By Pastor Eddie CrainFriday, November 6, 2015
“….He will be our guide to the very end.”
– Psalm 48:14
Ever been lost? If you’re a guy, I know the answer. We all have a time or two. The cool thing about today’s time is that we have maps and GPS’s on our phones. There should really never be a time when we get lost…right? That phone can take you pretty much anywhere you need to go and maybe even give you several routes to choose from.
Ever found yourself needing a little guidance as you’re driving down the road of life? I know I have. I’ve found myself lost so bad that it’s difficult to even figure out how I got there. Then, I come to my senses and ask my guide, God, to bring me back to where I need to be.
I’m reminded of the story of Joshua and the city of Jericho. Here’s a guy who was asked to move forward and defeat a city with high walls. An impossible task. He was a little lost and confused on how to do that, so, God gave him some very specific instructions. They were pretty weird instructions (march around the city for 7 days), but it was the guidance that Joshua needed. You know the story, Joshua obeyed and the city was defeated with the walls coming tumbling down.
Here’s the deal….when we use our map or GPS on the phone (or maybe our wives sitting in the passenger seat) we trust that they will get us where we need to go. These instruments have proven to be helpful to us. But, I wonder how many times we’ve been lost in life and not really trusted the most incredible guide, God, to give us directions.
Ask yourself these questions today. What area of my life do I need God to give me some guidance? Am I confused about how to overcome a situation or problem? Has God given me directions and I’ve not followed them?
Let God and His Word be your guide today. Trust Him and His instructions (even if it might be a little weird). He will get you to where you need to go!! Have a great Friday, my friends!!
By Pastor Eddie CrainFriday, October 23, 2015
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”
– 2 Timothy 3:16, 17
About 18 years ago, Kari (my wife) and I lived in the Bay Area and we decided to take a spontaneous trip one weekend to visit our friends Kevin and Christy in Fresno. They just had a baby (his name was Josh). We thought it would be cool to leave on Friday and spend the day at the coast and then drive in to Fresno on Saturday. Well, I had never been to Fresno via the coast, so I wasn’t really comfortable with the route. But, we had our map (no GPS’s back then) and thought we were good.
We cruised down Highway 101 and then took 41 to get to Fresno. Now, one thing I was quite known for (and still am) is waiting until the last minute to fill up for gas. I used to let it get pretty low. Well, guess what? We ran out of gas on Highway 41 out in the middle of nowhere!! My wife was freaking out, we had a little baby named Collin and we were stranded. I did notice in the distance a place that looked kinda like a restaurant so I walked to it. When I got there, I walked in to the place to find that it wasn’t a restaurant but was actually a bar. In desperation, I told the bartender our predicament and asked him if he had any gas. Long story short, he went to the back of his place and found about 3 gallons of gas. He charged us $10 per gallon and we were on our way. Yes, you heard that right, $10 per gallon.
Moral of the story, get fueled up in preparation because it could cost you more in the long run!! I found this out the hard way. The definition for the word fuel is “a substance that can be consumed to produce energy.” Have you ever run out of gas in life? Ever feel like you’re at the end and don’t have any more to give? There is a way to prevent that. The answer is fueling up in God’s Word every day! It only costs time and believe me it is well worth it!!
Today, let’s consume His Word and let it be the fuel that brings the energy we so desperately need!!
By Pastor Eddie CrainFriday, October 16, 2015
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
– Romans 12:2
I used to love to coach sports….for a couple of reasons. One is because I was an athlete myself and even still love playing most sports. It also probably makes a difference that I have 5 boys and they all play sports. But, one of the things I loved most about coaching is the ability to relate things to life. So much of what takes place in sports can relate to our daily lives.
I was reminded of this one time when my son was in a tough situation during his baseball game. His team was down by 3 runs. There were runners on 2nd and 3rd and he was up to bat. There were 2 outs and it was the bottom of the last inning. Classic scenario! I had been in his place several times and realized the stress that can be involved. It reminded me how much of baseball is mental. He knew what needed to happen in his mind. He heard his coach, his team, fans, the parents, all cheering him on to get a hit. At that moment, I wished I could have given him some sort of noise cancellation system that allowed him to only hear the things that would help. Nothing negative, only positive. Well, I’d love to tell you that he got a hit, but that didn’t happen. In fact, he struck out. No big deal. It happens! But, I do think there are some good analogies here.
We have a lot of noise in this world. Lots of things have the ability to distract us and it’s difficult to keep our minds focused. Our noise cancellation system, in our relationship to Christ, is the Scriptures. When we study and apply God’s Word to our lives and when we passionately pursue Jesus daily, the noise of the world is quieted and we can hear Him clearer. Sure, you still know the noise is out there, but the level of the roar is reduced. When we ignore these basic disciplines, the noise of the world increases and can even become deafening – and our lives suffer because we no longer hear God’s words to us.
