We are the Clay

WE ARE THE CLAY

For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. —Ephesians 2:10 (The Voice)

 

Thank you for worshiping with us today. We’re so glad you’re here! The month of May is when many schools schedule commencement exercises. It is a time to honor the accomplishments of graduating seniors and also to recognize the efforts of teachers, faculty, and support staff, along with our family members. If you’re an adult attending a graduation, two things, at least, may cross your mind: 1) How distant your own graduation seems, and 2) How pitifully small your knowledge was! I’m not implying that we weren’t intelligent, but the next stage of life exposed most of us to the fact that our growth had only just begun when we moved our tassel from right to left. As a very wise man once observed, “It’s what you learn after you think you know it all that counts.” Oh, how true!

 

From a spiritual perspective, we can relate to this truth. Do you recall graduating from Children’s Church to Jr. High; to High School; to College and Career? The constant at each stage is an awareness that one level of achievement merely paves the way for the next challenge. Paul writes: “Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him” (2 Corinthians 3:18 The Message). Spiritually, we are “gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful.” Know what that means? We’ve got room to grow!

 

As we reflect upon the Master Craftsman’s work in our lives, we look back to the moment of our initial commitment to Christ. At that time, we realized how far we were from God, from His purpose for our lives, and from any desire to honor, to love, or to serve Him. Like a lump of formless clay, we had potential. All we needed was someone who would take time to smash, squeeze, poke, and push until they began to see in the natural what had been confined earlier to their imagination. Growth is glorious, but it’s so painful! Regardless, may I encourage you to stay on the wheel?

 

Our flesh pouts and protests every step of the way. We crave comfort, even at the expense of growth and usefulness to our Master. The Christian community is littered with half-finished projects. Believers seem eager to grow until it begins to hurt or humble them. “I didn’t sign up for this” we protest. Every follower of Christ who yields to His plan for their life shares the same experience. Yet, in the midst of our pain and perplexity, we hear our Lord’s assurance: “My grace is sufficient for you.”

 

A close friend once said: “The most difficult place to be for a believer is in-between. In-between is halfway between hope and helplessness, halfway between heaven and hell. I’m miserable in-between!” Have you ever seen a piece of halfway pottery for sale or a halfway sculpture on display? Why not? A sculptor or potter doesn’t reveal what he or she is working on until they’re ready to present the finished product. This is also true for one who has given their life to Christ. Like clay in a potter’s hands, the finished product is in process. God, the Master Potter won’t stop working once He begins. Paul states, “…I’m fully convinced that the One who began this glorious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you and will put his finishing touches to it until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6 TPT)! Hallelujah!

 

Paul encourages the believer: “If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21 NLT). May God awaken our desire to be “a special utensil for honorable use.” In a day when compromise is common, even in the Body of Christ, there is something particularly beautiful about a person who allows God to complete His work in them. Jesus will soon call His Bride home to join Him at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Until then, let’s prepare to be ready for that call. Let the Potter finish what He began in you. It will most definitely be worth it all. GOD BLESS YOU!

 

Pastors Glenn and Diann



The Best is yet to come

 

FROM THE OUTSIDE IN

 

For the high priest carries the blood of animals into the holiest chamber as a sacrifice for sin, and then burns the bodies of the animals outside the city. And Jesus, our sin-sacrifice, also suffered death outside the city walls to make us holy by his own blood. So we must arise and join him outside the religious “walls” and bear his disgrace. For we have no city here on earth to be our permanent home, but we seek the city that is destined to come. —Hebrews 13:11-14 (TPT)

 

Thanks for worshiping with us today! Easter Sunday marks the culmination of a week that begins with Jesus entering Jerusalem welcomed by thousands. Within 100 hours, public opinion shifts and a mob mentality grips the people who had hailed Him as King earlier. Jesus was betrayed by those He’d taught, healed, fed, and prayed over. As the writer of Hebrews notes, Jesus was crucified outside of Jerusalem. Criminals who were executed died as outcasts. Jesus—the One who personified compassion, love, and mercy hung on the cross abandoned by those He loved. Jesus died alone. All alone. All alone outside.

 

Where were we before Jesus revealed Himself to us? Outside. Where were we before mercy raced to our rescue? Outside. The love of Jesus is incalculable. Instead of condemning us, He bore our shame outside making a way for us to come inside forever! Here is what Jesus has done for the “outsiders”: 13 …Everything is new! Although you were once distant and far away from God, now you have been brought delightfully close to him through the sacred blood of Jesus—you have actually been united to Christ! 14 Our reconciling “Peace” is Jesus! He has made Jew and non-Jew one in Christ. By dying as our sacrifice, he has broken down every wall of prejudice that separated us and has now made us equal through our union with Christ. 15 Ethnic hatred has been dissolved by the crucifixion of his precious body on the cross. The legal code that stood condemning every one of us has now been repealed by his command. His triune essence has made peace between us by starting over—forming one new race of humanity, Jews and non-Jews fused together!

 

16 Two have now become one, and we live restored to God and reconciled in the body of Christ. Through his crucifixion, hatred died. 17 For the Messiah has come to preach this sweet message of peace to you, the ones who were distant, and to those who are near. 18 And now, because we are united to Christ, we both have equal and direct access in the realm of the Holy Spirit to come before the Father! 19 So, you are not foreigners or guests, but rather you are the children of the city of the holy ones, with all the rights as family members of the household of God. 20 You are rising like the perfectly fitted stones of the temple; and your lives are being built up together upon the ideal foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, and best of all, you are connected to the Head Cornerstone of the building, the Anointed One, Jesus Christ himself! 21 This entire building is under construction and is continually growing under his supervision until it rises up completed as the holy temple of the Lord himself. 22 This means that God is transforming each one of you into the Holy of Holies, his dwelling place, through the power of the Holy Spirit living in you! —Ephesians 2:11-22 (The Passion Translation)

 

For those “in Christ”, The Best Is Yet To Come! Revelation 21:4 (NKJV) promises that “…there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Hallelujah!

