Positive Thinking

Posted in Attitude, Encouragement, Expectations, Faith, Hope, Perspective by PCraig on September 14, 2017

I remember growing up and watching Dr. Robert Schuller preach from the Crystal Cathedral. For those who knew him, Schuller was huge on possibility thinking. Each week he would encourage his listeners that they could rise above their circumstances by focusing on the possibilities rather than the difficulties. I know he had his critics, but I think most people could use a good dose of Schuller’s message.  Some a double dose!

How many people do you know that give into the power of negative thinking? They can moan, groan, gripe and complain for endless hours. No matter what your problem is, they have it worse.

What would happen if we began to practice possibility thinking? Not that we can just think good thoughts and everything will be okay. But, what if we stopped thinking of how bad we have it, what more could go wrong, and why isn’t God doing something about it? Instead, we could spend the same amount of time thinking of how well off we really are (especially compared to most of the world), what could go right, and where is God currently trying to direct us if we would just pay attention?

People all around us are looking for hope. What if you became a source of it? Would there be a promotion in your future, better relationships, or greater influence? I think so. Take some time today to think of the possibilities.

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God’s Plan For You

Posted in Expectations, Faith, holiday, Used of God by PCraig on December 22, 2016

I had some really great Christmas experiences growing up, but I realize not everyone did. Some of you may have had good memories from childhood, but adulthood has been rough. The thought of Christmas can be filled with hassles and hurt. Marriages that failed, finances that are a wreck and health that’s deteriorated. What do you do to restore the wonder, joy and happiness of the past?

The original Christmas story wasn’t one without hassle, hurt and confusion. Imagine Joseph being engaged to someone that now claims to be made pregnant by God. Really? I’m supposed to go along with this? Even though it wasn’t easy, Joseph steps into the plan of God for his life and things begin to happen. A manger is available, Wiseman bring gifts, God directs you on where to move and ultimately you realize God has a plan.

God has a plan for each of us as well. It may not involve mangers, moving and wisemen, but it won’t be without its challenges. At the same, it won’t be without God’s provision, because where God guides, He provides.

Instead of asking God to bless our plans this Christmas, let’s seek to join God’s plan for our lives. Read Proverbs 3:5-6 and let the promise excite you with possibilities as you seek to trust and lean on Him. In doing so, you’ll experience God leading you into a plan that only He could put together.

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Principles of Perseverance

Posted in Attitude, Choice, Decisions, Expectations, Faith, Perspective by PCraig on December 1, 2016

Last weekend at Crossroads, we were challenged by Randy Ruiz to not give up. He read from one of my favorite passages, in Galatians 6:9 where Paul says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Here are three main points that Randy made that I would like to remind all of us to put into practice each day:

1) I’m Not Going To Allow What I See – To Affect What I Know! All too often we allow what we see to determine our actions. Instead, what if you acted your way into faith? In other words, don’t see how it is today, begin to, in faith, act as though it is already done.

2) You Never Allow Your Present Situation to Name Your Future! Sometimes we allow what we are going through currently to dictate our future. History is filled with people who had every reason to believe they would never achieve in life, but they did anyway. Why? They didn’t allow their current conditions to forecast their future. (We know things can change as fast as Indiana weather!)

3) Israel Made a Permanent Decision Based on a Temporary Feeling. It’s sad when people act in the moment and quit a job, quit a marriage, or give up on their dream and then regret it later. Don’t allow what is a temporary discouraging season to cause you to make permanent choices in your life. Instead, let this be a mantra, “This too shall pass” during those seasons.

So many of you told me that you were encouraged by the message, so I trust this reminder will keep you running in the race!

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Keep On Keeping On

Posted in Attitude, Choice, Expectations, Hope, Perspective, Victorious Living by PCraig on October 13, 2016

What do you do when you don’t feel like doing anything? You do what you need to be doing anyway. I know it’s hard to keep on keeping on when you don’t feel like your marriage, finances, or career is changing, but you do it anyway. Why? Because nothing much good happens by quitting, or throwing in the towel.

