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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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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God Help Us

Posted in Hope, Perspective, Prayer, Worry by PCraig on September 15, 2016

Is all the political action in America getting you nervous? One thing is for sure, come November 8, our nation will elect a new president. Every presidential election seems to come with drama, and this one has certainly had its share.

Here are some suggestions on how to pray at this time:

Jesus taught us to pray, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10 NIV

  • Pray all Christ-followers will put their faith ahead of their politics.
  • Pray that America will experience revival & spiritual awakening.
  • Pray for Christians and churches to share God’s love in a way that shines light to those in spiritual darkness.
  • Pray that the results of the elections will be pleasing to the Lord and result in His blessing over this nation.
  • Pray for physical protection over all candidates during this campaign.
  • Pray a strong hedge of protection over the nation for a safe and fair election.
  • Pray that those leading our nation will be drawn closer to Jesus each day and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

A PROMISE:

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV

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There Is Hope This Christmas

Posted in Culture, Encouragement, holiday, Hope by PCraig on December 23, 2015

I don’t think any of us can fully imagine the raw violent culture that depicted the world into which the Christ child came.  The Bible tells us that King Herod was so terrorized by the thought of a child being born as “king of the Jews” that he had every boy in Bethlehem murdered who were two or under.  (See Matt. 2)

We continue to live in a violent culture.  Videos are released showing the beheading of Christians by terrorists.  A couple walks into a Christmas party and begins to shoot everyone they can.  Bomb threats close schools and shopping centers.

Yet, still today, there is hope through the one born to Joseph and Mary over 2000 years ago.  His birth gave hope by fulfilling promises that were made centuries before.

Into a violent culture came a victorious Savior.

Into a rein of terror came God’s terrific plan.

Into an age of uncertainty came a certain promise.

For unto us is born, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.  There is hope this Christmas, wrapped up as God’s finest gift to the world.

To as many as receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.  John  1:12

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When You Feel Like Giving Up

Feel like giving up?  Are you tempted to quit?  If so, you are just like anyone else in life whether they be young or old, rich or poor, winners or losers.  As a matter of fact, winners are just losers that would never give up.

Everyone loses at some point in his or her lives.  The same team doesn’t win the Super Bowl every year, nor a golfer the US Open, or a movie star the Oscar each year.   In fact, what often happens is that those who get close but fail, only resolve to come back next time on top.

Wikipedia records:  In 1952, Florence attempted to swim the 26 miles between Catalina Island and the California coastline. As she began, she was flanked by small boats that watched for sharks and were prepared to help her if she got hurt or grew tired. After about 15 hours a thick fog set in. Florence began to doubt her ability, and she told her mother, who was in one of the boats, that she didn’t think she could make it. She swam for another hour before asking to be pulled out, unable to see the coastline due to the fog. As she sat in the boat, she found out she had stopped swimming just one mile away from her destination. Two months later, she tried again. The same thick fog set in, but she succeeded in reaching Catalina. She said that she kept a mental image of the shoreline in her mind while she swam. She later swam the Catalina channel on two additional occasions.

Each of us goes through seasons of testing, trying and difficult circumstances, but it is always too soon to quit.  If the disciples had quit, we wouldn’t have the New Testament or the worldwide church.  They endured persecution, rejection, loneliness and slander, but they never gave up.

I know your circumstances can seem overwhelming, but I hope you’ll believe that it is always too soon to quit.  You never know, the finish line may be just ahead and there’s always something to learn where you are today.

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He’s Alive

Approximately 2000 years ago everything changed when a man who claimed to be the Messiah rose from the dead.  Not only did a few women and the disciples confirm this, but also Paul tells us that over the course of many days he appeared to more than 500 at the same time.  These people became radical witnesses of the resurrected Christ and went all over spreading the news.  We call it Good News because it means God the Father accepted the sacrifice of His own Son as payment for the sins of humanity.  Now, there is an advocate that paves the way for us to be worthy of coming before the Father to obtain grace and mercy.

Here are a few reasons to celebrate this weekend:

You may feel discouraged – but He is alive

You may feel uncertain – but He is alive

You may feel weak – but He is alive

You may have sorrow – but He is alive

You may be sick – but He is alive

You may be tempted – but He is alive

You may feel inadequate – but He is alive

You may be lonely – but He is alive

It doesn’t make any difference what you are going through today, Jesus Christ being alive changes everything, so be encouraged today my friend.  The world is convulsing in the birth pangs of a new age that is about to dawn, because Jesus is alive!

Our Resurrection Celebrations at Crossroads are this Easter Sunday at 9 & 10:45 a.m.  Celebrate good times c’mon on!!

P.S.  Our Helicopter Easter Egg Drop is this Saturday at 11 a.m.  Tell somebody right now!!

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Home Alone

Posted in holiday, Hope, Joy, Victorious Living by PCraig on December 4, 2014

I don’t know if you were a fan of the movie Home Alone from 1990 with Macaulay Culkin, but I thought it was hilarious.  As you probably remember, the plot was about a young boy being left home alone at the holidays by his large family.  Somehow, during the hassle of getting out of the house, they failed to notice that they were one child short.  This set up a chain of events around a couple of clumsy crooks who thought it was an opportunity to break in and rob the home while it was perceived empty.

