What Happened to Happily Ever After?

Are you depressed because life has not turned out the way you thought it would? Maybe your marriage is troubled, your kids are rebellious, your health is failing, or your job is ending. In these times, we might ask, “God! Can’t you stop this from happening?”

It’s tempting to wonder if God cares and is even paying attention in hard times. Especially if you begin to compare yourself to others and wonder, “Why do they seem to get all the breaks?” This is one of the reasons why I enjoy reading the Bible. God’s Word is not written like a fairy tale, where all ends “happily ever after.” Rather, the Scriptures are filled with pain, illness, trials, separations, murder, even rape and incest, to name a few. Yet, in the midst of all this ugliness, God so often revealed His beauty. In spite of what was going on around them, God showed His grace in troubled times.

This is what Easter is all about. Through the horror and pain of beatings, torture and crucifixion, God provided a way for you and I to have a fresh start. The Scripture says that we become a “new creation” when we surrender our lives to Him. Just because you put your faith in God, doesn’t mean it will end with “they lived happily ever after.” But, it does mean, you’ll never go through anything life slings your way alone. He said to be sure of this, He will never leave us or abandon us, but go with us always, even to the end of the world.

And, actually, the Bible does promise a “happily ever after,” – after this life is over, which will last forever. So, hang in there, eternity is a long, long time, and will more than make up for the suffering in this world.

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In The End

Are you doubting God’s love because you are in a time of crisis? “God! I just found out I have an incurable disease. I thought you loved me!” As we get closer to the time of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, it reminds me of the suffering that led up to Easter.

The Bible is clear that Jesus underwent all kinds of emotional, physical and mental anguish leading up to His trial and conviction. Often, we picture Jesus as perfect, and though He is, it does not negate the fact that He suffered much.

In addition to Jesus, we find that many people that we would call “good” in the Bible went through times of persecution, illness, heartache and trials. Why would we think we are exempt? Where did we get it that if God loves us, He will keep all bad things from touching us?

1 Peter 2:21 “For God call you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.”

Later Peter goes on to say (1 Pet 4:19) “…keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.”

Our job is simply to keep on doing what is right and leave the results up to God. So, today, no matter what may be going on in your life, or not going on, chose to keep doing what is right. Sure, it’s not always easy. Yes, there are others that do wrong, but seem to be doing just fine. The story isn’t over yet friend. Just like it looked as though Jesus was going through trials He didn’t deserve, the people didn’t realize it was part of a bigger plan.

He is still the God of the final word. Don’t give up too soon. Never let the enemy get you to believe a lie about God. Keep on doing the right thing, and in the end, you’ll be glad you did.

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God’s Not Dead

Posted in Encouragement, Faith, Friendship, Priorities, Pursuing Jesus, Words by PCraig on March 1, 2018

I went to a preview showing of God’s Not Dead – Light In The Darkness at a theatre the other night. I must say that I have enjoyed the previous two movies and was looking forward to this release.

Because it has not yet been released, and I don’t want to spoil anything for you, I’ll be careful in my comments. This one is different from the others. Not that it makes it good or bad, it’s just a unique take on the topic.

One of the best parts of the film is how it shows the struggle of a young Christ follower that is struggling to keep faith. She battles to keep believing because of surrounding herself with those who don’t share her beliefs. She is also romantically involved with someone who doubts. And, she doesn’t always stay consistent with attending spiritual gatherings that could encourage her along the way.

These are much of the same things that I’ve noticed happen with others who struggle with doubt. Too often, we get around others that are anti-faith and listen to their words, then worse yet, we can get romantically or at least emotionally attached to people that don’t share our faith, producing disunity. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we don’t make faith gatherings a priority in our lives. We go to church, life group, youth group, if it can fit in our schedule rather than making other things work around it.

Even the disciples were doubters and struggled to believe at times, but once they encountered the resurrected Christ, gathered in unity to encourage each other, and stood firm in what they knew, nothing could bring them down.

My prayer is that you will bring your doubts to God, surround yourself with encouragers and not allow yourself to be influenced by those who have failed to see Him. I’ve seen too much, felt so much, and heard too much to turn back now.