Galatians 6:9 encourages us, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” That doesn’t mean it will come in our timing, or that we won’t be tempted to think it’s never going to happen. But, in those times we remember that God can do anything, anytime, anyplace, so we can keep on keeping on.

Instead of dwelling on how awful things are, how difficult it is, or all the other reasons for why you should give up, dare to believe for victory. It’s scientifically proven that people who expect to win are much more likely to do so. Therefore, dare to believe that you will win in your marriage, finances, scholastics, career or wherever you need a miracle. I’ve found that when I do all I can do and I trust God for what only He can do, that it is often where God shows up the most.

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Step Into The Water

Posted in Expectations, Faith, Faithfulness, Hearing God, Perspective by PCraig on October 6, 2016

How often are we waiting on God, when God is actually waiting on us? It goes like this, “I’m waiting on God to show me what job I should pursue.” Or, “I believe that if God wants me to meet that person, He’ll bring them into my life.” Maybe even, “If God wants me to do that thing, then He’ll make it easy for me to do it.”

Each of these scenarios is assuming that if something’s going to happen it is up to God. However, in studying the Scriptures, we discover that God is often waiting on us. We have been in the book of Joshua recently and when the people came to the river Jordan, rather than sit back on the bank waiting for God, God told them to go ahead and wade into the water. The record says that when the priests feet went into the water that the river dried up for them to cross. (Joshua 3:14-16)

What is God currently asking you to do? He speaks to us through the Bible, people, songs, and an inner voice or promptings. Is there an area that you feel God is speaking, but you’re not moving? When you step forward in obedience, that is where God will meet you and help you to cross over toward His promises.

So, just keep moving until the miracle shows up. Don’t be content, lazy or disobedient by sitting on the bank rather than wading into the water. It could be that the miracle is ready to happen and you’ll discover it as you decide to walk forward in obedience. What step do you need to take?

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21 Days of Prayer

Posted in Expectations, Faith, Fasting, Miracle, Prayer by PCraig on January 7, 2016

This Sunday will begin our 21 Days of Fasting & Prayer.  As a church family, we are going to be believing God through prayer to change lives (starting with us), change situations, change our country, change conditions, and overall do incredible things that only He can do!

It is going to be a powerful time personally as each of us put aside what we want for what He wants.  Options for fasting could be doing a “Daniel Fast” (just Google it if you don’t know what it is), partial fast (give up meat, soda, or other addictive foods), fast one meal a day, or fast social media or TV (this might be hardest of all for some).

When we give up we go up!  Bondages and addictions can be broken, captives to sin can be set free, and miraculous moves of God take place.  You can’t out-give God, so if you put aside time to be with Him, instead of food, TV, social media and whatever else, then you can be assured of gaining His attention.

Don’t miss this chance to grow in your faith and relationship with God.  I’m believing for more than we could ask or think to break forth as we seek Him during this focused time of prayer.  Get ready!

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Look Who’s Expecting

Posted in Attitude, Expectations, Faith, Victorious Living, Vision by PCraig on September 25, 2014

Some of us are just too good at expecting failure.  If you’re conjuring up a future that hasn’t even happened yet, and exaggerating the worst possible scenario, it’s no wonder you’re stressed.

Wouldn’t it be great if we were able to do the opposite?  Like, what if we imagined having success in advance instead of failure?  What if we got good at visualizing the best possible outcomes before they happen?

Throughout the Scripture, God was always trying to get His people to see the possibilities instead of the problems.  Whether it was a Red Sea, enemy forces, sickness or even death, God imagines what could be a good outcome.

Picturing the desired results and announcing it is an effective way to push yourself toward that action.  Sure, it’s scary to step out in faith, but it’s even worse to sit back and turn into a complainer who claims everyone gets all the breaks.

If you expect rejection, it’s a lot easier to live a mediocre life. But, who wants to live with that strategy? Better to attempt making it great now rather than mourn failure later.

Get out there and attempt something great for God and let your friends notice who’s expecting now.