Unlike the movie, there are true reasons why people are lonely during the Christmas season that don’t include miscounting.  The truth is, even though Christmas is a season of family, parties and togetherness, yet for many it isn’t.  If you find yourself facing Christmas alone, December can be the longest month of all.  Going into hibernation for a month isn’t a realistic plan, and like it or not, Christmas is coming.

There are a few things we can do to help cope with the holiday loneliness.  One of those is to pursue the presence of God in our lives.  People may leave us, but Jesus said He never would.  The Bible also promises that “in His presence is fullness of joy,” which can fill us up when we feel empty.  I’ll talk about this further and two more helps for loneliness this weekend.  (9 & 10:45 a.m.)

I hope you can be with us as we discover how to face the season when it might not look the way it used to.   Invite someone who doesn’t have to be home alone.

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When In Doubt, Leave It Out

Posted in Encouragement, Friendship, Hope, Perspective, Relationships, Worry by PCraig on November 20, 2014

I remember when my wife was battling anxiety and how helpless I felt.  Here’s what I learned through that experience, when in doubt leave it out.  Here’s what I mean by that: if you have not walked in someone else’s shoes, then don’t act like you have.  If you have never lost a child, then don’t tell someone who has, that you understand exactly how they feel.  No, you really don’t!  Even if you have lost a child, you didn’t lose their child.  Plus, you may have a totally different way of dealing with grief than they do, so don’t act like it’s the same.

Sure, we have empathy when someone else is going through something that we have gone through before, but that’s not what people need most when they’re hurting.  What do they need most?  My experience tells me, someone to listen.  Not talk.  Not try to fix things.  Not try to act like you know exactly what they are feeling.

Just try being there, possibly holding them, cry with them and pray with them.  Be there in a way that simply communicates hope.  There are things better left unsaid when people are in real pain.

This weekend at Crossroads:  FIGHT series part 4 – Winning Over Anxiety

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What The Resurrection Means For You Today

“I have seen the Lord”!  With those words, everything changed.  Mary Magdalene came back from the empty tomb to the disciples to report that Jesus had risen from the dead and had actually talked with her.  From that point on, her life and the lives of many others were never the same again.

What does the resurrection of Jesus mean for you and I today?  Here are just a few things:

  • A guarantee of eternal life (John 11:25-26 – Sunday’s text!)
  • Demonstrated His power over death (Acts 2:24)
  • Secures our forgiveness (1 Cor. 15:17)
  • Safeguards our resurrection (1 Cor. 15:20-23)
  • Gives us hope in hard times (2 Cor. 1:8-11)

Today, we think about His sacrifice, suffering and separation He endured for our sins, but not without hope for resurrection.  The cross would mean nothing if not for the empty tomb.  Praise God for those who said, “I have seen the Lord” and those who having not seen, yet believe.

Be sure to do all you can to invite someone to be your guest in Easter services this weekend.  Let others know what the resurrection can mean for them today.

 

 

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Today’s Hot Topic: Homosexuality

Posted in Hope, Love, Marriage by PCraig on January 30, 2014

This is something our culture just can’t seem to stop talking about these days: homosexuality.  Recently, on the Grammys a mass “wedding” was performed that included both same sex and opposite sex partners, officiated by Queen Latifah.  Then, in our own state of Indiana, a recent bill named HJR 3 was being considered by the House to allow voters to decide on whether marriage should only be for one man and one woman in the November elections.  It is now going back to the State Senate because the House changed the language in the bill.  You can learn more about it here:  http://fxn.ws/1f92of0

What does all of this debate, talk and controversy mean for the believer in Christ?  Does God condemn gays to hell?  Can a person change that has same-sex attraction?

I decided I would weigh in on this a little today, since it is all over the media, and on the minds of many.  Here are a few initial thoughts for all of us:

  • We are all sinners in need of God’s grace & mercy (Romans 3:23)
  • Just because my sin is different from yours, doesn’t make me better
  • We all need a substitute to pay for our sins and it is Jesus (Ro. 6:23, 10:13)
  • Any and all sin can be forgiven when confessed to God (1 John 1:9)

Here are specifics about homosexuality:

  • No one goes to hell for homosexuality; we go for rejecting God’s Son.
  • We cannot just do “whatever is right for me” because that attitude affects those around you.
  • We are given control over our bodies through our will and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16-21)
  • God’s plan was one woman for one man from the beginning (Adam & Eve).
  • Jesus referenced marriage as one man and one woman (Mt. 19:4-6)
  • We can master our bodies for God’s glory rather than our bodies mastering us (1 Cor. 6:12-19)

Finally, God loves us all and He is our hope.  As a result, to be like God (which should be the goal of every Christian), I should love everyone the same.  I will never reach anyone with the hope of God by being bigoted and hate-filled.

Jesus has compassion on each of us now matter what our particular sin-bend is like.  All of the guidelines for sexuality that He gives are for our good and ultimate fulfillment.  My hope is that all Christ followers will live as Jesus lived and love as He loved.  That’s how Jesus said the world will know we’re His.

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