Living On Purpose

Posted in Personal Growth, Perspective, Purpose by PCraig on November 2, 2017

Too many people in our world settle for a mere existence rather than discovering their life purpose. How sad to go through life simply going through the motions when you could have lived God’s dream for your life.

God told the prophet Jeremiah that He had a purpose for his life already established while he was in his mother’s womb. Isn’t that awesome! I believe God had a purpose for your life as well before anyone ever got to see your slick body come out into the world.

Here’s my question: are you living your purpose or just going through the motions? Have you allowed this world to squeeze your into its mold and lost your drive, ambition and dream? What did God have in mind for you before you were ever born? Are you being the you He intended?

If not, here are some ways to get on track:

  • Pray, and ask God to reveal His original plan & design for your life
  • Examine your life and see if it’s headed in that direction
  • Look for God’s guidance through open doors & opportunities
  • What strengths or gifts are you currently not using for His glory?
  • Ask wise people around you to speak into your life concerning what they see in you
  • Form a plan of steps that can lead you to your life mission

How are you doing with living your purpose? Have you made any recent steps to get on track with your life mission?

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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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How To Grow In Faith In 2017

Posted in Change, Church Growth, Faith, Fasting, New Year, Personal Growth, Prayer by PCraig on January 1, 2017

I want to encourage every Crossroads family member to take the following challenges in January to grow your faith like perhaps never before!

  • Begin reading the Bible everyday starting today. You can do this thru downloading and printing a reading plan to keep inside your Bible as a checklist. Another way is to purchase a One Year Bible and it will guide you through daily readings. Or, you can use the YouVersion Bible App and select a reading plan for 2017 to read from your phone, computer or other electronic device.
  • Attend church every Sunday for the next three weeks. We’re launching a new three-week series called PRAYING BOLDLY beginning January 8. For these three weeks you will learn how to pray more bold, powerful prayers that will literally change your life and relationship with God.
  • This is also a great time to invite friends, family and anyone who needs to grow in faith to be a guest at Crossroads. Be sure to carry the invite cards that are in the lobby to help you to share with others. These cards give our service times, location and web address so they have something in their hand after you’ve invited them.
  • Begin a 21-Day fast on January 8. Next weekend starts our 21 Days of Fasting & Prayer. Powerful things happen when people fast and pray. If you would like to learn more on this topic, you can follow this link: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/fasting-for-beginners. Just know that you don’t have to give up food only, there are other things that may have more of your time and life than what you place in your mouth. We’re going to believe God together for a spiritual breakthrough in our church, our families, our community and our country during these 21 days!

Don’t allow yourself to be left out of what God may want to do in your life this year! Get off to a great start by accepting this challenge and just see what God will do. I believe this could very well be the greatest year for our church and your life also. Get ready to be changed!

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A Daily Word

Posted in Change, Hearing God, Personal Growth, Victorious Living by PCraig on October 20, 2016

Like a caterpillar waking up from its slumber in a cocoon, many of us are hoping for our lives to change overnight. It doesn’t work for dieting, bodybuilding, educational degrees, or athletics, so why would we believe it in other areas? Some seem to think that by attending church two or three times per month, they will be spiritually equipped to be more than conquerors. Nothing could be further from the truth.

One of the main things God uses to help us move up into spiritual strength and maturity is the Bible. There’s just something about the reading of God’s Word that helps us to grow in our faith. Our goal is not just to get into the words of the Bible; it’s to let the words of the Bible get into us. When that happens, it produces change.

We learned this past Sunday from 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that God’s Word helps us discover who God is. It’s here we learn about His character, passion, plans, and purpose. Don’t just go through the Bible, let the Bible go through you and you will discover God.

Another discovery is who we really are, not just what others have said. You may have had people beat you down with words, saying things like, “You’re stupid, dumb, ugly, unwanted, fat, skinny, or ignorant.” But, you don’t have to live life based upon what they said. God’s opinion is what matters most. When you let what He says about you to influence how you see yourself, it changes everything.

So, the big question is how do we make it happen? I’d like to offer a few suggestions or tips:

  • Free up some time. Daily is best. Trade the pointless for what is priceless.
  • Get going. Start today! The New Living Translation is a good one to use.
  • Let the words soak into you. This is where change begins.
  • When you put it into practice, then the power flows. Don’t just be a hearer of the Word.

My prayer is that you would start today, and experience a growth toward full life in Christ like you maybe never have before.

 

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Shrink Your Challenges

I can spend way too much time, energy and effort on the problems in front of me. This consists of conversations with others and myself, Google about it, reading concerning it and such. How about you? Human nature is to focus on the problem and many of us are wired to fix things, so we attempt to do it on our own.

And while I want to be careful not appear to be minimizing your problem, because I know it can be enormous. But, think about what it would look like if we put that same time, energy and thought toward God? Would the size of God outsize your problem? Would the radiance of God outshine your problem? Would the power of God overpower your problem?

Are you ready to focus more on God and less on your problem? When you do, if you’re like me, your vision of God will increase and your view of your problem will shrink.

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Get A New Script

Posted in Change, Choice, Personal Growth, Perspective, Victorious Living, Words by PCraig on August 17, 2016

Whenever someone is trying out for a part in a play or movie, they are often handed a script to read. The goal is to see if the actors can read the part and put themselves into it in such a convincing way that it’s as though they become the character. A good actor is believable as they take on the attributes of the scripted person. We often get absorbed into the role, as the actor seems convinced also of their new identity.

