went "step-step-boom." And then "step-step-step-step-boom." Now you can't stop him!
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Falling Down, but Not Staying Down."
    God's children have something to learn from their own children. When you fall down, you don't stay down. You get up and you start walking again. Sadly, when many of us take a spiritual fall, we quit trying to walk. We just stay down. Maybe that's where you are right now.
    I love the defiant recovery cry in our word for today from the Word of God. It's in Micah 7:8. "Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light." That's powerful. He acknowledges that he's fallen, but he declares that he doesn't have to stay down. And he's declaring that, he said, to his "enemy."
    We know, of course, that our enemy is Satan himself, and he's very angry that he couldn't keep you from giving yourself to Jesus. He wanted you in hell with him forever. He lost that big battle. Now he's determined to keep you from living for Jesus, from experiencing victory over the things that have beaten you over and over. He wants to keep you from enjoying the peace and the security of a consistent walk with Jesus. So you know what he does? He keeps pushing buttons to get you to do things or think things or feel things that will bring you down. And maybe it's worked.
    So you're down. Are you just going to stay down? "Well, it's too hard I guess. I'll never change. I tried. I failed. What's the use?" No! No! You're not going to let the devil succeed in one of his most cynical strategies-trying to turn one defeat into many defeats. OK, you fell. But that doesn't mean you have to stay there. that you have to fall more. You don't have to be there for the rest of your life. Satan starts pouring on the shame. He says, "Look at what you did. You might as well give it up, man, and just keep going down." But Jesus says this, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
    Proverbs 24:16 says, "Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again." Notice, it doesn't say the righteous man never falls. It says when he falls, he keeps getting right back up and doing what's right. The only person who never falls down, by the way, is the person who isn't trying to walk!
    So when you fall down, be as defiant about getting up and walking again as a baby is. When you belong to Jesus, there is no such thing as a knockout. When you belong to Jesus, failure is never final. Listen to God's words, "Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise!"


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    July 20, 2022 Getting Off Your Roller Coaster - #9268


    So, when we're discussing roller coasters, and some of us were talking about which ones are the best-which means, the wildest ride, of course. Others of us were talking about avoiding roller coasters. One friend said that she just pleads what she calls "an inner ear condition." Now for me, most roller coasters are a non-issue because I stand next to that sign, you know, that shows how tall you have to be to ride it. So far I've never been tall enough. (No, that's not true. I wish I had that excuse.) Actually, some that I have ridden had these moments when I was pretty sure I had made a very big mistake getting on it in the first place. There are some really high ups and some really scary downs.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Getting Off Your Roller Coaster."
    No matter how scary a roller coaster may be, no matter how radical its dips and twists and turns, there's good news-it's always attached to the track! Of course, you don't even have to enter an amusement park to know what it's like to ride a roller coaster. You know why? Most of us can testify that life is a roller coaster, right? Ups and downs and twists and turns surprise us, they rattle us, they frighten us, and even make us want to bail out.
    Right now, you might be feeling the discouraging or the confusing effects of the roller coaster ride you've been on. It's a good time to remember that no matter how rough the ride, you're still attached to the track if you belong to Jesus Christ. I can give you that guarantee because God gives us that guarantee in our word for today from the Word of God. Philippians 1:6 makes this rock-solid promise: "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
    What God started in you the day you began your personal relationship with Jesus, God's going to finish. No matter how wildly you're being tossed about right now. No matter how far you seem to be falling. No matter how fast everything is racing by. God began a good work in you, and His construction plan for you is right on schedule, no matter what your feelings or your circumstances; whatever they're saying to you. See, He put you on a track to His great plans for you, and you're still attached to that track because it's up to Him to keep you on track.
    But when you're experiencing a lot of ups and downs, there are lies that it's easy to start believing. Like "What's the use? After what I just did, after what just happened, what's the use of even trying spiritually?" Well, the "use" is that God's going to finish what He started in you. He promised! Then there's this "It's over" lie - "I blew it and that's it." Wrong. God's going to finish what He started. Sometimes, when the ride is rough, we start to believe the "God doesn't love me anymore" lie; a lie that is demolished with one look at Jesus dying for you on the cross. If He did not turn His back on you then, He isn't about to do it now.
    And, of course, the ups and downs can make us believe the lie "I'll never be able to do this." Since when has this been about you being able? You came to Jesus realizing there was nothing you could do to have a relationship with Him. This is about what He can do through you, in you. Or as God says in Philippians 2:13, "It is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose."
    So it's been a rough ride. Are you going to believe your feelings, which will probably change in 20 minutes, or are you going to base everything on the facts of God's Word, which have not changed for twenty centuries? The Savior who began His work in you is going to carry it on to completion until Jesus comes. Yes, the roller coaster is going to toss you around, but so what? You are still attached to the track!


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    July 19, 2022 Your Hungry Soul - #9267


    Some people can skip a meal and barely notice. I am not some people. For example, it's been four or five hours since breakfast, my body very convincingly says to me, "Feed me now!" When I don't eat regularly, I feel it. I take action. The doctor says there's nothing wrong with me, but my metabolism just seems to demand some regular maintenance. It's not like I'm alone in this. I mean, most of us know when it's time to eat again, right? And we usually stop what we're involved in to do something about it. Hunger isn't exactly passive. You know, it goes after something to satisfy it!
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Your Hungry Soul."
    Physical hunger tells you that your body needs more fuel. Spiritual hunger tells you your soul needs more. Jesus talked about this vital sign of spiritual health in his Sermon on the Mount. That's where we find our word for today from the Word of God in Matthew 5:6. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they will be filled."
    Jesus is encouraging a holy hunger for a life that's more and more sin-free, more and more doing things God's way. There tends to be a problem with that kind of appetite for people who are already more righteous than a lot of people around them. You tend to become content where you are. I mean, you're nicer than most folks, right? If you're not guilty of the many overt sins that are usually considered the really dirty ones, and especially if you spend much of your time doing work for God. It's all too easy for nice folks, like you and me, right, to lose the driving passion to become more holy. And that is a spiritual appetite disorder.
    If you've become relatively passive about your pursuit of a higher level of personal holiness, then you're not one of those Jesus described as "hungering and thirsting after righteousness," because hunger makes you stop what you're doing and go after something that will satisfy your appetite. Hunger is active, not passive. When we're hungry, we find something to eat. When you're hungry for righteousness, you pursue God to give you more.
    It starts with a consistent prayer. "Lord, give me a passion for greater holiness, to be more like you. I need to be hungry for the next level of being all you want me to be." That means asking God to show you the sins that might be hiding inside your really decent exterior-the self-serving motives, the impatience, the critical spirit, the jealous spirit, the prejudice, the pride, that stubbornness, that insistence on having your own way, those ways that you manipulate people, the bitterness, anger, lustful thoughts.
    God may have taken out the obvious bags of stinking garbage in your life. But now He wants to start to renew the decay in the structure of your heart-house-the more subtle sins that others may not be able to see, but that keep you from experiencing the fullness of God's blessing and joy and peace. In other words, you are nowhere near "full" yet. You have to hunger and thirst to be more sin-free, more like Jesus in order to be what Jesus called "filled."
    Maybe you've stopped with the appetizers or just a few offerings on God's righteousness buffet. And since you're farther along the line than most of the people with you, you've stopped where you are. But there is so much more. God's made you for more than this. He wants to serve you more than you've ever sampled before. Don't be satisfied with where you are now. You go after food when you're physically hungry. Ask God to stir up that holy hunger in your soul that goes after the rest of His righteousness.


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    July 18, 2022 Sin - The Thrill and the Bill - #9266


    On a family vacation, we had some time to do some extra biking. There was a lake nearby. It was fun to go around the lake...well, sort of fun. See, there were these long, downhill stretches, "Oh man, just flying down that hill! It was fantastic! Then guess what came right after that. Yeah, the uphill climb, and that was grueling, sometimes painful. And guess which lasted longer...the downhill thrill or the pain of going uphill?
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Sin - The Thrill and the Bill."
    It was my son who reminded me as we collapsed at the top of a particularly grueling hill and we had just biked it. He said, "Dad, you know, this is a lot like sin." Okay. You know, he's right. He said, "We had a great time sailing down the hill, but the great feeling didn't last long. It felt like it took most of the afternoon to get up those hills."
    Well, King David is going to be called right now as a witness in the case of the Downhill Thrill and the Uphill Bill. Oh, he spent his adulterous night with Bathsheba, and it was probably pleasurable. The Bible talks about the pleasures of sin, except it tacks on three words. It says, "for a season." That's the downhill thrill. Then comes the uphill bill that you pay for that short-lived thrill.
    In our word for today from the Word of God in Psalm 51:3, David steps forth after that sin and he says, "I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me." Now, the pleasure wasn't always before him. But his sin, the guilt, the consequences, the shame, oh they never went away: memories, consequences, hurting relationships. You might say, "Was it worth it, David-that downhill thrill?" And he'd say, "No way. There's way too much pain for that short-lived pleasure. You pay a lot longer than you play."
    It could be right now that you're experiencing the downhill thrill of sin. Oh, it feels good; seems like nothing's wrong. Maybe it's a sexual sin, maybe it's a short-lived satisfaction of getting even with someone, or maybe you've got a good situation you've come through with a little dishonesty. Maybe you're violating God's boundaries with your body, or you're partying with some friends.
    Let me warn you, the uphill grind is coming. In fact the Bible guarantees that "whatever you sow, you will reap." And the harvest? Oh, that will last a whole lot longer than the sowing ever did. It's a law of the universe: if you sow to your evil nature, the Bible says, you will reap destruction. It is inevitable; it happens every time.
    Oh, you have a good feeling right now that sin gives, but maybe you don't have the consequences yet, and it's easy to just go with what you can see now. But the thrill is not worth the price tag. This moment won't last. The loss, oh it will last. The pain, the consequences? Just ask King David. They last a lifetime.
    There's some good news, though. Because for all of us who have violated God's laws, who've lived outside of His boundaries in one way or another, we have found there's a Savior who will forgive and erase every one of those from God's Book and begin to heal the hurt and the damage sin has done. Only Jesus can do that, because only He paid the price to do it. I mean a price of blood shed on a cross for all us sinners...for you, for me. Maybe today, knowing very well what dirty feels like inside, you could feel clean for the first time in your life. All the consequences, all the pain of our sin? It's just a reminder that there is an awful punishment for sin coming, and God doesn't want you to pay that price; His Son already did.
    Today, would you tell Him, "Jesus, I'm Yours. You're my rescuer!" I'd invite you to go to our website, because there's a lot more information about this there. It's ANewStory.com.
    You can take it from an old tired biker, that uphill grind will cancel any downhill thrill.


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    July 15, 2022 The Word The Devil Hates - #9265


    One of my more anxious moments related to air travel, and it actually had nothing to do with an airplane. It had to do with my two sons, who at the time were pretty young. We were going through the security checkpoint on the way to our gate, and all of a sudden they started joking about the one word you don't mention at airport security.
    Yeah, they started joking about bombs. That word isn't allowed around airport people, so I quickly quieted, "Guys, no, don't talk about that!" And I looked around real quick to see if anybody had heard them, and thank goodness they hadn't. If you've been to an airport, you know there are signs all over the place saying, "Any joking about hijacking, or bombs, or explosives (and you'll be thrown out of the plane...no) you will be punished by sharpshooters immediately" - or something like that. You just don't talk about it, that's the point. Those words are not allowed because they represent things that could destroy everything.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Word The Devil Hates."
    Our word for today from the Word of God, Acts 4, and I'm going to begin reading at verse 17. We're reading about a confrontation between the early apostles and the Sanhedrin, the religious ruling group of the day. Here's what they said to the apostles, "'Stop this thing from spreading any further among the people. We must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this Name.' Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus."
    I was talking about airline personnel earlier, and you know the people at an airport don't want to hear the word "bomb" because a bomb has the power to destroy everything. The Devil has a word he doesn't want to hear - "Jesus," because of the power of that name to destroy his plans. So, for two thousand years, the Devil has tried to make the name of Jesus the issue; the dividing point. It was 2,000 years ago when the Sanhedrin said, "You can talk about God, you can talk about religion, you can do anything, just don't mention that name" ... the Name. That's all through the book of Acts.
    It's still the issue today, isn't it? People don't mind if you talk about religion, or even God, or the Bible, or morality, or family values, your church, but don't mention the Name. All too often we fall right into the Devil's trap to censor the name of Jesus in our conversation. We don't want to be offensive; we don't want to turn anyone off. And there's this little voice that says, "Well, just talk about God. You know, most everybody would accept that." So we talk about God in our lives, but we avoid the name of Jesus. Christian musicians will write songs that talk vaguely about Him with a capital H, but too often they avoid the Name, so their music can cross over to the secular world. Even Christian leaders try to avoid conflict by watering down the Name.
    But Acts 4:12 says, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. It is at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow." The power is in the name, and the Devil knows the power is in that name.
    Have you ever noticed when you're trying to talk about spiritual things to somebody where it is you choke? Yeah, you choke when you get to the name of Jesus. That's the 2,000-year-old editor from hell saying, "Edit out Jesus. How dare you mention the Name." You love that name. You know what's happened to you in that name. And you talk about Jesus, because that's where the power is. He was not ashamed of you when He hung on the cross. Please don't be ashamed of Him.
    Have you been timid about identifying yourself with Jesus? Well, the one who's made you timid is the same enemy that's been doing it for 20 centuries. So, don't be afraid to use the name of Jesus. The Devil is afraid you will.


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    July 14, 2022 The Message That Opens Hearts - #9264


    You know, you can learn something from a cab driver, even if his vocabulary is R-rated-or maybe even X-rated in this case. I was on a trip to an airport in a cab a while back. And well, without even knowing it, I must have hit some trigger in this cab driver. Oh, man! All of a sudden I couldn't believe what started to come out of his mouth. He started to pour out all kinds of racial hatred, and he said, "I don't really care about anything in the world or anybody but myself, and let those starving people starve, and let those poor people be poor." Wow!
    And then he started to cuss out just about everybody in the world. When he finished with most people, he turned his attention to the church, and he said, "All the church cares about is money, and they've got all this wealth, and they could help solve the problems." I want to tell you, the atmosphere in that cab was dark, and tense, and profane, and angry. I mean, this was a very bitter, cynical guy. To tell you the truth, I felt like sitting back and reading my magazine or getting out. But I mentioned one thing to him as we neared the airport, and suddenly the cab got calm and the cabby was smiling. And that moment reminded me of a focus that's just too easy to forget.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Message That Opens Hearts."
    Now, our word for today from the Word of God is found in 1 Corinthians 2. Paul begins to talk about that wonder-working word. It is, in fact, the word that calms an angry, tense atmosphere in a taxi cab to the airport. "When I came to you, brothers," Paul said, "I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified."
    Well, as I chatted with this cab driver and he let me get a word in, he had been attacking the church. And I said, "You know, I remember a sign that a demonstrator waved back in the '70s out in California. It said, "Jesus, yes; Christianity, no." I said, "You know, I can understand why you might be cynical about the church, or about some things in Christianity, even about Christians. But you know what? That's why I've staked my life on Jesus Christ. There's just no cause for cynicism there." You know there is something about that name, like the song says. Because beginning to talk about Jesus calmed this man down, seemed to lighten his load, and actually brought a smile to his face.
    As you try to represent Christ in your family, or your school, or your job, your message is not Christianity, it is not church, it is not a religion. Paul said, "I came to you with a person-Jesus Christ." Your message is a person. Keep bringing folks back to Him. It's all about Jesus!
    So many objections to being a Christian melt away when you turn the attention to Jesus. "Oh, Christians are hypocrites!" Well, is Jesus? "Christians are inconsistent." Is Jesus? "All the church cares about is money." Does Jesus? What is it about Jesus you don't like? See, He's the issue. We tend to get off on detours about doctrine, church, politics. This is a relationship with Jesus Christ-no more/no less. I'm so glad Jesus didn't say, "Follow my church." Or, "Follow my followers." Or, "Follow my leaders." What did He say? "Follow Me."
    Every time you have an opportunity, even with an x-rated enemy of the Gospel, turn the attention to Jesus. Maybe you're the one who has had all the bad experiences; all the bad ideas about Christians and Christianity, and maybe for good reason. Can I direct your attention today to Jesus, the man who loved you enough to die on the cross for what you've done wrong? And who was powerful enough to walk out of His grave, and is ready to enter your life today and change it as only He can? Listen to the name: Jesus. I hope you know Him. If you don't, I'd invite you to visit our website. And let me explain to you there how you can. It's ANewStory.com.
    And if you do belong to Him, don't be ashamed of His name. You'll discover when you speak His name, what angels and demons already know so well. There really is something about that name.



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    July 13, 2022 Why You Are Where You Are - #9263


    Hey. it's a huge job to try to keep the roadsides of interstates and major highways from looking like garbage dumps. That's why someone came up with this great idea: have clubs, and churches, and schools, and civic organizations volunteer to maintain just one mile of the road near them. You've probably seen the signs: "This mile maintained by the Forest Grove Garden Club, or a Boy Scout troop, or the Busy Hands Presby-Baptist Church, or whatever. Maybe it's a family. Separately, none of those groups could ever maintain the entire roadside in their county, but they could do a mile. And if each group makes sure their mile is covered, the whole area will end up looking a whole lot better.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Why You Are Where You Are."
    Someone could look at the miles and miles of highway running through their area and say, "How in the world are we going to take care of all this?" But it's getting done because many people say, "I'll take care of the area around me."
    Now the job of highway cleanup is nothing compared to the assignment left to us by the Lord Jesus, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation" (Mark 16:15). Wow! Well, each generation of believers is responsible for their generation of lost people. How in the world are we going to reach the lost people of our generation? The same way you clean up a long highway; we each take the responsibility for our stretch of the road.
    In our word for today from the Word of God, the Old Testament leader, Nehemiah, has called the people of Judah to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem - a massive job - like telling our town about Jesus. Yes, it is a massive job! They were surrounded by people who were hostile to them, didn't want them to accomplish that mission, like our world today. But here's how it got done; Nehemiah 3:23 and following. Now, here's some names you haven't heard, but let's go with it. "Beyond them, Benjamin, and Hasshub made repairs in front of their house, and next to them, Azariah made repairs beside his house. The priests made repairs, each in front of his house. Zadok made repairs opposite his house." You think, "What are we doing here?" Well, here's the idea. The entire city wall got rebuilt by each person taking care of the area around them.
    Which brings us to your piece of the eternal rescue work Jesus gave to all of us. There's a reason you live where you live. Jesus assigned you there to that block, that neighborhood, that apartment complex to be His personal representative among the people who live there. The reason you work where you work, go to school where you go to school, belong to the organizations and clubs you belong to is because Jesus wanted you to be those people's link to Him. In Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 5:20, "We are Christ's ambassadors."
    So how are you doing with your stretch of the road? Jesus gave His life on the cross for the people on your stretch. He's left you responsible for them finding that out. And while you may think He should get someone better, guess what? He decided you're the one for those people. And they're a lot more likely to listen to someone who walks their road and lives their lives and their issues - a peer like you - than to some skilled evangelist they've never met.
    So let me challenge you to begin to claim the people on your block for Jesus, on your team, in your building, in your office, at the gym, your workplace, in your circle at school. Begin by praying for them every day. And on more and more blocks across the country, I know believers are picking up the challenge of going on a Prayer Walk to pray for the residents of each home to hear about Christ there.
    Also, band together with any other believers you can find on your "stretch of the road." Pray with them. Plan outreach dinner parties or block parties or video outreaches. Find ways to love them, serve them in ways that would really mean something to them. Ask them to let you know if there's anything they would like you to pray for. And pray for natural opportunities to tell them about life's most important relationship.
    Imagine what would happen if every believer said, "Lord, I will step up to praying for and sharing Christ with the lost people on my stretch of the road."


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    July 12, 2022 The Dark Closet - #9262


    She was just such a sweet little old lady - the housemother who inspected our dorm rooms every week at college. I didn't want her to get hurt. You know? I mean, I was afraid she would, if she opened my closet door. Yeah, you know, you're busy in college with all kinds of important things - who's got time to clean your room? Right? Some days, it was almost impossible to tell that I had furniture in there. Everything was covered with what looked like the fallout from some bomb blast, but not on inspection day. Nope, I managed to get all that junk somehow stuffed into my closet. Sometimes it took three guys to close the door, but eventually what I needed to hide was safely inside that closet. Safe, that is, unless you opened the door.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Dark Closet."
    A lot of us still have a closet today where we try to hide the stuff we don't want discovered. Maybe there's some dark stuff you've managed to keep in that closet for a long time. Like my college room, on the surface you look clean. But just inside the closet is stuff you don't want anyone to see. And so far, no one has. Well, except for the One who matters most.
    Nine words; that's all it is. But these nine words in Numbers 32:23, our word for today from the Word of God, literally blow the door off your closet. Here they are: "Be sure that your sin will find you out." Wow! No loopholes, no exceptions-including yours. God knows everything you've done, everything you've thought, and everything you've said. So you're caught! And without exception, someday your sin will be out of the closet.
    You can rationalize it away. We're good at that. "Hey, it's just a little while, I can't help it, I deserve this, I need this, this is love, I'll quit soon." Lies that you may believe but God doesn't buy. You can compare yourself with others and feel pretty good about yourself - until you remember that God doesn't grade on the curve. His standard is His holiness - perfection. You can excuse what you're doing, call it by a nice name, blame somebody else, live in denial about it, or try to compensate for it by doing some good things. But it's still sin, it's still something that helped cause the death of your Savior, it still stinks to God, and it's building up judgment for you all the time.
    I remember when a major church was rocked by the public confession by one of its longtime leaders; a man described as the most trusted person in the church. But behind that closet door, turned out there was 20 years of blatant sexual sin, a sin he had even confronted in others as a church leader. It had been successfully concealed from everyone but God. And now comes the picking up of the pieces of so many lives.
    King David did everything to keep his adultery hidden in the closet. Until God's man, Nathan, tore the door off with these words, "You are the man." Finally, David faced the ugly truth and he said, "I have sinned against the Lord." Right now, God, through His Holy Spirit, may be saying to you, "You are the man. You are the woman." He's giving you this chance to finally be free of that inner torment, to stop the mounting consequences, to experience at Jesus' cross the incomparable relief and the release of finally getting clean.
    You've hidden it, but the sin, the price, and the guilt? They continue growing behind that door. It's going to be tough to open that closet and deal with what's in there. But it's going to be a whole lot tougher not to. It's haunted you. It has shamed you. It has shackled you long enough. Jesus is right there with you to help you open that door, and to once and for all get rid of that awful secret behind it.


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    July 11, 2022 Family Baggage, Family Sins - #9261


    I had just finished presenting one of our outreach parenting seminars and I had talked near the end about how we tend to copy the ways that our parents raised us. Well, this man came and told me that he had noticed something a little different the first time his wife cooked a roast for him. I wondered where this was going. Well, he said she cut off the ends of the roast! He said, "Well, that's strange," but he let it go. And then, after a few times, he said, "Honey, why do you do that?" And she said, "Well, my mother did it." He said, "Why did she do it?" She said, "I'm going to ask her." So she asked her mother and her mother said, (You guessed it!) "Well, my mother did it." She said, "Well, do you know why my grandmother did it?" The mother said, "Well, actually, while she was still alive I asked her one time." She said, "Yeah, I'll tell you why I cut off the ends of the beef. My pan was too short!" So, here are three generations doing what great-grandmother did long after the reason for doing it was history!
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Family Baggage Family Sins."
    Now, it's too bad all the ways that we clone our parents aren't that harmless. Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 1 Peter 1:18 which says, "You were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers...with the precious blood of Christ." Okay, all of us got some of those empty ways of life from our family. I mean, suddenly one day this baby arrives and your name is changed forever-suddenly you're daddy, you're mommy. And you comb through that receiving blanket looking for the instruction book that comes with the baby, right? On how to parent! After all, there's an instruction book for cars, and appliances. There's got to be one for life's most important job! Sorry!
    There's the tendency to unconsciously, then, revert to the way mom or dad did it. Even if it was something that hurt us, something we really disliked. Suddenly you're hearing the echo of a parent, you're saying things you thought you would never say, you're doing things you said you would never do. Maybe it's that tendency to criticize, to blow up, to be a work-a-holic. Maybe you weren't shown much love outwardly, and now your kids are suffering from that same kind of emotional starvation.
    The fact is we've all inherited empty ways of life from our parents who were probably copying one of their parents. And now another generation is about to be marked by this weakness, or this sin that has marked so many before us unless it stops with you; which it can because of Jesus. This is a hopeless cycle of despair and hurt except for those liberating words, "You were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you with the precious blood of Christ." You don't have to be that way anymore. When Jesus Christ shed his blood on the cross He was covering those family sins too. The shedding of His blood broke the power of that sin. If you've trusted Jesus to be your Savior from your sin, then His resurrection power lives in you. You can repent of that and ask Him to unleash His transforming power to change it.
    If that family sin has gone far enough, here's the liberation plan:

    First, do what you're doing right now-face it as a sin against God, no excuses!
    Confess it to Him as a sin.
    Confess it to the ones who have been affected by that sin in your family. Ask your family to pray for you, to forgive you, to start working on the new you in the power of Jesus.
    And then turn the other way. Make a conscious effort to do it the right way today.

    And you know what? It begins when you begin a relationship with Jesus, and all those sins are forgiven and the power of them in your life is broken. If you've never done that, today tell Him, "Jesus I'm yours." Get to our website where you can be sure you belong to Him. It's ANewStory.com.
    Those hand-me-downs are often ignored and excused, because they've become such a part of us. But they're wrong, they're destructive, and they're beatable. Because of the precious blood of Christ you can face the monster of family sin and say, "Enough! It stops here!"



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    July 8, 2022 Whatever it Takes Love - #9260


    Frankly, I just don't know how mothers of young children do it all. I've realized it again and again. While I was watching our daughter and our daughters-in-law and all they have to juggle taking care of our grandchildren. I mean, one day our daughter was trying to do one of those juggling acts trying to get her 18-month-old son ready to leave on a winter day. She also had a lot to load in the car. So, while she was shuttling back and forth, she accidentally let the door to the house close behind her and it locked. Her son was inside. Her keys were in the house - safe. Every door and window turned out to be locked, of course. Her son was oblivious to the problem. There were no neighbors close by.
    Well, just as she started to drive to a neighbor's house and call for some help, she noticed a second story bathroom window that was open just a little crack. Well, it wasn't easy, but Mom got a ladder, she climbed to the second story, opened a window and literally tore open the screen that stood between her and her son. (You should see the screen!) Somehow, she managed to squeeze through that little window and propel herself onto the bathroom floor. (You're imagining this, right?) Believe me, nothing was going to stop her from getting to the child she loves!
    Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Whatever it Takes Love."
    Well, here's some great news! There's someone who loves you like that; the person your heart can finally put your total trust in, the person who wants to love you as you have wanted and needed to be loved your whole life.
    Our word for today from the Word of God comes from John 10:11 and it describes how far Jesus Christ has gone to break through to you. He describes Himself here as a shepherd, and you and me as sheep that He will do anything for. Anything? Yeah. Jesus says here, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep."
    Now, our daughter is a mother like most mothers, who will do whatever it takes to be reunited with the child she loves. Well, Jesus is the Savior who will do whatever it takes, including a brutal death on a cross; being totally cut off from God the Father whatever it took to be reunited with you because He loves you so much.
    Jesus gives this amazing perspective on what is about to happen as He is nailed to that cross. He says, "I lay down My life... No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again..." (John 10:17-18). Which, by the way, He did when He walked out of His grave on Easter morning. Oh, it may have looked like Roman soldiers were taking Jesus' life, but He said He was giving His life to pay for all the sinning you and I have ever done. He is the Son of God. No one can take His life. He gave it for you.
    So the Son of God left heaven, climbed down the ladder to this selfish old planet, and died on a cross, separated from God, to tear open the wall between you and God; which makes what you do with Jesus really serious business. The only response that will bring this incredible love into your life is for you to say, "Jesus, I'm done driving my life. I was never supposed to. I'm turning to You with all my heart because You loved me enough to die for my sin."
    You may have heard about His love a thousand times, or maybe never before, but there's never been a time you've responded to the love of Jesus. Well, until now. Wouldn't you want to begin your personal love relationship with Him? Well, if this is the time to do that, and it is, if you want to experience this love for yourself, I urge you to tell Him that now. Tell Him, "Jesus, I'm yours."
    And I'm inviting you to come to our website as soon as you can today. Because I think you'll find the help there and some support for beginning this awesome relationship with Jesus. The website's ANewStory.com.
    This is so very important because God will never forget what you do with His Son. Not after all His Son did for you.



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    July 7, 2022 Never a Day Without a Sunrise - #9259


    Yes, I'm one of those morning people. You know, the kind the Bible is talking about when it says, "If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse" (Proverbs 27:14). There's so much for the morning people! Actually, I love that verse. I mean, even if you can't stand us morning people, you have to admit there are some advantages to those early hours of the day, getting started on things before there are interruptions, beating the world to the punch, and best of all, the sunrises. Yeah, I love them! I've got a nice view out the east window of my study, and I never tire of watching that sun start to climb above the trees. Sure, once in a while I can't see the sun rising. Maybe I'm feeling sick or well, or I might be feeling excited or "blah," up or down. But take it from a long-time early morning eyewitness, that sun always rises.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Never a Day Without a Sunrise."
    For me, those sunrises are a visible symbol of a spiritual fact that is really "make it or break it" truth for your life and mine, that God Himself lights every new day, no matter what that day holds. And days are God's fundamental building blocks in our life.
    Our word for today from the Word of God is only seven words. It was at the beginning of the year that I asked our whole team to build the year on this promise. Zephaniah 3:5. You know what it says? "Every new day, He will not fail." Wow! Maybe I could just read that over and over for the rest of our time together. I mean it's what makes every day - every day - doable. Your coworkers will fail you some days, your boss will, your family will, even your mate will, your church, fellow believers, even spiritual leaders. But "every new day, He will not fail."
    I'm so glad God has based some of His central promises on daily delivery, because we don't experience our life as weeks, or months, or years. What do we do? We do a day, and so does God. He meets our needs in the form of "daily bread" (Matthew 6:11). "His mercies are new every morning" (Lamentations 3:22-23). All you have to do each morning is grab your mercy basket and go pick up what you need, just like that Old Testament manna. In Psalm 68:19, we're told that God is our "Savior, who daily bears our burdens." That's a good thing, because isn't that how we experience our burdens-the weight of this particular day.
    Deuteronomy 33:25 promises "your strength will equal your days." You will never have a day for which you do not have matching strength, even if some days give you more to carry than you have ever carried before. The Apostle Paul tells us one big reason why we never need to "lose heart" He says In his words, "Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed (here it comes) day by day." So, no matter how battered you got yesterday, God has promised that He will give you a renewing, rejuvenating, re-energizing touch each new day.
    Look, some days you're going to wake up anxious. Some days you're going to wake up dreading the day. Some days you're going to be excited about what's ahead. Other days you're going to be overwhelmed by what's ahead, or some days you may be discouraged, or eager, or exhausted. But however you are, no matter what the day holds, the sun is going to come up again. It always does. And God is going to light this day, no matter what. So why don't you claim God's seven-word guarantee for yourself. In fact, say it with me now because you need to hear yourself say it. You ready? "Every new day, He will not fail!"


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    July 6, 2022 A World Running Out Of Time - #9258


    Slang words are sometimes difficult to understand. Not so much the words themselves, but their meaning. I mean, there are cool slang words out there. For instance, when I just used the word cool, I wasn't talking about the temperature. If a young person today looked at me and maybe said "Sus!" Now, what is that all about? Well, that means you're suspicious. That's what it means.
    And just because someone may have asked you, "Do you know what time it is, man?" That doesn't mean they really want to know the time. Back in New York City, when I was in that area, no, that's not what it meant. During that time, in New York, a lot of people were asking, "Man, you're out of it. You don't get it do you? You know what time it is? You don't know what's happening." They were really saying, (nothing to do with the time) "You don't have it all figured out yet, man."
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "A World Running Out Of Time"
    Our word for today from the Word of God comes out of Matthew 24. The disciples wanted to know what time it was. They said to Jesus, "Tell us when this will happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming at the end of the age?" And then Jesus began to give them some of the ways to be able to see what time it is on God's clock. "Many will come in My name" he said, "claiming 'I am the Christ' and will deceive many."
    Now, let me give you five ways that He kind of let us know that the time would be near. First, Jesus said there will be lots of "christs." Now, it's pretty commonplace to believe that we're our own god, and we're our own creator. There's plenty of spiritual options out there. And then Jesus said, "You will hear of wars and rumors of wars." So it's going to be a world full of war and combat and danger erupting all over the place. Kind of sounds like the evening news.
    Thirdly, we'll know that it's coming down to D-Day on God's clock because there's going to be a lot of natural disasters. He said, "There'll be famines and earthquakes in various places." In the book of Luke He adds the word pestilences. We've certainly seen our share of frightening diseases and mutating viruses, and immunity to antibiotics. We've got whole new things that we can't fight. There's plenty of famines and earthquakes.
    The book of Revelation says a third of the human race will be killed by something that looks like fire and brimstone. How could early Christians have ever imagined that happening? Spears, bows and arrows? We know fire and brimstone that could kill a third of the human race don't we? And then two more compound events to Jesus' coming. There has to be an Israel. There hasn't been one for very long, and today they're a nation. That's important.
    Then it says, "Every eye will see some of the events that take place." Well, how in the world could every eye on earth see one event happen? Satellites? It's happening all the time. We see things going on all over the world.
    It's amazing the kind of countdown time you and I are living in. I mean, I don't know when Jesus is coming back - no clue. I would certainly not even attempt to name a time. The Bible says not to. But I can say I think the world looks more today like the world Jesus said He'd come back to than maybe it's ever looked like before. It's kind of like that ball coming down on the building in Times Square on New Year's Eve - 3, 2, 1. I don't know, maybe Jesus is almost here. And He says that at that time, people will be in two groups.
    The first group of people is the colder. The Bible says, "because of the increase of wickedness the love of most (and He's talking about His people) will grow cold." Sin will be everyday stuff, and they'll get numb, and they'll fit in and they'll do nothing. It will put them to sleep. You might be in that group.
    The second group, they know what time it is, and they're going to become the bolder. Because it says "they're going to spread the Gospel of the kingdom as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." These are the people who are like going for broke. They see what time it is on the clock! They're going to clean the junk out of their lives and they're going to get other people to get them ready for Jesus.
    Lots of christs, lots of wars, lots of natural disasters, lots of disease, lots of mega weapons. Yeah, that could be a world we're living in right now, and it's later than it's ever been on God's clock. It's time to live boldly, man; to go public for Christ; to be "all in," to attack the sin that we've been flirting with. Because sometime soon our Lord may just show up. Keep your eye on the clock. Do you know what time it is?


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    July 5, 2022 Parents Who Are Always Right - #9257


    Over the years when the Hutchcraft family moved into a motel room for a night we had the same experience: we walk in, the room is all neat and tidy. The five Hutchcrafts are there and all the work that the room fairy did to make the room neat is destroyed in a matter of minutes. See, each person has unpacked their clothes which some put in drawers, most just start littering the beds and the chairs. And as people start using the sink, that becomes chaotic too! We've got brushes and drinking cups and various toiletries, hopelessly intermingled. Now, look, I'm a firstborn. I value order, you know, and this drives me nuts. So I developed a simple system, well at least to make it clear which was my stuff. I announced that my things would always be on the right; the cup on the right was my cup, the toothbrush on the right was my toothbrush, the towel on the right was my towel. And how do you expect your family to always remember that you might ask. Well, I gave them a simple motto to remember, one that I thought would serve them well for years to come, I just simply said, "Remember guys, Dad is always right!"
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Parents Who Are Always Right."
    Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Ephesians 6:4. It's a parent's verse. It says, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." Now, that word "exasperate" is interesting. It's ex-asperate. It's like you're out of oxygen. You're ex aspirated. It's when your kids are going (deep breathing), "Mom! Dad!" I mean, you've really frustrated them. And few things are more exasperating than a parent who says, or acts like, "I'm always right." That kind of parent seldom listens, seldom if ever apologizes, seldom makes a child feel competent, or confident, or adequate, or worthwhile. Now, my use of that phrase, "Dad is always right" was meant to create some order. When a parent is serious about always having to come out right, that does anything but create order. It creates terrible frustration, anger and seething rebellion.
    Now, you may have grown up around a parent who never could admit he or she was wrong. Did that make you respect them more or less? Someone who insists on always being right actually loses the very respect they're trying to maintain. A healthy human being doesn't care who was right, they only care what is right. I've had to kneel by the bed of a five-year-old son and say, "Son, I'm sorry for what I said to you and what I said to your Mom, would you please forgive me?" Now, he knew I was wrong, my wife knew I was wrong, I knew I was wrong, but I had to admit it in order for there to be healing.
    James 5:16 says, "Confess your faults to one another, pray for each other so you may be healed." Do you know how many marriages could have been saved if someone could have been wrong? How many children could have been saved if someone could have admitted they were wrong? There's awesome healing power in those three words, "I was wrong." There's even more in three other words, "Please forgive me."
    I remember the night that Ed finally told his daughter Sandy that he'd been wrong. It was in the emergency room. They were pumping Sandy's stomach to save her life when they told her she had overdosed. And that night Ed said, "I've been copying my father Sandy. I've been doing some of the same things he did that hurt me, and I've been wrong. Would you please forgive me?" And she did. And a new relationship was born between Sandy and her father on the night she almost died.
    Don't wait for the emergency room, or the explosion, or the rebellion. You see, Dad isn't always right. Mom isn't always right. And in spite of my motel room motto, we're wrong sometimes. Don't be too proud to admit it. Because the price for that kind of pride is just too high to pay.


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    July 4, 2022 Looking Christian - But Lost - #9256


    I have two adult friends who own Princeton University sweatshirts. Al has one because he put in four very challenging years at the university and he graduated from there. And the other day I met a friend, Dave, at the grocery store, and he had his Princeton University sweatshirt on. I said, "I didn't know you went to Princeton?" Well, you know me; I get most of my exercise jumping to conclusions. No, he informed me that he had bought that shirt at a discount store for $12. He said, "Oh, I didn't go to Princeton, I just wear the shirt!"
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Looking Christian - But Lost."
    Now, in Luke 6:46 Jesus is talking to believers, I think, and He says, "Why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord' and do not do the things that I say?" Now, you know, these folks had the right vocabulary; they knew to say "Lord" but something had happened to their commitment. It was just words.
    My friend, Dave, who had just bought the shirt at the discount store, he hadn't really paid the price that goes with identifying with Princeton. Now, when Al, who graduated from there, wears the shirt, it's backed up by years of sacrifice and work. Maybe you're proud to wear Jesus' shirt, but you're not paying the price of living consistently for Him. You've got the shirt, but you've not got the life that backs it up.
    You know, Alexander the Great was trying a young soldier in his tent who had been accused of cowardice, and he brought this young man in and he said, "Now, young man, what were you accused of?" And the soldier said, "Sir, desertion in battle." And Alexander leaned forward a little bit. He said, "What's your name?" And the young man very hesitantly said, "Sir, it's Alexander." And at that point the General leaped to his feet, pulled him up nose to nose and he said, "Young man, either you change your life, or you change your name!" Wow!
    Now you're carrying, as a Christian, the name of Christ-the holy name of Christ-on your life. Make sure your life backs up the name you wear.
    Now, our word for today from the Word of God comes from Matthew 7, and I'm going to begin reading at verse 21. I have to tell you, for me these are some of the most unsettling verses in the Bible. Jesus is speaking: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Oh, many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons, and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, "I never knew you." Man, those words have to be some of the most chilling words in the Bible, "I never knew you."
    Now, if we want to go back to my friend who was just wearing the Princeton shirt, we might say spiritually here that these are the people who are not only wearing the shirt; they have a complete Christian wardrobe. In fact, it sounds like these may be Christian leaders who are before the Great White Throne Judgment, and they're going before the Lord. Some of them have worked for Him; they've preached and done miracles. These aren't just back pew sitters. Yet, Jesus is basically saying here that it isn't the one who says all the right words, "Lord, Lord." It's the one who does His will. And later He will say, "It is the will of my Father in heaven that everyone comes to Him through Me."
    It's possible that you have Christianity but you've missed Christ; there's never been that moment when you've personalized what He did on the cross. And every day you wait puts you deeper and deeper into the spiritual danger zone.
    Someone listening today, you've got all the right words, you've got all the right beliefs, but you've never surrendered your heart and your will to Jesus. And that reality can be concealed until the day you see your Lord.
    Listen, today make it real. Tell Jesus, "Finally I want to move You from my head to my heart. I don't want to just believe about You, I want to believe in You; I want to commit myself to You. Go to our website as soon as you can today. I think it will help you get this settled. It's ANewStory.com.
    Is it possible you're wearing the shirt; you're encouraging others to wear the shirt that says "Found," but your heart is still lost? I urge you, put aside just wearing the shirt and let Jesus become part of your heart, not just your spiritual wardrobe.