Friends, He is alive! The tomb is still empty. Doubters were transformed into evangelists when they touched Him. I look forward to celebrating the resurrected Savior along with you on Easter, and I hope you will support God’s Not Dead – Light In The Darkness when it releases on March 30. You don’t have to be perfect, or have a life without doubt to be a follower, or we would all be disqualified.

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Avoiding The Regret Of Bad Decisions

Posted in Choice, Counsel, Decisions, Mistakes, Questions, Wisdom by PCraig on February 1, 2018

I once read a book by Andy Stanley, in which he proposes that the best question ever to ask is: “Is this the wise thing to do?” How many times would you have been better off if you had asked that before calling him back, taking that job, signing that lease, and the list goes on.

Solomon shares some insight on this in his writings of Proverbs and helps us to learn from other’s mistakes. In other words, you don’t have to make all the mistakes yourself, you can learn from the words of others. That’s life changing, if we’ll apply it.

In Proverbs 1:1-3, he refers to these writings as literally a “manual for life.” What good is a manual, if you don’t read it? Answer: no good. When’s the last time you took some time to read the “manual for life?”

Stop taking the hard road, learn from others that have gone before you, read the stories and words of wisdom they have to share. If you do, you can avoid much of the pain of bad decisions.

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3 Things Jesus Says About Worry

Posted in Encouragement, God's love, Happiness, Worry by PCraig on January 25, 2018

Don’t worry, be happy. Sounds like a pithy statement without much substance, but I would argue that it has the ingredients of a happy life. Maybe it’s clearer if we look at it backwards: if you want to be happy, you can’t be filled with worry.

Jesus even addresses this issue when he says, “Don’t worry,” in his great sermon on the mount. From Matthew 6:25-34, he focuses in on the topic of worry as it relates to our everyday lives. Here’s three things Jesus says about worry:

  • Don’t worry about the basic needs of life, because it won’t change anything.
  • Don’t worry about clothes, food, or drink, because God knows what you need.
  • Don’t worry about tomorrow because it only ruins today.

For me, the biggest reliever is that I know my Father loves me, cares for me, and wants to provide for me. My part is to trust in Him and not in worry.

If you missed last week’s message on this topic, here’s the link to the podcast:



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Better Than Resolutions

Posted in Change, New Year, Opportunity, Personal Growth by PCraig on January 5, 2018

They say that resolutions don’t work, that statistics show that the vast majority of people who make them fail within a short period of time. If that’s the case, then why make them at all? Is there a better way to bring about change?

In thinking this over during the week, I pondered what has brought about change in my own life and here’s what I came up with: one step at a time. All the changes in my life have come after taking another step.

That means the key to changing your life this year is starts with taking the first step.

Here’s the dilemma:

The first step is the hardest.

The next one can seem just as hard.

Keep stepping anyway. Nothing great is achieved by taking the path of least resistance. Whatever it is you need to change about yourself this year. Just get started by taking first step today. Pick up your Bible and read a chapter, spend 15 minutes in prayer, make an appointment with the counselor, don’t eat that donut, instead eat a banana.

For more about how to bring about your best year yet, be sure to come to part one of Your Best Year Yet this weekend! Service times: 9 & 11 a.m.


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Your Best Year Yet

Posted in Change, Distractions, Faith, New Year, Personal Growth, Victorious Living by PCraig on December 27, 2017

Every year millions of people make New Year’s Resolutions, and many are common to us all.  They are desires to improve our lives better ourselves.  Join us as we discover what the Bible has to say about these popular resolutions.  Get the help and power you need for the changes you want to make.  With God’s help, you can make this your best year yet.

Join us on January 7 for a new series: YOUR BEST YEAR YET.  Each week we’ll discover the secrets to positioning ourselves for a God’s help in making this the best year we’ve ever had!


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God’s Miraculous Gift

Posted in God's love, holiday, Miracle, Stress, Worry by PCraig on December 21, 2017

Do you open presents on Christmas Eve or only Christmas day? Growing up, we got to open some of our gifts on Christmas Eve and I loved it! However, we always had to wait until Christmas day for the major gifts. It was mostly clothes and maybe a game the night before.

