Why Your Words Are Important

Posted in Choice, Criticism, Encouragement, Marriage, Relationships, Words by PCraig on August 24, 2017

Some of us are external processors, some of us are internal processors, but we all talk a lot. One-fifth of your life will be spent with your mouth open. Is that insane to consider? Even more, that’s a lot of opportunity to bless and that’s a lot of opportunity to curse, according to James chapter three. And some of us are really over achievers when it comes to spoken, text, tweet, post and emailed communication.

It’s not surprising that God has something to help us with this area that consumes a fifth of our lives. James tells us to be “quick to listen and slow to speak.” I wonder how many marriages would be better today or even together today, if they put that one principle into practice? Proverbs 18:21 goes so far as to say that the “power of life and death is in the tongue.” But, before you discount that as extreme, think of recent bullying that has resulted in suicides and depression.

You and I weld a lot more power in our mouths than we give credit. The challenge is to direct that force in a good, positive and beneficial way for others and us. When a spouse gets all puffed up and raises their voice to set the record straight, all that may have been accomplished is lowering the quality of their relationship and complicating things further. Being loudest, most boisterous or cutting may win an argument, but it can lose the relationship. You may get someone to walk away, wave a flag of surrender or cower down, but you didn’t build anything along the way.

How do we get control of our tongue? James says it isn’t easy. As a matter of fact, he says it’s easier to tame an animal, bird or fish than it is to tame the tongue. Ever been to Sea World?

Here’s what James says can help:

Be slow to speak. Don’t speak first and think later, that’s a recipe for regret.

Be wise. Ask yourself: Is this is wise to say? Will this be beneficial?

So peace. If you can’t something positive, don’t say anything at all. Mom said that too!

Your words will steer your life in one direction or another. The cause for some not having a better marriage is in their mouth. Some don’t have the job you would like because you sabotage your self by gossiping at work.

We need more peacemakers in the world, and that requires being more in control of what comes out of our mouths. Let’s all start today!

*If you liked this post, join us this weekend for part 4 of Functional Faith as we discuss James 3 in more detail. You can also catch the podcast from our website next week: www.crossroadsavon.com

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Who’s Your Person?

Recently, I’ve been encouraging my staff to seek out a mentor in their lives. Someone they can call, email, text or visit with during the month that can help them process thoughts, ideas and decisions.

This is a great idea for a young married couple as well. I think it would be great if each newlywed could have a seasoned couple in their lives to help them navigate this new adventure of marriage. How many couples could avoid collapse?

I know I have personally benefited from many different people in my life. One of those that has impacted me greatly, is my pastor, Tom Paino. I only had one pastor my whole life of growing up in the church! He dedicated me, baptized me, performed our wedding, ordained me, and dedicated our daughter. The most important thing he did was lead by example. His steady leadership taught me the value of perseverance, continuity, and strength. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked his opinion, sought his counsel and asked, “What would Pastor Tom do?”

Who do you have in your life that you can trust to have wise advice? What person can you reach out to that is further down the road and knows where the potholes are located? Let me encourage you to find that person. If you don’t have someone today, then get busy thinking through your contacts, acquaintances and friends. Get them in your life and you’ll be the better for it.

Today’s reading of the One Year Bible affirms this when it says, “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure.” This principle is not only true for a nation; it’s true for you.

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Choose Your Story

Posted in Attitude, Change, Choice, Marriage, Relationships by PCraig on September 1, 2016

Each of us is telling a story every day of our lives. There’s the story we are portraying to everyone else, such as, “look at me the hard-worker.” Then, there is the story we tell to ourselves, “I am so tired of working harder than anyone else around here and being unappreciated for it.”

Couples who tell a positive story about their spouse are far and away more likely to make it through life’s challenges. How about your story? Are you saying things like, “My husband never…” or “She always prioritizes everything else”? If so, then your story needs to be adjusted. You can’t tell a negative story and expect positive results.

In addition, the Bible has a ton to say about our attitude in life. In Philippians 4:8 we are told, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

So, realize today that you might just be part of the problem with your relationships. Make an attitude decision and adjustment. Tell the story you want to be reality in your mind first, and then as you focus on the good, I believe more good things will happen.

