Upgrade Yourself

Posted in Attitude, Change, Character, Family, Marriage, Personal Growth by PCraig on May 10, 2018

I can still remember the feeling of jumping into the pool on that very hot summer day only to discover I had left my phone in my swim trunks pocket.  Yeah, it didn’t make it.  The pool was so inviting, I was on vacation and ready to relax, but instead, I got to upgrade my phone.  Wasn’t wanting to, and didn’t have a plan for it, but it happened.

We live in a culture of upgrades.  From TV’s, phones, computers, wardrobes, cars, houses, and everything that goes in a house, we love to get upgraded.  The dangerous thing is when we start thinking we deserve an upgrade relationally, especially for those who are married.  Many would even like to upgrade their kids for some that behave better, aren’t as physically or emotionally challenging, or look more like someone else’s. Of course, we aren’t always willing to admit these feelings, but they can lie under the surface of our behavior and decisions.

I would like to propose that you do get an upgrade.  But, instead of looking to upgrade on the outside, why not upgrade on the inside? This doesn’t sound near as sexy, exciting and adventurous, but it can be way more worthwhile.

The lyrics to a worship song say, “I’m trading my sorrows…shame…pain…for the joy of the Lord.” It seems the songwriter is suggesting that you can trade up your negative emotions and experiences for a joy that comes only from God.  The brother of Jesus, James (1:2-4), says that trials will come to all of us.  There are no trouble-free families, but instead of giving into the temptation to quit, we can trust that healing is on the other side.

Too many, short-circuit the process, by not allowing patience, strength and healing work it’s way through our struggles.  Instead, we keep making the same mistakes over and over thinking something will change. Maybe what needs to change is us? James says (1:5), if we ask God for wisdom, He will give it to us.  The crazier your family, the more you need this.  When you feel you can’t go on, or that it might be easier to quit, just remember to ask God to give what you don’t possess on your own.  Let Him help you trade up your hurts for healing, your pain for purpose and fill you with virtues that come only through the struggle.

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Disappointing People The Right Way

Posted in Choice, Commitments, Decisions, Family, Perspective by PCraig on June 23, 2016

There are times I have to disappoint people, and I don’t like it.  I can’t be in two places at once, so I have to make a choice.  There is a call to answer and so you can’t answer everyone else’s.  Opportunities present themselves, but you can’t have it all or possibly do it all, so what do you do?

I’ve failed in this area so many times that it isn’t even funny, but over time I have learned some principles that serve as a guide and help me sleep at night.  One thing I would suggest is you must prioritize your life and do so with the idea of living your life on purpose.  What are your priorities?

Here are mine:

  • What do I feel would please God most in this situation, choice or dilemma?
  • What does my family need me to be right now?  Present? Listening? Engaged? What does that look like?
  • What does my church family need right now? Is there an area I need to pay closer attention to at this season?

Now, this list is written in priority order for me.  God first, family second and occupation third.  I would like to tell you that this is the way it’s always been, but I’m afraid my wife might write a blog someday and embarrass me.  The truth is that it used to be church first, God second (because I thought He put me in charge of the church), then family a distant third (because God liked it when I let Him be in charge of my family.  The problem came when I saw in the Scriptures that He said HE was in charge of His church and I was in charge of my family.  That changed my life!

For many I’ve witnessed, the miss-alignment looks more like family first, career & personal ambitions second, then God (and things of God) a very distant third.

So, if you were to apply the priority list of God first, family second, and occupation/dreams/goals/job third, what does today look like for you?  How about this coming weekend?  How about the year so far?

We’re about halfway through this year, so the good news is you can still turn it around and finish strong.  Here’s what else I’ve found, when I put God first, not just in my words, but in my time, talent and treasure (the real measurements); then He has a way of blessing the other areas in ways only He can do — see Matthew 6:33.

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Things I Think About At Easter

Posted in Events, Family, holiday by PCraig on March 24, 2016

Here’s some things I think about at Easter:

  • EGGS – Growing up I have fond memories of picking out an egg coloring kit and coming home, my mom boiling eggs, then us dipping them in bright colors.  Then, of course, these would be hidden and there was the adventure of finding them.  Sometimes mom would forget where they all were.
  • BASKET – I loved getting up on Easter to find a colorful, neatly wrapped Easter basket filled with some of my favorite candies.  How did the Easter Bunny know what I liked??
  • OUTFIT – Each Easter season my mom would take me shopping for a new outfit to where on this special day.  I grew up in a church where everyone would deck out as much as possible.  Not quite sure why, but it sure helped out the local economy.  My dad would generally buy a new suit as well, or at least a new shirt and tie.

All of these are great family memories, but mostly this is what I think of when I think of Easter:

  • THE PRICE – What Jesus went through in the final days leading up and including His crucifixion is beyond what I can imagine.  Google Roman crucifixions and get ready to be horrified by the barbaric death penalty of these ancient times.  These acts make modern day ISIS killers look tame.
  • THE VICTORY – Jesus rising from the dead in such a dramatic fashion that the Roman soldiers, the religious leaders and His followers were convinced He was alive. Paul later tells us that he appeared to over 500 people at a time during His 40 days on earth after the resurrection.  His victory over death now gives me victory in life and death!

I love my childhood memories, but the greatest of them all, is being raised in a home that let me know Jesus is alive!

If you live in the Avon, IN area, please join us in a powerful weekend celebration of Easter @ CrossroadsAvon.com:

SATURDAY, March 26 – 10-Noon  Easter Egg Drop & Festival.  Thousands of eggs will drop from a helicopter on the church soccer fields to the thrill of kids. Bounce houses, face painting, photos with the Easter Bunny will also take place.

SUNDAY, March 27 – Two services @ 9 & 10:45 a.m.  Topic: Who Is Jesus? Join us as we sing, celebrate and communicate the wonders of the resurrection.  Full nursery and fun kids programs will coincide.

 

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