We All Need Somebody To Lean On

Posted in Fellowship, Life Group, Relationships by PCraig on September 12, 2013

Our new GriefShare ministry at the church is reaching out to a segment of society that needs help.  Recovering from the loss of a loved one can be a long and painful experience.  Getting around other people who have encouragement, helpful advice and moral support is huge in recovery.  This is not only true in grief, but in so many other areas of our lives as well.

When we get around others that can pray for us, encourage us, and guide us through the rough waters of life, it makes the journey so much better.  I think that’s why the devil fights it so much.  He tells people, “You don’t have time to go to that class” or “They won’t share anything that could be of help to you” and “You’re going to do just fine on your own, you don’t need a bunch of religious people to help you.”  What’s sad is this often works in keeping us away from the very thing that could catapult us to wholeness.

Let me urge you today to seek out the strength of others.  Don’t let the enemy convince you to stay away from the support of God’s family.  He knows the power that is released when people of faith come together; it’s a shame when we don’t.

*LifeGroups are awesome for building strength & so are Crossroads University classes!

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The Power Of United Worship

Posted in Attitude, Fellowship, Humility, Submission, Worship by PCraig on June 11, 2013

I’ve been reading Ephesians this week and I can’t get away from the emphasis Paul puts on unity, one another and joining together.  Why such a push for this coming together?  I think God knows our tendency of focusing way too much on ourselves. We think about ourselves all the time and so little on others.  All that changes when we come together though, especially in worship.

In worship, I begin to focus on God first of all.  At least that’s what true worship does.  I come before Him offering my life, my lips and my legacy (or future).  When I do that, it becomes all about Him.  What He wants me to do, how He wants me to act, where He wants me to go, instead of my thoughts, ways and agenda.

Also, when I get around God’s people and get busy serving them, I don’t have as much time to think about my needs, wants and desires.  In other words, I’m not near the selfish slug that I woke up being this morning.  Instead, I make my life about helping others, serving their needs, and ministering to their concerns.

True worship brings us to a place of unity where our desires are placed under His and others.  Where He can teach us to be unselfish.  The result is that the world sees that submission and the power of God flowing through it, and wants more of it.

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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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You Are The Company You Keep

Right now I’m being mentored by Pastor Wayne Cordeiro, founder of New Hope Christian Fellowship in Honolulu, Hawaii.  I wish it was on location, but it is happening over the internet!  Each month I’m reading a featured book, attending a webinar, and participating in a call-in.  The reason I am involved in this is mainly two reasons:

  • I need to receive input from others and not just give out all the time.
  • I respect the work Wayne has done and the integrity of his ministry.

In the last book I read, Sifted, Wayne shares a story of how he was converted by the crowd at a baseball game to cheer on their team – even though it wasn’t his team.  He said the passion and enthusiasm of the crowd, along with the team’s performance had him celebrating with them by the fourth inning.  His point is the power of company you keep.

Proverbs 13:20 states, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”  Successful people know the power of this truth.  Who are you listening to?  Because the people you listen to is a preview of the future you.  If you want to go higher in a certain area, then get around people who are more advanced than you in that area.

Who are you listening to?  You are the company you keep, so choose well, your future is in the balance.

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Get The Right Ones In

Posted in Choice, Fellowship, Friendship, Relationships, Victorious Living by PCraig on January 19, 2012

The longer I live the more convinced I become in the value of relationships.  Some express it this way, “It’s not what you know, but who you know” that makes the difference.  Quite honestly, I think much of that is true.  But, it’s not just because you can get your relatives to get you a job somewhere. (Although, that can be nice)  The way to get the job of your dreams is often because of what you learn from others.

The right people around you can teach you things you didn’t know.  Like having a 12 year old help you know how to use your smart phone.  Or, having an 80 year old couple tell you how they stayed together for the past 60 years.

Getting the right people together for the right reasons can lift you to another level.  Likewise, the wrong people can take you down to a level you never thought you’d be.  The Bible says, “Bad company corrupts good character.”  So, it IS important who you spend your time with and allow to speak into your life.

Perhaps it’s time to look at who you allow into your inner circle and see if there needs to be some changes.  It’s never too early to have the right people in your life, but it could be too late.  Don’t let that happen.

Think back, is there a time your life went to another level simply because of being with the right person at the right time?

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Circle Time

Posted in Fellowship, Friendship, Life Group, Time by PCraig on February 24, 2011

My wife, Rachelle, used to teach preschool for many years.  Part of the lesson plan each day would be a scheduled “circle time”, in which the kids would sit in a circle to hear a story.  It was during this time that many of the children would comment on the story and what they thought of it.  Sometimes, they would share a little about their young lives and how it related to the story like, “I also have a dog, …a red bike, …or a big house!” 

Circles are great for allowing people to look around and express themselves to each other.  It’s easier to listen to a person’s story when you can see their facial expressions.  Most of us feel more comfortable telling some of our story when we see the approving nods of others that suggest they know exactly what we’re saying. 

I believe everyone needs to have “circle time.”  Each of us need a place where we can go and safely share anything we feel to express.  We need an environment that allows us to be ourselves and yet inspires us to be something more.  Unfortunately, as adults most of us don’t make time for it. 

Here at Crossroads, we call it Life Groups.  A place where adults can get together, generally in someone’s home, and have some “circle time.”  We believe in this so much that only have one Wednesday evening service a month to allow for people to meet in groups throughout the month.  I know we’re all busy, so we try to keep the church calendar as free as possible to allow time for this important part of our spiritual growth. 

Now, not only do Rachelle and I belong to a Life Group, she is still doing “circle time” with a small group in our kid’s ministry (JAM).  Let me also mention that our student ministry gets in circles each month and have nearly 100% participation. 

If you’re not currently in a Life Group, the good news is that there is an orientation coming up in early March to help get you connected.  Don’t miss out on one of the great blessings of life by failing to share in “circle time.”

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