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    July 1, 2022 Refusing to Retreat - #9255


    They thought it would take about three to five days. Yeah, when there was the invasion of Ukraine. That was the prediction of even our military people that because of the mis-match of the size of the Russian army and the Ukrainian forces it would be over very quickly. Well, as we know now, it has been an amazing part of modern history. And suddenly the world knew about a comedian who had become the President of Ukraine. And Volodymyr Zelenskyy has become a hero around the world. Someone called him "Churchill in a tee shirt." And we've all seen and heard him as he's really decided that he would not retreat, he would not disappear, and when the American government said, "We will give you a ride out," because there were three assisination squads stalking him. He said, "I don't need a ride." Remember? "I need ammunition." And he was there to stay! Guess what? Because one man wouldn't retreat, it inspired a nation to fight, and inspired the world to come and help them.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Refusing to Retreat."
    Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Joshua 1. Joshua has assumed the new command of the children of Israel. And man, has he got obstacles and risks ahead of him. They're going to try to conquer the Promised Land and it's got walled cities, barbarian tribes, giants, and a flooded river to cross. And the man he's depended on all these years, Moses, has just died.
    Well, now here's the word for today, Joshua 1:9, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous; do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Okay, now, God's addressing our two natural reactions when we're facing something overwhelming, threatening, new. We get scared, and we get discouraged. So He says, "Don't be afraid; don't be discouraged." See, God tells his people this eleven times in the Bible. Forty years earlier He said, "Go up and take possession. As the Lord told you, do not be afraid, do not be discouraged." Now, there are those times when your feelings and your circumstances are just saying, "Man, retreat! This is too tough!" But while your emotions are saying, "Retreat!" the Lord's saying, "No, charge!"
    It's interesting the kinds of situations in which God says, "Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged." One is when He's asking you to take big risks. Now, that's the situation here with Joshua and the Jews going against the giants of Canaan. When Solomon was facing the massive task of building God's temple, a huge assignment no one had ever done before, David said, "Be strong and courageous and do the work." And then guess what? "Do not be afraid or discouraged." See, God says "charge" when you're facing a big job. Another time God says, this is after the Jews are in Canaan and they experience a deadly defeat. In Joshua 8:1, God says, "Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged." So He says it after a major setback.
    Well, maybe right now you're facing a big risk, or a big job, or a big setback, or a big threat, and everything in you and around you is signaling, "Retreat!" Your fears are great, you're feeling discouraged. Remember, God's ancient people made their biggest mistake turning away from the Promised Land because they were afraid and got discouraged. You'll probably miss God's best if your eyes are on the circumstances or your feelings. In each case the reason for your confidence is the same, "The Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
    Keep your eyes on the God who is bigger than every obstacle, every need, every enemy, every task. He's called the Lord, the all powerful One who rules everything. But He's the Lord your God making all of that power available to you.
    In the nation under attack, one leader with everything around Him seeming to say, "Retreat!" stood his ground and ultimately turned "Retreat!" into "Charge!" Well, that's what the Lord Jesus wants to do for you, because this is no time to retreat!


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    June 30, 2022 Your Answers in the Mirror - #9254


    We've always found our family in the comic strips. Yeah, frequently one of the kids would come to me with some cartoon in the newspaper and say, "Here we are, Dad!" And it was often that comic strip - maybe you've seen it - Family Circus. The man behind it obviously has had children of his own. I mean, whenever the parents find a mess, or something eaten or missing, they of course start asking the children who did it. Needless to say, no one ever takes responsibility. No, the parents always end up concluding that it was "The Ghost of 'Not Me.'" Hey, does he live at your house - The Ghost of 'Not Me'? Listen, I know a Father who has a hard time getting His kids to say, "It was my fault." The kids? Yeah, you and me.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Your Answers in the Mirror."
    I want to have a word with you today about this man who buried "The Ghost of 'Not Me.'" It was King David. Well, you remember that David was in the middle of a glorious serving time in his life glorifying the Lord, he commits this ugly sin with Bathsheba; the sin of adultery. Now he could have offered excuses. He could have said, "I was lonely that night. I couldn't help myself. I was vulnerable." He could have said, "Hey, she was tempting. She was willing. She could have said no." Or maybe he could have said, "Well, you know, I was under a lot of stress from being king and all those battles I was in. Yeah, it's really hard being the King of Israel."
    But listen to what he says in our word for today from the Word of God in Psalm 51, beginning with verse 2. It shows us how he ultimately handles the responsibility for what he did. "Wash away all my iniquity, Lord, and cleanse me from my sin, for I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight." Verse 7 he says, "Cleanse me with hyssop and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow."
    Now, contrast that, just for example, with the public statement that was issued after the disclosure of the adulterous activity of a prominent Christian leader. Here's what he said to the newspaper, "After seven years in an isolated incident, I was wickedly manipulated by treacherous former friends, and then colleagues who victimized me with the aid of a female confederate. They conspired to betray me into a sexual encounter at a time of great stress in my marital life." Excuse me, but did you notice the verbs, "I was manipulated," "victimized," "conspired against," "betrayed"? Hello! Sounds a little different than King David doesn't it? Not, "I am a sinner." "I'm a victim."
    Okay, now before you're too quick to condemn that leader and say, "Shame on him!", let's look in the mirror. Aren't we quick to rationalize our sin, to blame our upbringing, our parents, our husband, our wife, the atmosphere around us, the culture? God says, "Who's to blame for what you're doing?" You say, "Not me!" There he is, The Ghost of "Not Me." That started in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. "It's her fault!" "No, it's his fault!" "No, it's the serpent's fault!"
    See, there's no healing, there's no forgiveness, there's no peace until you join David in saying, "I am without excuse, Lord. It's sin. I call it what You call it, and I accept full responsibility for it. I quit blaming anything or anyone around me. I'm dirty, Lord. I need to be clean by the blood of Christ."
    And He's willing to do that for an entire lifetime of sinning, if you will make the Savior, who died for the sin of the world your Savior, who died for your personal sin - every one of them. You say, "Jesus, I'm Yours!" I need you as my personal RescuerI
    Listen, if you haven't begun a relationship with the great forgiver, I'd love to help you do that. There's information that will help you get that forgiveness from Him today. It's at our website, ANewStory.com.
    Maybe you've been dodging your responsibility for what you've done. Confession contains the damage. That ghost of "not me" is keeping you from the peace you need so desperately. "It's me, Lord!" Let's have a funeral for that ghost.



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    June 29, 2022 Why They're Rejecting Your Jesus - #9253


    There he was in the homes of some ten million Americans every night. Yeah, it was the TV news anchorman for a major network. The voice that millions trust, or did trust. The most experienced, most watched anchorman in the country, at that time, facing the worst possible question, "Can we believe him?"
    Because of dramatic stories he told about his assignments in the Middle East and during Hurricane Katrina; except in different tellings, there were different accounts. Accounts challenged by people who actually were there. So an anchorman had lost the one thing that a man with that kind of influence really can't do without - trust. I mean, if you're reporting important news, credibility is everything, especially if that news is life-or-death information from God.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Why They're Rejecting Your Jesus."
    The Gospel! That's what it's called. It means "Good News." It's the only news in the world on which eternities depend. The Bible says in Romans 1:16 (NLT), "This Good News about Christ...is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes."
    And every follower of Jesus is God's embedded reporter of that news to the people in their circle of influence - at work, at school, where you live, where you play, where you shop. It's spelled out really clearly and powerfully in our word for today from the Word of God in 2 Corinthians 5:19-20. "He gave us this wonderful message...we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, 'Come back to God!'"
    When you're the one responsible to report the Ultimate Story - God's Story - there's one thing you cannot afford to lose - trust - because your life doesn't back it up. A person has to first trust the messenger usually before they'll trust the message. Right? So most people who come to Jesus, you know, do it because of a Christian they know. And most people who reject Jesus do it because of a Christian they know.
    Your life, my life; it's either a magnet that attracts a lost person to Jesus, or it's an excuse for them to walk away from Him. In so doing, to walk possibly into an eternity without Him. So, I really need to constantly ask myself, "Is my life backing up the message? What is there in my life, what is there in the way I talk, what is there in the way I treat people, what is there in my attitude that contradicts what Jesus is like?"
    Like lying for example. Like talking behind someone's back. Is that part of you that people know, and you're the ambassador for Christ? How about that short fuse? The dirty joke? Your mean spirit? A selfish attitude? "Checking out" girls? Hurting words? It could be just that "me first" vibe you give off. How about that critical spirit? No time to stop for that wounded person? It just so contradicts everything you say about Jesus.
    And if I've lost their trust by my hypocrisy, I need to seek their forgiveness. Because I failed to show them how real Jesus is. I want to be a reason for people to trust Jesus, because they could trust me.


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    June 28, 2022 Verbal Chainsaws Cutting Deep - #9252


    I was a young teenager when I faced my first issue with gun control. My dad took me out hunting pheasants. I was a rookie with that 12-gauge shotgun. The first time a pheasant roared out of those cornstalks, it scared me so much, I couldn't fire a shot. I had no gun control.
    But so much deadly violence and so many heart-wrenching deaths of innocent victims have now catapulted gun control issues seriously to center stage. And this isn't a forum for debating those questions; there are other places for that.
    I do know that my Bible commands me to pray for "all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness" (1 Timothy 2:2). That's always a good reminder. But while our political leaders work on what to do with guns, I've got another issue to deal with on a much more personal level - chainsaws. Long before there were guns, there were chainsaws - the kind we carry in our mouth.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Verbal Chainsaws Cutting Deep."
    Because, as the Bible says, "Reckless words pierce like a sword" (Proverbs 12:18). Our words alone can cut a person to the heart. No blood on the outside, but all over on the inside. God goes on to say that "the tongue has the power of life and death" (Proverbs 18:21). It's true. Words can either make a person feel more alive or more dead inside.
    The chainsaw called the tongue cuts long and cuts deep. We all know that from our personal experience. Think about the ugly names, the scarring words, the crippling put downs that we've never forgotten. Chances are, the person who spewed those words doesn't even remember them, but you sure do. And yet, we who are the wounded are also the wound-ers.
    God's pretty blunt about our verbal chainsaw. He describes it in our word for today in the Word of God in James 3. He calls the tongue "a world of evil...set on fire by hell...full of deadly poison" (James 3:2, 5-8). I wonder how many times I have left - to borrow the name of a dark chapter in Native American history - a "trail of tears" behind me. From my careless words, my critical words? All the nice words don't erase the nasty words. James 3 again says, "Out of the same mouth comes praise and cursing...this should not be" (James 3:10). "No man can tame the tongue" it says. We don't want to keep wounding people with our words. But, honestly, we just keep doing it.
    The disarming of the human tongue requires nothing short of divine intervention; a "Savior," to use the Bible word, asking Jesus to take control of an out-of-control tongue. When we, like an addict in rehab, admit to Him that we're powerless to tame our tongue, we take the first step to changing.
    Of course, our words are only the symptom, they're not the problem. Jesus' diagnosis cuts right to the heart of the issue literally. He says, "Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matthew 12:34). Dark words are really the toxic radiation emitting from the waste dump in our heart. That's why only Jesus can tame a tongue, because only Jesus can change a heart. His game-changing sacrifice for our sin on a cross means that "sin shall not be your master" (Romans 6:14) including the relentless sins of the tongue.
    Jesus can clean out a heart that's full of anger and resentment, the pain of the past, and turn a life-robbing chainsaw into a life-giving river. That's why I need to make King David's prayer my prayer each day. He says, "Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips." After all, the man who conquered death should have no problem taming my tongue.
    If you've never begun that cleansing,power-giving, life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ and you would like to, tell Him that today, "Jesus, I'm yours." If you're ready for this kind of life change that only He can make possible, visit our website, ANewStory.com. And today, make Him not just the Savior, but a personal Savior for you.



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    June 27, 2022 The Tragedy of God's Divided Family - #9251


    The scene: the maternity ward in a South Carolina hospital. In one 24-hour stretch, they had five sets of twins born! Did you ever see nurses on roller skates? Did you ever see women in a maternity ward taking numbers? One obstetrician actually met himself coming out of the delivery room! I mean, this is pandemonium! Five moms, ten deliveries, and five totally bewildered fathers! But sometimes the arrival of just one set of twins can make for an amazing night in the maternity ward. Like the birth of Alicia and Jasmin in Queensland, Australia. Yeah, it was in a hospital there. Mom is from a Jamaican-English background, and Dad is German. As for the twins: one is black, the other one is white. I was looking at a picture of them. They're calling it a million-to-one medical miracle.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Tragedy of God's Divided Family."
    That's what those twin girls are. As they grow older, people will look at them and notice how different they are. But the difference is literally only skin deep. They are the daughters of the same father; from the same blood.
    And that's who we are, those of us who belong to Jesus Christ, different in some "skin deep" ways, but the children of the same Heavenly Father; born the same way - from the same blood. The blood of Jesus shed for us so we could be born into the family of Almighty God. Or, as it says in our word for today from the Word of God, Galatians 3, beginning with verse 26, "You are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus...There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus" (NLT).
    Where we let our differences come between us, our Father is not pleased. Think about your own relationships. Think about your prejudices. Think about the categories you put people in. Look around your school, your community, your church. Are there walls, are there chasms between some of God's children, who are all carrying the same spiritual DNA?
    It may be that racial differences are separating children of the same father, or social differences, or maybe it's the money we make, the clothes we wear, the education we have, the way we talk.
    We can let denominational or doctrinal differences or political differences come between people who are united by the same blood - Jesus' blood. Sometimes we spend 90% of our time on the 10% that divides us instead of coming together around the 90% that God's Bible-grounded children agree on.
    Meanwhile, our divisions are giving lost people just another reason to ignore our Jesus. They look at us and say, "Hey, when you guys can get together, come and talk to me." It's time we started to act like what we really are: children of the same Father, born into the same family, sharing the same spiritual DNA, rescued at the same old rugged cross, spending eternity together in the same heaven. Isn't it time we made an effort to try to worship together, to learn from each other's unique perspective, to start praying together for a mighty move of God in our area, to reach out to a community that will sit up and take notice when we work together?
    We can do it. We must do it because, as the Bible says, "He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and destroyed the barrier." How? "We have been brought near through the blood of Christ" (Ephesians 2:13-14). No, we may not look alike on the outside. But our differences are ultimately skin deep. Our Father looks at His very different kids and says, "You're both My children. You're both My blood." Why don't we treat each other like that?


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    June 24, 2022 Surviving the Floods - #9250


    It was as late as mid-August that year and people in 24 states were watching the water rise. For so many months flash flood warnings or watches, and the rain just kept falling. We were in some of those monsoons. In a nearby community, the water rose a foot every ten minutes. I'd never heard of anything like that. I mean, there was barely time to get out.
    Every time floods like these hit, so many of the resulting deaths didn't have to be. Because people drive across a flooded road, thinking they can make it, underestimating the power of that water to carry them and their vehicle away.
    Of course time after time, what have we heard the weatherman say? "Turn around. Don't drown." But inevitably, some people just don't turn around. And they drown.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Surviving the Floods."
    I've seen too many people I care about make that same mistake in their personal lives; underestimating the current and getting swept away.
    That's how so many marriages have taken a painful hit or maybe even a fatal hit. Because someone thought they could just flirt a little...get a little "Hey, I've still got it" thrill...get closer and closer to someone who, you know, "really understands me." Suddenly - but not suddenly - a spouse has been betrayed, trust has been shattered, a family is in danger of being washed away.
    Or the flood can come from what was, at first, just a small compromise of integrity. Selling out just a little to land that deal or to get ahead, spinning a couple of lies to cover your tracks, avoid conflict or get to a goal. But forgetting that "tangled web we weave" we start to deceive. Ultimately we end up trapped in the web we wove.
    Taking on commitments that require you to neglect your family, saying yes to the party where you could wander out of bounds, just a couple of curious clicks, you know, to see what that titillating website shows. All part of believing that old self-deception that has sunk so many good people, "I can handle it."
    No, we can't. We overestimate ourselves and we underestimate the current. In our word for today from the Word of God, 1 Corinthians 10 beginning at verse 12, the God who loves us warns us: "If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall." And then in 1 Thessalonians 5:22 He says, "so avoid every kind of evil."
    The swirling waters of temptation look deceptively safe. But the Bible graphically reveals the disaster that lurks in that desire. It says, "After desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death" (James 1:15). In other words, sin always kills - always.
    There are people listening who so know the truth of this all too well. And the sad reality is that sin always takes you farther than you ever thought you'd go, keeps you longer than you ever thought you'd stay, and costs you more than you ever thought you'd pay.
    Thank God, the flood that carries us farther and farther downstream doesn't have to be the end. Not if there's a rescue. And there has been for millions of us, because the God that we've pushed away loves us too much to lose us. Jesus jumped into the depths of sin's destructive hell-bound power to save us, to forgive us, to literally change our final destination from hell to heaven.
    That's why there was a cross. It took Jesus dying for me to live. The Bible says, "The Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself for our sins to rescue us" (Galatians 1:3). With Him in my life, I don't have to be what I've always been, because the man who conquered death gives me His power to turn around and not drown.
    I still remember the day that I realized He was reaching for me. And I grabbed His hand. I'm safe now. I'm safe forever! It could be that what you're feeling in your heart right now is Jesus reaching for you to rescue you. Will you grab His hand? Listen, I'd love to help you get started with Him. Just go to ANewStory.com today. Turn around. Don't drown.



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    June 23, 2022 What Your Open Door Is Waiting For - #9249


    I hate to make extra trips back and forth from the car. So I have a tendency to load up with a little more than I should probably carry. (Is this a guy thing? I don't know.) At the grocery store, I would rather not be hassled with taking a cart out into the parking lot. So, if at all possible, I'll just load up all those grocery bags in my arms and start walking. It's then that I especially appreciate a particular convenience that stores have - those doors that open automatically, without you even having to touch them. I mean, you do have to do something...you have to walk toward those doors. Yeah, see, that's when they open.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "What Your Open Door Is Waiting For."
    Interestingly enough, the way you get that automatic door to open is often the way to get God to open a door for you. You have to start moving in that direction. You have to start walking toward it before it will open.
    One classic illustration is in the Jews' crossing of the Jordan River in our word for today from the Word of God in Joshua 3. It's time to finally enter the land that God has promised to them. But in between them and where God has told them to go is this river, at flood stage yet. The priests are supposed to lead the way, and there's no bridge. Beginning in verse 8, God says, "Tell the priests who carry the Ark of the Covenant: 'When you reach the edge of Jordan's waters, go and stand in the river.' ... The priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of them. Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the Ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing." Wow!
    Now, if I'm one of those priests, I'm saying, "Lord, I've got an idea? How's this? You part the waters, and then I'll step in." God says, "No, you step in, and I'll part the waters." He's been saying that to His followers ever since. Jesus was ready to change water into wine at a wedding, if the servants would collect the waterpots and fill them with water. Jesus was ready to miraculously feed 5,000 people, if the disciples would have enough faith to at least go and find a lunch and get everyone organized for a picnic that did not yet exist. Jesus planned to raise Lazarus from the dead, but He first expected the men to roll the stone away from the tomb. God responds to our faith and to our obedience.
    He's been talking to you about something He wants to do maybe in your family, your finances, in a life that He wants to touch through you, with a change that He's been leading you to make. Somewhere in your life there seems to be a closed door standing between you and something God wants you to do. You've been waiting for God to do something. Well, guess what? He's been waiting for you to do something: to start walking in the direction of where you believe He wants you to go, even if there's a closed door or a flooded river in front of you. See, that's His problem. Your problem is to get moving in the direction He's leading!
    If you've been looking for more leading from God, remember the way to discover what you need to know about God's will is to do what you already know is His will. You can't get anywhere as long as you're staying in neutral. You've got to shift into forward gear. All those "yeah buts," "Yeah, Lord, but what if...?" All those "yeah buts?" Those are God's problem. So, start walking toward that door. That is when it's going to open!


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    June 22, 2022 How to be the Person They'll Never Forget - #9248


    It had been a pretty rough week. Missy lost her mother the day before and Andy's wife filed for divorce that day. And a friend had texted recently, heartbroken over his sister-in-law's cancer verdict. And then we had some reservation friends of ours that were grieving over one young suicide after another.
    It just seems that we always know someone who's walking their own personal "trail of tears." Some weeks I think we could be sending a sympathy card like every day. And we've taken our turn. No family is immune. Bad news from the doctor. Burying the person we love. A broken heart over a life that's broken. And you know what? We never forgot the person who was there when it was dark.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How to be the Person They'll Never Forget."
    My wife and I are honored to call many Cherokee friends our brothers and sisters. Some are really like family. And you can't be with Cherokees for very long without recollections of their people's darkest hour; one of the most infamous chapters in our nation's history. You've probably heard of it - The Trail of Tears.
    The forced removal from their ancestral homelands. The brutal stockade imprisonments, and then the 800-mile Trail of Tears under military guard in a horrific six-month walk through one of the fiercest winters in American history. An estimated one-fourth of the Cherokee Nation died on or because of the Trail of Tears. I've stood with Cherokee brothers at unmarked graves where some of those people are buried. I'll tell you what, I've wiped my eyes as they sang in Cherokee, the hymn that helped sustain their people amid all the dying - "Amazing Grace."
    There were people on that trail who didn't have to be there; missionaries who loved the Cherokee people, who represented Jesus among the Cherokees. And now, who chose to be by their side, sharing their suffering.
    There's a nearly 200-year-old mission church on Cherokee land in Oklahoma today. But it wasn't built in Oklahoma. It was built in Georgia. And I'm told that the missionaries had so won the respect of the people that the chief actually ordered that that mission be dismantled and moved with the people. Well, you see, you never forget the person who walked with you on your trail of tears. Because everyone's so busy, so stressed, so preoccupied to enter into someone else's grief. But if you've walked your own trail of tears, you are uniquely qualified to walk with someone else on theirs. And in so doing, you can find meaning in your pain.
    In his recent book, Rob Moll says it well: "When suffering turns to compassion, the questions provoked by suffering can find resolution." A reviewer of that book commented, "Pain breaks us open, allowing us to become kinder and more generous toward others who suffer."
    Or, as the Bible says in our word for today from the Word of God in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, "God...the source of all comfort...comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others."
    No one had more important things to do than Jesus did in His world-changing three-year ministry. But He stopped for the blind man by the side of the road. He stopped for the mother who had just lost her son, for the leper no one else would touch. And He's stopped for me. Again and again, He has "carried me." In the words of the Bible, "as a father carries his son" (Deuteronomy 1:31) when I couldn't walk another step. When all I could do was reach up and cry, "Daddy, carry me!"
    So I am to be, as Oswald Chambers says, "not one who merely proclaims the gospel, but one who becomes broken bread and poured-out wine in the hands of Jesus Christ for the sake of others."
    Showing up when they're falling down as Jesus has shown up for me. He didn't stay in the comfort of His heaven. He came to us as "a man of sorrows, acquainted with the deepest grief" (Isaiah 53:3) carrying my burden all the way to the cross.
    Now I am called. I am privileged to be His face, His voice, His arms, His hands so someone else doesn't have to walk their trail of tears alone.


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    June 21, 2022 The Cost of Complaining - #9247


    Over the years I've been the waste management engineer at our house. Yeah, I get to collect and take out the garbage. Take it from an expert, do not buy cheap garbage bags. No. Maybe don't wait as long as I did to sometimes collect the garbage either. Here's the problem. You've just tied up a brimming bag full of things you really don't want to see any more, you don't want to smell them any more. They're supposed to be in the garbage can. But sometimes they don't make it to the garbage can when a cheap bag rips open and dumps it all over the kitchen floor. Oh I've had it happen. Garbage isn't bad. Garbage dumped in the wrong place - oh, that's bad.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Cost of Complaining."
    From God's perspective, there's way too much garbage that gets dumped where it should never go - in the hearing, in the lives of people who have no business having to deal with your garbage. God really doesn't like it.
    You can tell that from our word for today from the Word of God in Numbers 11:1. Here's what it says about God's ancient people: "The people complained about their hardships" - now here comes the sobering part - "in the hearing of the Lord, (Oops!) and when He heard them, His anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp."
    I guess this passage could be entitled, "How to Make God Really Angry." It's called complaining - which amounts to dumping your garbage out in front of the people right around you. It's not uncommon to check and see who's listening before we go ahead and start complaining, or whining, or criticizing. When you do, don't forget the One who's always in the room - your Lord. He obviously doesn't like it at all.
    One big problem with our complaining is that it focuses on what's frustrating us and it forgets the big picture. For example, these people in Numbers 11 went on to complain about their wilderness diet. They went on to talk about what great food they had in Egypt for, as they said, "no cost." No cost? You were slaves, guys! But when we get all nearsighted and we're just looking at the irritations and the frustrations in front of us, we lose our perspective, we blow today's little messes way out of proportion, and we forget the bigger picture of the great things God's doing in our lives. We miss the big tapestry.
    But God isn't expecting us to ignore our frustrations, or bury our frustrations. He just wants us to dump them out in the right place, which David spells out in Psalm 142:1, "I pour out my complaint before Him; before Him I tell my trouble." Bring your complaints straight to God. He's not going to be hurt by them. He's not going to be poisoned by them like the people around you will. And secondly, He can do something about your complaints much more than the people around you can do.
    Now, we all go through some garbage in our lives, and it's true we often need a place to dump that garbage. And God has offered us a wonderful place to do that. Of all places, in His Throne Room. But if you've been dumping on the people around you, you've been unloading garbage where it's not supposed to be and you've probably been polluting them in the process. They don't need it. It makes your Father very unhappy and it really pollutes the environment!


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    June 20, 2022 Getting Your Eternity Right - #9246


    Yeah, it's been more than a century since the unsinkable ship sank and some 1,500 passengers died. You know, of course, I actually have my boarding pass for the Titanic. I really do! They gave it to me at the entrance to a Titanic artifacts exhibit I went to. (I am not that old that I have an original. No.) Now, it doesn't have my name on it. It says, "J. Pearse, Crew." See, having the name of someone who was really there that night, I guess, made what I saw a whole lot more personal. That was the idea.
    It really hit home with me at the end of this tour, because I stood staring at this large wall that had two lists. They were reminiscent of the same lists that they posted after the real tragedy in the White Star Line's Liverpool, England offices. Here are these anxious relatives waiting to hear the fate of a passenger they loved, and a company rep who comes in occasionally and adds a name to one of two lists: "Known to be saved" and "Known to be lost." My guy, "J. Pearse," was saved. My friends who also saw this exhibit turned out to be "lost."
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Getting Your Eternity Right."
    The haunting images of that mighty ship going down are indelible in my mind. But then so are those two lists. Because everyone I know - everyone listening to this - is also on one of two lists: "Known to be saved" "Known to be lost." Not "rich" or "poor"...not "liberal" or "conservative"...not "Religion X" or "Religion Y" - just "saved" or "lost."
    God makes it so plain in our word for today from the Word of God. It's in 1 John 5:11-12. "God has given us," it says, "eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life (that would be saved); he who does not have the Son of God does not have life (that's lost)." Now, if you have Jesus, you are rescued from the death penalty for your sins and you've got heaven. And God says if you don't have Jesus, you don't have heaven.
    Because that "saving" came at a very high price that only the Son of God could pay. It meant Him, who had no sin, doing all the dying for all my sinning. Going through my hell so I, and so you, could go to His heaven.
    The great news of Good Friday, the great news of Easter, is you can change lists! In Jesus' words, "Whoever hears My word and believes in Him who has sent me has eternal life; he has crossed over from death to life" (John 5:24). I love the definite sounds of those words, "has eternal life." Not hopes to have - has. A done deal! We can know for sure right now that if we died today, we'd go to heaven - eternal life insurance. No fear.
    Maybe you know some folks who are still outside the lifeboat. You have nothing more urgent to do than in the Bible's words, "rescue those who are being led away to death" (Proverbs 24:11).
    If you're not sure that you've ever given yourself to Jesus, you've got nothing more urgent to do than in the words of the Bible, "believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31). That transaction between you and Him could take place this very day. It could take place now. Why not get this done? Why not get it settled? Why not today where you are? Just say, "Jesus, I believe You died for my sins. I believe You are alive because You walked out of your grave, and I am ready to give the running of my life to You. I'm pinning all my hopes on You, Jesus, to get me to heaven and forgive my sins. I'm Yours!" At that moment the Bible says you go from those who are "known to be lost" to those who are "known to be saved."
    Let me invite you to go to our website and check it out today. Why? Because it's all about how to begin that relationship and to be sure you have. The website's ANewStory.com.
    I'll tell you, it is amazing to be saved, but it is awful to be lost.



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    June 17, 2022 How a Father Builds a Son - #9245


    Maybe it's in the testosterone. Guys are just wired to build something; a business, a church, furniture, home improvement projects. Some men build a team, some build financial security for their family, some just build a name for themselves. Even if I've felt motivated to build a few things, I'm the ultimate un-handyman. Like there was this little tree house - well, more like a tree platform - but the kids enjoyed it. The dollhouse for our daughter. The miniature barn for our son. There's a reason that God puts this building thing in guys. Some of us have a really big project to build!
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How a Father Builds a Son."
    When God trusts a man with a son, He is putting in his hands probably the most important building project of his life. If a man builds a mighty empire or a billion dollar enterprise and loses his son, can we call his life a true success? A boy will decide what the word "man" means based on the first one he knows and the one he knows best - his dad. A boy will likely decide what God's like, and whether or not he wants anything to do with Him. Because based on how his dad treats him...because how God has introduced Himself to us as our Heavenly Father.
    How a man treats the women in his life; what he thinks really matters...what he thinks really doesn't matter, he'll get that from copying the biggest man in his life - his dad. And how many boys have grown up into men who are never sure they were good enough, always insecure, always feeling like they've got something to prove. Because the main man in their shaping years failed to make him feel loved and confident and valuable. Building a son - that takes a real man. Tearing one down - that's not much of a man at all.
    There's a revealing picture of how a father builds a son in our word for today from the Word of God in Matthew 3:16-17. God's Son, is about to launch into the earthly ministry that His Father sent Him to earth for. His first public act is to be baptized by John the Baptist. It's there that we get an incredible glimpse behind the veil at the awesome relationship between God the Father and God the Son. The Bible tells us: "As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water... And a voice from heaven said, 'This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.'"
    Here's the Father affirming His approval of His Son - a vote of confidence that must have meant a lot to Jesus as He headed out into that battle. It's a demonstration of the power of a father's praise. Of course this is at the highest possible level. It's what your son desperately needs from you, Dad. 1 Thessalonians 2:12 describes in three action words how a father should treat his children, (Here they are.) "encouraging, comforting and urging." The question is, Dad, how do you try to motivate your children; especially your boy? With shame? With silence? By giving love when they perform and withdrawing love when they don't? By never letting them know where they really stand? That's not building a boy. That's dismantling a boy.
    He needs your praise - frequently. He needs the kind of focused time with you that says, "I like you, son. I want to be with you." Your son needs your undivided attention when he's talking so he learns that what he says is important to you, just because he's saying it. And often your son needs to hear your compliments, your pleasure, your pride in him. You can give him the courage that he will need to lead, to say no to the pressure, to attempt great things, to treat other people like they're important.
    You build a son by building up your son, by often helping him see the awesome thing God did when He created that boy. Even God the Father launched His Son into life with His public approval. How can you do any less for the son He's given you?


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    June 16, 2022 You Are Not Forgotten - #9244


    If you follow baseball, you know what a designated hitter is. When you really need a hit, you put in this guy who's got a really good batting average. Now, we didn't have a designated hitter in our town, but they sort of made me the designated prayer in our town. I'm not sure how I got that assignment, but when they were having some kind of a community function and they needed a prayer, they'd call me.
    Well, I had an interesting assignment out of many of those that came up when I was asked to remember America's MIAs and POWs. There was a ceremony for them. Now, in case you've forgotten the initials, MIA means missing in action, and you know, we still think about a number of unaccounted for servicemen left over from past wars. And there have been intelligence reports that some of them may still be alive. So this ceremony was to commemorate them. When I got there, there were some veterans there in their fatigue pants and their black T-shirts, wearing their berets from Vietnam. And there were speeches, a gun salute, a flag raising. And I was impressed by the flag raising, because underneath the American flag they raised a banner, maybe you've seen it. It's a black banner. It has these words on it: You are not forgotten. There are a lot of MIAs who are not from a war that America's military fought. In fact, you could even be one of them.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "You Are Not Forgotten."
    MIA - missing in action. You know, God has MIAs from His family. Maybe it's someone who's been around the Bible, been around Jesus at some point in their life. Yet somewhere they wandered away. Maybe that person is you. Maybe you can remember even as a child being exposed to Jesus and being exposed to the Bible, and somehow you've ended up listening today to this program or reading it. It's mostly memories, but the memories are there. Now, you're not really against Jesus, but you're not close to Him like you used to be. And you're away from God's people right now; you're away from God's Word, kind of doing your own thing; experimenting. Maybe you've been avoiding the people and the places that would remind you of that Christ that you were once close to. Maybe on the roles of your parents, or your Christian friends, or your church, you're missing in action.
    Would you listen to a word for today from the Word of God? Psalm 139, "Oh Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I arise. You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down. You are familiar with all my ways. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go to the heavens you're there. If I make my bed in the depths you're there. If I arise on the winds of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me. Even the darkness will not be dark to You. The night will shine like day, for darkness is as light to You."
    See, God's been following your life through every twist, every turn, every detour. And today He's brought us together to raise a banner that says, "You are not forgotten." He loves you. He knows you. He wants you back.
    Maybe you're on the other end of the MIA drama. Someone you love is spiritually missing in action. I want you to know God is lovingly pursuing them today, and your prayer will be answered.
    Don't wait until everything comes crashing down to get back to the Lord. The Christ who died for you is calling you back home. You've been on enough roads to know all the other brightly lit paths; they're dead end streets, aren't they? Why be a prisoner in enemy territory one day longer? Maybe we can help you find your way back to Him. Check out our website today. A lot of people have gone there at a time like this. It's ANewStory.com. Maybe a new story for you.
    Your Savior has not forgotten you, even though you maybe have tried to forget Him. Open up your life. Let His peace replace all that hurt and all that restlessness. You are not forgotten. You can come home today.



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    June 15, 2022 Your Mission Has a Name - #9243


    There's no way newscasters could tell her story without somehow using the word "miracle." And that was easy to understand. See, Baby Lily had been trapped in a partly submerged car in Utah's Spanish Fork River. She was 18 months old. She was upside down in her car seat for 14 hours, with the cold water of the river running through that car.
    Sadly, Lily's mom, who had been driving, did not survive that accident. And no one knew there was a car in the river until a fisherman spotted it the next day. Thank God, the rescuers he called got there in time. Just in time. Initially, there were no signs of life. But after triage CPR and the efforts of an emergency room staff, Lily started to respond. Now, it's a bittersweet situation. Mom didn't make it. But only days later, Lily was with her dad, singing her nursery rhymes again.
    The first responders couldn't stop talking about what they called "the voice." The voice they heard calling 'Help me!' from the car in the river. It couldn't have been Lily's mom. It wasn't Lily. It was an adult voice. Reporters call it "divine intervention." I call it God.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Your Mission Has a Name."
    It's something God's been doing for a long time; calling someone He's rescued from spiritual death to rescue someone else. Someone that Jesus died for, and someone who doesn't know or doesn't understand how deeply Jesus loves them. So much that in the Bible's words, "He gave Himself for our sins to rescue us" (Galatians 1:4).
    Now as one of His rescued, I am called by God; a voice in my heart calling me to the person who is living and dying ultimately without Christ. I was rescued to rescue. Listen to our word for today from the Word of God in Proverbs 24:11, "rescue those who are being led away to death. Hold back those who are staggering toward slaughter." Or what about Jude 23, "snatch others from the fire..." like someone rescued you. "Snatch others from the fire and save them."
    But He won't leave those rescue calls general. No, they're specific. For each of us who belong to Jesus, God wants to put a name in those verses; the name of someone we know. "Save Brian." "Rescue Annie, who's being led away to death."
    The voice from heaven has cried "help" to me on behalf of family members He wanted me to help rescue, on behalf of neighbors, people I've worked with in the community. Because God wants each of us who know Him to carry a piece of His heart in our heart; a burden with a name. Someone we care enough about that we want them in heaven with us forever. Someone we pray for by name every day.
    Someone for whom we regularly pray the 3-open prayer based on Colossians 4:3 and 4, "Lord, open a door (a natural opportunity) for me to talk to them about a relationship with You." Then, "Lord, open their heart," Then, "Lord, open my mouth!" Got it? "Lord, open a door. Lord, open their heart. Lord, open my mouth." Pray that on a daily basis and watch the amazing opportunities God will open up.
    Even if going in for the rescue is hard. Those rescuers who followed the voice to baby Lily had to use all their strength to lift the car she was in. Several were treated for hypothermia. Rescue isn't cheap. Not for Jesus. Not for us.
    But a life depends on me responding to the call to jump in. Because I've got to go with a fear greater than what might happen to me if I go in for the rescue. You know what the greater fear is? What might happen to them if I don't.


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    June 14, 2022 How to Get Off Life's Roller Coaster - #9242


    My children love roller coasters. They didn't get that from me. No, when my dad took me on the big "thrills and chills" coaster at our city amusement park, I needed counseling for years to come!
    Of course, you don't have to buy a ticket these days to get a wild ride. No, just invest in the stock market for example. You know, plenty of ups and downs! And Wall Street's wild rides over the past few years. And they have only been a mirror of a world that seems to be off-the-charts financially. There's a lot of questions about credit rating and currencies, and interest rates, and housing bubbles. And, oh man! And, you know, sometimes they talk about like our future credit rating as a country may depend on how budget negotiations go in Washington. Well, in that case, hang on tight.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How to Get Off Life's Roller Coaster."
    They even without all the mayhem in the economy, life still gets crazy. Sudden drops can come from a change in your family, or your job, or your health. We're always one email, one text, one call, one doctor visit, one conversation away from the bottom dropping out. I've been there when the "Code Blue" was someone close to me, when the baby with "problems" was one of ours, when the income suddenly went away, when the phone call came that changed everything.
    But when the roller coaster was twisting and dropping violently, one thing kept me safe. The coaster was attached to the track. And the track wasn't moving.
    Years ago, I chose to go out of the business of running my own life, which the Bible has a simple word for - "sin." See, I've been trying to let Jesus drive ever since. After all, the Bible says I was "created by Him and for Him" (Colossians 1:16). So why would I not let Him run the life that He gave me to live for Him? See, He's the "track" that my crazy roller-coaster car is attached to.
    Or, in the reassuring words of God's Book, the Bible, and our word for today from the Word of God, Hebrews 6:19 (I love this!) we have in Jesus "an anchor for the soul, firm and secure" Don't you want that? I mean, I know that my "daily bread" comes from a God whose stock never drops and whose resources are always infinite. I live in total security...hand-to-mouth - His hand to my mouth. I know that in the words of the Bible, "my times are in His hands" (Psalm 31:15) - not in the hands of a doctor or a disease. I don't need to fear for the people I love because, again the Bible says, "I know Whom I have believed and I am convinced He is able to guard what (or who) I have committed to Him" (2 Timothy 1:12).
    See, you can survive the ride if your soul is anchored. And Jesus is that anchor, because He is, in the Bible's words, "the same yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). He loves you today as much as He did the day He bled for your sins on a cross. He's as powerful today as He was the day He blew away death at His now-empty tomb. And "nothing," the Bible says, "will ever separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39).
    Listen, if life for you has been a lot of drops and a lot of crazy twists and turns, and you're ready for the anchor you were made for, well then let this be the day you open up to Jesus. Take your life out of your hands. Put it into His. You'll notice there's nail prints in those hands. That's how much He loves you, to die for every wrong thing you've ever done against Him.
    Because He's alive and walked out of His grave, He can walk into your life today. Tell Him, "Jesus, I'm Yours beginning today." I'd suggest you check out our website and get some more information on how this relationship works. Go to ANewStory.com.
    See, you can't slow down a roller coaster, but you can make sure that you're attached to the track.



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    June 13, 2022 The Problem With "Pushy" - #9241


    There's a lot of sheep-talk in the Bible, which puts "city boy" here at a distinct disadvantage. I grew up in Chicago, we didn't have them there. No, if the Bible used like cockroaches as an example, I'd be all set. But I've had to learn about sheep from friends who have been around them a lot. One of our ministry team worked with ranchers a lot with their sheep. And he told me about how the shepherd gets his sheep to go where he wants them to go! There's a way that works and a way that doesn't work. My co-worker said that he has seen people get behind sheep and try to push them along. Notice I said, try! It doesn't work, no matter how much noise he makes or how he waves his arms. When they are pushed by a shepherd, sheep just scatter. But when he gets out in front of them; when he leads them the way he wants them to go, the sheep follow after him. Not a bad idea.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Problem With 'Pushy.'"
    Over and over in God's Word we're described as being like sheep, and Jesus is described as being our Shepherd. Our word for today from the Word of God, Isaiah 40:11 (I love this), "He tends His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and He carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those who have young." Notice the Lord gets us to go where He wants us to go not by pushing. It says He gently leads. Remember the 23rd Psalm, "He leads me beside quiet waters."
    Now it may be that God's put you in a position where you're doing some shepherding. In other words, there are some people under your influence who need to go in a certain direction, and you're trying to get them to go there. The sheep could be your own children, or some people in ministry with you, or people you minister to, or people who work with you, or just some folks you're trying to motivate to go a certain way. If you're trying to do any shepherding, take a lesson from the Great Shepherd and many other shepherds...gently lead them. Even though you sometimes feel like you really need to push them. Leading just works so much better than pushing.
    If you're trying to push your "sheep," you tend to be impatient with them. In fact, that's why we often start pushing because, "Hey, they're not responding!" If you're leading them, you'll be willing to take time for them to get it right. If you're pushing, you probably dwell a lot on what they're doing wrong. If you're leading, you're dwelling on the things they're doing right and you're encouraging them from that point to work on the rest. When you're behind the sheep trying to forcibly direct them, you tend to make moving the most important thing. When you're in front of the sheep leading them, you tend to communicate that the sheep are what's most important.
    Honestly now, which one best describes you? Are you behind those sheep, nagging, criticizing, coercing? You're pushing, and they'll probably just run away. Or are you modeling where you want them to go, giving correction gently and privately, praising, encouraging, enabling? If so, you're leading the sheep. And they're a lot more likely to follow.
    Now, sheep sometimes wander off and they require some strong bringing back with a staff. But most of the time, all of us sheep follow gentle, consistent leadership the best. We don't like to be pushed. We like to be led. The destination the shepherd wants the sheep to go is the same, whether he's up front leading or behind them pushing. What's different is how the sheep respond. If you have a sheep that isn't going where you're trying to make him or her go, consider it part of the problem might be the shepherd.
    Maybe it's time for a little less of that hard pushing from behind, and maybe it's time for a little more of that gentle leading from out in front.


