Coming Apart

What is the one thing that many of us fail to guard in a fast paced culture? -Our time. Especially to cultivate ideas, listen to God, and allow ourselves to get in a contemplative mode. Instead we hurry around with our cars, phones, iPods & other gadgets and people filling our lives with noise.

Even in the ancient times of the Bible, Jesus said to his disciples, “Come apart.” One person commented on this that, “if you don’t ‘come apart’ you will come apart.” (Get away from the noise before you come apart at the seams)

Do you have a problem hearing from God? When is the last time you pushed all the sources of noise in your life aside and sat quietly and waited on God…for more than a minute?

Could it be that many of our stress related issues might be resolved if we took time for concentrated meditation? Allowing the Spirit of God room in our lives to operate from within.

Try it. Take a look at your calendar and when could you make this happen? Here’s a few suggestions on finding this time: stay off Social Media for a day, don’t watch TV, return calls tomorrow, tell the people around you that you need to take some time to “come apart.”

Have you had some times where God refreshed you in His presence just by waiting? Do you need some de-stressors in your life today? Give this a try and feel free to share what happens after you “come apart” in a good way.

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Fixated

Posted in Distractions, Fasting, Mind, Pursuing Jesus by PCraig on January 28, 2016

The other day I was holding our Student Ministries Pastor’s son, and he was just locked in on something nearby to the point where it was like nothing else existed.  Have you ever been like that?  Maybe your husband loses all sight of everything around when the playoffs are on the TV.  Perhaps your teenager doesn’t know you exist when they are texting with one of their friends.

We’ve been studying the book of Hebrews from the Bible this month, and the word “better,” which occurs there more than any place else in God’s Word.  But, there is a phrase that appears toward the beginning of this ancient writing and then a similar version near the end.  Anytime something is repeated in the Scriptures, I pay attention.

In Hebrews 3:1 the writer challenges, “fix your thoughts on Jesus,” then in Hebrews 12:2 he says, “let us fix our eyes on Jesus.”  Since there is the redundancy of emphasis, it made me think of getting fixated on something.  How many of us get fixated on sports, money, careers, bad relationships, our past, habits, addictions, hurts, toys, and plenty of other things rather than Jesus?

Would people look at you with accusation that you are fixated on Jesus?  Let’s accept the challenge of the author of Hebrews and get our minds and eyes fixed on Jesus.  After all, He has more to give than anything the world has to offer.

I hope our 21 Days of Fasting & Prayer has helped with this.  If it has, let someone know.

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The Power of Doing One Thing

Posted in Change, Distractions, New Year, Time by PCraig on January 8, 2015

For those of us who suspect we might be ADD, but are yet to be diagnosed, here are some thoughts toward making a real difference in your life in 2015.  In past years, I have tried to make New Year’s resolutions, only to have one or two of them…maybe get completed.  Why is that?  I like to think I’m a disciplined person.  My wife says I am every day that I get up at 5:30 to head to the gym.  Why do we often struggle to make resolutions happen?  I think it is often in the plurality factor.  We try to do too much at once.  Now, that can have something to do with being an overachiever, but we’ll save that topic for later or in discussion with a counselor.

Here’s my proposal:  try just doing one new thing in 2015.  Try picking from this list for starters:

  • I commit to moving forward spiritually in 2015 by signing up for a class.
  • I will seek out new ways to grow in 2015 by reading the Bible daily, through YouVersion, so I’m accountable.
  • I will release all hurt & pain of the past by writing a letter, making a phone call or scheduling a lunch.
  • I will become more generous by tithing, and giving to God off the top instead of what’s leftover.

Those are just a few suggestions, but you can choose from your own list.  The main thing is to pick something, but not everything.

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Getting To The Light

Posted in Decisions, Distractions, Purpose, Wisdom by PCraig on October 9, 2014

The recent promotion of the blood moon this week got me focused on the moon, more than usual.  Even last night as it was shining so brightly, I was thinking of how it guides the Sea Turtle hatchlings to the sea.  When we’ve vacationed in Florida, the beach hotel where we stayed asks its boarders to close their windows at night.  The purpose is to avoid distracting the baby Sea Turtles and getting them confused.  You see, the babies crawl toward the brightest light.  On an undeveloped beach, the brightest light is the moon.  On a developed beach, it can be an artificial light source coming from hotel rooms.

