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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I’m Gonna Let It Shine

Posted in Christian Lifestyle, Evangelism, Love, One Year Bible, witnessing by PCraig on January 4, 2017

We used to sing a song when I was in preschool Sunday School classes that went, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…” My favorite part though, was when it came to the verse that said, “Hide it under a bushel, no…” The reason I liked that portion is because we were allowed to shout the word NO when asking about hiding our light. I must confess, that at the time, I really didn’t even know what I was singing about, but it was fun.

Later on, I came to understand that the meaning of the song came from this week’s reading of the One Year Bible in Matthew 5:14-16. Jesus proclaims that His followers are the “light of the world,” and just like no one hides a light under “a bowl,” likewise, we are not to hide our light.

During this year, my intent is to take a similar passage like this, from the One Year Bible reading, and to make comment on it in this blog. My hope, is that it will not only speak to those of you reading the Bible through this year, and keep you encouraged along the way, but it will also inspire you to let God’s Word speak directly to you. (We are providing 21-day devotionals this weekend to go along with our 21 Days of Fasting & Prayer this weekend, so don’t miss it!)

Getting back to our passage, I would like to suggest that each of us are carriers of the light of Jesus to our world in 2017. As a result, it is imperative that we feel that responsibility to let our light shine as Jesus stated. We cannot expect God to shine for us, we are to shine for Him. We shine when we do our work well, do more than is expected, love our enemies and show Christ’s compassion to all.

Another way to shine this week is by inviting someone into your life with Christ. You might respond to their need for help by offering to pray, or share an inspirational thought from Scripture you’ve been reading. One more way is to simply invite them to be your guest at your church. Statistics say that most people would be glad to attend church with a friend if only they were invited.

Let’s commit to shine our light in the darkness of our world this year so others can find their way to God.


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Bible Versions

Posted in One Year Bible, Personal Growth by PCraig on October 8, 2015

What version of the Bible did you first begin reading on your own?  For me, it was the Living Bible paraphrase.  I think the main reason why I stuck with it and actually read the entire Bible through, was because I felt like I could understand it.  Growing up in church, we didn’t have many translations, mostly everyone read from the King James Version.  Although it had some beautiful poetic language, kind of like Shakespeare, the meaning would often be difficult to glean because of the language barrier.

Today, there are a lot of translations, so it’s more of a question of “Which one of these should I pick?”  Here’s my first impulse, pick the one you will read.  I really don’t care as much about which version you’re reading, just so long as you are reading.  The Bible is only as important and powerful as when you read it, not when it sits on your nightstand.  I do really like the NLT for most people and the NIV is what I read from most on Sundays.

So, I’m thinking of challenging our church once again this New Year to read the Bible everyday.  I’ve done this every year since we started the church in one format or another.  Here’s the various ways we used: The One Year Bible; a printed Bible reading guide; a New Testament reading guide; emailed Scriptures; and promoting online YouVersion methods.

What has worked for you, or what is your preferred method of reading God’s Word?  Again, the method and version is not as important as the habit.  If you have a method of reading God’s Word consistently, then I like it.

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Steps To Progress

Do you find that there’s a gap between wanting to make advancement and actually seeing progress?  Especially at this time of year, we determine to lose weight, get in shape, take classes, or accomplish a project, but six months from now will there be any change?  How many years now have you been frustrated by your own lack of progress?  What can make this year different from all the others?

For me, there has to be a combination of things to get me going and keep me going toward my desired destination.  First of all, I have to have a resolve to really do it.  It can’t just be one of these, “It sure would be nice to be in better shape.”  It’s got to be, “I will not tolerate this anymore, I must change!”

Second, I’ve got to have a goal in mind of where I want to be.  “I will lose one inch in my waist in 60 days.”  That’s a clear goal that gives me something to aim at and be inspired to reach.

Third, I need some steps to be able to put my desire into action.  The question I ask, “What should be my first step toward my intended destination?”

Here’s some things you might want to consider to help you reach spiritual goals:

  • Sign up on Crossroads for Scripture to be delivered each day electronically
  • Participate in our 21 day fast by giving up something in surrender to God
  • Come to our one hour Night of Prayer on Jan 8 from 7-8 p.m.
  • Register for a Crossroads University class this weekend (classes start soon)
  • Join a Lifegroup if you haven’t already to do life with others in 2014
  • Determine to be in weekend worship unless on vacation or sick
  • Get baptized in water (next baptism is in 2 weeks!)

Those are just a few next steps that can take you to a better place spiritually in 2014, than you were in 2013.  What step do you need to take?

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Next Steps for a New Year

Posted in Change, Choice, Commitments, New Year, One Year Bible, Personal Growth by PCraig on December 12, 2013

When trying to bring about lasting change in our lives, there has to come a point where we take the next step.  In other words, good intentions are not enough.  “I intend to be a better husband in the New Year” or “I want to grow in my faith in 2014” or “I need to get a handle on my finances this next year.”  Each of these are wonderful statements, but it takes more than talk to bring about change.

