The Land of Sour
by Jason Cruise
The power of my attitude is the baseline for virtually everything I encounter.
The problem, at least for me anyway, is that at times my attitude can go south of the border so fast that
it takes a hefty charge of power from God's spirit to generate the current
necessary to bring me back into my native land where His peace and joy reside.
I hate myself when I find that I'm living, even if for a solitary hour, in the Land of Sour. I hate myself for allowing my mind to go there and dwell. I hate myself for allowing
someone or something to own my emotions. No person, no object, nor any situation should ever be
given permission to own my emotions. Only God should own the title to the
property of my attitude, yet I fail on this front more times than I care to admit.
It seems to me that more often than not, when my attitude goes sour, it is my witness for Christ that takes the lethal blow in the eyes of my fellow man. It is a painful thing to realize that you've set the
clock back in terms of relating well with those who are without Christ.
"Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus." Philippians 2:5
Sometimes a man's attitude fails him because he's trying to control a situation instead of trusting the sovereignty of God to work things out in His time. Then there are times your attitude is pathetic simply because you let that someone or that some thing penetrate the heart and bend the will toward the direction of disdain.
The Land of Sour, regardless of how one may arrive there, is no place to live for those who are resident aliens of Heaven living on this side of the river. We do not have to wait for that distant day when we are to cross that final stream in order to experience the joy of Jesus available for the here and the now.
A Matter of Ought
by Jason Cruise
I asked him to tell me about his family. He couldn't.
He had been told that he had brothers and sisters, but he had no idea of their whereabouts. He didn't know where his mother was living and he'd never met his father. Born in Europe's poorest country, Moldova, he was yet another forgotten child being raised in a shelter that had now become his home. He had nowhere else to go. Nowhere.
He was at the end of the line ... at the age of 8.
Often I get the question, "Why do you go to Moldova?" In almost every investigation of my heart the attempt to answer that question eludes me. I suppose the underlying question for every one of
us is "Why do you do anything that you do?"
There are many things that I could do, yet there's a difference between what I could do versus what I should do. At the heart of the reason for my expeditions to Moldova is a simple answer: God told me to go.
Since the first time they cut a record, I began following the music of this tiny Irish band who called themselves U2. In their timeless track titled "One" U2's lead singer, Bono, pleads the case, "One love, one blood, one life, you got to do what you should."
It's a strange animal, this thing we call abandonment. I cannot speak about it personally for I've never
felt its attack, but I have on many occasions stood only a few feet away and watched as this animal fed on the souls of those who are defenseless. I cannot look away from it. I cannot pretend not to see it. I cannot pretend as if I am helpless to do anything about it. With Bono, I agree, I have one life and I must do what I should.
There are times in life where I could do something, but I don't. We've all been there. When it comes to being a messenger of justice and mercy, however, it is not only something I could do, but something I should do.
You may never go to Moldova, yet that has no bearing on whether or not you are able to be a messenger of justice and mercy. You are called to justice and mercy everywhere you go. You ought to do it, and you should do it, because you are told by the God who created you to do it.
It's a matter of the ought. Why?
Because love demands it.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of
sins. - 1 Peter 4:8
A Target Defined,
by Jason Cruise
Most days during the school year I drive my oldest son,
Cole, to school. I cherish this short commute because we use it to talk about
life through the eyes of an eight-year-old. Our conversations range from
everything to hunting, homework, the latest item on the school lunch menu, why
Classic Rock is critical to humanity at large, and occasionally, girls. I've
discovered that girls do, in fact, still have the "coodies" in the new
millennium. Not much has changed on that front.
As we drive up to the school, I tend to ask Cole the same question. Every day, he knows it's coming.
"Which is better, to be the head or the tail?" He'll tell me, "The head, because the view is better."
When he exits the truck, grabbing his book bag, I say to him, "Be a leader today bud." It's a
simple exercise that I will not give up on because I want him to be conscious of
leadership, even though he's eight.
Trying to build upon this, we started a fun little exercise this summer where we
are defining manhood together. In trying to coax him into such on-going
conversations, I said, "Hey, Cole, let's spend some time together this summer
trying to define manhood and the qualities it takes to be a real man of
He responded, "Dad, I mean, why would you define what it means to be a man when you're actually already a man?" It's a great point, so I went on to explain that a moving
target is hard to hit, and when you don't know what your target is, it's
impossible to hit it all together. He seemed to understand why a man must define
his pursuits, and so I asked him, "What do you think it means to be a man,
Cole?" His answer stunned me somewhat, because I didn't expect an
eight-year-old to plow deep.
He said, "I think a man should be loyal."
I asked him why he chose loyal, and he said, "Well, like let's say one of your friends is hurting, or something has happened, I think a real man doesn't leave someone stranded."
I really didn't know what to say. I was stunned at the depth of his response.
A moving target is a hard target to hit. A target undefined is impossible to hit.
In terms of all things related to biblical manhood, I suppose that is where many men live out their days, even though many of those days actually exist underneath the shadow of the steeple. I spent many years knowing that I was a follower of Jesus, but I'd never really made an honest assessment of what it means to be a man of God. For years I had general ideas of what biblical manhood looked like, but I had never truly defined my target.
It's been said that "a goal without a plan is just a wish."
I don't want to wish I'd be a man of God. I want to know I'll be a man of God and live like a man of God, because, I have a concrete understanding of biblical manhood. Such an understanding will only come if I carve out my manhood from the pages of Scripture.
I am looking forward to our father/son journey in defining manhood. Judging from the way things have started, it appears certain that I am not always going to be the one doing the teaching.
Jason Cruise is the founder of Mission. Mission was created to "vindicate the fatherless" in a country known as Moldova. To learn more go to www.themissionvision.net Jason is a well known speaker traveling across the country sharing his love for Christ at wildgame dinners and conferences. Jason has created many valuable resources for the outdoorsmen to take them deeper into their walk with their Creator. These items include DVD's, Bibles, and Bible studies.