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!

BreathWindandFire-FB-link

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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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Tapping Into God’s Power

Posted in Change, Deliverance, Holy Spirit, Victorious Living by PCraig on May 11, 2017

In today’s reading of the One Year Bible, I was reflecting upon the anointing of Saul to be the first king of Israel. The story is chronicled in 1 Samuel 10 where the prophet Samuel tells Saul that the Spirit of the Lord is going to come upon him in power. Indeed, just as the prophet declared, the Spirit of the Lord does come upon Saul with so much power that he is transformed.

This is a specialty of the Spirit of the Lord, a life that is transformed. I can relay so many stories of addictions, hurts, losses, physical illnesses, emotional scars and countless other issues, that have been changed by the power of the Spirit.

Like Saul, we just need to be open, receptive and expecting the Spirit’s power to come upon us as we walk out our journey each day. In the New Testament, we find every believer in a position to receive the Spirit’s power. Read the book of Acts in the Bible and you’ll find ordinary people moving in extraordinary power because of the Spirit.

Whatever stronghold, addiction, hurt, pain or habit you may be fighting, know that by tapping into the Spirit of the Lord, you can be changed. I don’t know about you, but in a culture like ours, I need all the power I can get.

Also, don’t miss the launch of our next series, Breath, Wind & Fire starting May 28, as we talk about the Holy Spirit.

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Lifting Others Up

Posted in Attitude, Character, Criticism, Humility by PCraig on May 4, 2017

How good are you at cheering for the success of others? I know we all appreciate hearing remarks about how well we’ve done, but how do you do with praising others? It can be even more challenging when you are hearing the accolades from others in private. Pastors can be guilty of this. They hear of the success of another colleague from across town seeing his church grow, so they say things like, “Well, he doesn’t preach very challenging messages is why his church is growing.”

Nowhere in Scripture is this very scenario more illustrated than in today’s reading of the One Year Bible. John 3:22-36 tells the story of how a friend of John the Baptist informs him that Jesus is now attracting more followers and baptizing more people than John. Here’s his response in verse 29, “I am filled with joy at his success.” What? Where’s the, “Yeah, but he’s not fasting like I am” or, “He’s not preaching the Word as strong as I do, so that’s why so many are attracted to him.” Instead, John takes the high road and realizes that the universe doesn’t revolve around him. He’s not God’s gift, …but Jesus is!

So, in our lives, how does this play out? Next time you hear of a co-worker doing well say, “That’s awesome that she’s excelling like that, I wish her the best.” Or, when competing and you come in second, let the first place player know that you’re proud of their effort and sportsmanship.  Stop yourself before you’re tempted to open your mouth and criticize.

When you take on this attitude, it actually raises your value in the eyes of others. Days later, when Jesus is asked about John, He says that, “I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John” (Lu.7:28). Pretty cool praise from the King of Kings. It just shows what the Savior thinks when you take on humility and lift others up, He lifts you up!

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Dreamweaver

Posted in Dreams, Encouragement, Events, Perspective, Victorious Living by PCraig on April 20, 2017

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Juxtaposition

It’s such a juxtaposition to think that the way up is down. Most people would assume that the way up is up. But, Jesus clearly taught something different when it comes to greatness.

One day Jesus was asked if He could arrange who would sit next to Him in eternity. The question was asked by two disciples, and probably really ticked off the others. Jesus defused the situation by defining what it would take to be great. He said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.” (Mark 10:43b-44)

The desire to be on top will hinder, not help. Rather than seeking to have your needs met, look for ways that you can minister to the needs of others.

It seems backwards, but Jesus gave us an illustration of how it works with His own life. Here He is this eternal King, but comes as a poor child in a manger, lives a simple life as a carpenter, teacher, preacher, Rabbi. He then dies a death for a criminal, yet it was this act of humility that formed His rise in popularity. By the time He’s resurrected, the story of His life is the most popular topic in town. Now, over 2,000 years later, He’s considered the greatest person who ever lived by most.

The key to all that greatness was His willingness to humble Himself and serve us by giving His life. In a culture that thinks up is up, let’s choose to follow the true path that Jesus showed by example.

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Sticks And Stones

Posted in Mind, Offense, Relationships, Words by PCraig on February 23, 2017

Like many of you, I grew up on the school playground saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Most of us learned really quickly in life, however, that it was a lie. As a matter of fact, some of us have gotten over broken legs, arms and ankles way faster than words spoken over us.

If that’s the case, then how careful should we be about what we say over another person, such as our spouses, children, family members, friends and colleagues? In today’s reading of the One Year Bible from Proverbs 10:11 it says, “The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain.”

I wonder, does that describe you? Do people think of you as a wellspring of refreshing words that bring them life?

Take some time today to evaluate what is coming out of your mouth. Even better, consider it before it comes out of your mouth. Because once it hits the airwaves, there’s no taking it back. And the damage it can bring to your relationships is far worse than any stick or stone could cause.

(Pray Psalm 19:14)

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