A Good Comparison

Posted in Attitude, Perspective, Thankfulness by PCraig on September 7, 2017

It’s often not a good thing to compare ourselves to others, especially when it comes to social media. The reason is that we get to look at people’s highlight reels, while we are living the behind the scenes lives. We see people, as they want us to see them, yet we know what we are at our worst.

I’ve discovered that there is a good time to compare ourselves with others and it’s when we are having a pity party. When we feel unappreciated, unloved, undesirable, blaming others, and feeling like we’re not getting our fair share. It’s in these moments that looking around can actually help. Because if you’ll look long enough, far enough and close enough, you will discover people who are worse off than you. There are people who would gladly trade you places.

While we’re grumbling about how full our three-car garage is getting, there are people who would love to live in our garage. It would be a lot nicer than the shack where they currently live (tin roof and dirt floor).

So, just keep in mind that it’s better to stick to your own business. But, if you do insist on comparing, make sure you look far and wide to gain a full perspective. You might just want to change your grumbling into gratitude.

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A Grateful Example

Posted in Attitude, Character, Thankfulness by PCraig on February 11, 2016

Like a billion, or whatever, other people, I watched the Super Bowl again this year.  This one had a little extra interest because of it possibly being Peyton Manning’s last game.  I just wish it had been with our Colts again.  In the after game interview, one of the things that struck me was the phrase “I’m grateful.”  Peyton mentioned that he was grateful for the opportunity, the team, and to in essence be in this position. It was a good example of a gratitude attitude.

Far too many people fail to recognize the power of gratitude.  Marriages, friendships, businesses, children, and parents suffer when ungratefulness exists.  Many don’t appreciate what they have until it is taken from them.

My grandma lived to be 93 years old and one of the consistent traits of her life was gratitude.  I would take her a simple card and gift, and she would say, “Oh, I thank ya, thank ya, thank ya” (she was from Kentucky).  This always made me feel special and that I had really blessed her.  But, it also allowed me to see the kind of attitude it takes to live that long with grace.  Thanks grandma for the example!

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The $5K Prize Winner

Posted in Attitude, Business principles, holiday, Thankfulness by PCraig on November 25, 2015

I heard about the owner of a large department store that offered a prize of $5,000 to the one giving the best answer to the question: “How can my business be most speedily and surely improved?”  Many students of economics submitted different lengthy answers.  A guy by the name of Roy McCardell received a check for $5,000 for simply writing on a postal card, “Tell your clerks to say ‘Thank you!’”

Many of us could greatly improve our marriages, homes, families, extended families, jobs, offices, schools by heading the same advice.

Wishing you and yours a most blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!

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To Be Or Not To Be

Posted in Attitude, Character, Thankfulness by PCraig on November 5, 2015

It seems like this week, I’ve been reminded of the importance of being over either knowing or doing.  Knowing to do good for someone is great, but if that’s all it is, then it really didn’t help.  And, won’t we do the things we ought when it is a part of our being, or who we are as a person?

So, when the Bible says things like, “Be thankful,” it’s saying more than just say a kind word to someone today, or think thankful thoughts.  It’s saying from the core of your “being,” let thankfulness ooze out.  When a person is a “be-er,” they more naturally show thankfulness more so than either a “know-er” or a “doer.”

A visual might be squeezing a tube of toothpaste and how whatever is inside comes out.  Same thing with us, when we are thankful (or generous, loving, merciful…), then it will come out of our lives.  I think it’s easier to know something or even do something than it is to be something.  But, will we step up to be what Scripture calls us to be?  That is the question.

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Getting Prepared For Thanksgiving

Before you load up the car and head over to spend time with friends & family eating, watching football, and possibly taking a nap (if you’re lucky), what else might you do to get prepared for Thanksgiving?  For some, it might be psyching yourself up for a new debate over an issue, getting set for another fight over the past, or watching other dysfunctional members remind you of why you don’t overly enjoy these gatherings.

But, as a follower of Christ, knowing there might be family present who aren’t believers, what might we do to prepare?

  • Pray, for you to say the right things, for them to be impacted and for the Holy Spirit to fill the house.
  • Listen, to all they are saying around the table.  Ask some questions to gain greater understanding and resist the temptation to “set them straight.”  This is true love in action.
  • Remember, it is only natural for people who don’t know Jesus as Savior and Lord to act like they don’t.  Don’t allow yourself to be upset about their choices and lifestyles, rather, be sympathetic to their lost state of heart.
  • Obey the Holy Spirit’s prompting to share only what He tells you to share. Stay away from debates and focus more on how you have been impacted by God’s love and presence.
  • Leave the results of any sharing up to them and the Holy Spirit.  Don’t be discouraged if they don’t put down their pumpkin pie and ask how to be saved.  Sometimes you plant, other times you water and only God can control the harvest.

