This Might Not Be The Answer You’re Looking For

Posted in Attitude, Character, Strengths, Victorious Living by PCraig on August 28, 2014

In last weekend’s message, I used the passage in 2 Corinthians 12 where the Apostle Paul explains that had a “thorn in the flesh” that he prayed for the Lord to remove.  Instead of removing it, God answers him by saying “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Not the answer Paul was asking for, but it’s the answer he needed!

Though we long for our life to be made easier, isn’t it true that it’s in the difficult situations that we grow the most and God’s glory is revealed?  It’s when your business is suffering that you get more creative and look for opportunities you didn’t search for before.  You might even explore becoming an entrepreneur in these times when all you were doing before is playing it safe.  We can discover our greater character in times of greatest challenge.

This is why God wants to put us out on the fringe.  He knows that when we are playing it safe in the middle, we will never experience His strength.  But, as we are moved out towards the edge of bankruptcy, isolation, hardships and persecutions, we seek Him earnestly, yield to Him more completely and trust Him wholeheartedly.

What might God be doing in your life right now on the fringe?  Is God leading you toward a place of His power that you will only discover in a time of weakness?  It may not be the answer we’re looking for, but it might be the answer we need.

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Through It All

Posted in Encouragement, Relationships, Used of God, Victorious Living by PCraig on August 20, 2014

I grew up listening to Christian music and one of my favorite artists (this is WAY back!) was Andre Crouch.  It wasn’t just the cool gospel sound that attracted me it was also the words.  One lyric I have always remembered was from a song called “Through It All.”  There’s a line in that song that says, “If I never had a problem, I’d never know that God could solve them.  I’d never know what faith in God could do.”

It’s the same thing that Paul teaches in 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 where he says that, “(God) comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”  The principle is that whatever you’ve gone through in life, now you get the chance to show someone else how to go through it.

Who are the best people to help people going through divorce?  People who have been divorced.  Who are the best people to reach out to people who have lost a spouse?  Others who have been widowed.  So, whatever you are going through today is not just for you, it’s for people who are going to be helped after you get through it.

Because, “through it all, I’ve learned to trust in Jesus, I’ve learned to trust in God. Through it all…I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.”

Whatever you’re going through today, you can learn to depend upon His Word.  When you take your experience and apply it to others, it becomes a way to see purpose in pain and win a greater victory over the enemy.

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What God Might Be Saying

Posted in Faith, Hearing God, Personal Growth, Perspective, Prayer, Time, Will of God by PCraig on August 14, 2014

What is going on when you pray?  Have you ever wondered if anyone is listening or cares?  Sometimes it can feel like your prayers are being heard and other times it can seem like God is helping someone else.  Ever feel that way?

First of all, I would like to clarify that God does answer prayer, does care about each and every one of us and enjoys it when we pray.  (See 1 John 5:14-15; 1 Pet 5:7; Mt 11:28)  Second of all, prayer does make a difference.  Clinical studies have been done and found that people who are prayed for go through surgery more successfully, and have a better recovery than people who don’t have prayer.  I’ve seen this just from the way God answers prayer requests that are turned in on the weekend services.

To help those of you who struggle with what is going on behind the scenes when you pray, I have four options that might be happening.  God may be saying…

  • NO – now that’s not an answer we like, but it’s an option, because God knows what’s best, and we need to trust Him.  Your request could simply be off-base.
  • SLOW – the timing may not right for what you’re asking right now, so don’t get impatient.  Trust that God is working even when you don’t have evidence.
  • GROW – again, the request may be okay, but there needs to be some growth in you before God brings it into your life.  If you were praying for the right spouse, but you are not the right spouse material yet, then grow in the meantime.
  • GO – this is the answer we like best.  It’s when we are ready, circumstances around us are ready, and God is ready to bring it about.

Knowing that there are more answers than just “yes” and “no” helps me to analyze my situation and see if I need to do some adjusting.  I hope this helps you.

P.S.  Be sure to pray over our services this weekend when Phil Stacey from American Idol will be our guest.  It’s also part 2 of the Frames series and somebody must be praying really hard already, because last weekend was powerful.  Let’s believe for even greater anointing and results this weekend!

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Feed Yourself

Posted in Expectations, Leadership, Personal Growth by PCraig on August 7, 2014

When I was a baby, I was pretty dependent upon the people around me to eat.  I had people that fixed bottles, mushy cereal, and ultimately real food (love this!).  However, the day came that the people around me expected me to start putting my own spoon in my mouth.  Then, they even thought I should pour my own cereal into a bowl and add the milk myself (the nerve!).

Why is it that this is a normal expectation of us, yet when it comes to other areas, we still want people to feed and care for us?  Like for example, people come to church for the pastor to spoon-feed them the Bible or a spiritual truth that they can digest for the week.  Many people never give thought to feeding themselves.

Here’s the problem, in any area of life if you are to get stronger, more mature and achieve greater things, then you will have to be a self-feeder.  I heard a saying that the person who doesn’t read is no better than the person who can’t.  Think about that.  The illiterate person is at no disadvantage from the person who chooses not to read.  To grow and be healthy, we have to take in nourishment for our bodies.  The same thing applies to our mind and spirit.  Paul scolded some believers because they still acted like babies in 1 Cor. 3:1-3.

What are some ways that you can grow and feed yourself this week?  How about reading the Bible online (we send it out each day via email), get a good book and load it on your phone and other devices so it is always with you, or do an audible book that you can listen and learn while driving or doing other tasks?  My family fully expects me to feed myself, and it’s not just about food.  Every leader is a learner and every growing person is intentional about it.

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