 

Paul writes, 51 Listen, and I will tell you a divine mystery: not all of us will die, but we will all be transformed. 52 It will happen in an instant—in the twinkling of his eye. For when the last trumpet is sounded, the dead will come back to life. We will be indestructible and we will be transformed. 53 For we will discard our mortal “clothes” and slip into a body that is imperishable. What is mortal now will be exchanged for immortality. 54 And when that which is mortal puts on immortality, and what now decays is exchanged for what will never decay, then the Scripture will be fulfilled that says: Death is swallowed up by a triumphant victory! 55 So death, tell me, where is your victory? Tell me death, where is your sting? 56 It is sin that gives death its sting and the law that gives sin its power. 57 But we thank God for giving us the victory as conquerors through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. —1 Corinthians 15:51-57 (The Passion Translation)

 

Even as we reflect upon the mercies of Jesus, the reality is that pain, suffering, and mourning are inevitable here. However, the pain will cease, all suffering is temporary, and mourning is destined to end in joy. Believers now live from the outside in. To the world, we are outsiders. As far as God is concerned, however, we will never be outside again. Jesus has granted us access to life, joy, and peace forevermore. For now, we must bear the disgrace Jesus took for us. However, for every lover of Jesus, The Best Is Yet To Come!

 

Happy Resurrection Day!!

 

Never Ever Forget: YOU ARE LOVED!

Pastors Glenn and Diann



You are still God

For everything that happens in life—there is a season, a right time for everything under heaven:” —ECCLESIASTES 3:1 (The Voice)
 
Welcome to worship @ Crossroads Church! Our hope is that you will experience God’s presence today and that you will receive His love, His wisdom, and His peace. Thank you for coming!
 
As I type these words, there is a brisk breeze chilling this sunny day. March is notorious as a month of shifting weather patterns. It can be quite cold on a given morning but be unseasonably warm later in the day. March is a time of transition. Daylight savings time begins on Sunday, March 11th. [Mark your calendars!] After a few days adapting to losing an hour as we Spring Forward, we notice the daylight hours growing longer and longer, and we’re thankful for the change, right?
 
As a kid, I gained a lot of insights about nature thanks to my granddad. “Gramps” had a wealth of knowledge about almost anything outdoors. He told me that God liked spring the best because He liked flowers, birds, and baseball. Sounded logical to me. Taking it a bit further, Gramps said that the Lord was particularly fond of baseball teams with “bird names”, which is why he was a Cardinals fan. Me, too. On a more practical note, Gramps said that spring was his favorite season because everything grew and kept growing. I sure do miss him and his prize-winning garden!
 
Our heavenly Father specializes in new seasons and in His promise of new growth. He faithfully orchestrates the end of winter and the beginning of spring every year. More than other seasons, springtime speaks to us of new hope, new growth, and brighter days. I’m so glad! Aren’t you?
 
One thing that renews our hope each spring is the realization that something once dead can come back to life. Spring is beginning to bloom. New life! New hope! New possibilities! Is there an area of your life where you need a bona fide “from death to life” miracle? Many of us need just such a miracle. Perhaps it’s a relationship that is frozen solid. Everything seems dead with no hope of restoration. Maybe it’s a career path that once bore fruit and yielded a good quality of life but that door closed very suddenly, leaving you out in the cold with nothing but confusion. Struggles with health may push us to the brink of hopelessness and open the prison doors of depression—an abyss from which escape is all but impossible. How can I move forward in faith? Why should I get my hopes up again?
 
Friend, God specializes in the impossible. When things are darkest and lifeless, that is often when God reveals His wisdom and power. God’s work in our lives is not limited to times of apparent growth and harvest. He works just as well in the dark and the cold as He does in the light and the warmth. God uses every season to accomplish His purposes for us.
 
In 2008, Hillsong released a song that became an anthem of faith for me and many others. “Desert Song” is a declaration that regardless of season, God is faithful and He will not fail. The words in the above graphic are a part of this song. “All of my life, In every season, You are still God; I have a reason to sing, I have a reason to worship.” Yes, I do, and so do you!
 
Resurrection Sunday is April 1st. On that day, we’ll join in worship of the King who conquered death, hell and the grave. Jesus did more than that, however. He redeemed death. What? Jesus redeemed death! What looked like the end became the beginning of life everlasting. The grave was transformed from a final resting place to a launching pad into heaven. That’s why Paul stated in Philippians 1:21 (NKJV), “For to me, to live is Christ, AND TO DIE IS GAIN” (emphasis mine). Hallelujah!
 
Anything planted in the ground can bloom again. This is a season when we must hold on tightly to what God has promised us. Provision. Dreams. Restored relationships. Business opportunities. If God gave you a promise, it will be fulfilled. He’s the God of ALL seasons. Thus, you have a reason to sing. You have a reason to worship. Don’t wait until your promise is fulfilled to celebrate. Do it now. Jesus is Lord and King in every season!
 
