Posted in Excuses by PCraig on August 31, 2010

I love how the Bible sometimes uses humor to get a point across.  In today’s reading of the One Year Bible from Proverbs 22:13 it says, “The lazy person claims, ‘There’s a lion out there!  If I go outside, I might be killed.'”  Solomon is showing us an example of the laim excuses that people can use for not succeeding in life. 

Here are some I’ve heard:  “I would really be able to do something great for God if it weren’t for my kids.”  Or, “I’m just waiting on God right now to bring the right job to me.”  This 0ne is good for those not wishing to get involved, “I would love to volunteer, but I’m just so busy.”  What are these?  Excuses. 

Who are we trying to fool with them, ourselves, those we’re talking to, or even God?  Instead of making excuses, why don’t you step up and make some commitments?  Excuses won’t win a war, stop a depression, help a neighbor, or eradicate poverty and human suffering. 

I know actually doing something might seem harder than just making excuses, but it’s not near as rewarding.

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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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Educated Decisions

Posted in Decisions, Parenting by PCraig on August 27, 2010

How do you know whether to send your kid to public or private school?  I think a lot of parents stress out about what to do with their kids in regard to education – and I’m not talking college…yet!  There are options out there and many don’t know which to choose, so I came up with some criteria that my wife and I used:

  1. Pray about it.  Get wisdom from God.  James 1:5
  2. Be in agreement with your spouse about what to do.  Discuss it and come to an agreed upon decision. 
  3. Analyze the temperament of your child.  Are they a follower or leader?  Do they drift toward the “wrong” friends? 
  4. What do others say about the schools you’re considering? 
  5. At the end of the day, it’s not a do or die situation.  If you don’t like what’s going on, you can always switch your child later.  Of course you need to discuss it with them ahead for them to buy into that idea even though it’s not theirs to make in the end. 

 The decision on whether to home school, or send your child to public or private is strictly a personal choice.  What is good for one family, may not work for another.  Likewise, what is good for one child may not be for another.  Just like all other parental decisions you have to make between now and high school graduation, you just do the best you know to do and trust God with the rest.

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Keep It Honest

Posted in lies, virtues by PCraig on August 26, 2010

I really appreciated the blog post by Seth Godin yesterday on “Little lies and small promises.”  In the post, Seth said, “I’ll be out of bed in five minutes, is not a true statement because it’s a promise not meant to be kept.  It actually means ‘go away, I’m sleeping, I’ll say what I need to get rid of you.'”  He went on to say, “You can already guess what the problem is with little lies.  They blur the line, and they lead (pretty quickly) to big lies.  The worst kind of little lies are the ones you make to yourself.  Once you’re willing to lie to yourself, you’re also willing to cheat at golf, and after that, it’s all downhill.”

Here’s my worst problem: Christians that lie!  How is that possible?  Can you be a truly devoted follower and tell lies?  I believe that Seth is right on when he says it starts with “little lies.”  Jesus said it like this, “If someone can be trusted with little they can be trusted with much.”  In other words, if you can’t tell the truth about little things, I’m not trusting you with ANY thing else!

How do we build more credibility?  Start telling the truth in the little things and the bigger things will follow.  It’s the little foxes that spoil things according to the Bible.  Hold yourself accountable to tell the truth in the everyday mundane responses to people.  Don’t lie and say, “I’ll pray about that,” if you have no intention of doing so.  It would be better to say, “That’s too bad, I hope it turns out okay,” rather than promising something you won’t deliver. 

Let’s keep it honest people!  Anybody else bothered by the lack of virtues?

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Give Honor

Posted in honor by PCraig on August 24, 2010

Last night our staff went out to dinner in celebration of one of their birthdays.  It’s always a great time to get together for an non-official function to just let our hair down and have fun. 

There’s another reason I like to get together for the staff birthdays – it’s to honor them.  I want them to know how much I appreciate the sacrifice of time and treasure to serve our church family.  They could make more money working in the secular world than in ministry, but they do it for Him and us! 

Birthdays are a great time to express appreciation to those who mean a lot to us.  Think about who you need to honor.  What special day could you invent to let them know they’re appreciated?  Is there a gift card, baked item, balloons, dinner,  flowers or something else you need plan to give?  It’s always a great day to show honor.  (Here’s a side benefit – God says what you sow you reap!)

Romans 12:10  “Honor one another above yourselves.”

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Show Them The Door

Posted in Friendship, Relationships, Victorious Living by PCraig on August 23, 2010

This past weekend we talked about having relational margin in your life.  What are some questions you should ask about the people you allow into your inner circle?  Here are some suggestions:

                Are they modeling character qualities you admire?

                Are they going anywhere in their lives at the moment?

                Do they look like they will ever get anywhere in their lives?

                Do they constantly look at the negative and complain?