Jesus didn’t intend to remove us completely from the noise of the world even with its temptations, hurts, injustices and evil. Rather, He intends to protect us in the midst of these dangers – effectively canceling the world’s noise – to a point where we can hear and respond to God’s Word and our lives can be lived joyfully and effectively for Him.
So, today, I encourage you to use your “noise cancelling device,” God’s Word, to drown out the voices that want to distract you from God’s best. Tune in to Him and allow His voice to ring loud in your mind and heart. Trust me, I believe you’ll understand and begin living out His good and pleasing and perfect will for your life!!
By Pastor Eddie CrainFriday, October 2, 2015
“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.”
– Philippians 4:4-5 (NLT)
It seems like every time I read this verse I am struggling with something in my life. I’m always challenged as God reminds me to be full of joy, even in the middle of tough circumstances. The question I always have is, “how, God? How do I consistently have joy in the Lord?” Well, I’ve come to understand that we’ve got to change our perspective sometimes. I recently read a story that deals with this idea of perspective…
One day, the father of a very wealthy family sent his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.
On the return from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?” “It was great, Dad.” “Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked. “Oh yeah,” said the son. “So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father. The son answered, “I saw that we have one dog, and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden, and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden, and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard, and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on, and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.” The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added, “Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are.”
Wow. Talk about perspective. I wonder what would happen in our lives if we would just see things differently. I wonder what would happen if we would regularly change our perspective. I wonder if our current problems, challenges and struggles would be seen in a different light. I wonder if this could lead us to treat one another differently and help us remember that the Lord is coming soon. I wonder…
We have so much to be thankful for and rejoice about. Today, let’s take the challenge that God gives us and “be full of joy in the Lord” …regardless of our current circumstances. Let’s allow others to see things with a different perspective as they watch us live our lives.
Have a happy Friday, my friends!!
By Pastor Eddie CrainFriday, September 25, 2015
The Better Choice…
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed–or only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
– Luke 10:41-42
In the few verses just before these, Jesus visits the home of two sisters, Mary and Martha. Mary enjoys connecting with Jesus, but Martha is preoccupied with the busyness of hospitality and meal preparations. When busy Martha complains about lazy Mary, Jesus responds by saying, “Mary has chosen what is better.”
The lesson is painfully clear: connecting with Jesus is a better choice than busyness. Guys, I might just be writing this to myself right now because it’s where I’m at! But, here’s the deal, there will always be more to do! Know what I mean? There’s a business lunch on Tuesday, soccer practice for the kids twice this week, neighbors coming over for dinner, two games on Saturday, bills piling up that need attention, planning an upcoming trip to the coast, and a to-do list so long that you’ve added “get through the to-do list” to it. There’s a lot going on now.
So many of us are tired of rushing from one activity to the next, constantly checking our schedules, arriving late and always feeling a bit elsewhere after we arrive. There’s a gnawing sense in our guts that we can’t keep up the pace…and truth be known, we don’t want to. Most people I talk to are tired of being tired all the time, tired of the emptiness that comes from too much busyness and not enough God.
Thankfully, God offers a better way than running on empty. He invites us to walk instead of run and find rest for our tired souls. That’s what the fullness of life is all about. It’s not the same as being busy all the time (even busy doing good things). The invitation is to sit at the feet of the Person who is the source of all fullness.
Yes, there are real tasks to accomplish today, just as there were in Mary and Martha’s day. But, never forget that Jesus affirmed Mary’s choice as best. Today, make the choice to accept Jesus’ invitation of connection and rest. Make the better choice!! Have a great day connecting with Jesus!!
By Pastor Eddie CrainFriday, September 18, 2015
…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 1:6
Earlier this week I was traveling down Herndon Avenue and loving it! Why, you ask. It wasn’t the incredible views or the anticipation of the appointment I was heading to. No, I was celebrating a totally smooth, sleek, shiny-black…road! There wasn’t a single pothole or construction cone (at least until I got back to Marks). Any other weirdos like me out there that LOVE smooth roads?
It got me thinking. Herndon Avenue construction is far from over, but, for so long I’ve been taking alternate routes to get to where I’ve needed to go (way over on the northeast part of town). Those “better routes” just meant that there were more cars at a standstill (at times) in one or two lanes instead of two or three lanes. You could say that it’s kinda disrupted some ingrained patterns and the ways that people have typically done things.
This is so much like our God. When we submit our lives to Him, the construction begins! There are times when we are completely upended and God begins his overhaul of a particular area, changing all of our patterns and ways of doing things. Now, if we’ll admit it, we would see that those areas weren’t very effective, but of course, they were familiar to us. In His kindness, though, God had a smoother way in mind. He always has a better road plan for us. So, even while the inconvenience and pain is no fun, what a difference it makes in the long run. I’d say the construction is well worth it!
If you’re going through construction in your life today, be patient. God has a smoother, better plan and while it may take a while to get there (and sometimes some inconveniences), in the long run, His road map is so much better. And, hey, don’t get so frustrated when you see those orange vests and cones on the road today. A smoother, better road is coming!