I Look Just Like Jesus

by csnyder 10. February 2012 01:43
This is another blog written by David Martin a gifted painter (artist) and writer. You will be hearing more about David in the coming days. He and I are writing our first book together, The Finished Work Of The Cross.

My Portrait

A friend of ours’ three year old girl told me the other day that she looked just like Jesus. I replied to her, “You sure do!” As an artist, I sometimes get asked to draw portraits of folks. I also draw senior portraits for family members. As I study their faces from photographs, I notice details that I may have overlooked in times past. I may notice an eye that is slightly smaller than the other or a dimple in the cleft of the chin or a freckle in the upper corner of the left eyebrow. But, those details are what make that person unique. There are no two alike. I especially notice, in my relatives, the similarities of our facial structures. The cheekbones, the nose flares and the eyebrows all seem to speak that of generations gone by. As I draw each one, I think of their personalities and how it is reflected on their faces. When I draw my children, I see features of my wife and myself as well as their grandparents and great grandparents. They are of the same lineage.

Just as that three year old girl looks like Jesus, so do we. Sure, we have unique features that He has placed in each of us. Some of us are quiet while others are loud. Some of us can sing and some of us can’t….very well. But, all of us look just like Him. Isn’t that amazing?

On February 5th, Pastor Jim Holmes of the First Baptist Church in Helen, Georgia spoke on “My Portrait: How He (Jesus) sees us.” His text came from II Corinthians 3:17-18: 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (NIV)

Pastor Holmes emphasized that Christ defines us, not our behavior. He asked the question,”When does our value change?” “Does our value diminish when we fail or does our value increase when we do well?” No. Our value is not based on us, but on Jesus. You see, there is liberation in the cross of Christ and the transformation is done by Him and not by us. Freedom equals liberation. That liberation results in transformation! I Corinthians 1:2 states that we are “called to be His holy people.” God defines us!

So, next time you look in the mirror, know that you look just like Jesus!

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A Testimony Of A Friend

by csnyder 17. January 2012 00:48

I want to introduce you to a dear brother in Christ, David Martin.  David is a very gifted artist that has come to understand two things, his identity in Christ and the finished work of Jesus on the cross.  I asked him for this blog and I want you to read it.  I think that it will benifit us all.

I didn’t know what I was looking for. I was just empty. I searched to fill that empty space only to find that the hole in my heart was larger than anything the world had to offer. What is ironic about this is that the more I filled myself with what the world had to offer, the more expansive the void became. I found myself wanting to be “wanted” even though I had more in the realm of earthly family and goods that most men would be enviable of. As a matter of fact, I know of a few men who were jealous of my familial and religious “success."

Little did they know that my “success” was nothing more that a façade that satisfied the political realm of our small community. It was tantamount to keep up the appearance of success even though this success was, at best, a house of cards. Then, one day, the house of cards fell with such a jolt that it destroyed everything I came to believe about the god that I had been presented with for the last 20 years.

I have learned that what I feel and what is reality are the direct opposite of each other. My religion was based on how I felt on a particular day and how far the adrenaline of one church service would carry me. I was basing my religion on how much spirituality I could cram into my finite mind. All the while, I was trying to live according to my own spirituality and running in a vicious circle of sin, guilt, grief, repentance and reconciliation. This never ending rat race left me in physical and mental disarray and my soul as empty as the religion I was imposing on myself.

I remember the time and place where I screamed in disgust at myself and punched out the face of my radio in my car. I pulled to the side of the road and cried. I remember my body shaking uncontrollably and I pleaded with God to show me what I was doing wrong. “God, I have served you faithfully for 20 years and I still cannot stop this unending cycle of sin and guilt. What am I missing? Don’t you even hear me? Are you there? Have I gone so far that You have refused to hear me?” God did not answer. I then continued my tirade with one last ditch effort to get God’s attention, or so I thought. “OK, I don’t want anymore of this religion. You can have it because it’s worthless anyway. I quit, I give up. Go ahead, take me!”

God then spoke.

“Good. It’s time you gave up on your religion. I have been waiting on you to give up and rest in Me. You see, David, My yoke is easy. You are the one who made it hard. I Am your peace.” And with those few words, my soul finally rested. I cried for hours after hearing God speak to my soul in that manner. I have heard that voice before, but thought it couldn’t be from God since it was so quiet and not condemning. I then remembered a scripture song, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.” I began singing that song in rounds and the burden that I perceived was there had vanished.

I started listening for the first time in my life. I had placed God in a box for so long that I forgot that He talks to me directly. I kept hearing these words over and over again, “I love you, David.” And I would reply, “I love you, too!” I have learned that He is forever saying, “I love you” It is only when I get still that I hear it.

