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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Why Your Words Are Important

Posted in Choice, Criticism, Encouragement, Marriage, Relationships, Words by PCraig on August 24, 2017

Some of us are external processors, some of us are internal processors, but we all talk a lot. One-fifth of your life will be spent with your mouth open. Is that insane to consider? Even more, that’s a lot of opportunity to bless and that’s a lot of opportunity to curse, according to James chapter three. And some of us are really over achievers when it comes to spoken, text, tweet, post and emailed communication.

It’s not surprising that God has something to help us with this area that consumes a fifth of our lives. James tells us to be “quick to listen and slow to speak.” I wonder how many marriages would be better today or even together today, if they put that one principle into practice? Proverbs 18:21 goes so far as to say that the “power of life and death is in the tongue.” But, before you discount that as extreme, think of recent bullying that has resulted in suicides and depression.

You and I weld a lot more power in our mouths than we give credit. The challenge is to direct that force in a good, positive and beneficial way for others and us. When a spouse gets all puffed up and raises their voice to set the record straight, all that may have been accomplished is lowering the quality of their relationship and complicating things further. Being loudest, most boisterous or cutting may win an argument, but it can lose the relationship. You may get someone to walk away, wave a flag of surrender or cower down, but you didn’t build anything along the way.

How do we get control of our tongue? James says it isn’t easy. As a matter of fact, he says it’s easier to tame an animal, bird or fish than it is to tame the tongue. Ever been to Sea World?

Here’s what James says can help:

Be slow to speak. Don’t speak first and think later, that’s a recipe for regret.

Be wise. Ask yourself: Is this is wise to say? Will this be beneficial?

So peace. If you can’t something positive, don’t say anything at all. Mom said that too!

Your words will steer your life in one direction or another. The cause for some not having a better marriage is in their mouth. Some don’t have the job you would like because you sabotage your self by gossiping at work.

We need more peacemakers in the world, and that requires being more in control of what comes out of our mouths. Let’s all start today!

*If you liked this post, join us this weekend for part 4 of Functional Faith as we discuss James 3 in more detail. You can also catch the podcast from our website next week: www.crossroadsavon.com

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Sticks And Stones

Posted in Mind, Offense, Relationships, Words by PCraig on February 23, 2017

Like many of you, I grew up on the school playground saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Most of us learned really quickly in life, however, that it was a lie. As a matter of fact, some of us have gotten over broken legs, arms and ankles way faster than words spoken over us.

If that’s the case, then how careful should we be about what we say over another person, such as our spouses, children, family members, friends and colleagues? In today’s reading of the One Year Bible from Proverbs 10:11 it says, “The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain.”

I wonder, does that describe you? Do people think of you as a wellspring of refreshing words that bring them life?

Take some time today to evaluate what is coming out of your mouth. Even better, consider it before it comes out of your mouth. Because once it hits the airwaves, there’s no taking it back. And the damage it can bring to your relationships is far worse than any stick or stone could cause.

(Pray Psalm 19:14)

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Get A New Script

Posted in Change, Choice, Personal Growth, Perspective, Victorious Living, Words by PCraig on August 17, 2016

Whenever someone is trying out for a part in a play or movie, they are often handed a script to read. The goal is to see if the actors can read the part and put themselves into it in such a convincing way that it’s as though they become the character. A good actor is believable as they take on the attributes of the scripted person. We often get absorbed into the role, as the actor seems convinced also of their new identity.

In life, many of us feel as though we’ve been handed a script of a part we are forced to play. Some act out as a liar, cheat, adulterer, swindler, drug addict, stupid, weak, and loser (to name a few). God, in the meantime, is in the business of handing out new scripts and helping us obtain a new identity. His script reads, winner, warrior, truth-teller, loyal, faithful, free, healed, wise, mighty, and overcomer (to name a few).

When we invite Jesus into our lives, He switches our script. We are no longer a slave to fear, shame and remorse, but a liberated child of the King.

I’m so glad He switched my script and mercy rewrote my life!

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Identity Theft

Posted in Culture, Perspective, Victorious Living, Words by PCraig on May 26, 2016

One of my favorite fairy tales is that of Snow White.  The most famous scene in the movie is where the evil queen asks her magic mirror, “Who is the fairest of them all?”  The reply is that though the queen indeed is fair there is another, Snow White, which is fairest of them all.

We live in a culture that is obsessed with image and appearance.  It’s not just about looking in a mirror, though that is a significant part, it is also about followers and social media friends.  Our worth becomes measured in our physical, financial, and social media image.

For many, their identity has been taken or stolen from them.  Not their social security number, name, online passwords or credit card information, but who they really are.

As a member of God’s family, the Scriptures declare that we are in Christ, loved by God, saints of God, and made beautiful by Him.  It is only when we begin seeing ourselves as God sees us that we can have a self-worth that is not based upon often temporary and changeable sources.

We may mess up, but positionally in Christ, He declares us as loved, saints of God that are made beautiful by Him.  I’m so glad to be free from measuring myself by culture’s shallow standards of worth, but rather by the eternal measurement of God.