When that happens, it leads to a disastrous outcome.  Rather than follow the pure light of the moon to the ocean, they follow the wrong light in the opposite direction.  This is how we human folk do at times.

Rather than follow a path of purpose and destiny designed by God, we too often get distracted by things that move us in the wrong direction.  Peer pressure, excessive time on social media, bad habits, addictions, and meaningless time wasters can provide diversions that get us off course.

So, what about you?  Are you living a purpose-driven life or are you allowing shiny distractions to lead you in a wrong direction?

Unlike sea turtles, we can discern right and wrong, false and true, real and artificial, if we will.  God’s Word is a pure light that can help us find the meaning and purpose that brings about joy and fulfillment.  This is why we need to hear it preached, read it for ourselves and pray for application.

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Head Toward The Light

Posted in Distractions, Victorious Living by PCraig on July 17, 2013

In the past while vacationing in Florida, I’ve seen orange netting around sea turtle nest where eggs are buried. Every year during the summer months, sea turtles come up on the beaches and lay eggs and bury them in the sand. In an effort to protect them, the humans come along and put orange plastic fencing so that people don’t disturb the eggs.

Some months later the eggs hatch and the babies are guided by the light of the moon to the sea. This works well on undeveloped beaches where the moon is the brightest light. However, on developed beaches if the lights aren’t kept dimmed, then the babies follow a brighter artificial light in the wrong direction with disastrous results.

We are told to follow the pure light of God and His Word, yet how many of us get distracted by artificial lights?

Do you know God’s Word enough to guide, lead and direct you?  Are you signed up for Crossroads email to send you a passage of the Bible to read each day or some other form of daily intake?

Is the passion of your heart to be in God’s presence or more the things of this world?

The great news is that unlike sea turtles we have the ability to think, adapt and change direction when we realize we are following the wrong path.

We can tune out the distractions and focus on the right priorities and let the pure light lead us to an ocean of possibilities and God’s great purpose for our lives.

This, in essence, is the message we heard from Christ and are passing on to you: God is light, pure light; there’s not a trace of darkness in him. (1 John 1:5 MSG)

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Nehemiah Impact

I’ve had incredible feedback from the Nehemiah series that just concluded this past weekend.  God is stirring up a wave of commitment to get involved in making a difference in the world.

Since the series has had such an impact, I thought I would take some time to recap the principles from each week.

Week 1 we learned to express passion, seek God, and take action toward our cause by:

  • Ask what breaks your heart?  (human trafficking, poverty, other…)
  • Pray and ask God to speak, grant favor, and empower you
  • Activate your sense of personal responsibility rather than excuses

Week 2 we saw that we are a leader whether we think are or not.  God specializes in using ordinary people who:

  • Have clarity.  If you can’t define it you can’t do it.
  • Make a plan.  Define your next step and then take it (repeat this process).
  • Communicate passionately.  Get lit up about your cause and others will too.

Week 3 we learned that whenever you move forward for God, your enemy wants to stop you.  To defeat discouragement you must:

  • Overcome attacks from the outside by taking criticism to God and get back to work.
  • Overcome attacks from the inside by remembering the Lord is with you, and keep fighting for your cause.

Week 4 we discovered that our enemy distract us and discredit us.  To avoid this we must:

  • Not allow the good to keep us from the great work God has for us to accomplish.  We must declare: “I’m doing a great work and I’m not coming down!”
  • Not allow any compromise that would blow our testimony.  We must declare: “I’m not giving up…on my good name, my integrity, or my cause!”

Nehemiah stood the test and completed the project as an ordinary cupbearer.  Without any grand miracles, he just put these principles into practice and with God working with him a great work was done.  The same can happen for you.  What great work does God have in mind for you?  What distractions, discouragements and excuses have kept from making progress?

God specializes in using ordinary people, so why not you and me?  Let’s get busy on the wall today and do something great for God, what do you say?

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Away From Me Satan

Guest post by John Money:

Today I feel compelled to offer a spiritual warning….a “heads-up” to all who have joined our church-wide 21 day Fast.

Scripture tells to “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Pet 5:8)

Our enemy, the devil, hates us and he hates that we are seeking to draw closer to Jesus through fasting and prayer.  He wants to ruin your fast.  Ruin your faith.  Ruin your relationship with the Lord.

