Running On Empty

Posted in Margin, Prayer, Purpose, Rest & Refreshing, Solitude, Stress, Victorious Living by PCraig on September 8, 2016

All kinds of information exists on breathing techniques for reducing stress. It seems most of us tend to breathe shallow and live pressurized lives. By breathing deeply through our nose, holding it for several seconds, then slowly releasing it out our mouths, heart rate and stress levels come down. So, you might try it and see what happens.

This got me thinking about how important it is to breathe in the experiences of life. How many of us just getting going in the morning and don’t stop until we hit the bed? God didn’t even do this. In creation, God set aside one day of the week to be a day of rest. In a culture that carries a device that is linked to the world in it’s hand, that is difficult for us to achieve.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Unplug for 15 minutes each morning to connect only with God. Read, pray, sing, meditate and establish connection. How your day begins has a lot to do with how it goes.
  • Set aside a few moments before you pull into the driveway and pray, “God, I’m about to go inside to people who need me to be present and a positive influence, help me to put all else aside to be what they need.”
  • Weekly orchestrate your schedule to attend a church service where you can recalibrate in worship, fellowship and discipleship.
  • Schedule monthly appointments with yourself that include getting away from the normal routine for a number of hours to ponder, pray and rest.
  • Annually take a day, or more if possible, to evaluate your life and the direction you are headed. Ask yourself, “Am I going toward my purpose?” If not, ask God to help you get in alignment with His purpose and create action steps for doing so.

What are some steps you currently take to reduce stress and realign your life to God’s purposes? If you can’t think of any, maybe try some of those I’ve suggested, or seek God to create your own. You can’t live a fully charged life while running on empty.

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Reaction To The First Fight

The reaction to last Sunday’s message was surprising to me.  After each service, the front was filled with people coming down for prayer with our prayer partners.  Also, I had people coming to me saying, “Your message had a profound impact on my life, I am going to be making some changes as a result.”  An email I received this week added, “I couldn’t write fast enough for all the things you were saying that I needed to hear.”  Plus, Facebook had people announcing lifestyle changes they were making because of the sermon.

This got me thinking, why all this stir?  I honestly didn’t think it was going to have that huge of an impact ahead of time.  It just shows me how God knows what He’s doing and uses us in spite of ourselves.

Here’s what I want to share today: don’t let anything keep you back from what you want most in your life, especially for what you could have now.  Too many settle for what they can experience today over what God has dreamed for their lives tomorrow.

You are better than that!  You are a child of God, manufactured in His image to fulfill a destiny that is beyond your own ability.  He longs to show forth His power in your weakness and demonstrate His wisdom in your inadequacy.

Don’t you dare settle for less than what God has for you today, tomorrow or ever!  Get a mirror and look into it and confess, “I am well able to start a new habit today that will improve my physical, mental, relational or spiritual growth.  I will not allow the negative talk of the naysayers discourage or distract me from my goal.  I will accomplish all God wants me to accomplish in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Friend, that is who you are and I believe you are going to win this FIGHT!

FIGHT part 2 is this weekend with the focus on fighting for truth – invite someone!

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Getting To The Light

Posted in Decisions, Distractions, Purpose, Wisdom by PCraig on October 9, 2014

The recent promotion of the blood moon this week got me focused on the moon, more than usual.  Even last night as it was shining so brightly, I was thinking of how it guides the Sea Turtle hatchlings to the sea.  When we’ve vacationed in Florida, the beach hotel where we stayed asks its boarders to close their windows at night.  The purpose is to avoid distracting the baby Sea Turtles and getting them confused.  You see, the babies crawl toward the brightest light.  On an undeveloped beach, the brightest light is the moon.  On a developed beach, it can be an artificial light source coming from hotel rooms.

When that happens, it leads to a disastrous outcome.  Rather than follow the pure light of the moon to the ocean, they follow the wrong light in the opposite direction.  This is how we human folk do at times.

Rather than follow a path of purpose and destiny designed by God, we too often get distracted by things that move us in the wrong direction.  Peer pressure, excessive time on social media, bad habits, addictions, and meaningless time wasters can provide diversions that get us off course.

So, what about you?  Are you living a purpose-driven life or are you allowing shiny distractions to lead you in a wrong direction?

Unlike sea turtles, we can discern right and wrong, false and true, real and artificial, if we will.  God’s Word is a pure light that can help us find the meaning and purpose that brings about joy and fulfillment.  This is why we need to hear it preached, read it for ourselves and pray for application.

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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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Why Do You Work?

You probably think it’s because you like to eat, buy stuff, go places and do things.  Yeah, all of that plays in, but the real reason is that it’s God’s plan.