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    June 10, 2022 The Two-Letter Word Your Heaven Depends On - #9240


    Okay, I've got to confess that sometimes my attention wanders a little when I'm listening to someone speak in a public meeting. I'm sure someone who's been in a meeting where I was the speaker is saying right now, "Oh, that's pretty funny. That's what happened when I heard you speak."
    Well, one of the things that's almost sure to divert my attention is someone providing sign language interpretation of the talk that's being given for the hearing impared people there. Now, there's something really beautiful and thought-provoking about the visual representation of words that I've heard many times. In fact, the signing version of certain words can kind of give you the deeper meaning to them. Well, with one word in particular.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Two-Letter Word Your Heaven Depends On."
    I love the way that our deaf friends say the name of Jesus. The signer takes one finger and puts it into the palm of the other hand, and then puts a finger into the other palm. It's clearly a symbol of what might well be the most identifying characteristics of Jesus if you met Him today - the nail prints in His hands. In a sense, His hands tell it all. His hands bring home the central issue that you and I have to deal with when it comes to Jesus. The thing God considers decisive in where we will spend eternity.
    Many people have a fondness for Jesus. He's the one person revered by most of the great religions of the world. Many people are aware of the awful death He died on the cross. You may be one of millions who celebrate Jesus' death in the sacraments or the ceremonies of your church. That's all good, it's just not enough.
    That's what one of Jesus' closest associates discovered after Jesus' resurrection that first Easter. Thomas, one of Jesus' 12 disciples, had not been in the room when the other disciples were visited in person by their risen Master. And, honestly, Thomas didn't buy it.
    In John 20, beginning with verse 25, our word for today from the Word of God, Thomas says: "Until I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe it." Thomas had been with Jesus for three years, he'd heard every sermon, he'd seen every miracle. But like many who've been around Jesus for years, Thomas had apparently never yet really committed himself to Him.
    But the following week, Thomas was there when Jesus appeared to His friends. The Bible says, "Then He said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.' Thomas said to Him, 'My Lord and my God.'"
    That little two-letter word is the difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus, between an eternity in heaven and an eternity in hell. It's the word "my." Jesus may have been a Lord, or even the Lord, to you. But maybe you've never made Him your Lord and your God, and that could happen this very day. If you'll put yourself in the Good Friday picture and walk up Skull Hill to the foot of that cross where God's Son is dying to pay for your sin and you say those two words that change everything, "For me. You died here for me."
    If you've never welcomed the Savior as your Savior, don't stop one step short of being forgiven; one step short of heaven. Like Thomas after that first Easter, let those wounds, suffered for you, finally capture your heart. Bow before Jesus. Tell Him, "Beginning today, you're my Lord; you're my Savior from my sin. I'm placing all my trust in you." This could be the day you actually begin your personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
    You know, we've set up our website so you can go there and find out how to be sure you belong to Him. Please go there today. It's ANewStory.com.
    Jesus wants to be with you every remaining day of your life, and He wants you to be with Him forever. Please reach out to Him today. And when you've taken your last breath, you will meet Him at last.
    And you'll know Him when you see Him by the print of the nails in His hands.



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    June 9, 2022 Getting Ready for God's Final Exam - #9239


    Comedian Jerry Lewis actually made a little cinema history years ago when he filmed the movie "The Bellboy." It would be no big deal today, but back then it was a first. Jerry Lewis had each scene of the movie videotaped so he could look at it and see if it had come out like he wanted it. If he didn't like it, they went right back and they got it right. I know, "good old days." But it was actually a smart idea. Kind of sort of is today.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Getting Ready for God's Final Exam."
    It's definitely a good idea to stand back, see what's wrong, and fix it before it goes to the final print. Especially if the audience for the final print is God Himself, as He looks at how you've been living and passes judgment on it. In a sense, He's given us some ways to look at how we're doing, to see what you're doing wrong and to fix it before it goes to the final print.
    Our word for today from the Word of God comes in the context of some early believers who were trivializing sacred things and they were, according to the Bible, "weak and sick" as a result. Some had even died as a result. Then, in 1 Corinthians 11:31, Paul says, "But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment." Take care of it yourself so God doesn't have to take care of it! God's response to the sin that we've neglected may come in discipline that He administers to us, or at the Judgment Seat of Christ where eternal rewards will either be given or withheld based on how we've lived. But in either case, it's far better for you to deal with it now than for God to deal with it then.
    You may be living in that window right now where God is saying, "I'm giving you this time to deal with this yourself. But if you don't, I will." It may be the lies you're telling, the people you're hurting, the compromises you're making, that sin you're playing with. Maybe God's trying to get you to do something about your pride, or your hypocrisy, your anger, or that - you know - secret sin.
    And He's given you the "videos," shall we say, that show what you're really doing. He'll speak to you through His words in the Bible, sometimes making them feel like an arrow right to the heart of your sin. Or God may be trying to speak to you through some of the people in your life; you know, some people who love you. Maybe people who are just critical of you. But God put them there to be a mirror for you, showing you what needs to be changed. Now maybe you're stoning the messenger, but that doesn't change the truth of what they see in you, and what God's trying to get you to see.
    It isn't smart to flirt with the discipline of Almighty God; the judgment of Almighty God. He just loves you too much to let you keep doing what's going to damage your life, and probably other lives. And maybe right now He's giving you that time - this window right now - to deal with it yourself; to confess it to Jesus, the One who died for that very sin. He's giving you right now an opportunity to repent and turn your back on it, to restore what you need to restore, to apologize to that person you should have apologized to a long time ago, to fix what's broken, to take whatever steps you need to take to get what's wrong out of your life.
    Believe me, no matter how hard it may be for you to judge that sin yourself, it's always easier than forcing God to judge it because you wouldn't. Right now He's giving you a chance to fix it before it goes to the final print.


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    June 8, 2022 God's Big Plans for His Ordinary People - #9238


    I used to have another radio program, in addition to this one, just to keep from getting bored. It was called "Alive!" and it was designed to reach young people and it had a pretty high energy format. A lot of that came from having a live studio audience of young people. I loved it! Teenagers like to hear other teenagers, so we involved our audience in doing dramas and discussing the week's issue.
    One thing that was a surprise to those young people was that some of them ended up being the announcers for the program. Most people thought we'd have this golden-throated professional doing the announcing, "And now from Chicago..." No, no. We had young people from the audience read the opening script with music and cheering backing them up. "From Chicago..." Yeah, right. See, when they arrived at the studio that night, they had no idea they'd ever be an announcer.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "God's Big Plans for His Ordinary People."
    Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 1 Peter 2:9. Listen to who you are: "You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."
    Okay, so whose job is it to tell the people you know about what Jesus did on the cross for them? Wait, did you hear this? "That YOU should declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness and into His wonderful light." Just like those young people in our studio audience you might say, "Well, you know, there are people who are like really good at talking about Jesus. Aren't they the ones who should be God's announcers?" Maybe you're almost intimidated by the... I don't know, I guess you call them the "professional God salesmen," the preachers, the evangelists who have all that training and they know all those verses. They say it so well, right?
    But God wants everyday people to be His announcers. You know why? Because everyday people listen to everyday people. You say, "But I'm so ordinary." Well, see, it's your ordinariness that will open the doors to people that no "professional announcer" could ever get to. And what is it He wants you to announce? The difference Jesus is making in your life. Only you can tell that. I call it your Hope Story. It becomes clear when you ask this very important question, "What would I be like if it weren't for Jesus?" Man, that scares me to death thinking about that with me. You are living proof of a living Savior, and I can't tell your Jesus story - nobody else can. Only you can. It's a story only you can tell. And your Lord has planted you in the middle of a group of people because He believes you are the best possible person to show Christ to those people. This is going to transform how you feel about going to work, going to school, living in your neighborhood, going to the gym, being in that club, because you're on divine assignment; to be the link between those people and Him.
    The pastor of a mega church in America was meeting one of the ladies in his church one time and he said, "What do you do?" and she said, "Well, Pastor, I'm a disciple of Jesus Christ cleverly disguised as a machine operator." I love that! She said, man this is just my clever disguise, because who does a lost machine operator most likely to listen to? Another machine operator! So, what's your clever disguise? Your job? Your school activities? Your community position? What you do for fun, for recreation?
    I had a lady tell me not long ago, she said, "Ron, I have been in a five-year battle with cancer." But she said, "As a cancer fighter, I have had the opportunity to tell more fellow cancer sufferers about Jesus than I ever could have imagined." Positioned by her situation to help people be in heaven with her someday.
    That's your clever disguise. God knows there are people like you who are most likely to come to Christ through a person like them. A salesperson through a salesperson. A mom through a mom. A student through a student. Someone in your world is most likely to come to Christ through a believer in their world who's like them. That would be you.


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    June 7, 2022 The Danger of Growing Up With Jesus - #9237


    On a trip to Florida, I had just a little personal time - enough to get over to Epcot Center at Disney World, which was a really cool place. You know, they've set it up so it's actually like being in several of the big countries of the world; some of which I've actually been to for real. And it was just really great to be in touch with the world that way. You know? So, I grabbed a van, actually part of a limo service. And as we were getting near Epcot, I said to the driver, "Man, I'll bet you drive here in your sleep, don't you? I mean, this is something you do all the time. You probably could do it with your eyes closed." He said, "Oh, yeah, man, I could. I've been here so many times." I said, "Well, how many times have you actually been in Epcot?" He said, "Oh, I've never been in." He just brings people there. Well, you know what, it's so often that way isn't it?
    I mean, you live right on top of what tourists come from all over the world to see, but you don't go in there yourself. We moved to the New York area to Northern New Jersey, and we were really eager to explore what was there. We'd say to people who were born there, "Have you ever been over to the Empire State Building or to the Statue of Liberty? Been to this battlefield in New Jersey or this beautiful country store in a little country town?" And they'd go, "No, I think it's boring here, and no, I haven't been there." There was a lot of great stuff. They'd never been to see it! See, it's common for us to be so close to something for so long that we miss it, including the one thing we can't afford to miss.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Danger of Growing Up With Jesus."
    Our word for today from the Word of God is found in Mark 6. I'm going to read verses 1-6. Here's the home folks hazard. "Jesus went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed." Now, remember, this is Nazareth. "Where did this man get these things?" they asked. "What's this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles? Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son?" Then they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown, among his relatives, in his own house is a prophet without honor." He couldn't do any miracles there...and he was amazed at their lack of faith, the Bible says. Wow! I mean, is this a sobering message? The people who grew up with Jesus are the ones who expected no miracle.
    Oh, they knew all about him. "What would you like to know about Jesus?" "Oh, we know his brother here. Oh, the sister lives right down the street. His Mom? Oh, yeah. I just saw her at the grocery store today. I used to play with them when we were little." They grew up with Him, but nothing happened between Jesus and them. It's sort of like those of us who live near those great sights and experiences, like my driver down in Florida, or people who live around New York and don't ever go to anything in New York. They take them for granted.
    Now, maybe you grew up with Jesus in a sense. You've been around Christ for years. Well, there are two dangers for those of us who've known about Him for so long. First of all, you can underestimate Him. That's what happened to some people in this story. So many of us spiritual veterans are living in mediocrity; we pray little prayers; we live small Christian lives. Maybe it's been a long time since you've really lived dangerously and taken some risks for Christ and expected the supernatural. Has your relationship with Christ become boring, predictable, managed? New arrivals in the kingdom eagerly explore all Christ can do, and He never disappoints them. But the people who lived around Christ back then would take Him for granted.
    The other danger of those is an even greater one, and that is that even though you've known all about Him for years, you don't know Him personally. You've never actually had a personal, saving transaction with Jesus Christ at His cross. You could be a candidate to be one of the smartest people in hell, with all the knowledge but no relationship.
    If you're not really sure you belong to Him - you believe things about Him - but you've never really given yourself to Him, let this be your day. Make it real! Go to our website and let me help you there make sure you belong to Him. That's ANewStory.com.
    One of the greatest tragedies of all eternity would be if you've been around Jesus your whole life and you missed Him...and you missed heaven.



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    June 6, 2022 The Trouble With Passing the Buck - #9236


    Few times in human history has so much rested on the shoulders of one man. That man was General Dwight Eisenhower, commander of the Allied forces in World War II. The responsibility: planning and leading the massive secret attack against Hitler's hold on Europe; the attack that would come to be known as the D-Day Invasion. It can be said that the fate of the world rested on the outcome of that invasion, launched on five beaches on the northern coast of France. And the ultimate decisions about that invasion rested with Dwight Eisenhower. He had said that they only had a plan for victory, and that's what they expected. But after he gave the final "go" order and committing so many lives to that battle, he must have had some secret doubts about the outcome. In the back of a military vehicle, General Eisenhower drafted a letter that was only revealed years later. In it, he said something like this: "The invasion has failed, and I take full responsibility for that failure. No blame goes to President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, or any other commanders. I am fully responsible." Well, thank God that letter was never needed. The invasion, of course, succeeded. But that letter revealed the heart of a truly great leader.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Trouble With Passing the Buck."
    Taking responsibility: That's a basic trait of a man or woman of character. And it's getting harder and harder to find. Sadly, there may not be any real progress or any real healing in your situation until someone is man or woman enough to take responsibility, and that someone needs to be you.
    Unfortunately, we don't let the buck stop with us. We're better at playing the blame game than taking responsibility. That started in the Garden of Eden when Adam blamed Eve for disobeying God and Eve blamed the serpent. When, in fact, each one was responsible for his or her own sin. Not much has changed over the years, has it? It's my wife's fault, it's my husband's fault, it's my parents' fault, it's my children's fault, it's society's fault, it's because of the people who wronged me, it's because of my boss, my job, my church. Round and round goes the buck, and never is there any healing and never any answers.
    It's interesting to see the first place the Prodigal Son of Jesus' parable began to turn his life around. Apparently, he thought the reason his life wasn't what he wanted it to be was his home. So he asked his dad for an early inheritance so he could leave home and do his own thing. Eventually, he blew all that money on partying. Now he thought his problem was no money. Then friends turned their backs on him when he ran out of money. Next thing you know, he's feeding pigs, and the pigs are probably the problem now.
    Well, in Luke 15:17, our word for today from the Word of God, the Bible says, "When he came to himself" he was finally ready to say, "I will...go back to my father and say to him: 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.'" At last, the buck stopped. He's gone down the list of all the people, all the circumstances he could blame, and finally he came to himself as the reason. And that's when the pieces of his life finally began to come together.
    For you, there's not going to be any healing, there's not going to be any answers, any restoration, any peace until you finally say, "I'm responsible." Maybe you're not the only one responsible, but only you can fix the part that's you. That may mean a letter you need to write, a call, a visit you need to make, an apology, a confession you need to give, maybe a bitterness or a grudge that you need to release. I know this is hard, but it's the only way something broken in your life has a chance of getting fixed. And it's for sure the only way you're going to get fixed.
    Your pride can make you blind to the problem that's right in the mirror and fill your life with so much unnecessary pain. And the hurt and the hassle just keep going because you keep passing the buck. Be a man or woman of character and integrity. Step up to your responsibility for the way things are. It's your first big step to finally being free.


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    June 3, 2022 Why Our Commitments to Jesus Aren't Working - #9235


    Okay, let's use our imagination. I'm going to buy a new car, and I'm going to pay for it with cash in full. That's the imagining part. So I pay Mr. Dealer lots of thousands of dollars for the new car, and he tells me it will be there in two weeks. Those two weeks crawl by like a turtle, but finally the day comes when I can show up for my hot new wheels. So I shake hands with the dealer, and he says, "Hey, I'll be right back!" A few minutes later he comes out, carrying a big box. He sees my bewildered expression. He says, "Here it is. Go ahead. Open the box." I do, and inside I find two new hubcaps, a new carburetor, and a new steering wheel. This dealer and I have a problem!
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Why Our Commitments to Jesus Aren't Working."
    I'm going to tell that dealer in no uncertain terms, "Hey, buddy, I paid the whole price! I should get the whole product, and not just your spare parts!" Jesus knows that feeling. A lot of us have tried to fulfill our commitment to Him by giving Him the spare parts of our life that we don't really care that much about. You see, He paid the whole price for us when He poured out His life for us. He should get what He paid for.
    And Jesus isn't any more impressed with getting spare parts than we are. You can tell from our word for today from the Word of God in Malachi 1, beginning with verse 6. That's exactly how He feels - no spare parts. God's people in that day worshiped Him by bringing spotless livestock as an atonement for their sin. And God says, "'It is you, O priests, who show contempt for My name.' But you ask, 'How have we shown contempt for Your name?' ... 'When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong?'" God goes on to tell them they might as well literally shut the temple doors and all their religious exercises are, in God's word, "useless." Wow!
    It's pretty clear that God isn't impressed with sacrifices that cost us nothing with the spare parts of our life that don't matter that much to us anyway. But far too many of us try to get by with what I call selective Lordship. We may sing, "I surrender all," but we live, "I surrender some." And while the Christians around us may be impressed with our spirituality, God says, "You're giving me your spare parts and you're holding on to the important things for yourself."
    And honestly, that is an insult to Jesus - because He held back nothing as He paid your eternal death penalty. He paid for all of you. Are you hanging onto your business, your finances, your love life, your entertainment, that wrong relationship, that sinful attitude or way of doing things? What parts of your life can't Jesus have and why? You're doing it your way there, not His. Because you love it more than you love Jesus? Is that it? Because you don't think you can trust Him with the stuff that really matters; you can't trust the Man who gave His life for you?
    When David had a chance to get for free the land that God had commanded him to acquire, he said to the owner, "I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing" (2 Samuel 24:24). David knew you don't try to get off cheap with God, because cheap is basically worthless when it comes to giving to the Lord our God.
    So what's it going to be in your relationship with Jesus Christ, your spare parts, or your whole life? Remember, Jesus paid the whole, awful price for you. Shouldn't He get all of you?


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    June 2, 2022 No Such Thing as a Secret Sin - #9234


    A few years back, the stress meters on Wall Street hit some new highs all because one man had been recording his telephone calls. Yeah, one of Wall Street's movers and shakers had been caught in the middle of some very profitable but very illegal stock dealings. And in order to reduce his possible penalty, he agreed to record his calls for a few weeks. Well, when that news broke, oh boy, they found out that he had been caught and that he had been dealing for weeks with the recorder running! Well, a lot of Wall Street lawyers got some very frantic phone calls.
    And many powerful people remembered with regret what they had said and what they did the last few weeks. Now, maybe you smile a little bit at the picture of those people scrambling around and saying, "Oh, man! What did I say on the tape?" Not so fast. Imagine in your life now all the things you've said and done in the last couple of weeks. All of them, including the ones you thought no one knew. What if someone had recorded every conversation and every action in the last few weeks? Someone has.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "No Such Thing as a Secret Sin."
    Our word for today from the Word of God is from Psalm 90:8. David says, "You have set our iniquities before You" (of course he's talking about God) "our secret sins in the light of Your presence." Now that's interesting. He says, "Those things that I thought were a secret..." Well, that's probably not even the right word to use. They weren't secret sins because God, You knew all about them all the time. In other words, "God's recorder has been running every minute of your life" the audio recorder, the video recorder, they're always running.
    So, there's no such thing as a secret sin, because if God knows, you're caught. It just might be that right now you feel there's a sin you've been getting away with; it's a lie that no one's caught you in, a transaction that was based on deception, and guess what? So far it's gone pretty well. Something you cheated on; words you thought no one heard you say; someone that you secretly hate or talk against.
    Well, like those people on Wall Street, you'd never do it if you knew it was being recorded and that it would be played back. Well, God's commitment is that one day what was done in secret will be literally "shouted from the rooftops," openly judged unless you deal with it before God does. You say, "Well, then are there some things that I need to deal with?"
    Well, don't call your attorney on earth like they did on Wall Street. Call your attorney in heaven.
    1 John 2:1 - "If we sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense, Jesus Christ." Your step right now is to agree with God and call that sin what it is. And then you need to make your way to the cross of Jesus, where that very sin - those very secrets - were paid for. And say, "Lord, please apply Your forgiveness to this sin; I'm done with it." And leave it at the foot of Jesus' cross. And leave there clean; leave there free of the fear of discovery, and free of the fear of how God is going to deal with you later on.
    Today God stands ready to forgive and remove every sin you've ever committed in your life. To in His words, "bury it in the depths of the sea." Today could be your day to be forgiven, to be clean. And that happens when you go to Jesus and say, "Jesus, what You died for, I want. I believe You died for my sinning, and I am Yours." If you've never been to Him to be forgiven, if you've never asked Him to be your Rescuer from your sin, let that happen today.
    We'd love to help you with that. Just go to our website. There's information there that will help you be sure you're forgiven, clean and belong to Him. The website's ANewStory.com.
    And live today, even in the places where you're all alone, expecting to see and hear everything you do replayed, because God's recorder is always running.



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    June 1, 2022 Girl Watching - God's Watching - #9233


    So the American male seems to be led to believe that "girl-watching" is just part of being a guy. A lot of girls are all too aware that they're being watched, and they're not happy about how they're being watched in a lot of cases. Like the young woman that my wife and I saw at a festival. She was wearing this shirt with an arrow on the front and it pointed up to her head. The shirt said just three little words by the arrow, "I'm up here!"
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You about "Girl Watching - God's Watching."
    That teenage girl? She was sending a much-needed message, "Keep your eyes where they belong! I'm a person, not a body, thank you!" It's actually a message the Creator of women would more than agree with. A woman is depersonalized, she's sexualized, trivialized by the way many guys look at them, and she's the creation of a holy God; a Father in heaven. And you know how fierce a Father is about protecting His daughter! Right?
    The Old Testament saint, Job, the man whose integrity God acclaimed to Satan, understood that how a man looks at a woman is an important part of his integrity. And it matters to God. In Job 31:1, our word for today from the Word of God, he says, "I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl." That's a covenant every man should make, especially if he belongs to Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God.
    Today the Biblical commandment to "flee the evil desires of youth" (2 Timothy 2:22) is as hard to obey as it's ever been. Advertising, fashions, websites, TV, movies, and streaming stuff; they almost program a man to look at a woman sexually - focusing attention on that which is intended by God for only the man she's married to. But the fact that it's hard to have righteous eyes doesn't make it any less God's imperative.
    Men in Jesus' day, even the very religious, apparently thought they were doing okay if they didn't do something immoral with a woman. Then Jesus introduced the radical idea that you can sin sexually without ever touching a woman just by the way you look at her. He said, "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." That makes far more of us men adulterers than we believed - men in need of the forgiving and the cleansing of the Lord Jesus.
    Unfortunately, too many women (including Christian women) have bought into a fashion culture that actually entices men to focus on a woman's body. God clearly commands women: "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment...instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit" (1 Peter 3:3-4). Many times I've heard it said, "The bait determines the catch." Well, there is no excuse for a guy ever to look lustfully at a woman. But I pray that God's women will make it easier for guys to remain pure.
    We men who want "pure eyes"? We do need the help of our spiritual sisters. You know, if something is too short, or too tight, or too low, or not enough, you can make it much harder for a guy to stay pure in his thinking. And remember what every fisherman knows: the bait actually does determine the catch! You offer physical bait and you'll end up with men who only care about that, not men who care about you.
    Both men and women; we've fallen for a casualness about sex that robs it of its God-given beauty. Like snow, it's beautiful when it's fresh and clean but it's ugly when it's trampled and soiled. Godly men, make that covenant with your eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.
    The song the children sing still has a lot to say, "Be careful, little eyes, what you see...for the Father up above is looking down in love; so be careful, little eyes, what you see."


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    May 31, 2022 Making Life an Adventure - #9232


    I think it all started when the bananas started going bad. That's when our daughter decided to bake them up into four loaves of banana bread. Then she asked their church for some folks who might need a little lift right now. With that cheer-up list in hand and our then four-year-old and two-year-old grandchildren assisting, she proceeded to drop off some banana bread blessing at four homes. She took the boys with her into each house, and they actually are the ones who gave the resident the gift. First house, the man's wife had just died. He was so thrilled over their gift that he gave each boy a dollar which he refused to take back. Second house, a man with a very sick wife. He insisted on thanking the boys by giving them candy. Third house, a lady living alone, very serious, until the boys gave their gift. Big smile! And the fourth house, another lonely woman and a big hug for each boy. As our daughter debriefed her little banana ambassadors, our four-year-old recounted the unexpected gifts they had received in the process of giving, including a big smile and a big hug. Then the little guy summed up his feelings about the day: "Mommy, today was such an adventure."
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Making Life an Adventure."
    At the age of four, our grandson was starting to figure out what really makes life an adventure; it's called giving living. Living your life, not as a taker, but as a giver - not to make a name or make a fortune, but to make a difference. That's one reason we experience so much joy at Christmastime. There's something that feels really good about making others happy, sacrificing to give to them. Well, guess what? That's how we're supposed to live all year long!
    Jesus taught this strange but wonderful truth. It's in our word for today from the Word of God in Luke 9:24. He simply said, "Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it." Those who try to hang onto their lives, their time, their money, and their stuff will end up losing it. But those who do it Jesus' way; those who release what they have will end up actually gaining life. You lose it by keeping it. You find it by giving it away.
    You don't give in order to get - that ruins it. But when you give, you do get. Jesus put it this way: "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you" (Luke 6:38). You pick the measure with which God will give to you based on the measure you choose to give to others.
    If your life has seemed a little claustrophobic lately, unsatisfying, boring, maybe you've been all wrapped up in yourself, maybe with some reason because of what you've been going through. But you're missing the adventure. You're missing the healing power of getting your eyes off yourself and onto who you can help. There is no more exciting way to begin each new day than to say, "Lord, who needs me today?" I can guarantee someone does need your smile, your encouragement, your random act of kindness, maybe your compliment, your help; someone at work, someone at school, where you live, where you shop, in your neighborhood, online, in your church.
    The equation of giving living goes like this, as spelled out in Proverbs, "One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed" (Proverbs 11:24-25).
    Look, if you don't believe me, go back to my grandson. Remember what he said? He would tell you that a day full of giving is "such an adventure"!


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    May 30, 2022 Why Lying's a Really Big Deal - #9231


    Spiders build webs, and a lot of bugs get stuck in them. Well, that's because, see, the spiders know where the sticky spots are, so they don't get trapped in the webs they weave. But humans do.
    I saw it once when I watched Oprah Winfrey's interview with Lance Armstrong. At that time, the kind of the world's greatest biker. "One big lie" - that's how he described what happened in his record-breaking sports career. It was all built on brilliantly concealed "doping" and a cascading series of cover-up lies. Lots of folks got caught in the web, from bicycle racing officials to teammates to a world of admirers.
    Actually, the Latin root of the word "deceive" means "to ensnare." First of all, lying ensnares those being deceived. Ultimately, it ensnares the one doing the deceiving. Trust gets lost. Reputation is lost. Self-respect is lost. You get lost.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Why Lying's a Really Big Deal."
    I'm sure a lot of people looked at that champion Lance Armstrong and said, "How could he do such a thing?" Well, how about we look in the mirror and ask, "How could I do such a thing?" Because here's what God says about the entire human race, "Their tongues practice deceit" (Romans 3:13).
    The spotlight exposing the star athlete's lies actually spills over and I think it exposes some of our own dishonest ways of getting through life. Especially if you identify what lying really is. It is any intention to deceive; to mislead - to leave people believing something other than what's really true. You could do that by exaggerating, "spinning" the facts a little bit, covering up, leaving things out, making false promises, or telling people what they want to hear.
    Oh, we have our reasons. Lance Armstrong back then said lying was part of "anything to control the outcome." We lie to get our way, we lie to get out of a jam, we lie to get people to like us, we lie to get ahead. We deceive our husband, our wife, our family, people at work, our pastor, the people at church. We lie to the doctor. We lie to people we want to impress.
    More than we want to admit, the truth is often optional in how we do life, or at least bendable. And ultimately, we start to lose touch with reality and we can't even hear our own lies. Inevitably, we'll get caught in the web that we have woven.
    We might think lying is no big deal. Well, It is to God, and we're going to answer to Him some day. On the Bible list of six things "the Lord hates," lying is the only one that appears twice in Proverbs 6:16-19. And in our word for today from the Word of God in Psalm 101:7, He bluntly declares that "no one who practices deceit will dwell in My house." Wow! God's a God of truth. Lying sets God against me. Dishonesty? It's a very big deal.
    God hears lies when everyone else - maybe even the liar - thinks it's the truth. He says the one who "may dwell in (His) sanctuary" is the one "who speaks truth from his heart" (Psalm 15:1-2). That probing Scripture has given me a "lie detector" question to ask myself throughout the day: "Does what's coming out of my mouth match what's in my heart?" If it doesn't, it's a lie. Jesus tells me that the devil's "a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44). And that makes lying even scarier.
    Some years ago, I started praying a prayer that God has been more than faithful to answer. "Lord, set off an alarm in my soul any time I'm saying something that is less than the truth"; asking the Lord for instant conviction of any statement that might be intended to deceive, followed by instant correction of that statement so I'm speaking the truth from my heart.
    I am grateful that when "Christ died for our sins" (1 Corinthians 15:4), He paid for every lying thing, every selfish thing, every hurtful thing we've ever done. Which puts total forgiveness within our reach. Can you imagine a clean slate from the day you reach out and put your trust in Jesus? And if you've never had that day, let this be the day that every sin of your life is forgiven as you make the Savior your Savior. Wow! This could be the day you are finally clean.


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    May 27, 2022 How to Avoid a Spiritual Crash - #9230


    I usually leave airplanes to the experts. I fly on commercial airplanes and I don't usually give a lot of thought to the maintenance or the flying of the plane - usually, but not on a very wintry day in Toronto. The plane was warming up at the gate, all the passengers were seated. I was as usual really busy at work until I glanced out of the window at the wing which was covered with snow and getting more covered. Now look, I don't know a lot about airplanes technically, but I know you have to de-ice them before you take-off. Yeah, a little ice on the wings affects the lift on an aircraft and causes you to go "boom." Now, I'm used to the de-icer truck taking care of things at the gate before we leave, and we were preparing to leave the gate iced and snowed. Finally, the pilot told us that they would do that on the runway which is actually a better idea. But I told my wife later that if they hadn't done something about those wings, I was off that plane. I mean, it's unbelievable how much damage a thin layer of ice can do.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How to Avoid a Spiritual Crash."
    Our word for today from the Word of God is about, well I guess you could say, crash prevention in your life. Hebrews 12:1-2 - "Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus." Actually this verse is talking about a runner not a flyer, but the principal is still the same: get rid of anything that's slowing you down or hindering you. I think pilots call it drag.
    Now in terms of your commitment to live for Christ, are there too many days when you've crashed? The same old sinful attitudes or thoughts; same old reactions keep tripping you up? Or you go through the day depressed and discouraged instead of with the joy you used to have. Or you just forget about God a lot of the day. Your crashes haven't been fatal, but they've done too much damage. The problem may be a thin coating of sin, a compromise on your wings. It doesn't take much to bring you down. That's why the Bible says to deal with it forcefully and aggressively. It says, "throw it off." Personal purity is not a passive thing. It actively attacks anything that's a drag on your flight plan of following Jesus.
    Every new day means another take-off into that day - people, pressures, temptations. Before you leave the gate, be sure you de-ice. Spiritual flight preparation means you get on your knees before your Savior and you pray through what you know will be the temptations of that day. Anticipate them; walk through them with Jesus before you get to them. Claim His power for each one. Commit yourself to send Him to the door when that temptation knocks.
    There are going to be surprises, but you'll be ready for them if you've prepared yourself for the ones you know are coming. One major source of spiritual ice on your wings is a negative, complaining attitude. Has there been too much of that? It will make everything look dark all day long. Lose it at the beginning of the day and replace it with praise and thanks.
    De-icing also means checking your motives before you take off. Ask the Lord to expose any things you might be doing for your own glory, or out of bitterness, or jealousy, or to get your own way. Throw it off! And ask the Lord to show you where there's any breakage in your relationships, and make that right with God and then later make it right with that person.
    As you examine your day looking at it through Jesus' eyes, you'll begin to see the weight that can bring you down. Get rid of it there before you're airborne and it's too late. You can prevent a lot of crashes if you deal with what could cause a crash before you ever take off.


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    May 26, 2022 Satisfying Your Thirsty Soul - #9229


    It's a miracle my wife made it through college. No, not because of her grades. You say, "Yeah, well probably because she was dating you." No, that's not the reason either - because of finances. Halfway through, her parent's financial help suddenly stopped. It wasn't because they didn't want to help her through college. Suddenly they just didn't have it. Her folks were running a small dairy farm at the time, a little family farm, and they needed a well desperately. So they sank most of their money into digging a well. A drought came and the well came up dry. Wells have a way of doing that.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Satisfying Your Thirsty Soul."
    Now, our word for today from the Word of God comes from John 4. A great story; one I love, and I'm going to begin reading in verse 13. You'll recognize this as an account of Jesus' trip through Samaria where He met a Samaritan woman who had come to draw water from the well. She had a pretty sordid background; she'd been pretty busy with the men in town, and she has a reputation that goes with it.
    Now Jesus says to her after offering her living water, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. (I can almost picture Him pointing to the well.) But whoever drinks the water that I give will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'"
    "The woman said to Him, 'Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to come here and draw water.' He told her, 'Go call your husband and come back.' 'Well, I have no husband' she replied. Jesus said to her, 'You're right when you say you have no husband. The fact is you've had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.'"
    This lady went to a well that day to meet her need. She'd been doing that for a long time emotionally and spiritually as well as physically. You see, emotionally, I think her well was men. She kept trying to quench her incurable heart thirst with male attention. "Maybe this relationship... maybe this will finally do it." But she always needed one more, and the one more never did it.
    Jesus proposed something better. Jesus said, "I want to give you an internal life source that will allow you to finally relax, and end your search, and have peace." See, we all have wells we depend on for our emotional life. Maybe your well is people's applause. Maybe it's another career conquest, buying things that make you feel secure, or maybe it's really depending on one of your children, your position, your power, your money.
    But there's a problem with wells. First of all, they dry up during droughts and they leave you adrift. Secondly, you always need another shot, you're always restless, you're never filled, you're always driving for more, always thirsty again.
    The Bible uses this wonderful word to describe the result of beginning a personal relationship with Jesus. In Colossians 2:10, it says that with Jesus you're "complete in Him." Complete. Not always having to look for something to fill me up, make me feel loved, make me feel important, satisfied. The reason only Jesus can do that is, according to the Bible, we are "created by Him and for Him" but we haven't lived for Him. We've lived pretty much for ourselves. So we're chronically restless because there's this missing person in our life. The person we were made by and made for. It wasn't His choice that we be away from Him. But it was His choice to do whatever it took to bring us back. It took Him taking my hell for my sin so I could be with Him for time and eternity.
    And today, He's knocking on the door of your heart, giving you this chance to finally be complete in Him. Would you tell Him today, "Jesus, I'm Yours."And let me invite you to check out our website. I've tried to lay out there as simply as I could in non-religious language how you can be sure you belong to Him. It's ANewStory.com. We'd be honored if you'd pay us a visit.
    Jesus wants to make you secure by putting your life source inside you. The key to peace, the end of roller coaster living, is to depend on the spring of water welling up inside of you. And that's the identity Christ can give you.
    So, be sure you know who you are without your wells. They go dry. They're never enough. That's the trouble with wells.



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    May 26, 2022 Heartbreak and Healing in Uvalde - #9229


    I've never been to Uvalde, Texas. But today I feel like a part of my heart is there. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone.
    How do you get your heart around a massacre of nine- and ten-year-old kids, locked in a classroom and done by a teenager with a rifle. It's unimaginable but, man, it's horrifically real. It's unthinkable, but we can't ignore it.
    Already, the cacophony of voices has begun, each with their "what we need to do." Gun control. Gun rights. More for mental health. Warning signs. Background checks. School security.
    And they each have a point but it's lost in our deafness to each other. This might be just a good time to listen.
    But today, it's hearts. The brokenhearted parents with no child to hug today, crying out desperately for our prayer. The traumatized hearts of children and first responders who saw awful things no one should ever see. And the still-bleeding hearts of loved ones in places like Buffalo and Parkland and Newtown.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Heartbreak and Healing in Uvalde."
    As I was watching the unimaginable horror of the Twin Towers collapsing on that September 11, I found myself praying this: "Lord, please help me see what You are seeing here!" And I saw souls. Suddenly thrust into eternity. And other souls with a hole ripped open by their loss and desperately in need of comfort. I prayed that prayer again today.
    I can't explain the evil and darkness that drives a teenager to such heartless violence. But I do know who reached - and changed - the darkness in so many people I've known. And the darkness in me. He's the God who said, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26).
    Because of my own experiences with devastating loss - with the worst being six years ago this month - my heart ends up rushing to Jesus in times like these. Because when the love of my life was suddenly gone that awful May day, not even the priceless love of my family and friends could reach my deep, deep wound.
    But Jesus did. Only Jesus could.
    I know that, to some people, Jesus is a religion. Well not to me. Not to countless millions around the world. No, He is my most vivid, most intimate relationship. Who has promised, "I will never leave you. I will never forsake you." Seems like every other love either leaves you or fails you or dies on you. But, as the Bible says, "Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39).
    On the day when my broken heart was totally exposed, totally vulnerable, Jesus went deep in my heart with His comfort and His "Peace, be still." That's what God said He would do in the Bible verse that our President actually quoted after the shooting. It's our word for today from the Word of God in Psalm 34:18. "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
    That's my prayer for those who mourn in Uvalde and Buffalo. That they would let Jesus go where only He can go - to the humanly inaccessible depths of their shattered heart. Only He can bring superhuman hope and comfort to an inconsolable heart. All of us, in our broken moments, desperately need to be enveloped in the mighty arms of the Carpenter of Nazareth. To be hugged by God Himself.
    Jesus knows broken. He was, in the Bible's words, "a man of sorrows, acquainted with the deepest grief." Because of what it took to open the way to the God we need so much. It says, "He was crushed for our sins" (Isaiah 53:3, 5).
    He was broken so we could be healed. On the cross, He was cut off from God so we would never have to be. He's been to depths we can't even imagine. But it wasn't a dead Savior who brought hope to my broken heart. It was Jesus, whose Resurrection conquest of death is the epicenter of hope for every shattered heart.
    Yes, a part of my heart is in Uvalde today. So is His. There's so much hurt there. But Jesus is very close. So there's hope.



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    May 26, 2022 Heartbreak and Healing in Uvalde - #9229


    I've never been to Uvalde, Texas. But today I feel like a part of my heart is there. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone.
    How do you get your heart around a massacre of nine- and ten-year-old kids, locked in a classroom and done by a teenager with a rifle. It's unimaginable but, man, it's horrifically real. It's unthinkable, but we can't ignore it.
    Already, the cacophony of voices has begun, each with their "what we need to do." Gun control. Gun rights. More for mental health. Warning signs. Background checks. School security.
    And they each have a point but it's lost in our deafness to each other. This might be just a good time to listen.
    But today, it's hearts. The brokenhearted parents with no child to hug today, crying out desperately for our prayer. The traumatized hearts of children and first responders who saw awful things no one should ever see. And the still-bleeding hearts of loved ones in places like Buffalo and Parkland and Newtown.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Heartbreak and Healing in Uvalde."
    As I was watching the unimaginable horror of the Twin Towers collapsing on that September 11, I found myself praying this: "Lord, please help me see what You are seeing here!" And I saw souls. Suddenly thrust into eternity. And other souls with a hole ripped open by their loss and desperately in need of comfort. I prayed that prayer again today.
    I can't explain the evil and darkness that drives a teenager to such heartless violence. But I do know who reached - and changed - the darkness in so many people I've known. And the darkness in me. He's the God who said, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26).
    Because of my own experiences with devastating loss - with the worst being six years ago this month - my heart ends up rushing to Jesus in times like these. Because when the love of my life was suddenly gone that awful May day, not even the priceless love of my family and friends could reach my deep, deep wound.
    But Jesus did. Only Jesus could.
    I know that, to some people, Jesus is a religion. Well not to me. Not to countless millions around the world. No, He is my most vivid, most intimate relationship. Who has promised, "I will never leave you. I will never forsake you." Seems like every other love either leaves you or fails you or dies on you. But, as the Bible says, "Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39).
    On the day when my broken heart was totally exposed, totally vulnerable, Jesus went deep in my heart with His comfort and His "Peace, be still." That's what God said He would do in the Bible verse that our President actually quoted after the shooting. It's our word for today from the Word of God in Psalm 34:18. "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
    That's my prayer for those who mourn in Uvalde and Buffalo. That they would let Jesus go where only He can go - to the humanly inaccessible depths of their shattered heart. Only He can bring superhuman hope and comfort to an inconsolable heart. All of us, in our broken moments, desperately need to be enveloped in the mighty arms of the Carpenter of Nazareth. To be hugged by God Himself.
    Jesus knows broken. He was, in the Bible's words, "a man of sorrows, acquainted with the deepest grief." Because of what it took to open the way to the God we need so much. It says, "He was crushed for our sins" (Isaiah 53:3, 5).
    He was broken so we could be healed. On the cross, He was cut off from God so we would never have to be. He's been to depths we can't even imagine. But it wasn't a dead Savior who brought hope to my broken heart. It was Jesus, whose Resurrection conquest of death is the epicenter of hope for every shattered heart.
    Yes, a part of my heart is in Uvalde today. So is His. There's so much hurt there. But Jesus is very close. So there's hope.



