The Most Repeated Command

Posted in Attitude, Choice, Encouragement, Happiness, Joy, Perspective by PCraig on April 12, 2018

The most repeated command in the Bible is probably not what you think it is. It’s be happy! It comes in many forms and words such as, blessing, blessed, peace, joy, prosper, and others. It is proof that our God is for us and not against us.

That means instead of thinking God is getting in the way of your happiness, He’s actually making a way for your happiness. He is the solution and not the problem. Most of the other commands in the Bible are actually to keep us from things that lead to unhappiness. Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life, and life to the FULL” (Jn. 10:10). God is not just holy, He is happy, and the two go together.

Last weekend, we launched a new series called FINDING HAPPY. We learned that there are habits of happiness that can lead us to more peace, love and joy. Science says that only about 10% of what happens to you actually impacts your happiness. This explains why two people can undergo the same set back, but one bounces back while the other gives up. It’s not the circumstances, but our perspective that makes the biggest difference.

So, this week, I want to again encourage you with two new habits, and here they are:

Switch worry for prayer (Phil.4:6). What is you worried less and prayed more? Every time worry tries to land in your lap, toss it out like a hot potato. Say, “Oh no you don’t, I’m not accepting this worry, fear, fret, concern and anxiety. Instead I’m tossing it over to God in prayer and let Him carry it.”

Live Thankful (Phil. 4:7). Take it from the Apostle Paul, when you choose to be thankful, you can be in prison but free.   Just be thankful for the simple things like: “I’m forgiven, washed, liberated, free, I have family, friends, a home, a church…” It’s hard to be depressed and thankful at the same time.

What would happen this week if you let your feelings follow your actions, instead of the other way around? I believe, you’ll experience God’s peace that transcends our human understanding and find a joy you can’t explain.

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Easter Everyday

We just finished celebrating the greatest event the world has ever known – the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It not only changed history, but it changed my history! All that I’ve done before won’t matter anymore when we know Jesus is alive.

The first person to meet and greet Jesus after His resurrection was none other than a woman whom Jesus freed from seven demons. And, you think you’ve got problems! She had seven problems she couldn’t solve, fix or repair. Her life was broken in seven places, and only Jesus had the power to set her free.

We all have demons that we deal with in our lives. Some allow their pain to defined them, spend their lives trying to numb it or escape it to no lasting impact. Mary Magdalene, as she was called, was the kind of person we give up on, but not God. He has a way of weaving them into His story, by showing up and showing off His amazing grace. This is one of the great reasons why I love God. He chooses people we wouldn’t choose, does what we can’t do, and transforms us from the agony of defeat to the thrill of victory.

She thought she would never hear His voice again. This one, that had freed her, taught her so much, and might be the Messiah. However, on that Sunday morning, she heard Him call her by name, “Mary.” That’s all it took. She went from sorrow to gladness, from hopelessness to hope, from weakness to strength. Jesus is truly alive.

What about you? The resurrection is the central fact of history, but is it the central fact of your life? When it is, that’s the game changer. He moves from being alive to being alive in me.

God is still in the resurrection business. He resurrects relationships, careers, dreams, and hopes.  Seek Him today and you will find Him. Mary Magdalene was the first to see Jesus because she went to Him. Once she saw Him, I think it was like it was Easter everyday. It can be the same for you and me.

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Better Than Resolutions

Posted in Change, New Year, Opportunity, Personal Growth by PCraig on January 5, 2018

They say that resolutions don’t work, that statistics show that the vast majority of people who make them fail within a short period of time. If that’s the case, then why make them at all? Is there a better way to bring about change?

In thinking this over during the week, I pondered what has brought about change in my own life and here’s what I came up with: one step at a time. All the changes in my life have come after taking another step.

That means the key to changing your life this year is starts with taking the first step.

Here’s the dilemma:

The first step is the hardest.

The next one can seem just as hard.

Keep stepping anyway. Nothing great is achieved by taking the path of least resistance. Whatever it is you need to change about yourself this year. Just get started by taking first step today. Pick up your Bible and read a chapter, spend 15 minutes in prayer, make an appointment with the counselor, don’t eat that donut, instead eat a banana.

