Soul Thriller

Posted in Attitude, Choice, Happiness, Joy, Pursuing Jesus by PCraig on April 26, 2018

Discontentment can ruin just about any situation.  It’s the thought that I’ve got to change my circumstances, or obtain something I don’t currently have to achieve happiness and fulfillment.  The reality is that you already have what you need to be happy. Happiness is an attitude, not a location or possession.

Paul, the apostle, was in prison when he wrote a letter to the Philippians and expressed that he had learned how to content in need or plenty.  That sounds so freeing!  What if you could learn how to be happy no matter what is going on around you?  What if you decided that you could be content right where you are today?

The greatest enemy of joy, peace and satisfaction is discontentment.  But, Paul goes on to say (Phil 4:13) that he didn’t do this in his own strength.  Instead, he tapped into the power of Christ that enabled him to do it.

Today, regardless of what’s going on around you, believe for God’s strength to come from within and bring a sense of satisfaction nothing in the world can do.  There used to be an old song my mom loved to hear that said, “All that thrills my soul is Jesus.”  Let Him supply the thrill your soul is longing for today.   He is truly the ultimate and only true Soul Thriller.

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Why Not Try It?

Posted in Attitude, Expectations, Faith, Victorious Living by PCraig on April 19, 2018

Today is a day of incredible potential because of God working in my life.  What if you believed that?

Or, I can be happy today because I’m forgiven, free, filled with the Spirit, redeemed, made ready for heaven, and a child of God.  What if you confessed that each day?

Why not try it today? Move beyond knowing these things are true, to declaring them and living as though they are real and happening.

Could it change today? What might happen if you did this for a week, or 30 days? Why not try it and find out?

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God’s Not Dead

Posted in Encouragement, Faith, Friendship, Priorities, Pursuing Jesus, Words by PCraig on March 1, 2018

I went to a preview showing of God’s Not Dead – Light In The Darkness at a theatre the other night. I must say that I have enjoyed the previous two movies and was looking forward to this release.

Because it has not yet been released, and I don’t want to spoil anything for you, I’ll be careful in my comments. This one is different from the others. Not that it makes it good or bad, it’s just a unique take on the topic.

One of the best parts of the film is how it shows the struggle of a young Christ follower that is struggling to keep faith. She battles to keep believing because of surrounding herself with those who don’t share her beliefs. She is also romantically involved with someone who doubts. And, she doesn’t always stay consistent with attending spiritual gatherings that could encourage her along the way.

These are much of the same things that I’ve noticed happen with others who struggle with doubt. Too often, we get around others that are anti-faith and listen to their words, then worse yet, we can get romantically or at least emotionally attached to people that don’t share our faith, producing disunity. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we don’t make faith gatherings a priority in our lives. We go to church, life group, youth group, if it can fit in our schedule rather than making other things work around it.

Even the disciples were doubters and struggled to believe at times, but once they encountered the resurrected Christ, gathered in unity to encourage each other, and stood firm in what they knew, nothing could bring them down.

My prayer is that you will bring your doubts to God, surround yourself with encouragers and not allow yourself to be influenced by those who have failed to see Him. I’ve seen too much, felt so much, and heard too much to turn back now.

Friends, He is alive! The tomb is still empty. Doubters were transformed into evangelists when they touched Him. I look forward to celebrating the resurrected Savior along with you on Easter, and I hope you will support God’s Not Dead – Light In The Darkness when it releases on March 30. You don’t have to be perfect, or have a life without doubt to be a follower, or we would all be disqualified.

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Your Best Year Yet

Posted in Change, Distractions, Faith, New Year, Personal Growth, Victorious Living by PCraig on December 27, 2017

Every year millions of people make New Year’s Resolutions, and many are common to us all.  They are desires to improve our lives better ourselves.  Join us as we discover what the Bible has to say about these popular resolutions.  Get the help and power you need for the changes you want to make.  With God’s help, you can make this your best year yet.

Join us on January 7 for a new series: YOUR BEST YEAR YET.  Each week we’ll discover the secrets to positioning ourselves for a God’s help in making this the best year we’ve ever had!

