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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Whose Report Will You Believe?

Posted in Attitude, Counsel, Faith, Friendship, Perspective, Relationships by PCraig on March 9, 2017

It really matters who you take advice from and listen to most. You may think that the negative comments and poor advice doesn’t affect you, but it does.

One of my favorite stories to illustrate this in all of God’s Word is in today’s reading of the One Year Bible. It comes from Numbers 13 where Moses sends a delegation of 12 spies to scout the Promised Land and come back and report. The Scripture says that after 40 days of sampling its produce and examining the land, they returned with news. Ten of the spies scared the people by reporting briefly about the abundance and fruitfulness of the land, then sharing how powerful, invincible and fortified the cities and people were. They went so far as to say, “We can’t attack these people; they are stronger than we are.”

Can you imagine that the same people who have seen their God deliver them from Egypt, split a sea and dry up the land, feed them daily with manna and quail, now don’t have faith to conquer the land God has already promised? That’s exactly what was going on.

However, two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, believed that even though the enemy looked strong, that God is stronger. They said, “We can certainly do it.” Not, “We hope, might or it’s possible”, but we can do it. These two saw all the same things the other ten did, but they had a different outlook. I wonder how many of your friends have a different outlook on life? Do you have friends that tend to see things from God’s perspective over man? How many faith-filled, positive speaking, God-trusting friends do you have?

Are there people you need to spend less time with? Or, can you think of some you need to be around more often?

The sad thing in this story is that bad news travels fast. It seems to be easier to get people to go negative than it is to get them to step out in faith. That’s why you have to be very choosy about who’s reporting to you. When you get around people of faith, then your going to be impacted positively. Stop allowing negative reports to plague your life and keep you from the report God has for you.

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God Will Provide

Posted in Encouragement, Faith, Miracle, Pursuing Jesus by PCraig on February 2, 2017

In today’s Old Testament reading of the One Year Bible plan, I was struck by the way God provides for His people. In Exodus 15 He turns “bitter” water into drinkable H2O by a miracle. He also declares, “I am the Lord, who heals you.” I love that!

Then, in Exodus 16 God makes bread to appear each day. He warns them not to hoard it, for they must trust Him for “daily bread,” just as Jesus would one day teach us to pray. Quail even came in the evening, as God sent dinner long before drones were ever created. God can airlift provision to His people no matter where they may be located. Don’t even think that you are unnoticed or unable to receive from God. He knows your address and can get what you need faster than Amazon Prime can deliver it.

In Exodus 17 we find that God can even bring water from a rock for His people. We learn later that this is a foreshadowing of Jesus. That just like water came from the rock to quench the thirst of the Israelites; God would send the solid Rock, Christ Jesus, to satisfy the thirsting of every person’s soul. What drugs, alcohol, illicit sex, money and things cannot satisfy, we find filled in Christ alone.

I don’t know what you may be going through today. You may feel like you are in a desert place that is dry, desolate and discouraging. But, just as God proved Himself faithful and took care of the Israelites, He still cares for His people today. Stop trying to find satisfaction in things that cannot bring lasting contentment. Instead, trust the One who can bring water from a rock, airlift provision or drop it in overnight. God knows what you really need and is able to provide.

 

 

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How To Grow In Faith In 2017

Posted in Change, Church Growth, Faith, Fasting, New Year, Personal Growth, Prayer by PCraig on January 1, 2017

I want to encourage every Crossroads family member to take the following challenges in January to grow your faith like perhaps never before!

  • Begin reading the Bible everyday starting today. You can do this thru downloading and printing a reading plan to keep inside your Bible as a checklist. Another way is to purchase a One Year Bible and it will guide you through daily readings. Or, you can use the YouVersion Bible App and select a reading plan for 2017 to read from your phone, computer or other electronic device.
  • Attend church every Sunday for the next three weeks. We’re launching a new three-week series called PRAYING BOLDLY beginning January 8. For these three weeks you will learn how to pray more bold, powerful prayers that will literally change your life and relationship with God.
  • This is also a great time to invite friends, family and anyone who needs to grow in faith to be a guest at Crossroads. Be sure to carry the invite cards that are in the lobby to help you to share with others. These cards give our service times, location and web address so they have something in their hand after you’ve invited them.
  • Begin a 21-Day fast on January 8. Next weekend starts our 21 Days of Fasting & Prayer. Powerful things happen when people fast and pray. If you would like to learn more on this topic, you can follow this link: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/fasting-for-beginners. Just know that you don’t have to give up food only, there are other things that may have more of your time and life than what you place in your mouth. We’re going to believe God together for a spiritual breakthrough in our church, our families, our community and our country during these 21 days!

