Tom’s Midweek Greeting
Crossroads Community Church
November 21, 2019
Dear Church Family,
I hope you are well and experiencing God’s grace in your life this week! We’ll have a special worship service this coming Sunday centered around the theme of thanksgiving. I have a friend who wrote recently, in a Thanksgiving letter, that he felt a grateful heart was one of the most God-honoring characteristics a person can have. Think of that! Similarly, he wrote that one of the defining characteristics of a godless life is ingratitude. Romans 1:21 gives this description of the human race in its movement away from God: “For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
What a difference a regular habit of being thankful can make in our lives! Psalm 100 will help us this Sunday to understand the “What,” “How,” “Who,” and “Why” of thanksgiving. It’s a short and powerful psalm that we don’t spend nearly enough time on. I hope you’ll join us for good worship, fellowship, and a message on “What’s the Point of Thanksgiving?”. We’ll meet at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Y, 500 W. Highland Ave., in Nevada.
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner last Sunday afternoon! It was great to have so many there! Thanks especially to Erin, Kim, and Dave Reedy who did so much of the work of organizing the meal. And thanks to everyone who brought the delicious food we enjoyed!
We know about Christmas carols; but have you thought about all the great Thanksgiving-season hymns there are to know and sing? A few came to my mind this week:
- Come, Ye Thankful People, Come
- Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
- For the Beauty of the Earth
- This is My Father’s World
- Count Your Blessings
- Jesus, I am Resting, Resting (After all, with the idea of harvest is also the idea of rest after the harvest.)
Here’s a link to some Thanksgiving hymns I’ve enjoyed listening to this week. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoG1iW_lBJg
What are you thankful for? What specifically in the church are you thankful for? Take a few minutes to look within yourself for some answers to those questions. God has blessed us at Crossroads!
Mordecai & Mike Mason
I thought it would be worthwhile to re-print the outline from last Sunday’s sermon on Esther 9:29-10:3, “Having Influence in Your World.” The surprising part about this ending to the Book of Esther is that it’s mostly not about Esther, but about Mordecai. As we worked our way through the Book of Esther, we may have failed to realize that Mordecai (the relative of Esther who had raised her) was becoming more and more a man of influence in his community and nation. It seems there are many stories like this in the Bible – as if God were saying, not so subtly, “I want My people to be people of influence in the world.” Joseph, Samuel, David, Daniel, Ruth, Esther, and Jesus are all people who grew (sometimes out of difficult circumstances) to gain favor and influence in their world. Mordecai was one of those too.
Mordecai grew in favor and influence because…
- … he was positive in his speech.
- a communicator throughout the book
- a man who was writing letters of encouragement, peace, and truth to his Jewish compatriots at the end of the story
- … he was positive in his discipline.
- He was a major supporter of the new holiday of Purim, with its emphasis on celebration and fun.
- He was also a man who knew the importance of mourning, repentance, and fasting. (Esther 9:31 says that Mordecai and Esther communicated to the Jews about Purim, but also gave instructions about times of fasting and lamentations.)
- … he was positive in relationships.
- He sought the good of the other people to whom he belonged.
- Mordecai the Jew was “great among the Jews and in favor with his many kinsmen — one who sought the good of his people, and one who spoke for the welfare of his whole nation” (Esther 10:3).
Here are three simple areas of life in which we can personally grow, with God’s help. As we do so, I believe we will become those who influence our community, our home, our workplace, our school, our church, and our nation.
Here’s the passage I quoted from Mike Mason concerning positive relationships with other people. Mike Mason is the author of several insightful books. This comes from his book Practicing the Presence of People: How We Learn to Love.
If you want to be free, set others free. Set people free to complicate your life, to embarrass you, to affront your standards, to step on your toes. Don’t be a doormat, but neither be scandalized when people act human. The more you reel others in and try to squeeze them into your mold, the less you’ll enjoy them. To love people is to enjoy them truly, warts and all. Give everyone the freedom to be imperfect.
This is the essence of the Golden Rule, “Do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). Do you want your in-laws to accept you? Accept them! Do you long for a blessing from your father? Bless him!
People do not want to be told how to live. They want to be loved. Lecturing, cajoling, and manipulating will only bring about a cynical attitude within yourself toward other people. Even when others do happen to change under your influence, you won’t respect them for it. If you want people to be human beings rather than puppets, take your hands off their strings. Give them plenty of room to breathe, and you’ll breathe easier yourself.
The reason some people are not kind and loving may be that no one has ever treated them as if they are. If you want to see kingly qualities, treat people like kings.
Coming in December
Sunday, December 1
Following the worship service on Sunday, December 1, you’re invited to stay at the Y for some Crossroads Connection time, starting with a soup & bread meal provided by the church. After the meal and fellowship, we’ll have a short time to interact with the church elders and bring everyone up to speed on what’s going on at Crossroads. We’ll save time after that for any ministry teams to meet that would like to or need to. (I’ve also asked Judi Edwards to be available for prayer support if there are some who would like a short time of prayer together.) If you don’t want or need to stay following the meal, you’re free to help clean up or to go! We anticipate being finished no later than 1:00. We’d like, if possible, to make a regular habit of enjoying this kind of simple fellowship after a morning worship service each month. Join us December 1 as together we develop a new Crossroads tradition!
Our children are going to stay with us during the sermon time on Sundays in December. It will be good to be all together as a “family” on Sundays during Advent, and this will give our hard-working Children’s Church teachers and helpers some time off. Thanks to that great team!
Christmas Eve service at 6:30 pm.
God bless your end of the week! I look forward to seeing you this Sunday!