For more about how to bring about your best year yet, be sure to come to part one of Your Best Year Yet this weekend! Service times: 9 & 11 a.m.

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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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God’s Miraculous Gift

Posted in God's love, holiday, Miracle, Stress, Worry by PCraig on December 21, 2017

Do you open presents on Christmas Eve or only Christmas day? Growing up, we got to open some of our gifts on Christmas Eve and I loved it! However, we always had to wait until Christmas day for the major gifts. It was mostly clothes and maybe a game the night before.

I’m so glad that we don’t have to wait for the major gifts God has provided for us this Christmas. What are those gifts? Well, I’m only going to share one, but every one of God’s gifts is wrapped up in His Son, Jesus.

One of the best gifts we receive when we become followers of Jesus is the gift of peace. Never has this present been more needed than today. We live in a culture of turmoil, separation, division, worry, and offense. Yet, in the midst of all that surrounds us, within us can be a deep abiding peace.

This present of peace comes through His presence in our lives. And, unlike Santa, Jesus is not keeping a list of those naughty and nice. If He did, we would all be in trouble. Instead, knowing we’ve all been naughty, and imperfect, He came in a perfect way to live a perfect life and die as the perfect sacrifice. Why did He do that? To get you and me on the “nice” list.

1 John 1:8-9

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Good news of Jesus is better than the story of Santa. When you accept what He did, then you receive His peace, and you’re never alone again, because He is always with us. It’s a miraculous gift!

Join us for Christmas Eve Services @Crossroads Church -welcometocrossroads.org

Saturday, Dec 23 at 5 p.m.

Sunday, Dec 24 at 9 or 11 a.m.

 

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Waiting On A Miracle

Posted in Attitude, Encouragement, Expectations, holiday, Hope, Miracle by PCraig on December 14, 2017

Do you remember how agonizing it was to wait for Christmas as a child? It seemed like forever to get from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Now, as an adult, it seems like Christmas comes too fast.

Does it seem like you are in a waiting period in your life currently? Waiting on a job, or a marriage, healing, direction can seem to take forever to happen. It can even seem like God is late in bringing these things into your life can’t it?

The very first Christmas seemed like God was late to those who were waiting for Messiah to come. It had been hundreds of years and yet each year they were disappointed. But the Scripture teaches that it all happened at the “proper time” (Luke 1:20).

The lesson is that God has a “proper time” for everything. He’s never late and He’s always on time. But, it’s His calendar and not ours!   In the meantime what do you do?

  • Don’t lose hope. Things could change tomorrow.
  • Never give up. God can do anything at anytime without restrictions.
  • Do allow this waiting time to be a time of growth spiritually.
  • Keep trusting in the God who still has a plan for the world and you!

It may look like a dark night, but remember, it did in Bethlehem 2000 years ago when hope was born!

We’ll be focusing more on the topic of waiting this weekend in part 3 of A Christmas Miracle in our 9 & 11 a.m. services.

 

 

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Hearing God Better

Posted in Decisions, Perspective, Will of God by PCraig on October 5, 2017

I’ve never had the need to wear hearing aids, thankfully. I guess I just haven’t attended enough concerts! But, from what I understand, these devices amplify the sounds in your ear so you can hear well. What if we had some ways to amplify God’s voice to us, especially in regards to making decisions? What might some of those ways to hear God speaking be?

  • Get spiritually tuned in. One passage talks about God speaking in a gentle “whisper”. The only way to hear a whisper is to get really quiet and wait.
  • Go with what you know. God usually leads us a day at a time. He likes it that way because we’re more dependent upon Him. So, wherever you find yourself, look for the opportunities you do have over what you don’t have.
  • Get in an atmosphere to hear. Those wearing hearing aids don’t like rooms with many voices, because all of them are amplified, making it more difficult to distinguish. Get in an atmosphere where God often speaks, such as solitude, Scripture reading, worship services, godly friends and mentors.