How do I know?  The Bible tells me so!

Satan hates us; just like he hated Jesus.  Look at what he tried to do to Jesus during his 40 day fast.  Satan came to tempt him at the end of the fast and when Jesus was hungry, tired, and weak.  Satan will try to do the same thing to us.  We are at day 18 of a 21 day fast.  It is time for us to be spiritually alert and ready to refute Satan’s lies/attacks with faith and the truth found in God’s Word.

Matthew 4:1-3 -Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Let’s be ready like Jesus was.  We too have been led by the Spirit to Fast.  The devil will try to tempt us to give up, to take short cuts, to doubt, to despair.  Let’s do what Jesus did and answer with the Word of God.  Let’s put on the armor of God and say to Satan, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” (Matthew 4:10)

“Away from me, Satan!”  “Away from my family!”  “Away from my friends!”  I have been fasting for 18 days and I am connected to Jesus….get away from me!”

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How To Keep It Together

Posted in Distractions, Hearing God, Rest & Refreshing, Stress, Time by PCraig on July 19, 2012

What is the one thing that many of us fail to guard in a fast paced culture? -Our time.  Especially to cultivate ideas, listen to God, and allow ourselves to get in a contemplative mode.  Instead we hurry around with our cars, phones, iPods & other gadgets and people filling our lives with noise.

Even in the ancient times of the Bible, Jesus said to his disciples, “Come apart.”  One person commented on this that, “if you don’t ‘come apart’ you will come apart.”  (Get away from the noise before you come apart at the seams)

Do you have a problem hearing from God?  When is the last time you pushed all the sources of noise in your life aside and sat quietly and waited on God…for more than a minute?

Could it be that many of our stress related issues might be resolved if we took time for concentrated meditation?  -Allowing the Spirit of God room in our lives to operate from within.

Try it.  Take a look at your calendar and when could you make this happen?  Here’s a few suggestions on finding this time:  stay off Facebook for a day, don’t watch TV, return calls tomorrow, tell the people around you that you need to take some time to “come apart.”

Have you had some times where God refreshed you in His presence just by waiting?  Are you needing some de-stressors in your life today?  Give this a try and feel free to comment on what happens after you ‘come apart.’

Show your support, add your comment now...

Weekend Events

Posted in Distractions, Events, Personal Growth by PCraig on October 23, 2010

My daughter is gone to an event called Jr. High Journey this weekend in which tons of younger teens will get together to worship and be exposed to God’s Word.  At the same time, several of our men are gone on our Discipleship Walk that is held over the weekend.  We have one for the men and, last week, one for the ladies.  Again, it is a time to worship and be impacted by the Word of God. 

The value of going to events like these is this – would you do it otherwise?  In other words, if you didn’t sign up and leave home with others would you spend a weekend worshiping and hearing from God?  Most likely, you would find yourself getting caught up with your phone, texting, googling, or yard work, cleaning, or countless other tasks including mindless television. 

This is why we attempt to provide events such as these, so that people like you and me that get caught up in all kinds of activity can channel it on something that matters.  What would happen to you if you gave a weekend to God?  Why don’t you find out when the next time for sign up comes around?

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Distractions

Posted in Distractions, Purpose by PCraig on July 22, 2010

I don’t know if you are like me, but it seems my life is full of potential distractions.  There are emails, advertisements, social networks, and countless other things screaming “Spend time with me!”  Charles Garfield once wrote a book called Peak Performers.  In it he wrote about his study of peak performers and he found that among their common characteristics was the ability to remain balanced.  They kept their lives in balance between professional and personal, vocations and hobbies. 

Distraction is a chief enemy of the Christian.  If we are not careful, we will allow distractions to deter us from the very object of our salvation, which is Jesus Christ.  How do you know if something is a distraction?  

Therefore…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith… Hebrews 12:1-2

 A distraction can be anything that keeps us from keeping God #1 in our lives and living out our life purpose.  God called each of us and gifted us for a divine appointment that will lead to fulfillment and inner peace.  The enemy will do everything in his power to provide another option.  The bottom line is: it’s not worth the trade-off. 

 Pray for discernment this week to determine what things may be distracting you from being as effective and fruitful as God intends for you to be.  Then ask for the courage to do something about it.

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