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    May 26, 2022 Heartbreak and Healing in Uvalde - #9229


    I've never been to Uvalde, Texas. But today I feel like a part of my heart is there. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone.
    How do you get your heart around a massacre of nine- and ten-year-old kids, locked in a classroom and done by a teenager with a rifle. It's unimaginable but, man, it's horrifically real. It's unthinkable, but we can't ignore it.
    Already, the cacophony of voices has begun, each with their "what we need to do." Gun control. Gun rights. More for mental health. Warning signs. Background checks. School security.
    And they each have a point but it's lost in our deafness to each other. This might be just a good time to listen.
    But today, it's hearts. The brokenhearted parents with no child to hug today, crying out desperately for our prayer. The traumatized hearts of children and first responders who saw awful things no one should ever see. And the still-bleeding hearts of loved ones in places like Buffalo and Parkland and Newtown.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Heartbreak and Healing in Uvalde."
    As I was watching the unimaginable horror of the Twin Towers collapsing on that September 11, I found myself praying this: "Lord, please help me see what You are seeing here!" And I saw souls. Suddenly thrust into eternity. And other souls with a hole ripped open by their loss and desperately in need of comfort. I prayed that prayer again today.
    I can't explain the evil and darkness that drives a teenager to such heartless violence. But I do know who reached - and changed - the darkness in so many people I've known. And the darkness in me. He's the God who said, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26).
    Because of my own experiences with devastating loss - with the worst being six years ago this month - my heart ends up rushing to Jesus in times like these. Because when the love of my life was suddenly gone that awful May day, not even the priceless love of my family and friends could reach my deep, deep wound.
    But Jesus did. Only Jesus could.
    I know that, to some people, Jesus is a religion. Well not to me. Not to countless millions around the world. No, He is my most vivid, most intimate relationship. Who has promised, "I will never leave you. I will never forsake you." Seems like every other love either leaves you or fails you or dies on you. But, as the Bible says, "Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39).
    On the day when my broken heart was totally exposed, totally vulnerable, Jesus went deep in my heart with His comfort and His "Peace, be still." That's what God said He would do in the Bible verse that our President actually quoted after the shooting. It's our word for today from the Word of God in Psalm 34:18. "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
    That's my prayer for those who mourn in Uvalde and Buffalo. That they would let Jesus go where only He can go - to the humanly inaccessible depths of their shattered heart. Only He can bring superhuman hope and comfort to an inconsolable heart. All of us, in our broken moments, desperately need to be enveloped in the mighty arms of the Carpenter of Nazareth. To be hugged by God Himself.
    Jesus knows broken. He was, in the Bible's words, "a man of sorrows, acquainted with the deepest grief." Because of what it took to open the way to the God we need so much. It says, "He was crushed for our sins" (Isaiah 53:3, 5).
    He was broken so we could be healed. On the cross, He was cut off from God so we would never have to be. He's been to depths we can't even imagine. But it wasn't a dead Savior who brought hope to my broken heart. It was Jesus, whose Resurrection conquest of death is the epicenter of hope for every shattered heart.
    Yes, a part of my heart is in Uvalde today. So is His. There's so much hurt there. But Jesus is very close. So there's hope.



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    May 26, 2022 Heartbreak and Healing in Uvalde - #9229


    I've never been to Uvalde, Texas. But today I feel like a part of my heart is there. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone.
    How do you get your heart around a massacre of nine- and ten-year-old kids, locked in a classroom and done by a teenager with a rifle. It's unimaginable but, man, it's horrifically real. It's unthinkable, but we can't ignore it.
    Already, the cacophony of voices has begun, each with their "what we need to do." Gun control. Gun rights. More for mental health. Warning signs. Background checks. School security.
    And they each have a point but it's lost in our deafness to each other. This might be just a good time to listen.
    But today, it's hearts. The brokenhearted parents with no child to hug today, crying out desperately for our prayer. The traumatized hearts of children and first responders who saw awful things no one should ever see. And the still-bleeding hearts of loved ones in places like Buffalo and Parkland and Newtown.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Heartbreak and Healing in Uvalde."
    As I was watching the unimaginable horror of the Twin Towers collapsing on that September 11, I found myself praying this: "Lord, please help me see what You are seeing here!" And I saw souls. Suddenly thrust into eternity. And other souls with a hole ripped open by their loss and desperately in need of comfort. I prayed that prayer again today.
    I can't explain the evil and darkness that drives a teenager to such heartless violence. But I do know who reached - and changed - the darkness in so many people I've known. And the darkness in me. He's the God who said, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26).
    Because of my own experiences with devastating loss - with the worst being six years ago this month - my heart ends up rushing to Jesus in times like these. Because when the love of my life was suddenly gone that awful May day, not even the priceless love of my family and friends could reach my deep, deep wound.
    But Jesus did. Only Jesus could.
    I know that, to some people, Jesus is a religion. Well not to me. Not to countless millions around the world. No, He is my most vivid, most intimate relationship. Who has promised, "I will never leave you. I will never forsake you." Seems like every other love either leaves you or fails you or dies on you. But, as the Bible says, "Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39).
    On the day when my broken heart was totally exposed, totally vulnerable, Jesus went deep in my heart with His comfort and His "Peace, be still." That's what God said He would do in the Bible verse that our President actually quoted after the shooting. It's our word for today from the Word of God in Psalm 34:18. "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
    That's my prayer for those who mourn in Uvalde and Buffalo. That they would let Jesus go where only He can go - to the humanly inaccessible depths of their shattered heart. Only He can bring superhuman hope and comfort to an inconsolable heart. All of us, in our broken moments, desperately need to be enveloped in the mighty arms of the Carpenter of Nazareth. To be hugged by God Himself.
    Jesus knows broken. He was, in the Bible's words, "a man of sorrows, acquainted with the deepest grief." Because of what it took to open the way to the God we need so much. It says, "He was crushed for our sins" (Isaiah 53:3, 5).
    He was broken so we could be healed. On the cross, He was cut off from God so we would never have to be. He's been to depths we can't even imagine. But it wasn't a dead Savior who brought hope to my broken heart. It was Jesus, whose Resurrection conquest of death is the epicenter of hope for every shattered heart.
    Yes, a part of my heart is in Uvalde today. So is His. There's so much hurt there. But Jesus is very close. So there's hope.



  • volume_up
    May 26, 2022 Heartbreak and Healing in Uvalde - #9229


    I've never been to Uvalde, Texas. But today I feel like a part of my heart is there. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone.
    How do you get your heart around a massacre of nine- and ten-year-old kids, locked in a classroom and done by a teenager with a rifle. It's unimaginable but, man, it's horrifically real. It's unthinkable, but we can't ignore it.
    Already, the cacophony of voices has begun, each with their "what we need to do." Gun control. Gun rights. More for mental health. Warning signs. Background checks. School security.
    And they each have a point but it's lost in our deafness to each other. This might be just a good time to listen.
    But today, it's hearts. The brokenhearted parents with no child to hug today, crying out desperately for our prayer. The traumatized hearts of children and first responders who saw awful things no one should ever see. And the still-bleeding hearts of loved ones in places like Buffalo and Parkland and Newtown.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Heartbreak and Healing in Uvalde."
    As I was watching the unimaginable horror of the Twin Towers collapsing on that September 11, I found myself praying this: "Lord, please help me see what You are seeing here!" And I saw souls. Suddenly thrust into eternity. And other souls with a hole ripped open by their loss and desperately in need of comfort. I prayed that prayer again today.
    I can't explain the evil and darkness that drives a teenager to such heartless violence. But I do know who reached - and changed - the darkness in so many people I've known. And the darkness in me. He's the God who said, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26).
    Because of my own experiences with devastating loss - with the worst being six years ago this month - my heart ends up rushing to Jesus in times like these. Because when the love of my life was suddenly gone that awful May day, not even the priceless love of my family and friends could reach my deep, deep wound.
    But Jesus did. Only Jesus could.
    I know that, to some people, Jesus is a religion. Well not to me. Not to countless millions around the world. No, He is my most vivid, most intimate relationship. Who has promised, "I will never leave you. I will never forsake you." Seems like every other love either leaves you or fails you or dies on you. But, as the Bible says, "Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39).
    On the day when my broken heart was totally exposed, totally vulnerable, Jesus went deep in my heart with His comfort and His "Peace, be still." That's what God said He would do in the Bible verse that our President actually quoted after the shooting. It's our word for today from the Word of God in Psalm 34:18. "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
    That's my prayer for those who mourn in Uvalde and Buffalo. That they would let Jesus go where only He can go - to the humanly inaccessible depths of their shattered heart. Only He can bring superhuman hope and comfort to an inconsolable heart. All of us, in our broken moments, desperately need to be enveloped in the mighty arms of the Carpenter of Nazareth. To be hugged by God Himself.
    Jesus knows broken. He was, in the Bible's words, "a man of sorrows, acquainted with the deepest grief." Because of what it took to open the way to the God we need so much. It says, "He was crushed for our sins" (Isaiah 53:3, 5).
    He was broken so we could be healed. On the cross, He was cut off from God so we would never have to be. He's been to depths we can't even imagine. But it wasn't a dead Savior who brought hope to my broken heart. It was Jesus, whose Resurrection conquest of death is the epicenter of hope for every shattered heart.
    Yes, a part of my heart is in Uvalde today. So is His. There's so much hurt there. But Jesus is very close. So there's hope.



  • volume_up
    May 26, 2022 Heartbreak and Healing in Uvalde - #9229


    I've never been to Uvalde, Texas. But today I feel like a part of my heart is there. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone.
    How do you get your heart around a massacre of nine- and ten-year-old kids, locked in a classroom and done by a teenager with a rifle. It's unimaginable but, man, it's horrifically real. It's unthinkable, but we can't ignore it.
    Already, the cacophony of voices has begun, each with their "what we need to do." Gun control. Gun rights. More for mental health. Warning signs. Background checks. School security.
    And they each have a point but it's lost in our deafness to each other. This might be just a good time to listen.
    But today, it's hearts. The brokenhearted parents with no child to hug today, crying out desperately for our prayer. The traumatized hearts of children and first responders who saw awful things no one should ever see. And the still-bleeding hearts of loved ones in places like Buffalo and Parkland and Newtown.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Heartbreak and Healing in Uvalde."
    As I was watching the unimaginable horror of the Twin Towers collapsing on that September 11, I found myself praying this: "Lord, please help me see what You are seeing here!" And I saw souls. Suddenly thrust into eternity. And other souls with a hole ripped open by their loss and desperately in need of comfort. I prayed that prayer again today.
    I can't explain the evil and darkness that drives a teenager to such heartless violence. But I do know who reached - and changed - the darkness in so many people I've known. And the darkness in me. He's the God who said, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26).
    Because of my own experiences with devastating loss - with the worst being six years ago this month - my heart ends up rushing to Jesus in times like these. Because when the love of my life was suddenly gone that awful May day, not even the priceless love of my family and friends could reach my deep, deep wound.
    But Jesus did. Only Jesus could.
    I know that, to some people, Jesus is a religion. Well not to me. Not to countless millions around the world. No, He is my most vivid, most intimate relationship. Who has promised, "I will never leave you. I will never forsake you." Seems like every other love either leaves you or fails you or dies on you. But, as the Bible says, "Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39).
    On the day when my broken heart was totally exposed, totally vulnerable, Jesus went deep in my heart with His comfort and His "Peace, be still." That's what God said He would do in the Bible verse that our President actually quoted after the shooting. It's our word for today from the Word of God in Psalm 34:18. "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
    That's my prayer for those who mourn in Uvalde and Buffalo. That they would let Jesus go where only He can go - to the humanly inaccessible depths of their shattered heart. Only He can bring superhuman hope and comfort to an inconsolable heart. All of us, in our broken moments, desperately need to be enveloped in the mighty arms of the Carpenter of Nazareth. To be hugged by God Himself.
    Jesus knows broken. He was, in the Bible's words, "a man of sorrows, acquainted with the deepest grief." Because of what it took to open the way to the God we need so much. It says, "He was crushed for our sins" (Isaiah 53:3, 5).
    He was broken so we could be healed. On the cross, He was cut off from God so we would never have to be. He's been to depths we can't even imagine. But it wasn't a dead Savior who brought hope to my broken heart. It was Jesus, whose Resurrection conquest of death is the epicenter of hope for every shattered heart.
    Yes, a part of my heart is in Uvalde today. So is His. There's so much hurt there. But Jesus is very close. So there's hope.



  • volume_up
    May 26, 2022 Heartbreak and Healing in Uvalde - #9229


    I've never been to Uvalde, Texas. But today I feel like a part of my heart is there. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone.
    How do you get your heart around a massacre of nine- and ten-year-old kids, locked in a classroom and done by a teenager with a rifle. It's unimaginable but, man, it's horrifically real. It's unthinkable, but we can't ignore it.
    Already, the cacophony of voices has begun, each with their "what we need to do." Gun control. Gun rights. More for mental health. Warning signs. Background checks. School security.
    And they each have a point but it's lost in our deafness to each other. This might be just a good time to listen.
    But today, it's hearts. The brokenhearted parents with no child to hug today, crying out desperately for our prayer. The traumatized hearts of children and first responders who saw awful things no one should ever see. And the still-bleeding hearts of loved ones in places like Buffalo and Parkland and Newtown.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Heartbreak and Healing in Uvalde."
    As I was watching the unimaginable horror of the Twin Towers collapsing on that September 11, I found myself praying this: "Lord, please help me see what You are seeing here!" And I saw souls. Suddenly thrust into eternity. And other souls with a hole ripped open by their loss and desperately in need of comfort. I prayed that prayer again today.
    I can't explain the evil and darkness that drives a teenager to such heartless violence. But I do know who reached - and changed - the darkness in so many people I've known. And the darkness in me. He's the God who said, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26).
    Because of my own experiences with devastating loss - with the worst being six years ago this month - my heart ends up rushing to Jesus in times like these. Because when the love of my life was suddenly gone that awful May day, not even the priceless love of my family and friends could reach my deep, deep wound.
    But Jesus did. Only Jesus could.
    I know that, to some people, Jesus is a religion. Well not to me. Not to countless millions around the world. No, He is my most vivid, most intimate relationship. Who has promised, "I will never leave you. I will never forsake you." Seems like every other love either leaves you or fails you or dies on you. But, as the Bible says, "Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39).
    On the day when my broken heart was totally exposed, totally vulnerable, Jesus went deep in my heart with His comfort and His "Peace, be still." That's what God said He would do in the Bible verse that our President actually quoted after the shooting. It's our word for today from the Word of God in Psalm 34:18. "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
    That's my prayer for those who mourn in Uvalde and Buffalo. That they would let Jesus go where only He can go - to the humanly inaccessible depths of their shattered heart. Only He can bring superhuman hope and comfort to an inconsolable heart. All of us, in our broken moments, desperately need to be enveloped in the mighty arms of the Carpenter of Nazareth. To be hugged by God Himself.
    Jesus knows broken. He was, in the Bible's words, "a man of sorrows, acquainted with the deepest grief." Because of what it took to open the way to the God we need so much. It says, "He was crushed for our sins" (Isaiah 53:3, 5).
    He was broken so we could be healed. On the cross, He was cut off from God so we would never have to be. He's been to depths we can't even imagine. But it wasn't a dead Savior who brought hope to my broken heart. It was Jesus, whose Resurrection conquest of death is the epicenter of hope for every shattered heart.
    Yes, a part of my heart is in Uvalde today. So is His. There's so much hurt there. But Jesus is very close. So there's hope.



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    May 25, 2022 Praying For Real - #9228


    It is no fun to be sick on Thanksgiving Day. My honey was. Much of the family was together for Thanksgiving, but she was the one person who just felt too sick to join the festivities. I mean after all, she had 101-plus degree fever, swollen glands, a burning sore throat, a full nose and ears. Nothing fatal, just really feeling crummy. And she didn't want to give any of us a Thanksgiving gift that we would not be thankful for.
    It also happened that our daughter and son-in-law and our two grandsons weren't able to be with the rest of the family, so we connected by phone that day and each of them passed the phone around so we could talk to them. And, of course, I asked each one if they would pray for their grandma. And each person said they would. Well except for our little two-year-old treasure. When I asked him if he would pray for Grandma that day, I suddenly heard something like this on the end of the line: "Jesus - pray - Grandma - sick - better - Amen." No, he wasn't going to pray for her, he just jumped right in and started doing it!
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Praying For Real."
    Remember that Jesus didn't say little children need to become like us adults to belong to Him. No, He said we need to become like little children, and that day when my grandson just started praying - that's a good example of why. Everyone said they would pray for Grandma, and I'm sure they did. But that would be later. Not the little guy. No, he started right in praying as soon as he heard the need. You know what, that's not a bad idea.
    How many times have we sincerely promised we'd pray for someone and we forgot? And while someone's promised to pray for us might be an encouragement, I'll tell you what, it's nothing like actually hearing them pray for you right then and there. Don't you think it's time we got over this feeling that some of us have? It's kind of a feeling of awkwardness and timidity about praying with each other, about bringing up that possibility? That day when Grandma was sick, I appreciated everyone's promise to pray for her, but I was touched when our grandson just went ahead and did it. I think we all need to be doing more of that. It will exponentially increase your personal ministry, and the impact of your life, and even open doors to talk about Jesus with folks who don't know Him.
    This kind of ongoing, immediate, spontaneous prayer must be part of what Paul had in mind in our word for today from the Word of God in Ephesians 6:18. After his classic passage on spiritual warfare, he says, "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."
    Now this prayer is triggered by the occasion. And no prayer ministers like immediate prayer. Going right into God's presence, in the presence of the one you're praying for, and bringing together their need with God's great love and power. And that's what prayer really is all about. It's not some religious exercise you force on a person, it's a real-life acknowledgement of God's "always there" presence and power and love.
    So, as God provides appropriate opportunities, would you let it become an instinct to respond to people's needs and struggles by asking them if you can start praying for them right then and there. I've asked that of many people who didn't even know Christ, and I've never had anybody say no. In fact, many times when I open my eyes, there are tears in their eyes. It often happens that when they see me initiating a conversation with God, and they see with their own eyes that I have a personal relationship with Him, it gives me the opportunity to explain that I didn't always have that kind of personal relationship with Him and how that relationship got started. Let them experience your relationship with God as you pray for them.
    If you're going to go to God on someone's behalf anyway, why not go there with them? It's one simple, but very meaningful way that you can make an unforgettable difference.


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    May 24, 2022 How Church Folks Miss Heaven - #9227


    Ah, the lost art of tying a tie. I experienced it I remember one time as the man doing the marrying at a young couple's wedding.
    It was fairly amusing watching the helpless look on the groomsmen's faces as they were handed their necktie to put on for the ceremony. There they stood, wondering what to do with it. So I suggested to the guys my theory as to how ties came to be. I said they were invented by a woman who had a big time grudge against men. And she's been gloating over the thought that every time men have to dress up, they would strangle themselves. (That's not true. So much for my little tirade.)
    I can do my tie easily enough. I just can't think backwards enough to tie it on someone else. I just couldn't leave these guys hangin'. So I tied each of their ties on myself, I loosened it and put it on them. Now, they were ready for the self-choking maneuver and the wedding.
    That was on Saturday. Friday night, we all went tieless, but it did look a lot like a wedding. The bridesmaid/groomsmen couples came down that aisle, her arm in his. Beautiful music was playing and the groom and I were at the front. Then, the big moment! The bride and her father made that stately march down the aisle as people stood for the grand entrance. The father "gave away" his daughter...the bride and groom stood before the minister, and ultimately the young couple - all smiles now - marched out of that sanctuary together.
    But they still weren't married. Yeah, that was only the rehearsal. So on Friday night, they entered that church not married. And they left, uh-huh, not married. But Saturday, they entered that church not married and they left married! The difference? Well, on Friday, they were just going through the motions. On Saturday, they committed their lives to each other.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How Church Folks Miss Heaven."
    There are a lot of people who walk into church Sunday after Sunday, looking all Christian but without Jesus. And they walk out the same way they came in, without Jesus, because they're only going through the motions.
    It's all too easy to do. You go through all the motions of belonging to Him, believing all the right beliefs, doing all the right things, saying all the right words like a person who knows Jesus for real. But you're missing Him.
    That's why God gives this warning to all us church folks in our word for today from the Word of God, 2 Corinthians 13:5. Listen carefully: "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you - unless, of course, you fail the test?"
    There's something very sobering about a Judgment Day tragedy that Jesus described. "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven...Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you'" (Matthew 7:21-23).
    Those are some of the most chilling words in the Bible, "You knew all about Me, but I never knew you." Because they had Jesus in their head, but somehow never asked Him into their heart. So, it's possible to know all about Jesus, but not really know Jesus, because you've missed the one step that makes the Savior your Savior.
    "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life" (John 3:36), the Bible says. When God says "believe," He's talking about grabbing Jesus like He's your only hope. Pinning all your hopes on Him and what He did when He died on the cross to pay for every sin you've ever done. If you ask me, "Ron, married guy?" I'd say, "Well, I'm not sure," then I'm not married because I'm not sure? Now, if you don't know you've given yourself to Jesus, you probably haven't, because it's a conscious commitment.
    If you've missed that step of committing your life to Him, then you've missed Jesus, and you'll miss heaven, because you're just going through the motions. If you're not sure you belong to Him, today please say, "Jesus, I'm yours. I claim what you did on the cross for me; for my sin. You are my Savior beginning today."
    Our website is there for you, and at a moment like this I hope you'll go there today. It's ANewStory.com. It will feel so good to finally have this thing settled once and for all.



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    May 23, 2022 The Cost of Fitting In - #9226


    Yeah it was known to be a pretty frequent refrain about our house. I'd try to read a label or some instructions that my wife had given me to look at it, and it became obvious that I was having a hard time deciphering what was in front of me. The first clue; my arm would be extended as far as it could go with that item in my hand. And she knew I was not seeing words clearly; I was seeing a blur or I was seeing letters or words that weren't really there. Thus, the refrain "Put your glasses on!" Oh yeah. I do that, and what looked blurry suddenly looked pretty clear.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Cost of Fitting In."
    Something exciting happens when you begin a personal relationship with Jesus. You get a new pair of glasses. It's the ability, actually, to look at your world, look at our culture, look at your choices and see it through God's eyes. Our vision of what really matters, or what's valuable, or what's right is pretty blurred and fuzzy and often it's expensively wrong. But when you start evaluating and living according to what God says in His Book, the Bible, you could see what's really going on.
    The problem is, though, that we tend to be defined much more by our culture than by our Christ. Oh yeah, we have Jesus in our heart, but we've got a lot of earth-junk in the way we think. It's not a new problem. When God's ancient people were entering a culture with values that were the opposite of God's, He gave them a very important warning. It's one we need every bit as much today, and it's our word for today from the Word of God. In Leviticus 18, beginning in verse 2, God says, "I am the Lord your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. You must obey My laws and be careful to follow My decrees." In other words, don't take your cue from your culture...take your cue from your Creator!
    One of the reasons we're so spiritually lame and powerless is that we mix our faith with a lot of garbage from Egypt and Canaan. So we end up seeing our faith more through our culture than seeing our culture through our faith. And there are lots of cultures people are or have been a part of, each with its own values, its own lies and its own distortions about life. Which culture or cultures have shaped your attitudes and actions: the business culture, where people are commodities and profit is decisive? Or maybe the academic culture, where you must believe certain premises in order to be considered academically respectable? The youth culture, the entertainment culture, the pop culture where trivial things get hyped, superficial is important, and where irreverence and disrespect are the style?
    Former Attorney General John Ashcroft's godly father told him when he was going to Washington to become a United States Senator, "John, the culture of Washington is a culture of arrogance; the culture of Jesus is a culture of humility. Don't ever let Washington's arrogance replace Jesus' humility." Wow! In a sense, Jesus calls us to live counter-culturally, judging everything by His standards, seeing everything through His glasses.
    Follow the culture and you'll be cynical, sarcastic, irreverent...maybe arrogant, negative, casual about sex, or driven by the bottom line. But when you trade in your blurred vision for what Jesus sees, you'll realize that a lot that looks cool is not cool. A lot that is supposed to be funny isn't really funny. That some of what's considered an "educated viewpoint" isn't wise at all. A lot that most people consider acceptable has no place in a life that Jesus bought with His blood.
    So, "Put your glasses on!" God might be trying to say to you. Would you let God show you what things look like through His glasses? You'll see things as they really are, and believe me, it will change your life.


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    May 20, 2022 That Voice In Your Heart - #9225


    My son's dream was finally coming true. He was going to play football as a freshman in high school. Now, they have a lot of scrimmages to get ready for the season, and the coach, of course, he uses those scrimmages to try different players at different positions. And every guy was sitting on the bench all dressed, all bruised from the practices, hoping he'd have his chance to get into the scrimmage.
    Now that's what was so curious about Scott's response - one of the players. When the coach called his name, he didn't come. The coach called his name again. Scott didn't come. When I heard the story, I thought, "Well, was he preoccupied? Was he in disbelief? What was he thinking, "I can't believe he's calling my name?" Finally the coach issued one last, exasperated call, "Scott, what do you want me to do...send you a telegram?" Well, finally Scott went into the scrimmage, but he almost missed the coach's call. I hope you don't.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "That Voice In Your Heart."
    Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Genesis 6, and I'm going to read to you from the early days of the human race - what God said then and what He still feels now. I'm reading from verse 3, "My spirit will not always strive with man." That's kind of a chilling statement don't you think? God says, "I won't always call your name. I won't always knock on your door." In essence God is saying to you and me, "I've been wooing you, I've been calling you. I've been sending people to get your attention. I'm working in your life, but there is a limit."
    Isaiah 55 says, "Call upon the Lord while He is near; seek the Lord while He may be found." The implication is that He won't always be there; He won't always be found. Could it be that God's been calling your name lately, just as surely as the coach was calling Scott's name at that scrimmage? He's sent people to you to draw you to Christ; to show you what Jesus did for you when He gave His life for you in exchange for yours on the cross. But you've been so busy; you've been too disinterested, and maybe afraid.
    But you know what? There's a poem called The Hound of Heaven about God's pursuit of us. He pursues us wherever we are, because He loves us too much to leave us lost." And do you know what? Somehow through this radio program today, guess what? He's calling you again. But He won't always. He said, "My spirit will not always strive with man." You say, "Well, I'll come to Christ when I'm ready." No, you see, you have to come when He's ready.
    Jesus said, "No one can come to Me unless the Father draws him." And if you feel that tug in your heart today - that drawing - that's the Father making it possible for you to come to Christ. You can't even come to Christ without His help. That's why it's important to move when God is moving in your life. It's like a ringing telephone. Maybe you've heard the phone ring a number of times, and finally you say, "Oh, nuts! I'll answer it!" And you run over to the phone, and by the time you get around to answering, there's no one there - they've hung up.
    God's ringing your number today. You really want to be sure you go and answer His call. Like the Bible says, "while He is near." How do you do that? Well, you need to find a place where you can quietly be just you and Jesus and say, "Jesus, I'm Yours. I'm sorry for all the wrong things I've done. I believe that when You bled and died on that cross You were choosing to give up Your life in exchange for mine; paying my eternal death penalty. You did my hell so I could go to Your heaven. And I want to love you back. I'm putting all my trust in You. I'm grabbing You like a drowning person would grab a rescuer as my only hope."
    Our website is so much about helping you step across that line, and I really invite you to check it out today. I've done my best to put the information there that you'll need from the Bible - from God's own words as to how you can be sure you belong to Jesus Christ. That website is ANewStory.com.
    If you're feeling the tug of God on your heart today, please say yes to the person who died for you while He's still calling your name.



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    May 19, 2022 The High Cost of Forgetting - #9224


    Well, you probably know the feeling too, you go in the other room to get something, and you can't remember why you went there. Until you go and sit down in the other room again, and then you remember. How many times do we do that? I guess that's the harmless kind of forgetfulness. But too many of us have had loved ones who, as the years went on, remembered less and less; sometimes even the people who loved them. When people's memory goes, they can become very easily disoriented; they can make some very bad decisions and even place themselves in great danger.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The High Cost of Forgetting."
    For the most part, there's not much you can do about memory loss - the mental kind, that is. But there is something you can do about spiritual memory loss, because forgetting spiritually can be pretty damaging, too. It was, in fact, one fundamental reason why God's ancient people kept wandering from God, messing up their lives, and suffering God's judgment. And it's one reason we make the same kinds of mistakes.
    In Psalm 106, beginning in verse 12, our word for today from the Word of God, God summarizes the unhappy history of His people then and now. "They believed His promises and sang His praise." That's the good news. "But they soon forgot what He had done and did not wait for His counsel." Now, the results were disobedience and resulting judgment. In the same psalm, God says that at other times, "They gave no thought to Your miracles; they did not remember Your many kindnesses, and they rebelled" (Psalm 106:7) ... "they forgot the God who saved them" (Psalm 106:21). Again, disastrous results came.
    We're all prone to quickly forget the great God we have and the amazing things He's done for us. And like a person who loses their cognitive memory, we start to get disoriented - to wander where we never should wander - to leave God's ways and to leave God's will, and to experience the pain of God's correction and God's judgment or simply the painful consequences of our wrong choices.
    But unlike cognitive memory loss, there's a simple antidote for spiritual forgetting. It's called praise - regular, specific, conscious praise to God for who He is and what He's done. Praise is actually a discipline - a deliberate focusing of your thoughts on things you have to thank God for. We should wake up praising. As we're getting ready in the morning, we should train our mind and our heart to be expressing thanks to God, enumerating things we appreciate about Him. Talk about getting your day off to a right kind of start! Whenever we pray, we should train ourselves to begin with praises to God before we rush to our requests. And through the day, we need to be looking for evidence of God. (I love calling them God sightings.) And they're all over the place and then you send up thanks to God for them.
    When we stop praising God, we start forgetting God. And when we forget the kind of God we have, we start wandering, we start getting hurt, we are much more likely to take matters into our own hands, to panic, to get impatient, to get discouraged or even depressed. But the more you train yourself to be a "praiser," the less mistakes you're going to make - the less regrets you're going to have. You lose so much when you forget.


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    May 18, 2022 Why You're Hungry For Something More - #9223


    If you look on the backside of an American nickel, you'll see a picture of it. It's that domed mansion of President Thomas Jefferson, known as Monticello. It's a living monument, really, to the genius of one of America's great minds - the author of America's Declaration of Independence.
    Monticello reflects so much of his creative genius and his insatiable, inquiring mind. Everywhere you turn, you see these inventive touches that were there years ahead of their time. Maybe the single feature of that house that best reveals the mind of Thomas Jefferson is the direction that its main rooms are facing. His study, bedroom and library, all face west. See, Jefferson loved to look west. He wanted his guests and his friends to be looking west because he said that's where the frontier is. And Thomas Jefferson was always facing the frontier!
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Why You're Hungry for Something More."
    Facing that frontier - that's an exciting way to live. With a restless heart that says, "There's more out there, and I want it." You know, that's the heart of the spiritually healthy Jesus-follower. However far you've come in your relationship with Christ, however much you've experienced with Him, you know there's much more. And you want to go beyond anywhere you've gone before.
    That's the passion of the great Apostle Paul. Look, he's 30 years into what may have been the most powerful relationship with Jesus anyone ever had. But in Philippians 3, beginning with verse 10, our word for today from the Word of God, Paul says: "I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings...Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it."
    Wow! If the great Apostle Paul felt that way - that he had much more of Jesus to experience - you and I should be concerned if we find that our heart isn't restless for more! Oswald Chambers put it this way: "Beware of the danger of spiritual relaxation." See, the spiritual level you're at may very well be enough to satisfy your pastor or other Christians. I just hope it isn't enough to satisfy you.
    "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." There is so much more - a greater experience of the closeness of Jesus, of the power of Jesus, of the moment-by-moment leading of Jesus.
    There are two major spiritual frontiers to hunger for. First, greater intimacy with Jesus. I'm by nature a doer. I'm more Martha than I am Mary. I'm busy running around serving Jesus. But I need, and I want to experience and to some extent I am, more of the realness of His presence and His love. I want to be better at hearing the sound of His voice in my soul. I want to be a lot more like Him a lot more minutes of the day.
    The second frontier - a greater impact for Jesus; making a greater difference for Him than I've ever made before. The road to His glorious "more" is increased time with Him each day, more "cuddle time" where I just love on Him and let Him love on me; a passionate pursuit of the personal orders from Jesus that He has for that day every time I open His book. Every time we're in His book, every time we're in a Christian meeting, we should go with this prayer in our heart, "Jesus, help me come away with more of You!" And then, we need to be mining each day for every possible opportunity to have an impact on somebody else's life for Him.
    "More, Lord, I want more. I want all You have for me. I want to go beyond anywhere I've gone with You before!" Let that be the cry of a hungry heart, and don't ever be content with how far you've come. There's so much more! Keep facing the frontier!


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    May 17, 2022 Never a Sunset Without a Sunrise - #9222


    Where we used to live, we had so many leaves to rake and bag, and so few free days to work on it, that one massive Saturday effort was what we depended on. And, of course, dark always came too soon. We'd race to get it all done before the sun went down, but sometimes we lost the race. Every farmer who's ever harvested a crop knows the feeling of racing the dark, but there's no way to postpone the sunset. In fact, today's almanac will tell you exactly when it's going to go down. And the later it gets in the year, well, of course, the sooner you're out of light. When you really need the sun to get things done, sunset always comes way too soon. But if you check that almanac, you'll notice there's another time given next to the time for sunset. Yeah, the time for sunrise. Now here's a scientific fact I know is going to amaze you; it's going to astound you! Have your pencil ready to write this down. Okay? Are you ready? Here we go. The number of sunrises in history is exactly equal to the number of sunsets!
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Never a Sunset Without a Sunrise."
    And that is a fact. The sun never sets without it rising again. That's not just meteorology. It's theology. It's a spiritual fact of life, and an emotional fact, that it's real easy to forget when it's been dark for a while. But the sunrise principle is the basis for hope when things around you seem hopeless. Key word: "seem" hopeless.
    In fact, God has a hope-filled promise for us today in our word for today from the Word of God in Jeremiah 31:3-4. He says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you again and you will be rebuilt...again you will take up your tambourines and go out and dance with the joyful." God's people had been plundered, relocated, wounded, with most of what they cared about totally destroyed. They hadn't seen the sun for a long time. But God says, "It's not over, kids. The sun's going to come up again, no matter how dark it looks. Yeah, things are in ruins, but I am going to build you again. And when I get to restoring what you've lost, you will be rebuilt!"
    That might be what God's trying to say to you right now. Yes, the sun went down. Yes, it's been a long night. But it's not a permanent night! There's no such thing as a sunset without a sunrise. And God promises one! He's the great Restorer, who promises in Joel 2:25 (KJV): "I will restore to you the years that the locusts have eaten." Yes, that relationship has ended. You're financially bad off. There's been a major setback or failure, a loss. But it isn't the whole book, my friend. This is a chapter in the book God is still writing. And the author has a lot more to write.
    My friend had pretty much defined her past year by unresolved grief over the death of her closest friend. But then there was the week we walked through Isaiah 61, which promises that the Lord will "bind up the brokenhearted, and proclaim...release from darkness for the prisoners...He will bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." And with a cleansing flood of tears, she let it all go. She traded her despair for praise, her ashes for beauty, and you know what? The sun has come up again.
    It won't always be like this unless you decide to make it always be like this. My prayer for you is Paul's prayer for his friends in Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." He's going to rebuild you, and you will be rebuilt! You will dance again! There's no denying that your sun went down. There's no denying it got dark. But, remember, there's never a sunset without a sunrise!


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    May 16, 2022 Love You Can Trust - #9221


    You know, wives love to take their husbands to weddings. Hopefully, the love-feast will jumpstart a little romance in the old boy's soul. Recently, I saw a lot of hand-holding and sitting close when Jimmy and Tanya got married. Oh, it works, girls!
    I had a ringside seat for it all. Actually, a ringside "stand." I was doing the honors, marrying a young couple I think the world of, watching that googly-eyed groom as he watched his beautiful bride coming down the aisle.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Love You Can Trust."
    It was beautiful; it was touching. Jimmy's a happy guy, but I saw a glow in those moments that I'd never seen in him before. It's pretty hard to describe. Amazement. Unmistakable, unconcealable, unrestrained affection. I guess I'd call it the "wow!" factor.
    It took me back to a prayer I prayed during our wedding many years ago. "Lord, may I never lose that breathless wonder that exclaims, 'Out of all this world, you have chosen me!'" As every married couple knows, it's just all too easy to lose that wonder isn't it?
    But the wonder isn't meant to be just for the wedding. It should be - it can be - for life. Always amazed at the treasure you have in the person who trusted their life into your hands. Asking "the Lord who is acting as the witness between you" as Malachi says, to rekindle the flame (Malachi 2:14). Because as 1 John says, "love comes from God...God is love" (1 John 4:7-8).
    I know what it is to suddenly face the prospect that I might not see my bride alive again. Of course, she went to heaven now several years ago. But there were opportunities again to retreasure her. Because I almost lost her a couple of times. I so thank God then that He gave her back to me. He gave me a chance to re-treasure that one-of-a-kind, exceedingly precious gift He entrusted to me. But re-treasuring is a choice that shouldn't require a crisis.
    Sometimes marriages - like ships - accumulate barnacles that encumber them: Resentment, stuffed anger, wounding words, a heart turned cold or hard. But your lifetime love is too priceless to lose to any of the dark forces that want to steal it away.
    The good news is that the Jesus who chose a wedding to do His first miracle is still in the marriage miracle business. The Bible says He "binds up the brokenhearted." He replaces "ashes" with a "crown of beauty" (Isaiah 61:1, 3). He restores "the years that the locusts have eaten" (Joel 2:25). He will "remove from you a heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26). The Bible says He "makes all things new" (Revelation 21:5). Jesus can rekindle love when love has dimmed - with love from His great heart.
    As I saw that adoring look on that young groom's face, my mind suddenly was thinking about Jesus. Looking adoringly at what the Bible describes as His "Bride." That's what He has chosen to call those He died for, those who belong to Him through faith in Him.
    Now a word for today from the Word of God explains that we've chosen to give ourselves to Him because He loved us like nobody loves us. 1 John 3:16 says, "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us." As hard as it is to imagine, Jesus looks at us sinners and fools and says, "I'd rather die than lose you."
    It's a love I couldn't ignore. And at a wedding I saw a picture of how He feels about me and all those who are His - unmistakable, unconcealable, unrestrained love. And there was that bride that responds to the love.
    I'm overwhelmed. As I talk about this amazing love, I don't want anyone to miss it - including you. As the One who died for you invites you to Him, would you accept that invitation today? Say, "Jesus, I want to belong to you. I'm yours."
    Our website is for you at a time like this. It's ANewStory.com, where you can make sure you belong to Him and experience the most amazing love in the universe for yourself.



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    May 13, 2022 Why You're Getting Hammered - #9220


    So, is a hammer a good thing or a bad thing? I guess it depends on whose hands the hammer is in. Had you put a hammer in the hands of our little grandson and turned him loose, you wouldn't like the results. He was probably going to do some damage with that thing. But I've watched that same kind of hammer do some really good things in the hands of some skilled workmen; of which I am not one. At our home, our office, I've seen a hammer used to build some things that are really useful. That same hammer in a child's hands, though, "Look out, man!"
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Why You're Getting Hammered."
    Suffering, pain, hardship, heartache - those are some of life's hammers. You may feel like one of those hammers has been beating on you lately. What you may not realize is who's holding that hammer and what He's trying to do with it.
    It was something the prophet Jonah figured out in the belly of a great fish. You might remember the story: Jonah had been called by God to deliver God's message to the evil city of Nineveh. Jonah didn't want to. He tried to run from God, actually a whimsical thought if you consider it for very long, by getting on a ship to a faraway place. (Of course God wouldn't know about this place would He?) A violent storm engulfed that ship. It endangered the lives of everybody on board. Jonah knew the storm was for him, and he urged the sailors to throw him overboard so they could be saved. As he hit the water, he was scooped up and swallowed by what the Bible calls a "great fish."
    Miraculously preserved in the belly of that beast, Jonah, it says, "prayed to the Lord his God." His answer is perspective and it is our word for today from the Word of God. It's Jonah 2, beginning with verse 2. "In my distress I called to the Lord, and He answered me. From the depths of the grave, I called for help, and You listened to my cry. You hurled me into the deep (Now notice, not the sailors, but You, Lord, hurled me in) into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me." Notice here, Jonah looks beyond what people did to him and what the weather did to Him and he sees that those were just hammers in God's hand - not to destroy him but to finally build him into what he needed to be.
    The hammer that hits us in our life can either break us or build us. If we'll turn to God when we're getting hit, look for His purposes, look for His message in it, that hammer can build us into something we've never been before. If we don't turn to God when we feel the hammer blows, we'll get the pain but not the point. Ultimately, the suffering that we face is not from those people, or that condition, or the economy, or that situation that seems to be hurting us. It's either been sent by God or allowed by God, the God who loves you enough to have His Son die for you.
    Like Jonah, God could be using your storm to bring you back to some promises you made to Him - promises you haven't kept. You told Him you'd go "anywhere" for Him, but you haven't. You made promises about your priorities (Remember?), your family, your giving, your service to Him, but you've drifted from those promises. Maybe you told God you'd abandon some sinful ways, but your repentance has lapsed and you're drifting back to the old you.
    But God is pounding on you with His loving hammer, trying to get this storm to wake you up and bring you back. It's taking the pounding to get your attention. C. S. Lewis had it right: "God whispers in our pleasure, but He shouts in our pain." These hits are, in the words of Psalm 148:8, "stormy winds that do His bidding." Their purpose isn't to hurt you, but to heal you; not to wreck you, but to restore you. The storm isn't to blow you away; it's to blow you into God's arms!