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Daniel Would Not Worship A Statute.

by csnyder 14. December 2011 21:55

Daniel Trusted YHWH (I AM) as a youth and never turned back. Along with the three Hebrew children, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, Daniel trusted YHWH in the quiet time and as a result, he also trusted Him in the hard times.

The three Hebrews would not bow to a statue; Daniel would not bow to a statute, (law). Daniel was not defined by rules he kept, but by who he was and who he knew. As a result, God was glorified in the land and Daniel was recognized by the king as knowing and worshiping the one true God,

As you learn to trust God in the quiet times of your life, it will be easy to trust God in the seemingly hard times. Daniel rose from captivity as a youth, taken from Judah to Babylon. He was given more and more responsibility until he was leader of the whole land only under the king.

Many times as people are raised up on the earth others become jealous and want to bring them down. Had Daniel compromised his stand and what he believed there would not have been trouble then. The trouble would have come later and from the same people because what they accused him of was not the real problem.

I said in the paragraphs above that the three young Hebrew rulers would not bow to a statue and worship it. I also said that Daniel would not bow to a statute (decree) and worship it. Both times God intervened and they were not only sparred but their God, YHWH was lifted up and praised as the only true God in all the world.

You May be asking, what is your point here? We would all agree that Jesus is to worshiped and never the law of the land. Well of course, none of us that love Christ would argue that. Jesus is Lord and countries or kings are not, no matter how much we love them. It is of course not only ok to love your country, but it is good.

I believe there can be a correlation made here to loving God and worshiping His law or (rules). Is the law good? Of course it is. I will let 1 Timothy 1:8-10 do my talking. 8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; 9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

Do you see that the law was not for a righteous man. We have been made righteous in Christ, we believe it and receive His righteous as our own because of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection. It was given at the cross. 2 Cor. 5:21 says, "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." It is all because of Christ and His atoning death on the cross. It was not based in anyway on what man did or on what man worshiped.

The law was given to show men their need for a savior, for someone who would do for them what they could not do for them selves. We needed someone to reconcile us to God the Father, Christ the Son did it, and by the way God the Father did it also in His son. Remember, they are in each other.

Having said all this, we appreciate that the law has done it's job, showing us our need of Him, and now we praise Him that He did His job and we worship and praise Him for it. We don't worship or praise the law, we worship and praise Jesus.

Today, Christians that are caught up in obeying rules are missing the glory of praising a savior who has given Himself not only to us, but in us. He is not only in our life, but He is our life. It is true from the cross and the cross is eternal so it is true from eternity. As far as God is concerned and He is the only one who matters; it is true from before the foundation of the world, Eph. 1:4. My only part is to believe that He did it all and I am trusting Him to live His life in me.

If I have Jesus living His life, which is now my life, in me, why do I need rules. I don't. What I am saying when people choose to try and obey rules rather than trust Christ and His faithfulness for their right standing with Him, they are saying the cross of Christ was not enough.

You can listen to watch a message on this subject at these links:

audio - MP3

 

video- YouTube

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Provision, Assurance and Gratefulness Go Together

by csnyder 1. December 2011 21:39

I have been reading a devotional called, Jesus Calling: Seeking Peace by Sarah Young.  It is written as if God were speaking to you and not the author.  I want to share some excerpts from her on thankfulness.

Rest in the deep assurance of My unfailing love.  Let your body, mind, and spirit relax in My presence.  Release into my care anything that is troubling you, so that you can focus your full attention on Me.  Be awed by the vast dimensions of My Love for you; wider, longer, higher, and deeper than anything you know.  Rejoice that this marvelous Love is yours forever! 

The best response to this glorious gift is a life steeped in thankfulness.  Every time you thank Me, you acknowledge that I am your Lord and Provider.  This is the proper stance for a child of God:  receiving with thanksgiving.  Bring me the sacrifice of gratitude, and watch to see how much I bless you.

    1 Peter5:7 Cast all you anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

     Psalm 107:21-22 Let them give thanks to the LORD for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men.  Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of His works with songs of joy.

What I am learning is that when I don't have a thankful heart for all things it is an indication I have gotten my eyes off of the unceasing and complete of love of God and onto my circumstances either what I would call good or bad.  In other words, walking according to the flesh.

As I realize that God loves perfectly and completely, that means not only Christ the Son, but God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, and that He is in control, I can walk in the peace and true gratitude that is actually mine given at the cross from eternity past.  I need to know that God knows and that He cares.

I love you, but Christ loves you more, know that.

