2 x 2

Posted in Evangelism, holiday, Impact, Relationships, Salvation, witnessing by PCraig on March 19, 2015

We finally got the rest of our Christmas decorations down the other day (don’t judge me, we’ve been busy J) and it’s already time for Easter – I can’t believe it!  In just two weeks from this coming Sunday we will be celebrating the greatest event in history, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Here’s what I would like to suggest:  over the next two weeks, let’s do everything we can to bring two people to church with us.  You don’t have to drive them necessarily, though that helps to ensure they show up, but we can invite them.

I saw a recent statistic that said that approximately 20% of people were undecided yet on whether they would attend church on Easter.  Friend, that is one out of every five people you meet.

Just yesterday I was out to lunch with someone and as he was paying the bill, he invited the server to Easter services.  He also informed her that I was the pastor.  Instead of just saying a polite, “Thank you,” she said she was looking for a church to attend on Easter and wanted her child to go.  I spoke up and told her that her kid would love our church.  I pray she follows through and shows up.  What’s interesting is my friend said that if I hadn’t been with him, he probably wouldn’t have spoken up to invite her.

Let’s do what we can to impact two people in two weeks and reach at least one more for Jesus.  If we all do that, imagine how it will move from addition to multiplication.

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Two Questions To Make A Difference

Posted in Friendship, Impact, Love, Used of God by PCraig on November 13, 2014

Here’s two questions you could ask people that would make more friends than you could imagine: where’s your pain? And how can I help?

The reality is that most everyone has pain somewhere in his or her life, be it financial, relational, physical, emotional, and mental.  If you look deep enough into a person’s life you will discover there is a hurt that needs healing.  Wouldn’t it be a great mission to help heal the wound of someone else today?  Just think if each of us took on that mission.  If everyday, we made the commitment to look for pain in someone else and then we make a positive difference in their life while we’re with them.  Wouldn’t that be incredible?  Who wouldn’t want to be around people like that?

Let’s try it for 30 days.  Every morning get up and make the commitment to make a positive difference in someone’s life.  It would be especially powerful if it was someone different each day.

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Every American Christian Should Do This

Posted in Impact, Involvement, Missions, Perspective, Serving by PCraig on June 12, 2014

Every American Christian should go on a mission’s trip at some point in their lives.  I know not everyone will be able to do this because some have family commitments, work schedules and physical limitations.  But trust me, anyone and everyone who is a Christ follower in the U.S. should get out of here and experience another part of the world, and most of us can make it happen if we really want to do it.

I just returned from another missions trip to the Dominican Republic, and here is why I feel strongly about it:

  • American Christians should see how spoiled & rich they are.
  • Seeing this will help battle consumerism & lack of contentment.
  • It will show you that you can communicate with people who speak a different language through love.
  • The bond you develop with the team serving together is special.
  • Knowing you made a difference in another part of the world is an incredible feeling you will otherwise never experience.

Those are just a few reasons why I hope you will consider going on a trip.  Just talk to the other people who served and you’ll see why many of them are hooked.

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The Line Forms There

Posted in Generosity, Impact, Missions, Serving, Thankfulness, witnessing by PCraig on March 13, 2014

It is better to serve than be served.  That may sound counterintuitive, but it’s true.  Last Sunday, I began my message by asking the question:  “How long will the line be in heaven to get to you (by people) to say thanks for serving and giving to the Lord”?  The goal was to think about the power of our influence on earth that will be fully realized in heaven.

When you give to a missionary here, you have no idea who all might be reached through their ministry.  However, when we get to heaven and are enlightened, people will want to show their gratitude for sending the missionary.  That means a line may form to get to you and me filled with Africans, Asians, South Americans, Europeans, Islanders and all manner of people to say thank you.

The longer I live the more aware I am of the hollowness of outward stuff.  And, the more convinced I am of caring, and not being cared for, having the greatest value.  As we get into heaven, I think we will wish we had changed more diapers, served more meals, carried more bags, held more doors, lightened more burdens, and given more away.

The line to get to you on earth is not nearly as significant as the line that will form in heaven.

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Footprints on the Heart

Posted in Heart, Impact, Relationships by PCraig on June 27, 2013

In our elders meetings, we are using a book called Leaders Who Last by Dave Kraft as our monthly reading.  So, in today’s meeting we looked at chapter two of the book.  In this passage, Kraft shares a quote that impacted his life to the extent that he now displays it on his desk.  Here’s the quote:

Some people come into our lives and quietly go.  Others stay awhile, and leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. 