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    May 12, 2022 Why We're So Empty - #9219


    Oh, it happens every year! The cinema's "beautiful people." Yeah, they're there for Hollywood's annual celebration of itself. It's all about that little gold guy they call Oscar.
    Well, for some reason, the Hollywood news takes me back to a tour that our family did at Universal Studios some years ago. The tram took us through some scenes that would be familiar to veteran moviegoers - like a street in 1920s Chicago (You know, like Al Capone style?), or an Old West town. Yeah, there was a World War II French village. Impressive stuff.
    It made you want to go into some of those buildings and check it out. Don't bother. When you open the door, there's nothing there. It's only a set. It looks really good on the outside, but it's empty on the inside.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You about "Why We're So Empty."
    Now, sadly, there are a lot of lives like that. The outside looks great: smiles, style, success. Just don't open the door.
    Years ago, I was working with our local high school football team, and they actually won the state championship. And I had some good relationships with the players, and I took one of their star linemen out to lunch after he had won it all. And we're talking about his aspirations for his senior year and he said, "Ron, when I was a junior I had three things I wanted. I wanted to win a championship, I wanted a scholarship, and I wanted lots of friends." I said, "Yeah." And he said, "Man, I got 'em all." I said, "That's awesome!"
    Well it was crazy. I'd never seen this guy with tears in his eyes, even when he was on the sidelines experiencing a lot of pain in the game. But he had tears in his eyes right there in a restaurant. And he said, "Ron, I got everything I wanted." And then he said, "Why am I so empty?" I'll tell you what�that's a question that lurks behind the "set" in a lot of people's hearts, "Why am I so empty?"
    The woman Jesus met at a well one day; she was one of them. As her story unfolds, we learn that she had a lot of men in her life. We can guess she was pretty attractive and even pursued. Well, she came to that well to draw water. And Jesus said, "Whoever drinks this water will be thirsty again."
    Think about those words, "Thirsty again." See, that's the problem with every "well" we go to for satisfaction in life - we inevitably end up "thirsty again." For this woman, every relationship - every guy - had been a well that left her empty inside. But then Jesus said, "Everyone who drinks of the water I give him will have in him a well of water springing up to everlasting life" (John 4:14). Wow! Well, that day, that woman traded never-lasting for everlasting.
    Now, that's not an easy offer for Jesus to make to us. See, He's still making that offer to all of us thirsty people, because the hole in my heart is so big that only God can fill it. But for Jesus, it meant going to a cross to pay for the sins that separate us from God; that make a wall between us; that caused God to say in the Bible, "Your sins have separated you from your God." That's in Isaiah 59:2. So, here's this wall between me and the God whose love I was made for, who knows the reason I'm here, and who has the keys to the heaven I want to go to someday.
    But Jesus came and made the offer after a life of never-lasting things. "I can give you that which is everlasting. I want to put the well inside you so you don't have to depend on something outside you ever again." And He's the well.
    I wonder if there's ever been a time in your life when you've finally actually opened up your heart and said, "Jesus, I'm Yours"? You may be religious and you may really do a lot of Christian things, maybe you know a lot of Christian teachings, but there's never been that moment when you've made Him yours. Why don't you get that done today? Tell Him that today. Tell Him, "Jesus, I'm yours."
    Maybe you'll go to our website. I want to invite you to go there because I think you'll find some help in making sure that you belong to Him. The site is ANewStory.com. Check it out today.
    Life with Jesus is more than a hollow set. Because inside there's life.



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    May 11, 2022 Having People You Know In Heaven With You - #9218


    Our oldest son worked as a missionary among young people in a Native American tribe in the Southwest. In his first few days there he ended up helping a Native American man weed his corn field. The tribe lives in a place where it's really tough to grow anything. I mean, corn is the most important crop, but it doesn't come easily because they're in a place where I think they only get about 10-12 inches of rain a year.
    Well, they have perfected a method called dry farming. It means a lot of back-breaking work. One key is getting the weeds out of that garden before they can steal some of the corn's moisture. Well, that's what my son was doing for this man. And at the end of a hard, hot afternoon he said to the farmer, "How much of your corn are you actually going to be able to harvest?" And the man said, "Oh, about 10%." To which my son replied, "Oh, man, after all this work, that's too bad. What happened?" And he said, "Well, I'll tell you where I lose most of my crop." The answer was surprising.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Having People You Know In Heaven With You."
    Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Matthew 9, beginning at verse 36. By the way, that farmer told my son, "I could harvest it all if I only had a few more workers." Wow! Jesus knows that feeling. The Bible: "And when He saw the crowds He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.'"
    Jesus said here, "the harvest is plentiful." He's talking there about lost people; people without Christ. When I talk to farmers about what the word harvest means to them, you know what the first word is most of them will bring up? "Ready." Yeah, it's ready. That's what harvest is. So Jesus is saying, "We're surrounded by lost people who are ready for Jesus."
    The harvest is plentiful. You say, "Well, they don't seem very interested in Jesus." That's only because they don't know what Jesus can do.
    Relationships these days have never been more broken, more disappointing, more unfulfilling. Loneliness has never been more rampant and more incurable. It seems like the future's never been this uncertain. They're dangerous. And families are tough. The pain is widespread. There's fertile ground there for the love that only God can give you; the peace that only He can give you, the security, the power, the healing.
    They're ready, but there's a problem. The laborers are few. Jesus can't get His people to go get them. That's the harvest hang-up! It's not the hardness of lost people; that's not the problem. It's the apathy of God's people. There are not enough workers!
    What a tragic reason to lose the harvest; to let people slip into a Christ-less eternity. But right now God is trying to send workers out to His harvest field - maybe you. Could it be you've gotten so comfortable in the farmhouse that you've forgotten the urgent need of the lost people out there? A lot of us are just sitting around tables, passing around another helping of spiritual blessings while the harvest dies.
    Maybe you've become preoccupied with your own pressures and your own problems. In the days of Haggai, the prophet, he said, "My house (God is speaking here) remains a ruin while each of you is busy with his own house." Could it be God's agenda, the lost people His Son died for, have gotten lost in your agenda?
    Could it be you feel inadequate to tell people about Him? But God decided you were the one to be His personal representative in that circle of people. He's going to give you the words. He's going to open the doors. Harvest time will not wait for you.
    Time is short. This is urgent stuff! Harvest always is. You've got a limited amount of time to bring in what's ready. You have nothing more important to do, my friend, than this.
    My heart broke when I heard what that farmer said, "I could harvest it all if I had a few more workers." We're not harvesting corn. We're harvesting ever living, never dying souls. Would you step up to the task today and say, "Lord, you can bring in a few more, because You've got one more worker."


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    May 10, 2022 How to Know You're Ready for Eternity - #9217


    It was right after Christmas in 2004, and Damian Barrett was on a beach in Thailand. Suddenly he saw the tide go out so quickly that the bay was drained dry. And moments later, the ocean came roaring back with that monster tsunami that claimed so many lives that day across South Asia. A massive wave swept Damian into the shopping area and then into a store which then started filling with water. He was carried to the ceiling by that rising water. He was sure he was going to die there, until the water actually pushed him through a gap in the roof.
    But any relief that he felt didn't last long. Now he was being sucked out to sea where he would stand no chance. And then the tide slammed him into the trunk of a large tree - a massive tree that could withstand even the force of the tsunami. As vehicles, appliances and all kinds of debris swept past him, he hung onto that tree with everything he had.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How to Know You're Ready for Eternity."
    That man lived to tell his story because of a tree that stood between him and certain death. For 2000 years, a tree has been saving the lives of people who would otherwise have no chance. I'm one of them. That tree has stood between them and the deadly tide of eternal judgment that awaits on the other side of this life. Because as Hebrews 9:26-27, our word for today from the Word of God says: "Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment."
    The verses immediately before and after that unsettling verdict tell us about the tree that offers hope of life. One of those verses says of Jesus, "He has appeared�to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself." See, our sin is the tide that is sweeping us inexorably toward the judgment of a holy God. He made us to live for Him; we've lived for ourselves instead. Everything else He made obeys Him except us. We are the rebels of the universe, and our rebellion carries an awful death penalty that the Bible calls hell. So imagine the power of those words, "He appeared to do away with sin." How? "By the sacrifice of Himself" it says. See, that's the tree! It's that horrific cross where Jesus poured out His blood and His life to take the judgment I deserve and you deserve.
    The judgment for our sin fell on Jesus at the cross. That tree is what stands between you and the penalty of your sin no matter how good you are, no matter how religious you are, because no amount of good can satisfy a holy God or pay a death penalty. All our spiritual efforts are no match for the size of the wave of God's judgment.
    So our only hope is clinging to the tree where God's judgment fell on His Son. Or, more importantly, to cling to the One who died on that tree, which means abandoning all other hopes: our pride, our self-reliance. And realizing we are as desperate and as helpless as a man being swept out to sea, and then clinging to the One whose death on that tree for us is literally our only hope - your only hope.
    Have you ever told Him that? Have you ever said, "Jesus, I'm lost without You. But I'm ready to turn from my sin and I'm ready to hold onto You with all the faith I've got." If you've never done that, you're still facing the judgment for your sin. But if you'll do that today, your sin will be forgiven, erased from God's Book, your hell canceled, and your heaven guaranteed. It's time to tell Him, "Jesus, I'm Yours."
    Our website's there really set up to be there for you at a moment like this to help you know how to belong to Him, how to begin your relationship with Him and know you've got it settled. You want to get this done? Would you go to our website? It's ANewStory.com.
    There's an old hymn that says it pretty well, "Nothing in my hand I bring. Simply to Your cross I cling." Wow! I pray that will be you today.



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    May 9, 2022 How You Can Make It The Rest Of The Way - #9216


    There's something about the Olympics that's just larger than life, and there are those images of past Olympic performances we'll never forget. One of those happened in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Derek Redmond was representing Great Britain in the 400-meter event. Unfortunately, he went down on the backstretch with a torn right hamstring. And the medical attendants started to approach him, but he managed to fight his way to his feet. Maybe you remember seeing this. He set out hopping around the track, desperately trying to finish the race. When he reached the stretch, a large man in a T-shirt came out of the stands, and literally threw aside a security guard, and ran to the injured runner, and hugged him. It was Jim Redmond, Derek's father. Derek was weeping in excruciating pain, and his Dad said, "'Derek, you don't have to do this." To which Derek said, "Yes, I do." And Jim Redmond said, "OK then, we're going to finish this together!" And they did. They had to fight off security men. The son's head was sometimes buried on his father's shoulder. But they stayed in Derek's lane all the way to the end - as the crowd stood and cheered and even wept.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "How You Can Make It The Rest Of The Way."
    The other day I got one of those phone calls that make you feel like you've been kicked in the stomach. A good friend called to tell us that his teenage son had died from injuries that he had received in a traffic accident. He asked me to speak at the funeral where, by the grace of God, some of his son's friends actually gave their hearts to Christ.
    Five minutes before my friend called, I'd been reading in Isaiah 46. In light of the devastating blow that had just hit that family, I had to share Isaiah 46:3-4 with my friend. They are our word for today from the Word of God. "...I have upheld [you] since you were conceived, and have carried you since your birth...I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." Through all the pain of the funeral and its aftermath, I watched this Heavenly Father come down to the field where my friends were in so much pain, and keep His promise to sustain them.
    It may be that right now you're struggling to finish. You were running OK, but now you're hurting, you're limping, you're wounded, maybe disillusioned. You're burning out, you're wearing out, and you feel like dropping out. You look down the track at the ground you've still got to cover, and you wonder if you can possibly make it feeling like this. It hurts so bad, you're so depleted, and it's tempting to give up your calling, or your marriage, your commitment, your loved one, your dream.
    But someone very strong has left the stands to join you on the field. He's your Heavenly Father who loves you passionately and unconditionally. And His arm is around you. God the Father is hugging His wounded child. After all, He did say, He is a "very present help in time of trouble" (Psalm 46:1). He knows you can't finish the race alone. Listen to Him as He says, "My child, we're going to finish this together."
    But you literally may not have the strength or the spirit to even walk another step. That's why His promise is so precious, "I have made you and I will carry you." When a child can walk no further, what does he say, "Daddy, carry me." That's what God's waiting for you to say. That worn out child can go farther and faster in his father's arms than he could ever go on his own feet. So can you - in your Heavenly Father's arms.
    You can finish the race you started, not with your resources, but because your Almighty Father is saying, "We're going to finish this together!"


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    May 6, 2022 Your Mother's Greatest Wish - #9215


    The florists have been looking forward to their recliners. They finally get to recover from their busiest day of the year. You know what that is, Mother's Day. Hallmark counting on all their Mother's Day card money. Phone companies getting pretty happy. It's the busiest calling day of the year. Okay, Mother's Day, well, it only lasts a day and then it's over until next year. Oh, but not their marks on your life.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Your Mother's Greatest Wish."
    I wrote some short stories when I was a kid, and there was only one person who would listen to me read them - my Mom. And as lame as those stories may have been, she watered this wannabe writer with her encouragement. And she was my #1 fan at every activity. She even laughed at my jokes, even if she didn't always get them.
    I was thinking today about how our mother's voice and our mother's influence is with us for our life. It reminded me of the story of a man named John Newton. It's not a really well-known name, but what he wrote is known around the world. It's the song they play at virtually at every police and fire funeral. At times, it was the song heard almost every day at Ground Zero after September 11, 2001. If people only know one hymn, it's the one John Newton wrote - Amazing Grace.
    Now, no one would ever - ever - have picked John Newton as the writer of an immortal hymn. When his mother died when he was a boy, his seafaring dad took him to sea. That's where John learned the partying and the harsh ways of a sailor. As for God, well you could forget about that. Newton's cargo was human beings. Ripped from their families and chained in the belly of some death-trap slave ship.
    Until the day a violent storm threatened to sink his ship. In that moment when he knew where his only hope was, John Newton yelled into the storm, "My mother's God - God of mercy - save me!" And his mother's God did. More importantly, his mother's God became John Newton's God that day. His life was saved that day. But so was his soul. Because of that "amazing grace" that enabled him to say, "I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see."
    Over the years many a son or daughter has been the subject of many a mother's prayers. But it could be they've never chosen her God to be their God until the storm. It's when we are suddenly at the mercy of something we can't control, or we can't fix, that we finally say, "I'm not enough." And a mother's prayers are finally answered. She may not have lived to see it, but her prayers have followed us wherever we've gone.
    John Newton picked a pretty good word to describe a life that we're running instead of the God who gave it to us - lost. I'd still be lost, wondering why I'm here, wondering where I'm going, and what would fill the hole in my heart. If it weren't for the Man who said why He came here in our word for today from the Word of God recorded in the Bible in Luke 19:10, "The Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost." That's what Jesus was doing when He was nailed to a cross. He said those three words that change a person's life; that change a person's eternity, "Father, forgive them."
    I wonder if you have ever embraced what He did on that cross for you and made the Savior your Savior; knowing that it was your sin He was intending to forgive. But He waits to come in to become your rescuer from your sin. He's come to seek you today through our being together so He could save you for now and forever.
    You want to know how to begin a relationship with Him? Would you go to our website and just spend a few minutes with me there? It's ANewStory.com. You pin all your hopes on Him today and tell Him, "Jesus, I'm yours." And it will happen for you.
    If you've been so blessed to have a mother who's prayed for you, that's a powerful reason to say "Thank you" and to ask her God to save you, as He has so many.
    Believe me, there is no need to wait 'til the ship's coming apart.



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    May 5, 2022 Why You're Restless - #9214


    My poor children! As they were growing up, they had to listen to me speak so many times. One of those times was at a major youth convention in Laramie, Wyoming. My 12-year-old son and I were sitting together on the airplane flight back from the convention. Suddenly he said, "You know, I really liked the meetings, Dad, and I liked your speaking." Then he went on to explain, "There was something different this time, Dad. I listened this time." Great, I think. Well, I asked him what he'd learned, and what he told me was not anything, of course, that I had said at the convention. It was original from him! He said, "Well, Dad, I learned that Christianity is a lot like suntan lotion." Sure! Of course! I said, "How?" He said, "Well, if you just put one big blob of lotion on your arm or your face, it won't help much. It doesn't do much good unless you rub it in!"
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Why You're Restless."
    A 12-year-old boy pretty well nailed it. If you look at many of us who name the name of Christ these days, you'll see people who pretty much believe all the right things and do all the right things. You see, but when it comes to our everyday lives we actually are pretty powerless and inconsistent. And many of us have this gnawing restlessness inside that says, "This can't be all there is to this Jesus-thing." Well, it isn't!
    To use my son's analogy from years ago, we have the right "lotion." In fact, we have a big blob of Bible knowledge on the outside. But, remember, "It doesn't do you much good unless you rub it in," which leads us to this sobering word for today from the Word of God in James 1:22. It describes Christians who are "deceiving themselves" it says. Self-deceived believers - kidding themselves. Well, how does that happen?
    "Do not merely listen to the word," the Bible says, "and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." The passage then goes on to compare a person who reads the Bible and remains unchanged as being like a man who looks at himself in the mirror and walks away without working on his appearance. God says here, "It's not what you know spiritually that matters, it's what you do as a result of what you know." Unfortunately, too many of us are satisfied with just believing it. We think we're in good shape with God because we agree with all the right things, but it's passive agreement. If you tell me that staying out in the sun unprotected can give me skin cancer, well just agreeing with you won't do me much good. I'd still get skin cancer if I don't do something; if I don't change as a result of the truth that I agree with.
    Now, you can tell if you're just putting on the Jesus-life instead of rubbing it in. You can tell by how much you worry about your problems instead of trusting God with them, by how little you love people who don't love you or who are different from "your kind," by all that junk you allow in your heart, by how lame your prayers are, by how selfish you are, how proud you are, how seldom you ever tell anyone about Jesus.
    When you rub in what the Bible says about these issues, you start changing the way you are! When you just put a blob of Bible on your skin, you think you're OK but you keep on living the same old way - the un-Jesus way. When you open your mind to the words of God, open up your life, too! All this Bible you're learning and believing is supposed to be growing a Jesus-heart in you and a life that looks more and more like His. Every day, open yourself up to God's Holy Spirit to take the words He inspired and to rub them into your life.


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    May 4, 2022 The Reach of Your Life - More Than You Think - #9213


    When Ebola first popped up in the United States I was watching that news story about the Dallas nurse who was the first person to ever contract Ebola in America. I was hit by a lesson that I found pretty personal to me.
    The authorities were talking about the "contact tracing" they were doing. They were trying to identify people she'd been with. They also did that with Thomas Duncan, the first person to die of Ebola here in the U.S. In Africa, and in America, contact tracing was a top priority in containing the spread of this medical serial killer.
    The medical detectives want to know who the infected person has been close to. The list can be pretty long. And that's actually what got me thinking.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Reach of Your Life - More Than You Think."
    I began thinking about my contact list. I bet I'd be surprised if someone actually made a list of all the people I'm in touch with during a given week. At the office. At the store. The restaurant. Neighbors. Family. Friends. Online friends. Social media. I think we'd all be amazed if we saw an actual list of the people we influence in some way every week.
    It's a wake-up call for me as a follower of Jesus Christ. Because God says, in our word for today from the Word of God in 2 Corinthians 5:20, "We are Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. I implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God." So, the face, the voice, the hands of Jesus to all the folks on my "contact list." Wow! For better or worse.
    The Bible has a lot to say about the influence of us Jesus-followers. Jesus said we're "the light of the world." People are supposed to "see your good deeds and (as a result) praise your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:14, 16).
    We're also the "salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13), making people thirsty for our Jesus because of what they see in us. Oh, and we are to be, according to Philippians 2, "pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe." And it says right before that, we're to "do everything without complaining and arguing" (Philippians 2:14-15), because those two practices will very quickly blot out the light.
    And Peter said it is the "hope you have" (1 Peter 3:15) that will make people spiritually curious. That's hope, as being the living proof that things can change that we thought could never change. Because of Jesus. And things like that have changed in you I know because of Him.
    And then there's the characteristic that Jesus said would be the ultimate mark of someone who belongs to Him. "All men will know you are My disciples...if you love one another" (John 13:35).
    So...what if someone did spiritual "contact tracing" on the people I've been around in the past week? The people you've been around? What did we "infect" them with? Did they feel hope when we were with them? Did they feel cared about - or was I pretty much about me? Was I giving off light? Was I giving off joy - or grumpiness, edginess, complaining, stress?
    Ultimately, though, for those I influence to be cured of their terminal spiritual disease called sin, they're going to need more than me being a nice guy. They could watch me for the next fifty years, and they're not going to guess that Jesus died on the cross to pay for their sins. No, I've got to tell them that. A life that radiates Jesus can attract someone to Him. It can be the living proof that Jesus changes a life.
    But it can't explain "the Gospel" that according to the Bible is "the power of God for salvation" (Romans 1:16). That takes words. It takes the God-given courage to tell my story, and then His story. Of a love so great He died for me. And a power so great He walked out of His grave and crushed death.
    I've been strangely challenged by that sobering reality the Ebola crisis highlighted - the reach of just one life. Well that life can infect an entire circle of people with death, or with life. The people in my path, they're not some random accident. God put them there so they could see His Son, so they could know His Son.
    So ask yourself this question, "Are they closer to Jesus because they've been close to me?"


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    May 3, 2022 Two Words That Can Save a Relationship - #9212


    Normally, Hainan Island is thought of as a tourist attraction. But the 24 American military personnel who were held there by the Chinese in early 2001? They probably didn't feel much like tourists. As the Americans reported it, their reconnaissance plane had been disabled by a Chinese jet that had flown too close and crashed into them. The jet pilot was lost and the American crew almost was, except for some extraordinary flying that managed to land their damaged plane on that Chinese island. There were days of tense negotiations, with the Chinese insisting on an apology and the Americans insisting on the release of their crew. The stalemate was finally broken by two words that the President of the United States included in a statement to the Chinese; words that expressed our sorrow over the loss of the Chinese pilot, not over the incident. The words? Yeah, you might have guessed, "I'm sorry." That's all it took. The next day our crew was on their way home.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Two Words That Can Save a Relationship."
    The incident over our downed plane wasn't the first time that a stalemate has been broken by those two little words. And I can't help but wonder how many marriages, how many children, how many churches, how many relationships could have been saved if someone had been willing to say those two words, "I'm sorry." Or the longer version, "I was wrong." Maybe they're the words you need to be saying right now.
    Our word for today from the Word of God gives us a challenge that can have amazing effects in a damaged or strained or even a broken relationship. It's James 5:16, "Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed." So much healing can begin when we're willing to swallow our pride and admit what we've done wrong. And the longer we wait to apologize, the higher the wall gets.
    We'd rather focus on their sins, the things they did wrong. But God says, "Each of us will give account of himself to God" (Romans 14:12). We're to confess our sins, not their sins, which we are more than willing to confess their sins. But the Bible clearly encourages us to be quick to apologize - even to "leave our gift at the altar" and "first go and be reconciled" to our brother and sister (Matthew 5:23, 24). It's part of carrying out our Lord's orders in Romans 12:18, "As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."
    Well, it certainly depends on me to say "I'm sorry" for anything I've done that has caused hurt or misunderstanding. Even if let's say I'm just 10% wrong and they're 90% wrong (which is almost surely the case, huh?). I'm responsible for my 10% then. And not for a lame, often hedged apology like, "Well, I'm sorry if I've done anything wrong." Our healing apology should be as specific as possible.
    Maybe you grew up in an environment where people who never admitted they were wrong. You may be in a situation where the feelings are hard, the walls are high, and where you've really been wounded. But none of that changes your responsibility as a follower of Jesus Christ to say, "I was wrong" to say, "I'm sorry" when that's the case.
    Ask God to use your two little words "I'm sorry" in a really powerful way. Sometimes, two little words are the beginning of a very big breakthrough.


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    May 2, 2022 The Secrets Sin Hides - #9211


    It takes a little longer to pick out a cereal at the supermarket than it used to. You've got to read all the ingredients these days; all the nutrients, and how much calcium, and how much of my daily requirement of vitamin C, and vitamin X there. You know all that. Well, it's on the package. In fact, on everything we buy in the supermarket, it's there because of laws that we call "truth in packaging." Good idea.
    And it's good they have to tell you what's inside, because they probably would never tell you what is really inside, and the calories and all of that. Now, it's too bad there aren't truth in packaging laws to clarify some of our bigger choices.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Secrets Sin Hides."
    Our word for today from the Word of God is found in Genesis 19. I'll be in verses 4-9. It's sort of like an x-ray machine. Well, this is an x-ray passage to show what sin really does. Now, the devil obviously doesn't believe in truth in packaging. You'd never buy into some of the things he's trying to get you to do if he told you where it would take you and what was really inside. That sin that has been tugging on you right now, it seems to promise maybe pleasure, or relief, or excitement, or advancement. That's why God exposes what's in that package in Genesis 19.
    In this story sin is exposed in all of its ugliness. Oh, it looked good to Lot before we get to Genesis 19. Remember, Lot had left Abraham and decided to move into Sodom - a city full of wickedness. And pretty soon Sodom had moved into him. And Sodom had looked good; bright lights, and music, and all the advertisements - they looked great. But then he discovered three poisons about sin that are not on the package. Here's what they are. I'll read these verses to you. What has happened is that the two angels have come now to warn Sodom and get Lot out of there, because they are about to be destroyed.
    Here's what it says: "Before they'd gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom, both young and old, surrounded the house. They called to Lot, 'Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them.' Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, 'No, my friends don't do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you and you can do what you like with them. (Can you believe this? This is a dad!) But don't do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.' 'Get out of our way,' they said. 'This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge. We'll treat you worse than them.' And they moved forward to break down the door."
    Three poisons that weren't on the package, Lot. Number one, sin calls the shots. Notice how demanding sin is. You think it's freedom you're going to get, only to find out you're a slave. It wants your time, wants your relationships, it wants your best, it wants your soul. Secondly, sin cheapens relationships. These people were Lot's friends he thought. You watch what happens if you stop doing the sin that connects you to some of your friends. They'll drop you fast! See, you're expendable if you get in the way of my desires if sin is our connection. And thirdly, sin makes people into objects. These men wanted these other men just to have sex with them. Lot was willing to give away his daughters! The fact is sin is so terribly depersonalizing. It cancels love.
    It may be that you've gotten regrets over some of the ways you've bought the lies of sin in your past. How good it would be to be clean. So many of us have found that there's a spiritual shower that cleans us up forever in God's eyes the day we give our heart to Jesus Christ. I'd love to help you do that, and our website is for that. It will tell you about how He loved you enough to die for you.
    Want to be clean today from all the dirt of the past? Listen, tell Jesus, "I'm yours." And go to our website and check that out. Get a new story. That's the name of it - ANewStory.com.
    That sin that looks so good on the package; it will take over your personality, and your body, and your relationships, and your dignity, and your worth. No matter how inexpensive sin seems to be, it will end up costing you everything.



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    April 29, 2022 He's Never Lost a Rescue - #9210


    Buck Helm - yep, that name was one light in the darkness on October 17, 1989, the day of the tragic San Francisco earthquake. It was the day the whole freeway collapsed, burying scores of people. And just when the rescuers thought there was no life left to find, an engineer spotted movement under one heavily damaged section. Under there they found, still alive miraculously, Buck Helm, a 57-year-old longshoreman. He'd survived four days in that rubble. And I think that's why we felt so sad when word came four weeks later that Buck Helm had died suddenly in the hospital. He was rescued, but he was lost. We can't always hang onto what we save.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "He's Never Lost a Rescue."
    Now, our word for today from the Word of God, John 10. I'll begin at verse 27. "My sheep" - Jesus is talking here - "listen to My voice. I know them and they follow Me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of My Father's hand. I and the Father are one."
    Well, we learned in San Francisco, and we've learned over and over again that I guess any physical rescue is temporary. Let's face it, anyone who's rescued now is certainly going to die someday. When Jesus talks about His sheep, though, He's talking about those He has rescued from eternal death. And it was expensive for Him to do that. Earlier in the chapter He says, "I am the Good Shepherd, and the Good Shepherd lays down his life for His sheep." "I'll die for my sheep." Jesus said that, and Jesus did that. He did it for you.
    Those who have come to Christ to have their sins forgiven because of what He did for them on the cross become His sheep at that point. And what He's saying here, "Those that He rescues, He will never lose." Once He's saved them, they will never die. It's eternal life! "No one can take them out of My hand" He says.
    Now, I asked Jesus into my heart at an early age, and I found myself often saying, "Jesus, in case you're not there, would You come in? I'm going to accept You again, and then I'm going to accept You again." Actually, I didn't need to do that. There was only one rescue. Once you've asked Christ sincerely to come into your life, there to stay. At that point, saving faith takes my eternity out of my hands and places it totally into Jesus' hands.
    Sometimes we're close to Him, and sometimes we drift far away. Sometimes we're obedient, and sometimes we're disobedient. But we're always His child. Is that an excuse for sinning? No, it's a motive for obeying. Besides, if you're really reborn, you may get away from Him for a little while. But you can't stay away. And if you do and you can, you're probably just proving you never really were reborn in the first place.
    When a little child starts to run out into the street - as you know, they've been walking along with Dad's hand holding on, he'll start to run away, but he'll find out that he is saved. That truck is bearing down, the traffic's coming, but he's saved. But not because he's holding onto his father's hand. That's when he finds out that his father is holding onto his hand. That's why your relationship with Christ is safe and eternal, because He holds you.
    Maybe you've never opened up to this unconditional unloseable love for yourself. Maybe you've never been to that cross, in your heart, and said where He died for you, "For me." Why not let today be the day you begin that relationship with Him? It will be your one anchor in an otherwise insecure world, and it will take you to heaven when you die. Listen, go to ANewStory.com, our website, and we'll show you how.
    For you - for those you love - isn't it great to know that Christ rescues you from the death sentence of sin, and that He has never lost a rescue.



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    April 28, 2022 When You Don't Have Enough to Finish - #9209


    A lot of my writing, including for these visits we have together, takes place while I'm on the road. There was a time my wife did a chunk of driving to some ministry events, and she did that often. So me and my little friend laptop could do some work. Now, I had about 12 hours of writing work to do and my computer battery lasted for maybe two or three hours. No problemo! Power strip that I can plug into the cigarette lighter, and when I plug Laptop into that, he's running on the power in the car, not just the power in himself. Which means there's basically no limit to what we can do together!
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "When You Don't Have Enough to Finish."
    My problem with my laptop computer is that, well in itself, it has limited power which means limited accomplishment. But when it's plugged into a regular power source, it has basically unlimited power, which means unlimited possibilities.
    Now, if you've been living for Jesus Christ very long, that power equation probably sounds familiar to you. Or it should. Your resources run out. That doesn't mean you're done - not if you plug into His. His resources never run out.
    I've been running a lot on this tremendous promise in Hebrews 13:20-21. It happens to be our word for today from the Word of God. It says, "May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep" - now this is where you want to plug in your fading battery - "equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever."
    Well, there it is. The God of peace will equip you with everything good for doing His will. There's nothing you need to carry out and complete what He wants you to do that He is not going to provide. When you're out of strength, He's not. When you can't take another step, His strength carries you, so then you can keep going when you don't have anything else to go with!
    When you need wisdom to carry out what He's given you to do, He's promised to give it to you liberally upon request (James 1:5). So many times - actually, many times a day - I have no idea what to say, how to respond, how to proceed. That's time to abandon the finite battery of what I know and plug it into the infinite power of what God knows. When you're out of creativity, you're out of ideas, again, plug into His. People often ask me, "Where do you get all those ideas for 'A Word with You'?" Literally, I do get the ideas from God. I mean, you'll never know the times I sit down to work on a program and I say, "That's it! I'm out of ideas." And I am, but God isn't. He continually amazes me with what He comes up with. When you're out of love, when you're out of answers, when you're out of patience, He's not, so you don't have to be.
    So, weary mom or dad, depleted servant of the Lord, beat-up warrior, know that you can go on, you can win this because of the infinite resources of the God you belong to. Depend on your finite power - finite accomplishment. But plug into the infinite resources - unlimited possibilities. He's committed to give you everything you need to do and to finish what He's given you to do.
    Like the hymn writer says, "When we have exhausted our store of endurance, when our strength has failed e'er the day is half done; when we've reached the end of our hoarded resources, our Father's full giving has only begun. His love has no limit, His grace has no measure; His power has no boundary known unto men. For out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth and giveth and giveth again."


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    April 27, 2022 Someone Else's Script - #9208


    My friend, Ian, is unexplainable. He may very well have been at that time the best known Christian leader in all of New Zealand. A powerful, popular speaker and he had a great Christian TV program. If you heard him speak in any public setting, you'd have been very impressed. I was, and you'd want to meet him when he came off the stage. And he would extend his hand, and probably begin to stutter. You might kinda laugh and go, "Come on, you're kidding." And then you'd realize he's not; this is serious. See, Ian had a noticeable stutter when he spoke to other people anywhere but in a large meeting. But when he got up to speak about his Lord in front of a crowd, it's just amazing. Something happened, but not necessarily something unique to him.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Someone Else's Script."
    Now our word for today from the Word of God comes from Ephesians 6 and we're reading verses 19 and 20. And I believe that something took over in Ian in those times when he was ministering publicly and literally, that someone takes over what he says. Yeah, not just something. And that same person wants to do something like that for you. The Holy Spirit wants to do it for you when you're speaking to someone about Jesus Christ.
    Here's the prayer: "Pray also for me that whenever I open my mouth words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly as I should." Now, you can pray this prayer, you can trust God for words to say when you're representing Him, and that's something supernatural.
    When you're woefully inadequate to talk with someone about eternity, I'm telling you, He will come in and as promised He will make up the difference. When you're scared to death and you don't know what to say, let Him supply the words. Sometimes I'll be listening to a person I want to share with, and I'll be thinking, "Oh, man, I have no idea what to say next. Keep talking; Buddy, because when you stop I don't know what I'm going to say." I don't know how I'm going to answer. So I fire up an S.O.S. to heaven. And when I need to respond, you know what? Over and over again there's been an insight I didn't even have a moment ago, I didn't even know. This is supernatural stuff!
    If you tell God how inadequate you feel, you are at that point, on your way to being an effective representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. Because that opens you up to a Holy Spirit take-over. From the inside out He will provide you with the courage you do not have, with the thoughts that maybe you've never expressed, words that may surprise even you. But you have to take the risk to experience His power.
    Shakespearian actors say some pretty profound and impressive things. You say, "Man, they're smart. What a thinker! What a communicator! What a way to put things!" He didn't write the script. He's just delivering what someone else wrote. Well, that's how it's supposed to be when we're communicating Christ to someone. We're delivering someone else's script - God's words. And if we'll trust God for His active involvement in those conversations, well, it just takes away an awful lot of the pressure.
    I've watched God turn a man who has difficulty getting through a sentence into an un-halting communicator. But only in the moment when he needs it. See, that's what God wants to do in you, but you have to show up with the willingness to be His voice in the life of someone else.
    Don't hold back any more on speaking up for Jesus in that situation He's assigned you to. He put you there, He gave you the assignment, and He'll give you the script. Now, your head will make you think that the things that you are saying maybe are coming from you. But in reality, they're coming from the heart of God, through your voice into the heart of someone who really needs to hear from Him.


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    April 26, 2022 The Harvest of Doing Good - #9207


    Our friend Mark grew up on the farm; actually on an Ozark Mountain farm. And that means rocks in your fields! One local grandfather used to say, "Every time it rains I grow rocks in my field." Mark knows all about that. Over a period of time, his mother made him clear hundreds of rocks out of one of their fields when he was just a little guy. Well then, Mark bought some land from his mother as an adult. And as he started to work one of those fields, he was really pleasantly surprised by how amazingly rock-free it is. Then it dawned on him, this was the field he had made rock-free when he was a boy!
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Harvest of Doing Good."
    Mark was reaping the good work he did many years ago, enjoying the benefits of those efforts. That's a reminder of one of the wisest laws in the Bible, "Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap" (Galatians 6:7). We usually think about that in terms of the bad consequences of the bad seed we sow, but there's another side to that reaping equation.
    In Galatians 6:8-9, our word for today from the Word of God, it says, "The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the spirit will reap eternal life." So you don't just reap the bad you sow; you reap the good you sow. Paul goes on to make a very practical application, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
    Why do we sometimes give up on some of the good we're trying to do? Well, because of the nature of harvesting. If a farmer plants corn on a Tuesday, he doesn't go out and pick it on a Wednesday, or maybe for many, many Wednesdays after that. There's a time lag between sowing and reaping, and so it can look like nothing's going to come from it. So we quit sowing in the lives of our children, our church, our coworkers, our friends.
    But we end up living today in the life we built yesterday - the relationships we built - good or bad, the reputation we built. We're living in it today. The ways we've treated people. Well, you did some sowing today and you'll ultimately get back the kinds of things you sowed. So spend the time that person needs from you. Consciously do random acts of kindness each day. Give a gift when there's no occasion for your appreciation; just giving it for the person themself. Send those thank you notes. Give that compliment; that word of encouragement. Use the money God's entrusted to you to lift people's burdens and people's spirits. Don't be afraid to be generous. After all, Jesus said, "You lose your life by trying to hang onto it, but you find your life by giving it away" (Luke 9:24).
    Scripture is full of encouragement to keep sowing good seed. "Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again" (Ecclesiastes 11:1). "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you - and even more" (Mark 4:24). "A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed" (Proverbs 11:25). Don't be afraid of what you'll lose by giving. God has promised that you're going to gain so much more. You don't become richer by keeping what you've got. You become richer in your life in some way or another by giving it away.
    So, keep scattering good seed wherever you go. Make it a daily thing, because when you do, somewhere down the road there's an awesome harvest coming.


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    April 25, 2022 The Hug That Gets You Through The Night - #9206


    It was a tough stretch for our two-year-old grandson. Mommy was expecting his soon-to-arrive baby brother, and she was sick with a respiratory infection. Normally, Mommy and Daddy were both in the room where my grandson slept. But for comfort and health reasons, Mommy had to sleep in another room for a few nights. My grandson never said anything about his mother not being there during the night, but it obviously affected him. He slept in the big bed with Daddy, but he didn't sleep much. Neither did his father of course. Every few minutes, he'd snuggle up against Daddy and just say two words until his father responded, "Daddy, hold."
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Hug That Gets You Through The Night."
    There's not one of us who doesn't need that kind of hug sometimes, like my grandson missing his Mommy. We go through seasons when our security is shaken, we feel alone, and confused, and maybe uncertain about the future. That's when our heart wants to say "Daddy, hold" and know there will always be someone there to do just that.
    Actually, we were created to have that kind of intimate love relationship with God himself. His is the hug that gets you through the night. He's supposed to be our rock, our stability, our fixed point, our one like "unloseable." But sadly, in God's own words in the Bible, "each of us has turned to his own way" (Isaiah 53:6). So our sins have, again in God's words, "separated you from your God" (Isaiah 59:2). Now, we may have strong beliefs, and we might be very religious. But we can still tell that the Heavenly Father we need to hold us is kind of far away beyond our reach.
    But that's why Jesus came! That's why Good Friday. Something mind-blowing happened on that cross - something almost inconceivable, but the only thing that could give us a chance at belonging to the One who created us. It's described in our word for today from the Word of God in Mark 15:33-34.
    Jesus is nailed to a Roman cross. And though it is very difficult to speak; water filling a crucified man's lungs, Jesus speaks several times before He dies. There are four accounts of Jesus' death; one in each of the Gospels, the first four books of the New Testament. But only one thing Jesus said on the cross is reported in more than one of those accounts, and this is it: "At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?"
    Well, the answer is basically this: because God loves you more than you could ever imagine.
    To put it simply, for God to hold you, He had to let go of His Son. Why? Because His Son was carrying all the guilt and all the hell of all the sinning you've ever done. And a holy God turned His back on His one and only Son because His Son was carrying your sin. God turned His back on His Son so He would never have to turn His back on you!
    And now, God's asking you to give yourself to the One who died so you don't have to. He's ready to hold you today and every day of your life, and then hold you forever. But first the sins of your life have to be erased. And that can only happen by you telling Jesus you are putting all your trust in Him to tear down the wall between you and God. And He will.
    Today, in your heart, would you stand at the foot of that cross and look at Jesus dying for what you've done, and give yourself to the One who loves you most? Don't you want to begin your relationship with Him? Tell Him that right now, and go to our website ANewStory.com. It's all there to help you be sure you belong to Him.
    See, God is the Daddy that we've always wanted to have hold us. And His is the hug that will get you through every night. He's reaching for you. Reach for Him.



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    April 22, 2022 The Bumpy Road to a Beautiful Place - #9205


    When I would tell our kids we were going to Buttermilk Falls, I could expect two equally sincere reactions: "Oh good!" and "Oh no!" See, the "oh good" part was because it was just one of the "coolest" places in our area. There was this high, cascading waterfall, tucked in a remote place that few people knew about. It was magnificent to look at and it was fun to hike around. The "oh no" part was because of the road to get to this special spot. Think moonscape - potholes big enough to swallow an old Volkswagen. You couldn't avoid these craters; they were everywhere. So you went about as slow as a car can go, bracing yourself for a big bump and then another big bump. And then you were there, and it was great!
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Bumpy Road to a Beautiful Place."
    You know, lots of life's beautiful places are accessible this very same way - by means of a bumpy road. Maybe you're traveling one of those hard, even painful, bumpy roads right now. I imagine some people never made it to the majesty of those falls because the bumpy road made them decide to turn back - a temptation that may have occurred to you on your bumpy road. But any member of our family can tell you it was worth the trip. We did, in fact, go back multiple times; knowing full well that the process was not going to be fun. I guess it's kind of like labor in that regard - a painful process that every birth mother goes through, with a beautiful result that lasts a lifetime. And, often, she'll go back and do it again.
    Our word for today from the Word of God may be a picture of the journey you're on right now. In Deuteronomy 1:19, God says this to His ancient people, "We set out from Horeb (that's Mt. Sinai) through all that vast and dreadful desert." That could be where you are. You're traversing one of life's "vast and dreadful deserts." But that's not the end of the story. Listen in Deuteronomy 1:21 to where that journey led: "See, the Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
    That's what the desert road, the bumpy road can do to you: make you afraid, make you discouraged, unless you focus on your Lord instead of your load, and on the result more than on the process. The bumps can make you wonder if you're even on the right road. Which you are, if God led you on it. The long, hard ride can leave you confused and hurting from all the bumps, all focused on yourself. If you're not careful, you'll turn around and leave the road God put you on; the road that ultimately leads to the Promised Land He wants to give you.
    But it doesn't feel very much like Promised Land right now. It's just downright bumpy. What a tragedy, though, if you went through this painful process and bailed out before the beautiful result. The desert, the bumpy road - they're all part of the Plan. It's in the wilderness that well, like God's people of old, you see Red Seas part, water come from rocks, and manna come from heaven. It's on the hard road that you get rid of the junk that's keeping you from God's best. Because it's there that you're forced to abandon all self-reliance and learn total reliance on your Lord. That's when you are ready for your Promised Land.
    So don't doubt in this darkness what God has told you in the light. There is no Promised Land without a wilderness. There is no new life without the pain of labor. There is no Easter morning without a Good Friday. Yes, it's a bumpy road. But it leads to a very beautiful place if you don't turn back.


