A Last Promise

Posted in Encouragement, Perspective, Stress, Worry by PCraig on March 22, 2018

Have you ever gone into the gym after not working out for a long time and be discouraged over the weakness you feel? Maybe you can’t push the weight you used to and you feel like a failure. Initially, it can seem like it’s going to take forever to get back to the place you were before. Discouragement has a way of dragging down your soul in whatever area you encounter it. And, it seems like when you get discouraged in one space, it has a way of spreading.

I can’t imagine how discouraged the disciples must have felt when the One they thought could be the Messiah was arrested, tried and killed. They could have thought, “I’ve wasted three years of my life following someone that wasn’t the real deal after all.”

Maybe you’ve had a marriage dissolve, a business fail, revenue is down, pressure is mounting, or physical ailments are taxing you daily. If we’re not careful, we can get caught up in the whirlwind of discouragement, which often leads to fear paralysis. It’s no wonder one of the most repeated commands in Scripture is “fear not.” God knows this is an area where we all can struggle.

During these times, it’s easy to dwell on the negative facts of our situation: lack of money, stack of bills, pain in our body, rebellion in our kids, emotional hurt and the list goes on. However, there are other facts that can help us during these times of testing. Here’s just one: God is with you always. He promised it more than once, but you can look it up in the very last verse of Matthew.

I’ve heard it said, someone’s last words could be some of their most important. I think Matthew wanted to share some last words of Jesus that gave him courage for the future: He is with me…He promised. Plus, He’s with you and me too!


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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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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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Shrink Your Challenges

I can spend way too much time, energy and effort on the problems in front of me. This consists of conversations with others and myself, Google about it, reading concerning it and such. How about you? Human nature is to focus on the problem and many of us are wired to fix things, so we attempt to do it on our own.

And while I want to be careful not appear to be minimizing your problem, because I know it can be enormous. But, think about what it would look like if we put that same time, energy and thought toward God? Would the size of God outsize your problem? Would the radiance of God outshine your problem? Would the power of God overpower your problem?

Are you ready to focus more on God and less on your problem? When you do, if you’re like me, your vision of God will increase and your view of your problem will shrink.

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God Help Us

Posted in Hope, Perspective, Prayer, Worry by PCraig on September 15, 2016

Is all the political action in America getting you nervous? One thing is for sure, come November 8, our nation will elect a new president. Every presidential election seems to come with drama, and this one has certainly had its share.

Here are some suggestions on how to pray at this time:

Jesus taught us to pray, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10 NIV

  • Pray all Christ-followers will put their faith ahead of their politics.
  • Pray that America will experience revival & spiritual awakening.
  • Pray for Christians and churches to share God’s love in a way that shines light to those in spiritual darkness.
  • Pray that the results of the elections will be pleasing to the Lord and result in His blessing over this nation.
  • Pray for physical protection over all candidates during this campaign.
  • Pray a strong hedge of protection over the nation for a safe and fair election.
  • Pray that those leading our nation will be drawn closer to Jesus each day and be filled with the Holy Spirit.


“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV

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Don’t Worry Anymore

Posted in Culture, Fear, Perspective, Stress, Worry by PCraig on July 8, 2015

Do you worry too much?  How much is too much?  Who’s definition will we go by?

Personally, I think we live in a stressed-out culture.  I’ve never felt like more people were nervous, anxious, fearful, concerned, angry, up tight and on-edge than today.  Studies have shown that people are more stressed today than in the past 25 years, especially women (according to NY Daily News).

Compare this with the words of our leader, Jesus, who said, “Do not worry about your life” (Luke 12:22).  So, how do some of us go from worrying about basically everything, to worrying about hardly anything?

I think the key is found in what Jesus says in the next few verses.  The principle is this, take a look around and notice the stress level of the birds.  They don’t worry about what to eat, what they will wear, or where they will live.  God has provided everything they need.  If He has done this for birds, then you don’t have to worry because you are MORE valuable than birds!

Finally, He says; if you can’t change little things with worry, then why worry about the rest.  It’s true, worry doesn’t have the power to make anything better, but it can sure make things worse.  I’ve never had anyone come in my office and share, “Pastor, I was having a rough time, but then I began worrying and wow, how things improved!”  

I can’t wait to talk more about this topic this weekend in our series Get Smart on Stress.  If you live around Avon, then invite someone!