Wow!  After reading this for myself, I’m ready to put it on my desk.  It got me thinking about the people who have left footprints on my heart.  I’m so grateful for the impact they have made upon my life that helped me to be the person I am today.  Then it also got me thinking about where I’m leaving footprints.  Who are the people that I’m impacting that will be better because of my influence?  How am I strategically and intentionally leaving a mark on others that will last beyond my days?

So, how about you?  Who are you grateful for because of the footprints they left on your heart?  And, what hearts are you leaving an impression upon that will cause them to be grateful you came their way?

 

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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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Make A Difference

Posted in Dreams, Hearing God, Impact, Involvement, Prayer, Purpose, Used of God, Vision by PCraig on February 7, 2013

Over the past two weeks we’ve been looking at the story of Nehemiah to learn how to make a difference.  The reason is, there’s something inside of each of us that wants to make a difference.

One of the first things we learned is you start with a burden.  What breaks your heart that also breaks the heart of God?  For some it might be human trafficking, or child poverty, and for others illiteracy.  There are countless other causes of course.  But, to change the world it has to be YOUR burden, YOUR cause, YOUR sense of calling.

Next, you pray about it and seek the face of God asking what He would have you to do.  You look around for Him to point out others in your life that can help you in your dream after they see your passion.

Then, you must get clarity on what it is that you will do to make a difference.  What exactly is it you feel you must do?  If you can’t define it, you can’t do it.  Take it from something broad “I want to help poor people” to “I want to help these poor people that live here.”

Get your plan put together.  This is where the homework comes in.  You have to talk to people, read, listen to lectures, and go tour locations to come up with a strategy.  You don’t have to have the whole thing figured out, but what is your next step?  Don’t let yourself freeze up.  Get up and take the next step no matter how small it is today, then tomorrow take the next step, then the next, then the next and keep going.

John Wesley said, “Light yourself on fire and people will come from miles around to watch you burn.”  What can you get lit up about?  What passion do you have that stirs your soul?  Does it involve kids, youth, seniors, disabled, poor, ethnic, near or far away?  My challenge to you is find out what it is and get so on fire about it that it spreads and makes a difference.

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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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Dr. King & Nehemiah

Posted in Change, Dreams, Hope, Impact, Leadership, Purpose, Vision by PCraig on January 22, 2013

Just yesterday our nation remembered the impact of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  His leadership helped pull the nation together in a non-violent way to confront racism.  He truly had an incredible impact upon our country in a time of unsettledness.  The power of his words stirred the hearts of many and brought hope of change.

In much the same way, Nehemiah of the Old Testament was used of God to bring hope and vision to those who had lost it.  His inspiring words and personal courage led people to do more than they had done before.

This weekend, we launch a new four-week series called NEHEMIAH: Making A Difference.  What we will learn is that Nehemiah wasn’t anything special, extraordinary or overly gifted.  But, he was simply willing to be used and gave everything he had to make a difference.  This series will inspire, challenge and encourage you to be more than are right now.  Discover the passion, drive, and power to make a difference in this world.

Also, to have greater impact, join a small group experience during this series.  You can sign up for Life Groups from our website: www.crossroadsavon.com

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What One Day Can Do

Posted in Choice, Impact, Time by PCraig on October 11, 2012

We have 365 days in a year.  If you were to commit to a simple thing just once each day, at the end of the year it would be huge.  Many of us live ultra-busy lives and we fail to realize the power of the incremental small moments of time.  For example, I remember listening to a cassette (remember those?) teaching many years ago on always having a book with you.  The speaker said you would be surprised at the amount of reading you can accomplish in your car waiting on a train, or people or arriving early at an event.  He was right!

Here are a few suggestions you might try, but only pick one:

  • Get up five minutes early each day to sit before the Lord in solitude first thing.
  • Send a thank you note to someone you appreciate
  • Read three chapters of the Bible, then ask God to speak through it
  • Go for a 15 minute walk, clearing your mind from stress and worshiping the God of creation
  • Help the church or other non-profit by giving of your time, talent or treasure
  • Introduce yourself to someone you didn’t know at work, church, or in the community and learn something about them
  • Practice a foreign language until you learn phrases and become more adept
  • Listen to Crossroads or other podcasts to reinforce principles in your life

It may seem like a small thing at the moment, but over time it’s amazing what one day can do.  What simple one thing would you suggest that, over time, could make a big impact?

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