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    April 21, 2022 Life in the Backwards Seat - #9204


    Our grandson was gaining weight, and boy, he was going to be glad! (Unlike his grandfather who happens to find weight gain depressing.) Yeah, he was soon going to be over 20 pounds. Well, that meant his parents would turn his car seat around. No more looking out the rear window. That's a great feeling! You know, you don't have to keep looking back at where you've already been. It's all about looking where you are going - now.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Life in the Backwards Seat."
    Now, that's a change that's good news for even us grown up kids; turning your "seat" around I mean. Moving past that depressing view you get when you just keep looking back at where you've been, especially when what you see is the hits, the hurts, the hard times in your past. Every time I look through that window, clouds roll in and start to cover the sun. If I look back a lot, I'll end up looking down even more.
    I flew to a meeting and I had that same predictable experience at baggage claim. Not a missing suitcase. I'm talking about the mystery suitcase. You know, that one that just keeps going around and around on the baggage carousel, and nobody ever claims it. We just keep watching that same old bag go by again and again.
    Well, sadly, too many folks live their life that way -watching the same old baggage over and over again, and triggering those all-too-familiar - and often disabling - feelings of resentment, anger, depression, "poor me," victim-itis.
    There was a time my wife and I were talking with a woman who had been hurt and wounded quite a bit. And as she retold it, we could watch her visibly wilt. I had to share with her a bold and a hopeful alternative from the Bible. It's one I've fallen back on so many times. It's a "catch me, I'm falling" prescription for us when the old baggage circles back on our radar.
    In our word for today from the Word of God in Isaiah 43:18-19, God says, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! It is springing up before you. Do you not perceive it?" Now, "dwell." That's an interesting word. Don't live in, don't camp out on, don't stay in what happened in the past. The enemy of my soul, the devil, he loves to have me living in the past, because it can't be changed. And dwelling on what can't be changed equals despair.
    Now, while our enemy keeps pointing backwards, our Savior keeps pointing to what's ahead. "I am doing a new thing" He says. But those who insist on rehashing the old things are going to be looking the wrong way and they're going to miss God's new thing.
    Now, God doesn't ask us to deny the past. But He tells us we don't have to be defined by our past. He invites us to release all the hurts and all the hurters. Release them to Him and to His justice. Leave the payback to Him. To open up the locked closet doors of your past, to drag all that's ugly there into the light and face it once and for all, but with Jesus standing there by your side. And then let the healing begin.
    For two thousand years, wounded people have found Jesus to be the Lord of New Beginnings. See, first, the Bible says He makes us a "new creation in Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:17) - with rewired desires, self-worth, hopes and a passion to live pure. He says, "The old has gone; a new life has begun." That's the rebirth miracle He made possible by dying to cancel and forgive every sin you've ever committed - including mine. That's the rebirth miracle He made possible by dying to cancel and forgive every sin you've ever committed.
    Jesus forgives what no one else can forgive and He heals what no one else can heal. With Jesus running things, your life becomes what He's going to do for you and through you - rather than what others have done to you. You really can turn your seat around. It's a whole lot better to see where you're going than where you've already been. Just ask my grandson.
    The new beginning can be today when you say, "Jesus, I'm yours." We'd like to help with that. Go to our website. It's ANewStory.com. See, hope has a name. His name is Jesus.



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    April 20, 2022 Soft Cement - #9203


    If you're walking along the street and you see some couples' initials written in the sidewalk cement (isn't that romantic!), you know it wasn't put there today. It's doubtful they spent hours chiseling it into the cement. You know those impressions had to be made when that sidewalk had just been laid. I mean, right before it turned hard. You know that famous theater in Hollywood where they have the footprints of many stars in the sidewalk. They didn't use a jackhammer or chisel. No, they did it in fresh cement; soft enough to write in. If they waited, well it would be pretty tough to leave their mark.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Soft Cement."
    Our word for today from the Word of God is in Psalm 78, and David begins here in verse 4, "We will not hide God's commandments from our children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power and the wonders He has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which He commanded our forefathers to teach their children so the next generation would know them. Even the children yet to be born and they in turn would tell their children." Now you can see David here is totally focused on the future generations, he wants them to know the Lord as he and the people he knows have known the Lord.
    Here's the battle cry, "We will tell the next generation!" Man, that is a battle cry. That's a drum beat. And it's never been more urgent than it is today. With so many young people who are deciding to die by their own hand. With so many who are addicted. With so many who are abused and then becoming abusers as a result of it. They need to know our Jesus and we know that our Jesus can change lives forever.
    Now, think about this - over two thirds of people who ever come to Christ do it by the age of 18. So if you see someone walk across that graduation platform without Christ in their life, they're probably going to live and die without Him. And spend eternity without Him. Yeah, we've got to tell the next generation about Jesus when the cement is soft. Any passive response - doing nothing - is equivalent to surrendering to an enemy who is actively engaged in enslaving, and diluting, and deceiving the next generation.
    Maybe you say, "Well, what can I do? I mean, how can I make a difference?" Well number one, would you just ask God to break your heart for the young people of your area. Many years ago I prayed that God would break my heart for young people and I've never gotten over the heart trouble that resulted and I never want to. And then you pray regularly, passionately for the young people close to you, when you see them coming out of school, when you see them hanging out at the local store, cruising the mall. And then pray for the Christian young people who try to live for Christ in that school and that community.
    And then listen to where kids really are. I mean it's nothing like your teenage experience. We cannot reach these kids like the kids in the '50s or '60s or '70s or '80s or '90s or the early 2000s. Interview your own children, your own grandchildren. Listen to them. Read whatever you can about our young people today. The more you listen to where they are I'm convinced the more your heart will be broken.
    And then make a commitment to make a difference. Ask God to show you. Is there any way you could make a difference for one young person; someone to whom you could show the love of Christ, or maybe a group of them. Be an advocate for ministry to young people: in your church, in an organization that's geared to young people, with your local Christian radio station. Be the one who says, "We've got to tell the next generation folks!" Now, you know you may say "Well, I don't think I could have a ministry to a young person." Let me ask you this, do you have the ability to make one person feel important? That's what it takes. If you could make one teenager feel like the only person in the world when they're with you, you'll be an adult they will never forget.
    Remember the cement in young hearts is soft for just a short time, and it's turning hard sooner than ever. If we're going to write Jesus on a person's heart, we probably have to do it before they're 18. So let that ancient battle cry become your battle cry, and that of your ministry, and that of your church. "We will tell the next generation!"


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    April 19, 2022 A Shattered Trophy - #9202


    I don't talk about it much, because I don't want people putting me on a pedestal or asking for autographs. But the fact is I was the (Are you ready for this? Drum roll...) the champion of our county's 8th grade spelling bee. Yep, I even got a trophy. That's right.
    Can't find the trophy though. No, I think the last time I saw it, it was broken. Of course, that's the problem with trophies. Just ask the University of Alabama football team. They won it all a few years back, including the national champion trophy. It was a $30,000 Waterford crystal football. I said was.
    Over one parent's weekend, a player's father somehow (I could see me doing this) knocked it off its stand. It's not a crystal football anymore; it's a million little pieces. Once again, that's the problem with trophies. They break.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "A Shattered Trophy."
    All of life's prizes ultimately shatter and disappoint us. I remember one player on a past national champion football team saying how depressed he was the day after his sports dream had come true. Here's what he said, "When I saw that front page headline about us winning, all I could think was, 'My god just died.'"
    Sounds like Alexander the Great. By the age of 33, he had conquered the then "known" world - a ton of trophies. But instead of being elated, he reportedly was darkly depressed. When an officer asked him why, he just said, "I have no more worlds to conquer."
    One way or another, life's trophies seem to shatter on us. Oh, before we have our trophies in our hand, they look like they're worth whatever we need to do to get it. But then, they disappoint, they disillusion, they disappear. Like that football trophy, they're just like so breakable.
    I suspect we all have a "trophy" we've pursued or are pursuing. You have recognition by some people or group that means a lot to you, a championship, a scholarship, a relationship, raising 'superkids', a dream home, a dream job, a dream person.
    The problem, though, is that trophies tend to become idols; something or someone that pushes God from the center of your life to the margins, and that gets the best of your time, your talent, your treasure.
    I've been giving a lot of thought lately to something John Calvin said, that "the human heart is an idol-making factory." Even your work for God can, at times, become an idol that usurps God's throne in your life. Your ministry can subtly become your master rather than your vehicle for loving Jesus. And suddenly you've got an idol, all wrapped up in Christian garb.
    Trophies shatter because they become too important to us. It's the Demas syndrome. The Apostle Paul described Demas as his "fellow worker," a valued, spiritual soldier (Colossians 4:14). But then, in Paul's greatest hour of need, it says, "Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world" (2 Timothy 4:10).
    See, God loves us too much to let our idols stand. When the Old Testament Philistines hijacked God's sacred Ark of the Covenant, "they set it beside (their god) Dagon." When they went to the temple the next day, "there was Dagon fallen on his face on the ground before the Ark of the Lord." After they had set poor little Dagon up again, the next morning they found him "with his head and hands broken off, lying on the threshold" (1 Samuel 5:1-4). That's got to be really disturbing to find your god without his head! You know?
    Well, when something becomes an idol, it's going to break on you. In our word for today from the Word of God, Jonah 2:8, it says it is because "those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs." Looking back, I see the broken pieces of some shattered trophies. And the wonderful discovery I've found in those fragments; the only real treasure is Christ.
    The failure of our other "gods" points the way to the true God that we were made by and for. The God Jesus died to reunite us with. If you're tired of the disappointment, your heart's ready for Jesus; the Savior who died for you, who rose again from the dead, who's ready to come into your life and fill the hole only He can fill.
    Which would make this a very good time for you to visit our website, ANewStory.com. Because the Bible says about Jesus, we are complete in Him.



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    April 18, 2022 Brotherness - #9201


    I never had a sister when I was growing up, but my sons did. Our daughter is the oldest, and her two brothers each came at about two year intervals after that. As I watched their relationship over the years, it was interesting to see what I had missed: a lot of kidding around, some exciting disagreements, some hugs, some advice, some conflict, but a lot of loyalty. One thing was always really clear, say between our daughter and her older brother. No one had better do his sister wrong. He was always her personal "look-out-forer." Is that a word? And until our son-in-law came along, no guy had ever been good enough to get her brother's "thumbs up." Two years younger, he was always her protector. You know if you're a sister, it's nice to have a brother like that.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Brotherness."
    Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 1 Timothy 5:2, God's roadmap for relationships between young men and young women. He says very simply, "Treat the younger women as sisters, with absolute purity." That's not how our culture tells young men to treat young women. It's more like "treat the young women as conquests, as lovers or something like that." God says they should be treated as your sisters.
    What does that mean? To tease them mercilessly? Argue with them? No, I don't think so. The love of a brother for a sister, after all is said and done, is protective love. Like our son for his sister. "Look, I'm your brother and I won't let anything happen to you that could hurt you." That's why God says that men should treat women "with absolute purity." "I won't use you. I won't push for us to get physically involved. I won't even think about taking your greatest gift - your virginity. I won't let my mind wander into fantasies that would reduce you to a thing. I'll guard your reputation. I'll guard your purity. I'll guard your character."
    Now that's the heart of real manhood: protecting a woman from being hurt, from being used, from being exploited, from being devalued - especially by you. There's a critical shortage of that kind of manhood. The man who steps up to this kind of brotherness is a rare treasure, and like anything rare, he's very valuable. He stands head and shoulder above all the other men who are much more takers than givers.
    How does this brotherness thing work out practically? It means that a young man focuses on developing friendships with women, more than romances. It means opening the door to real closeness by throwing his sexual agenda for the relationship out the window. I have no sexual agenda for this relationship.
    And if you're a young woman who wants young men to be like this, you need to encourage guys you know in that way. Dress like you want brothers and friends, not users. Talk like it. Act like it. Young men desperately need young women who will bring out the best in them - the brother in them.
    If you're a young man, you need some sisters! Develop brother-sister relationships with the young women in your world. You'll experience a level of sharing and caring that the sexual conquerors will never even get close to. Treat her like family, like God's family...like your sister. The manliest men in the world are the men with whom a woman can know she is safe, that she is respected, that she's treasure to be protected from anything that could spoil her.
    Every sister needs that kind of brother. So, let it be you.


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    April 15, 2022 Easter - Up and Personal - #9200


    I'm having sort of flashbacks of some very special Easters past; often at a sunrise service. Like the Easter in Miami, with the sun rising over Biscayne Bay as I spoke about Jesus rising from the dead. Or celebrating Jesus with Native Americans in a public park. And the... Oh, yeah, there was the one on the mountaintop near New York City.
    And then there was that sunny, but cold, Easter on an Ozark mountainside, with the backdrop of the massive white statue of Jesus known as "The Christ of the Ozarks." He stands there, night and day, with His arms open wide. You know, that's my Jesus - arms open wide.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Easter - Up Close and Personal."
    That's why there's a personal invitation woven into the accounts of Jesus' resurrection. The women who had stuck with Jesus when everyone else ran away had come with spices to properly care for Jesus' hastily buried body. What they found rocked their world; the huge stone rolled away from the tomb and a powerful angel sitting on it! Then the shocker of all shockers. We find it in our word for today from the Word of God, Matthew 28:5-6. "I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; He is risen, just as He said."
    Then, the invitation, "Come and see."
    I remember the morning I "came and saw" for myself what Jesus did for me. My life has never been the same. That invitation, by the way, is still open this Easter. Come, see for yourself. You can miss the game-changing impact of Jesus' Easter triumph if you only look at it as a historical event; which, of course it is, but it's so much more than that. You can even miss it if it's just a religious event. It's so much more personal than that, because Jesus died on that cross to take my hell for my sin, so I can go to His heaven. And because Jesus blew away death that Easter dawn, I don't ever have to fear death again. He said to those who belong to Him, "Because I live, you will live also" (John 14:19). Jesus, and Jesus alone, proved He can give eternal life because He's got eternal life!
    There's a lot on the line in that "come and see." Like eternity! Because just knowing about Jesus, liking Jesus, agreeing with Jesus is still missing Jesus. See, He's the gift you have to take to make it yours. He's the Rescuer you have to grab onto in order to be saved. You can be in church, celebrating Easter, but never really have a personal relationship with Him. He can be in your head, but not in your heart. And that's the difference between forever with Him and forever without Him.
    And because everyone deserves a chance at Jesus, He won't let us just sit there and say, "Oh, it's so nice to be here with all the folks who know Jesus." No, His Easter invitation is followed by His Easter orders. "Go and tell" (Matthew 28:10).
    When you've come and seen what Jesus can do, then go and tell those who haven't. To know the love of a crucified Savior and the power of a risen Savior, and not to tell others about Him? That's a crime against Him and a crime against them. And what should I tell them? It says, "Mary Magdalene went...with the news: 'I have seen the Lord'" (John 20:18). That's it! You tell them your Hope Story of your firsthand experience with Jesus and the difference He's made.
    And, look, if you've never come and seen for yourself, if you've never personalized what Jesus did on the cross when He died to pay for every wrong thing you've ever done. If you've never taken Him into your life, let this be the day. What a wonderful time to do that! Just tell Him, "Jesus, I'm Yours." And go to our website. Because I think you'll find there the information that will help you be sure you belong to Him.
    I'm so glad the arms of Jesus are still open wide this Easter, to send those who know Him to "go and tell" those who don't, and to welcome someone who's been searching for a long time - maybe you - to "come and see" His love and His power.
    Yeah, Jesus walked out of His grave that first Easter. He's ready to walk into your life this Easter.



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    April 14, 2022 Still There After the Storm - #9199


    The land is flat around Joplin, Missouri. And then after the great tornado that hit there, much of the town was leveled by that F-5. It was just heartbreaking devastation as far as the eye could see. But you know what? In the midst of all that devastation, there was still one thing still standing. A reporter commented on it as the camera scanned across this sea of wreckage, and you couldn't miss it. It was a cross, and his words went right to my heart, "The church is gone, but the cross is still standing."
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Still There After the Storm."
    My mind flashed back to a brutally painful funeral that I attended years ago. It was on an Indian reservation; it was in this windswept graveyard out in the middle of nowhere. The young man we buried died a sudden and violent death. He'd been on one of our Native teams actually. And as Indian men filed by that open grave to throw that handful of dirt on a coffin, I watched that young man's brother, who we knew and loved very well. I watched him do something he seldom if ever did. He was weeping.
    But there was a simple rugged, wooden cross at the head of that open grave. And this grieving brother was hanging onto that cross and hugging it like it was his only hope. His brother was gone, but the cross was still standing. It was still there for him to hang onto with everything he had.
    Well, our word for today from the Word of God is from Hebrews 6:19. The cross of Jesus has been, for millions, the only hope still standing after the storm has leveled everything else. I've seen it more times than I can count. I've seen it in my own life when the love of my life since I was 19 was suddenly gone, but the cross was still there. Your health is gone, maybe your job is gone, your money is gone, your anchor person is gone, all medical hope is gone, but still, there is in Jesus as it says in this verse, "this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure."
    The cross still stands, proclaiming that God still loves me when it's too dark to see His face. The cross is there, assuring me I'm forgiven when the guilt and the regret are trying to drag me into their pit. The cross remains, reminding me that Jesus has beaten death when death seems to be winning. The cross stands tall, declaring "This is not the end. There is a future beyond this darkness, and I'll be there to build that future with you."
    I wonder, have you ever personally gone to that cross where Jesus loved you so very much that He bled and died for your sin? Have you ever gone there and said those two words that make this cross your anchor; your one sure thing, the words, "Jesus, for me"? In the words of the Bible, "He loved me and gave Himself for me." Have you ever gone and said, "Jesus, I believe what You did there was for my sin, and I no longer want to live one more day without You in my life. I want to be forgiven, and only You can do that. I want to go to heaven, and only You can take me there. I want the hole in my heart filled, and it was made by You and for You, and only You can fill it. So, Jesus, beginning today I'm yours."
    I've put on our website in several forms some information that will show you how to begin life's most important relationship on the road to that cross and on the road to being forgiven. The website is ANewStory.com. I pray you'll check it out today soon.
    Yeah, life has its nearly unbearable Good Fridays. But Good Friday isn't the end. Remember, it's the long night before the blazing sun of Easter morning.



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    April 13, 2022 Cruel Compassion - #9198


    When our daughter was just a baby we had a pretty small house where you could look in all the rooms from the kitchen. During the summer we had this big old exhaust fan on the floor in the kitchen, which was really the only way to suck some air through the house. Well, our daughter thought this fan was kind of intriguing, she thought it would be neat to explore. I walked into the kitchen one day and here she is toddling toward that fan with her hand fully extended. She wanted to put her fingers in the fan! Guess what? I didn't say, "Oh go ahead honey, I love you." No, I said, "No!" She tried again a few minutes later. She really wanted to do this. So I kind of spatted her on the bottom and said, "No, no! Don't do that." Now if I tried to explain it to this little toddler, she wouldn't have understood at all. I just had to stop her. Can't you imagine what she would have said, if she could've said, "Haven't you heard of love? If you love me, you'll let me do what I really want to do." No, not in this case. Today I think she's pretty glad that I didn't think that was love.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Cruel Compassion."
    Our word for today from the Word of God, we're in the book of Lamentations. And what's being lamented is the fall of God's people and the fall of God's city, Jerusalem. Here's a couple things that Jeremiah says. He's talking about Jerusalem, "She was once queen among the provinces and now become a slave, all because of their sin and God's resulting judgment." He goes on to say that, "She herself groans and turns away."
    It's just a time of sadness and shame for God's people. It's a broken time. Well, as this book identifies where the blame ultimately lay, it gets to our word for today from the Word of God. It says in Lamentations 2:14, "The visions of your prophets were false and worthless. They did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The oracles they gave you were false and misleading."
    There's a lot of power in those words because it's saying that the people who knew you were sinning didn't do anything to expose the wrongness and the sinfulness of it. And as a result, they didn't tell you the consequences of staying on that road. So they didn't ward off their captivity. Those people back then? They didn't do any favor to those people by not telling them where God said those actions would take them. In other words, you wanted to stick your fingers in the fan and they didn't stop you. Now, maybe they didn't want to judge anybody. They wanted to be tolerant and loving, and not condemning. That's nice. But then they let them walk right into the blades of God's judgment. See, it's not loving to not let people see where their sin will take them.
    To be non-condemning and loving doesn't mean that we don't tell them what God says the consequences will be. To live and let live when it comes to sin? That's not really compassion. I was told by a couple of men who used to live in a sinfully sexual lifestyle and felt that Christ had given them the power to change and move on from that, they were commenting on people who say, "you know, I think we should just accept them and let them be themselves." And they said "Ron, that's not compassion." They said "Ron, we call that cruel compassion." It's letting them march right into captivity. That's the way these guys felt.
    Listen, whether it's sexual sin, or divorce, or dishonesty, or anger, or "justifiable bitterness," if we leave it unconfronted, unchallenged, without telling them the consequences and what God says he must judge, it's letting a person take a drink you know is laced with poison.
    Sin makes people slaves. It destroys families. It promises to make you feel better about yourself and leaves you feeling worthless and sometimes even suicidal. Sin cuts people off from each other, cuts them off from God. Compassion is doing everything you can to warn them of the wages of sin lovingly. We've got to love people enough to kindly, gently, lovingly tell them the truth.
    Love will always stand in the way of someone who is about to stick their fingers in the fan.


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    April 12, 2022 Taking it to the Boss - #9197


    I know you've experienced it. Let's call it customer frustration. Maybe it's all about a bill you think there's a mistake on, or a problem with your phone or some other service, or maybe it's a store policy that seems like it's got you going in circles just trying to get an answer. You've talked yourself blue in the face, trying to get some resolution from this salesperson or this customer rep. Then it dawns on you...this person doesn't have any authority to make any difference in this situation. They're just reading from the company script. So what do you do? You ask for the boss, the manager, the owner. That's where I usually get an answer, because they've got the authority to do something!
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Taking it to the Boss."
    Authority is really the decisive factor in getting anything done; putting it in the hands of the person who's in charge. Well, that's a fundamental secret of getting things done when you pray! Those who understand that mountain-moving faith is about realizing who's in charge are people who pray with power and who get results.
    Jesus made that clear in our word for today from the Word of God In Luke 7, beginning with verse 7. And we hear the message that a desperate Roman officer sent to Jesus about his dying servant. He was as Scripture says, "valued highly." The centurion says to Jesus, "Say the word and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."
    Then Luke records Jesus' unique response. "When Jesus heard this, He was amazed at him, and turning to the crowds following Him, He said, 'I tell you, I have not found such great faith in Israel.' Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and they found the servant well." Now Jesus had described His own disciples as "you of little faith." But He says this Gentile soldier has great faith. It's the only time in the Bible when we're told Jesus was amazed at someone's faith. Usually, He's amazed at their lack of faith.
    So what kind of faith amazes Jesus, and by the way, prays down miracles? Well, apparently, it's all about authority. This officer was saying, "Just as I have total authority over my soldiers, Jesus, so You have total authority over this disease my servant has. This disease will do what You tell it to do, Lord!" Okay, so when you pray, you pray to Jesus as the Lord over every germ, every virus, every disease on this planet. He is the Lord over every heart of every person in your situation. He is the Lord over every weather system, every home, every piece of land, every human authority, every resource, every corner of this world and this universe. "Jesus, the economy isn't going to decide what happens to me - You are. This condition isn't going to decide it - You are. These people aren't going to decide it - You are. The odds aren't going to decide it - You are!"
    No matter how big the need, no matter how limited the resources, no matter how short the time, Jesus has whatever it takes to do what needs to be done! So quit coming to Jesus as if He's limited to what we can see and what we can come up with. He's the Boss of everything and of everyone that touches your life and your situation! If you want something done, go to the person in charge of the whole universe!


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    April 11, 2022 Playing "Catch" With Daddy - #9196


    My son really likes to read. In fact, he had this spot by his office window where he liked to sit in the morning and read as the sunshine came streaming in. The one book he read there every morning was his Bible. He wanted to make sure that he got his time with Jesus right at the top of the day. He still does that. But this particular day was particularly unforgettable because as he opened his eyes from praying, there was a little chair next to his big chair and our then two-year-old granddaughter (precious girl) was there reading (well, excuse me, she was reading as much as a two-year-old can) a book. It was her toddler's Bible. Oh yeah, and next to her was one melted daddy all over the floor.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Playing 'Catch' With Daddy."
    Did you know children are playing "catch" with their dads all the time? Yeah, they spend their lives catching how we live, how we talk, our ways of responding, and catching our walk with God or lack thereof. Faith is contagious. So is apathy.
    The spiritual responsibility of the man of the house; that's a recurring theme throughout the Bible, starting with the very first man. After Eve violated the restrictions God gave Adam regarding the tree of life in the Garden of Eden, God didn't come looking for Eve. No, He walked the garden, calling, "Where are you, Adam?" (Genesis 3:9) It was clear the buck stopped with the man.
    When aging Sarah laughed at God's promise that she and Abraham would have a child in their old age, guess who God asked about why she didn't believe? He didn't ask Sarah. He asked Abraham as if He was saying, "You mean after all these years around you, she doesn't have any more faith than that?" By New Testament times, God identifies the man as the Christ-figure of the home, responsible to lead the home by loving his wife with the same kind of life-giving sacrificing love that Jesus showed us.
    Then, in our word for today from the Word of God, He defies our culture's copout misconception that the man is just the physical provider while the spiritual provider of the home is the woman. Ephesians 6:4 shows us what the manufacturer's manual says about how the family is designed to run: "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." Dad, you're God's designated spiritual coach for your son or daughter. He's counting on you to "instruct" them, it says, to regularly explain God's love and God's ways to them. And He's expecting you to "train" them, it says, to show them by your life what God is like, and to model for them a consistent, powerful relationship with Him. How are you doing, Coach?
    Just look at your children and you may very well be looking into a mirror of the vitality and the reality of your own relationship with Jesus Christ. If you're cool or cold toward God, you'll probably see it in them. If you're excited about God, about His Word, about His work, you'll probably see it in them. If you're negative and critical spiritually and they hear a lot about what's wrong with Christians, don't be surprised if they don't want much to do with Jesus. If your actions contradict your Christian words, it will be hard for them to think of Jesus as very real. If they see you responding to problems by trusting God in prayer, that's what they'll learn to do. And if they see you seeking your Lord regularly in the Bible, you may even find them next to you one day, like my son did, seeking Him, too.
    If you're like most of us guys, you don't like to do the things you don't feel secure doing, and you may not feel secure trying to step up to spiritual leadership at home. You're afraid you'll fail. But you know, the only way you can really fail is if you don't do it. You won't nag your son or daughter into loving and following Jesus. You won't legislate them into it. Children learn what they live. Make sure as they live with you, that they're living with a walking, talking example of a man who's just in love with Jesus.


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    April 8, 2022 The Light in Your Night - #9195


    We had rented this nice cabin in the mountains, and we really didn't want to leave it much. The view across the valley was like a painting. It would change as the sun changed and the weather changed; all kinds of moods, you know, like you see in the mountains.
    I had looked at the mountain across the valley from us many times, but I finally took a good look in that direction at night. That's when I saw it - the cross. There was a lighted cross on top of the mountain, glowing in the night from a vantage point where it could be seen all around. Actually, that cross is there all the time but you don't really see it until it's dark.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Light in Your Night."
    You know, for many of us, the greatest discovery of our lives came when it was night; one of those dark times that we all go through in our life. A lot of people have learned that when it's night, you can see the cross, often for the first time in your life.
    The cross - that awful place where Jesus was brutally crucified - turns out to be the ultimate proof of how much God loves you and me. If it's sacrifice that proves love, then we don't ever have to wonder how God feels about us. God the Father gave up God the Son to absorb the guilt and the hell for every wrong thing you and I have ever done. There's never been a greater sacrifice. There's never been a greater love.
    But we can know about what happened on that cross. We can be around it for years and still miss that forgiveness, that love, even the heaven that Jesus died to give us. Maybe you've been kind of skirting the issue of dealing with Jesus personally. Maybe you feel someone's been pressuring you about Jesus, and that's just made you resist Him even more. Maybe it's pride that's kept you from having a life-changing encounter at the cross, or it could even be your Christianity, because you've had so much Christianity you thought you had Christ.
    It's easy to go very busily about the routines of your life and never really see that cross until...it's suddenly night time. Something happens to your health, to your family, to your job, whatever you've counted on for security. And none of your answers, none of your fixes are enough. That's when a lot of people look up and finally see the cross, shining there in the night, showing them where hope is.
    In John 12:32-33, our word for today from the Word of God, Jesus said, "'When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to Myself.' He said this to show the kind of death He was going to die.'" See, that was it - lifted up to die on a cross. But there would be a magnet in that old hunk of wood; a magnet that would draw the people He died for right to His side. It sure did that for me.
    Which is exactly why you might be feeling that tug in your heart right now. Jesus is drawing you to come to the cross, to give yourself to Him; to find what you've spent your whole life looking for. All those religious hang-ups, all those lame arguments, all the proud resistance, all the spiritual pride that just drops to the ground at the foot of His cross and you finally belong to the One you were made for.
    If you've been doing it without Jesus all these years, for whatever reason, and you want this to be the day you finally experience Him for yourself, would you tell Him that right where you are, "Lord, I turn from the running of my own life. I am pinning all my hopes on You because You died for me, and You walked out of your grave so you could walk into my life and I want you to today."
    If that's what you want, I think our website is a good place for you to go right now. Because that's where I've laid out in a very simple and non-religious way exactly what the Bible says about how to be sure you belong to Jesus, and how you can know that every sin of your life's been forgiven; how you can know for sure you're going to heaven. I hope you'll check it out. It's ANewStory.com.
    Look, maybe it's night right now, not because God doesn't love you, but because He does. He doesn't want to lose you. His cross shines very brightly in your night.
    Once you meet Him there, it will never be night in your soul again.



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    April 7, 2022 Someone Else's Fault - #9194


    Years ago there was a cowboy hero, and a young boy who thought he was a big deal. The boy was me. And my parents bought me this plate with my hero's picture on it and an inscription that said, "That a boy! You cleaned your plate." I wanted his approval very much, so I just kept cleaning my plate...and filling it so I could clean it again. By the time I was in high school, I weighed 210 pounds. And whose fault was it that I was so heavy? I've told many people - it was the fault of that cowboy hero, of course. Well, at least I wish I could have blamed him.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Someone Else's Fault."
    I've always been joking, of course, when I blamed my "clean your plate" hero for my teenage weight problems. But it's no joke that blaming someone else is, for most of us, one of our favorite ways to account for something in our life that shouldn't be there - whether it's a bad attitude, a bad habit, a bad situation, or a bad relationship.
    This attempt to dodge the responsibility for our actions is nothing new. Centuries ago, the prophet Nathan was sent by God to confront King David with his sins of adultery and conspiracy to commit murder. David had slept with Bathsheba, the wife of one of his most loyal soldiers, and then arranged for that man's death in battle. When David learned that Bathsheba was pregnant, well, he knew he had a serious problem on his hands and he tried to cover it up. But Nathan approached David with the parable of a rich man who had owned many sheep and a poor man who owned one little lamb. When a traveler came for dinner at the rich man's house, the rich man killed the poor man's one little lamb for dinner. David was enraged at this rich man's outrageous crime, and he angrily said, "The man who did this deserves to die!"
    Then Nathan said these four chilling words to the king, "You are the man!" And in 2 Samuel 12:13, our word for today from the Word of God, "David said to Nathan, 'I have sinned against the Lord.'" That moment of painful honesty was the beginning of David's deep repentance and the restoration of his shattered relationship with God. It took a while, but David finally accepted the responsibility for what he had done. And the healing began that moment.
    That's how it will begin for maybe you, someone who's listening right now. As you look at that bad situation, the mess, the problems, you've got two choices - blame someone else or accept your part of the responsibility for that broken or strained relationship, for that negativity, for that conflict, the mess, or the trouble. Many of us hide from taking responsibility for our situation with some kind of a victim copout.
    Maybe you've honestly been hurt. You've been wronged, and you can't do anything about the other person taking responsibility for what they've done. But you can accept the responsibility for the way you've handled it,maybe for the wrong things you've tried to excuse by the wrong things someone else did. Those who have been victims - and those who have been victimizers - never get free until they realize that they are now the victims of their own choices, not someone else's.
    There's an old spiritual that goes something like this, "Not my brother, not my sister, but it's me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer." That's a great place to start - looking in the mirror and asking, "Lord, what do I need to change?" Taking responsibility: that's the price of healing and the price of greatness.


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    April 6, 2022 Laughing When They're Crying - #9293


    They were very exciting years; those days when God launched our radio outreach to young people. The Lord used that youth program to present Jesus to young people in almost 400 areas of this country and about 60 countries of the world. And the early ones; the first ones we did, they were especially exciting because it was like a new kind of Christian program in the country. We were living in New Jersey. The program originated from Chicago, and it was neat to have two or three children with me for those pioneer broadcasts. We kind of shared the excitement.
    At our first live "call in" on a Saturday night, we were so excited! So we celebrated by going to one of the most famous pizza restaurants in Chicago. There was a long line to get in (like there usually is on a weekend), and the line went past a pay phone in the days before cell phones. We didn't have much to do waiting in line, so we had this great idea. I said, "Hey, let's call your little brother. Let's include him in the celebration!" We were pumped! Bad idea.
    Yeah, we called and we were all talking at once about how the program had gone, and about the neat pizza place where we were at, and then there was finally a brief break in our chatter and my youngest son finally had a chance to talk. He started crying about our little parakeet, Chappy. He just said, "Chappy's dead." I don't mean to laugh, but that's all he could say. So here we are partying over the phone, and the kid on the other end is parakeet mourning.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Laughing When They're Crying."
    Our word for today from the Word of God is from Romans 12:15. It's a call to care - a challenge to live sensitively, which we weren't doing that night. It simply says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn." No heavy theology. No big words. Just a down-to-earth definition of what it means to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Which James describes as "the royal law."
    It means that we're going to have to do better than that night that we called my youngest. I mean, we were laughing and he was crying. How do we make the mistake of walking over people's feelings instead of walking with them through their feelings? It starts by what we did that night when we had so much to celebrate. We talked before we listened.
    God knew we needed this reminder in James 1:19, "Be slow to speak and quick to listen." See, we always want to come roaring in with our story, our feelings, our problem, our victory. But love and unselfishness, you know what they say? "First, how are you feeling?" That's hard for me when I'm coming back excited, maybe from what God's done in a recent ministry trip. But if I'm going to really love the people at home, I need to hold back. I've got to ask what's happened in their life while I'm gone. If I don't listen, I won't know what they need for me to laugh with or to weep with.
    Without thinking, we tend to operate on the principle that what I have to say is more important than what you have to say. What I've got to get done is more important than what you've got to get done. What I'm feeling is more important. We run right over people who need us to either laugh with them or weep with them.
    But Jesus shows us something better. Even in His hour of ultimate suffering on the cross, He was caring about the needs of His mother, caring about the man on the cross next to Him. In Hebrews 4:15 it says of the busiest person in the universe, "He is not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses." He enters into our feelings, so we can trust Him.
    People around you need your Jesus, and they need Him sometimes with skin on. You're His skin, His face, you're His listening ear, you're His voice, you're His tender heart. It means you're willing to weep with them even when you feel like rejoicing, or to rejoice with them even if you feel like weeping.
    I won't forget that night we inadvertently added to a little boy's grief because we didn't feel his heart before we talked about ours. Love in the simplest form is putting the other person first, and leading with what is in their heart.


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    April 6, 2022 Laughing When They're Crying - #9193


    They were very exciting years; those days when God launched our radio outreach to young people. The Lord used that youth program to present Jesus to young people in almost 400 areas of this country and about 60 countries of the world. And the early ones; the first ones we did, they were especially exciting because it was like a new kind of Christian program in the country. We were living in New Jersey. The program originated from Chicago, and it was neat to have two or three children with me for those pioneer broadcasts. We kind of shared the excitement.
    At our first live "call in" on a Saturday night, we were so excited! So we celebrated by going to one of the most famous pizza restaurants in Chicago. There was a long line to get in (like there usually is on a weekend), and the line went past a pay phone in the days before cell phones. We didn't have much to do waiting in line, so we had this great idea. I said, "Hey, let's call your little brother. Let's include him in the celebration!" We were pumped! Bad idea.
    Yeah, we called and we were all talking at once about how the program had gone, and about the neat pizza place where we were at, and then there was finally a brief break in our chatter and my youngest son finally had a chance to talk. He started crying about our little parakeet, Chappy. He just said, "Chappy's dead." I don't mean to laugh, but that's all he could say. So here we are partying over the phone, and the kid on the other end is parakeet mourning.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Laughing When They're Crying."
    Our word for today from the Word of God is from Romans 12:15. It's a call to care - a challenge to live sensitively, which we weren't doing that night. It simply says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn." No heavy theology. No big words. Just a down-to-earth definition of what it means to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Which James describes as "the royal law."
    It means that we're going to have to do better than that night that we called my youngest. I mean, we were laughing and he was crying. How do we make the mistake of walking over people's feelings instead of walking with them through their feelings? It starts by what we did that night when we had so much to celebrate. We talked before we listened.
    God knew we needed this reminder in James 1:19, "Be slow to speak and quick to listen." See, we always want to come roaring in with our story, our feelings, our problem, our victory. But love and unselfishness, you know what they say? "First, how are you feeling?" That's hard for me when I'm coming back excited, maybe from what God's done in a recent ministry trip. But if I'm going to really love the people at home, I need to hold back. I've got to ask what's happened in their life while I'm gone. If I don't listen, I won't know what they need for me to laugh with or to weep with.
    Without thinking, we tend to operate on the principle that what I have to say is more important than what you have to say. What I've got to get done is more important than what you've got to get done. What I'm feeling is more important. We run right over people who need us to either laugh with them or weep with them.
    But Jesus shows us something better. Even in His hour of ultimate suffering on the cross, He was caring about the needs of His mother, caring about the man on the cross next to Him. In Hebrews 4:15 it says of the busiest person in the universe, "He is not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses." He enters into our feelings, so we can trust Him.
    People around you need your Jesus, and they need Him sometimes with skin on. You're His skin, His face, you're His listening ear, you're His voice, you're His tender heart. It means you're willing to weep with them even when you feel like rejoicing, or to rejoice with them even if you feel like weeping.
    I won't forget that night we inadvertently added to a little boy's grief because we didn't feel his heart before we talked about ours. Love in the simplest form is putting the other person first, and leading with what is in their heart.


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    April 6, 2022 Laughing When They're Crying - #9193


    They were very exciting years; those days when God launched our radio outreach to young people. The Lord used that youth program to present Jesus to young people in almost 400 areas of this country and about 60 countries of the world. And the early ones; the first ones we did, they were especially exciting because it was like a new kind of Christian program in the country. We were living in New Jersey. The program originated from Chicago, and it was neat to have two or three children with me for those pioneer broadcasts. We kind of shared the excitement.
    At our first live "call in" on a Saturday night, we were so excited! So we celebrated by going to one of the most famous pizza restaurants in Chicago. There was a long line to get in (like there usually is on a weekend), and the line went past a pay phone in the days before cell phones. We didn't have much to do waiting in line, so we had this great idea. I said, "Hey, let's call your little brother. Let's include him in the celebration!" We were pumped! Bad idea.
    Yeah, we called and we were all talking at once about how the program had gone, and about the neat pizza place where we were at, and then there was finally a brief break in our chatter and my youngest son finally had a chance to talk. He started crying about our little parakeet, Chappy. He just said, "Chappy's dead." I don't mean to laugh, but that's all he could say. So here we are partying over the phone, and the kid on the other end is parakeet mourning.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Laughing When They're Crying."
    Our word for today from the Word of God is from Romans 12:15. It's a call to care - a challenge to live sensitively, which we weren't doing that night. It simply says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn." No heavy theology. No big words. Just a down-to-earth definition of what it means to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Which James describes as "the royal law."
    It means that we're going to have to do better than that night that we called my youngest. I mean, we were laughing and he was crying. How do we make the mistake of walking over people's feelings instead of walking with them through their feelings? It starts by what we did that night when we had so much to celebrate. We talked before we listened.
    God knew we needed this reminder in James 1:19, "Be slow to speak and quick to listen." See, we always want to come roaring in with our story, our feelings, our problem, our victory. But love and unselfishness, you know what they say? "First, how are you feeling?" That's hard for me when I'm coming back excited, maybe from what God's done in a recent ministry trip. But if I'm going to really love the people at home, I need to hold back. I've got to ask what's happened in their life while I'm gone. If I don't listen, I won't know what they need for me to laugh with or to weep with.
    Without thinking, we tend to operate on the principle that what I have to say is more important than what you have to say. What I've got to get done is more important than what you've got to get done. What I'm feeling is more important. We run right over people who need us to either laugh with them or weep with them.
    But Jesus shows us something better. Even in His hour of ultimate suffering on the cross, He was caring about the needs of His mother, caring about the man on the cross next to Him. In Hebrews 4:15 it says of the busiest person in the universe, "He is not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses." He enters into our feelings, so we can trust Him.
    People around you need your Jesus, and they need Him sometimes with skin on. You're His skin, His face, you're His listening ear, you're His voice, you're His tender heart. It means you're willing to weep with them even when you feel like rejoicing, or to rejoice with them even if you feel like weeping.
    I won't forget that night we inadvertently added to a little boy's grief because we didn't feel his heart before we talked about ours. Love in the simplest form is putting the other person first, and leading with what is in their heart.