Craig

 

 

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The Blessing Of Brokenness

by csnyder 6. October 2011 03:48
I was doing some TV at Grace TV in Canada this week. After the taping, a young man who had been watching the taping came up and began sharing that what I had said was him. He was from Sweden and I was really impressed with him. This is the testimony that I received from Him.

Hello Craig,

We met at the Grace TV facility yesterday. I am the new missions director for World Impact Ministries. The Swedish guy you met. : ) I promised to send my testimony:

I received the message of Grace after a time of brokenness, where my own plans and ambitions had come to nothingness. I was a long distance runner and had this idea of serving God as an athlete. But then suddenly God told me to stop running, and within a short time I also lost all motivation to continue. I also had gone to law school, but suddenly had no desire what so ever to work within law, and when I looked for a job as a lawyer I did not get any. Here I was, naked and humiliated, looking for a job and only getting a bad sales job. I then realized how much I had my identity in what I had done and not so much in who I am in Christ. I also realized that I am nothing in myself and that any abilities I might have are because of Jesus.

Shortly after this time when my own plans and ambitions had come to nothing, I read a book called “Complete Freedom” by a Norwegian pastor called Age Aleskjaer. It was a process, but within a couple of years my life was totally changed by this revelation of grace and the new covenant. I now rest in Jesus in a way that I did not before. I pray, not because I should, but because I want fellowship with Jesus. For me there is no turning back. I want this message to spread to believers and non-believers all around the world. I now have another race to run.

Johan Olehall from Sweden.

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The Finished Work Of The Cross 4th in Series

by csnyder 7. September 2011 02:11
There is something wonderful about technology and the internet. What I sit and write at my desk, or what I preach anyplace in the world can go around the world faster than I can drive to the store. It is amazing. I remember when my dad brought home our first TV. It was a black and white 19” Zenith that cost as much then as a flat screen color HD TV does now. Boy, have times changed.

Why am I telling you all this. Simple, because of this technology people around the world are hearing about the finished work of the cross and are receiving this great gift of God’s unconditional Grace to them. These people are in places that you might not expect.

Today my dear brother and friend Steve McVey and I were talking about the places that are going to our web sites. As would be expected the United States is first on the number of hits on my web site, but then the surprise starts. In this month’s listings of number of hits, India was second, Malaysia was fourth, Australia was sixth, Brazil was seventh, Indonesia was eighth , Philippines was ninth and Mexico was tenth. The only one of the countries listed that I have spent much time in is Mexico and it just made the top ten. A country that I never even heard of, Mauritius, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, was fourth this week. This just blows my mind.

So what is the point? The point is, people that are not what we would call open to Christianity are truly open and seeking the true gospel of the Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is the gospel, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. There was a picture of this in the garden; YHWH shed the blood of an innocent animal to make a covering for man’s sin. It was fleshed out in time with Christ and the cross. God sought man, shed His own blood, made a covering for man’s sin, reestablished relationship with man through His shed blood and His resurrection from the dead. This is the atonement. Atonement in the English means to lift out of the camp of the enemy and be placed into the camp of the friendly. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit did this.

The question must be asked, why did He do this? 2 Corinthians 5:19 says, “Not imputing their sins against them. Not imputing, this is a middle/passive voice verb. It means that He caused the reconciliation and He did it because He wanted to. I don’t understand more than that, but I do believe that God reconciled us to Himself because He wanted to!

2 Cor 5:21 says “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” This took place at the cross. He became our sin and we became His righteousness. It is finished. What is finished? Everything is finished, righteousness, holiness, forgiveness, life.

Here is the sad part, some people don’t believe and receive what He has already given them. People who will not receive and believe face hell, not because they lack anything, but because they have not believed in His Name. John 3:36 says, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Here it is; we don’t believe to get. We believe Him for what He has already given. He has given us life, His life, holiness, His holiness, forgiveness, and His righteousness when He reconciled the world to Himself. Eph 1:4 tells us when this all took place, when He chose us before the foundation of the world. Our only part is to believe Him that He has already done it. This is the true Gospel.

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Jesus is saying, "Come To Me."

by csnyder 16. August 2011 03:12
Have you ever been tired or discouraged or just felt totally defeated? It may seem as if nobody cares or even knows what you are going through in your life. Your may be asking the question, "Why is God allowing this to happen to me?" Or you may be like Job asking God, "Why are you doing this to me?" You may not even have a picture of Jesus as a loving God at all.

If you are asking the question, "Why is this going on in my life", I think now is the time to look at what Jesus is saying to you through your circumstances. Jesus is saying, "Come To Me." This may be the main theme in the Bible. When Jesus says Come To Me, it tells all. It is His desire for us to come to Him, because He loves and desires us.