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The Second Biggest Decision You’ll Make

Posted in Choice, Decisions, Marriage, Mistakes, Relationships, Wisdom by PCraig on February 4, 2016

We all make choices each day.  Someone has said that our lives really are the sum of our decisions that we make along the way.  What is so crazy is that in the moment, we often don’t know what ways in the balance.  How many times have you looked back to see that had you chosen differently at the time, your life would have gone in a different direction.  If you had gone ahead and married him, if you had moved and taken that job, if you had attended that party, or if you had spent your money on that instead of saving it.

All of us have had moments like these; therefore, it’s supremely important that we weigh every decision.  Outside of choosing to follow Christ, I believe the second most important choice is whom we will marry.  This person will have 24-hour access to our lives and bring joy or pain like no one else is able.

So, how do we choose wisely?  Are there things to look for in a future spouse?  Do warning signs appear that we can see and pay attention?  What are the big things to make sure they possess before going any further?

This weekend starts a series called Lasting Love, which pulls from the story of Ruth found in the Scriptures.  Over these next four weeks we’ll discover what to look for in a potential mate.  As a result, we can be equipped to make wise choices and live with fewer regrets.

I hope you can join us!  (Sundays @ 9 & 10:45 a.m.)

Here’s a video invite:  https://youtu.be/eliCsF6ZyHE

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Invest In Your Core

You may not be into fitness, but experts say that you’ll be better off as you age by investing in your core.  What exactly is core training?  It is building up the muscles that support your spine and help with balance.  Two very important areas.  The idea is that you build up the entire area that supports the spine, so that the burden of supporting your body weight isn’t just placed on your bones.

Besides our physical bodies, what are some other core areas where we need to be paying attention?  Faith, family, our minds, spirits, soul, thoughts, finances, marriages, and ministries are some I thought about.

So, just like there are core exercises to strengthen your physical core, what are some things you can do for these other areas?  Read the Bible, meditate (on Scripture), pray, eat dinner as a family (without devices and only dialogue), listen to worship tunes, attend church regularly, work a plan for getting out of debt, establish a regular date night, discover, develop and deploy your spiritual giftedness, build margin in your life.

Hope this got you thinking about ways to invest in your core – in all areas.  Make it happen!

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One Question

Posted in Marriage, Perspective, Questions, Relationships by PCraig on February 12, 2015

What is one question you could ask that would most likely improve your marriage?  I was thinking about that this week and came up with this one: “what’s it like to be you?”

It is kind of a new twist on treat others and you would have them treat you, only it’s not how you want to be treated, but what do they need?  Instead of trying to give others what we want, why not put yourself in their shoes?  Maybe you’ve heard, “Walk a mile in another man’s moccasins” before passing judgment.

What if you took the time to contemplate, “What is it like to be my spouse?”  That means, being married to someone like you!  Someone that treats them, speaks to them, answers them, and reacts to them like you and others do.  If you had to walk in his or her moccasins, what would you want someone else to do for you: Be quiet, sit there with you, pray with you, hold your hand, or take you out for fun?

Try asking the question and see how it changes your perspective and if it helps your marriage.  Also, see you if you can come up with other great questions to improve your marriage and feel free to share them.

**More help is coming as Crossroads’ hosts the ART OF MARRIAGE WEEKEND on March 6 & 7.

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Help For Marriage

Posted in Love, Marriage, Relationships by PCraig on January 29, 2015

Many marriages are struggling today.  I don’t even need to refer to national statistics.  I’m sure you can point to couples around you that have divorced, had affairs, or are two people living separately in the same house.  What’s the problem?  There are many reasons, but over the next few weeks, we’re going to see what you can do to keep from being a statistic.  Hidden away in the Old Testament is a book that is rarely referenced, but is full of advice for marriage.  It has romance, sexual intimacy, drama and passion.

During this series, we’ll discover advice on love, courtship, and marriage that can keep the flame burning.  Here’s who you should invite: anyone currently struggling in their marriage, people contemplating marriage, singles interested in dating, and teenagers who want to have a model marriage one day.

It all begins this weekend and I hope you will commit to each of the five weeks as we attempt to build strong marriages in our community.