                Are they always blaming others and refusing responsibility?

 If you can’t answer these in a positive way about the people your friends with, then show them the door.  You don’t have to be mean.  You don’t have to have a superiority attitude.  You don’t have to get emotional.  It is a rational decision.  In light of where you want to go with your life, who do you need to get out of your life? 

 If you’ll make the change, God will bring new friends into your life.  Friends that aren’t out to manipulate you, they want to celebrate you.

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Love The Dominican

Posted in Missions by PCraig on August 19, 2010

We’re gearing up for our missions team to head down to the Dominican Republic in just a few weeks.  This year’s team will be constructing a wall around the children’s compound that we have spent the past two years building.  The wall will add to the safety of the children plus make the center look even more attractive to the community. 

Every week, nearly 200 children are fed, clothed and cared for at this center.  We so thankful for our partnership with Mission of Mercy to have been able to construct this facility. 

Here are ways you can help send those who are going:

  1. Pick up a copy of needed supplies in the lobby and drop them off.
  2. Give in this weekend’s offering “Love the Dominican” to help in the $6000 expense of the wall.
  3. Pray for the team until the return to be safe and used of God in a mighty way.

Thank you to all the team members who have responded to God’s call to go on this trip and make a difference in another part of the world!

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What Drains You

Posted in energy, Victorious Living by PCraig on August 18, 2010

You need emotional energy to be kind to someone who is not kind to you.  To really live life with maximum impact you must be careful to observe things that drain you.  If you’re not cautious you will drained down to empty and wonder why you got nothing accomplished today. 

There are certain things that pull from you and it is vital to identify them.  When you don’t know what they are, then your oblivious to the fact that energy and vitality is being sucked right out of you.  What happens is that after about 3, 4, or 5 months, you will find that you are really running on empty.  Before you know it, you are on the edge and you are living a margin-less life.  You are still going to work, church and school, but it’s not enough because of the constant drain on you. 

A marriage going bad, struggles with your kids, finances in a mess, or relationship issues can cause a major drain.  Even though you may not have an immediate answer for these, you must make sure you are replenishing from positive sources. 

What drains me?  Excessive counseling.  When I have to sit and do a lot of counseling, back-to-back, it just drains me.  Some of it is because I feel I take my time to give advice and then people leave my office and do what they want to do anyway.  Also, negative people drain me.  The constant complaining, griping and meandering through life with no desire to succeed.  I get away from these people as fast as I can.  

If God is saying that those are some drains on your life and you are not able to get rid of them right now, then you must be sure that you are having things that fill your tank.  Work it into you schedule so that you keep margins in your life. 

Do you know what your drains are?

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Energy Creators

Posted in energy, Victorious Living by PCraig on August 17, 2010

What gives you energy?  Another way of stating it is, what causes you to feel juiced about life and ready to go?  Each of us have things that empower us and things that drain us.  There are certain things that drain me, not that they are wrong, but they just drain me.  There are certain activities that pull your emotional energy.  If you have none left, you will not be kind, patient, and understanding. 

So, What are the things that fill you up?  For me, I love worshiping God and engaging with worship music.  I also love my quiet time to pray, meditate and saturate in God’s Word. 

You need to know what fills you up.  It could be fellowship, reading, bike riding, riding your motorcycle, sitting on a park bench, or eating outside (my wife loves that one).  So, what is it for you?  Figure it out, then do it!

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Rights or Wrong

Posted in Attitude, Victorious Living by PCraig on August 16, 2010

It seems like most people in our culture are trying to see how many rights they have.  People make statements like, “Well, it’s my body, so I should be able to do with it as I please.”  Or, “It’s none of your business what I choose to do with my life.”  For most of us Americans that sounds great.  Most people just ask the question, “Is it legal for me to do this?” and if the answer is “yes” then we do as we please.  We think that we should have the freedom to do whatever we choose, but the Apostle Paul gives us another question to ask. 

In today’s reading of the One Year Bible, Paul says we should ask this question, “Is it beneficial and constructive” (1 Corinthians 10:23).  Furthermore, he goes on to add “Does it cause anyone around you to stumble.”  In other words, life isn’t just about you, what pleases you and your desires.  He says you need to consider the impact your decisions make on those around before you do it. 

Sure, you might have the freedom to drink a beer from the fridge at home, but do you want your teenager to drink?  It may be acceptable to wear clothing that exposes half your chest (I’m talking to ladies), but what about how affects those around you?  Paul says, “Yeah, you may have the right to eat what you want, wear what you want, drink what you want, but when you’re around others that could stumble because of it, you need to consider the good of others.” 

Here’s the example: Paul says “Follow me as I follow Christ.”  Hmmm, let’s see did Christ exert His rights, or was His life lived all about others like you and me?  What kind of impact could our lives have if we chose to live that way?

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