Questions for a New Year

God has been speaking to me lately about the power of questions. A well placed question can help to bring incredible clarity, understanding and direction. For example: Why do you allow him to treat you that way? That one question can help a person evaluate an abusive situation and take ownership and lead to action.

Here’s some questions that might be good to ask heading into a New Year:
What didn’t work well for me in 2011?
What did I promise that I would do last year that I failed to complete?
What would it take to complete it in this coming year and make it a priority?
Who do I need to get around more often in the New Year?
Who do I need to spend less time with next year?
What fear do I need to conquer in 2012?
What excuses kept me from doing more this year? How can I stop making them?
What do I feel God might be leading me more & more into? (New ministry, witnessing, giving…)
What first step do I need to take to achieve greater alignment with God in 2012?

These are just a few I thought of, do you have any great questions to be asked heading into a New Year?

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Christmas Reminders

Posted in Uncategorized by PCraig on December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas from Crossroads Church of Avon on Vimeo.

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When Hope Was Born

Posted in Attitude, Encouragement, Expectations, Faith, Faithfulness, Hope by PCraig on December 22, 2011

Do you remember how agonizing it was to wait for Christmas as a child?  It seemed like forever to get from Thanksgiving to Christmas.  Now, as an adult, it seems like Christmas comes too fast!

Does it seem like you are in a waiting period in your life currently?  Waiting on a job, or a marriage, healing, direction can seem to take forever to happen.  It can even seem like God is late in bringing these things into your life can’t it?

The very first Christmas seemed like God was late to those who were waiting for Messiah to come.  It had been hundreds of years and yet each year they were disappointed.  But the Scripture teaches that it all happened at the “proper time” (Luke 1:20).

The lesson is that God has a “proper time” for everything.  He’s never late and He’s always on time.  But, it’s His calendar and not ours!   In the meantime what do you do?

  • Don’t lose hope.  Things could change tomorrow.
  • Never give up.  God can do anything at anytime without restrictions.
  • Do allow this waiting time to be a time of growth spiritually.
  • Keep trusting in the God who still has a plan for the world and you!

It may look like a dark night, but remember, it did in Bethlehem 2000 years ago when hope was born!

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Reinforcements

Posted in Offense by PCraig on December 21, 2011

One of the most important roles that a parent can play in the life of a child is reinforcement.  Children do not learn things the first time around – unfortunately.  So, a parent has to be ready to reinforce the things that are important time and time again, believing that this will be the time it takes hold.

I know this doesn’t sound fun, can be draining and even seem futile at times, but kids need reinforcement of the things that are important.  You may have told them that brushing their teeth is important, but they may not think it’s that valuable and is stealing some of their playtime.  So, a good parent reinforces why it’s necessary to take good care of your teeth by saying, “You’ll thank me one day for helping you with this when you don’t have to be in pain one day.”

Parents work hard, have so many irons in the fire and obligations and it can seem overwhelming to have to remind your children of good behavior, but keep your eye on the long run.  It may be taxing to have to continually say the same or similar things over and over again, but many of us learn by repetition.  So, suck it up parents and stop whining at your kids and instead step it up and reinforce values.  It may take a lot longer than you think for them to catch on, but when they do, you’ll be glad you stuck with it.

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Overcoming Depression

Posted in Attitude, Encouragement, Victorious Living by PCraig on December 16, 2011

Songs talk about this being the most wonderful time of the year and yet it can be a source of depression for many.  Some feel the loss of loved ones greater at the holidays; some aren’t close to family and feel isolated, while others might have financial pressures that make it stressful.  There are countless reasons to get depressed, but how can you avoid it?

Last weekend we looked at this topic in depth and here are the main things discovered:

  • Stop Hiding It.  Until you admit your depressed no one can help you.
  • Ask For Help.  This may mean joining a Life Group, go to counseling, or visit a doctor.
  • Take Action Today.  Delay keeps us down.  Quit postponing & procrastinating.  You know what you need to do, now go do it!  Make the phone call or set up the appointment.
  • Seek The Healer.  Jesus wants to help you more than you know.  Don’t doubt Him, attempt to hide from Him or run from Him.  Instead, we need to run to Him.  (Ps. 147:3; Isaiah 61:1-3)

Satan will try to get you to focus on what’s wrong with your life, on things you don’t have, and the hardships of life.  Instead of biting his bait, fix your eyes, mind and senses on what you do have and the promise of God to never leave you or abandon you.  It may look dark at the moment, but hope and help is on the way and God can turn things around for you.  Don’t give up, instead take action and I believe you’ll begin to come out from under the dark clouds of despair into a new day full of God’s sunshine.

One of the things that lifts me is positive, uplifting music.  What works for you?  Whatever it is, take time to activate it in your life today.

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Who Defines You?

Posted in Attitude, Victorious Living, Words by PCraig on December 8, 2011

Is it just me or do harsh words seem to last longer in your memory than positive ones?  Do you find yourself being defined by words that were spoken over you in the past?  Maybe statements like, “You don’t fit in, I don’t love you anymore, you don’t measure up or have what it takes.”  Comments like these can cause us to compromise our morals in an attempt to be accepted or loved.  They also can tempt us to perform in order to prove that we are good enough.  Others choose to cling onto even unhealthy relationships in an attempt to find validation from people.

There’s a better way.  Instead of basing our security and confidence as a person on the acceptance of people, we can get our worth from the acceptance of Christ.  Last weekend we looked at 3 parts of our position in Christ, we are:

Forgiven

Secure

Free

This means you no longer have to defined by your past and what others have spoken over you.  God has spoken something even more powerful over you – you are forgiven, you are secure, you are free!  It’s time to shut the door on those negative voices and rise up and open the door of what Christ says about you.  Get yourself plugged into the Word of God and what it says about you.  (In 2012 we will be promoting daily Bible reading – but you can start today!)

Replace the lies of the enemy of your soul with the truth of God’s Word and you’ll feel yourself getting stronger every day.  Go ahead and try it for a week and see what happens.  (I’d suggest starting by reading the book of Philippians)   Do you have some verses that encourage you?  Make a list a go over them until you believe it about yourself.

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Lay Your Addiction Down

Posted in Choice, Decisions, Victorious Living, Weekend Reflections by PCraig on December 1, 2011

Far too many fail to realize the power of one decision.  The decision to take the first drink, smoke the first cigarette, gamble on a sports game, or look at pornography.  We think it won’t hurt anyone, while not realizing that we might be opening a window of destruction.

This past weekend we examined how we can be mastered by a substance, a relationship or things.  The Scripture teaches that we become a slave to whatever has mastered us.  It could be shopping, sports, work, overeating, computer games or a myriad of other things.  If more than one person has mentioned you have a problem, then you have a problem.

It was so amazing to hear people tell me how they are taking it to God.  Folks, He’s bigger than you hurt, habit or hang-up.  Your addiction is no match for the power of God, but you’ve got to completely surrender and allow His power to be fully unleashed inside of you.  Don’t settle for less than all God has for you!

After challenging everyone to public confession, it was awesome to attend my LifeGroup and hear people do exactly that inside the safe circle of friends.  We had a powerful time of fellowship, prayer and the commitment of accountability.

How much longer are you willing to struggle with that addiction?  At some point you’ve got to rise up and master it, instead of it mastering you.  Will that be today?   Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.”  I’m agreeing with you right now that today will be the day you finally lay that addiction down and take back your life for the glory of God!

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