The Danger of Darkness

Posted in Character, Christian Lifestyle, Holy Spirit, Victorious Living by PCraig on October 29, 2015

Part of what makes Halloween more thrilling is the cloak of darkness.  Many people don’t like this part and so they only go out trick or treating while it is light outside, for many good reasons.  Statistics say most violent crimes happen during the hours of darkness.

But, there’s another grave danger with the darkness, and that is we cannot see as clearly.  My mom used to say it this way; “I look better in dim lighting.”  Of course she would say it to be humorous, but there is some truth in it.  For example, we can’t see flaws as well when the lighting is low.  If you go into a well lit restaurant, every crumb on the floor shows up.

Many of us not only choose to live our lives in dim lighting (spiritually), but we get ready to live in dim lighting.  I want to challenge us to dare to turn on the bright light of God’s Word and let it expose the flaws.  You can’t fix what you can’t see.  Rather than being content to walk around in darkness, where bad things hide, let’s allow the bright illumination of God’s Word and Spirit to shine.  You might not like what you see at first, but I’d rather eat in a clean restaurant than a dirty one any day.

Dare to pray, “God, light up my life today through your Word and Spirit.  Help me to see any dirt, crud, or ungodliness that is junking up my life.  Give me the courage to sweep out the things holding me back from being what I could be otherwise.”

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Funding Your Missions Trip

Posted in Faith, Finances, Missions by PCraig on October 22, 2015

Over the years of ministry, I have known many people that desired to go on missions trips, but didn’t feel they could raise the funding.  This always saddens me because I know the power of going on a trip.  So, here are some simple suggestions of ways to raise funds:

  • Start now – delaying only makes it more pressured and insurmountable.
  • Start an account – open a special account to build up for a missions trip.
  • Save – avoid needless or unnecessary expenses when trying to go on a trip.  Ask, “Do I need a new pair of jeans now?”
  • Cut expenses – cancel cable, eat cheap, do your own manicure, etc.
  • Become a coupon-er 🙂
  • Write a letter to friends, family, co-workers, bosses, asking them to help you go make a difference in another country.
  • Get a second job, sell things on eBay or Craigslist, host a garage sale, or sell some stock.
  • Pray for God to help you.  (This should be the first thing you do!)  God can supply the need and give you creative thoughts on how to fund the trip.

These are just a few ways that I’ve used and seen others use to go on missions trips.  Maybe you have some other creative ideas?

I hope this helps you to have bigger faith and trust God to make it possible to go on a trip and make a difference in another part of the world.  You will get as much or probably more out of the trip than the people you serve.

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Revelation Explanation

Last weekend, I asked all my Crossroads family to read the first three chapters of Revelation and I’ve had some people asking questions.  So, I thought I would just use my blog and cover a few things.

First of all, did you realize that you are blessed if you read, hear and take to heart the message in Revelation?  Says so in Rev. 1:3.  That is an awesome promise!

Who are the angels and stars that are mentioned?  Most scholars believe these to mean the messengers of the seven churches.  This means that Jesus is holding these churches and leaders in His hand.  They are not sovereign, but under the authority of the One who paid the price for His church.  He walks among them and is very much concerned about them.  Just like He is still concerned and watching over His church today.  God is still the true leader over His church and it’s leadership.

What is the sword from his mouth?  The sword in Jesus’ mouth symbolizes the power and force of His message.  Even when Jesus walked the earth in human form, his voice had power to raise people from the dead and cause others to fall to the ground (John 18:6).  In Ephesians 6:17, we are told to take up the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  Back at the beginning of creation, God set things in motion through the power of His word.  True Christ-followers do not need to fear the words of Jesus, only those who will come under His judgment.  For them, it will be terrifying.

One has to keep in mind that much of Revelation is figurative language.  In other words, it most likely is not a true sword that will come from Christ’s mouth, but rather the power of His voice and words will be like a sword of spiritual power upon His enemies.  Also, consider how tough it would be for a man of 2,000 years ago (John) to write down the incredible things he was seeing.  How could his ancient mind even wrap itself around all that he was experiencing?

You might also notice the repetition of the number seven throughout the Bible, as this is the number of completion.  Though it is used over 50 times in Revelation and over 700 times throughout Scripture, we must be careful not to overemphasize it by attaching symbolic meaning in each instance.  Sometimes a seven is just a seven, especially if Scripture is not explicit about a meaning.  However, there are times, it seems, that God is communicating the idea of divine completeness, perfection, and wholeness.

I hope that by reading these first three chapters, you have allowed the Holy Spirit to speak a new, fresh word into your spirit.  Perhaps one of these seven messages is meant for you today so you can “hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

 

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Bible Versions

Posted in One Year Bible, Personal Growth by PCraig on October 8, 2015

What version of the Bible did you first begin reading on your own?  For me, it was the Living Bible paraphrase.  I think the main reason why I stuck with it and actually read the entire Bible through, was because I felt like I could understand it.  Growing up in church, we didn’t have many translations, mostly everyone read from the King James Version.  Although it had some beautiful poetic language, kind of like Shakespeare, the meaning would often be difficult to glean because of the language barrier.

Today, there are a lot of translations, so it’s more of a question of “Which one of these should I pick?”  Here’s my first impulse, pick the one you will read.  I really don’t care as much about which version you’re reading, just so long as you are reading.  The Bible is only as important and powerful as when you read it, not when it sits on your nightstand.  I do really like the NLT for most people and the NIV is what I read from most on Sundays.

So, I’m thinking of challenging our church once again this New Year to read the Bible everyday.  I’ve done this every year since we started the church in one format or another.  Here’s the various ways we used: The One Year Bible; a printed Bible reading guide; a New Testament reading guide; emailed Scriptures; and promoting online YouVersion methods.

What has worked for you, or what is your preferred method of reading God’s Word?  Again, the method and version is not as important as the habit.  If you have a method of reading God’s Word consistently, then I like it.

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