Who Am I?

Just this past weekend, we wrestled with the prayer of “send me.” We learned that one response to God’s call on our lives (our purpose), is to say “send someone else.” This is exactly the response of Moses that I’m reading in the One Year Bible again today.

Genesis 3 records the story of God calling Moses to be His voice to the people of Israel and representative to Pharaoh. The call seems bigger to Moses than his ability to pull off, so he tries to talk God into using someone else.

I wonder how many of us do the same thing with God. We feel He might be asking us to step into something bigger than what we’re currently doing, and rather than saying “yes”, we hesitate and try to justify our reluctance.

Moses said, “Who am I that I should go?”  We say things like, “They are much more gifted than me”, or “they have more money to give than I do” or “they have more time, I’m sure, than I do, so let them volunteer.” Do any of these excuses work with God? What happened when Moses stopped making excuses and started making commitments? He witnessed first hand, the incredible power of God using Him to free a nation.

What might happen if you stopped making excuses and started making commitments? The One that enabled Moses to go beyond what he believed he could do, is the same God today for you.

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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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Next Steps for a New Year

Posted in Change, Choice, Commitments, New Year, One Year Bible, Personal Growth by PCraig on December 12, 2013

When trying to bring about lasting change in our lives, there has to come a point where we take the next step.  In other words, good intentions are not enough.  “I intend to be a better husband in the New Year” or “I want to grow in my faith in 2014” or “I need to get a handle on my finances this next year.”  Each of these are wonderful statements, but it takes more than talk to bring about change.

Often what is missing is a clear next step that will intentionally head us toward the desired destination.  Here at Crossroads we have some Next Steps that we’ve designed for the New Year to lead people in desired directions.  Here’s the list so far:

  • Starting Point – a class for new believers of basic principles of faith
  • 21 Days of Fasting – starts Jan 1 to engage with God through sacrifice
  • Daily Bible Reading – plans available online
  • Night of Prayer – Jan 8 join together for an hour of prayer for 2014
  • Ignite Your Spiritual Potential – class to discover your spiritual gifts
  • Financial Peace University – Learn to better manage your finances
  • GriefShare – Recovery & healing from loss
  • DivorceCare – Recovery & healing from divorce or separation
  • Matthew – a class to study this book of the Bible
  • How to Study the Bible – a class to better understand the Bible
  • LifeGroup – join a small group in 2014

As you can see, we have quite a few next steps available to anyone who wants to really move forward in faith.  Look over the list.  Decide what your next step(s) should be.  Then, get signed up and committed to do it!

I love progress, and so I hope you will take advantage of at least one of these Next Steps in the New Year.

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You Gotta Cheat Somebody

Posted in Choice, Commitments, Margin, Relationships, Stress by PCraig on October 15, 2013

I’m taking our church board through a book this year entitled, “Leaders Who Last” by Dave Kraft.  In this month’s reading, we reflected on “The Leader’s Pacing”, in which Kraft discusses the incessant need that many of us develop to be overly busy.  We just keep cramming more and more things in there until we are about ready to break.  Some in fact do!  They have nervous breakdowns, stress disorders, panic attacks, and all sorts of negative results.

My question is what do we do with a culture that insinuates that “You can have it all” with a reality that you can’t?  The bottom line is discussed in another of my favorite books called “Choosing To Cheat” by Andy Stanley.  (The book has more recently been renamed “Who Wins When Family and Work Collide?”)  I love that premise of looking at our schedules as cheating somebody.

For those of us who are people pleasers, this is a tough thing to do, because we don’t want to cheat anyone.  We feel bad if people are disappointed in us.  We want everyone to like us and want them to be as happy as possible.  Sooner or later, however, you have to come around to the fact that you can’t please everyone.

Abraham Lincoln said, “You can please some of the people some of the time all of the people some of the time some of the people all of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time.”  It’s true.  So, the question becomes, “Who are you going to make happy or who are you going to cheat?”

Here’s our options:

  • We can cheat God (Avoid church, praying, building ourselves up in faith…)
  • We can cheat ourselves (Don’t exercise, eat fast & cheap, don’t further yourself)
  • We can cheat our spouse or family (Give them our leftover time, never our best)
  • We can cheat our jobs (Give them our leftover time instead of our best)
  • We can cheat others (Get with people when you can, but not to the expense of yourself, your family or God)

Which one of these describes you?  Who are you choosing to cheat?  Remember, you HAVE to pick one.  You can’t possibly be doing all these well at the same time.  I’ll probably write some more on this later, but what do you think?  Are you a people pleaser?  Does it pain you to know, you’ve gotta cheat somebody?

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What Would Happen?

There are a few things that jump out at me when I am reading the book of Acts.  One is the frequency of prayer that is mentioned and another is commitment everyone had to the fellowship of believers.

Just like I’ve preached the past three weeks, prayer is communication with God and you just can’t replace that with anything else.  If you weren’t able to be with us for that series, it was called Sync-Up and is available on the podcast (www.crossroadsavon.com).

To think of replacing prayer, would be like substituting sports events for communication in your home.  Sure, going to activities can be fun, but after a while your soul craves connection and will look for it in other places.

It excites me to read of the total commitment that each of the people in the early church seemed to exemplify.  Scripture tells us they were “devoted”, were “all together”, met “every day” in the temple, and fellowshipped in their homes.  As a result of this kind of devotion, people were saved daily and added to their number.

What if we showed that kind of passion for the Lord’s Church by praying consistently and committing wholeheartedly to its purpose?  Maybe we wouldn’t have to worry about passing laws to keep people from doing wrong, perhaps people would be changed.  Let’s try it!

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Commitments

Posted in Commitments by PCraig on July 12, 2010

We had a great launch to our new series ON DEMAND over the weekend.  Our topic was How To Handle Stress and many people made commitments to do several things:

To surrender everything to God

To stop carrying my burdens alone

To stop some things in my schedule

It’s a lot easier to make commitments than it is to keep them.  Have you noticed that in your life?  One of the best ways I’ve found to make changes is to continually remind myself of the promise I made.  I tell myself that the pledge I made wasn’t just to me, but to God.  Feeling the magnitude of the that commitment helps me to fight off the temptations to slip back into my old self.  Another thing is to set up reminders of the promises I’ve made.  This can be notes on my desk, writing in my prayer journal, or sticky notes in my car.  I keep them there until the commitment sticks in me. 

 What works for you?  If you know what it is, then do it!  If you don’t know what it is, then find out.

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