This Gets God’s Attention

When you know a friend needs Jesus, how do you respond? There’s a story in Mark 2 about a man who couldn’t walk, so four guys literally carry him to Jesus. The problem is that by the time they get there, they can’t get into the house where Jesus was teaching because of the crowd. Rather than say, “Oh well, dude we tried to get you in.” They refuse to be denied and carry this man up on the roof. Once up there they tear open the roof (probably made of mud, tiles and maybe straw) and lower the man down to Jesus.

The Scripture says that when Jesus saw “their” faith, he responded. In other words, it wasn’t even the man on the mat’s faith; it was those bringing him to Jesus that touched the Master.

Here’s my question: who are you currently carrying to Jesus? Who do you know that needs a touch from God, forgiveness of sins, and a fresh start? Please understand that it is your responsibility to carry them to Jesus. This man got to meet Jesus, be healed, made whole and restored to God because someone cared enough to carry him.

“God so loved the world that He gave His only Son,” and we are most like Him when we love others enough to take action. Friend, it’s too easy to get caught up in our Christian circles and ourselves and forget who Jesus came for. He came to seek and to save that which is lost. If you don’t know any lost people right now, you need to change that. Get out of your bubble and love like God loves.

It impresses Jesus when he sees us bring others to Him. If you want to get Jesus’ attention today, lift someone up and bring them to Jesus. Nothing moves God’s heart more than when we care enough to carry someone to Him.

Not only does this story come from today’s reading in the One Year Bible (that I’m doing again this year), but it is also our text for Sunday. I hope you can be with us as God anoints His Word to our ears. God has a word for you this weekend!

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Stop Eating Junk Food

I’m not writing about the poor eating habits many practice (though that would be a great idea). My concern today is more about the people you and I can choose to hang around.

Just like any dieter knows, if you get around people with poor eating habits, chances are, you’ll eat more like them as well. I know when my wife Rachelle is dieting, I tend to lose some weight also. Why is that? Because when she is eating less, I do too!

Whoever you hang with can influence what you eat or take in, such as movies you watch, books you read, or music you listen to.

So, it just makes sense that if you want to increase your appetite for godly things then you need to get around godly people. Spiritual hunger is contagious. As you get around people who love God, love to worship God, love to read the Bible, love to attend church, and love to serve – your loves are going to change.

Whether it’s losing weight or getting closer to God, you need to watch who you hang around, they are probably affecting you more than you know or admit.

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The Day Grace Ran

Posted in Evangelism, Love, Love for God, Salvation by PCraig on April 7, 2016

There are a lot of amazing things to see, experience and hear in life, for example: a newborn baby, the stars, and Niagara Falls, just to name a few.  But, for me, nothing fits the description of amazing more than the grace shown to others and me by God.

Grace defined by Webster is, unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification; a virtue coming from God.  I heard it said as, God’s unmerited favor toward us.

Nowhere is this revealed more explicitly than the story Jesus told of the Prodigal Son.  Now, I grew up hearing about this story, but it’s only been in recent years that the power of the message pierced my heart like never before.  As you may know, the narrative is that the younger of two sons, takes his inheritance early and goes out and blows it on wild living.  He parties hard until the money runs out.  When it runs out, the friends run out too.

This isn’t the most incredible running is the story however.  Jesus goes on to say that the young man realizes what a fool he’s been and that life was so much better in the father’s house.  So, he comes up with a speech to say to his dad in the hopes that he can at least move back as a servant.

Now, here’s where it gets crazy and blows the minds of the listeners.  Jesus says, the dad is looking down the road as the son is coming home and actually runs out to meet him, so that he can tell him what an idiot he’s been – NO!  The purpose of the running is to get to his son as fast as he can and throw his arms around him, show his love, restore his place and celebrate his return.  If that’s a picture of our Heavenly Father’s reaction to us coming home to Him – wow!  That’s all I got, amazing, astonishing, overwhelming, beyond description.  That’s our God.

Why wouldn’t everyone love Him?  Why would anyone ever want to leave?  Who wouldn’t want the power of grace in their lives?

For those who have experienced this kind of grace that goes beyond comprehension, our job is now to invite others into the Father’s house.  It’s a place of return, restoration, and revel.  Not everyone knows and understands it, so like Jesus, let’s spread the true story of a Father’s love.

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Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

It’s not entirely clear where this idiom originated, though some it started in Irish pubs where gambling was common.  A person might boast that they could do something and another person would challenge them to bet on it.  The theory being that if they were unwilling to gamble money on what they were talking about, they were just talk and basically full of it.

