Living a Legacy – A Tribute to My Friend Craig Jutila

Pastor Craig Jutila passed away on December 26th, 2018.  as a result of a snowboarding accident. An official statement is available on his church’s Facebook page. This is my tribute to him. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 There are people who live a full life. There are others who live life to the fullest. Still others who are full of life. But rare are those who do all of these and leave the world fuller because they were here. I don’t even remember when I first met Craig Jutila. He’s one of those friends I’ve just always known. When you have memories that go back farther than your digital pictures, you know you have known someone a long time. I sat in his workshops as a learner, I served with him at training events, even once on a cruise at a conference our friend Roger Fields organized on a ship. The last time we chatted about ministry, life, and family was during a break earlier this year as we coached leaders at the children’s pastors conference. Like me, he…

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Led to Jesus by Candy

It was October 13th, 1972. I’ll always remember the date, because it’s my little sister’s birthday. Whenever my sister, Melissa, celebrates her birthday, I celebrate my spiritual birthday. Her physical age (no worries, sis, I won’t tell!) is my spiritual age! When my mom went into the hospital to deliver Melissa, my older sister and I were both sent to different homes to be cared for so dad could focus on Mom. I was only four years old. When I heard I was going to Candy’s house I was delighted! Candy Crowell was a favorite of all the children at church. Not only was she a sweet old lady who volunteered in the children’s ministry, but if you shook her hand on Sunday a butterscotch candy magically appeared in your hand! I can still remember her home vividly. I can imagine the front room, the kitchen two steps up, the table where I sat eating snacks, and even where the bathroom was. (Very important when you are four!) I remember the front yard filled with scattered toys over a scarce lawn, the scruffy hedges that formed the boundaries I had to play within, but most of all I remember the…

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What Will You Leave Behind?

Life is lived moving forward, but it’s good to look in the rear view mirror once in a while. WHAT WILL YOU LEAVE BEHIND? Recently, I did some off roading in the mountains here in Colorado. I came across old structures and enjoyed taking pictures of them. Hard to believe this old mine once produced gold! What a happenin’ place it must have been. The imagination allows you to picture this structure new and bursting with activity as men toiled to produce gold. Now all that remains is a pile of wood – a shadow of once was. I came across a few cabins, roofs long gone and one had a 20 foot tree growing inside. And yet, imagine when there was not only a roof, but a floor and furniture and people eating, sleeping, laughing and calling this home. It got me thinking. What will remain of my life’s efforts one hundred years from now? What ‘ruins’ will hint at how I spent my limited time here on earth? How have I spent my time and what mattered most to me? What will last and what will vanish without a trace? 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 says: For no one can…

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Yosemite Drawings from 34 Years Ago Discovered!

Recently, I was going through some old personal papers in the garage – much of it was useless and finally was tossed out, but hidden in the ancient folders, binders and loose papers I found an art pad with some drawing in it from when I was fourteen years old… that would be 34 years ago. While I’ve never been much of an artist, I was surprised at how good these were. I obviously must have spent some focused time doodling these. I now commit them to the Internet for Eternity! Here is another: I am so thankful that I dated these, otherwise I’d have no idea when they were drawn. I am so thankful for this incredible place that has become my Sanctuary where I travel every year to spend some focused time walking with God and listening to what He has for me. I’ve always known that Yosemite had a special draw for me… now I know that I did a special drawing while I was there as a young boy falling in love with my Creator and His amazing displays of beauty He collected here.    

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Meeting a Miracle

Last year at Yosemite Summit, I lost my journal. On the very last day as we were doing a final group photo I had set it down on the ground while working with the camera on a tripod. Then a nice stranger offered to take the picture for us, so I ran to get in the picture. Afterward, he walked toward us to return the camera and I forgot I had set down on my journal. I have written in this journal for the past 10 years on every visit to Yosemite, so you can imagine there is a lot of sentimental value in that one book. I did not notice it missing until it was too late. I registered it missing with the park’s lost and found service, which usually only makes you feel better, but rarely brings results. I prayed for a miracle. My Miracle came in a man named John, who found my journal. He called the phone number inside, but because I completely unplugged for the entire week, my voicemail was full. He resorted to email. We did not connect until after I was back home in Colorado. KHe kndly mailed me the journal, and said…

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