Never Forget: God Works In Every Season of Your Life!
Pastors Glenn & Diann


Carpe Diem

I do not mean that I am already as God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal, but I continue trying to reach it and to make it mine. Christ wants me to do that, which is the reason he made me his. Brothers and sisters, I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above. All of us who are spiritually mature should think this way, too… —PHILIPPIANS 3:12-15a (NEW CENTURY VERSION)
Happy New Year! Depending on the time that you read these words, you may be hours from the dawning of a new year, or perhaps hours or days into the new year. Regardless, one fact is certain: we cannot go back to the past. Though time past formulates the fabric of every memory we treasure or every failure we regret, it is no longer possible to access the past. For some, that’s very hard to deal with. For example: If we were hurt in a life-altering way, it is ever possible to change our perspective, but it is never possible to change our experience. Why? God created us in time, for time, and on time. Life is a one-way ticket forward—until we leave our bodies behind to enter eternity. So, how are you doing with your gift of time?
Elton Trueblood once said: “Deliberate mediocrity is a sin.” What does that mean? We could analyze that statement for days or weeks, but here’s my take on it: To choose the status quo over personal growth is a sin. To avoid personal transformation because it is messy and painful guarantees our irrelevance to a generation desperately needing people anointed with prophetic insight. Turbulent times were prophesied by the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. Every description fits our culture like a hand in a glove. If there were ever a time to be awake, alert, and actively engaged in our generation—this is it! The future needs us more than we can imagine.
The slogan in the above graphic, Carpe Diem, is derived from Horace, a Roman poet. The gist of his work is that since nothing can be committed to an unknown future, every endeavor should be made in the present. That is, in fact, the only way to impact the future, if and when we arrive there.
No, this isn’t a class on Roman literature. My point is that we must be intentional about capitalizing on every moment our God graciously grants us in our individual lives. However, we do have challenges, as indicated in Isaiah 43 (quoted on the front cover) and in
Philippians 3.
Challenge #1: Forgetting What Was. We can definitely identify with this challenge. In a world changing at warp speed, one may simply choose to “opt out”. For example, between 5-10% of people in the US who have a phone in their homes have a “rotary dial” land line. Huh? Never mind that these types of phones can no longer be updated or serviced. If one chooses to stay stuck in the past, they are free to do so. This same principle applies spiritually. Some believers replay videos of past revival meetings or seek to relive the “glory days”. Time travel may play well in a cinema but, for heaven’s sake, dear Christian, forget what was. Seriously!
Challenge #2: Being Prayerfully Present. The “dead-spot” is revealed in many of our lives whenever the word prayer is used. To pray indicates action; it means to entreat forcefully, to beg or to plead earnestly. To be prayerful means to be intensely, personally engaged. Diann and I love praying for you, and we do so daily. However, there are things for which you and I must pray individually. I don’t mean empty chatter either; I mean intensely struggling to birth something God has reserved for us in His kind generosity. Where, oh where, is this kind of praying today?
Challenge #3: Being Personally Uncomfortable. If you’re a mother, you know all too well that your family would never have grown if you had not been willing to become uncomfortable. Love changes one’s willingness. If you’ve ever read about the time leading up to Azusa Street and the great Pentecostal Outpouring, you recall that many people began leaving formal churches to seek God on their faces. They were mocked and ridiculed. Many lost their jobs and were labeled heretics by the religious elite of that day. Yet they prayed for hours, for days, for nights. They prayed until God moved, and He did! Are you willing to be personally uncomfortable?
To change the future, we must seize the present. In 2018, let us pursue God more passionately and prayerfully than ever. Our Lord’s plans for us far exceed anything we’ve ever experienced, even if those plans make us uncomfortable. May our love for Christ change our willingness, because “deliberate mediocrity” is not an option, is it? Happy New Year!
Never Forget: You Were Born For Such A Time As This!
Pastors Glenn & Diann


Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart

“O come, let us sing joyfully to the Lord Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with a song of thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with songs. For the Lord is a great God and a great King above all gods.” —PSALM 95:1-3 (AMPLIFIED)

We are so glad you have chosen to worship with us at Crossroads today. In this season of thanksgiving, we give thanks for

YOU!

As we move into the holiday season, it is fitting that before thinking of buying more stuff, we pause to take stock of our many
blessings. Residing in the most blessed nation on earth has allowed us the opportunity to live far better than the majority of the world’s population. In recent years our culture has developed a spirit of entitlement. As a result, gratitude has become increasingly rare. From a spiritual perspective, as followers of Christ and as children of God, you and I are called to live on a much higher level.
 
In nearly every Book of the Bible, the subject of thankfulness emerges. Much of the Old Testament involves periods in Israel’s history when they were enslaved by evil rulers of corrupt governments. Despite that reality, the habitual practice of gratitude is encouraged and expressed by Israel’s spiritual leaders and general population time and time again. Obviously, being thankful is extremely important to our gracious and generous God. Is it important to you?
 
In Psalm 95:2, “thanksgiving” is translated from the Hebrew “todah.” This word is derived from the word “yadah” whose root “yad” means “hand.” In short, it means: to extend or stretch forth one’s hands in thanks to God. One more thing—in Jeremiah 33:11, “todah” is translated “sacrifice of praise.” Is there a better way to express one’s gratitude?
 
Let’s fast forward to 2017. In this age of an entitlement mentality, it is critically important that we who follow Christ be known for our genuine gratitude and for being extraordinarily thankful. Why?
 
1) We Were Created By God And For God. “Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;…” (Psalm 100:2-3a).
 
2) We’re Blessed With All Spiritual Blessings. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
 
3) We Have An Inheritance In Christ. “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11).
 
4) We’re Redeemed By The Precious Blood of Jesus. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us…” (Ephesians 1:7-8a).
 
5) We Are Sealed By The Holy Spirit. “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).
 
6) Jesus Is Our Advocate [Defense Attorney] 24/7. “…if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins…” (1 John 2:1b-2a).
 
7) Father God is Ever Generous And Never Changing. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17).
 
This holiday season, reflect upon the generosity and love of Father God. He chose you before the world began. He is committed to completing the work He began in you. He has pledged never to leave you nor forsake you. That is why we can say with King David,

“O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name” (1 Chronicles 29:13)! Happy Thanksgiving!

Never Forget: You Are Forever Loved By Our Faithful God!

Pastors Glenn & Diann



Times and Seasons

He has made everything suited to its time; also, he has given human beings an awareness of eternity; but in such a way that they can’t fully comprehend, from beginning to end, the things God does.

ECCLESIASTES 3:11 (COMPLETE JEWISH BIBLE)

Welcome to Crossroads Church! Thank you for joining us for worship. We trust that you will encounter God’s presence in a life-changing way!

I Love Fall! Fall showcases so much of what Alabama is known for by our neighbors in the rest of the USA. Every fall, thousands of people visit our state to see the bright colors of changing leaves. Football is almost a “birthright” here. Alabamians schedule their lives around football games on Fridays and Saturdays every Fall. Like Winter, Spring, and Summer, however, no matter how much we enjoy Fall, its over in a flash.

In Ecclesiastes 3:11, Solomon reminds us of how ever-changing nature is and how mysterious time is. On Day 4 of creation, God said,

“Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years” (Genesis 1:14). Even after the flood, when the waters receded and Noah’s family left the ark, the seasons remained as they had from the very beginning. God knew then as He knows now what’s best for us. Seasons result from our planet’s tilt—when our part of the world tilts toward the sun we experience Spring and Summer, when our part of the world tilts away  from the sun we experience Fall and Winter. I realize you learned these things in the 2nd grade, but that was a long time ago for many of us!

