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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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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Fasting, Praying & Your Calling

Posted in Hearing God, Ministry, Prayer, Purpose, Used of God, Vision by PCraig on January 14, 2013

Guest post by John Money:

The Lord loves when His people seek Him in prayer and fasting.  He loves that we are seeking Him as a church body and as individuals during this 21 day time of fasting and prayer.

I wholeheartedly believe that many in our church body will be receiving a fresh calling from the Lord during our time of fasting together.  Jesus wants us to make disciples and he wants to send us on missions for Him.

Prayer and fasting can get you to the place of receiving a fresh calling/mission from the Lord.  Barnabas and Saul received their call to church planting and world missions while they were fasting and praying at their home church in Antioch.  At the time, neither of them were lead pastors.  The Lord had big plans for them and He spoke during their fast.

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. (Acts 13:2-3)

I am excited about what the Lord is doing to grow His kingdom and expect that He will bring clarity of calling to many within our church who are seeking His purpose for their lives.

He may be calling you to a new level of service.  I pray that you hear Him speaking by his Holy Spirit as he says, “Set apart for me……for the work to which I have called them.”

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Why Take A Break?

Posted in Ministry, Rest & Refreshing by PCraig on August 4, 2011

I’m just getting back this week from my summer break with my family and thought I would blog about it.  Why is it important to take a break?  Here’s my top thoughts on it:

  1. You can’t keep going full steam forever without a breakdown
  2. You need to spend extended time with your family
  3. Jesus took time away from the crowd to spend time alone and with his disciples
  4. You get more creative thoughts when you break up your schedule
  5. You’ll be better for those who need you when you get back refreshed

What are some thoughts you have?

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Get In Your Area

Posted in Ministry, One Year Bible, Serving by PCraig on July 13, 2010

Is there anything worse than listening to people who can’t sing?  I confess that my family and I get drawn in each year to many of the episodes of American Idol.  What amazes us most each year is how many people truly believe they can sing that carry a tune in a bucket.  I know Simon sounds cruel at times when he makes comments like, “Who told you that you could sing?”, but he is really doing them a favor.  No one wants to keep moving forward in a position that they are not skilled to do.

When David was bringing the ark back to Jerusalem in 2 Chronicles 15, it states that he appointed musicians and singers to be part of the celebration.  It even states in verse 22 that the head Levite was “in charge of the singing…because he was skillful at it.”  There, that’s it!  What’s wrong with allowing people to do things they are skilled at and the rest stay out of the way? 

I’ve grown up in the church world where people have been allowed to sing because they had a good heart.  My thought is that a good heart is not worth as much as a good ear in singing.  Besides the unbelieving world looks in and thinks, “Do these people not have enough intelligence to stop that person from singing?”  How can we be taken seriously when we do such foolish things?

Here’s my proposal, let’s allow those gifted to sing hold the microphones and the rest blend in with the congregation.  While we are on the subject, let’s allow those gifted to teach to stand behind the lecturn and share.  And, wouldn’t it be great if those gifted to help came alongside others to lift the load of ministry? 

This is actually the way I believe God intended it.  People doing what they are gifted to do in an area that they can serve with passion.  How do you know what this is for you?  Here’s some simple suggestions:  What are you good at? (let people help confirm that one)  What excites you or motivates you?  What do you do with more ease and enjoyment without having to be pushed?  The answer to these can give you some direction on areas in which to serve. 

A final word: get in the area of passion, giftedness and talent and then give it all you got!

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Ministry Addicts

Posted in Ministry by PCraig on June 3, 2010

Who should do the work of the ministry?  In some churches it’s the “professionals” or “clergy” that are supposed to do the ministry.  Did you know the Bible is very clear on this issue?  In Ephesians 4:11-12 God expects the “people” to do ministry by being prepared by pastors and teachers. 

Is that how you look at it?  Do you think anyone in the body of Christ can pray with you when you have a problem, or does it take a “professional” to reach God on your behalf?  That’s one way of knowing whether or not we have God’s perspective on this.  I admit this was a shift for me coming out of college and entering the ministry.  When I grew up ministers sat up on a platform above the people and gave an image of being separate.  This is not how the Bible pictures it. 

My role is to equip the people in our church to do the work of the ministry.  Do you see the genius of God in this?  If I had to do all the ministry in the church, not very much would get done.  But if I can inspire and train everyone in the church to go out and minister, we can change our city! 

This weekend we’ll examine how we are doing in this area and I’m believing God for an explosive day.  I’m asking Him to help us motivate an army of volunteers that are empowered for ministry.  You see the power flows where the commitment goes.  You don’t need any power to sit in the boat.  Power comes when you step out to walk on the water.  I wish everyone could feel what it’s like to know that you are being used by God, because when you do – you’ll be addicted!

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Posted in Ministry, One Year Bible by PCraig on April 27, 2010

Today I want to honor all those who do the “clean up work”.  What kind of work am I referrring too?  Those who work behind the scenes and help make things happen.  They are the sound people, those operating the computer, projectors, and lighting, those making coffee and cookies in the kitchen on Sundays.  These are representative of those who may not be out in front, but have an incredible impact on what happens in our services. 

Who are they where you work?  The night crew that comes in and restocks the shelves, the cleaning crew that sweeps up the mess you make each day, or perhaps the people in the mail room that get all your stuff delivered on time.  These people matter and do the necessary labor of dirty work and covering the not-so-obvious details. 

In today’s reading of the One Year Bible (Judges 8), Gideon is accused of ignoring a group of people  when going out to battle.  Implying he stole the glory for himself.  Gideon is quick to assure them that what they accomplished was even greater than what he did.  He explains that though his job was visible, it wouldn’t have been successful without them cutting of the leaders from their army. 

Famous architects may design impressive buildings, but it is the bricklayers and ironworkers who get it built.  Pride causes us to desire recognition.  Are you content with being God’s bricklayer, or do you resent the work God has given to you?  Who do you need to thank for doing the “clean-up” work that is often behind the scenes? 

I want to thank every one of God’s bricklayers, ironworkers, and behind the scenes layborers that make changed lives possible to such a degree each week.  Though your assignment may be different – you are just as important!

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