Who Am I?

Just this past weekend, we wrestled with the prayer of “send me.” We learned that one response to God’s call on our lives (our purpose), is to say “send someone else.” This is exactly the response of Moses that I’m reading in the One Year Bible again today.

Genesis 3 records the story of God calling Moses to be His voice to the people of Israel and representative to Pharaoh. The call seems bigger to Moses than his ability to pull off, so he tries to talk God into using someone else.

I wonder how many of us do the same thing with God. We feel He might be asking us to step into something bigger than what we’re currently doing, and rather than saying “yes”, we hesitate and try to justify our reluctance.

Moses said, “Who am I that I should go?”  We say things like, “They are much more gifted than me”, or “they have more money to give than I do” or “they have more time, I’m sure, than I do, so let them volunteer.” Do any of these excuses work with God? What happened when Moses stopped making excuses and started making commitments? He witnessed first hand, the incredible power of God using Him to free a nation.

What might happen if you stopped making excuses and started making commitments? The One that enabled Moses to go beyond what he believed he could do, is the same God today for you.

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Things We Talk About

There are things we talk about more than do.  Here’s some examples:  exercise, diet, eating healthy, getting involved, volunteering, investing, prayer.

I want to suggest something – pick one today and put some action behind it.  Stop talking about it and just do it.  You probably can already think of a thousand reasons why you should.  So, take your own advice, pick one off of this list or one you’ve created, and start today.

Think of how much better this week could end if you put your actions where your mouth is.  Let’s do this!

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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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Jesus With No Hands

Posted in Body, Involvement, Ministry, Used of God, Volunteerism by PCraig on August 8, 2013

I heard a story of a cathedral that was bombed out during World War II by German bombs.  It was a cathedral in England.  Later, German students actually went to serve there.  Part of what they did was put together this statue that had been blown up.  They were carefully piecing it back together.  It was a statue of Christ.  It had the inscription at the bottom “Come unto me.”  The Christ figure had his arms outstretched but they couldn’t get the hands to look right.  They finally made a decision.  They took the hands off and changed the inscription.  The new inscription said, “Christ has no hands but ours.”

Isn’t this true yet today?  The fact is that God uses our hands, our voice, our lives to bring Him to life in others.  This past weekend I challenged everyone to find their gifting, passion and use it for the glory of God.  Here were two key truths:  we are His body and we belong to each other.

So, how’s His body doing through you?  If the church only had you to rely on (and people like you), what kind of church would it be?  Weak, anemic, unengaged?  Or, mighty, strong, and connected?

Let’s be His hands today and everyday, because those are the ones He uses.

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Finding Hope

Posted in Encouragement, energy, Happiness, Hope, Involvement, Joy, Ministry, Purpose by PCraig on August 1, 2013

Someone said that a person can live without food for about 40 days, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope.

What gives life hope is purpose.  If there’s no purpose to our lives, then what’s the point, right?  How do discover the meaning and purpose of our lives?

Here’s some questions to ask:

What are my strengths?

What do I have a passion to do?

What do others say I’m good at?

When do I feel the pleasure of God the most?

What hurt have I come through that could help others?

Looking at these questions can give an indication of what God might have designed for you to do with your life.  Our hearts, talents, gifts, abilities, experiences and feedback from others can help guide us to our purpose.  Once you discover it, then you’ve got something to live for each and every day.

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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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The True Life

I believe there is something within the heart of every person to desire to make a difference.  Where did that come from?  Why is it that we actually live more fulfilled and happy lives when we’re unselfish?  It comes from the way we were made in the image of a generous God who finds joy in giving of Himself to us.  Jesus said it this way, “If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life.” Matthew 16:25 (NLT)

Could it be that we are actually avoiding greater happiness and contentment the more we try to seek after it?  Some people express it this way, “Yeah, I’d like to get more involved in ministry to others, but I’m just so busy.”  The world certainly offers us plenty of opportunities to focus on ourselves and an “us four, no more” mentality, where we only live for those who live under our roof.  However, Jesus cautions us against living that way and invites us to something grander.

Try this: begin giving your life away, as Jesus described, and see if happiness, joy and deeper meaning and contentment don’t find you.  Make it your aim to live your life for others, and God will aim His blessed life at you!

Are you searching for a life of meaning and purpose but haven’t found it?  What’s keeping you back from the true life Jesus promised?

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The Power of Everybody

Posted in Gifts, Involvement, Used of God by PCraig on September 20, 2010

I think one of the biggest hindrances to the church is the thought that “I can’t make that much of a difference.”  Some think that because they can’t give a large amount, they just won’t give anything.  Or, because we can’t serve EVERY week, we just won’t serve at all.  Others lack confidence or feel inferior to others and so they keep their gifts to themselves, or just use them at work or other places.  What a crying shame!

I personally believe that God is the giver of all good things, which includes the following:  money, time, possessions, breath, gifts, talents and ablilities to only name a few.  If you believe the same, then don’t you have an obligation to use at least a decent portion of that for the building of His Kingdom? 

I fully understand the feeling of “Well, someone else will do it.”  Or, “I’m sure someone will give, go, or do.”  But it is a flat out lie of Satan to paralyze you and keep you from being involved.  Satan and I have something in common, we both know the power of being used by God to accomplish something for His glory.  That’s why he works so hard to hold you back. 

You see it’s true, nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something!

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