Today, it basically means that you need to back up what you’re saying with your actions.  So, what might that look like?  For example, you could say something along the lines of “Have you noticed the trash that seems to collect on that corner? I think someone should do something about it.”  The person you’re telling it to suggest that YOU could go out and pick it up, or organize your neighborhood to have a clean up day in order to ‘put you money where your mouth is’.

One definition I found was

to support something that you believe in, especially by giving money If people are really interested in helping the homeless they should put their money where their mouth is.

We also use the expression “Talk is cheap.”  The other day I saw a bumper sticker that read “Tithe if you love Jesus, anyone can honk.”  Meaning it’s very easy to complain about the state of things, and a lot harder or more expensive to actually do anything to change the situation.  It’s easy to say we want to support the advancement of God’s kingdom on the earth, but another to write the check or go online and give.

So, let’s evaluate our lives, and decide if we’re a honker or a tither, a mouther or a mover, a complainer or a changer.

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Last Day Lovers

The predictions of the Bible have always been fascinating to me.  Not so much that I spend all my time looking for a sign (Jesus said that’s what an evil generation does), but enough to know where are we at in God’s timeline.

Yesterday, I was reading in 2 Timothy 3 where Paul predicts what people will love in the last days: themselves, money and pleasure.  Wow!  Does that describe America or what?  There’s not much that can get in our way of loving ourselves, spending and thrill seeking.  So much so, we will often ignore the bigger items of life and settle for an incessant search for self fulfillment.

How do we know if we are what the Bible describes as “last day lovers”?  Here’s a little test to help diagnose where you fall.

Lovers of Themselves:  do you consistently think of yourself more than others?  When is the last time you went out of your way and gave of your time to serve others in Christ’s name?  Do you volunteer on a regular basis?

Lovers of Money:  do you give a percentage of your income regularly to further God’s kingdom causes?  Do you give to God’s work first and then save and live on the rest?

Lovers of Pleasure:  do you schedule time to enjoy God, His people, and His cause, or is it more about what you want to do?  Do you think of your time as your time, instead of living as a manager of God’s time?  Have you gotten to the level where you are thrilled about God’s work in the lives of others more than your own thrills?

Maybe you can tell from this little test if you fall into the category of last day lovers, or if your part of the remnant that Jesus is coming back to receive.

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Why Do We Make It So Hard?

Have you ever had someone say, “Don’t make it more difficult that it has to be” or “You’re making this more difficult”?   Often, this expression is used when it comes to doing a task like unscrewing a cap, cleaning out the garage, or over-thinking a problem.

When it comes to being a Christ-follower, I think we make it way more difficult for others and ourselves.  For example, we make it difficult to forgive ourselves, when God offers grace.  We make it hard for others to get to God by strapping on extra burdens, when Jesus said His burden is light.

Sure, there are spiritual battles that will be fought, but we don’t need to make it more difficult than it already is by adding things that shouldn’t be added.  I’m convinced that life is simple:  love your wife as Christ loved the church, honor your husband, discipline your kids, go the second mile, and love God more than anything or anyone else.

Pharisees made it hard to get to God while Jesus made it simple: “follow me”.  Instead of trying to make things more difficult, let’s get back to simple.

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Lent & Valentines Day

Posted in Fasting, holiday, Love, Love for God by PCraig on February 14, 2013

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the 40-day period of Lent that culminates with Easter Sunday.  I’ve never followed the church calendar very closely, but I think it can be a useful tool for a time of spring-cleaning for the soul.   Lent is not simply about giving something up. I like to think of it more as a time for creating space, just like we did with our 21 Day Fast to start off 2013.

My life is cluttered with secondary things that constantly vie for my attention and threaten to overtake God’s rightful place in my life. Lent can be a time of deliberately clearing that clutter, identifying with Christ’s sufferings (Rom. 8:17), and remembering who it is we truly serve.

It’s also Valentines Day and we can leverage it to show love to those around us.  You don’t have to be romantically involved with someone to participate!

Jesus taught that the greatest commandment is to love God (Matt. 22:37-40).  But, He didn’t really separate loving others right after that as well.  In other words, we should get crazy in love with God, let His crazy love fill us, then take some of it and pour it on others.

What kind of Easter season could we have if we would clear clutter from our lives and get filled up with God’s love and show it to others?  Let’s give it a try!

