Hello, Crossroads Family!
Although we were a small group this past Sunday, we were blessed in a powerful way by God’s presence and the message we received from Jason Burrows, from Matthew 15, on the question of “Do Traditions Ever Get Confused with Truth?”
As it turns out, it’s an important question. Even some of the good traditions we’ve grown up with in church can be close to the truth but just slightly enough out of sync with what God has truly said that they create some negative results in our lives: confusion, conflict, feelings of superiority, or a fixation on minor aspects of the Christian life … or even, as Jason pointed out, a sense of emptiness.
One thought from Sunday’s sermon which I thought was particularly important is this: Many people who have grown up in the church or have been in church for any length of time, have a familiarity with the Bible but don’t actually read, study, or know the Bible on their own. We substitute what seems familiar to us with what the Bible really says. We remember traditions, but we miss the deeper heart issues the Lord is usually trying to address.
A good discussion came up at the table many of us ate at following the service: How should Christians spend the Sabbath? Is it okay to work on Sunday? Some at our table were going to work after lunch. Some at our table weren’t going to work but would spend a large part of the afternoon napping. That’s not work, but is that what it means to observe the Sabbath? Others wouldn’t be working or napping but would likely spend the afternoon watching college basketball. Is that a good way to observe the Sabbath? Do you see how troublesome traditions and external regulations can become? Jesus is always digging down deeper. He concludes the Matthew 15 lesson to His disciples by saying it’s not eating with unwashed hands that makes a person unclean; it’s what’s in our heart (Matt 15:20).
I’m proud of you all in these two ways:
- You are a welcoming church. I’m certain Jason felt welcomed and at ease among us. I’m glad you are willing to receive new people into your circle. Not only did God bless us through Jason’s visit, but I trust it was an experience God used for his good, too.
- You have an appetite for God’s Word. You’re willing to be taught, and you understand that’s what occurs any time we open our hearts and Bibles at the same time. Of course, what’s important now is not just to have received a teaching ; let’s put what we received into practice !
Okay, so just what is going to happen on Sunday evening, April 3? … and why? … and who’s it for? … and why should you go?
On April 3, from 7:00 – 8:00 pm, at my house, we’re going to spend some time talking about tips for putting together, and delivering, a sermon! There really are some practical, nuts-and-bolts steps that go into preparing a sermon. Some of the basic ideas of sermon-preparation are easy for anyone to understand and should be part of what all of us do in personal Bible study.
Crossroads has been blessed, on Sundays when I’ve been away, with some gifted and godly visiting preachers. Yet, we really should be training up some from within our own church who can, when needed, bring a teaching to us from God’s Word. And even if you think you will never preach a sermon, what we’ll talk about on April 3 will be useful to anyone who might be in a position of teaching others Bible truths. And if you think you’ll never do that either, what we’ll discuss on April 3 will help you be a better hearer of sermons and a better student of the Bible. So plan to come!
And, truth is, as we anticipate my transition out of the pastorate at Crossroads, we really will need some in our congregation who are ready to step up to the plate from time to time.
So mark your calendar! As always, it will be…
- … fun: We’ll enjoy good fellowship and probably eat something!
- … helpful: You’ll grow spiritually and better appreciate the Bible.
- … interactive: There will be lots of opportunities for participation and questions.
- … non-threatening: There will be plenty of laughter, I’m sure!
Our sermon this coming Sunday (March 27) will also be on the topic of preaching and preachers, from 2 Timothy 4:2 — “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season! Reprove, rebuke, and exhort with great patience and instruction!” Why preaching? Are sermons still really even needed today? What’s our relationship to preaching … and to a preacher?
Worship this Sunday morning, March 27
10:00 at the Community Center. Final session of “Breathe” Bible Study, 9:00-10:00.
Youth Group next Wednesday, March 30
6:30 pm at the Cris & Donna’s house, *contact us for the location* Invite a friend!
Sermon-Crafting Workshop, April 3
7:00 pm at my house, 628 W. Arch Street. Everyone welcome!
Easter Breakfast, April 17
We’ll have breakfast together Easter Sunday morning prior to the worship service. Don’t forget to sign up with Michaela to bring something if you’re able. Again, be thinking and praying about someone you might invite to join us.
Fellowship Night, April 24, 5 pm
We’re invited to an evening of fellowship, music, and games with our friends at Nevada Assembly of God on Sunday, April 24th, starting at 5 pm. More details to come !
Thoughts about Heaven
A powerful description of death and eternal life is given by C.S. Lewis in the final lines of the last book in his Chronicles of Narnia series, The Final Battle. As Lewis’ characters pass out of the “shadowlands” into eternity, he describes it as the end of the story but the beginning of the real story.
“All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever, in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
Aren’t you excited about that? All a gift offered to us through faith alone in Jesus.
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