Fudgee-O’s and the Confessions of A Sugaholic!

Fudgee-O

When I got up on the platform on Sunday morning I never really dreamed that I would be THAT honest about how vulnerable I was to temptation! If you didn’t get a chance to hear the message, you can watch it here.

So while we’re being honest, let’s at least admit that we ALL have problems with “Fudgee-O’s”… it’s simply that your version of temptation may be different than mine. For you it may be pornography, or alcohol, or gambling, or a host of other things.

But we all seem to show up to indulge in these temptations in the same place… the ‘dark playground’; that place that you go to ‘play’ where you know you shouldn’t be, but you still try to get as much fun out of your time there.

The sad reality, and unfortunately I speak from experience, is that the ‘dark playground’ is never really that fun of a place to be in the first place. Yes, for a moment you may get a rush from playing with your ‘toxic toys’, eating all those cookies, downing all that alcohol… but you know that lurking in the shadows are other people, just like you, hoarding their toys trying not to be noticed.

It’s not a fun playground to play in at all. For the whole time you are ‘in’ the playground, there is a part of you crying out, pleading with you to leave your toys on the ground and get out!

I shared James 4:7 on Sunday which says to “stand against the devil, and the devil will run from you.” (NCV). Reading on in verse 8 it shows us how to exactly do that… “Come near to God, and God will come near to you… you who are trying to follow God and the world at the same time, make your thinking pure.”

Really? All the times I’ve heard people repeat that verse to “come near to God and God will come near to you” is about Him helping me stay out of the ‘dark playground’?!?! Wow!!!! What a revelation! All I have to do is simply choose to start walking towards God instead of the dark playground… and HE will come near to me; perhaps even as fast as the Father looking for the prodigal son!

So… what do we now do with this awesome news?!? There is an answer to the dark playground… and that is the Light of the Father. I know, it seems so simple… and I also know that the playground will keep on calling and telling you that ‘this’ time it will be SO much better than the other times… ALL the cookies will taste as good as the first! But let’s be honest, we all know that is a lie. The pleasure is NEVER worth the pain.

So I’ll walk past those Fudgee-O’s today. Any encounter those cookies have with me never ends well. Instead I’ll choose to come closer to God knowing that He will come closer to me. Because as you and I both know, the longer you stay away from the dark playground, the more you wonder why you ever chose to go play there in the first place.

At least that’s how I see it,

 

C

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THE POWER OF THE PLASTIC THINGY

watch 1.001

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Galatians 6:10 NIV)

You’ve probably experienced it too. Tearing open the wrapping paper, opening up the box, and there you have it… a WATCH!!! Maybe that doesn’t excite you. Some people like watches, some don’t… but that’s not the point here. It’s in what happens next!

You stare at this watch face that seems frozen in time. Hands ready to fulfill their purpose. Gears tucked inside that you cannot see that are just waiting to interlock and command these two small pieces of metal to circulate in such a specific way that for years to come the bearer of this watch will always know what time it is… except for one problem. You haven’t pulled off the plastic thingy. You know… the plastic thingy that keeps the battery from draining before you open it.

And that my friend, is how little you need to stop the flow of its power. And likewise, it only takes the smallest of barriers to bring one’s purpose and ability to accomplish so much to a grinding halt. Simply place something in the way of connecting with others and with God and voila… you are now stuck in time… just like that watch.

Every day is flooded with opportunities. Opportunities to do nothing. Opportunities to do something. Paul says here that we should take these opportunities that God has given us to ‘connect’ with those around us. Remove the plastic thingies in your life that keep you from connecting with others and do something good for those around you. Make their lives better.

I think you’ll be surprised to find out that as you make their lives better, you’ll end up making your life better as well. For you’ll notice that once you start connecting with others around you and touching their lives, you’ll find out that it was all part of God’s plan from the beginning… all you needed to do was pull off the plastic thingy.

At least that’s how I see it,

Craig

You’re the Exact Sinner Jesus Was Looking For

Ever wonder why ‘you’ matter to God? Why is it that you… broken… damaged… and flawed matter to a God who could choose to work through SO many other, more qualified and exceptional people?

Because they aren’t ‘you’.

In my message on Sunday I used a passage found in Matthew 9 about the calling on Matthew and how it was only 26 verses later that Jesus sent him out to do ministry (that’s a pretty short probation period!!!!).

Kerry and I were talking in between the services and she shared how God revealed to her just how important “Matthew” was for Jesus to reach others. It says…

 “As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow me,’ he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

” While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.” (Matthew 9:9-10 NIV)

Why did Matthew make sure to point out that there were many sinners AND tax collectors at dinner with Jesus? Because HE himself was a tax collector. The reason that Jesus had the opportunity to reach those people is because Matthew himself was a tax collector and was able to reach out to people like him.

Sometimes you may wonder why you are the way that you are. You may think that you may not matter in the ‘big picture’… but you have absolutely no idea how incredibly valuable you are to what Jesus wants to accomplish. There are SO many unique people that He wants to reach out to… and has chosen YOU to be that person to bring them to Jesus; that as you sit around with people just like yourself, they can meet Jesus.

Over the next couple of weeks we’re going to keep looking at this whole idea of being a ‘disciple’ (follower) of Jesus. Just know today that YOU matter huge in the work that He continues to do.

At least that’s how I see it,

 

Craig

Whatcha Lookin’ At – Remix

Just sitting here at Starbucks thinking about yesterday’s service. If you weren’t there, we were talking about how we are to protect that which God has done in our lives and not let it go.

The truth is, I know of ‘many’ times when I’ve been at the altar, or the car, or the shower (yes, I pray in the shower) and I have really felt that God has ministered to me in a particular way. I (like many I’m sure) have felt the release of the bondage that has been there from past disobedience or ignorance.

I think of Ephesians 4:17 that says, “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.”

What a terrible thought to be separated from the ‘light of God’ due to ignorance… or disobedience… or as Paul says it, the ‘hardening of the heart’.

I don’t know about you but I don’t think there are too many people that ‘want’ their hearts to become hard… but yet they choose to allow the good that has happened in their lives to fall away.

Each and every one of us needs to recognize as much as God desires for us to change to be more like Him, the enemy desires for us to change right back to where we were.

We need to call on Him to help us cherish what He’s done and continue to press on.

At least that’s how I see it,

C