Hello, Crossroads Family!
A reminder concerning this Sunday, April 17, at the Community Center:
Easter Breakfast starting at 9:00. Contact Michaela if you have any last-minute questions.
Worship starting at 10:00.
We’re looking forward to being together, and with others, to celebrate the Lord’s resurrection and life among us! Come early and enjoy the fellowship. We’ll start worship promptly at 10:00.
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures …” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
Fellowship Night, April 24
Mark your calendar for an evening of fellowship, music, and games at Nevada Assembly of God on Sunday, April 24, starting at 5 pm. The church address is 2247 N. Osage. Please plan to bring a snack to share. Water will be provided.
Garage Sale May 6th and 7th
Mark and Michelle are having a church garage sale May 6th and 7th at their home. Items brought can either be donated to support the church’s building fund, or you can let Michelle know and she will track your items so you can make some extra money. Please price any items you are bringing to the sale. Items can either be brought to their home or put in the back of their truck on Sundays. Items leftover will be donated to the Moss House. Contact us for their information. Thank you!
The Difficult Job of Making Decisions
We often find ourselves in a position of having to make an important decision, either individually, as a family, or as a church. As Christians, we sometimes put added pressure on ourselves by thinking we need to “get it right,” i.e. hit the bull’s eye of God’s will.
Since most of us don’t like making decisions (we would rather remain passive and let others decide), and since we also feel as Christians that there’s this added element of making the choice that’s God’s will, we tend to look for “signs,” or we hope to hear a voice, or we seek some special feeling or unusual guidance, somewhat like Gideon who laid out a fleece twice and sought special signs from God.
While God certainly can direct you, in special or miraculous ways, to reach a decision about something, I believe He also wants to train us to become good decision-makers ourselves.
Take a look at Acts 15-16 where the new Christians in and around Jerusalem are having to make very important decisions concerning their churches. There’s the question of what to do with Gentiles who are coming in larger and larger numbers into this Jewish Church … and there’s also the question of what to do with some new leaders in the Church, specifically Paul who seems to have a special ministry of reaching out to Gentiles.
As these Christians sought to make wise and right decisions, I’ve noticed three things:
- Four times in the story, those involved in decision-making said, “It seemed good to us …” (Acts 15:22,25,28,34). After much discussion and debate involving many people, the Church leaders had to simply do what seemed right (good) to them. Nothing wrong with that, if that’s where you’re at in a decision-making process.
- Three times in the story, it’s written that the Holy Spirit of God directed:
- in 15:28, where the church leadership writes, “It seemed good to us and to the Holy Spirit …”
- in 16:7, where it says that Paul was seeking to travel into a certain part of Asia Minor, but “the Spirit of Jesus did not permit him.”
- in 16:14, where Paul and his team were trying to reach people, and the Lord (Holy Spirit) “opened the heart” of a woman named Lydia.
It’s amazing that, with respect to decisions we have to make, God is working in mysterious ways behind the scenes. He is involved in leading us. We don’t know exactly how the Holy Spirit prevented Paul from traveling where he wanted to go, or just how the Holy Spirit opened Lydia’s heart; we’re simply told that He did.
- Three times in the story, we read “Paul chose.”
- Paul chose not to take Mark on the journey he was about to set out on (15:38). In fact, he insisted Mark not go.
- Paul chose to take Silas with him instead. Paul chose Silas and left, with the approval of the church members, according to 15:40.
- Paul chose to take on a new team member, Timothy, when he got to Lystra (16:3), a town where Paul had previously been attacked.
Isn’t decision-making interesting? We should not lose heart or grow weary through the process. In my own experience, I’ve found several things to be important:
- Prayer, including prayers of confession in order to keep my heart and motives pure. I’ve found that God does, indeed, end up giving us, in some fashion, the things our hearts desire or have been wired for. (Psalm 37 is a key psalm, as is Psalm 20, I’ve found.)
- Getting input from mature men and womenwho demonstrate a close walk with the Lord. Listen to them! Don’t cast off their advice just because it seems contrary to your own thoughts.
- Patience. As we pray, as we contemplate, God is at work. Most of the time in my life, by the time I’ve reached a point of decision, I find God has gone ahead of me. Patience is key, and sometimes much We’re in such a hurry!
- Don’t discount feelings. Some of us Christians think our feelings are always untrustworthy. We shouldn’t be afraid to take the temperature of our feelings as a part of decision-making. If we’re keeping a clean heart with God, our feelings can be helpful too.
- Make a decision. Passivity doesn’t seem to be an outstanding quality of the people God has used in history. As a friend of mine said to me recently, when you’re at a point of decision where it seems either direction could be the right thing to do, go ahead and decide with faith. God has many ways of re-routing you back to the right course if you miscalculate.
How Not to Lose Heart
Dr. Terry Powell, of Columbia International University, recently shared these Bible verses in his blog, penetratingthedarkness.com, for help in times where you feel like you might lose heart. I hope you’ll read some of these passages if any of these particular situations pertain to you.
I look forward to being with you this Sunday! Please be praying in advance for our special morning this Sunday, that lives (including yours and mine) would be impacted!
- when you don’t feel God’s presence — Isaiah 41:10 ; Matthew 28:20 ; John 14:16 ; Hebrews 13:5
- when you don’t believe you can keep overcoming a particular temptation — 1 John 4:4 ; 1 Corinthians 10:13 ; 2 Thessalonians 3:3
- when you’re experiencing uncertainty or delay — Psalm 27:13-14 ; Psalm 62:5-8
- when you’re in a dark, depressive episode — Micah 7:8 ; Psalm 54:4
- when you tell yourself things are hopeless — Lamentations 3:22-25 ; Romans 15:13
- when you’re fearful or threatened by things like terrorism or pandemics — Psalm 46:1-2,10 ; Psalm 56:3-4
- when Satan whispers that God is angry at you over past sins — Romans 5:1-2 ; Romans 8:1 ; 1 John 2:1-2
- when the burden you’re bearing is about to break you — Psalm 55:22 ; Psalm 68:19 ; Matthew 11:28-30
- when you’re browbeating yourself over weakness or mistakes — Psalm 73:25-26 ; 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 ; 2 Corinthians 4:7
- when you’re heart is broken and you’re not sure God cares — Psalm 30:5 ; Psalm 34:18-19 ; Psalm 147:3 ; Zephaniah 3:17
- when you tell yourself you can’t succeed in a task or ministry to which God has called you — 1 Corinthians 15:58 ; 2 Corinthians 3:5-6
- when you look at the frightening world situation and start to doubt God is actually in control — Ephesians 1:11 ; Psalm 103:19
- when you’re tired, unsettled, or even scared of what the future may hold — Psalm 71:9,17-21