If this is not you, just wait, it will be. This message is for everyone.

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"My Heart Filled With Tears....Nobody Share With Her 45-50 Years That Jesus Love Her"

by csnyder 11. August 2011 23:38
I am going to share with you an email that I received from our Grace Walk country co-ordinator in Pakistan. His name is Robinson Sadiq. He is working with Rahil John a gifted worship leader who is solid on the message of the cross, our identity in Christ and the total Grace Walk.

Since they have been sharing this message it has cost them their church, they were asked to leave, Robinson's job, he was fired for "preaching the Gospel" and even put their very lives at risk. It has not nor will it stop them.

The following is the eamil, in his English that was sent. He said that he wanted me to fix it. I told him it would bless as it was.

hi ! DAD LAST SUNDAY 2ND TIME WE ARE INVITED TO GOD'S CHURCH AT KARACHI LOCATED( BIAWAL JOKYO GOTH) ME, RAHIL AND IMTIAZ WENT THERE AND RAHIL HAD LEAD WORSHIPING AND I HAD SHARE YOUR MESSAGE ,,,,THE FINISHED WORK OF THE CROSS...THAT JESUS DONE EVERY THING FOR US HE ADOPTED US AS A SON AND DAUGHTER WE ARE NOT A SLAVE WE ARE NOT IN LEGALISM WE ARE IN GOD's GRACE. IT IS FINISHED WHEN JESUS DIED WE DIED OUR SIN DIED ..SIN IS NOT AN ISSUE ANY MORE THE ISSUE IS UNBELIEVE.

PRAISE THE LORD PEOPLE ARE AMAZED EVEN PASTOR ALSO ..AND AFTER THE MESSAGE THEY SAID THAT MESSAGE WERE AMAZING THEY WERE SURPRIZED ALL MESSAGE IS NEW FOR THEM. WE GOT AMAZING FEEDBACK AND THIS IS THE FIRST TIME WITH ME THAT ONE LADY CAME TO ME AND HUG ME AND SAID SON YOU DID FANTASTIC JOB. SHE SAID SHE IS REGULAR CHURCH GOING SINCE 40- 45 YEARS BUT SHE NEVER NO ABOUT GOD's GRACE. NOW SHE KNOW THAT HOW MUCH JESUS LOVES HER.

WHEN WE CAME BACK DURING TRAVELLING MY HEART FILLED WITH TEARS I WAS CRYING THAT NOBODY HAD SHARE WITH HER IN 45 YEARS THAT HOW MUCH JESUS LOVES HER AND NOTHING TO DO LEFT FOR US OUR PART IS JUST BELIEVE AND RECIEVE WHICH HE ALREADY GIVEN US....!

LOVE YOU DAD,

YOUR SON

ROBINSON

I don't need to say any more. This is exciting. Please be in prayer for Christians and all it Pakistan. On a U.S. government web page it said that Karachi is one of the most dangerous cities in the world and even worse for Christians.

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The Finished Work Of The Cross - 3

by csnyder 4. August 2011 22:31

The first picture we have in scripture of the reconciliation of God is actually in the beginning in the garden. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and believed THE lie that there was something that they had to do to be like Him. They ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and they died spiritually.

As was His custom, the LORD was waiting for Adam and Eve to walk in the Garden with them in the cool of the day. His desire to be with them and His thinking toward them had not changed at all. Adam and Eve’s thinking toward the LORD had changed. They were hiding from the LORD. They had made a covering for their nakedness by sewing fig leaves together as they tried to deal with their sin according to their own efforts. By the way, they failed just as man fails today as He tries to do something to be acceptable to LORD.

The word used for LORD in the Old Testament is YHWH. It means I AM. YHWH is the one that met with Moses at the burning bush. He is the one who came to Abram and declared him righteous because he believed Him. He is the one who wrestled with Jacob. He is I AM that I AM.

The Bible tells us in the New Testament who I AM is. None other than Jesus Himself said, “Before Abraham was born, I AM.” Jesus here was claiming to be I AM of the Bible. He was claiming to be the God of the Old Testament. The Jews present picked up stones to stone Him because they knew exactly what it was that He was saying. He was saying that He was indeed God.

YHWH, (pre-incarnate Christ), called out to them when He said, “Adam, Eve, where are you?” Their reply was comical, when they said, “We are hiding.” To think that anyone could hide from the one who created the universe and knows all things. What we are going to see next shows the character and intention of YHWH (Jesus) from the beginning or even from eternity past.