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Feed Yourself

Posted in Expectations, Leadership, Personal Growth by PCraig on August 7, 2014

When I was a baby, I was pretty dependent upon the people around me to eat.  I had people that fixed bottles, mushy cereal, and ultimately real food (love this!).  However, the day came that the people around me expected me to start putting my own spoon in my mouth.  Then, they even thought I should pour my own cereal into a bowl and add the milk myself (the nerve!).

Why is it that this is a normal expectation of us, yet when it comes to other areas, we still want people to feed and care for us?  Like for example, people come to church for the pastor to spoon-feed them the Bible or a spiritual truth that they can digest for the week.  Many people never give thought to feeding themselves.

Here’s the problem, in any area of life if you are to get stronger, more mature and achieve greater things, then you will have to be a self-feeder.  I heard a saying that the person who doesn’t read is no better than the person who can’t.  Think about that.  The illiterate person is at no disadvantage from the person who chooses not to read.  To grow and be healthy, we have to take in nourishment for our bodies.  The same thing applies to our mind and spirit.  Paul scolded some believers because they still acted like babies in 1 Cor. 3:1-3.

What are some ways that you can grow and feed yourself this week?  How about reading the Bible online (we send it out each day via email), get a good book and load it on your phone and other devices so it is always with you, or do an audible book that you can listen and learn while driving or doing other tasks?  My family fully expects me to feed myself, and it’s not just about food.  Every leader is a learner and every growing person is intentional about it.

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A Season Of Expectancy

Posted in Attitude, Expectations, holiday, Perspective, Seasons by PCraig on December 5, 2013

I remember being a kid and being so excited about the Christmas season.  It seemed like it took forever between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  My heart was full of expectancy about everything that surrounded the holidays.  I loved the lights, decorations, songs, parties and of course the gifts.  Each year I looked forward to all the potential the season had to offer.

Something happens as we get older.  We become the one to fix the lights when they don’t work.  We have to put up the decorations, plan the parties and pay for the gifts.  All of this can taint the season.  If we’re not careful, we can transform from the expectant child to the Grinch.

This is not only a problem with Christmas; it’s a problem in marriages.  Two people walk down an aisle to go live life in love, only to discover that there are pressures they never planned to experience.  They didn’t anticipate one of them losing their job, or having a special needs child, or finding themselves attracted to someone else at work.  When burdens come, it’s all too common for us to begin dreading the very thing we once anticipated.

My challenge to us all this season is to take joy in this time of year.  The story is about a Savior who left His throne to be born in a manger, live and teach, then die a sacrificial death for our sins.  Be careful what comes out of your mouth.  Instead of dreading the holidays, your marriage, your job, your family, why not expect the best?  Let a spirit of expectancy build in your heart and find it’s way into your mind and mouth.  Changing how you view things can go a long way toward how you experience them.

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Talk To Yourself Properly

Posted in Attitude, Expectations, Faith, Mind, Victorious Living by PCraig on August 22, 2013

All of us do it.  We all talk to ourselves on a regular basis.  Throughout the day we say things like, “I wonder what goofy thing I’ll say at school today?” or “I never make a good first impression, but here we go” and “I just don’t think I’m going to be able to fulfill this request, I’m just not able.”

The real danger in talking to ourselves is not THAT we do it; it’s HOW we do it.  Often what happens is we internally enact a future that hasn’t happened yet, but telling ourselves the worst possible outcomes.

What would happen if you changed the way you talked to yourself?  Think about saying, “I think they’re going to like me in this interview” or “This talk I’m presenting to my co-workers should be well received.”

By telling yourself positive stories and picturing it happening is an effective way of pushing yourself toward the desired goal.  The Bible says that faith is being sure of what we hope for even though we don’t see it yet.  (Hebrews 11:1)

One reason we may be hesitant to do this is we’re actually afraid that if it works, we will be held to a higher standard.  If you expect failure, weakness and low achievement, it’s a lot easier to live up to it.  But, why settle for that?  You and I were made for so much more than we are currently living.

So, let’s expect great things.  For the next 30 days make a conscience effort to say to yourself only things that are positive and praiseworthy.  What if it only produced 10% better results, or 20% more effectiveness, perhaps a 25% better marriage?  Wouldn’t that be better than settling for something less?

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