Good morning, Crossroads Family!
Another early start this morning. There are so many passages in the Psalms that speak of God awakening the writer either early in the morning or in the middle of the night. Sometimes I wonder if that 3:30 or 4:00 wake-up is, for me, God calling me or just old age creeping in! An early start allows me some time with the Lord and makes it possible for me to fit my high school responsibilities into my day’s schedule. I plan to record yesterday’s sermon on Facebook today, so if you missed it I hope you’ll catch up and be blessed by watching it on the Crossroads Facebook page (or on my personal Facebook page).
I’ve been doing some planning this morning for our Christmas Eve service. Reading through the Christmas passages in the Bible makes me excited about the happy message of God coming to our world personally through the man Jesus. I hope you’ll pray for the upcoming Advent season at Crossroads, as well as for our Christmas Eve service on the evening of Sunday, December 24.
One of the challenges of the holiday season is that our expectations are so high for happy times, yet a little part of us sometimes gets us in trouble — our tongue. We say something we wish we could take back ; we inadvertently hurt someone rather than bringing holiday cheer into their life.
I’ve been re-reading a little book I bought and read for the first time years ago. It’s called 30 Days to Taming Your Tongue. The subtitle is What You Say (and Don’t Say) Will Improve Your Relationships. Each chapter is short and addresses, from a biblical viewpoint, some of the struggles we have with our speech — struggles God can help us win!
- The Lying Tongue
- The Flattering Tongue
- The Manipulating Tongue
- The Hasty Tongue
- The Divisive Tongue
- The Argumentative Tongue
- The Boasting Tongue
- The Gossiping Tongue
- The Meddling Tongue
- The Belittling Tongue
- … and more!
The Bible says, in Ephesians 4:29, “Don’t let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” What good counsel that is, if we would only take it to heart! The author, Deborah Smith Pegues, encourages us to act as if we are a cheerleader or a coach to people around us — our family members, employees, co-workers, and others. “Cheerleaders tell you that you can do it; coaches tell you how to reach the goal. They all have the same goal: They want you to win!”
She goes on to say something I think we can all relate to:
“I have found that it is not my natural inclination to want to coach poor performers; I just want them out. In with the new superstars! What I have learned is that a little positive affirmation, some handholding, and lots of communication will often yield the productivity and the loyalty that may not accompany the cocky superstar.”
Let’s see how God can use us this holiday season if we will commit to speaking in ways He will bless!
Going on at Crossroads…
There are many good things going on at Crossroads! Here are a few:
- Did you know our youth group has been meeting again? This is a special group of young people in whose lives God is ministering. I’m thankful for Jessica and Forrest who facilitate this group and its meetings.
- The children at Crossroads are a blessing to me and to all of us. It’s a joy to have Axton, Adley, Anni, Skylar, Dean, Lexi, Russell, Jacob — and others — join us on Sunday morning.
- I’ll be taking two people through the Crossroads membership course in the coming weeks. If you are 18 years old or older and would like to be a voting member at Crossroads, let me know. I’d love to take you through our very simple membership process so you can participate fully in decisions made by the congregation at Crossroads.
- Our Thanksgiving dinner is coming up this Sunday following the worship service. I’m thankful the staff at the Community Center has allowed us the time and space for this carry-in meal. If you didn’t sign up to bring something but would like to, please contact Heather Vestal. Thanks, Heather, for organizing this meal for us!
- I’ll be out of town this Friday and Saturday to give my presentation on parenting at the Albert City Evangelical Free Church in Albert City, Iowa, where my son-in-law Jason is pastor. Take a look at their church’s welcome video on the home page of their church website, ACEFC Welcome Video. (You’ll see some of my grandchildren in it!)
|ACEFC Welcome Video|
- I’ll be taking some vacation time from the 20th through the 26th. I’m looking forward to it and feel I really need it. Shane McCasslin will preach in my place on Sunday, the 26th. If you have a need that week, please contact one of the other elders. Thank you!
- Our elders met yesterday and had a good discussion and prayer time. We have submitted a lease proposal to the owner of the rental space on Highland Avenue and are now waiting for her response. We did some thinking about vision for the future of Crossroads, realizing that having a “home base” for ourselves is only a start to becoming what God wants us to be. Specifically, we had some initial discussion about a possible small group opportunity for 2024 that would unite our church around Bible reading and spiritual life. Shane will give a fuller report on our meeting at the conclusion of this coming Sunday’s worship service.
Please pray for needs in the church family, specifically for Julie’s kids, Ben and Tina, who are going through some serious health struggles right now. Also for Julie herself, who experienced the passing of a close long-time friend. Angi is recovering from injuries to her ribs and needs our prayer too. Others will be traveling over the Thanksgiving break and need our prayers for travel safety and for relationship-building that will occur.
A couple of morning prayers:
In this morning light
Some of the things I have to do
Seem to loom large before me,
And I carry the prospect of work
Like a heavy burden weighing me down
Even before I begin.
Yet by this evening many of today’s
Difficulties will have passed.
Maybe they will prove to have been
Far less arduous than I imagined.
The thought of a problem
So often turns out to be worse
Than the problem itself.
Lord, lift my spirit,
Give me energy and a sense of humor
Throughout the hours of this day.
Lord of the morning, help me. — Frank Topping
This day, Lord, may I dream your dreams;
this day, Lord, may I reflect your love;
this day, Lord, may I do your work;
this day, Lord, may I taste your peace. — A.A.