The apostle Paul learned a secret about God while in the lonely confines of prison, after being arrested for preaching the gospel of Jesus. He said, “I can do all things through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). We learn profound things when we are in better positions to listen.

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Why Your Words Are Important

Posted in Choice, Criticism, Encouragement, Marriage, Relationships, Words by PCraig on August 24, 2017

Some of us are external processors, some of us are internal processors, but we all talk a lot. One-fifth of your life will be spent with your mouth open. Is that insane to consider? Even more, that’s a lot of opportunity to bless and that’s a lot of opportunity to curse, according to James chapter three. And some of us are really over achievers when it comes to spoken, text, tweet, post and emailed communication.

It’s not surprising that God has something to help us with this area that consumes a fifth of our lives. James tells us to be “quick to listen and slow to speak.” I wonder how many marriages would be better today or even together today, if they put that one principle into practice? Proverbs 18:21 goes so far as to say that the “power of life and death is in the tongue.” But, before you discount that as extreme, think of recent bullying that has resulted in suicides and depression.

You and I weld a lot more power in our mouths than we give credit. The challenge is to direct that force in a good, positive and beneficial way for others and us. When a spouse gets all puffed up and raises their voice to set the record straight, all that may have been accomplished is lowering the quality of their relationship and complicating things further. Being loudest, most boisterous or cutting may win an argument, but it can lose the relationship. You may get someone to walk away, wave a flag of surrender or cower down, but you didn’t build anything along the way.

How do we get control of our tongue? James says it isn’t easy. As a matter of fact, he says it’s easier to tame an animal, bird or fish than it is to tame the tongue. Ever been to Sea World?

Here’s what James says can help:

Be slow to speak. Don’t speak first and think later, that’s a recipe for regret.

Be wise. Ask yourself: Is this is wise to say? Will this be beneficial?

So peace. If you can’t something positive, don’t say anything at all. Mom said that too!

Your words will steer your life in one direction or another. The cause for some not having a better marriage is in their mouth. Some don’t have the job you would like because you sabotage your self by gossiping at work.

We need more peacemakers in the world, and that requires being more in control of what comes out of our mouths. Let’s all start today!

*If you liked this post, join us this weekend for part 4 of Functional Faith as we discuss James 3 in more detail. You can also catch the podcast from our website next week: www.crossroadsavon.com

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Dreamweaver Video

Posted in Dreams, Weekend Reflections by PCraig on April 27, 2017

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This Gets God’s Attention

When you know a friend needs Jesus, how do you respond? There’s a story in Mark 2 about a man who couldn’t walk, so four guys literally carry him to Jesus. The problem is that by the time they get there, they can’t get into the house where Jesus was teaching because of the crowd. Rather than say, “Oh well, dude we tried to get you in.” They refuse to be denied and carry this man up on the roof. Once up there they tear open the roof (probably made of mud, tiles and maybe straw) and lower the man down to Jesus.

The Scripture says that when Jesus saw “their” faith, he responded. In other words, it wasn’t even the man on the mat’s faith; it was those bringing him to Jesus that touched the Master.

Here’s my question: who are you currently carrying to Jesus? Who do you know that needs a touch from God, forgiveness of sins, and a fresh start? Please understand that it is your responsibility to carry them to Jesus. This man got to meet Jesus, be healed, made whole and restored to God because someone cared enough to carry him.

“God so loved the world that He gave His only Son,” and we are most like Him when we love others enough to take action. Friend, it’s too easy to get caught up in our Christian circles and ourselves and forget who Jesus came for. He came to seek and to save that which is lost. If you don’t know any lost people right now, you need to change that. Get out of your bubble and love like God loves.

It impresses Jesus when he sees us bring others to Him. If you want to get Jesus’ attention today, lift someone up and bring them to Jesus. Nothing moves God’s heart more than when we care enough to carry someone to Him.

Not only does this story come from today’s reading in the One Year Bible (that I’m doing again this year), but it is also our text for Sunday. I hope you can be with us as God anoints His Word to our ears. God has a word for you this weekend!

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