Hello, Crossroads Family!
Last Sunday was a special day for us! I praise God for the good fellowship, for your open hearts and minds in worship, and for those who followed the Lord in baptism — Matt, Jaci, Grayson, and Paxton. Thanks to the Vestals for opening their home and pool; thanks to all who provided delicious food! We have amazing cooks at Crossroads!
Just a couple reminders today, and I’m also including some communications from ministry partners in the Evangelical Free Church.
Thanks for your prayers for Kamp Keirsey this week. God blessed the high school camp which finishes today. About 50 high school campers.
Thanks to those who helped move Alex and Emily and Dean Lewis last Saturday!
Several at Crossroads are dealing with physical ailments and/or are caring for loved ones experiencing physical needs at this time. Please remember to pray for each other.
Don’t forget to keep our missionaries in your prayers: Colin Welch in France; Jesse and Erica McCallister in Berlin; Tyrell and Rachel Shoemaker in Chicago. Concerning Lawson and Shay Albey, who visited Crossroads this spring and are with ReachGlobal to Turkey. Please be in prayer for the Albey family! Finally, another missionary candidate with ReachGlobal who has met with our Crossroads Missions Team is Sandy Dicus. Sandy is from Arkansas and is lacking just a small part of her needed monthly support to begin serving in Greece. How exciting that God is sending workers into the harvest field! Please offer a prayer to God for Sandy as He brings her to your mind.
Worship this Sunday
You’re invited to gather again this Sunday at the Community Center, starting at 10:00, for worship. I look forward to seeing many of you then! Attendance at church is closely linked to our own personal spiritual disciplines. (Someone even offered to me a comparison between church and AA meetings! If you don’t attend the meetings, it’s likely you also won’t be working on your own personal program during the week. What an interesting comparison!)
Home Group, July 31, 6 pm
Everyone is invited to the conclusion of our study in the Psalms of Ascents, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, on July 31, at Cris and Donna’s house. We would love to have you join us for study and discussion of Psalms 130 and 132. We plan to eat dinner together that night too!
We’re planning a short congregational meeting immediately following worship on Sunday, August 20. Everyone is invited. We’ll discuss fall plans, look at church finances, and pray together. We also are planning another church fellowship event that afternoon following the meeting. More details coming. Mark your calendar for a fun day.
Ministry happenings in the Evangelical Free Church
Here’s a link to the most recent newsletter from Mark Farran, one of our Associate Superintendents for the Central District of the Evangelical Free Church. Mark does a good job in this letter bringing us up to speed on new works and needs within the Central District. Some of our Crossroads elders have met Mark; he’s a friend of mine, and his wife serves in the Central District office in Iowa. Mark needs some additional ministry funding at this time.
Here’s a link to the statement I mentioned last week that came from the Evangelical Free Church of America. It’s a good statement concerning cultural and societal issues in our world today. I encourage you to read it.
My friend and former missionary colleague Hank Griffith recently sent out some biblical thoughts on life and death. He asks the question, “What is permanent in life?” Hank has done a good job here encouraging us and giving perspective on the fact that our lives are finite in their duration on earth. I’ve copied Hank’s thoughts below. I hope you’ll take some time to read it.
Have a great end of the week! I hope to see you Sunday morning!
What is permanent in life?
One day at The Rivers where I volunteer twice a week, we sang “Abide With Me,” an old hymn I hadn’t sung for years. The second stanza stood out to me perhaps because as I minister to older folks I see a lot of change, sickness, and death. In our ever-changing world it is helpful to think about what, rather WHO, is truly permanent:
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away
Change and decay in all around I see
O Thou who changest not, abide with me
With age I increasingly appreciate that our God is immutable.
“But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end. (Psalm 102:27)
“For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. (Malachi 3:6)
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
Every good thing given, and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (James 1:17)
“And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:14)
Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” (John 6:27)
The crowd then answered Him, “We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” (John 12:34)
And like a mantle You will roll them up; Like a garment they will also be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end.” (Hebrews 1:12)
For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. (1 Peter 1:23)
Knowing who God is:
“I want to suggest that knowing your place in the world, and knowing that your times in God’s hands, provide the most wonderful ballast when all around is tumult and chaos. Mature believers know who God is, so they know their own place in the times in which they live.” (David Gibson, Scottish pastor)
This perspective comes from the book of Ecclesiastes:
One of the most helpful things to know when reading this book is that the Hebrew word “hebel,” often translated “meaningless” (NIV) or “vanity” (ESV), is far better translated “mist, vapor, or shadow.” The idea is not that life has no purpose or value; rather, the book of Ecclesiastes is a long meditation on the reality that man is simply a breath (hebel); his days are like a passing shadow. The genius of Ecclesiastes, however, is that it sets our brevity against God’s eternity. The more we come to terms with how we’re like a morning mist (here one moment and gone the next), the more we’re free to enjoy life as being a gift from God. This can only happen as we contemplate the constancy of God. He is not like us. He is the Creator and the judge of all the earth. “For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Eccl. 12:14).
Unlike our lives, nothing diminishes about God over the course of time.
What we see as being divided by time, God possesses all at once. Hence, philosophers have well said that neither the future nor the past (“He will be,” or “He was”), but only the present (“He is”) can properly apply to God. God embraces forever all of time – the past, the present, and the future. Nothing in him can be past or future because his life always remains the same and unchangeable. (Francis Turretin, 1623-1687)
A final thought:
As my mother was getting older, she was looking forward to heaven, partially because there was so much she didn’t understand in our fast-changing world. Seeing numerous changes in technology and in society in general, she made the comment to me one day, “The world is leaving me behind.” I now understand her sentiments, but I must remind myself to stay as current as I can in this fast-changing world so that I can impart God’s never-changing Word in a relevant way to the younger generations.