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Get Excited For Christmas Again

Posted in Attitude, Encouragement, Expectations, holiday, Perspective by PCraig on November 30, 2017

I remember being a kid and being so excited about the Christmas season. It seemed like it took forever between Thanksgiving and Christmas. My heart was full of expectancy about everything that surrounded the holidays. I loved the lights, decorations, songs, parties and of course the gifts. Each year I looked forward to all the potential the season had to offer.

Something happens as we get older. We become the one to fix the lights when they don’t work. We have to put up the decorations, plan the parties and pay for the gifts. All of this can taint the season. If we’re not careful, we can transform from the expectant child to the Grinch.

This is not only a problem with Christmas; it’s a problem in marriages. Two people walk down an aisle to go live life in love, only to discover that there are pressures they never planned to experience. They didn’t anticipate one of them losing their job, or having a special needs child, or finding themselves attracted to someone else at work. When burdens come, it’s all too common for us to begin dreading the very thing we once anticipated.

My challenge to us all this season is to take joy in this time of year. The story is about a Savior who left His throne to be born in a manger, live and teach, then die a sacrificial death for our sins.  So, rejoice in forgiveness!  Also, be careful what comes out of your mouth. Instead of dreading the holidays, your marriage, your job, your family, why not expect the best? Let a spirit of expectancy build in your heart and find it’s way into your mind and mouth. Changing how you view things can go a long way toward how you experience them.  I’m choosing to celebrate the reason for the season.

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Being Over Doing

Posted in Character, End of the World, witnessing by PCraig on September 21, 2017

It seems like every few years, maybe less, someone comes along and starts a hypothesis that Jesus is coming back on a certain date. They may write a book, get on radio, send newsletters, and use social media to promote it. Besides the fact that Jesus clearly stated that “no one” knows the day or hour of His return, it is a misalignment of priorities.

When Jesus was getting ready to ascend into heaven to be with His Father, the disciples asked him when He was coming back (Acts 1). Jesus answered them that it was not for them to “know,” but for them to “be” His witnesses. In other words, we get more caught up in knowing than being, and Jesus guides us to flip those.

So, are you more involved in knowing things or being something? It would be better to be a great parent than to know a lot about parenting. It’s better to be a good example to your kids than to know a lot about finances. Do you see what I mean? In an information age that wants to know lots of data, Jesus encourages us to focus more on being and He can lead us to the right knowing.

Whether or not Jesus comes back in the next few days is not as important as you and I being a good witness for Him today.

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You Are What You Think

Posted in Attitude, Mind, Perspective by PCraig on June 22, 2017

I’ve heard the phrase, “You are what you eat.” Of course what people are saying is that if you eat junk, you’ll feel like junk, and junk up your arteries. I think an even more powerful axiom is, “You are what you think.” If you think like junk, you’ll live like junk. Solomon said it like this, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

I am a firm believer in the power of self-worth. If you get up, look in the mirror and see a bum, then chances are you will live like one today. Likewise, if you look in the mirror and see a child of God that is adopted into God’s family to be an heir of His kingdom, filled with the Spirit to be Christ’s ambassador on the earth, then you’ll live like that.

What’s your self-image? Does it come from comparing yourself to the physical appearance of airbrushed photos of models and botox-filled celebrities? If so, you’ll probably feel you don’t measure up. Try seeing yourself as God sees you. Fill your mind with the thoughts of God about you, and let them cancel out the lies of the enemy. Say this with me, “I am loved, accepted, chosen, anointed, approved, filled, and rejoiced over by my Heavenly Father. I no longer need man’s approval, applause or accolades. I live for an audience of One that accepts me for who He’s created me to be and gives the power to become more than I could on my own.”  How does that feel?

See yourself today as a world-changer that’s empowered by the very Spirit of God and I believe you’ll live up to it!