There is another thing you might like to know about seasons. God gave them to us for a spiritual reason. We might say, “For every season, there’s a reason.”
 
In his book, The Screwtape Letters, author C. S. Lewis imagines a correspondence between a chief demon [Screwtape] and his evil apprentice. At one point, Screwtape describes “the horror of the Same Old Thing.” He explains: This is one of the most valuable passions we have produced in the human heart—an endless source of heresies in religion, folly in counsel, infidelity in marriage, and inconstancy in friendship. Humans live in time, and experience reality successively. To experience much of it, therefore, they must experience many different things; in other words, they must experience change. And since they need change, the Enemy [Screwtape’s name for God] …has made change pleasurable to them, just as He has made eating pleasurable. But since He does not wish them to make change, any more than eating, an end in itself, He has balanced the love of change in them by a love of permanence. He has contrived to gratify both tastes together in the very world He has made, by that union of change and permanence which we call Rhythm.” As a result, the Lord “gives them the seasons, each season different yet every year the same, so that Spring is always felt as a novelty yet always as the recurrence of an immortal theme.”
 
Lewis’s perspective was incredibly brilliant! Screwtape was right: God “balanced the love of change in [us] by a love of permanence—by that union of change and permanence which we call Rhythm.” That’s why this time of year causes in us a wide-eyed wonder, as if this were our first ever Fall. That’s why the turning colors of the leaves awakens the human soul. What wisdom from the heart of God, our Designer/Creator! Father God loves diversity, transition, and change. He also relishes the fact that humans can enjoy
the Rhythm of this gift called life! Isn’t He wonderful?
 
Solomon also writes that God has given us an awareness of eternity—enough to cause us to pursue Him passionately. When we are united with Him in heaven, what we know partially here, we will know perfectly there. The Apostle Paul writes: “For now [in this time of imperfection] we see in a mirror dimly [a blurred reflection, a riddle, an enigma], but then [when the time of perfection comes we will see reality] face to face. Now I know in part [just in fragments], but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known [by God]” (I Corinthians 13:12 AMP). Until then, enjoy every sunrise, every sunset, every Fall, every Winter, every Spring, and every Summer. They are God’s gifts to YOU. Enjoy Fall 2017!
 

Never Ever Forget: In Every Season, YOU Are Loved!

Pastors Glenn & Diann



Stay Awake

1 “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2-4 But only five of them were wise enough to fill their lamps with oil, while the other five were foolish and forgot. 5-6 “So, when the bridegroom was delayed, they lay down to rest until midnight, when they were roused by the shout, ‘The bridegroom is coming! Come out and welcome him!’  7-8 “All the girls jumped up and trimmed their lamps. Then the five who hadn’t any oil begged the others to share with them, for their lamps were going out. 9 “But the others replied, ‘We haven’t enough. Go instead to the shops and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 “But while they were gone, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. 11 “Later,  when the other five returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Sir, open the door for us!’ 12 “But he called back, ‘Go away! It is too late!’ 13 “So stay awake and be prepared,  for you do not know the date or moment of my return.” –MATTHEW 25:1-13 (LIVING BIBLE)

 

Welcome to Crossroads today! We pray that you will receive a blessing during your time with us that will stay with you for the rest of your life!

Can you believe how the recent solar eclipse captured the attention of so many people? Media outlets told of sellers who were getting $30.00 for protective glasses to allow their purchaser to peer into the sun as the moon passed in front of it. A month earlier, the same glasses were available for $5.00 or less. Some people were waiting until their next pay day; some merely procrastinated until suddenly, the eclipse was only hours away. You may ask, “The eclipse is over, so what’s this about?” Great question! So here it is…
 
1 in 25 New Testament verses refer either to the rapture of the Church or to Christ’s rule over earth. The early church focused primarily on reaching people for Jesus and preparation for His promised return, expecting it at any moment. Are YOU expecting Christ’s return at any moment? Really?
 
No matter how much time has passed since Jesus words in Mark 13:34-35 about staying awake or his parable found in Matthew 25:1-13 about maintaining a sense of expectancy, Christ’s followers in every generation must be reminded often  of the urgency of staying awake and living with a sense of expectation for the return of Jesus, our Lord. Why?
 
#1: We Have An Adversary! I Peter 5:8-9a reads, “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith…” Jack Hayford writes: “Because of the Devil’s aggressive hostility, Christians must be spiritually alert, not only to withstand his attacks, but in prayer and spiritual warfare opposing him.”
I believe in the glory of God and of the power filling us through the indwelling Holy Spirit, but we cannot afford to sleep through our brief stay on earth, because…
 
#2 We’re On Assignment! Have you received the gift of salvation by faith in Christ? If so, Hallelujah! The battle for your soul may have been decided, but how about the souls of your family members, your classmates, your co-workers, or your neighbors? Do you care whether or not those in your circle of influence go to heaven or hell? Really? If we do not bombard heaven for each lost soul we know, we will be complicit in their eternal doom, should they perish without Jesus. Are you OK with that? I hope not, because…
 
#3: We Are Christ’s Ambassadors! God reconciled us to Himself through Jesus and committed to us the ministry of reconciliation. “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” 
(2 Corinthians 5:20-21). As Christ’s Ambassadors, we represent the King of Eternity. We are not merely homeowners, teachers, or businessmen, we are Christ personified in our areas of influence! So…
 

#4: We Must Stay Awake! A security guard may doze off and seem to get by with sleeping on the job—unless something is broken into or stolen. A false sense of security may cost him his job, his company assets, or even imperil lives. Don’t be like the “foolish” virgins in Matthew 25. Be Wise. Be Aware. Be Prepared. Many souls depend on your faithfulness. Time is shorter than it’s ever been. Whatever you do, friend, STAY AWAKE!

Never Ever Forget: YOU Are Loved!

Pastors Glenn & Diann



Impossible

“Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” GENESIS 18:14 (NIV)

Welcome to Crossroads! We are honored that you’ve chosen to worship with us and we pray that you will experience the presence of God in a life-changing way. You are always welcome here!