Don’t allow yourself to be left out of what God may want to do in your life this year! Get off to a great start by accepting this challenge and just see what God will do. I believe this could very well be the greatest year for our church and your life also. Get ready to be changed!

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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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A Mary Christmas

Posted in Attitude, Character, Faith, Giving, Used of God by PCraig on December 8, 2016

It’s Christmas time in the city, and the country, and everywhere else I suppose. I love Christmas! The music, decorations, lights and all of it are beautiful. But, let’s admit it, sometimes it can be stressful, burdensome, and a mess. It’s for these reasons and more we need to be reminded that it’s really all about Jesus! This is especially important if you’re having a tough time this season because of a loss of loved one, job, or illness. The good news is that you can experience a Merry Christmas anyway.

By looking at Mary, the mother of Jesus, we can find a way to have joy this season and potentially attract God’s favor as she did. Here are three characteristics she possessed:

She had a childlike faith. From Luke 1:38 we see that she lived in a simple faith that surrendered to God’s plan.

She had a giving attitude. We know she first of all gave her body to be used of God. So many in our culture think, “It’s MY body, so I’ll decide.” But, Mary said, “My body is your body God, so use it however you see fit.” No wonder God chose her!

She also shared the light with others. Before Jesus had ever done any public miracles, He and Mary were attending a wedding (Jn.2). When they ran out of wine and faced humiliation, Mary offered Jesus to help. Her words to the servants were priceless, “Do whatever He tells you.” You gotta love that! It’s one of the most powerful messages we need to hear.

To attract God’s favor in our lives we too can believe God with childlike faith, live life with an open hand, and share the hope of Jesus with others. Here’s hoping you have a very “Mary” Christmas.

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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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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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Taking The Step In Front Of You

Posted in Decisions, Excuses, Faith by PCraig on September 29, 2016

Many of us are sitting and waiting on God to do something special, while God may be waiting for us to do something simple. Obedience is not complicated. When a parent says, “I want you to go into your room and clean it up,” that is not unclear. Forty-five minutes later when you go check and it looks exactly like it did earlier, or maybe worse, that is not obedience. “But, I got sidetracked by organizing my pencil drawer” is not a good excuse. (This is all just hypothetically speaking)

How many times are we waiting on God to heal, provide, deliver, breakthrough, and create, while we sit in disobedience to what He’s already said? Today is a great day to start making commitments and stop making excuses. And, if you think that God can’t use you because of your past, then just pick up a copy of the Bible and start reading. It won’t take you too long to discover that God specializes in using imperfect people.

God’s grace is all you need to get started. It’s often in our weakness that His strength shows up the most. Rather than waiting on God to bring a breakthrough in your life, why don’t you rise up today and BE the breakthrough you need! God still honors faith and it doesn’t matter if it comes from a prostitute, prophet, politician, or plumber.

Just begin to press on in God’s grace, knowing that He often shows up after we take the first step. (We will see this big-time in this weekend’s message!)

What is your “first-step” of obedience today?

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Settlers vs. Settling

Posted in Attitude, Character, Choice, energy, Faith, Personal Growth, Relationships by PCraig on February 18, 2016

I can remember learning about the people who picked up and moved their lives to the western part of the United States.  They did this in order to explore new territory and built a settlement for themselves and those who would come behind.

All of that is proactive, energetic, risk-taking and exciting.  Settling is totally different.  The person who settles is someone that is lazy, compromising, has low self-esteem, and small goals.

Nowhere is settling admired.  We don’t look up to people who could have achieved more but chose not to.  Nor do we applaud people who quit simply because it got to be too tough.

If settling is not a virtue to aspire to, then why do so many choose it?  For followers of Jesus, I think one thing it comes down to a lack of faith in you and even more in God.  If we really believed in ourselves and God, then we wouldn’t dream of settling.  We would know that we were made for more, formed for a destiny that is greater than us, and unable to allow ourselves to stoop.

If you are single, don’t allow yourself to settle for less than what God has for you, wait for God’s best.  If you are married, don’t accept a mediocre marriage; inspire your partner to greater days.  Whatever you current situation, don’t settle for anything less that what God has destined for you.  Settlers are adventurous, brave and bold to lay claim on their future.  It’s okay to be a settler, just never settle for less than God’s best.

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