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Distortion

Posted in Criticism, Perspective, Victorious Living by PCraig on June 1, 2017

Ever go through a Fun House with those distorted, curved mirrors? I used to love looking in them when I was a kid. Something about seeing my head look elongated by several feet or my body looking like it had been squished was really amusing. All of that is imaginary fun, but some of us carry distorted images of ourselves on the inside. “I’m stupid,” “I’m ugly,” or “I’m unlovable.” Perhaps it started with comments from others, past bad choices, or current tough conditions. Whatever the case, distorted messages inside can lead us to false conclusions outside. Therefore, we might tailor our lives around the distortion. We can live our lives based upon what others have said over us or about us.

Jesus said, “When you know the truth, the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Nowhere is this more important than when it comes to our self-image. We each want to be accepted. We work hard at it by buying things, wearing certain things, and joining or doing things. Our desire can be for acceptance at any cost.

I want to help you be free of the distortions of past mistakes, words of others, and your own opinions. Here’s some good news: God has accepted you, according to Romans 15:7. Nowhere in Scripture does Jesus say that it’s based upon you. Instead, He emphatically declares that we are accepted unconditionally. You are not accepted because you’re worthy; you’re worthy because you’re accepted.

God accepts you, so begin a process today of accepting yourself. Your Heavenly Father loves you right where you are and just as you are. That gives me a lot of confidence, how about you?

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The Best Counselor

Posted in Counsel, Decisions, Holy Spirit, Victorious Living, Wisdom by PCraig on May 25, 2017

I don’t think anything is more important in life than from whom you receive your guidance. Proverbs talks about if we want to be wise, then we should hang with the wise. If we take up company with foolish people, it’s no wonder we make foolish decisions. In today’s reading of the One Year Bible in John 14, Jesus talks about “another Counselor” that will be with us. He identifies this “Counselor” as the Holy Spirit. He then goes on to say a couple of things that the Holy Spirit will do.

One benefit the Holy Spirit brings is He will teach us things. I don’t know if you’ve had this happen, but many times when I’m reading the Bible, it’s like it jumps off the page and reads my mail. I mean it is like God is literally talking to me face to face through His Word. Sometimes I learn how to be a better man, husband, father, leader, while other times I understand more of God’s love for me. Powerful things happen as I allow the Spirit to teach me.

He also comes to remind us of Jesus’ words and teaching. Maybe you’re going through your day and feeling discouraged, then the words of Jesus saying, “I will never leave you or forsake you,” come back to you and your built up in faith. You decide that if He is with you, what can be against you? Amen! When this takes place, we are no longer operating in our natural abilities; instead we are plugged into the supernatural abilities of the Spirit.

These are just two of the many ways the Holy Spirit can enable us to live life to the full in Christ. We’ll be exploring these and more during the Breath, Wind & Fire series that begins this weekend. I hope you can join us in person or online via podcast, for what I believe will be a powerful three weeks focus on the Holy Spirit.  He’s the best counselor I know!

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When Chased By A Killer

Posted in Attitude, Character, Choice, Dreams, Victorious Living by PCraig on May 18, 2017

I love the story of David and his rise from shepherd boy to king of the nation of Israel. In today’s reading of the One Year Bible, I was reading about David’s escape from King Saul (1 Sa. 22&23), who wanted to kill him. It made me think, just because you’re anointed and chosen by God (he would be King Saul’s successor), doesn’t mean you won’t have challenges.

Too many people think that life’s supposed to be easy and if you’re doing the right thing, then it should be smooth sailing. Not sure where that idea originated, but nothing could be further from the truth. Gallup did a study and asked people to identify the worst and best event of their life. They found that there was an 80% correlation between the two events.

Many people find that some of the worst events of their lives have led to some of the best days. Why? Because they knew they couldn’t control what came to them, but they could control what came out of them. Over and over again, David displayed honor, respect and love for the person trying to hurt him. He couldn’t change Saul’s actions, but he could choose his. People may want to kill your dream, but it doesn’t mean you let them.

You may not like how things are going at work, your marriage, or other areas, but what’s happening to you is not as important as what’s happening in you. We can live as a victim or a victor and much of it is by choice. Trust that your best days are yet ahead, walk in faith, expecting good things, and just like David; it will lead to better days ahead.

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