But I hope you’ll read any way! I enjoy communicating with you, and I think it’s important that we do!
Hello, Crossroads Family!
Early in the Gospel of Luke, when Jesus was just beginning His ministry in Galilee and people were becoming acquainted with Him for the first time, there’s an incident in which He taught the crowd from a boat on the Sea of Galilee. It’s an amazing thing!
Following this teaching, He instructed Peter (one of the owners of the boat) to go out on the water and to cast his nets for fish. Peter’s initial response was this: “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing!”
How often do you feel like you’ve worked hard at something but without the expected results? Sometimes serving God seems that way. “I’ve been trying and trying, day in and day out, for a long time.” And the Lord says, “Go out and do it again.”
Perseverance, unwavering commitment, and trust in the Lord are qualities that make for strong people and strong Christians! The second part of Peter’s response to the Lord’s instruction is also significant: “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.”
An attitude like that is part of the message of Christmas. We remember that Mary, too, said to the angel Gabriel, upon the announcement that she, a virgin, would soon be carrying a supernaturally-conceived child, “I am the Lord’s servant; may it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:9) is a good word for us every day, and maybe especially at Christmas time when we hope to make a difference in people’s lives through special acts of love and the sharing of the Good News.
“Lord, we’ve worked hard all night and caught nothing! But at Your word, we’ll let down our nets … again!”
(By the way, as you may know, when Peter let down the nets again, he and his companions hauled in a miraculous catch of fish!)
Coming Up at Crossroads
Worship this Sunday morning, 10:00
We had a sweet time of worship and fellowship last Sunday, and I anticipate we will again this Sunday. I look forward to it with you. It’s Communion Sunday and, in addition to celebrating the Advent season, we’ll be reflecting on passages from the book of Romans about God’s gift of grace to us in Jesus Christ.
I read recently that the opposite of “sin” is not really “virtue,” but “grace.” We sometimes think we can earn favor with God (and counteract our sinfulness) through our righteous, virtuous acts. Yet, we will always fall short since God’s standard is perfection (Matthew 5:48). Instead, the opposite of sin (and the counter for our sins) is grace. “God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Can it be that God loves that much … and that He has provided such a remedy for us?
I hope to see you this Sunday morning at the Community Center. Come early; we’ll start on time with some reading from Romans.
Elders meeting this Sunday
Our church elders will meet this Sunday immediately following the worship service. Thanks for praying for the elders as they prepare to meet and discuss the life and ministry of Crossroads Church.
Home Group this Sunday evening, 6:00
We’re learning a lot about the Church and ourselves in our Sunday night Home Group! “Church History Made Easy: Discovering Your Spiritual Family Tree” has been our subject. This coming Sunday night will be our last session before a break for the holidays. (We’ll have one more session in January.) Join us at 6:00 at my house, 628 W. Arch Street, even if you haven’t come regularly this semester!
Among other things, this Sunday night we’ll take a look at coming of the pilgrims to America. The changes in the Church in England and in America were profound at this point in time and directly impact who we are today. We’ll study the beginning of what some consider to be a conflict between Church and Science. We’ll see where the idea of personal holiness, and a personal walk with God, came from. We’ll learn about the beginning of the Baptist movement and ask why water baptism has been at times a divisive issue in the Church.
Who are we as Christians, and where did we come from? You’ll find some answers to those questions Sunday night at Home Group!
MAMS group, next Wednesday, 7 pm
All women and your friends are invited to the Martha’s & Mary’s group Wednesday, December 7, at 7 pm for conversation, encouragement, and support. Meet at Michelle Mooneyham’s home, 602 N. Washington!
Congregational Meeting, December 18
All are invited to a congregational meeting following worship on Sunday, December 18. On the agenda will be the election of an elder, and a vote on a proposed church budget for 2023. Thanks for being in prayer ahead of time for these decisions.
We’re also looking forward, during worship on the 18th, to hearing from Brooklyne Sederwall, a student at College of the Ozarks who served on a summer missions outreach in Spain last summer with Greater Europe Mission. You may remember me sharing some highlights from her emails last summer.
Christmas Eve service, 6 pm
You’re invited to a good time of fellowship and worship at the Community Center on December 24th at 6 pm. Refreshments to follow. We should finish by 7:00. Bring your family and friends who need a place to worship that evening. We will also have worship as usual on Sunday morning, the 25th, at 10:00.
About “New” Things and Changes in Our Lives
As I mentioned last Sunday morning, I continue to think about our recent sermon on the transforming power of Christ in our lives — moving on from “That’s just who I am” to becoming all God intends us to be in Him.
I was struck this week by two Bible references to “new” things in our lives. (One, like the story of Peter, was in Luke 5.)
Psalm 33:3 says, “Sing to the Lord a new song ; play skillfully with a shout of joy.” As much as I enjoy old, familiar songs, I’m glad to have opportunities to learn new songs of praise and worship to God. (Maybe some of us should write our own songs?) “Play skillfully and with joy” is another instruction / command I seek to live up to.
In Luke 5, as Jesus begins to institute changes in the Jews’ understanding of God and their approach to Him, He talks about the danger of putting new wine into old wineskins, and of sewing a new piece of cloth on an old garment. Then He also says, “No one, after drinking old wine wishes for the new.” Instead, that person says to himself, “The old is good enough.”
I thought how often in life (especially as I grow older) I say, “The old is good enough. Things were better the way they used to be.” I think we have an indication here of the Lord’s desire to grrrroooowwww us. Let’s let Him do that! I know I need it! What new things is God doing in your life? What new things are you pretty sure He wants to do but you’ve been resisting? How can we retain what is good about the old, and yet move forward into becoming new creatures in Christ?
“Master, at your command we let down our nets!”