I’m so glad that we don’t have to wait for the major gifts God has provided for us this Christmas. What are those gifts? Well, I’m only going to share one, but every one of God’s gifts is wrapped up in His Son, Jesus.

One of the best gifts we receive when we become followers of Jesus is the gift of peace. Never has this present been more needed than today. We live in a culture of turmoil, separation, division, worry, and offense. Yet, in the midst of all that surrounds us, within us can be a deep abiding peace.

This present of peace comes through His presence in our lives. And, unlike Santa, Jesus is not keeping a list of those naughty and nice. If He did, we would all be in trouble. Instead, knowing we’ve all been naughty, and imperfect, He came in a perfect way to live a perfect life and die as the perfect sacrifice. Why did He do that? To get you and me on the “nice” list.

1 John 1:8-9

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Good news of Jesus is better than the story of Santa. When you accept what He did, then you receive His peace, and you’re never alone again, because He is always with us. It’s a miraculous gift!

Join us for Christmas Eve Services @Crossroads Church -welcometocrossroads.org

Saturday, Dec 23 at 5 p.m.

Sunday, Dec 24 at 9 or 11 a.m.


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Waiting On A Miracle

Posted in Attitude, Encouragement, Expectations, holiday, Hope, Miracle by PCraig on December 14, 2017

Do you remember how agonizing it was to wait for Christmas as a child? It seemed like forever to get from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Now, as an adult, it seems like Christmas comes too fast.

Does it seem like you are in a waiting period in your life currently? Waiting on a job, or a marriage, healing, direction can seem to take forever to happen. It can even seem like God is late in bringing these things into your life can’t it?

The very first Christmas seemed like God was late to those who were waiting for Messiah to come. It had been hundreds of years and yet each year they were disappointed. But the Scripture teaches that it all happened at the “proper time” (Luke 1:20).

The lesson is that God has a “proper time” for everything. He’s never late and He’s always on time. But, it’s His calendar and not ours!   In the meantime what do you do?

  • Don’t lose hope. Things could change tomorrow.
  • Never give up. God can do anything at anytime without restrictions.
  • Do allow this waiting time to be a time of growth spiritually.
  • Keep trusting in the God who still has a plan for the world and you!

It may look like a dark night, but remember, it did in Bethlehem 2000 years ago when hope was born!

We’ll be focusing more on the topic of waiting this weekend in part 3 of A Christmas Miracle in our 9 & 11 a.m. services.



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Get Excited For Christmas Again

Posted in Attitude, Encouragement, Expectations, holiday, Perspective by PCraig on November 30, 2017

I remember being a kid and being so excited about the Christmas season. It seemed like it took forever between Thanksgiving and Christmas. My heart was full of expectancy about everything that surrounded the holidays. I loved the lights, decorations, songs, parties and of course the gifts. Each year I looked forward to all the potential the season had to offer.

Something happens as we get older. We become the one to fix the lights when they don’t work. We have to put up the decorations, plan the parties and pay for the gifts. All of this can taint the season. If we’re not careful, we can transform from the expectant child to the Grinch.

This is not only a problem with Christmas; it’s a problem in marriages. Two people walk down an aisle to go live life in love, only to discover that there are pressures they never planned to experience. They didn’t anticipate one of them losing their job, or having a special needs child, or finding themselves attracted to someone else at work. When burdens come, it’s all too common for us to begin dreading the very thing we once anticipated.

My challenge to us all this season is to take joy in this time of year. The story is about a Savior who left His throne to be born in a manger, live and teach, then die a sacrificial death for our sins.  So, rejoice in forgiveness!  Also, be careful what comes out of your mouth. Instead of dreading the holidays, your marriage, your job, your family, why not expect the best? Let a spirit of expectancy build in your heart and find it’s way into your mind and mouth. Changing how you view things can go a long way toward how you experience them.  I’m choosing to celebrate the reason for the season.

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