In Genesis 1 God told man to “Fill the earth and subdue it,” and “Rule over it,” and that takes work.  So, work wasn’t the result of the fall and a curse from God.  God is a worker and you were made in His image.

So, that makes the oldest profession landscaping instead of something else people say.  Work is not a curse.  The curse is hardship, pain, drudgery and the hardness we all see.  Therefore, God wants to bless you through your job, which may be a different perspective.

What’s that look like?

  • My job is hard = “what is God trying to teach me through my job?”
  • I have needs = “If a man will not work, he should not eat.” 2 Th. 3:10
  • I need to grow = “What character qualities do I need to develop?”
  • I want to be generous = “How can work allow me to be more generous?”
  • I want to be effective = “Is the place I work better because I’m there?”

Here’s a great prayer to pray:  “God use my job on me, and use me through my job.”

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Activation

Posted in Excuses, Personal Growth, Purpose by PCraig on March 7, 2013

Most people want to make a bigger difference with their lives.  They want to know that their life matters, has meaning and purpose.

The problem is that many are waiting on some outside force in the universe to make it happen, when the real need is personal activation.

A person wants to get involved in ministry within the church, but they sit around waiting on someone to recruit him or her.   They possess a burden for a certain area, but after making a weak inquiry they sink back into their life as usual.  Some think that if God wants them to step out and do something then He will make it impossible for them to do anything else.

But what would happen if we took the next step?  If we believed that if it was meant to be, then it’s up to ME?  How would the world look if everyone stopped waiting on the perfect time and just started moving forward today?

The writer of Hebrews was frustrated by believers that were sitting around in their comfortable positions instead of growing in their faith.  In chapter five he challenges them to quit drinking milk like a baby and grow up in maturity.

Who’s responsible for your growth, your dream, your passion, and your ministry?  You are.  When we accept this it leads to a life of influence, purpose and no regrets.

What’s your next step to activate?   Take it today!

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Make A Difference

Posted in Dreams, Hearing God, Impact, Involvement, Prayer, Purpose, Used of God, Vision by PCraig on February 7, 2013

Over the past two weeks we’ve been looking at the story of Nehemiah to learn how to make a difference.  The reason is, there’s something inside of each of us that wants to make a difference.

One of the first things we learned is you start with a burden.  What breaks your heart that also breaks the heart of God?  For some it might be human trafficking, or child poverty, and for others illiteracy.  There are countless other causes of course.  But, to change the world it has to be YOUR burden, YOUR cause, YOUR sense of calling.

Next, you pray about it and seek the face of God asking what He would have you to do.  You look around for Him to point out others in your life that can help you in your dream after they see your passion.

Then, you must get clarity on what it is that you will do to make a difference.  What exactly is it you feel you must do?  If you can’t define it, you can’t do it.  Take it from something broad “I want to help poor people” to “I want to help these poor people that live here.”

Get your plan put together.  This is where the homework comes in.  You have to talk to people, read, listen to lectures, and go tour locations to come up with a strategy.  You don’t have to have the whole thing figured out, but what is your next step?  Don’t let yourself freeze up.  Get up and take the next step no matter how small it is today, then tomorrow take the next step, then the next, then the next and keep going.

John Wesley said, “Light yourself on fire and people will come from miles around to watch you burn.”  What can you get lit up about?  What passion do you have that stirs your soul?  Does it involve kids, youth, seniors, disabled, poor, ethnic, near or far away?  My challenge to you is find out what it is and get so on fire about it that it spreads and makes a difference.

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Dr. King & Nehemiah

Posted in Change, Dreams, Hope, Impact, Leadership, Purpose, Vision by PCraig on January 22, 2013

Just yesterday our nation remembered the impact of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  His leadership helped pull the nation together in a non-violent way to confront racism.  He truly had an incredible impact upon our country in a time of unsettledness.  The power of his words stirred the hearts of many and brought hope of change.

In much the same way, Nehemiah of the Old Testament was used of God to bring hope and vision to those who had lost it.  His inspiring words and personal courage led people to do more than they had done before.

This weekend, we launch a new four-week series called NEHEMIAH: Making A Difference.  What we will learn is that Nehemiah wasn’t anything special, extraordinary or overly gifted.  But, he was simply willing to be used and gave everything he had to make a difference.  This series will inspire, challenge and encourage you to be more than are right now.  Discover the passion, drive, and power to make a difference in this world.

Also, to have greater impact, join a small group experience during this series.  You can sign up for Life Groups from our website: www.crossroadsavon.com

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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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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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