Hello, Crossroads Family!
It would be great if the spirit of Thanksgiving spilled over into our Christmases, wouldn’t it? Although I enjoy the Christmas season, I hate to let go of the simplicity and the positive, grateful spirit that surrounds Thanksgiving.
The other morning I felt led to make a list I’ve called “What We Have” at Crossroads. It’s easy, when a church is small, to think about all the things we don’t have, or things we think we need. Here’s a list of what we have — all really good things. It’s kind of random, for sure, and I’m certain I’ve left out many things that should be on the list. Why don’t you see what you could add to the list!
What We Have at Crossroads
- women who care for each other (Why this is first on the list, I don’t know, other than it’s just something I noticed last Sunday. Thank you, women, for reaching out to each other. You are all unique, and I enjoy watching you make the effort to bridge differences in order to love each other and care for each other!)
- a place to meet
- strong families
- committed leaders of worship (committed to planning, leading, growing as leaders)
- a committed, faithful greeter team
- an enthusiastic missions team
- a functioning Elder Board committed to growing in their role as church elders/shepherds
- many opportunities for fellowship
- good food at all our fellowship events
- good food on Sunday mornings!
- a relaxed atmosphere for worship
- giving that is currently meeting expenses
- some financial reserve
- people committed to prayer
- a committed, faithful set-up team
- many people who help tear down and pack up each Sunday
- many people involved in discipleship
- opportunities to meet in small groups
- a growing children’s ministry
- good singers
- people ministering in our community and beyond
- people with hearts for their friends and loved ones who don’t yet know the Lord
- a fun youth group
- a history of overcoming obstacles with God’s help
- Bible-centered ministry
- an easy place to park on Sundays
- a desire to experience abundant spiritual life (John 10:10)
- support from the Evangelical Free Church Central District and from other friends like Joe Chenoweth, Jason Burrows, Shane McCasslin, and others
- portable equipment that meets our needs
- many answers to prayer
- new missionaries
- people who pray for us
- growing relationships
We could also make a list of things we don’t have, or things we think we need. For example, we don’t have a softball team. (I kind of miss our old softball team!) As we all know, we need a more permanent place of our own in which to meet and to invite people to. All churches, including ours, need ongoing training in leadership, discipleship, and friendship. But I’m grateful for what we have. We are rich in many ways.
MAMS tonight at 7:00 for all women and their friends. Meet at Michelle’s home, 602 N. Washington St.
Worship this Sunday morning, 10:00 at the Community Center. “Discovering Christmas in Revelation” will be our theme. The sermon will be posted on FB if you’re not able to be with us in person.
Congregational meeting, December 18. Everyone is invited to stay for the meeting following the worship service on the 18th. The Nominating Committee has nominated Forrest Drury for the open place on the Elder Board. We’ll vote on that nomination and on a budget proposal for 2023.
Christmas Eve worship, 6 pm on the 24th. Christmas morning worship, 10:00, on December 25th. Both at the Community Center.
Following Up on Romans
Thanks for your patience and attentiveness as we worked through Romans 1-6 last Sunday — “Discovering Christmas in Romans.” The grace of God offered to us through Jesus is truly overwhelming.
- “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
- “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect?” (Romans 8:33). Well, no one, in the end, thanks to Jesus bearing the guilt of our sins. Amazing! We thank God for such a gift, and for a new relationship with Him!
I found the following passage from Mike Mason’s book, The Gospel According to Job, helpful in understanding the message of Romans. Job’s friends were quick to point out what they considered to be Job’s many shortcomings. Yet, they offered no hope. Here’s what Mason writes:
True enough, the Bible paints man in the lowest possible terms as a creature not only frail and ephemeral, but utterly corrupt. Yet at the same time, Scripture has an incredibly high view — indeed a most amazingly exalted view — of man’s rightful status in creation, both of his original pristine nature and of his ultimate destiny. Thus, whenever the Apostle Paul speaks to people of God, his tone is very different from that of the friends of Job. Never do we catch Paul placing undue emphasis on how worthless, abject, and degraded we are, fit only to crawl on our bellies in the dust. Instead he reminds us that we are the “dearly loved children of God,” and he continually balances his teaching about sin with words of staggeringly lofty encouragement, such as those that open the epistle to the Ephesians:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us to be adopted as his son” (Eph 1:3-5)
Naturally, we are utterly unworthy of such high privileges. But as George Muller wrote, “Do not let the consciousness of your unworthiness keep you from believing what God has said concerning you. If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus, then the precious privilege of being in partnership with the Father and the Son is yours.”
I’m surprised to be the keynote speaker at a parenting conference on Saturday, January 8, at Emma and Jason’s church, Oakwood Church, in Tampa, Florida. Three 45-minute sessions followed by Q & A. I’m looking forward to it! And as I’ve had some time to prepare, I’m so grateful for the resources and people God poured into our lives as Diana and I were raising children at home! My heart sympathizes and rejoices with you who are in the midst of that task, and for all who have influence in the lives of young people! It’s important work you’re doing!
I hope to share some of my presentation on a couple of Sunday mornings in February at Crossroads. I hope you’ll think about inviting some friends for those couple of Sundays. I think the principles could be helpful.
Thanks for your prayers for me as I prepare this month and then travel in January. Our friend Dale Losch, president of Crossworld Mission in Kansas City, will preach in my place here at Crossroads on January 8. Dale and his wife Jerusha are longtime friends, missionary colleagues from our days in France. Dale has written two books: A Better Way: Make Disciples Wherever Life Happens, and Giving Outside the Box: Generous Now. Rich Forever. Both are available on Amazon.
I hope to see you this Sunday morning!