We are bombarded day-in and day-out with stories of situations that might lead the average person into a sense of hopelessness. Over exposure to media may contribute greatly to our desperate reach for something to take our minds off of our troubled world. In spite of options galore, when we lie down at the end of our day, we are still faced with the challenge to believe, and not doubt.

Remember Abram and Sarah and their desperate hope to have a child of their own? If you’re familiar with their story (Genesis 12-21), you know that they had two immense obstacles to overcome.
 
#1: Abram was old!
#2: Sarah was barren!
 
Did God not know that this couple had these issues when He promised them A SON? The Bible reveals that God makes promises to people about things that, in the natural, seem utterly impossible. So, what, you ask?

Are you claiming a promise from God? Promises from Him are not like promises from people. We’ve all experienced the deep pain of a promise broken by a person we trusted. The consequence is that we usually reduce our expectations and thus adjust our dream to allow for disappointments. Worse yet, people may blame their disappointment on God and hold Him responsible for their broken hopes. Friend, there is a better way, and that is the way of HOPE!

How do you keep believing for something that was unbelievable to start with? Romans 4:17-21 reveals how to wait in faith for God’s promise: 17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” 19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. (NKJV)
 
Abram’s trust was in “God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.” Instead of allowing what appeared to be real in the natural realm to govern his expectations, Abram trusted that God, Who sees what does not exist, would speak Life into that void to fulfill His promise. Abram “contrary to hope, in hope believed.” Contrary means “opposed to”. We need opposition in order to develop our hope. There’s plenty of that in most of our lives, right?
 
Notice that Abram, “did not consider his own body, already dead…and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.” The word “consider” means “to think upon meditatively or repeatedly.” We are free to choose what we meditate upon. If Abram had chosen to dwell upon his advanced age or to think repeatedly about Sarah’s medical records, his hope would have died a cruel death. That’s not living; that’s merely (and barely) existing.
 
Notice also that Abram “did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God.” One Bible commentary says that Abram was strengthened in faith BY giving glory to God. Can you imagine what he sounded like when he got up every morning, when he surveyed his herds, or visited his hired hands? With every strong confession or song of praise, his faith grew stronger and stronger!
 
I’ve heard many people at Crossroads share about dreams that the Lord has sown into their hearts. Whether or not that dream has materialized or matured, confess this truth daily: “For with God nothing [is or ever] shall be impossible” (Luke 1:27). IMPOSSIBLE IS WHERE GOD STARTS!
 
Never Ever Forget: YOU Are Loved!
Pastors Glenn & Diann


Free

“So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through.” JOHN 8:36 (The Message)

 

Summer is here and we’re more thankful than ever for air conditioning, aren’t we? Crossroads Church is a lot more than just a place to chill out. We hope you get involved in an area of interest to you, build relationships with some of the amazing people who worship and serve here, and enjoy pursuing Jesus side-by-side with us. Thanks for being here today!

 

As we approach Independence Day, we are reminded of the high price paid by tens of thousands of American servicemen and servicewomen to secure our freedoms. Although we have social and spiritual problems in our nation, at least we can fall asleep at night with the knowledge that we are secure and that we are free. We are so blessed!

 

Freedom has become increasingly rare in our world. Revolutions and uprisings are quite common these days. If you watch major network news you are aware of these incidents. As patriots fought against the tyranny of their mother land, Britain, they realized the risks they assumed. Battling for freedom is costly, financially and personally. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs compiles statistics of deaths and injuries resulting from America’s wars. From 1775 to 1991, fatalities totaled over 1.1 million lives. Non-mortal woundings totaled over 1.4 million people. As a famous saying goes, “Freedom isn’t free.” How true that is!

 

In a spiritual context, Jesus, the Son of God, knew the trouble He’d find when He left heaven’s throne for planet earth. Philippians 2:5b-8 reads: “…Christ Jesus…had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that —a crucifixion”  (The Message). Christ’s “fatality” purchased freedom for every captive of sin who put their trust in His finished work on the cross. We remember His death and celebrate His resurrection every single day of our lives. Thank God for FREEDOM!

 

I recently saw a report about what people are calling “the opioid crisis.” The report ended with a visit to a treatment facility staffed by Christian volunteers. A lady who was rescued from death said tearfully, “I am alive because someone cared for me when I could not help myself.” What a testimony! A slave to sin needs a Savior from sin. It’s one thing to need deliverance; it’s another to find a deliverer! Only Jesus! ONLY JESUS!!

 

As we reflect upon the freedoms we have as citizens of this country, we are mindful of the enormous sacrifices made by many in our behalf. If not for the courage of millions who did their duty as members of our Armed Services, the 4th of July would be just another day. Spiritually speaking, if not for the courage of Jesus Christ, we would still be bound by addiction, by bitterness, by fear, or by guilt. As demonstrated in John 8, it is possible to choose bondage over freedom. Jesus came to deliver every captive, but you can’t deliver someone who denies that they’re bound. What was true then is still true today. So many captives…so little time!

 

Friend, will you tell others about the liberty you’ve found in Jesus? Will you testify about your deliverance? Like the volunteers who serve in the treatment facility, we’re called to care for those who cannot help themselves. We could turn a deaf ear to them, but how would that continue the mission of Jesus? One more thing: During our holiday celebrations, let’s take time to offer a prayer of thanksgiving for those who’ve done so much for us and for our country. Aren’t we grateful that they paid the price for our precious freedoms? God Bless You and God Bless America!

 

Pastors Glenn & Diann



Overflow

“to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do  exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,” EPHESIANS 3:19-20 (NKJV)

 

Welcome to Crossroads! We’re honored that you’ve chosen to worship with us today, and trust that you will experience the presence of the Lord in a life-changing way. Thank you for coming!

 

June 4th is Pentecost Sunday. This occasion celebrates the birth of the Church, as evidenced by those who had been praying together, being filled to overflowing with the power of the Holy Spirit. The passage above [Ephesians 3] was written by a man who encountered the overflowing life of God personally. Saul had a “blinding light” experience on the Damascus Road (see Acts 9). After his sight was restored, newly-named Paul was commissioned to preach the Gospel, and was endued with supernatural power in order to accomplish his assignment. That’s what overflow is all about—accomplishing as assignment as revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. God never gives us a “just enough” anointing; He “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think”
!