In life, many of us feel as though we’ve been handed a script of a part we are forced to play. Some act out as a liar, cheat, adulterer, swindler, drug addict, stupid, weak, and loser (to name a few). God, in the meantime, is in the business of handing out new scripts and helping us obtain a new identity. His script reads, winner, warrior, truth-teller, loyal, faithful, free, healed, wise, mighty, and overcomer (to name a few).

When we invite Jesus into our lives, He switches our script. We are no longer a slave to fear, shame and remorse, but a liberated child of the King.

I’m so glad He switched my script and mercy rewrote my life!

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Tear Up That Bad Picture

I can remember reading a fitness article a long time ago saying you need to picture yourself getting stronger while in the gym.  Now, the key is you also have to work out while you’re there!  When I read it, I have to confess that I thought it was a bunch of junk, but now I’m not so sure.  Not because of just physical fitness, but because of a universal principle.

The way you see yourself pulls you toward that image as your future.   Those who see themselves as intelligent, move the direction of good grades and honor’s classes. People who think of themselves as movers and shakers tend to do a lot of moving and shaking.  It’s not the results first and the action later, but the thought or mindset first, then the results.

Those who see themselves as fat and hopelessly addicted to food, eat too much.  They sabotage their own future by picturing it in their minds.  “I always eat too much, or whatever they put on my plate, I’m gonna eat it!”  So, they do.

The Bible shares with us that God chose us and that this decision caused Him great delight, therefore, we are beautiful in God’s eyes.  When you start seeing yourself as the beautiful child of God that is worth dying for, guess what?  It starts impacting your decisions for the day, the places you go, the people you hang around.  You start acting and looking a lot more like God.

You are no longer a slave to fear, bad past, mistakes, habits, hurts, hang-ups, or anything else you can name.  You are a child of God.  Say it out loud, “I am a child of God.”  And, keep saying it and you’ll start to live that way and be renewed from the inside out.

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You Weren’t Born This Way

We can be born black, white, rich, poor, southern and northern, but one thing we all have to learn is how to be generous.  One of the first words from a child’s mouth is “mine.”  Parents are often heard encouraging their kids, “Now, share that with your sister.”  Just getting older doesn’t mean we have this trait perfected.  Generosity is something that must be learned and practiced for it to be engrained in our lives.

Our culture plans for random acts of kindness and giving, but true generosity is more than random.  Truly generous people order their lives around generosity.  It’s interesting that Jesus said, “Happy” or “Happier” will be the result of generous living (Acts 20:35).

It’s truly not a matter of income either, because you’ve met wealthy people who aren’t generous and poorer folks who are.  The key is: it’s more about being than doing.  Doing implies an action, as in a one-time event, while being carries the idea of consistent behavior.  It’s who you are.  Being is about the heart.

So, if you want to be happier, live more free from worry over money, and then set your money free with generosity.  If you do, you’ll find you don’t care when pastor’s talk about money, when someone is asking for money outside the grocery, or a sympathetic ad comes on about a charity.  A generous person already has a plan for generosity and so they can say “no” to certain things, because they’ve already said “yes” to things that grip their heart.  We’ll talk more about that this weekend.

If you get a generosity plan, you will be happier, give more, save more and consume less.  I hope you’ll join me on this generosity journey and make the world a better place.

 

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The Power of a Pre-Decision

Last weekend, during my introduction, I mentioned reading several books on my recent break and that one of them focused on change.  I thought I would take some time to unpack some of the thoughts from Change Anything.

One of the initial factors identified, concerned itself with interrupting your impulses by connecting with your goals during crucial moments.  Another way that I have talked about this is “pre-deciding” before the time you have to decide.  In other words, before you get in backseat of the car with him, before you pull out your credit card, before you order your food, you decide ahead what you will do.

You say to yourself, “When it comes time to order, I won’t get what sounds good, I’ll order what’s healthiest.”  Now, this doesn’t mean there won’t be a struggle and challenge to do the right thing, but it does give you extra strength going into the situation because you have an inner resolve.

Growing up in church we used to sing, “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.”  It was like we were saying, “I am not going to turn around now matter what comes my way.”  So, whether you sing it, speak it, spray it, play it, or display it, be sure to decide ahead what results you want.

I have decided some things about today, I will move forward in faith, grow in my knowledge, stay pure, live a healthy lifestyle and serve my Jesus!  I’m ready for a great day, how about you?

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Settlers vs. Settling

Posted in Attitude, Character, Choice, energy, Faith, Personal Growth, Relationships by PCraig on February 18, 2016

I can remember learning about the people who picked up and moved their lives to the western part of the United States.  They did this in order to explore new territory and built a settlement for themselves and those who would come behind.

All of that is proactive, energetic, risk-taking and exciting.  Settling is totally different.  The person who settles is someone that is lazy, compromising, has low self-esteem, and small goals.

Nowhere is settling admired.  We don’t look up to people who could have achieved more but chose not to.  Nor do we applaud people who quit simply because it got to be too tough.

If settling is not a virtue to aspire to, then why do so many choose it?  For followers of Jesus, I think one thing it comes down to a lack of faith in you and even more in God.  If we really believed in ourselves and God, then we wouldn’t dream of settling.  We would know that we were made for more, formed for a destiny that is greater than us, and unable to allow ourselves to stoop.

If you are single, don’t allow yourself to settle for less than what God has for you, wait for God’s best.  If you are married, don’t accept a mediocre marriage; inspire your partner to greater days.  Whatever you current situation, don’t settle for anything less that what God has destined for you.  Settlers are adventurous, brave and bold to lay claim on their future.  It’s okay to be a settler, just never settle for less than God’s best.

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