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When In Doubt, Leave It Out

Posted in Encouragement, Friendship, Hope, Perspective, Relationships, Worry by PCraig on November 20, 2014

I remember when my wife was battling anxiety and how helpless I felt.  Here’s what I learned through that experience, when in doubt leave it out.  Here’s what I mean by that: if you have not walked in someone else’s shoes, then don’t act like you have.  If you have never lost a child, then don’t tell someone who has, that you understand exactly how they feel.  No, you really don’t!  Even if you have lost a child, you didn’t lose their child.  Plus, you may have a totally different way of dealing with grief than they do, so don’t act like it’s the same.

Sure, we have empathy when someone else is going through something that we have gone through before, but that’s not what people need most when they’re hurting.  What do they need most?  My experience tells me, someone to listen.  Not talk.  Not try to fix things.  Not try to act like you know exactly what they are feeling.

Just try being there, possibly holding them, cry with them and pray with them.  Be there in a way that simply communicates hope.  There are things better left unsaid when people are in real pain.

This weekend at Crossroads:  FIGHT series part 4 – Winning Over Anxiety

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Repost: Depression Freedom

Posted in Attitude, Deliverance, Victorious Living, Worry by PCraig on July 4, 2014

Originally posted: 12/16/11

Songs talk about this being the most wonderful time of the year and yet it can be a source of depression for many.  Some feel the loss of loved ones greater at the holidays; some aren’t close to family and feel isolated, while others might have financial pressures that make it stressful.  There are countless reasons to get depressed, but how can you avoid it?

Last weekend we looked at this topic in depth and here are the main things discovered:

  • Stop Hiding It.  Until you admit your depressed no one can help you.
  • Ask For Help.  This may mean joining a Life Group, go to counseling, or visit a doctor.
  • Take Action Today.  Delay keeps us down.  Quit postponing & procrastinating.  You know what you need to do, now go do it!  Make the phone call or set up the appointment.
  • Seek The Healer.  Jesus wants to help you more than you know.  Don’t doubt Him, attempt to hide from Him or run from Him.  Instead, we need to run to Him.  (Ps. 147:3; Isaiah 61:1-3)

Satan will try to get you to focus on what’s wrong with your life, on things you don’t have, and the hardships of life.  Instead of biting his bait, fix your eyes, mind and senses on what you do have and the promise of God to never leave you or abandon you.  It may look dark at the moment, but hope and help is on the way and God can turn things around for you.  Don’t give up, instead take action and I believe you’ll begin to come out from under the dark clouds of despair into a new day full of God’s sunshine.

One of the things that lifts me is positive, uplifting music.  What works for you?  Whatever it is, take time to activate it in your life today.

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Don’t Worry – Be Happy!

Posted in Faith, Fear, Happiness, Worry by PCraig on April 26, 2012

I remember a song by musician Bobby McFerrin, released in September 1988, called “Don’t Worry Be Happy.”  It became the first a cappella song to reach number one on the Billboard chart and even won song of the year award at the 1989 Grammys.  I think one of the reasons for the popularity was the catchy tune, but the other was the positive message that it sent to a culture that is filled with worry.  We worry if we’ll have enough money, about our health, career, children, spouse, and the future.

In the midst of all this worry, Jesus comes along and gives his take on the topic in Matthew chapter six, where He says, “Don’t worry” (must be where Bobby got his lyrics!).  When we read these words of Jesus, our reaction might be, “Easy for you to say Jesus – after all you are the Son of God, but what about me?”  Well, keep in mind, Jesus wasn’t talking to Himself, He was speaking to you and me when He said this.

This past Sunday I dealt with this topic and listed three ways to break free from worry:

  • I will do what God asks me to do.  Start by thinking right thoughts & doing what is wise.  In other words, do what YOU can do first.  You can obey God and take control of your thoughts.
  • I will give God what I cannot do.  You can’t heal cancer – God can.  You can’t protect your children 24/7 – God has angels.  You can’t change people – God can orchestrate events to bring about change.  I can only do what God asks me to do, but I can give God what I cannot do.
  • No matter what happens, I will trust God.  If God answers like you want Him to – you trust Him.  If God doesn’t answer like you want – you trust Him.  If things don’t go according to your plan – you still trust Him & still praise Him.

I don’t know what you’re worried about today, but I know my Heavenly Father watches over me and you.  Just like the old gospel song, “His eye is on the sparrow and I KNOW He watches me.”  I refuse to be chained to worry, distrusting God and His promises.  I will not insult the God of the universe with unbelief, rather I will believe He is who He says He is, and I believe He will do what He says He will do.

What worries do you need to release to God?

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