 

We hear often of companies “downsizing” or “consolidating” to make their operations more efficient. Basically, that means that they have to do more with less. In Kingdom Life, however, we have all we need—

and then some! The Kingdom of God is about ABUNDANT

LIFE!

 

Ephesians 3:19 reveals that

“all the fullness of God” is available. The Greek word translated “fullness” is pleroma, which [referring to the Church] means “that which is filled with the presence, power, and riches of God and of Christ.” Friend, do you realize that YOU (along with your brothers and sisters in Christ) are “that which is filled with the presence, power, and riches of God and of Christ”?

 

FILLED!

 

F-I-L-L-E-D!!

 

God causes the overwhelmed to OVERFLOW. We are filled with the presence of God, endued with the power of God, with access to the riches of God and of Christ! The Expositor’s Bible Commentary states, “God’s capacity to meet His people’s spiritual needs far exceeds anything they can either request in prayer or conceive by way of anticipation.” That is why Paul writes, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

 

In Ephesians 3:20, Paul dedicates each word, “to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…” There’s no hint of downsizing here. “Exceedingly” is translated from a Greek preposition hyper (pronounced hooper); “abundantly” is from the Greek adjective perissos; “above” is a translation again from the Greek word hyper. Paul connects our need to the One Who has an endless reservoir of anything and everything  we will ever need! 

 

The last phrase in Ephesians 3:20 is critical: “according to the power that works in us.” According to means “in proportion to”. You may have electrical outlets in your home that are either 110 or 220 volt. How much current the wires can carry before overheating and how much voltage is supplied to the outlet determines its capacity. [Please ask Dan Wilmoth or Eugene Stiefel to clarify this principle; I can’t!] In a spiritual sense, the only thing standing between the power you have and the power you need is capacity. You might need an upgrade; I know you’re eligible for one.

 

God is able to exceed our expectations—by a lot! We should desire to increase our capacity to utilize all that He makes available to us. We are praying for INCREASE and EXPANSION in your life. This Pentecost, may Christ do “exceedingly abundantly above all” YOU can ask, think, or imagine in proportion to His Power at work in you. Plan for OVERFLOW today and every day as you soak in His presence!
God bless you as your pursue the Lord with all your heart. You won’t be disappointed!

 

Never Forget: YOU Are Loved!

Pastors Glenn & Diann




Blog 5.3.15
 

You Are God’s Masterpiece                                            MAX LUCADO

To see sin without grace is despair. To see grace without sin is arrogance.  To see them in tandem is conversion.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (GALATIANS 2:20)

   Christ is on the move, aggressively budging you from graceless to grace-shaped living. The gift-given giving gifts. God sees in you a masterpiece about to happen.

   He will do with you what Vik Muniz did with the garbage pickers of Gramacho. Jardim Gramacho is the largest landfill in the world, the Godzilla of garbage dumps. What Rio de Janeiro discards, Gramacho takes. And what Gramacho takes, catadores scavenge. About 3.000 garbage pickers scrape a living out of the rubbish, salvaging 200 tons of recyclable scraps daily. They trail the never-ending convoy of trucks, trudging up the mountains of garbage and sliding down the other side, snagging scraps along the way. Plastic bottles, tubes, wires, and paper are sorted and sold to wholesalers who stand on the edge of the dump.

   Across the bay the Christ the Redeemer statue extends his arms toward Rio’s South Zone and its million-dollar beachfront apartments. Tourists flock there; no one comes to Gramacho. No one except Vik Muniz.

   This Brazilian-born artist convinced 5 garbage workers to pose for individual portraits. Suelem, an 18-year-old mother of 2, has worked the garbage since the age of 7. Isis is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. Zumbi reads every book he finds in the trash. Irma cooks discarded produce in a large pot over an open fire and sells it. Tiao has organized the workers into an association.

    Muniz took photos of their faces, then enlarged the images to the size of a basketball court. He and the 5 catadores outlined the facial features with trash. Bottle tops became eyebrows. Cardboard boxes became chin lines. Rubber tires overlaid shadows. Images gradually emerged from the trash. Muniz climbed onto a thirty-foot-tall platform and took new photos.

   The result? The second-most-popular art exhibit in Brazilian history, exceeded only by the works of Picasso. Muniz donated the profits to the local garbage pickers’ association. You might say he treated Gramacho with grace.

   Grace does this. God does this. Grace is God walking into your world with a sparkle in His eye and an offer that’s hard to resist. “Sit still for a bit. I can do wonders with this mess of yours.” Believe this promise. Trust it. Cling like a barnacle to every hope and covenant.

   Grace hugged the stink out of the prodigal and scared the hate out of Paul and pledges to do the same in us.

   Grace comes after you. It rewires you.

   From insecure to God secure.

   From regret-riddled to better-because-of-it.

   From afraid-to-die to ready-to-fly.

I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never  think of them again. (ISAIAH 43:25)

 

 
 
Blog 4.19.15
 

Worry Is Worthless: God Takes Care of You

CHUCK SWINDOLL

My soul takes refuge in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge until destruction passes by. (Psalm 57:1)

    Worry is a complete waste of energy. It solves nothing. That is why Jesus asked, “Which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life’s span” (Matthew 6:27)?

    In essence He was saying, “You go to bed tonight and fret and fuss because you’re not five feet, eleven inches; you’re only five feet, nine inches. But when you wake up in the morning, you’re still going to be five feet, nine inches.”

    Worry will never make you stretch! And it won’t solve that anxiety on your mind either. Let me be completely candid. Do you know why we worry? We have a quiet, hidden, love for worry. We enjoy it! When one worry is gone, we replace it with another. There’s always a line of worries waiting to get in the door. So as one goes out the back door, we usher in the next one through the front door. We enjoy entertaining them.

    Worries are our mental and emotional companions. But Jesus says, in effect, that they’re worthless!

    Worry erases the promises of God from your mind. Jesus implies this when He says, “O men of little faith. Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves’
(Matthew 6:31).