LOVE series: Feb 1 – Mar 1  

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Motivated By Gratitude

Posted in Attitude, Giving, Happiness, Marriage, Serving, Thankfulness by PCraig on March 6, 2014

Gratitude is a great source of motivation.  Recently, when Shaunti Feldhahn was with us, she talked about how this works with marriages.  She said that her research revealed that highly happy couples keep score.  No, not of the things their partner didn’t do.  Instead, they keep track of the good things their partner did in an effort to show gratitude and appreciation later.

In other words, the happy couples said things like, “Hey, I’ve been noticing how you’ve been knocking yourself out for the family lately and doing more than normal because of sick kids in the house, so I want you to take this Saturday and go get a massage, go shopping with friends and I’ll watch the kids.”  She said the couples felt a feeling of indebtedness to each other when one was doing a lot.  (Try it out on your spouse and let me know how it goes over)

If gratitude toward our spouses causes us to serve one another all the more, then what should we do when we look at what God has done for us?  Through Christ we have been forgiven, restored, renewed, released, accepted, and have eternal reservations with Him in heaven.  What more could you ask for?

I mean Jesus died on the cross because of your sin and mine and forever paid our debt so we can be free.  What does that feeling of indebtedness do to you?  I don’t know about you, but I don’t have enough hours in a day to serve Him, nor can I give too much money in support of kingdom work to repay Him.

Truly grateful people keep score and look for ways to pay it back.  It can help a marriage and it is the only reasonable response to a Savior who gave all for us.  Does the way you serve and give show gratitude?

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Marital Work Ethic

Posted in Happiness, Marriage, Relationships, Weekend Reflections by PCraig on February 26, 2014

Those who are married all worked to get there.  Why is it after we’re married many of us stop working?  Sometimes it’s because we start working on something else:  kids, the office, golf game, working out, or decorating a house.  Too often, we forget to work on the foundation of our marriage.

Marriage may not be the easiest thing to be good at, but I think it can become the greatest thing this side of heaven.  It’s funny how we can get up have the coffee, rush to work, look as good as we can, make the calls, take initiative, bag the clients and that all takes work.  What if you took that same energy and effort and put it into your marriage?  Many of us would get fired if we treated the work site like we do our home life.

Here’s some things to work on to improve your marriage:

  • Your relationship with God.  The Holy Spirit can do wonders on us to bring about the necessary change we need.
  • Read the Bible.  God’s Word is an incredible marriage manual.  (Proverbs, Song of Songs, Ephesians 5 & 6 are some favorites)
  • Pray for your spouse.  There is power in prayer and it’s hard to stay mad at someone you’re praying for.
  • Read marriage books.  Like Shaunti Feldhahn’s books that was our guest just last Sunday.
  • Work at being a good listener.  Put down the phone, iPad, and whatever else and give your undivided attention to your mate.
  • Love your mate as they desire to be loved, not using your love language.   (See Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman for more on this)
  • Guard your thoughts and keep them positive about your spouse.  (Use Philippians 4:8 as a guide)

That’s a great “to-do” list.  I wish I could say I’ve got all these down, but I will say, I am still working on them and for nearly 30 years it’s worked for us!

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Married People Secrets

Posted in Friendship, Marriage, Relationships by PCraig on February 20, 2014

When Rachelle and I got married, the best thing about our relationship was that we were best friends – and we still are today.  There’s a beautiful verse from Song of Solomon 5:16: “This is my beloved and this is my friend.”  This describes a husband and wife stealing time together, away from the craziness of life.

Shaunti Feldhahn, our guest for this coming weekend writes, “most of us probably have had no idea that prioritizing hanging out and doing things together has the power to be such a good protective force around both the love and the friendship in our marriages. But Yes! couples and wise counselors agree.  It really does.”  Shaunti reveals that 83% of very happy couples spend time alone with each other talking, or sharing in an activity.

We’ve had our ups and downs along the way, but nothing has helped our marriage more than a date night.  Having the opportunity to talk, share and have fun together has gone a long way in preserving our closeness.  I look forward to each one of these evenings.

This is just one of the little “secrets” that we will be discussing this weekend.  I really hope you’ll do everything you can to be in one of our services and invite others to join you.
Guest: Shaunti Feldhahn – Sunday, February 23, 9 & 10:45 a.m.  (Author of For Women Only & For Men Only)
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