Tom’s Midweek Greeting
Crossroads Community Church
June 28, 2018
Caught and Taught
I was struck last night, at our home group study on “joy in spite of worry” from Philippians 4, by a single sentence Paul includes in that chapter:
“The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).
How interesting that Paul doesn’t just say, “Practice the things I taught you,” or “Do the things you saw me doing.” Instead, he balances four activities: “the things you learned, received, heard, and saw in me.”
As people who are building a church and growing disciples of the Lord Jesus, I wonder what people see and hear and learn and receive from us. How important that our faith is not words only. What are others seeing you in and me? What kind of example are we giving as people who actually do know the Lord, and also know how to derive daily strength, love, courage, and wisdom from him? What are you teaching and demonstrating today? What do people hear us say?
Oswald Chambers, whose biography I’ve been reading, founded in 1911, along with his wife Biddy, a Bible Training College in London for young people. The twenty-five students of the college met and lived in a large home God had miraculously provided. Other day-students and visitors were always welcome to the classes Chambers taught. But he made a statement about the college that echoes Paul’s statement in Philippians 4: “In community living, more was ‘caught’ than ‘taught.’”
What do people around us – inside and outside of Crossroads – “catch” from us?
Abandoned to God
I finally finished reading last week the biography of Oswald Chambers, Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God, by David McCasland. Oswald Chambers is perhaps best known as the author of the highest selling devotional book of all time, My Utmost for His Highest. It was actually his wife, Biddy, who put the book together and had it published following his death at age 43. Biddy was one of the best stenographers in England. (She once had a goal to do stenography for the Prime Minister of England.) For all their years together, she took short-hand notes of Oswald’s talks and sermons. He died suddenly, as a result of a ruptured appendix, while they were ministering with the YMCA to World War I soldiers stationed in Egypt.
I’ll share below just a few quotes that I highlighted for myself as I read the biography. I think they apply powerfully to our lives and to the goals we strive for at Crossroads. See if you don’t agree. Each is a quote from the book, and those found in quotation marks are statements from Chambers’ own journals and writings. I encourage you to get a copy of the biography and also a copy of My Utmost for His Highest if you want some spiritual rejuvenation this summer.
p. 13 — “I don’t care what God does. It’s what God is that I care about.” Oswald knew that God’s actions could be very confusing, while the Lord himself never was.
p. 26 – Oswald’s mother had four children in school each day, and four younger ones … at home. Her budget was meager and money was scarce, but none of her brood ever suspected that anything less than the abundance of the Almighty was theirs. She greeted each day with joy and each crisis with the assurance that the Lord would provide. She used their limited financial resources to create a home where gracious hospitality welcomed all who came.
p. 59 – “Have faith in the faithfulness of God.”
p. 113 – The purpose of prayer, in Chambers’ mind, was to get into step with God, not to manipulate or coerce him into blessing personal plans. Prayer is not a preparation for work; it is the work. Prayer is not preparation for the battle; it is the battle. Prayer is two-fold: definite asking, and definite waiting to receive.
p. 152 – He believed Jesus’ words, “Give to everyone who asks,” meant exactly that.
p. 159 – “I think of the days I have given over to thoughts and concerns other than Himself. How the prince of this world presses and throngs with clamors, more or less good, but all in order to keep us away from devoting all to Him.”
p. 171 – The work (of serving the Lord) will be “hard and glorious and arduous.”
p. 178 – His approach to the future was “Trust God and do the next thing. What duty lies nearest at hand?”
p. 181 – Providing an adequate house in London for the Bible Training College in 1910 was no problem for the Lord. Suddenly, He did just that, and everyone was startled by His generosity.
p. 184 – “Send us more students, O Lord, until this place is filled with men and women through whom Thou canst glorify Thyself throughout the world!”
p. 186 – At the Bible Training College, there was never an endowment, and never more money on hand to meet the needs beyond a week ahead. In spite of that, Chambers maintained a carefree attitude of faith and often paid for needed supplies out of his own pocket. The house existed in a spirit of freedom and informality where everyone came and went with perfect liberty.
p. 187 – Oswald unceasingly pressed the issue of personal fellowship with Christ.
p. 192 – Instead of inquiring about the way we should go, “what we need is to begin to walk in the way we already know.”
p. 194 – (written in September 1914): “There is one thing worse than war, and that is sin.”
Freedom and informality; personal fellowship with Christ; generosity; trust in God’s faithfulness; obedience (“do the next thing”) – all of these are qualities I see developing at Crossroads. The realization that building a church is “hard and glorious and arduous” work must be kept on our minds as well if we are to persevere and succeed. And finally, let’s not be afraid to join in Oswald’s prayer, “Lord, send us more people!” He prayed it and experienced God’s generosity. My wish is that many others in Nevada will enjoy what we have found in Christ and in each other at Crossroads.
Let’s keep our mind and prayers on the task ahead of us. I believe the coming school year will be a good one for us. Someone said to me recently, “Where people are growing spiritually, the church itself will also grow spiritually and eventually numerically.”
Worship this Sunday morning, 10:00, at the YMCA. We will worship around the Communion meal, and the sermon will be from Acts 28:1-10, Paul’s short and eventful stay on the island of Malta. What is God doing through the circumstances of our lives?
Middle School & High School Youth Group will meet Wednesdays, July 11 & 18, 6-8 pm. Check with Forrest for location and more information. Do you have a friend who would like to come with you? A great time to connect!
Elders and wives lunch with Joe Chenoweth, Sunday, July 8, immediately following worship, at Buzz’s BBQ. Joe Chenoweth is an elder at Cornerstone Community Church (Evangelical Free) in Harrisonville and is one of the three Young Life staff members helping to organize a new Young Life ministry in Nevada. Joe will worship with us that morning, so we’ll all have a chance to meet him and hear about how he is helping Young Life groups and local churches.
Last call for the Cardinals-Royals game. If you’re interested in going with some from Crossroads to the Royals vs. Cardinals game at Kauffman Stadium on August 10, Donna needs to hear from you by Sunday at the very latest! Thank you, and thanks, Donna!
Thanks to Phill and Judi Edwards for a fun time of fellowship at their home last Sunday afternoon!
See you Sunday!