    The promise of God is that He will not allow His children to beg for bread. He will care for our needs and that’s the promise you can claim. Since He took care of our greatest need at Calvary by giving us Christ, then you can be sure He will take care of everything else He considers important for us.

 

 
 
blog 4.12.15
 
 

GOD’S POWER WHEN IT MATTERS MOST

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

I CORINTHIANS 10:13 (AMPLIFIED)

    Good morning! Last Sunday, we celebrated the triumph of Jesus over death. What a celebration it was! Most of us are familiar with Gethsemane, Golgotha, and the Cross. We realize that Jesus could have avoided all of those experiences if He had chosen to. Have you ever thought about the first temptation that Jesus experienced? It is so interesting that, according to Luke 4:1, the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness where the temptations would occur. WHY?

    A wise man once said, “A faith that has not been tested cannot be trusted.”  Jesus, the Son of God, had to endure the process of temptation and refuse the false promises of temptation in order to experience the power of God when it mattered most. Our Lord suffered the same temptations that you and I do, yet remained faithful to His Father. Even though we’ll face trials and temptations during our time on earth, Jesus left an example of how to overcome every evil attack! “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18 NKJV). Notice that Jesus “…suffered, being tempted” ! Jesus revealed a life key that gives me courage every day: God never said it would be easy. He said that it would be worth it! So, the next time you find yourself in a battle, remember: Satan tempts us to get the WORST out of us; God tests us to get the BEST out of us. Friend, this week, I hope that you will experience God’s Power When It Matters Most!

Never Forget: You Are Loved!

Pastors Glenn & Diann

 

 
Love your enemies
 
 

Even From the Cross: Love Those Who Hate

Dear Jesus,

   Sometimes it’s really hard to love people, particularly when You ask me to love those who hate You and do evil things. Please show me. How can I hate evil and still love the haters?

   Isn’t that what Paul did when he was in prison? In the worst of circumstances, he hated evil but continued to love. And You did the same, Jesus. When You were beaten, mocked, and crucified, You asked God to forgive Your enemies because they didn’t know what they were doing. That is pure love.

   Jesus, You are always in my heart, guiding me and leading me to be more like You. And for that reason, I have to pray for those who hate You and do evil things. I don’t love what they do, Lord — but I want them to know You, so I pray for them. I love them enough to ask that You will save them. Please, Lord Jesus, come into their hearts. Open their eyes to see You. They need You so much.

* * *

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. — Matthew 5:43–44

When Jesus was on the cross, He prayed for His enemies and asked God to forgive them. Can you love someone who hates the Lord or who willingly inflicts suffering? Love doesn’t mean that you accept acts of hatred and evil, but love requires that you pray for those most in need of salvation. Remember them when you pray.

Excerpted with permission from Jesus, I Need You: Devotions from Your Heart to His, copyright Zondervan 2015.

 

 
 
 
blog
 

CHILDREN OF THE BURNING HEART

 

And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” LUKE 24:32 (NKJV)

     Have you ever heard of a chronic condition ENJOYED by followers of the Lord Jesus, called “Holy Heartburn”? As A. W. Tozer writes, there is a passion for more of God that only those who know Him best understand. We were sharing Fifty Things The Holy Spirit Does last Wednesday night. Discussing Who the Holy Spirit is and describing the things He does in and through us pushed me to the breaking point. I was about to jump out of my skin! I sensed an insatiable hunger for the Glory of God shared by all who were present. We were all, “Children of The Burning Heart”!

     Friend, I encourage you to begin experiencing “Holy Heartburn” today. God’s Word is alive! Every page of Holy Scripture is like liquid fire setting hearts ablaze and renewing the minds of its readers. As we worship today and next Wednesday night, make it your aim to be fully engaged. When we make God Himself the object and focus of worship, He responds in ways that makes us realize that our pursuit of Him brings Him great pleasure and delight. Our hearts overflow with a joy the likes of which no earthly pursuit or experience can ever remotely compare!

     Today, will you open your heart, clear your mind of clutter, and worship King Jesus with reckless abandon? This week, will you set aside time each day to soak in God’s presence and meditate on His Word? If so, you might want to buy a bottle of Pepcid. Holy Heartburn is on the way!

 

 
 
 
 
3.15.15
 
 

Tragedy Turned Into Eternal Triumph

 

And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how He  died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” (MARK 15:39)

    Mark’s account of Jesus’ death is an agonizing record of what seems to be a total failure. A mock trial, a brutal crucifixion, cruel taunts, a hurried burial. And for three days hope died in the disciples’ hearts.
A.W. Tozer explains how failure in the eyes of the world may be success in God’s eyes: “The current mania of people seeking to succeed in the world is a good thing perverted. The desire to fulfill the purpose for which we were created is, of course, a gift from God. But sin has twisted this impulse about and turned it into a selfish lust for first place and top honors.

    “When we come to Christ, we enter a different realm, one infinitely higher than and altogether contrary to that of the world. Our Lord died an apparent failure, discredited by the leaders of established religion, rejected by society, and forsaken by his friends. It took the resurrection to demonstrate how gloriously Christ had triumphed and how tragically the world had failed. The resurrection demonstrated once and for all who won and who lost.”

    There is no greater success story than the resurrection, for apparent tragedy was transformed into eternal triumph. That would be good news enough. But there is more! Christ’s resurrection makes a similar success story possible in the lives of Christians who know the truth of this verse: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20).

    That’s a success story with brand new chapters being written every day. One of those chapters is reserved just for you. How will today’s page read?

Excerpted with permission from Once-a-Day Walk with Jesus Devotional, copyright Zondervan.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Valentines
 

Communicating Love and Respect in Marriage      Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

Excerpted with permission from Love and Respect for a Lifetime by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, © Thomas Nelson.  

  God’s way of communicating in marriage is to talk with words of unconditional love and respect.

  “If,” comments a wife, “I’m in the middle of a conversation with my husband that has the potential to become heated and a negative thought about my husband enters my mind, I remember the simple advice in Love and Respect that when I communicate with my husband, I need respectful words, a respectful tone of voice, and a respectful countenance. I also remember the simple advice that I need to think respectful thoughts about my husband because he is created in the image of God, and God commands me to respect him.”

