Hello, Crossroads Family!
Romans 11:29 says, “The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” While the immediate context of that statement has to do with God’s calling of Israel as a people chosen to serve Him, I have a good friend and mentor who felt that statement applies to us, too, individually. In other words, God gifts each of us in certain ways, and places a certain kind of calling on our lives, which He doesn’t intend to change during our lifetime. Our lives have a specific purpose and a calling unique to each one of us.
I’ve been reading the book of Acts this week and, as I’ve come to the end of the book, I’ve asked myself (as perhaps you have too) why so much time is spent on a long, detailed account of Paul’s trip, through storm and shipwreck, to Rome. It’s an interesting read if you’re a sailor or a weatherman!
Three times at the end of Acts, either an angel or the Lord Himself appears to Paul and says two things: The first is, “Don’t be afraid.” The second is, in essence, “I’m going to fulfill the purposes for which I’ve called you.” These are important reminders for us as we go through the storms of life.
As I think about God’s calling and purposes for my own life, several thoughts come to mind. While I’ve spent 31 years in pastoral ministry, I think there are other callings God has had on my life that go deeper and started even earlier.
God certainly placed upon Diana’s heart and mine the challenge of living a life of faith. We were both impressed by people who trusted God fully and served Him by faith — people like George Mueller, Oswald Chambers, Jim and Elisabeth Elliot. I remember the joy and adventure of packing up all our belongings — including a piano and a wringer washer — for our original mission assignment in Zaire (Congo). Our lives were carried along by the prayers and kindnesses of many people and churches who wanted to invest in that work with us. Our decision to have a large family was a faith decision that involved a lot of work and expense but was also so rewarding. Even my coming to Crossroads — a single, widower pastor with one high schooler and two middle schoolers — was by faith. Do you remember how the church figured it had enough to pay me for one year? And now we’ll soon be coming to the end of eight years together! God is so good!
A gifting for encouraging others in their relationship with God is something He gave me early on. I grew up in a happy home and in a happy church setting. The joy of belonging to the Lord; the idea that on the cross Jesus became legally guilty of my sins, and now I’m no longer guilty; the knowledge that God is sovereign and faithful to fulfill His promises concerning me and our world — who wouldn’t be happy about all that ? “My times are in Your hands,” says Psalm 31. What a wonderful truth that is; and one with which we can encourage each other!
Making disciples (or growing disciples) has been another part of my calling. Of course, this was Diana’s great calling and love, and in many ways it rubbed off on me through her. Colossians 1:28-29 has meant a lot to me — “We proclaim Christ, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose I labor according to His power at work in me.” I love the idea that we haven’t yet seen the “finished product” of what God wants to make out of our lives. I hope we can have the patience and faith necessary to see that finished product fully developed.
What’s the calling of Crossroads Church? I’m sure I don’t know all the answers to that question, but the ministry over the past eight years has primarily been one of growing disciples. I hope we’ll hang on to that vision even as our understanding of the church’s calling expands. Bringing people into an ever-deepening relationship with God and with others is really what we want to be doing; it’s what we want to invite others to be a part of too.
I’m excited about the visit from Tyrell Shoemaker this Sunday. While Tyrell and Rachel’s ministry objectives in Chicago are changing some, I love their heart for children and young people and hope that will rub off on us some. We have a good Children’s Church ministry right now, but it’s in need of additional volunteers since the age range of our young people is growing!
I’m excited about Julie Kemper’s initiative in getting Crossroads people involved at Bushwhacker Days as a way for us to rub shoulders with people in our community. I hope you’ll respond to Julie’s invitations to help June 8-10.
I’m excited about a summer home group I’m organizing with Alex and Emily Lewis. We’re going to do a study of the classic book on discipleship, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, by Eugene Peterson (who also wrote the Message version of the Bible). I hope you’ll plan to be part of the group once we nail down the details!
There’s more to look forward to and be excited about — our Youth Group and its ongoing study on who God is; upcoming fellowship opportunities (There are still some dates open if you would like to be in charge of organizing a fellowship event for the church this summer or fall!) ; Kamp Keirsey (summer camp for high school students in Amsterdam, MO, July 16-20, led by Jessica); and more small group opportunities in the fall.
I appreciate our church elders who are trying to develop a vision for us that goes beyond Sunday morning only. They take their role seriously and do so while juggling their own pressures at home and in their work world.
Each person at Crossroads has an important calling and role to play. As we do so faithfully, God accomplishes His purposes.
I like what Paul says in Galatians 1:24 about how God worked through his own life while people looked on: “They were glorifying God because of me.” May that be true of us at Crossroads; may people glorify God because of what they see Him doing in our lives!
- Worship at 10:00 at the Community Center. Tyrell Shoemaker will share about his call to ministry and the work he and Rachel and their family have in the inner city of Chicago. We have the privilege of being part of that work!
- Youth Group at Jessica’s following the service. 402 S. Washington Street. Lunch, study, and fellowship.
Elders Meeting, May 7
Thanks for praying for Shane, Dave, Forrest, and myself. If you have a need or something that we need to discuss on the 7th, please be sure to let one of us know. Thank you!
Graduation Celebration, May 14
May 14th is not only Mother’s Day this year, but we will also celebrate Kourtnee Vestal’s high school graduation at the conclusion of our worship service. I hope you can hang around for a few minutes after the service for refreshments and prayer for Kourtnee. Exceptionally on the 14th, there will be no Children’s Church / Nursery.
- I’ll be in Columbia this Friday and Saturday, accompanying five of our NHS vocal music students at State Music Contest. I look forward to their performances! All five are singing beautifully at this point!
- Our high school musical, “Bye Bye, Birdie,” runs May 4-6, at 7 pm at the Performing Arts Center at Nevada High School. Come out and enjoy an evening of fun entertainment!
- My son Billy graduates from medical school on May 6! He and Hannah will move to Wichita this summer where Billy will begin residency.
- Jason and Emma are moving to Albert City, Iowa, where Jason will be the new lead pastor at the Albert City Evangelical Free Church. Today is the first day of their 3-day cross-country move.
- I’ll be preaching the Senior Sermon (Baccalaureate) at Nevada High School Sunday evening, May 14. I would appreciate your prayers.
- My youngest granddaughter, Clara, turned two yesterday, and I’ll turn 61 this week!
Have a great week, and I hope to see you Sunday, if not before!
There will be no sermon on Facebook this week. Take time to catch up on the Revelation sermons if you need to!