Often what is missing is a clear next step that will intentionally head us toward the desired destination.  Here at Crossroads we have some Next Steps that we’ve designed for the New Year to lead people in desired directions.  Here’s the list so far:

  • Starting Point – a class for new believers of basic principles of faith
  • 21 Days of Fasting – starts Jan 1 to engage with God through sacrifice
  • Daily Bible Reading – plans available online
  • Night of Prayer – Jan 8 join together for an hour of prayer for 2014
  • Ignite Your Spiritual Potential – class to discover your spiritual gifts
  • Financial Peace University – Learn to better manage your finances
  • GriefShare – Recovery & healing from loss
  • DivorceCare – Recovery & healing from divorce or separation
  • Matthew – a class to study this book of the Bible
  • How to Study the Bible – a class to better understand the Bible
  • LifeGroup – join a small group in 2014

As you can see, we have quite a few next steps available to anyone who wants to really move forward in faith.  Look over the list.  Decide what your next step(s) should be.  Then, get signed up and committed to do it!

I love progress, and so I hope you will take advantage of at least one of these Next Steps in the New Year.

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Posted in Criticism, One Year Bible, Personal Growth, Perspective by PCraig on October 13, 2010

There is a big difference between valid and invalid criticism.  The distinction comes in what each produces:  one makes you feel like you can do better, the other makes you feel like quitting.  One gives hope and the other brings discouragement.  That’s how you know which one to pay attention to and which one to tune out. 

When in the receiving mode, you must listen to see if the person giving criticism is trying to make you better by pointing out a flaw.  They do this by saying things like, “Have you ever thought of doing that this way?”  By doing this, they are gently trying to suggest there is a better way you might consider.  On the other hand, destructive criticism sounds something like this, “You really don’t know what you’re doing to you?” or, “Who do you think you are to try doing something like that, it is sure to fail!” 

We need to seek to be givers of constructive criticism, looking for opportunities to spur people along in their endeavors.  Who is around you that you could help raise to another level?  How might your insightful words improve another person’s life? 

Be sure to listen for constructive criticism in your life and not be too proud to apply it. 

Proverbs 25:12 To one who listens, valid criticism is like a gold earring or other gold jewelry.

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Hold the Bragging

Posted in Boasting, One Year Bible by PCraig on September 8, 2010

Something that has always bugged me is people who brag on themselves.  It must have bothered Jesus as well, because He told people to take a lowly position instead of seeking a high one.  In one story He said to sit at the back of a table rather than toward the head, that way you won’t be embarrassed when you’re asked to move down a notch. 

In 2 Corinthians 10:17 Paul says to “boast in the Lord” rather than boasting in ourselves.  After all, what are you really without the Lord?  He goes on to say that commending ourselves is not what counts, it is when the Lord commends us that matters. 

So, don’t worry about bragging about what you have, can do or have done, instead wait for someone else to notice.  Just wait and be patient.  If it’s worth bragging about, someone will do it for you.  If not, then it would be better to keep your mouth shut anyway.  No one really likes a bragger.  Instead of taking time to brag about past triumphs, why not go out and make a difference right now?  It will just give the Lord more to brag about one day when you stand before Him and it really counts.

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Sowing & Reaping

Posted in Generosity, Giving, One Year Bible by PCraig on September 7, 2010

There is no more important principle to learn in life, than that of sowing and reaping.  This is explained in detail in 2 Corinthians 9:6-11. 

Let me break it down for you:

                If you sow little – you’ll reap little

                If you sow generously  – you’ll reap generously

                God loves cheerful givers

                God provides the seed you need

                You are blessed to be a blessing

I’m so glad I learned the joy of giving generously to God early in life.  My parents were great examples of living generous lives so I could find out the rewards of generosity.  If you have yet to learn this, or didn’t have a good example of it at home, then read this passage and try it out yourself.  You’ll discover what many people have, you can’t out-give God!

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Posted in Christian Lifestyle, One Year Bible by PCraig on September 1, 2010

Did you know that you have been appointed to the office of ambassador?  Not of the United States, France, Canada, or Mexico, but of heaven itself! 

According to 2 Corinthians 5:20 every believer has been selected to represent the kingdom of heaven on the earth.  What an awesome privilege and what an awesome responsibility. 

Be careful not to squander your appointment and give the kingdom you represent a bad name.

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Jars of Clay

Posted in Humility, One Year Bible by PCraig on August 30, 2010

We can all too often think too much of ourselves by failing to realize that we are just jars of clay.  That’s what Paul calls us in today’s reading in 2 Corinthians 4 of the One Year Bible.  He mentions this after speaking about the glory of God being revealed in us. 

Our problem is we think WE come up with the great ideas, the astounding revelations and discoveries.  Paul brings us back to reality by saying, “All you really are is a jar of clay and it’s what’s inside that counts.” 

What’s in your jar?

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