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Preach, Teach, Reach
January 5, 2006
Dear Friend of Mary Craig Ministries,
He sauntered into Craighouse, a little unsure, a little cocky. The oversized clothing was designed, Iím sure, to make him a little larger than life, much like a cat flaring out his fur in the face of a fight. He came with a friend, someone who knew both the streets of New York and the aisles of church, someone who knew the culture of hip-hop, someone who saw through the clothing to the need.
"People bringing people to help and hope in Jesus Christ." Thatís the motto of Craighouse. Itís something a man like Cecil does on a regular basis. And it isnít just people like the young man coming with Cecil. Itís also pastors and ministers and Christians who come searching for moreómore truth, more power, more love.
Our new young man sat attentively in a small group. He listened as the group strained to remember the work of Christ on the cross, that something more than just "He died to pay for your sins" of the gospel of grace. They did well, this group. Together they remembered. Oh, yeah, it had something to do with sacrifice overcoming guilt and liability, and then there was redemption, overcoming bondage. There was reconciliation overcoming alienation from God, a big word. There was propitiation, a bigger word, meaning turning away the wrath of God. That brought on a discussion of wrath. You know, how many ever faced the wrath of their father? Laughter, scrunched faces, "glad to be away" looks. What about the wrath of man, the wrath of Satan, the wrath of God? Oh, yes, that Satan thing. Someone remembered the destruction work of Christ on the cross, overcoming the kingdom of evil.
Our young man grew more interested as the group turned to discuss the Holy Spirit. Whoís that? A Person? God? Whatís He like? Whatís He got to do with it? How much in control is He? Grieved? He can be grieved? Whatís that like? Quenched? What is He, like fire? Wow, do I want to know this Holy Spirit?
Then it was back to father issues. The group turned to discussing fathers. Pastor Jim turned red in the face as our daughter Joanna, visiting from D.C., described him as a good father and told tales on Daddy. Good fathers, theyíre really out there somewhere? God could be my Father?
After the Bible study the group had a little fellowship time before moving into the worship room. Food is always good, but the young man was hungry for something more. He respected the atmosphere, the environment. After a time, people were being prayed for, receiving individual attention, comfort, concern. Obviously, they were important to one another. You could sense the love, the presence of God, the grace. And then it was time for our young man.
Right off, I remarked to him that I was glad he was courageous. He had a little spirit of adventure. It takes courage to be a Christian, I told him. Courage is good. As I prayed for him, it became apparent that he needed a safe place, a Father, a place where he could be honest and real. That place was in Christ.
It was so easy. He entered the kingdom of God like a baby entering the world as if on a slide into a new space. Suddenly he was praying to ask Jesus into his heart and life; not just some two-line prayer, but a real prayer covering repentance and acknowledging sin and the need for a Savior, Lord, and the Holy Spirit in his life. Something happened, something was different. You know, glory to God.
He seemed intrigued as I filled out a spiritual birthday certificate, had people witness it, and had someone show him the little booklet explaining new life in Christ. He liked the whole thing. He said he would be back. He had felt the touch of Christian community, Christian love. He left with Cecil, changed.
Preach. Teach. Reach. Itís what we do at MCM. Jesus said to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever He had commanded us. Itís a commission, a calling. Most of you on this mailing list share that with us. Ministry is about carrying the message inside of you, the messenger. Itís about living the life, being a living letter of love.
Jesus also said,
Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Except a grain of wheat Fall into the earth and die,
it abides by itself alone;
But if it die, it bears much fruit.
He that loves his Life loses it;
and he that hates his life in this world
Shall keep it unto life eternal. John 12.24-25
Every seed throughout the world, every grain of wheat, teaches us that the path to a fruitful and worthy life moves through death. Jesus had to pass through death to life before imparting His life to a redeemed people. And who is the Holy Spirit? He is the Spirit of Life who brings Godís redeemed people into fruitfulness, fruit that remains.
Jesus took fishermen and enlarged their vision. Follow Me, He said to them. But to follow Jesus is to follow Him through the cross to resurrection, to pass from death unto life, to lay down the life for the Body of Christ.
Our young man was most deeply touched to know that Jesus provided through His sacrifice the access to the Father we all want, a Father who is the Source of all life and blessing. And the Holy Spirit takes us there, for where Jesus is, there we will be also.
Preach. Teach. Reach. As we lay down our lives for the gospel to extend Godís grace to those He puts in our areas of influence, we extend Godís kingdom in Jesus Christ. We need to enlarge our vision in order to extend His kingdom, and this we are doing at MCM.