  • volume_up
    April 6, 2022 Laughing When They're Crying - #9193


    They were very exciting years; those days when God launched our radio outreach to young people. The Lord used that youth program to present Jesus to young people in almost 400 areas of this country and about 60 countries of the world. And the early ones; the first ones we did, they were especially exciting because it was like a new kind of Christian program in the country. We were living in New Jersey. The program originated from Chicago, and it was neat to have two or three children with me for those pioneer broadcasts. We kind of shared the excitement.
    At our first live "call in" on a Saturday night, we were so excited! So we celebrated by going to one of the most famous pizza restaurants in Chicago. There was a long line to get in (like there usually is on a weekend), and the line went past a pay phone in the days before cell phones. We didn't have much to do waiting in line, so we had this great idea. I said, "Hey, let's call your little brother. Let's include him in the celebration!" We were pumped! Bad idea.
    Yeah, we called and we were all talking at once about how the program had gone, and about the neat pizza place where we were at, and then there was finally a brief break in our chatter and my youngest son finally had a chance to talk. He started crying about our little parakeet, Chappy. He just said, "Chappy's dead." I don't mean to laugh, but that's all he could say. So here we are partying over the phone, and the kid on the other end is parakeet mourning.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Laughing When They're Crying."
    Our word for today from the Word of God is from Romans 12:15. It's a call to care - a challenge to live sensitively, which we weren't doing that night. It simply says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn." No heavy theology. No big words. Just a down-to-earth definition of what it means to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Which James describes as "the royal law."
    It means that we're going to have to do better than that night that we called my youngest. I mean, we were laughing and he was crying. How do we make the mistake of walking over people's feelings instead of walking with them through their feelings? It starts by what we did that night when we had so much to celebrate. We talked before we listened.
    God knew we needed this reminder in James 1:19, "Be slow to speak and quick to listen." See, we always want to come roaring in with our story, our feelings, our problem, our victory. But love and unselfishness, you know what they say? "First, how are you feeling?" That's hard for me when I'm coming back excited, maybe from what God's done in a recent ministry trip. But if I'm going to really love the people at home, I need to hold back. I've got to ask what's happened in their life while I'm gone. If I don't listen, I won't know what they need for me to laugh with or to weep with.
    Without thinking, we tend to operate on the principle that what I have to say is more important than what you have to say. What I've got to get done is more important than what you've got to get done. What I'm feeling is more important. We run right over people who need us to either laugh with them or weep with them.
    But Jesus shows us something better. Even in His hour of ultimate suffering on the cross, He was caring about the needs of His mother, caring about the man on the cross next to Him. In Hebrews 4:15 it says of the busiest person in the universe, "He is not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses." He enters into our feelings, so we can trust Him.
    People around you need your Jesus, and they need Him sometimes with skin on. You're His skin, His face, you're His listening ear, you're His voice, you're His tender heart. It means you're willing to weep with them even when you feel like rejoicing, or to rejoice with them even if you feel like weeping.
    I won't forget that night we inadvertently added to a little boy's grief because we didn't feel his heart before we talked about ours. Love in the simplest form is putting the other person first, and leading with what is in their heart.


  • volume_up
    April 6, 2022 Laughing When They're Crying - #9193


    They were very exciting years; those days when God launched our radio outreach to young people. The Lord used that youth program to present Jesus to young people in almost 400 areas of this country and about 60 countries of the world. And the early ones; the first ones we did, they were especially exciting because it was like a new kind of Christian program in the country. We were living in New Jersey. The program originated from Chicago, and it was neat to have two or three children with me for those pioneer broadcasts. We kind of shared the excitement.
    At our first live "call in" on a Saturday night, we were so excited! So we celebrated by going to one of the most famous pizza restaurants in Chicago. There was a long line to get in (like there usually is on a weekend), and the line went past a pay phone in the days before cell phones. We didn't have much to do waiting in line, so we had this great idea. I said, "Hey, let's call your little brother. Let's include him in the celebration!" We were pumped! Bad idea.
    Yeah, we called and we were all talking at once about how the program had gone, and about the neat pizza place where we were at, and then there was finally a brief break in our chatter and my youngest son finally had a chance to talk. He started crying about our little parakeet, Chappy. He just said, "Chappy's dead." I don't mean to laugh, but that's all he could say. So here we are partying over the phone, and the kid on the other end is parakeet mourning.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Laughing When They're Crying."
    Our word for today from the Word of God is from Romans 12:15. It's a call to care - a challenge to live sensitively, which we weren't doing that night. It simply says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn." No heavy theology. No big words. Just a down-to-earth definition of what it means to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Which James describes as "the royal law."
    It means that we're going to have to do better than that night that we called my youngest. I mean, we were laughing and he was crying. How do we make the mistake of walking over people's feelings instead of walking with them through their feelings? It starts by what we did that night when we had so much to celebrate. We talked before we listened.
    God knew we needed this reminder in James 1:19, "Be slow to speak and quick to listen." See, we always want to come roaring in with our story, our feelings, our problem, our victory. But love and unselfishness, you know what they say? "First, how are you feeling?" That's hard for me when I'm coming back excited, maybe from what God's done in a recent ministry trip. But if I'm going to really love the people at home, I need to hold back. I've got to ask what's happened in their life while I'm gone. If I don't listen, I won't know what they need for me to laugh with or to weep with.
    Without thinking, we tend to operate on the principle that what I have to say is more important than what you have to say. What I've got to get done is more important than what you've got to get done. What I'm feeling is more important. We run right over people who need us to either laugh with them or weep with them.
    But Jesus shows us something better. Even in His hour of ultimate suffering on the cross, He was caring about the needs of His mother, caring about the man on the cross next to Him. In Hebrews 4:15 it says of the busiest person in the universe, "He is not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses." He enters into our feelings, so we can trust Him.
    People around you need your Jesus, and they need Him sometimes with skin on. You're His skin, His face, you're His listening ear, you're His voice, you're His tender heart. It means you're willing to weep with them even when you feel like rejoicing, or to rejoice with them even if you feel like weeping.
    I won't forget that night we inadvertently added to a little boy's grief because we didn't feel his heart before we talked about ours. Love in the simplest form is putting the other person first, and leading with what is in their heart.


  • volume_up
    April 6, 2022 Laughing When They're Crying - #9193


    They were very exciting years; those days when God launched our radio outreach to young people. The Lord used that youth program to present Jesus to young people in almost 400 areas of this country and about 60 countries of the world. And the early ones; the first ones we did, they were especially exciting because it was like a new kind of Christian program in the country. We were living in New Jersey. The program originated from Chicago, and it was neat to have two or three children with me for those pioneer broadcasts. We kind of shared the excitement.
    At our first live "call in" on a Saturday night, we were so excited! So we celebrated by going to one of the most famous pizza restaurants in Chicago. There was a long line to get in (like there usually is on a weekend), and the line went past a pay phone in the days before cell phones. We didn't have much to do waiting in line, so we had this great idea. I said, "Hey, let's call your little brother. Let's include him in the celebration!" We were pumped! Bad idea.
    Yeah, we called and we were all talking at once about how the program had gone, and about the neat pizza place where we were at, and then there was finally a brief break in our chatter and my youngest son finally had a chance to talk. He started crying about our little parakeet, Chappy. He just said, "Chappy's dead." I don't mean to laugh, but that's all he could say. So here we are partying over the phone, and the kid on the other end is parakeet mourning.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Laughing When They're Crying."
    Our word for today from the Word of God is from Romans 12:15. It's a call to care - a challenge to live sensitively, which we weren't doing that night. It simply says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn." No heavy theology. No big words. Just a down-to-earth definition of what it means to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Which James describes as "the royal law."
    It means that we're going to have to do better than that night that we called my youngest. I mean, we were laughing and he was crying. How do we make the mistake of walking over people's feelings instead of walking with them through their feelings? It starts by what we did that night when we had so much to celebrate. We talked before we listened.
    God knew we needed this reminder in James 1:19, "Be slow to speak and quick to listen." See, we always want to come roaring in with our story, our feelings, our problem, our victory. But love and unselfishness, you know what they say? "First, how are you feeling?" That's hard for me when I'm coming back excited, maybe from what God's done in a recent ministry trip. But if I'm going to really love the people at home, I need to hold back. I've got to ask what's happened in their life while I'm gone. If I don't listen, I won't know what they need for me to laugh with or to weep with.
    Without thinking, we tend to operate on the principle that what I have to say is more important than what you have to say. What I've got to get done is more important than what you've got to get done. What I'm feeling is more important. We run right over people who need us to either laugh with them or weep with them.
    But Jesus shows us something better. Even in His hour of ultimate suffering on the cross, He was caring about the needs of His mother, caring about the man on the cross next to Him. In Hebrews 4:15 it says of the busiest person in the universe, "He is not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses." He enters into our feelings, so we can trust Him.
    People around you need your Jesus, and they need Him sometimes with skin on. You're His skin, His face, you're His listening ear, you're His voice, you're His tender heart. It means you're willing to weep with them even when you feel like rejoicing, or to rejoice with them even if you feel like weeping.
    I won't forget that night we inadvertently added to a little boy's grief because we didn't feel his heart before we talked about ours. Love in the simplest form is putting the other person first, and leading with what is in their heart.


  • volume_up
    April 6, 2022 Laughing When They're Crying - #9193


    They were very exciting years; those days when God launched our radio outreach to young people. The Lord used that youth program to present Jesus to young people in almost 400 areas of this country and about 60 countries of the world. And the early ones; the first ones we did, they were especially exciting because it was like a new kind of Christian program in the country. We were living in New Jersey. The program originated from Chicago, and it was neat to have two or three children with me for those pioneer broadcasts. We kind of shared the excitement.
    At our first live "call in" on a Saturday night, we were so excited! So we celebrated by going to one of the most famous pizza restaurants in Chicago. There was a long line to get in (like there usually is on a weekend), and the line went past a pay phone in the days before cell phones. We didn't have much to do waiting in line, so we had this great idea. I said, "Hey, let's call your little brother. Let's include him in the celebration!" We were pumped! Bad idea.
    Yeah, we called and we were all talking at once about how the program had gone, and about the neat pizza place where we were at, and then there was finally a brief break in our chatter and my youngest son finally had a chance to talk. He started crying about our little parakeet, Chappy. He just said, "Chappy's dead." I don't mean to laugh, but that's all he could say. So here we are partying over the phone, and the kid on the other end is parakeet mourning.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Laughing When They're Crying."
    Our word for today from the Word of God is from Romans 12:15. It's a call to care - a challenge to live sensitively, which we weren't doing that night. It simply says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn." No heavy theology. No big words. Just a down-to-earth definition of what it means to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Which James describes as "the royal law."
    It means that we're going to have to do better than that night that we called my youngest. I mean, we were laughing and he was crying. How do we make the mistake of walking over people's feelings instead of walking with them through their feelings? It starts by what we did that night when we had so much to celebrate. We talked before we listened.
    God knew we needed this reminder in James 1:19, "Be slow to speak and quick to listen." See, we always want to come roaring in with our story, our feelings, our problem, our victory. But love and unselfishness, you know what they say? "First, how are you feeling?" That's hard for me when I'm coming back excited, maybe from what God's done in a recent ministry trip. But if I'm going to really love the people at home, I need to hold back. I've got to ask what's happened in their life while I'm gone. If I don't listen, I won't know what they need for me to laugh with or to weep with.
    Without thinking, we tend to operate on the principle that what I have to say is more important than what you have to say. What I've got to get done is more important than what you've got to get done. What I'm feeling is more important. We run right over people who need us to either laugh with them or weep with them.
    But Jesus shows us something better. Even in His hour of ultimate suffering on the cross, He was caring about the needs of His mother, caring about the man on the cross next to Him. In Hebrews 4:15 it says of the busiest person in the universe, "He is not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses." He enters into our feelings, so we can trust Him.
    People around you need your Jesus, and they need Him sometimes with skin on. You're His skin, His face, you're His listening ear, you're His voice, you're His tender heart. It means you're willing to weep with them even when you feel like rejoicing, or to rejoice with them even if you feel like weeping.
    I won't forget that night we inadvertently added to a little boy's grief because we didn't feel his heart before we talked about ours. Love in the simplest form is putting the other person first, and leading with what is in their heart.


  • volume_up
    April 6, 2022 Laughing When They're Crying - #9193


    They were very exciting years; those days when God launched our radio outreach to young people. The Lord used that youth program to present Jesus to young people in almost 400 areas of this country and about 60 countries of the world. And the early ones; the first ones we did, they were especially exciting because it was like a new kind of Christian program in the country. We were living in New Jersey. The program originated from Chicago, and it was neat to have two or three children with me for those pioneer broadcasts. We kind of shared the excitement.
    At our first live "call in" on a Saturday night, we were so excited! So we celebrated by going to one of the most famous pizza restaurants in Chicago. There was a long line to get in (like there usually is on a weekend), and the line went past a pay phone in the days before cell phones. We didn't have much to do waiting in line, so we had this great idea. I said, "Hey, let's call your little brother. Let's include him in the celebration!" We were pumped! Bad idea.
    Yeah, we called and we were all talking at once about how the program had gone, and about the neat pizza place where we were at, and then there was finally a brief break in our chatter and my youngest son finally had a chance to talk. He started crying about our little parakeet, Chappy. He just said, "Chappy's dead." I don't mean to laugh, but that's all he could say. So here we are partying over the phone, and the kid on the other end is parakeet mourning.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Laughing When They're Crying."
    Our word for today from the Word of God is from Romans 12:15. It's a call to care - a challenge to live sensitively, which we weren't doing that night. It simply says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn." No heavy theology. No big words. Just a down-to-earth definition of what it means to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Which James describes as "the royal law."
    It means that we're going to have to do better than that night that we called my youngest. I mean, we were laughing and he was crying. How do we make the mistake of walking over people's feelings instead of walking with them through their feelings? It starts by what we did that night when we had so much to celebrate. We talked before we listened.
    God knew we needed this reminder in James 1:19, "Be slow to speak and quick to listen." See, we always want to come roaring in with our story, our feelings, our problem, our victory. But love and unselfishness, you know what they say? "First, how are you feeling?" That's hard for me when I'm coming back excited, maybe from what God's done in a recent ministry trip. But if I'm going to really love the people at home, I need to hold back. I've got to ask what's happened in their life while I'm gone. If I don't listen, I won't know what they need for me to laugh with or to weep with.
    Without thinking, we tend to operate on the principle that what I have to say is more important than what you have to say. What I've got to get done is more important than what you've got to get done. What I'm feeling is more important. We run right over people who need us to either laugh with them or weep with them.
    But Jesus shows us something better. Even in His hour of ultimate suffering on the cross, He was caring about the needs of His mother, caring about the man on the cross next to Him. In Hebrews 4:15 it says of the busiest person in the universe, "He is not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses." He enters into our feelings, so we can trust Him.
    People around you need your Jesus, and they need Him sometimes with skin on. You're His skin, His face, you're His listening ear, you're His voice, you're His tender heart. It means you're willing to weep with them even when you feel like rejoicing, or to rejoice with them even if you feel like weeping.
    I won't forget that night we inadvertently added to a little boy's grief because we didn't feel his heart before we talked about ours. Love in the simplest form is putting the other person first, and leading with what is in their heart.


  • volume_up
    April 6, 2022 Laughing When They're Crying - #9193


    They were very exciting years; those days when God launched our radio outreach to young people. The Lord used that youth program to present Jesus to young people in almost 400 areas of this country and about 60 countries of the world. And the early ones; the first ones we did, they were especially exciting because it was like a new kind of Christian program in the country. We were living in New Jersey. The program originated from Chicago, and it was neat to have two or three children with me for those pioneer broadcasts. We kind of shared the excitement.
    At our first live "call in" on a Saturday night, we were so excited! So we celebrated by going to one of the most famous pizza restaurants in Chicago. There was a long line to get in (like there usually is on a weekend), and the line went past a pay phone in the days before cell phones. We didn't have much to do waiting in line, so we had this great idea. I said, "Hey, let's call your little brother. Let's include him in the celebration!" We were pumped! Bad idea.
    Yeah, we called and we were all talking at once about how the program had gone, and about the neat pizza place where we were at, and then there was finally a brief break in our chatter and my youngest son finally had a chance to talk. He started crying about our little parakeet, Chappy. He just said, "Chappy's dead." I don't mean to laugh, but that's all he could say. So here we are partying over the phone, and the kid on the other end is parakeet mourning.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Laughing When They're Crying."
    Our word for today from the Word of God is from Romans 12:15. It's a call to care - a challenge to live sensitively, which we weren't doing that night. It simply says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn." No heavy theology. No big words. Just a down-to-earth definition of what it means to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Which James describes as "the royal law."
    It means that we're going to have to do better than that night that we called my youngest. I mean, we were laughing and he was crying. How do we make the mistake of walking over people's feelings instead of walking with them through their feelings? It starts by what we did that night when we had so much to celebrate. We talked before we listened.
    God knew we needed this reminder in James 1:19, "Be slow to speak and quick to listen." See, we always want to come roaring in with our story, our feelings, our problem, our victory. But love and unselfishness, you know what they say? "First, how are you feeling?" That's hard for me when I'm coming back excited, maybe from what God's done in a recent ministry trip. But if I'm going to really love the people at home, I need to hold back. I've got to ask what's happened in their life while I'm gone. If I don't listen, I won't know what they need for me to laugh with or to weep with.
    Without thinking, we tend to operate on the principle that what I have to say is more important than what you have to say. What I've got to get done is more important than what you've got to get done. What I'm feeling is more important. We run right over people who need us to either laugh with them or weep with them.
    But Jesus shows us something better. Even in His hour of ultimate suffering on the cross, He was caring about the needs of His mother, caring about the man on the cross next to Him. In Hebrews 4:15 it says of the busiest person in the universe, "He is not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses." He enters into our feelings, so we can trust Him.
    People around you need your Jesus, and they need Him sometimes with skin on. You're His skin, His face, you're His listening ear, you're His voice, you're His tender heart. It means you're willing to weep with them even when you feel like rejoicing, or to rejoice with them even if you feel like weeping.
    I won't forget that night we inadvertently added to a little boy's grief because we didn't feel his heart before we talked about ours. Love in the simplest form is putting the other person first, and leading with what is in their heart.


  • volume_up
    April 5, 2022 Green Lights and God's Will - #9292


    There's this island on the New Jersey Shore that our family loved to go to when we had a holiday weekend. After you cross the causeway from the mainland, you enter an island that's long and it's really narrow. In fact, at many points, you can drive right along that long street that runs through the center of that island and you see the bay just to one side and the ocean right there on the other side. I've driven that long street many times. Because it's flat, you can see the traffic lights way ahead of you. Often, I would start off with a green light in front of me and I'd be looking at some red lights up ahead; maybe a long line of red lights. But as I approached them, those reds would turn green, and I kept going. You'll be happy to know that when I came to a red light, I stopped - like the good boy I always am. You knew that!
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Green Lights and God's Will."
    For some folks, when you just say those words "God's will," the fog starts rolling in, they hear mystical music, and their blood pressure goes up. This business of knowing what God's will is seems so hard for many of us. But, of course, God didn't create a plan for your life to torture you with it. He wants you to know what He wants you to do, but in the way that will keep you closest to Him.
    Now about those traffic lights on that long, straight street. They might actually help us visualize how a child of God knows and does the will of God. Let's get some guidance first from our word for today from the Word of God in Psalm 37:23-24. "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand." Notice how God directs us; it's our steps! He doesn't show you the whole plan. You'd either run to it or you'd run from it and either way, you'd ruin it. You can only take one step at a time anyway, right? So He shows you the next step. God's macro-will for your life is made up of thousands of micro-wills. Like for today, it's "take a step, see a step." Remember that, "take a step, see a step."
    When I'm driving that island highway, I don't wait until every light I can see turns green. I go when the one right in front of me turns green, and I keep driving toward the next light. As long as the lights are green when I get to them, I keep going. When I get to one that's red, I stop. What God's asking you to do is start moving in the direction of the green light that He's put right in front of you. You don't know where this is going to take you, but by faith, you start following the light God has given you. Like those ancient Jews who discovered that the waters part when you step into them and not vice versa.
    God will give you a green light often through His Scriptures, and those seem to have your name on them, strengthened by other verses that come your way at that time when you're trying to decide. He'll give you the strong compulsion in one direction during the times that you're praying, and He'll give you a sense of peace about that direction. He'll open and close doors circumstantially to confirm what He's been saying to your heart. So, move when the light is green. Keep moving that direction as long as the lights keep turning green. But don't blow past God's red light. Stop when the green light isn't there.
    God's will for my life seems so huge, it's just beyond my grasp. But that's OK. It's God's will for my next step that's the real issue anyway. So, let your Lord order your steps; He'll make those obedient steps into His grand and glorious will for your life. But don't wait for all the lights to turn green - for all the questions to be answered. They won't turn green until you start moving past the green light that's right in front of you.


  • volume_up
    April 4, 2022 Unwanted - #9291


    Yeah, when it came time for them to choose teams for softball, I felt a little rejected. Last one chosen. Poor me. And how about the time when I was the only one on the hayride without a date? Poor me.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Unwanted."
    Actually I feel a little ashamed about some of those "poor me" flashbacks, you know, when I read about those girls in India. Hundreds of them whose actual names mean "unwanted" in Hindi. Every day of their lives they've answered to the name "Hey, Unwanted." Some of them got the name simply because they were a disappointment when they were born. Whatever the reason, "unwanted"? That's a horrible way to be branded for life.
    But those girls made the news a little while back because they just got new names. Names that have meanings like "beautiful." They came wearing their best outfits, with barrettes and bows, as district officials in their part of India gave them certificates with their new names on them.
    Sadly, there are tons of people, maybe even someone listening right now who have felt like they've been "unwanted" most of their life. You don't have to carry the name to have the feeling. And in this often cruel world we live in, people really do make you feel like they don't particularly care if you're there or not.
    Honestly, if we put our sense of worth in the hands of other humans, they are almost surely going to drop it, crush it or stomp on it sometime on purpose or unknowingly. Either way, it feels crummy.
    Then along comes someone who says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love." That's our word today from the Word of God in Jeremiah 31:3. There really is someone who has always wanted you, wanted you so much that He's pursued you at great cost all the way to a rugged old cross where He gave His life so He would not lose you.
    Actually, the problem isn't that God doesn't want us. It's that we don't want Him. Oh, we're okay with a God who runs the universe as long as we can run our own universe. We want God as a belief, a cozy blanket when it's cold, a spiritual ace to play when we die. But when it comes to God actually running our lives, just call Him "unwanted."
    So we've cut ourselves off from the One who loves us more than anyone. All our God-ignoring sins have set us up for an eternity without Him, because sin separates us from a sinless God.
    But Jesus was God who came looking for us. In His words, he came to "seek and save what was lost" (Luke 19:10). He suffered for your sinning so you would never have to; so you could be with Him for all eternity. That's how very wanted you are by the most important person in the galaxies.
    There's a story of a little boy who built a toy sailboat with his Daddy. His father let little Scotty glue it and sand it and paint it and name it. He called it "Arthur," and Scotty couldn't wait to get his masterpiece in the lake. But on "Arthur's" maiden voyage, this big storm came up and quickly blew that sailboat way beyond his ability to get it. Scotty ran to his Daddy heartbroken. His father just said, "I'll just buy you another one." Scotty was adamant. He said, "I want my boat back."
    Then came the amazing discovery at that little store downtown. Scotty saw his boat in the window! He ran into the store and asked the man if he could have it. "Sure, 20 bucks." That probably sounded like a million dollars to a little boy, but he went back home and to his neighbors and asked for any job he could get paid for, and one day he walked into that store proudly and plunked down his hard-earned twenty bucks.
    He ran all the way home with that sailboat wrapped in his arms. His father was home, so Scotty jumped into his lap, "Daddy, I love this boat so much, because now it's twice mine; once because I made it, and once because I paid for it!"
    That's how Jesus feels about you, friend. You're twice His; once because He made you, and once because He paid for you with His life. And today He's waiting with open arms to welcome you into His love and a relationship with Him. Tell Him, "Jesus, no one's ever loved me like You do. I am Yours."
    Go to our website to get this nailed down for sure It's ANewStory.com. This is the day you come home to the love you were made for.



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    April 1, 2022 Power Failures - #9290


    It was a super-hot summer day and my wife and I were on vacation. Everything was going great until the electrical power went out at our cabin. No lights, no air conditioner, no TV. We decided to go to a nearby restaurant for dinner. Just as we pulled up, they put the closed sign in the window. It's a good thing I'm secure. I might take it personally otherwise. The owner said the power was out there, too, and they decided to close because they really couldn't cook. It turned out that lots of places were closed. The locals told us that the power company had actually recently replaced the old lines with a much newer line that was supposed to be failsafe as far as blackouts. Right. Well, the demands were great that day, and the power...it was just inadequate to meet them.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Power Failures."
    That's an experience a lot of us are all too familiar with in our personal lives. The demands are huge: so much to do, a marriage to nurture, kids to raise, pressure at work, decisions, deadlines, conflicts. And sometimes it seems like we have a personal power failure; we just don't have the emotional or physical or spiritual voltage to handle all those demands.
    There's a step you can take to help avoid power failures. It's actually described in our word for today from the Word of God in John 5:17. Nobody had more demands on Him than Jesus did when He was here. Yes, He was the Son of God, but He was also fully man so He could be a model for us. He had a very clear way of deciding what work He would take on.
    Here's what He said, "My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working. The Son can do nothing by Himself; He can only do what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the son and shows Him all He does." To put it simply, Jesus said, "I find out what God, the Father, is doing, and I join Him in His work."
    Here's one reason we experience personal brownouts or blackouts. We're doing some things that God never asks us to do. Or we're doing God's work in our own resources - trying to figure it out or work it out by ourselves. And that's when the demands become greater than our power to meet them, because it's our power; because we've taken on some demands that were never God's idea. Result: we end up worn out, frustrated, edgy, depleted, negative, out-of-sorts. Like Martha, we're miserable even though we're serving the Lord.
    I've been challenged anew by these verses to begin each new day with these words: "My Savior is always at His work to this very day." That has motivated me over the years to ask a question like, "Lord, what are You working on in my wife's life today? My kids' life? The life of my staff? What are you working on as far as our ministry is concerned, the work we're doing? Please show me what You're doing, and then I'll do whatever You ask me to join you in." I know that often I have in response to legitimate needs, I've taken on work that wasn't really what He had in mind for me. And you know what? No surprise I didn't have the power for the demands.
    On the other hand, if God's asking you to do something, He'll give you everything you need to get it done. In the words of Hebrews 13:21, He will "equip you with everything good for doing His will." With God's demands comes God's power to meet them. When it's God's job you're doing, you'll never have a power failure!


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    March 31, 2022 The Excitement of Exploring - #9189


    "Shun piking"! Yeah, our kids learned that at a very early age. That expression actually goes back to Colonial days when people would leave or "shun" the pike, the main road, and take side roads. Today, it's just a good word for describing getting intentionally lost - just exploring some of those side roads you've never been on to see things you've never seen. Apparently, this shun piking thing has been inherited by the next generation. Yeah, there was the day that our daughter took our then three-year-old grandson on one of those crazy adventures on some unexplored back roads. And he saw lots of things he never saw before. When she asked him if he was ready to go home, he told her he wanted to keep going. His reason? "I liked exploring."
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Excitement of Exploring."
    The same old scenery gets boring after a while. It's exciting to explore some new ground. That might be exactly what your Lord is trying to get you to do right now - to dare to leave that safe, predictable road you always travel on and follow Him into something new and exciting. And, yes, unknown and unpredictable.
    Listen to His invitation, and command, in our word for today from the Word of God in Isaiah 43:18-19. "Do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?" Could it be that God is setting out before you some new ground to explore? You'll miss it if you insist on hanging on to the same old way of doing things, the same old security blankets. Spiritual cocooning - curling up in this "status quo" comfort zone - is a sure way to miss the ever-dynamic, ever-groundbreaking will of God.
    God may be saying, "Look at the new thing I'm putting right in front of you, man!" But you can't see it because you keep looking back at the old thing. This addiction to what's safe and comfortable and familiar afflicts individual believers...it afflicts churches...ministries. God may even be trying to stretch your understanding of Him and how He works; to see Him, to see your relationship with Him in a new way, a more powerful way.
    Of course, exploring new ground implies that you don't know exactly what you're going to encounter, right? How you're going to have what you need to meet whatever is on the new road. Listen to God's next statement: "I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." OK, you can't see a way - God says, "I'm going to amaze you by making a way where there is no way." You can't see where the resources are going to come from - God says, "I'm going to send resources where there seem to be no resources - 'streams in the wasteland.'"
    But you'll miss all of it if you won't leave the road you've been on for so long. You're stuck there. There is incredible beauty; there are thrilling discoveries on unexplored roads. It's time to say to the Lord, "I'm ready for more, Lord. I'm opening your Word now looking for some new discoveries. I'm listening to Bible teaching and worshiping, looking for the new things You want to say to me. And Lord, I'm following You wherever You want to take me...whatever the risks." The Bible calls that "the good and perfect and pleasing will of God."
    So could it be that God's leading you to a new season in your life, or maybe a new approach or a new challenge? Don't be afraid to go with your Father onto a road you've never been on before. Like my grandson, you may end up saying, "Father, I like exploring!"


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    March 30, 2022 Knocking Out the Light - #9188


    It was about noon when I heard the news. Fortunately, I was safe in my office. All the power was out at Newark Airport. Now, I had used that airport so many times I could very well have been one of those poor travelers who I saw on the evening news groping their way through a totally darkened terminal. There was no electricity to the terminal for an entire day. What a mess! No lights, no computers, no baggage equipment. It was a good day to be in my office. And the reason there were no lights? A pile driver that was being used on an airport construction project somehow punched right through the main power line. Nice shot! With the power and lights out, it was just a very dark day.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Knocking Out the Light."
    Our word for today from the Word of God, Luke 22:31-32, Jesus talking to Simon Peter, "Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." Okay, now here's Peter, perhaps the brightest light of the disciples. And basically Jesus is saying, "Satan wants to knock you out, man." And he wants to do that to anyone who is a light in a dark spot - like you maybe.
    See, if it's dark where you work, and you're Jesus' light there if you belong to Him. The enemy wants the light out so it's totally dark there. Maybe it's dark in your school, or your area, or your family, but God's installed a light there - you. And Satan's trying to knock out the light. He wants to sift you as wheat, and God may be preparing you to spread the light to an even larger circle of people. Don't be surprised if you're suddenly taking a pounding from hell's pile driver. The enemy's only hope of keeping his prisoners in the dark is to knock out the light. So does this explain maybe some of what's been hitting you? You're making a difference. And the forces of darkness want to destroy or at least dim your light.
    One wise old preacher gave a young evangelist this advice. He said, "The ferocity of Satan's attack upon you will increase in direct proportion to your potential usefulness for Jesus Christ." So those difficulties and feelings and temptations you've been dealing with? They may not mean there's anything wrong. In fact, there may be something wonderfully right. You're starting to make an impact for Jesus. You've attracted attention in hell. You're not wrestling with flesh and blood but against principalities and powers - spiritual forces. There's no reason to be afraid. There's no reason to be discouraged. According to Colossians 2:15, Jesus has "disarmed the powers and authorities. He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by His cross."
    Remember the simple principles of winning against any attack from the dark side. Number one; depend on spiritual weapons to win spiritual battles. That means prayer. That means fasting. You need to recruit a team of prayer warriors to cover you now with daily prayer as you're becoming a make-a-difference person. You're a target now, and God's people praying for you will cover you with the blood of Jesus and a hedge of His protection.
    Number two, regularly put on the spiritual armor of God. Read - memorize if you can - Ephesians 6:10-18. Thirdly, don't give the devil a foothold. Remove any sin, any compromise that your enemy can use to get into your life. And number four; keep your power lines strong. Don't miss a day of being with Jesus through His Word.
    Yes, Satan may desire to have you. But Jesus says, "I prayed for you." Your enemy wants the people around you to spend this life and forever like those people at the airport that day. He wants them stumbling in the dark. He has only one way to make that happen - knock out the light.
    If you wander away from Jesus, they'll go there with you. You're either going to be a reason for somebody to be attracted to Jesus or to say, "He doesn't really work." There's a lot riding on you keeping the light on. So stay close to the awesome power of the Lord Jesus Christ, who Himself is the light of the world.


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    March 29, 2022 The Reason For Your Bumpy Landings - #9187


    I was on this early morning flight to Pittsburgh. It's the kind where most of the passengers are real veteran flyers, you know, business people. And wouldn't you know, we got one of those two-for-the-price-of-one landings. Yeah, one of those bumpy, bouncy ones. I mean, even with the seasoned flyers aboard, that landing got everyone's heads out of their papers and their briefcases...including mine. I couldn't wait to hear what the flight attendant was going to say. And, fortunately, we got one of the few that had a sense of humor. He came on and he said, "Ladies and gentlemen, now that I have your attention, I'd like to make a few announcements!" That's great! Believe me, after a landing like that, he had our attention!
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Reason For Your Bumpy Landings."
    You may have been experiencing a few bumpy landings yourself lately. You know? It might be medical, it might could be marital, economic, romantic, maybe it's parental issues or relationship issues. You're wondering why things have been so rocky. There could be a lot of reasons, but we know that ultimately God is in charge of things. So, why has He sent or allowed these bumpy landings? Could it be He's trying to get your attention? Maybe if you could hear God's voice audibly right now, you would hear Him saying, "Now that I have your attention, I'd like to make a few announcements."
    One of King David's Psalms in the Old Testament is about how our bumpy landings can serve as spiritual wakeup calls. In our word for today from the Word of God in Psalm 32:1, he says, "Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered...When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer."
    David says the best position you can be in in your life is to have all your sins forgiven, your moral mistakes forgiven, cleaned up and to know you're OK with God and that you have a new beginning. But he goes on to say that he wasn't really dealing with the junk that was between him and God until he had some bumpy landings. Until he started hurting physically, emotionally, until he felt God's heavy hand on him...until he was shot. That's when God got his attention and showed him that he needed to face his sin problem which was the ultimate cause of all his other problems.
    It could be God is trying to make the same kind of announcement to you right now. I hope that through your bumpy landings Jesus can finally get your attention. His announcements? Well, things you might otherwise not have listened to or considered. He's using the trouble to say things to you like, "You're not enough, you need something lasting, you've tried it long enough without Me, or I love you so much." And He stands ready to do for you what you have needed and maybe avoided for years - to remove what's between you and the God that you need so much.
    Jesus can do that because He absorbed all the guilt and all the hell of all your sin when He paid for it dying on the cross. And your bumpy landings may be all to bring you to the place that you've missed all these years - that cross where Jesus loved you enough to die for you. All the journey of your life has been to bring you to this moment where you could finally commit yourself to the Savior you were made by, the Savior you were made for, the Savior who loves you so very much. Then you will be able to say as King David did, "Lord, You forgave the guilt of my sin."
    If you've missed Jesus all these years, if you don't want to miss Him any longer, you want to begin a personal relationship with Him, tell Him that right now. And I invite you to check out our website sometime as soon as you can today - ANewStory.com I've tried to lay out simply there and non-religiously how you can be sure you belong to Jesus.
    Your bumpy landings may have shaken up your life, but only so you would turn your attention to the Son of God so He can finally bring you safely home.



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    March 28, 2022 The Dark Side - #9186


    So, I had gone out that night and I saw this beautiful moon rising in the Eastern sky. I ran inside and said, "Honey, you need to come outside. The moon is shining so brightly tonight." Actually, to be more accurate, I should say, "Half the moon is shining brightly tonight." Because, see, there's one side of the moon that enjoys the sun's rays and reflects them back to earth, and there's another side that the sun doesn't touch. Of course, that's the dark side of the moon.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Dark Side."
    Where the light doesn't shine, now that's the dark side. The sad thing is that many of us have a dark side; parts of our life, our personality, our lifestyle where we don't let the light shine...the light of the S-o-n of God. And those parts, like the moon, are cold and barren; possibly hidden from everyone's view. Except God.
    It's an issue we might call selective Lordship, which by the way, is an oxymoron. If I get to decide which parts of my life I'm going to let Jesus have His way in, how can I call Him Lord? The Greek word for Lord, kurios, is all about who is the controller. If I'm deciding there are certain parts of me Jesus can't have, then who's in control? I'm hijacking my life from my Sovereign Lord and I'm effectively making me, His creation, the "lord" of my life.
    Jesus asked this haunting question about all this in Luke 6:46. It's our word for today from the Word of God. He said, "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" So, if you go to your room and you find Jesus there tonight, He might very well ask you that question. If He did, what areas of your life do you think He'd have in mind when He said, "You're not doing what I say"?
    Could it be you're not letting His light shine on the bitterness that you've been harboring? Or maybe that anger of yours is just stubbornly defiant to Christ's control. Maybe the "dark side" of your "moon" is a sinful habit that you will not let Jesus get you out of, or the lust that's continuing to poison your heart with those images and those fantasies that thumb their nose at God's holiness. Pride; that's the sin that cost Lucifer heaven, but it's one that the Christian world will largely let you get by with un-condemned. But God hates it, the Bible says. Pride of position, pride of accomplishment, pride of appearance, pride of ability; they're all deep darkness that desperately need the light of Jesus to shine on them.
    Maybe your impatience; maybe that's a part of you that you just won't let Jesus challenge, or your spiritual coldness, or your neglect of people who are depending on you. It could be that you're manipulative, you're a controller. Or maybe there's a relationship you will not let him touch - the dark side - dark because you will not let His light shine there. You will not let Jesus shine His light on it and show you how ugly it is, how dirty it is so that you'll repent of it and release it to Him so He can perform that life-transforming miracle within you that only He can do.
    The parts of you where you've really let Jesus shine, well think about it for a minute. Aren't they the brightest parts of you? Aren't they the most beautiful things about you - the things that now light up other people's galaxy? And the dark side has been dark, and cold, and barren long enough. Today let the light in!


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    March 25, 2022 Together On the Outside, Broken On the Inside - #9185


    If you had seen that three-month-old baby, you'd say, "Man, he looks like the picture of health." He was a handsome baby, full of dark hair, doubled his weight since he was born, strong, taking in everything going on around him, and a smile that could melt your heart. But inside, it was a different story. He'd already had two major heart surgeries in his short life and the prospect of more in his future.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Together On the Outside, Broken On the Inside."
    That little guy - a picture of so many of us. He looks so healthy on the outside, but he had major heart problems on the inside. Most of us have figured out how to look together and so in control. But inside, where no one but God can see, it's a different story isn't it.
    Inside there's those secrets that no one knows; that darkness that we hope no one ever knows; those wounds that no one's been able to heal; the guilt that no one can remove; the answers no one can give us; the fear, the insecurity, the frustration of not really being sure why we're here or where we're going.
    In some strange way, those disturbances in your heart are actually the whispers of the God who made you. They're the hollow echoes in a heart that He was supposed to inhabit - a life He was supposed to direct. The trouble that hides behind our image of strength is really telling us that someone is missing; that somehow we are away from the God who is the source of our life and all that's missing inside us.
    Of course, God isn't fooled by our cool exterior. The Bible says that though "man looks at the outside appearance...God looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). And here's what the Bible says about all our secrets: "He knows the secrets of the heart" (Psalm 44:21). And then it says, "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account" (Hebrews 4:13). That should concern us, because in the Bible's words, "God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ" (Romans 2:16).
    Here's what He says about the results of His spiritual EKG of your heart and mine: "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure" (Jeremiah 17:9). That's why God can't live in the heart that was made for Him - our sin. But then, in Ezekiel 36, beginning with verse 26, our word for today from the Word of God, He gives us a stunning promise: "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you...I will put My Spirit in you...you will be My people and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness." Wow!
    That saving, that spiritual rescue from certain death, did not come cheap. It cost God the life of His Son. It took the sacrifice of the only perfect life there ever was to absorb God's punishment for all your sin and mine. And it took His resurrection from the dead to open the way for you to live with God forever in heaven; forgiven, clean, and one of His kids forever.
    That's the amazing offer that Jesus is making to you today. What you feel in your heart is His knocking on the door of your heart. He's giving you this opportunity to open up your life to Him to be your personal Savior from your personal sin. This could be the day He gives you a new heart spiritually; the day the God of the galaxies literally moves into you upon your invitation. How do you do that? You tell Him, "God, I know I've sinned. I know You sent Your Son to pay for my sin. And I believe that Jesus is my only hope. I'm turning from my sin that's kept me from You, and I'm turning to Jesus to make me clean and to make me Yours."
    I'm committed to helping you find Him for yourself like somebody helped me. And that's why I've prepared a brief and I think a simple explanation of just how to begin your personal relationship with God and to know you have. Would you go to our website? It's there - ANewStory.com.
    You're one heartfelt prayer away from God's miracle in your heart. You began this day away from Him. You can go to sleep tonight with Him in your heart.



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    March 24, 2022 A Healthy Appetite - #9184


    I'm told that new babies actually lose a little weight between the time they're born and the checkup they have two weeks later. Oh, not when our little granddaughter was new! No! No! And we know why. She was extremely dedicated to eating often and eating a lot. Her mother's milk obviously agreed with her. She had been one happy little girl, until it was time to eat again. At which point she would crank it up and let us know in no uncertain terms "I'm hungry! I will not be delayed! I will not be denied!" I think that's what she said.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "A Healthy Appetite."
    Watching my granddaughter's demand for mama's milk actually helped me understand even more how God uses that example in showing us how to grow in Him. I feel like He's talking about my little darlin' back then when He says in 1 Peter 2:2, our word for today from the Word of God, "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation."
    I know how our granddaughter was about her milk - insistent on getting it on a regular basis. Is that how you are about the spiritual milk of God's Word, the Bible? Are you insistent on getting into His Scriptures on a regular basis? Or do you consult God's Word when you have time...when you're in a jam...when you feel like it?
    We're not talking here about some mechanical, grudging fulfillment; check the box - my Christian duty to read my Bible. Our granddaughter didn't seem to be saying, "Well, I know I'm supposed to be getting some milk. I guess it's my duty. I'd better stop and eat." No, it's not a duty for her; it was an insatiable desire. And it wasn't occasional either; it was regular. Just like our time with the Lord in His Word needs to be. Almost every detour from God's way and God's will can ultimately be traced to one thing...neglecting our time with Him.
    Time with Jesus in His Book has to be a commitment - something you insist on, no matter what. It's easy to quote the verse about "seek first the kingdom of God" but it's hard to believe you mean that if your time with the King isn't the highest priority of your personal schedule. So, is it? Better yet, is He? Because it's all about Jesus. It's all about being with Him, not being with a Book. But like the person you love connecting with you through the love letter that they write to you, our main connection to Jesus right now is His Love Letter called the Bible.
    Frankly, we are so clueless about how to handle this day's challenges if we don't have time getting God's perspective and God's direction. God's Word is designed to be your anchor, the one thing that doesn't move when everything else is moving. God gave you His Word to be your flashlight to illuminate the ground you have to walk on today. It's your harbor where you can find God's peace in any storm. And in His words, God reveals your orders from heaven for this day.
    So without the heaven-link of time in God's Word, you're living a day without your flashlight, your anchor, your harbor, your orders. It's time for you to make your time with God in His Word the non-cancelable, non-negotiable of your daily schedule.
    It all comes down to appetite. If you've allowed an appetite for TV, Internet, social media, sports, music, news, friends, or anything else to marginalize your appetite for God's Word, things are messed up. Ask God to give you, like a baby, a desperate appetite for more of what He has to say. Because really, that's the only way to (as the Bible says) "grow up in your salvation."


