My random, sometimes insightful thoughts on life, God, family, and everything else


Pursuing God Recklessly!

Cliffhanger.jpgThis last week I began a new series entitled MANifesto, you can watch the first message here: Part 1.  I’m really excited about this series because it hits an area that I feel passionate about, and that is calling men to be men, period! Our culture, our world, and even ‘religion’ is doing everything it can to de-men, men. The reason behind all of this is that when men are men it often makes people uncomfortable. As men we like doing difficult things, we like doing things that are dangerous, scary, messy, dirty, and yes reckless.

The definition of reckless is ‘doing something and being unconcerned about the potential outcome or cost’. Part of the reason that men have walked away from church and God is because over the last 5-7 decades the church-world has declawed Christianity. It’s been made safe and predictable, comfortable even. We sit is soft chairs, listen to simple/boring messages that tell us that Jesus loves us and be nice to each other, as we sing wispy songs that talk about loving another man…yeah that’s not something I see guys standing in line for!

It’s way past time that we reclaim the genuine masculinity of the faith. The faith of a mighty leader like Moses, a brilliant general like Joshua, a fiery preacher like Elijah, a rough fisherman like Peter, and a skilled carpenter like Jesus! Men, God has big, brilliant, terrifying, un-safe plans for your life, but unless you pursue him recklessly your faith will be about as dangerous as a declawed kitten…it’s time we become wild lions!



Memorial Day

It has been my privilege to travel to dozens of countries around the world, some of you Happy-Memorial-Day
have traveled less, and others like my father who has been in almost 100 countries, have traveled more. As I’ve chatted over the years with those who extensively travel abroad, especially to third world countries, there is a common refrain that I hear, “I’m so thankful to have been born an American!”

In years past you would hear that far more often than you do today. Unfortunately, for many, the idea of being an American is something that is almost shameful or at best we ‘should’ feel guilty because we’ve enjoyed such freedoms. This thinking lies directly in the attitude that we have more, therefore it must have come at the expense of others. This is an incredibly limited and naive view, and one that has almost zero fact based in real history. The United States of America has never entered a war as an aggressor or for the purpose of colonizing, like many countries did in the 1400’s-1800’s. Every war that we have ever engaged in was because either we were attacked or we were coming to the defense of others. Do I agree with all of them, probably not; neither do I agree with how each of them was conducted, but that is not the point here.

The freedom that was won by our forefathers did not come cheaply nor has it remained without great cost. This day, Memorial Day, is set aside, not for us to hang out with friends, drink beer, and eat brats (not bad just not the point). This day was set aside for each of us as citizens of this great country, to pause and be thankful. To be thankful for every man and woman that gave their life in defense of our country. This is not something to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. This is something to be cherished and honored. Someone else, many someone else’s, gave their all so you could do whatever you are going to do today. Don’t stain their memory or cheapen their sacrifice by apologizing for the country they defended with their very lives. Are we a perfect nation, no…not by a long shot, but after traveling around the world and listening to those who’ve done so far more than I, we’ve got a lot more figured out then about 95% of the rest…and that ain’t bad!

Happy Memorial Day, and thank you to those who gave their all!


The birth of “Acorn Ridge”

Over the last several weeks I’ve had several people ask me about our property and how things are coming along. If you remember I shared with you all our dream of opening up a retreat center for Pastors, Missionaries, Military and Law Enforcement Chaplains, and other leaders in our post when we were selling our home.  Since moving in on December 23rd…yes you read that correctly two days before Christmas, (oh and we had family staying with us, we just like to do things difficult) we have made a ton of progress!

The most exciting and recent development is that we are now an officially recognized non-profit business in the state of Indiana. I went through the process of writing our Articles of Incorporation (yeah that was fun), jumping through the appropriate hoops, and cutting the necessary red tape, and we received our notification on Monday. So, we now are officially Acorn Ridge Retreats Inc. Now, I get to go through the exciting and exuberayting process of applying for 501 c3 status with the Federal government…anyone want to help with that?

Here are some of the physical things we’ve been up to:

  • There are two houses on the property, one is the main log cabin, and the other is a 2

    Daisy looking very despondent because of all the work to do


    One bedroom after drywall and primer


    The flooring that made me limp for a month!

    bedroom stick-built home that was pretty much trashed. I pretty much gutted the house, and I am still in process of putting it all back together again. Our oldest daughter Kaitlyn, is currently living in the house, but once she moves on from us…a little tear just fell…we will open up that house to our guests.

  • There is a small, 400 sq ft, cabin that the previous owners used as a practice run for the main cabin. It is just an empty shell, but our plan for that is to turn it into a ‘tiny home’ for our guests as well. Unlike the stick built home, I haven’t had a chance to do anything with this yet. But, I’m hoping as I wrap up some of the other projects currently going on around the property I’ll be able to start getting this piece ready for guests as well.


  • Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on a piece of the property that I hadn’t even thought of before, but after a conversation with a friend, I realized what a cool tool it could be. I took an overgrown, but fairly level piece of the land and tore IMG_0520it all up, I removed trees, shrubs, a few woodland creatures…don’t worry there’s lots of land for them to move to…and created a nice ‘camping’ area where those who travel around the country in RV’s could come and park and enjoy the retreat area as well. Yesterday afternoon I had 12 cubic yards of stone delivered and I began the process of graveling so that they could easily level their traveling homes and enjoy an extended stay. The IMG_4540only thing left to do is to run a 50Amp line for them to plug in and water. Hey, anyone have a trencher or Ditch-Witch just laying around???
  • There is an extensive flower bed and stone bed system on the property. However, all of the beds were badly overgrown. We’ve killed, uprooted, and hacked out about 80% of the vegetation and now are preparing to lay a ton…literally…a ton of mulch.

You may read all of this and be asking yourself, ‘why in the world would they do this, are they just that bored?’ No, I promise you, with everything going on at Friendship and all of the growth, construction, and everything that comes with it, we are FAR from bored. But, several years ago we were blessed beyond belief with our sabbatical, and from that point on we’ve been asking God to allow us to be a blessing like that in the lives of other pastors and leaders who bear such a heavy burden on a regular basis, and who rarely if ever have the luxury of just being a human being. This is not just a dream for us, but a labor of love. Our hope is that through this extension of Friendship Church we will either directly or indirectly save some leaders from burnout, some marriages from failing, and some churches from deep hurt. The verse we’ve chosen as our theme is Hebrews 6:10 NLT, here’s what it says:

For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do.

Believe it or not, our first guest will be coming the weekend of June 17th, which is about 2 years before we planned on it, but hey, God always has better, bigger, and more beautiful plans than we do!

This is Traci and my dream, but it’s an extension of Friendship, and every ministry family served will be served by you! Thank you for your faithfulness, for your love of our family and all of our leadership families, and thank you for allowing me to be your pastor! You guys are awesome!!!



Love is one of those words that, I believe, has lost most if not all of it’s meaning. It is p02ltlh8thrown around so much, to describe so many different things, that it’s potency has all but diminished. For example, in any given day you’ll use the word ‘love’ like this…

  • Oh my gosh…I LOVE that! (in reference to a blouse or new outfit your looking at)
  • I absolutely loved it! (in reference to the latest movie you watched)
  • I love pizza…chocolate…ice cream…cheesecake…(self explanatory)
  • I love you! (could be in reference to your husband…or your kid…or your pet)

You see what I mean?!

It get’s even more dicey when you ask people to describe what ‘real love’ looks like, however, in an effort to not get a bunch of hate mail, I won’t give you any examples. Feel free to imagine your own!

Wouldn’t it be great, if someone, somewhere, could actually speak with authority on this subject? My goodness, why can’t it just be boiled down to the essence of what love really is, and put it in a way that everyone can understand? If we can come up with clearly understood and widely accepted meanings of silly words like skedaddle, cattywampus, and discombobulate, why can’t we with a simple four letter word like LOVE!


16 This is how we know what real love is: Jesus gave his life for us. So we should give our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 Suppose someone has enough to live and sees a brother or sister in need, but does not help. Then God’s love is not living in that person. 18 My children, we should love people not only with words and talk, but by our actions and true caring. – 1 John 3:16-18 NCV

…oh, yeah, I guess that’ll work, thanks!


You can’t worry your way out of worry!

Yesterday we spent some time talking about worry, but more importantly the ‘why’ worry21behind worry. The key, or what I like to call the Big Idea, was that:

Worry is a direct result of believing that God doesn’t care enough!

For some of you that immediately caused a panic attack, and your worry level went through the roof, because now you’re worried if God is mad at you because you don’t have ‘enough faith’. First, let me say, RELAX! God’s not mad at you, angry with you, or disappointed in you. He is using this truth to help you, release you, and lighten your load. Remember Jesus made it very clear:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

Worry is completely ineffective on every level imaginable, it does absolutely nothing for you! So, if you find yourself dancing around the edges of worry, or completely immersed in a worry ‘wonderland’ today, take the simple steps the Bible gives us to find the peace that God offers:

  1. Pray – believing that God actually wants rest for you
  2. Tell Him what you need – He wants you to be specific, call out what you are worried about and lay it at His feet
  3. Thank Him – remind yourself of how faithful He has been to you over the years.

I’m reminded of an old chorus that goes like this:

Why worry when you can pray
Trust Jesus He’ll be your stay
Don’t be a doubting Thomas
Rest fully on His promise
Why worry worry worry worry
When you can pray

Alfred Smith, John Peterson 1949 Brentwood Music

Leadership Ingenuity, as seen in a movie that may or may not be historically accurate!