He asked them why they were hiding as if He did not know. He knew, but He wanted them to know. They were naked in their own efforts to please God. There was nothing they could do to please God. There is nothing that can be done today to please God. Good news, there is nothing you need to do to please God. He loves you, and He desires oneness with you so much that what He did next shows how He really feels about you.

The Bible says YHWH made a skin covering for man’s nakedness. What makes this covering better than the one man made for his own nakedness? Up until this point, nothing had died on the earth or in the Garden. But now, YHWH Himself shed the blood of an innocent animal to make a skin covering for man’s sin.

This is a big deal because it shows a picture of the cross and the blood atonement of the coming Christ. The one who carried this out in the garden was the one who would be carrying it out on the cross. This is a picture of the atonement. Before we saw that the Mercy Seat was actually a picture of the atonement. This even pre-exists the mercy seat. This is, in the beginning.

I believe that the atonement as far as God is concerned actually existed in God’s mind before time existed. I have said before that God said that he chose us before the foundation of the world. Also that people before the cross looked forward to the cross for believing resulting in salvation and we look back to the cross.

I am going to go ahead and say that in God’s mind it was finished on the cross before time began. I said before that it was fleshed out in time when Jesus willingly went to the cross as He became sin so that in His death, burial, and resurrection His life would become our life. This is the atonement.

The word atonement in English means to be lifted out of the camp of the enemy and placed into the camp of the friendly. That is exactly what Christ has done. Because of His atoning death, burial, and resurrection which was in effect before time existed and was first displayed in the garden, we have been made right with Him and placed into the camp of the friendly.

Sadly, I don’t know why, but some people choose not to receive and believe what has been done for them and given to them is theirs. As a result, they don’t benefit by the atonement as far as it pertains to their life. They are not born again. All is done and given to them because of and through the cross, but they choose not to walk in what is theirs and are not benefiting from what Christ has already done. They need to believe and receive and be born again.  More to come.

 

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The Finished Work Of The Cross - 2

by csnyder 3. August 2011 01:51

Picking up where we left off on the finished work of Christ on the cross; today, we are going to look at the Roman centurion Cornelius. Acts 27:27-28 says this concerning Peter and Cornelius, And as he talked with him, he entered, and found many people assembled. And he said to them, "You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean.” You may say, what does that mean. It means that God has shown him that he is to call no man unholy or unclean. Cornelius was a gentile and as such, he would not have a relationship with a Jew.

In Acts 10:13-16 Peter was being prepared for what he has just come to understand. This passage says, And a voice came to him, "Arise, Peter, kill and eat!" But Peter said, "By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean." And again a voice came to him a second time, "What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy." And this happened three times; and immediately the object was taken up into the sky. Peter called things unclean and unholy but God spoke to him and told him not to call anything unclean or unholy that He had cleansed.

Do you think that God would know what is clean and what is unclean? I hope you think He would know. Cornelius was a picture of the truth of the holiness of God given as a gift. He did not deserve it, he had not even been saved yet and he was not a Jew but God said through Peter that they were not to call him unholy. Holiness is not something earned or deserved, it is given at the cross.

The only issue now is believing what God said is true, is really true. In John 3:17-18, none other than Jesus Himself talks about this. "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him."He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. He said here that judgment comes from unbelief. He did not say because you have not obeyed the law (the 10 Commandments). He said because you have not believed.

I want to ask a question. If the sin debt of man was paid on the cross when Christ became sin, then does it stand to reason that the problem of man’s righteousness, and holiness was also finished at the cross? I believe that the answer is yes. Again, what is our part? To believe that he did it all and it was given as a gift in Christ, all of it.

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 says, Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. These verses say all these things are from God; righteousness, holiness, forgiveness, life. God is the point of origin.

Christ reconciled us. To be reconciled means the following, to exchange, to change, or to return to favor. Christ has returned us to favor because of the cross. He has exchanged His life with us for our sin. He did this when He became sin as the last Adam to deal with the sin of the first Adam. When He said that we were reconciled to Himself, it could have been properly translated “in Himself”. We were not just reconciled to Him, we were reconciled “in Him”. What a big deal this is. This does not mean that everyone is saved. They are not. People must be born again, believe and receive Christ’s life as their life. His life is a gift given because of His resurrection.

More coming later.

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About the author

Craig Snyder has been married to Jonni Gooden Snyder for 37 years.  He has three grown sons and one grown daughter.  He has eight grandchildren.

Craig has been in full time ministry since 1974, having been on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and has pastored for over 25 years.

Craig has ministered  with Grace Walk Ministries since 2001 and serves as Director of Missions and also pastors a home church.  He travels extensively in Latin America, and the U.S. and Canada sharing the Grace Walk of our Lord Jesus Christ.