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    March 23, 2022 Walking Without Support - #9183


    Our family actually attended a movie premier together! Uh-huh! Well, it was actually in our living room. I don't think it will ever win an Oscar. But it was the premier of the Hutchcraft family movies transferred to DVD! What a breakthrough! Now we can watch them with the benefit of modern technology. We watched this one movie of our oldest son learning to walk. He started out by holding onto things like the coffee table, and then he'd move from there and reach over so he could hold onto the couch. And the next thing you see, he's holding his sister's hand. Here's this little guy toddling around with his big sister trying to help him. And now he was walking!
    It was cute to see him walk like that then. It wouldn't be cute today if he couldn't walk unless he was holding onto something. How did he learn to really walk by himself? Well, Dad was off camera encouraging him. Yeah! You can't see me or hear me in the movie, but I'm over there saying, "Come on, son! Come to Daddy!" And he's looking at me, and finally he lets go of all his props, and in this victorious moment walks across the floor. It was worth the film just to have that shot! I mean, that's an important milestone in growing up. He's been walking ever since.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Walking Without Support."
    Our word for today from the Word of God, Matthew 14 beginning in verse 25. The disciples are being thrown around by this terrible storm on the Sea of Galilee. And it says, "Shortly before dawn 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, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 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."
    This is Peter walking where there's apparently no support like our son did as a baby. Let go of the table, let go of the couch, and walk with no other support. It looks scary, but it's a giant step forward in the things you could do with your life. Most of us insist on staying in the boat like the eleven disciples did that day. Only one thought it was safe to get out, and he could only go so far with Jesus safely without taking a risk. The really powerful stuff in your life begins to happen when you step out.
    See, right now, your Lord might be asking you to take a miracle walk with no visible means of support. He's calling you to step away from the people and the places, and maybe the security you've always held onto. There are four essentials if you're going to go into a miracle walk and they're in this passage. Number one, you check with Jesus. Peter said, "Lord, if it's You." Make sure the Lord is asking you to step out of the boat. You can confirm that in prayer, through His Word, and through counseling. It doesn't matter how hard the wind is blowing if He's asking you to do it. It doesn't matter if there is no means of support. It doesn't matter if no one's ever done it before. If Jesus is asking you to do it, go for it.
    Second, abandon safety. You've got to get out of the boat. You've got to get out of that safe, comfy spot you've been in. If you insist on staying in your comfort zone, you'll probably miss the beautiful will of God. Thirdly, you walk on water. You start stepping out into that new ground (or water) where you've never stepped before. And finally, focus on Jesus. Not the situation, not the wind, not the storm, not the things you're afraid of. Do what Peter failed to do when he was halfway to Jesus. Keep dwelling on the One who called you out of the boat in the first place.
    When our son finally took that risk and walked where there was no support, that was a major milestone in his growth. Now, if Jesus is asking you to do that, you're on the edge of a quantum leap in your life with Him. You're about to abandon the natural and step into the supernatural.


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    March 22, 2022 When the Container Lies to You - #9182


    It's one of life's great treats - pumpkin pie with some Cool Whip on it. Yeah, that's what I was after when I went to my son's refrigerator that day. I had cut my piece of pie, and all it was missing was that little white topping of Cool Whip. I foraged around in the fridge until I saw that familiar plastic container with a picture of exactly what I wanted my pumpkin pie to look like. Somewhat mindlessly, I opened that container, stuck my spoon in there, and pulled out the contents. I was just about to decorate my pie with it when I looked at what was on my spoon. It wasn't Cool Whip. It was gravy, which doesn't do much for pumpkin pie.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "When the Container Lies to You."
    The container promised me one thing, but what was inside was very different. I didn't know it was leftovers. That's an experience every one of us has when we reach for something based on what it was supposed to give us, only to be disappointed when we find out what's really in there. That deception is, in fact, the very nature of sin. And that's why we end up with scars and messes we never knew we were going to be part of.
    In fact, you may be looking at a temptation right now, maybe you're even giving into it right now; a temptation that looks promising on the outside. But God is sending you a warning today to let you know the heartache and the hurt that's on the inside. Sin conceals its ugliness and it conceals its destruction until you've already bitten the apple.
    The temptation that looks good to you right now may say "pleasure" on the container - "do this," "it will feel good." Or maybe the package says "love" - do this and you'll get some love. The promise may be "relief" - a chance to escape from your hurt, or maybe it says "significance" - do this and you'll get ahead, you'll feel important.
    But see, God believes in "truth-in-packaging." He clearly reveals what sin really offers in James 1:15, our word for today from the Word of God. Hear this: "After desire has conceived" - that's the part where the container really looks good - "it gives birth to sin; and when it is full-grown, it gives birth to death." That, of course, is not on the container. First, sin fascinates you, and then it assassinates you. It kills your self-respect, it kills people's trust in you, it kills your close relationships, it kills your freedom, and it kills your closeness to God. Short benefit - long consequences. A sinful way to get something you need or want is never worth it and ultimately it never delivers what it says it will.
    It's a prison that looks like a penthouse on the outside. You don't know that you're hooked until the cell door slams behind you. The thrill of sin lasts a short time; the bill for sin lasts a long time. There's a little good stuff and a whole lot of guilt; a rush that's brief and wreckage that can last a lifetime.
    Don't fall for the lies on sin's package. Check its real contents, as exposed graphically in the Bible. If you've already opened sin's package, get out while you can. If you're looking at a compromise that God calls sin, run the other way. You haven't got time for the pain, for the scars, for the slavery, for the shame. Do it God's way, even if it's harder, even if it takes longer. Remember, it's the narrow road that leads to life. It's that wide road that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).


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    March 21, 2022 Who Validates Your Ticket? - #9181


    Our friends were expecting their baby in about six weeks. But the baby didn't get the message. No. They had flown in from Denver to attend a convention in Chicago and we were all at the same convention. Since I was living in Chicago at the time, I said, "Hey, baby happens, call me. I'll get you to the hospital in plenty of time. It's my city. You don't have anything to worry about." We were all laughing. I wasn't laughing at 6:00 A.M. the next morning when I got a phone call in my hotel room saying, "She's in labor!" Of course, I'm going crazy. I've got to get them to the hospital.
    I ran down to the garage after throwing on some clothes, and in the parking garage there at the hotel I said, "Lady, I need my car. Bring up my car." And she said, "You must have your ticket validated." I said, "Lady, there's somebody about to have a baby! I don't have time to go up and get my ticket and go to the desk and have my parking ticket validated." She said, "You must have your ticket validated." I said, "Ma'am, there is going to be a lady having a baby right here in the parking garage." She said, "I'm sorry. You must have your ticket validated."
    Well, the good news is we finally did get to the hospital and even though there was quite an adventure just getting there, the baby was fine. But no thanks to the parking lot lady. No. Now, that situation isn't usually that dramatic in a parking lot, but the rules are pretty consistent. You are not going anywhere until you get your ticket validated.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Who Validates Your Ticket?"
    Our word for today from the Word of God; Galatians 3:26. "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek" - in other words racial identities aren't really the issue - "slave nor free" - okay, it's not your class identity that really matters - "male nor female" - gender isn't really the basis of your identity - "for you are all one in Christ Jesus." He said, "you've been clothed with Christ." There's only one thing that matters, "I belong to Jesus Christ." There's only one solid basis for identity and security - who I am in Christ.
    For most people, their validation comes from someone else. We spend a lot of time and effort trying to get other people to punch our ticket; to make us feel good about ourselves. The problem is that no one on earth can give you a secure identity. Is your validation like your company? If the company says you're okay, is that it? If you have a husband or wife, do you think you're okay? A friend of yours, all the people we try to get approval from. Well, you can be on your first step to freedom if you understand that the source of our identity is the One who gave you your life in the first place.
    Ephesians 2:10 says Jesus gave you your worth before you were born. "You are" it says, "God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for you to do." See, you are created by God, you're purchased by God when He died on the cross to pay for your sins. You're loved by God. He's prepared works for you that only you can do. That's all you need to know. What can anybody else give you to add to that worth?
    See, you got your worth the day you were born. No one on earth gave you your worth, and no one on earth can take it away. So any validation you get from someone on earth is a bonus, because all earth approval is written in pencil. God's OK is stamped on your life in indelible ink. It all starts the day you ask Him to remove from your heart and your life and His record the sin of a lifetime. How can you even ask Him to do that? Because Jesus died for it. He walked out of His grave. He's alive today. And when you give yourself to Him, you are home in the identity and the security and the love that you were made for and you can't lose.
    If you've never begun that relationship, would you tell Him today, "Jesus, I'm yours." Join me at our website ANewStory.com. You'll find out all you need to know about belonging to Him. You won't need to have your identity validated in so many other ways. Not if you have the OK of Jesus. He's all you need.



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    March 18, 2022 Your Visa and Your Passport - #9180


    After terrorism on American soil became a reality, there was increased talk about students who are in the United States on temporary visas. Now, the vast majority are simply here to study in the country. I've traveled with one of those temporary visas in other countries, so I know a little bit about it. And it lets officials know that you're in their country for a specific and limited amount of time. And in my case, that's always been just fine. My passport is what tells you where my home really is. If I got knocked out and couldn't remember what country I'm from, my passport would save me. That temporary visa would only tell you where I'm visiting, not where I live.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Your Visa and Your Passport."
    It makes no sense to build yourself this big empire in a place where you've only got a temporary visa. Right? Sadly, many of God's people are making that very mistake, and neglecting to invest seriously in the place that's really home, where their spiritual passport is from.
    Paul talks about our temporary visa and our permanent passport in Philippians 2:20-21, our word for today from the Word of God. He talks about many who "live as enemies of the cross of Christ...their mind is on earthly things." Since they don't know that heaven is their eternal home that they should be destined for, Paul is saying that they live as if earth is all there is. Their passport says, "Earth." "But," Paul goes on, "our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ," who, Paul says, has the power "to bring everything under His control."
    So, once you give yourself to Jesus Christ, God issues you a new passport. It says "Heaven." You can now call heaven your home forever. That's one of the amazing things about belonging to Jesus. You could actually know, right here, right now, you're going to heaven when you die. You don't have to wait 'till you die to find out where you're going to be, because you've trusted Jesus Christ to forgive and remove the only thing that could keep you out of heaven - your sin. That's what He died for.
    So now you have a temporary visa that says "Earth" and a passport that says "Heaven." So why are you so bound up in building this kingdom for ourselves in a place where we're just visiting? We're so entangled with earth-stuff we neglect the things that are going to matter forever. In the Old Testament, when God wanted His people to focus on rebuilding His temple, they couldn't see the eternal for all the earth-stuff they were involved in. God says, "Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house of mine remains a ruin? My house remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house" (Haggai 1:4, 9).
    So here we are, citizens of eternity, mired in a place where we're only passing through. We're fascinated with what the pop culture says is exciting, we're accumulating as much earth-stuff, as many earth-toys as we can. We're plowing the best of our energies and our resources into building things that will only be important during our brief earth-visit. And meanwhile, we have relatively little left to invest in what will matter forever - building people's lives, getting the Good News about Jesus to as many people as possible, using what God has given us to take others home with us to heaven some day.
    If you're a citizen of heaven and you're living mostly for earth-stuff, you'll never be fulfilled; you'll always be restless because you're just visiting here. You're building the wrong kingdom. You're spending the best of yourself on things that have little or no value where you're going to live forever. Citizens of heaven can never be satisfied by things that will not last. This isn't home!
    The old hymn was right, "This world is not my home, I'm just a passin' through." Don't build your kingdom in a place where you're just visiting. Remember what it says on your passport - "Heaven!"


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    March 17, 2022 Family Flu - #9179


    At our house, we call it clean juice. I think the official name is "hand sanitizer." Whatever it's called, I use it big-time for flu germs! Actually there was a flu outbreak that took place, and our hospital was overwhelmed. The next closest hospital was overwhelmed, too, by people from our town. And, boy, what did the pandemic do? Lots of clean juice.
    That especially nasty flu season I'm thinking about was all over the country. In fact, in one major city, some hospitals had issued "bypass" warnings - bypass bringing any patients in here unless it's life-or-death. In another area, the hospital set up triage tents in the parking lot because their ER was so overrun with flu victims. Sounds familiar pandemic fans, huh?
    Did I mention that flu was especially nasty? If someone in your family caught it, well, you could almost count on being next. Of course, that's the case with colds and lots of other contagious grungy too. Families are for sharing, right, including germs.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Family Flu."
    And it's not just flu germs that are for sharing. There are family germs that actually get passed from generation to generation. Moral viruses, character infections that somehow get transmitted from parent to child.
    Sadly, the things that drove us crazy about our mom and dad - that maybe hurt us deeply - start popping up in us. Even though we said, "I will never be like that!" we are. And the sad part about family germs is that the infection that scars one generation passes down and scars another one.
    A teenage guy complained to me one time about how he could do nine things right and one thing wrong, and his mother would just talk about the one, and she would criticize it. I asked him how his grandmother treated his mom. He had this dawning in his eyes. He said, "Wow! Like my mother treats me." Then he thought for a moment and he said, "Man, I think I'm starting to be the same way."
    And so it goes. Control freaks beget control freaks. Negative produces negative, an angry parent - an angry child, who becomes an angry parent. Addictive behaviors, self-centeredness, a weakness for the opposite sex, self-pity, a wounding tongue - we hate it, and we do it.
    That's not new. Even one of the writers of the Bible said: "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do" (Romans 7:15). Who doesn't know that feeling? So much of the darkness is those family germs; actually, family sins. They're some of the toughest sins for us to see, and even tougher to change. In fact, if we could have changed, we would have changed by now.
    That conflicted Bible writer concluded there was only one hope of a cure. He said, "Who will rescue me?" He couldn't save himself from himself. He knew it would take a rescuer. And he found it. He found Him. He said, "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:24)
    So many of us trapped in the chains of our dark side have found a powerful game-changer from the Bible. It's our word for today from the Word of God in 1 Peter 1:18-19, "...you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers." Wow! The chain of sin and hurt can be broken by supernatural intervention. It goes on to say, "You were redeemed...with the precious blood of Christ."
    The moral diseases handed down through generations can be cured. But only one way - a blood cure. But not our blood - Jesus' blood. Freely given when He died on the cross to pay for every sin of our life and to rob it of its power to poison our lives any longer or the lives of the people we love. Talk about hope! When you've got Jesus, you can face that infectious darkness and say, "It stops here!" And replace a legacy of hurt with hope.
    When you belong to Jesus, things no longer have to be like they've always been. He's a Life-Changer. You want a relationship with Him that can do this? How He can change your life? Visit our website. It's ANewStory.com. Because when you get to Jesus' cross, there's hope there.



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    March 16, 2022 D-Day's Battle Cry for Us - #9178


    Most Americans weren't around on that D-Day of course. And even though we weren't, we should be very glad they succeeded when they hit those Normandy beaches. They stopped one of the most powerful threats to freedom in history. Of course it was Nazi Germany.
    Steven Spielberg used his cinematic genius to help this generation get a little taste of what that victory cost. It was in the movie "Saving Private Ryan," and it carried a very strong "R" rating because there were brutal D-Day violence scenes it portrayed. I'll tell you this: Hollywood has no rating for how awful it really was.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "D-Day's Battle Cry For Us."
    The heroism of the Allied troops who waded ashore that day just defies words. They knew what they were headed for. A beach laced with deadly landmines. Nazi sharpshooters and artillery on the sheer cliffs above them, positioned to just mow them down as they hit the beach.
    But they still charged into the face of the enemy for a cause greater than themselves. They were some of the greatest of the Greatest Generation. In the words of President Reagan on an earlier D-Day anniversary, "We are all the children of their sacrifice."
    But now, years later, I've been profoundly challenged in my personal faith by their sacrifice. Actually, in the words of a correspondent who watched those warriors charge the beach, he said, "Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the disregard of it."
    That hits me personally. Because there have been so many times when fear has stopped me from doing the right thing, even the life-saving thing. That is the central mission of my faith; the one that caused Jesus to charge onto our "beach" to set us free. Knowing He would die brutally for that Cause. "Jesus, we are all the children of Your sacrifice."
    His mission, He said, was to "seek and save what was lost" (Luke 19:10). Lost because we've defied the God who made us. We've become our own god, running the life He's supposed to run. In the Bible's words, "Each of us has turned to his own way" (Isaiah 53:6), leaving us with this awful eternal death sentence. Which Jesus shed His holy blood to pay so we wouldn't have to. I know that. But the people around me have no idea that what Jesus did on the cross was for them. This is life-or-death information! I've got it. They need to hear it.
    Then why don't I tell them? Why do so many of my fellow Jesus-followers choke on this life-saving Good News? Fear of what they'll think of me, of them rejecting me, of me messing it up. Do you know all the fears have one thing in common? They're all about me. What will happen to me if I "go in for the rescue?"
    Back to D-Day. "Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the disregard of it." Sure, you're afraid. But you refuse to let your fear decide what you will do. Because of what's at stake. The greater Cause - someone's eternity. That's what I should be afraid of. What's going to happen to them if I don't risk to rescue them, if I let my fear decide what I do. God underscores how urgent our mission is when He says in Jude 23, "Snatch others from the fire and save them."
    Even the heroic Apostle Paul had battles with fear, believe it or not. It's in our word for today from the Word of God in 1 Corinthians 2, beginning with verse 2. "I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear and with much trembling." This is the great Apostle Paul. "My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with the demonstration of the Spirit's power."
    See, he didn't let his fear decide, even though he was afraid. He still told them about Jesus Christ and Him crucified, because spiritual rescue wasn't about him. It's not about me. It's a demonstration of the Spirit's power. Hallelujah! I don't go in alone! The Hero of eternity's D-Day at the cross goes in with me.


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    March 15, 2022 The Day After The End of The World - #9177


    They call it the Mayan prophecy. Yeah, it was a few years ago. If people had been right about it, you wouldn't be listening to me right now. It was December 21, 2012. Yeah, they said years ago that was the day everybody was talking about as the predicted "end of the world." I'm guessing it didn't happen.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Day After the End of the World."
    What was amazing was that a prophecy supposedly made by an ancient Indian tribe centuries ago (and actually a lot of scholars claim there was not even such a prediction), but it was taken so seriously by so many people. It was all over social media; people all over the place were talking about it. It was even all the buzz at our grandson's middle school.
    This fascination with the end of the world - that's not anything new. History's full of dates, come and gone, set by would-be doomsday prophets. Good thing we're not living in Old Testament times. One wrong prediction proved you were a false prophet, and you got stoned to death.
    There seems to be this strange sense, somewhere in our soul, that this world has an expiration date. And that sense is right. Because one day - on the day and in the way of God's choosing - the world as we know it will be done. God - the One who rules the future - says this in His book, "The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar...and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare....That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat" (2 Peter 3:10-12). Wow!
    So, yes, one day this world as we know it will end. But you won't. No matter how or when this world ends. What matters for us is not when the planet's time runs out; it's when our time runs out. We're created in God's image, so we're creatures of eternity. Oh, our bodies are made to wear out (let's face it, they give us plenty of reminders of that!) - but our souls...oh, they're made to go on forever.
    Whatever guesses people may float about what happens to our souls, only God knows. And in our word for today from the Word of God in 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, He says it's one of two destinations. One where, "He will be glorified in His holy people...and marveled at among all those who believed." And the other is where people will be "shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of His power."
    See, the destination isn't decided then. No, it's decided now, based on what we do with God's Son, Jesus, because of what He did for us. When He, according to the Bible, "carried our sins in His body on the tree" (1 Peter 2:24). God says, "Nothing impure will ever enter" heaven (Revelation 21:27). So we can't go there with our sins of a lifetime. And only Jesus can forgive them, because only Jesus died for them.
    The Bible says, "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." You know, at Christmas time, if you leave someone's Christmas gift unopened under the tree, don't blame them if you never get to enjoy it. They paid the price for it. You've got to reach out and make that gift yours. That's Just like what Jesus did for us on the cross. He paid the price, the awful price. See, we deserve the hell - the penalty for our sin. But you've got to reach out and make His gift yours.
    End of the world? Not such a big deal. End of my time in this world? A very big deal. Next stop - appointment with Almighty God. There's nothing to fear about the end of life - about meeting God there - when you know every sin of your life has been forgiven by the One who died for them - His Son, Jesus.
    You could get that settled even today. Tell Him, "Jesus, I'm yours. I'm pinning all my hopes on You." Go to our website and get the whole story. In fact, it's called ANewStory.com. You'll be ready for eternity whenever and however it comes.



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    March 14, 2022 How to Get the Rest of the Story - #9176


    Paul Harvey was probably one of the most distinctive voices in American radio. His lively newscasts and his unique delivery gave him a special niche in the lives of millions of listeners. But he did more than news. He is also known for the true stories that he told, often from American history. But he didn't let you know what the surprising subject of the story was until the end. There's a trademark phrase that accompanied Paul Harvey's great stories. He concluded it this way: "And that's the rest of the story."
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "How to Get the Rest of the Story."
    You didn't really have the whole picture until Paul Harvey gave you the real story; the rest of the story. There are so many times in our lives when we have decisions to make and we wish we had the rest of the story - like the whole picture. Every day we have to make choices based on what we can see, knowing that there's so much we don't know and so much we don't see.
    But there's someone who knows the rest of the story, and who's willing and able to guide you in your decisions. He's promised it in James 1:5, our word for today from the Word of God. God says, "If any of you lacks wisdom (man, that's me many times a day!) he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given him." What an awesome promise from God, that if I go to Him in faith, asking for His wisdom regarding this person or this situation, or this decision, I can download God's perspective and He knows the whole story!
    Solomon really models for us the way to be much smarter than we are. In 1 Kings 3, he has just become the king of Israel, following in the gigantic footsteps of his father, King David. His subjects have no idea how scared he feels; how inadequate he feels... much like we often do as parents, or leaders, as a people helper, as a teacher.
    So Solomon goes to God, who has all the answers, all the resources he doesn't have. Solomon says: "Now, O Lord my God, You have made your servant king... But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people You have chosen... So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong" (1 Kings 3:7-9). The Bible goes on to say that God made Solomon the wisest man of his time; a leader who was sought by other leaders who traveled many, many miles to see him.
    Here's what Solomon shows us as the steps to getting God's wisdom. First, you humbly admit your ignorance and your powerlessness even if you're number one where you are. Secondly, you acknowledge, as Solomon did, that everything and everyone in this situation is God's. "I'm Your servant," He said, "these are "Your people." Thirdly, desperately seek His wisdom. When you do, God will give you breakthrough insight into that situation, into that person. He will add to what you know all He knows and guide your heart to wise, "no regrets" conclusions.
    But you have to, as James says, "ask God." We're so often entangled, trying to figure things out; we're so overwhelmed by trying to decide, we neglect to go to God humbly for His wisdom. He's promised He'll give it if we ask in faith, believing He will give it to you.
    What a gift from God - His wisdom, the God given ability to look at a person or a situation through His all-knowing eyes. Is it any wonder that Solomon said, "Though it cost you all you have, get understanding" (Proverbs 4:7).


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    March 11, 2022 The Power of Broken - #9175


    It's kind of hard to think of any good news when you just broke your hand, but there can be some. Yeah. My wife learned that when she was in an accident in our car with two of our children. They were rear-ended. Somebody slammed into the back of them, and the result for my wife was a broken hand and six weeks in a cast. Well, she was unable to use her working hand; her writing hand even for about a month and a half.
    Now, when we learned that, we got the family together and had a little pep rally and it was led by cheerleader Dad. And I said, "Hey, you know what? We finally have an opportunity here to give back to Mom some of what she's been giving to us. We can really help her like we don't usually do." So, my wife had a very interesting experience. She found out that when something is broken, you could have resources to help that you don't normally have.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Power of Broken."
    Now, our word for today from the Word of God is in Psalm 51:16-17. Speaking of broken, David says to the Lord, "You do not delight in sacrifice or I would bring it." Wait a minute! That's the highest religious thing you could do if you were a Jew. But He goes on to say, "You do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." So God's most prized gift from us is not some religious activity or office we hold or a big gift we give. He says "the greatest gift you can give Me is your brokenness."
    Ironically, guess what we don't want to be? We don't want to be broken; we want to be together. But God blesses brokenness. He uses brokenness. And what's happening in your life right now just might be part of God's plan to melt you, to mold you, to soften you, and yes to break you. Not to destroy you; that's not His purpose.
    My wife found that because she had a break, she found reserves from her family to help her because of what was broken. Now, when you reach the end of you and you're broken, God's power can finally go to work on your behalf as He's wanted to all along. You're out of the way, and you've never quite experienced His power like you do in those broken moments. You finally release God's omnipotence - His all powerfulness - because there's no you left to do it.
    Only when you're broken are you going to repent fully and deal with those sinful strongholds. "God, I'm so desperate! I'll even let this go." You'll worship lavishly when you're broken. Like that lady who broke open her perfume and poured it out for the Lord. It's only when you're broken that you can be used mightily. Don't be afraid of this softening process that God's bringing you through right now. It's not because He doesn't love you; it's because He does. It's not because He's finished with you. It's because He's starting something brand new. The beginning of the answers you seek may be that very moment when you prostrate yourself before God and say, "God, I'm empty. I'm desperate. I have no answers. I have no strength. I have no resources."
    That flips a power switch in heaven that can now do something supernatural for your life and through your life. That is the power of broken. And maybe God's allowed you to be broken so you could finally be healed; to finally see that you really do need Him, to be forgiven by Him, to have a personal relationship with Him, to actually take personally for yourself what Jesus did on the cross to tear down the wall between you and God. It takes being broken so often before we see that He was broken on a cross by His choice for you and me. At the Lord's Supper - the Eucharist - the communion, He said, "This is My body which was broken for you."
    Today, maybe at the end of your brokenness, you'll finally find the Savior who could put your life together like it's never been before. This could be the beginning of that relationship. Go to our website ANewStory.com. All you need to know about how to be sure you belong to Him.
    "All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife, but He made something beautiful out of my life." He'll do that for you beginning today.



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    March 10, 2022 Running Red Lights - #9174


    Okay, we didn't have much of a car in the first place. It was less of a car by the end of the day. We hadn't been married very long, and our used car was pretty humble, but it was ours. We were in heavy traffic in downtown Chicago about five o'clock one afternoon, sitting in the middle of one of those Rush Hour blood clots they call a "traffic jam." I'd stopped for a red light not far from the Art Institute on Michigan Boulevard. I can still picture this. To our right, was a city bus that pretty much blocked my view of the traffic on the intersecting street. The light turned green. I drove out into the intersection. Bam! Suddenly we were hit very hard, stopped cold, and left with a crumpled hood with smoke coming from underneath. A delivery truck had run the red light and into us. Thankfully, we weren't hurt. Our little car was, though! It wouldn't move. So we just went to the curb and stood on the sidewalk, waiting for help to come, and we watched as one driver after another pulled up to this car of ours that was obviously wrecked, unoccupied, disabled, and they honked. Weird!
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Running Red Lights."
    Bad things can happen when you run a red light, especially if it's one of God's red lights. All too often, we are racing to get where we want to go and we blow right by a red light that God is flashing to stop us. The results are going to be damaging, and they're going to be costly.
    I love it when God gives us a flesh-and-blood picture of a principle, and He gives us a good one about His red lights in our word for today from the Word of God in Numbers 22, beginning with verse 21. The Moabites are not friends of God's people, the Jews, and they're mucho concerned when the Jews start to get close to their territory. So Balak, Moab's king, calls for a prophet named Balaam and he offers him big bucks to come and put a curse on this people that God blesses.
    So Balaam sets out toward Moab on his donkey. The Bible says, "God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him...When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field." Did Balaam turn back? Oh no. No, it says, he "beat her to get her back on the road." The angel of the Lord stands in his way for a second time, seen only by the donkey who tries to stop again, and she gets whipped again. "The angel of the Lord," the Bible says, "moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn." This time the donkey just lies down and gets it again.
    Finally, God actually speaks to Balaam through his donkey. (I guess because the donkey's obviously smarter than the prophet.) By the way, God still speaks through donkeys. I know. The Lord opens Balaam's eyes and he falls face down before the Lord saying, "I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me."
    I wonder how many times your Lord has tried to stop you on the road you're on, and how many times have you just kept going the way you want to go, running God's red lights? I'm a donkey when I do that. And here again God is trying to stand in your way, right here today even through our little visit together, trying to turn you around from those choices you've been making; that direction you're going. Because He loves you too much to let you end up where He knows this road will take you.
    It's just plain foolish not to stop when the God of the universe says to. If you run the red light, one of two hurtful things is going to happen. Either God will do something more drastic and more painful to stop you, or He'll get out of your way and He'll let you walk right into the very unhappy ending down the road. But today He's giving you one more chance to stop before that cliff up ahead. Don't choose the pain of running God's red light. Stop before you get hit.


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    March 9, 2022 No Such Thing As Retirement - #9173


    It's probably one of the most memorable, most identifiable advertising campaigns in advertising history. And, you know what, it's hard to do that when what you're selling is something as boring as batteries. But Energizer did it. Right? Now, what are you thinking right now? You can probably imagine their rabbit in your mind right now: he's got sunglasses on, drumsticks in his hand, and a big bass drum in front of him. And he moves across the landscape, seemingly unstoppable, beating his drum all the way because he's powered by Energizer batteries, of course.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "No Such Thing As Retirement."
    Yeah, the Energizer bunny. He keeps "going and (You can say it with me.) going and going and going." So do faithful followers of Jesus Christ, no matter how long they've been going. God says so in our word for today from the Word of God.
    According to Psalm 92, beginning with verse 12, "The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God." Now, listen to this part. "They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, 'The Lord is upright; He is my Rock." Oh I love this! People in the later years of their lives, not just playing shuffleboard or watching TV, but still making a difference. Still praising their faithful Lord every chance they get. Still talking about the 'Rock' who has sustained them through every battle of their life. In fact, speaking as only those who have walked with God a long time can speak of Him!
    It's God's will that you should "bear fruit in your old age," that you stay fresh and productive, not stale, not on the sidelines. You can retire from a career. You can retire from a company or an occupation, but you can't retire from the service of Jesus Christ! There are those who say, "Well, I've served my time. I've done my part. I'll just sit here and rest until Jesus comes for me." Oh boy! Listen, when you love the Lord Jesus, when you've surrendered your life to His leadership, you don't look for an opportunity to quit. You say, "Man, if I live to be 100, I'm never going to have enough time to do for my Lord what I want to do!" God wants you to be one of His "Energizer bunnies" going and going and going until He decides your work is finished.
    Yes, your body may slow down. Your health may not be what it used to be. But you still have so much to give. He's still got lives for you to touch. Wherever He's put you, don't go off duty! He's still got young people He wants you to encourage with your long view of the ways of God. He's still got battles for you to fight, other people's burdens for you to carry at least in prayer, situations that need your wisdom, people who need you for them to have a chance to even go to heaven. They need the Jesus you know. How can you retire? Yes, you may retire from a ministry position, but don't ever retire from ministry! People ask me, "Will I retire?" I say, "Yes. Re-tire; I'm going to put new tires on so I can go farther and faster than I've ever gone before."
    So many people get more self-centered the older they get. That isn't God's plan for you and me. He doesn't want our world to keep shrinking. The closer we get to seeing Jesus, the less we should be thinking about ourselves and the more we should be thinking about serving Him and storing up treasures in heaven! Isn't it exciting to know that God wants to keep using your life for your whole life? Because the Holy Spirit, who lives in you, never gets old, never wears out, and never goes off duty. Because of that, you're going to keep "going and going and going" for Jesus until the day you see Him!


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    March 8, 2022 The Bends in the Road - #9172


    Okay, it's an adult privilege to get nostalgic every once in a while, right? My wife and I would suddenly get this far-away look, and you know, drift back to some childhood incident. But frankly, I liked it when my wife was telling about her childhood on the farm in the Ozarks. I enjoyed hearing about it.
    She told me one day about her walk to school. She was a five-year-old girl, they lived quite a ways from the main highway, and she had a long road ahead. Okay, she's got this big, long walk to the bus, so for the first leg of the trip, she'd have her Mom in sight. Now, Mom had another little girl there, so she couldn't leave. So she'd watch my wife until she got to a bend in the road. And then this little girl would go around the bend and there was Grandma, because Grandma's place was down the next stretch. And then she'd go around another bend, and around the next bend was a friendly neighbor's house who usually would spot little Karen coming and she would wave at her. And then there was one more bend, and then the bus. Guess what part of the journey my wife said she really didn't like? Yeah, the bends in the road.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Bends In the Road."
    Now, our word for today from the Word of God comes from Isaiah 43, and I'll begin reading at verse 1. "Fear not for I have redeemed you. I have summoned you by name. You are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned. The flames will not set you ablaze." You know what the Lord's talking about here? He's talking about the bends in the road. It's those places where nobody's there but Him.
    Now, our life journey is not unlike my wife's childhood walk to the school bus. At each major phase of our journey, God puts a strategic person or people in our path just like my wife would see Mom, and Grandma, and the neighbor, and then finally the people at the bus. In a sense, God will put flesh and blood representatives of His love right there when you need someone. And you can think back to who some of those people might have been in your life, right?
    But as you've entered each new chapter and you've rounded each bend, there waiting for you has been God's person for that episode in your life. But then there are the bends in the road and there's no one there. The Bible talks about passing through the river, and the fire, and the waters. And for a time, you're without a support person. Maybe you're there now.
    My wife said to me, "I learned that I had Jesus when I hit the bend in the road, and only Jesus." Hey, you might be in a bend like that right now, and there's no one who will be there for you. Or maybe they would be, but they just can't meet your need right now. Well, listen to His promise again. He has said all through the waters, and the fire, "I will be with you. I am the Lord your God."
    Paul found out in his prison, "Everyone had deserted me, but the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength." See, the plan of God includes places where you will have no one but Him. Why is that? So you can experience life's greatest security of all. You say, "Ron, I'm religious, but I don't have that kind of a close thing going with God." Well, you might have a religion about Jesus and be missing the relationship with Jesus. And the reason for that is the wall between us and Him. That wall is our sin, our running of our own life. And the beautiful thing is that Jesus, who wants to walk with you every moment the rest of your life, went to a cross to die for the sin that separates you from God and will forever unless you begin a relationship with Him by putting all your trust in Him.
    If you go to our website, there's a lot there about how to begin this relationship. It's ANewStory.com.
    You'll never know that Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you've got. And you know where you discover that? At the scary, lonely, and precious bends in the road.



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    March 7, 2022 The Mistakes We Make For Love - #9171


    So I'm in the backyard with our then six-year-old grandson when, out of the blue, he says, "Grandpa, I'm going to be married someday." Oh boy. I'm searching for something wise to say as grandfathers are supposed to do. My grandson saved me - with five little words, "But it's up to Jesus." That little conversation has replayed in my head and my heart a dozen times I think.
    See, I'm a guy who's worked with - and still works with - a lot of young people. Many of them bear the scars of the mistakes they've made for love. But then, so do many married couples I've been close to over the years.
    Our desire to be loved, and to belong, to be married - all normal, even God-given. But those desires can be so strong or so impatient that we just out-and-out say, "I'm going to be married." Minus "It's up to Jesus." Because we've made up our mind that married is what we're going to be.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Mistakes We Make For Love."
    That's where so many decisions have been made that led to loneliness more than love, to a nightmare instead of that dream come true. When it comes to love, we're not really sure like the Bible says, "the Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want" (Psalm 23:1 ). You know, if God's taking too long, it's our choice, not God's, right? And then we run around or ahead of God and ahead of His perfect plan for our lives. And we end up with a lifetime of regret wondering what might have been.
    Our daughter had a plaque up in her room during her teenage years. It was a constant reminder to let the love of your life be your Heavenly Father's choice. It said, "God reserves His very best for those who leave the choice to Him."
    Or, as our word for today from the Word of God in Psalm 37 tells us beginning in verse 4, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust also in Him and He will bring it to pass." I take that to say, "You chase after the heart of God, and God will take care of seeing you have the love you need."
    That statement about "He will give you the desires of your heart"? I've never known whether that means He will give you what you desire or He'll put His desires in your heart. Maybe it's some of each. Major on loving Him, and you'll be wanting what He wants to give you. At just the right time, in just the right way, He'll provide it.
    So many wish that they had waited for God's choice. They wish they hadn't dethroned God when it came to their lifetime love. Thank God, there's grace from Him to redeem a human "mistake" with one of His miraculous marriage makeovers. But it's so much better to get it right from the start, which means surrendering to a loving Savior your right to be married; to trust Him to decide if and who and when. Because "as for God, (the Bible says) His way is perfect" (Psalm 18:30). Anyone who loved you enough to die for you is never going to do you wrong. Listen to the Bible: "He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all - how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:32).
    After every "I want" should come four little words that mark the road to God's best. "It's up to Jesus." It's often our broken dreams and our messed up plans that actually turn our heart in God's direction. And that's where we finally find the love and the purpose that we were made for; that we've looked for our whole life. It's in the One who loved us like no one ever loved us - enough to die for our sin so we could be with Him forever. Not a dead Savior. A living Savior, who walked out of His grave three days after He died under His own power, so He could walk into your life today on your invitation and fill it with the love your heart has been so hungry for.
    Maybe it's time to investigate letting Jesus drive, and how you can belong to Him now and forever. Our website's got a kind of "roadmap" for that. Would you check it out? It's ANewStory.com.
    Look, haven't you lived long enough without the love you were made for?



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    March 4, 2022 The Maestro at His Best - #9170


    When the famous violinist Paganini played a concert in one of the great halls of Europe, it was equivalent to the draw of like a modern rock concert. Well, the story is told of one such night in Paris. As Paganini appeared on the stage, there's this excited buzz in the audience, and there was expectant applause. But as the maestro began to play, a string broke on his exquisite violin. Well, any concern passed pretty quickly as he picked up the tune on his remaining three strings. Unbelievably, another string snapped, followed moments later by a third string. Now the buzz in the audience was more anxious, I mean, like disgruntled; it wasn't expectant anymore. But the old maestro just raised his hand - called for silence. And as the audience became quiet again, he made a simple announcement, "Ladies and gentlemen Paganini and one string." What followed was easily the most amazing musical performance the crowd had ever seen, or would ever see, as the maestro played a rich and flawless melody on one string.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Maestro at His Best."
    When did the master most powerfully demonstrate his skill? When he had the least to work with - one string. When does the Lord Jesus, our Master, most powerfully demonstrate how much He can do? When He has the least to work with. When our strings are broken, we have almost nothing left, that's when He plays His masterpieces.
    That's what the great Apostle Paul learned when virtually all the strings of his life had broken. His testimony is in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. It's our word for today from the Word of. God. Paul had been given some spiritual revelations that no man had ever experienced before. He says, "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in the flesh...Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.'"
    See, because Paul experiences God's power the most when he has nothing left, he says, "Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me...For when I am weak, then I am strong." Why? Because the less there is of you, the more there is of God and the more of His power you experience. Which actually can make you, much like Paul, actually embrace your hard times, even your hurting times with a sense of expectancy instead of dread or discouragement. It's not that you like the pain, but you realize what pain can produce. And all through it, you have God's unbreakable promise, "My grace is sufficient for you."
    Our weakness (oh how I've experienced it so many times) means an opportunity for a display of His strength and His glory: a chance to experience God's ability to heal, to intervene, to carry you. The famous British journalist, Malcolm Muggeridge, who gloriously came to Christ late in life, put it this way, "Everything I have learned in my 75 years in this world, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my existence, has been through affliction, not through happiness."
    So maybe most of your strings have broken and you're down to one string. Well, that's the moment when the Maestro is at His very best. He lovingly holds you in His arms and He says, "Almighty God and one string." He's about to play something beautiful, something unforgettable, something amazing through your life.


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    March 3, 2022 Too Busy for the Beauty - #9169


    As we drove through Utah that day I kept "oohing" and "ahhing" at one magnificent view after another. Majestic mountains, and this rugged terrain, fabulous vistas - I loved it! Then my wife reminded me that I'd seen all this before. Oh, more accurately, I should have seen it before. See, I had traveled these same scenic highways on a bus with our Native American outreach team On Eagles' Wings a couple of years before. But much of the time, I had my head down, I was buried in my work or preparation or I was busy talking with one of the team members. In the process, I totally missed some of this country's greatest beauty.
    I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Too Busy for the Beauty."
    So I missed some wonderful beauty because, yeah, too busy. Unfortunately, that's not the only time in my life I've made that mistake. And I don't think I'm the only one who's made it. In our overheated, overscheduled lives, it's just so easy to speed right by some things that are too beautiful to miss - in our surroundings, in our son, in our daughter, our grandchild, our husband or wife, in the blessings that God's unfolding right in front of us. And even in hearing the voice of God.
    Many of us have been - well, OK here's a word that isn't one - "Martha-ed." Yeah. Now, even though it's not a word, it is a familiar reality I think. Let's watch busy, busy Martha missing the beauty around her in our word for today from the Word of God. It's in Luke 10, beginning with verse 38, and I have to tell you, I see a mirror here almost. And I see what I'm like sometimes. Maybe it's a mirror for you, too. You decide.
    Here's what it says. "Martha opened her home to Jesus. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet, listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, 'Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!' 'Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better.'"
    Martha has the Son of God in her home! Mary realizes what an opportunity this is, but Martha's so busy she misses it. And she turns negative toward her sister, she starts attacking her. I think Martha is the patron saint of all of us who are sometimes too busy to stop and see the beauty right in front of us. For someone listening today, God's trying to say to you, "Would you slow down and smell the flowers?" You are missing precious, never-again moments in the life of your child, or in your relationship with your husband or wife, moments that will never come again. Or maybe beauty in other people that you care about. Your busyness may have made you mechanical, robotic, brittle, maybe even insensitive or mean. That kind of busy i