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What The Lord Is Looking For

Posted in Attitude, Fasting, Heart, Love for God, Purpose, Pursuing Jesus by PCraig on January 11, 2013

Guest post by John Money:

This morning as I was praying about what to share during our continued 21 day fast, I sensed that the Lord was saying to remind each of us of what He is looking for in a man, woman, and child.

So that is what we will attempt to do.  Answer the question, “What is the Lord looking for in you and I?”

I believe 1 Samuel 16:7 provides a solid answer from the Lord.  The context is the selection of Israel’s next King by the Lord.  The Lord had grown weary of King Saul’s ongoing disobedience, compromises, and self-serving approach to life and leadership.  The Lord sent his prophet Samuel to anoint a new King for Israel.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1Samuel 16:7)

There’s the answer to what the Lord is looking for.  The Lord is not looking to see how outwardly attractive you are……He is looking to see what kind of heart you and I have?

He clarifies this further after he selects David as Israel’s next King and says, “‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’(1 Samuel 13:21)

There’s our aim during this time of fasting.  Let’s shoot for getting our hearts so in tune with the Lord’s purposes that he can only say that we are a man, woman, teenager, child after his own heart.

There is no reason that we cannot even exceed David’s wholehearted devotion to the Lord.  Let’s make that our fasting aim today.

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What Kind of Fast Should I Do?

I’ve heard a lot of confusion since we said we were going to do a “Daniel Fast” of 21 days.  Here’s my attempt to clear up any confusion.

Where does the term Daniel Fast come from?

It comes from the book of Daniel where in chapter 10 he mourned for three weeks while eating no “choice food, no meat or wine”.  What people have decided from this is that there is a type of fast where you abstain from certain foods, but not all.  What I have said is that it can be a giving up of sweets (choice food) and meats during the 21 days.  This is what I am personally doing.

It seems there are many books authored around this topic that include recipes and interpretations on the Daniel fast.

What can I eat?

You can eat anything but meat and sweets according to some.  The extreme viewpoint is that you must also eliminate all processed foods.  I don’t think Daniel had to worry about processed foods?

Here’s my main thing in fasting:

It should be a giving up of something that means a sacrifice to show God you want Him more than anything else in life.  Fasting is all about making more room for God in your life for a designated period of time.  We have chosen a 21 day fast to give ample time for God to move in our lives.

Options:

Some of you may want to give up meat and sweets like me.

Some may want to give up one of the two

Others may want to give up something entirely different

Again, the main thing is to make room for God to speak, move and have His way in your life.

Don’t become a Pharisee over it!

Jesus said the Pharisees were so concerned about every little thing that they missed out on the big thing – Jesus Himself!!  Oh, they had their fasting down, and religious days and even memorization of the law, but they were lousy at living the life Jesus came to give.

Jump in.  Do something these first 21 days of the New Year.  Declare a fast and watch God move in your life.  Let God give you more of life to the full!

Feel free to share your experience and comments right here on this blog.

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Making Room For God

This past weekend, I shared a very important message on how can obtain a spiritual breakthrough.  If you weren’t able to be with us I encourage you to listen to the podcast: http://www.crossroadsavon.com/podcast/feed.xml

The topic was fasting and how it can make room for more of God in our lives.  When we get rid of the clutter by fasting and focusing on God, the other things of life grow strangely dim.

So, here’s what I’m suggesting:  to do a “Daniel” fast.  The reason I call it that is because there was a character in the Old Testament, named Daniel, who fasted for 21 days from the Kings rich foods and meat.  The Bible says that he focused on vegetables.  At the end of his 21 days, an angel actually spoke with him and a spiritual breakthrough came.

I’m asking for everyone at Crossroads to join me in a Daniel type fast from Jan 1-21, 2013.  You can form your own list, but here are some things to believe God for during those days:

  • Your own spiritual breakthrough
  • Bad habits to be broken
  • Hearing God speak clearly & giving direction
  • Your entire family to come to God & be saved
  • Our community to come to God & be saved
  • Our nation to come to God & be saved (revival)
  • Our church to experience God like never before

What do you need God to do in your life, family or circle of influence?  What might happen if you put God first in a fast in the New Year?  Let’s find out together!

NOTE:  Be sure to watch for more blogs about this in the coming weeks.  During the 21 days of fasting, John Money and I will be writing instructional and encouraging blogs to help you stay motivated for a spiritual breakthrough.  Nothing is impossible for God!

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