I hope you and I have an opportunity to be show and tell followers for Jesus this Thanksgiving.  Let’s be ready for more than just turkey, pie and football (and hopefully a nap).  May God show his light through us to our family and friends, giving us another real reason to be thankful.

I’m thankful for you!

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Funny Over Money

Why do people get funny when it comes to discussing their money?

Talk about marriage and people are anxious to hear.

Talk about faith and people are willing to grow.

Talk about overcoming and people are running to listen.

BUT, talk about money – and some people start looking for reasons to not make it to church.  Some even quit attending a church when they are talking about money.  They don’t always tell you that it’s the reason.  Then, when the next church starts talking about money (the nerve), they leave it and keep repeating the cycle.  Why is that?  What is the problem?

Here’s a few thoughts:

  • These people would not like to listen to Jesus teach, because He taught about money and finances a lot!  He talked about it more than heaven, hell, healing, deliverance, or just about anything else.  It’s like He knew it was a sore spot!
  • All of us are selfish by nature and want to keep what we think is ours – ours.  We want to do with our money what we wish and don’t want to feel guilty about that.
  • We don’t know that God owns it all and we are just managers.  (See Jesus teachings on the shrewd manager)
  • We don’t understand how rich we are.  (visit www.GlobalRichList.com to see how rich you really are)
  • Some of us run from the very thing that could help us (like the rich young ruler Matt. 19).

The day you and I find out how rich and blessed we are is a great day, because we can learn how to be a greater blessing to others.  Don’t allow yourself to run from a message that can help you be good at being rich, instead run to it and become all God wants you to be.

Here’s just one promise for putting this into practice:  “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”  (2 Corinthians 9:11)

Let’s bring about more thanksgiving to God!

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The Line Forms There

Posted in Generosity, Impact, Missions, Serving, Thankfulness, witnessing by PCraig on March 13, 2014

It is better to serve than be served.  That may sound counterintuitive, but it’s true.  Last Sunday, I began my message by asking the question:  “How long will the line be in heaven to get to you (by people) to say thanks for serving and giving to the Lord”?  The goal was to think about the power of our influence on earth that will be fully realized in heaven.

When you give to a missionary here, you have no idea who all might be reached through their ministry.  However, when we get to heaven and are enlightened, people will want to show their gratitude for sending the missionary.  That means a line may form to get to you and me filled with Africans, Asians, South Americans, Europeans, Islanders and all manner of people to say thank you.

The longer I live the more aware I am of the hollowness of outward stuff.  And, the more convinced I am of caring, and not being cared for, having the greatest value.  As we get into heaven, I think we will wish we had changed more diapers, served more meals, carried more bags, held more doors, lightened more burdens, and given more away.

The line to get to you on earth is not nearly as significant as the line that will form in heaven.

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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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People Are More Important

Posted in Attitude, Friendship, holiday, Perspective, Relationships, Thankfulness by PCraig on November 27, 2013

In our Avon Rotary Meeting this morning, we took time to go around the room and express what we were thankful for.  Many noted their children, spouses, community, friends and other people in their lives.  It made me think of how much more important people are than stuff.  When you get a room full of people together to discuss what they are most thankful for, none of them said, “My house, my car, or my money.”  Funny how we don’t always live like these are our real values.

Let’s be sure that our best hours of each day are given to the “things” that mean most to us (other than God of course), and that’s people.  Who are these people in your life?  What are some ways you can show them how grateful you are that they are in your life?

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Share Your Story

We just came out of an incredible time of revival as a church.  I heard so many great stories of how God used our 21 Day Fast, read through the New Testament and Scripture Journals.  Some have said that they are getting more out of the Bible than they ever have in all of their lives.  Others have said that the fast totally took them by surprise on how God used it.

Here’s what I would like for you to do, write and give a testimony of what God has done for you recently.   When I grew up in church, occasionally we would have testimony services in which people would stand up and share what God had done for them.  Well, this is your chance to give a testimony of what the Lord has done for you.

I’d like for you to comment back what God has done for you since the first of the year.  Just share how God used the Fast, the Scripture reading, journaling or a service or Life Group meeting to touch and impact your life.

Can I get a witness?  Just take a minute and write it down in the comments and let others rejoice with you in the goodness of God.  It will encourage me and everyone else who reads it.


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