So, look in the mirror today and declare what God says about you over what others may say.  Don’t let some mirror tell you that you don’t matter or measure up when God says you do in His eyes.  “I am a child of God!”

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Mastering Anger

Do you get angry?  In any relationship you’ll have conflict, because human beings disagree.  Conflict is inevitable but combat is not.  Anger can burn down your marriage, friendships and any other relationships in your life.

The Scripture says, “In your anger do not sin:  Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” Eph 4:26-27.  You can be angry and not sin.  Anger alone is not wrong.  It might even be the appropriate response on the right occasions.  However, the wrong expression of anger can open the door to the devil.  How many people invite the devil into their lives, homes and relationships by not mastering their anger?  I don’t know about you, but I want to lock the devil out, not invite him in for room and board.

Those who spew their anger need to remember the power of their words.  In anger a person can express things that later they regret, but it’s too late, they’ve already laid it out there.  Yes, the other person may forgive you, but they will not be able to forget what you said.  Others who stew in their anger, can do equal damage by building up walls instead of dealing with it.  Resentment, hostility, and other negative emotions develop in the dark room of anger.

What can you do about anger?

  • Admit your anger & accept responsibility
  • Decide in advance  what your response SHOULD be when anger rises up
  • Pray and let the Holy Spirit reveal the real issue (sometimes we argue and get upset about things that really aren’t the true issue.
  • Submit to the Holy Spirit and allow the fruit of self control (Ga.5:22-23) to grow in your life

If you are going to mad at somebody, why not be mad at the devil?  He’s the one that Jesus said has come to “steal, kill & destroy.”  Do something positive with anger, get mad about 1 in 7 people not having clean water to drink, 38 million carrying the AIDS virus, or 1.2 million children involved in human trafficking each year.

What steps do you need to take in mastering your anger?  What would God have you to be angry about to make a difference?  Is there a social justice issue that you could do something about?

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Who Defines You?

Posted in Attitude, Victorious Living, Words by PCraig on December 8, 2011

Is it just me or do harsh words seem to last longer in your memory than positive ones?  Do you find yourself being defined by words that were spoken over you in the past?  Maybe statements like, “You don’t fit in, I don’t love you anymore, you don’t measure up or have what it takes.”  Comments like these can cause us to compromise our morals in an attempt to be accepted or loved.  They also can tempt us to perform in order to prove that we are good enough.  Others choose to cling onto even unhealthy relationships in an attempt to find validation from people.

There’s a better way.  Instead of basing our security and confidence as a person on the acceptance of people, we can get our worth from the acceptance of Christ.  Last weekend we looked at 3 parts of our position in Christ, we are:




This means you no longer have to defined by your past and what others have spoken over you.  God has spoken something even more powerful over you – you are forgiven, you are secure, you are free!  It’s time to shut the door on those negative voices and rise up and open the door of what Christ says about you.  Get yourself plugged into the Word of God and what it says about you.  (In 2012 we will be promoting daily Bible reading – but you can start today!)

Replace the lies of the enemy of your soul with the truth of God’s Word and you’ll feel yourself getting stronger every day.  Go ahead and try it for a week and see what happens.  (I’d suggest starting by reading the book of Philippians)   Do you have some verses that encourage you?  Make a list a go over them until you believe it about yourself.

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Power of the Tongue

Posted in Encouragement, Weekend Reflections, Words by PCraig on October 27, 2011

I don’t think we understand, and often underestimate, the power of our words.  I’m not talking about how powerful you think your words are.  Instead, I’m referring here to what the Bible says about our words.  In Proverbs 18:21 it says, “The tongue has the power of life and death.”  Wow, that’s pretty powerful!  But think about it, haven’t you seen someone kill someone else with their words?  Maybe you or your former spouse killed your first marriage with words that were spoken?  Or, how about that job you lost because of something you said to someone that got back to the boss?

Too often, we are way too careless with our tongue and the words that quickly roll off of it.  That’s why in the book of James, he warns us that our tongue is like a fire that can burn down our marriage, relationships and influence.  Some of us need to get the fire extinguisher handy!

Last weekend, we launched a new series on the tongue and how to tame it.  The question I want us to address is this, “Am I a better criticizer or a builder of people around me?”  Anyone can criticize.  It takes no skill, intellect, or wisdom to provide a negative comment.  But, building someone up – that takes time to study a person’s strengths, character and personality, all with the intent of encouraging them.

People tend to live up to the expectations we place on them, so if you don’t like what’s going on around you, then you might just want to look at what’s coming out of your mouth.  That boss might just be trying to live up to the jerk you think he is.  Or, your kids might be trying to be the underachievers you declare they are.  And your spouse might be trying to hit the target that you speak over them by assuming the worst instead of believing the best.

Why don’t you give it a try for the next 30 days?  Your spouse may fall in love with you all over again, your children might start being more responsible, and your boss may accuse you of taking happy pills.  One things for sure, our world would be a better place if we would put this into practice, don’t you think?

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