Hello, Crossroads Family!
Was anyone else up early on this second day of going back to Standard Time? I enjoyed some extra quiet time with God this morning,…and in meeting with Him, I was led to share some things with you here at the beginning of the new week.
We had a good day of worship, fellowship, and ministry yesterday — worship service in the morning, Nominating Committee meeting afterwards, conversations and fellowship, times of prayer, and also Youth Group. A good day! Thanks for being part of the family! If you weren’t able to join us, please take time to hear the sermon on the Crossroads Facebook page.
There is much going on in our church right now — in the lives of individuals, and in terms of energy for ministry and growth. Very exciting! Sometimes even a bit overwhelming! It’s exciting for me to see the personal growth taking place in so many of your lives. There are also some personal and health-related struggles. Satan is alive and active, too, opposing God’s work. The Bible says, though, that we’re not unaware of his schemes. They’re the same ones he uses all the time; let’s be mindful and on the alert not to let him trip us up!
Let’s remember, as we go forward,…
- … to keep lines of communication open with each other;
- … to do all things in a right way that honors God and each other;
- … to take advantage of the gift God has given us of godly church elders;
- … to look ahead and plan with prayer;
- … to pray …
- … for a church home,
- … for our elders and other ministry leaders,
- … for the Nominating Committee currently at work helping us discern next year’s Elder Board.
- Worship next Sunday morning, 10:00, at the Community Center.
- Home Group next Sunday evening, 6:00, at my house. (This will be one of the best and most exciting sessions in our series. I hope you’ll come, even if you’ve missed previous sessions.)
- Carry-in Thanksgiving dinner following worship on November 20. Please text Heather Vestal, 417-549-0051, if you haven’t signed up to bring a dish but would like to.
- Care package items due to Michaela by November 20. Contact Michaela (417-684-3118) if you need ideas
Don’t forget to vote this Tuesday if you’re registered to vote.
Some Thoughts for a New Week…
Here are a few notes from reading and conversation I’ve had the past couple of weeks. I hope they will encourage you as you begin a new week.
On Friendship (from The Gospel According to Job, by Mike Mason)
Friendship is an important need in our lives,… but also a complicated one! Most of us don’t think we have enough friends, or that we don’t have as many as the person next to us, evidence that we’re not all that well-liked. What a funny (and self-centered) thought! Job had three “friends” who came and sat quietly with him for an entire week when he was suffering. Unfortunately, in their silence, far from actually comforting Job, they were picking him to pieces, analyzing him up and down for faults, proof that when it comes to friendships we may want to be careful about asking for more! A paralyzed man in Mark 2 had four friends who went to all the trouble and embarrassment of carrying him through a large crowd and digging down through a roof in order to get him to Jesus. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have just four friends like that? You probably do have at least one … maybe even two,… maybe four!
It’s interesting that the Old Testament genealogical tables give way in the New Testament to lists of friends. Yet, even so, the Apostle Paul, as his difficulties multiplied toward the end of his life, found himself abandoned by almost everyone (2 Timothy 1:15; 4:16). In Jesus, we have a friend who sticks close, and to whom we can always talk.
Are you open this week to being a friend to someone who needs one? Many people ask me, “What’s my role, or use, in the church?” Friendship is a powerful role, especially a friendship that expects nothing in return.
On Silence (from The Way of the Heart, by Henri Nouwen)
Regularly practicing the discipline of silence helps remind us that we are only pilgrims in this world, journeying to another world. Most of the conversations we have with people keep us worldly-focused, sharpen our attachment to the things and ways of this world, rather than the world we’re heading toward. Proverbs 10:19 says, “A flood of words is never without its faults.” Henri Nouwen suggests the following: (1) Silence makes us better pilgrims; (2) Silence guards the fire within. (“Our first and foremost task is to faithfully care for the inward fire.”); (3) Silence teaches us to speak more effectively. “As ministers, our greatest temptation is toward too many words. They weaken our faith and make us lukewarm.”
On God Going Before Us (from The Jordan River Rules, by Robert J. Morgan)
Moving into the future is like living the life of an explorer. The future is unexplored and can be just as daunting as dark continents, blazing deserts, and hostile jungles. But the future is not uncertain to God. When the Israelites crossed the Jordan River into the land of Canaan, God told them to follow behind the Ark of the Covenant by a thousand yards, let’s say about 3/4 mile (Joshua 3). Think of your life in those terms, and you’ll have a fresh perspective: God goes three-quarters of a mile before you into the next stage of life. He’s three-quarters of an hour ahead of you. Three-quarters of a month ahead of you. Three-quarters of a year ahead of you. Three-quarters of a lifetime ahead of you. The Lord is already in our future, clearing the way, arranging circumstances in advance, preparing work for us to do and blessings for us to enjoy!
On Acceptance and Trust (from a friend who prayed this prayer)
“Lord, if this is the way it’s gonna be, help me to be OK with it.” Great prayer, I thought! One I often need! Not about God changing circumstances to fit the way I want them to be; it’s about God changing me.
On a Personal Note
Here are a few things going on in my life as we roll into the end of the year. I appreciate your prayers.
- This Friday, November 11: Cottey Chamber Singers concert, 7:30 pm, in the Missouri Recital Hall. (Join us! Some good music, mostly Mozart, and free admission!)
- Saturday, November 12: NHS show choir competition all day at Seneca H.S.
- Sunday, November 13: Home Group (our next-to-last group for this fall)
- Saturday, November 19: three of my kids home for Thanksgiving break
- Sunday, November 20: Crossroads Thanksgiving dinner ; game night for youth group.
- Sunday, November 20 / Monday, November 21: Recitals by some of the 24 students I’m accompanying at Cottey.
- Thursday, December 1: Holiday Sing-a-Long at Cottey
- Friday, December 2: Hanging of the Greens at Cottey
- Thursday, December 8: NHS Christmas performance for area realtors
- Monday, December 12: NHS Christmas concert (Hope you’ll join us!)
- Sunday, December 18: Congregational Meeting at Crossroads, following worship
- Saturday, December 24: Crossroads Christmas Eve service at the Community Center
- Sunday, December 25: Christmas morning worship
- Saturday, January 7: speaking at Parenting Conference, Oakwood Community Church, in Tampa, Florida
- Sunday, January 8: Dale Losch, President of Crossworld Mission, speaking in my place at Crossroads
In addition, I’m enjoying meeting weekly with Kaleb Vestal as we go through the “Ten Steps” discipleship study. This is a joy for me and hopefully a blessing for Kaleb! (Anyone can do this study … and learn to lead others through it!) I also meet weekly with a young man from Ft Scott doing the same study. I enjoy meeting with Heather Hall for prayer every other Sunday afternoon, a continuation of our Monday Night Prayer times from last summer. Any of you are welcome to join us. It’s kind of a re-centering time of sharing and prayer for about an hour.
Have a great week! The Lord goes before you!