Yeah, I know that’s a long title, but I really couldn’t think of a way of making it any smaller. A couple of years ago I came across a movie called, “Red Cliffs”. Now, a couple of disclaimers, First it’s a Chinese war movie with subtitles. Second, well, it’s a Chinese war movie, hence lots of violence. So if you are squeamish about fake blood, probably not one for you. But, interspersed within the movie is tremendous dialogue (subtitled) about warfare, tactics, agendas, and even leadership.

The movie is actually about a historical war between 3 generals who were all trying to become the leader of a unified China between 208-214AD. When one of those leaders, Cao Cao, became immensely more powerful than the other two combined, it forced them, though enemies, to join forces. Even after joining forces they are still badly outnumbered and during a meeting the two generals have this conversation (paraphrased):

Zhuge Liang: “His army is so massive, we don’t even have enough arrows to kill all of them, this is impossible!”

Zhou Yu, after a moment in thought: “Maybe Cao Cao will let us borrow some of his?”

This is the following scene, here’s a link if you need it:

What unbelievable leadership ingenuity. You see it’s easy to give up when everything seems to be working against you. I mean for crying out lout, how much energy does it really take to quit? But, it takes real leadership ingenuity to look at an insurmountable problem, and instead of seeing a problem, use it to your advantage.

If you are a leader, what is your insurmountable problem? Start thinking outside of the box, how can that thing that you believed was a block wall, limiting your ability to move forward be reconfigured into a staircase for your ultimate success? All it takes is a little leadership ingenuity!


The Crandall’s Home Is Up For Sale…Are They Leaving???

Okay, I’ll admit it, that headline is total ‘click bait’! But, the truth is our homeFor-Sale-Sign will indeed go up for sale in just a few short days. It’s not because we need a new home, or quite frankly that we were looking to buy a new home, or that we are trying to upgrade to ‘keep up with the Joneses’. In reality, a home with some significant land came available and after much prayer, counsel, and budget crunching we made an offer, and our offer was accepted. The home is still in the area, and no we are in no way desiring, planning, or looking to leave Friendship Church. Now, I know a lot of you will have questions, so to save me having to repeat the same answers over and over again here is a little FAQ I put together for you:

  • So, why did you guys decide you wanted to move?
    • Well, we really had no plans whatsoever to move, this has really come out of the blue at us, and this whole process has taken less than a month! One of Traci and my dreams has been to be able to provide a safe place for pastor’s and their wives to get outside the fishbowl of ministry, and allow them a quiet place to relax, heal, and refresh. This home comes with quite a few acres of land all set within the woods, which is an ideal location to someday be able to provide this type of place for pastors and their wives.
  • How in the world are you able to do something like this so quickly?
    • We don’t know how quickly it will actually be, because our home needs to sell first. But, I can tell you that one of the reasons we can do this and make this type of a move, even with a daughter in college is because we have followed Biblically sound financial advice, including that of Dave Ramsey and FPU. This has given us a lot of financial flexibility to be able to do something like this. As good ole Dave says, “Live like no one else now, so you can live like no one else later!” For us this is a part of the ‘later’!
  • So, is this a done deal, when are you guys moving in?
    • It’s only a done deal if our house sells…anyone interested?
  • Is this going to change anything in your relationship and connection to Friendship?
    • No, none whatsoever. We will still be on the Southside, and my ‘commute’ will still be shorter than about 80% of the people at Friendship.
  • Can we tell our friends about your house, I think they might be interested?
    • Please do, here in the next few days we will post the listing on Facebook and Twitter, you can go ahead and shoot your friends the listing. If you are personally interested just shoot us an e-mail and we will set up a private showing for you.
  • Can we come and help you pack up all of your boxes and help you move things that will likely cause my back to go out?
    • Okay, I’m pretty sure no one is going to ask that!
  • Can we look through the pictures in the listing and get a sneak peak at what a pastors home really looks like, or better yet ask for a showing so we can walk through and look in all your cupboards?
    • You can print off the pictures for all I care, and if you’re genuinely interested in buying our home, you can peek in every cabinet and cupboard during your showing! You won’t find anything all that special, like secret prayer closets or the Ark of the Covenant figurines, but you’ll find quite a few guns…oh and no cats.

Wrapping up, I’d like to ask you to pray for us. As excited as we are about the possibility, it’s also pretty scary. Our intention was to stay in this house until, well probably until after we retired! We had no plans to move, but God always has bigger and better plans, if we are willing to wait for them. Again, this may not happen as our house may not sell, but everything we are hearing at this point is indicating that it will. So, if you’ll pray that God will continue to lead us by either opening or shutting doors, and that if this is his perfect will that our house would sell quickly so that we can begin this new and very unexpected season in our lives.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,

The Crandall Clan…and Daisy (Traci’s little white dog) too!