Hello, Crossroads Family!
I enjoyed our worship service very much yesterday! It was great to see new faces and to enjoy fellowship with the “family”! There’s much thinking and thoughtfulness that happens within our congregation every week in big and little ways. To me it’s like a little buzz of spiritual electricity as I see you serve each other and reach out in different ways.
I’m also grateful for your attentiveness to God’s Word. Recently I read someone describe preaching this way:
In preaching, the preacher “speaks the truth of Scripture in the language of the congregation’s present experience.”
I like that description — speaking the Scripture in the language of our current experience. I hope that’s what’s happening Sunday by Sunday at Crossroads. I’m so grateful for the use of the Community Center on Sunday mornings, aren’t you?
I look forward to gathering again for worship next Sunday morning at 10:00. Let’s be praying for people we can invite to join us!
Also, don’t forget Monday Night Prayer tonight at 5 pm at my house, 628 West Arch Street. I’d love to have you join us! It’s informal, worshipful, and refreshing. We discuss, pray, and sometimes even sing(!) for 45 minutes or an hour. Come when you can; leave when you need to.
Please add Darrell Hillier to your prayer list. Darrell is a dear neighbor of Mark and Michelle Mooneyham. He and his family need God’s special care in their lives at this time. Thank you. Continue to keep Jessica and Kamp Keirsey in your prayers. Camp starts this coming Sunday afternoon.
A Long Obedience
I had some time yesterday afternoon to read another chapter in Eugene Peterson’s book A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. The chapter was on Psalm 121 which, in the Message version of the Bible, reads like this:
I look to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
He won’t let you stumble; your Guardian God won’t fall asleep. Not on your life!
Israel’s Guardian will never doze or sleep.
God’s your Guardian, right at your side to protect you — shielding you from sunstroke, sheltering you from moonstroke.
God guards you from every evil, he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return;
He guards you now, he guards you always.
Below are some comments Peterson makes in his chapter on this psalm. These may seem random to you, especially taken out of the context of the chapter, but I thought they were powerful enough on their own to share them with you here. I hope they encourage you as you start this new week!
- There are times when finding out we are wrong is a sudden and immediate relief, allowing us to lift up our heads in hope. No longer do we have to keep doggedly trying to do something that isn’t working. Does my strength come from the mountains? Psalm 121 is the neighbor coming over and telling us we are doing it the wrong way, looking in the wrong place for help.
- For many, the first great surprise of the Christian life is in the form of troubles we meet. Somehow it is not what we had expected. We are rudely awakened, and we look around for help, scanning the horizon for someone who will give us aid: “I look up to the moun-tains; does my strength come from mountains?”
- “God guards you from every evil.” The promise of the psalm … is not that we shall never stub our toes but that no injury, no illness, no accident, no distress will have evil power over us, that is, will be able to separate us from God’s purposes in us.
- Do you think the way to tell the story of the Christian journey is to describe its trials and tribulations? It is not. It is to name and to describe God who preserves, accompanies, and rules us. The only serious mistake we can make when illness comes, when anxiety threatens, or when conflict disturbs our relationships is to conclude that God has gotten bored looking after us and has shifted his attention to a more exciting Christian, or that God has become disgusted with our meandering obedience and has decided to let us fend for ourselves for a while, or that God has gotten too busy fulfilling prophecy in the Middle East to take time now to sort out the complicated mess we have gotten ourselves into. It is this mistake that Psalm 121 prevents: the mistake of supposing God’s interest in us waxes and wanes in response to our spiritual temperature.
- We Christians believe that life is created and shaped by God and that the life of faith is a daily exploration of the constant and countless ways in which God’s grace and love are experienced.
Monday Night Prayer Tonight, 5 pm
Worship Next Sunday, 10 am
Church Picnic, July 24, Following Worship
We’ll enjoy a fried chicken lunch at Radio Springs Park immediately following worship. If you plan to join us, please let Heather Vestal know how many there will be, and please sign up to bring drinks, chips, or a dessert. Sign-up sheet at church next Sunday, or text Heather. Chicken, sides, and paperware will be provided.
Concerned Women for America Conference this Saturday in Nevada
Concerned Women for America (CWA) of Missouri invites you to a conference in Nevada on the subjects of Gender & Sexuality Issues, and Critical Race Theory. Saturday, July 16, 1-5 pm, at Enchanted Prairie Farm, 17557 East Stockade Road. The event is free, but registration is required. To register, please call Edith McReynolds at 918-527-7604. The speakers will provide a Biblical worldview approach to these two issues. The speakers will be Dr. Alan Branch, Dr. Mary Byrne, and CWA State Director, Bev Ehlen.
I was reminded last week of our need to continue to pray for people whose lives have been disrupted by the war in Ukraine. One ministry leader reaching out to people in Poland writes that their Polish ministry partners are working tirelessly to meet needs. “There is no end in sight. People are uprooted and arrive with no housing or income. In addition, people still in Ukraine are running out of food and fuel.”
People have left families, careers, and homes. They are displaced not only into various countries of Europe but even within Ukraine itself. It’s hard for us to imagine cities that normally housed thousands of people now trying to house tens of thousands or more! Let’s be diligent to ask God to meet physical, spiritual, and emotional needs — for strength needed by those directly affected by the war, and for those working hard to meet needs. God has shown that it’s in his nature to respond to intercessory prayer. Let’s confidently ask on behalf of people living in this part of the world.