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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When In Doubt, Leave It Out

Posted in Encouragement, Friendship, Hope, Perspective, Relationships, Worry by PCraig on November 20, 2014

I remember when my wife was battling anxiety and how helpless I felt.  Here’s what I learned through that experience, when in doubt leave it out.  Here’s what I mean by that: if you have not walked in someone else’s shoes, then don’t act like you have.  If you have never lost a child, then don’t tell someone who has, that you understand exactly how they feel.  No, you really don’t!  Even if you have lost a child, you didn’t lose their child.  Plus, you may have a totally different way of dealing with grief than they do, so don’t act like it’s the same.

Sure, we have empathy when someone else is going through something that we have gone through before, but that’s not what people need most when they’re hurting.  What do they need most?  My experience tells me, someone to listen.  Not talk.  Not try to fix things.  Not try to act like you know exactly what they are feeling.

Just try being there, possibly holding them, cry with them and pray with them.  Be there in a way that simply communicates hope.  There are things better left unsaid when people are in real pain.

This weekend at Crossroads:  FIGHT series part 4 – Winning Over Anxiety

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Two Questions To Make A Difference

Posted in Friendship, Impact, Love, Used of God by PCraig on November 13, 2014

Here’s two questions you could ask people that would make more friends than you could imagine: where’s your pain? And how can I help?

The reality is that most everyone has pain somewhere in his or her life, be it financial, relational, physical, emotional, and mental.  If you look deep enough into a person’s life you will discover there is a hurt that needs healing.  Wouldn’t it be a great mission to help heal the wound of someone else today?  Just think if each of us took on that mission.  If everyday, we made the commitment to look for pain in someone else and then we make a positive difference in their life while we’re with them.  Wouldn’t that be incredible?  Who wouldn’t want to be around people like that?

Let’s try it for 30 days.  Every morning get up and make the commitment to make a positive difference in someone’s life.  It would be especially powerful if it was someone different each day.

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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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