Will you help us? We ended 2005 with a 15% increase in the number of "regulars" at Craighouse and a 36% increase in "non-regulars." A ministry of small groups like ours is one-on-one discipleship that fills a need for which larger churches and ministries cannot or will not make time. As more and more churches adopt the business practices of the world for growth and mass marketing appeal, people are crying out from the depths of their hearts for someplace where they are known, and loved, and prayed for, and can serve Christ.
MCM has gone into 59 nations and to all seven continents, sending 28 people on 31 mission trips. This next year Mozambique and Ethiopia and possibly Kenya are on the agenda for world missions. I will be telling you more about these nations in the months ahead. We need your help, both your prayer support for our mission teams and financial support.
At MCM we believe in whole-life stewardship. That means connecting our lives to Godís purposes. In its celebratory nature, Godís kingdom often runs counter-culture to the wisdom of the world. That means that we remember that God can take ordinary lives, like the life of a fisherman or a tax-collector or that of our young man and the friend who brought him to Craighouse, and create something beautiful for the kingdom of Christ.
As we begin 2006 I want to call us to reflect on Godís purposes and call us all to greater involvement. So speaking to myself and to you, find your focus. What are you sensing in your spirit, deep down where you live? What burdens your heart? Think of the possibilities.
We could not pursue the calling of the Lord without continual support, both spiritual and financial, from people like you. Please consider your gift to MCM and be a part of bringing more people like our young man to help and hope in Jesus. You will be blessed!
For His glory,
P.S. Go to www.marycraig.org for the latest. We have a new scripture perpetual calendar available onlineÖEnjoying God for Life. Worship with us 4:30 p.m. Sundays, at Craighouse®, located in the Pompano Plaza at 114 E. McNab Road, Pompano Beach, FL 33060. Log on to www.craighouse.org for a map and more events and Bible studies. Be blessed! We love you.
And the grace of our Lord abounded exceedingly
With faith and love. 1 Timothy 1.14
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Mission to Jerusalem
In Chicago, 1980, at 25 years old, God told me I was to go to Israel. I had been a born-again Jewish believer in Jesus for 6 years. After a few years of ministry in the gospel and severe trials, the initial excitement and "romance" of serving God for Jesus in the holy land gradually wore off. Yet the call never left. I held to Acts 13.1-4 as the pattern for how and when I would be sent out. Though I did not believe much in God speaking directly to people, I still believed that if God were calling me, He would do this in some way.
December 1996 I was moved to S. Florida, pretty much against my will, but too sick to argue. After a weeks-long recovery from illness, I found a church. Still struggling with serious spiritual and physical problems, I heard about a lady to whom God had given a powerful ministry in the area of healing and deliverance. Her name was Mary Craig.
By August 1998 prophetic words were given by Mary that only God could know about me. I was not looking for this, but God was looking for me. Then words began coming about the Lord restoring my vision and life. By August 2005 I was preparing to go to Israel.
November 2005 and Rev. Jim Craig felt Godís leading to join me on the mission to Jerusalem. December 1st the mission began as Pastor Jim and I arrived at Miami Intíl Airport. After getting through the screening process, I was confronted by a rabbi with a table full of Jewish religious items. He was determined to convert me back to Judaism, but I resisted. It was the God of Israel who kept me from succumbing to the rabbiís friendly, yet persuasive pull.
These confrontations persisted as we pressed on to do what God sent us to do in the City of David, the original site of Jerusalem conquered by David from the Jebusites around 1000 BC. 2 Samuel 5.1-12 Our mission was to go to this original City of David, south of the Old City walls, to stand there and declare out the Bible verses and passages referencing Jerusalem, about 1000 verses and dozens of passages. I stood on the wall of David to "watch" as a watchman and watch over the city of Jerusalem. I stood to tear down the walls of man and rebuild the walls of David (by our words) and declare the Ark of the Covenant in the midst of Godís people and release the anointing of the Holy Spirit to bring in Tabernacles, the fullness of all He desires for His people, the consummation of the Covenant. I declared that every scripture would be fulfilled exactly as God intended regarding Jerusalemís destiny and the coming of Jesus the Messiah. I declared Jesus Priest-King Melchizedek on the soil of Jerusalem, Romans 11, and the Davidic covenant.
We had many adventures, including through the Gihon Spring to Siloam and the Dead Sea, praying continually for insight as we went and looking to Godís leading. Seeing how God had created the topography of the Bible, much of the Scriptures began coming to life for me as we pictured so many of the things that had happened there. See Jerusalem's Destiny for notes and scriptures regarding God's purpose and promises for his city.
You can read the full account on www.marycraig.org, Mission to Jerusalem (coming soon). Join us Saturday, February 25th, 6:00 p.m. at Craighouse for an informative and inspiring presentation by Rev. Jim Craig and Kroy Ellis on this spiritually powerful mission.
Copyright © 2006 Mary Craig Ministries, Inc.
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