The heart of the wise instructs his mouth and adds            persuasiveness to his lips. (Proverbs 16:23)

  I also teach “my response is my responsibility.” When my spouse and I get on the Crazy Cycle, my unloving words are my responsibility. My wife, Sarah, does not cause my unloving words, and I must always ask myself before I speak, “Is that which I am about to say going to sound loving or unloving to Sarah?”

  A husband comments, “Our relationship changed from frequent nagging and fighting when I realized that my response is my responsibility. I find myself constantly going back to that [truth] in every situation that gets heated. Our relationship has gradually gotten better and better as I try to speak lovingly.”
 

    It would be easy enough to deduce that communication is the key to marriage, but I don’t agree. To say that communication is the key to marriage is to assume that both spouses speak the same language. After more than three decades of pastoring, counseling married couples, and conducting marriage conferences, I’ve learned that, in fact, the wife speaks a “love language” and the husband speaks a “respect language.” They don’t realize this, of course, but because he is speaking one kind of language (respect) and she is speaking another (love), there is little or no understanding and little or no communication.

    Your words are a very good indication of what is going on in your heart — and your spouse knows it. Just about every couple knows what it is like to get into a conflict that escalates into a full-blown argument and they are not sure why it happened. Spouses tend to write off these kinds of arguments, saying, “If only she weren’t so sensitive” or “If only he weren’t so touchy.” But those aren’t the real issues at all.

    Conflict inevitably happens when spouses focus on their own needs and overlook the needs of the other. That’s when the issues arise. The wife needs love; she is not trying to be disrespectful. The husband needs respect; he is not trying to be unloving. Once the Love and Respect couple grasps a basic principle — that the apparent issue is not the real issue at all — they are on their way to cracking the communication code.

    Conflict is inevitable; it is simply part of living together. The key to keeping conflict from escalating is to choose to practice love or respect. When a husband speaks with a loving tone during a conflict, which may range from a mild argument to a more serious disagreement, his wife will feel one with him. When a wife softens her facial expressions and comes across more respectfully during those times of friction, the husband will feel one with her.

    Will the disagreement be solved? Perhaps, but more than likely it will still be there. Yet husband and wife can feel oneness because nobody has to win and nobody has to lose. Oneness is, and it is gained when the wife feels loved by her husband and the husband feels respected by his wife. They bond with each other; two, indeed, become one.

 

 

 
 
Love
 

I CORINTHIANS 13 (THE MESSAGE)

1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

 

10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

11 When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

 

 
 
 
Keep my mouth shut

“Help me, Lord, to keep my mouth shut and my lips sealed.”

PSALM 141:3 (THE LIVING BIBLE)

    Good morning! I’m not going to bother asking how many times you’ve wished you had prayed the words recorded by King David in Psalm 141:3. At least a dozen or two, right? Me, too! As you see on the front cover, an incredible prayer is recorded in Psalm 19:14. Years ago, I began praying that prayer before I left for each day’s activities. Being mindful of the huge impact of my words has saved me countless apologies and salvaged many vital relationships. If I’d only known this truth sooner! Can you relate?

    Over the first month of 2015, we’ve talked about the priority of setting a positive, spiritual atmosphere. It would be spiritual malpractice NOT to deal with the matter of our speech before moving forward. Today, we consider the power of our words. King Solomon writes, The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences

(Proverbs 18:21). As the Holy Spirit ministers to us, let’s allow Him to expose areas of speech that may cause Him grief, that maims our souls, or that wounds the hearts of those we love. This will be time well spent, even if it brings pain. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening —it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way” (Hebrews 12:11 NLT). Let’s do whatever it takes to reap a harvest of right living in 2015. God Bless You!

 

Never Forget: You Are Loved!

Pastors Glenn and Diann

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Know Christ
 

 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (EPHESIANS 3:19 NKJV)

Possessing the Fullness of Christ                                 Francis Frangipane

    We have instructed the Church in nearly everything but becoming disciples of Jesus Christ. We have filled the people with doctrines instead of Deity; we have given them manuals instead of Emmanuel. It is not difficult to recognize someone from Pentecostal, Baptist, Charismatic or other traditional church backgrounds. Nearly every congregation seems to develop a particular slant or system of traditions, some of which ultimately obscures the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. We can honor our traditions, but we must not be limited by them. For us, they will never be enough. We are seeking to be like Jesus, not men. We want the kingdom of God, not typical American Christianity.

    Thus, as a man of God, I must be vigilant to submit myself, above all things, to the Spirit and words of the Lord Jesus, incessantly reaching for the holy standards of the kingdom of God. I consider that any focus or goal other than Christ Himself in fullness will become a source of deception in the days ahead.

    Look at what Jesus did with common people. In just 3 1/2  years average men and women were transformed into fearless disciples, literally filled with the Spirit of God. They did not wince at suffering; they did not withdraw from sacrifice. These once ordinary people were equipped with spiritual authority over demons and exercised power over illnesses. They were the actual living proof that Christ transforms people.

Three and a half years of undiluted Jesus will produce in us what it did in them: THE KINGDOM OF GOD!
 

The first disciples were just as average and human as we are. The difference between them and us is Jesus. He is the only difference. One may argue that this occurred two thousand years ago. True, but “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

    You may say, “But they actually heard Jesus speak; they saw His miracles!” The same Spirit that worked through Jesus in the first century is poured out upon us today! The Holy Spirit has not grown old and feeble; He is still being poured out today. The words Jesus uttered in the first century are still “living and active” today (Hebrews 4:12), even to the “end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). We have no excuses. The eternal One who established His kingdom in men two millennia ago is fully capable of producing it in us today. All we need is undiluted, uninhibited Jesus. All we need are hearts that will not be satisfied with something or someone other than Him.

    Thus the pattern for leadership in the years ahead is simple: Leaders must be individuals whose burning passion is conformity to Jesus Christ. Is this not the highest passion of your heart—to possess the likeness of Christ? Heaven’s concern is: Will we become people who are seeking hard after Christ?
 

God—you’re my God! I can’t get enough of you! I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts. So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your  strength and glory. In your generous love I am really living at last!   My lips brim praises like fountains. I bless you every time I take a  breath; My arms wave like banners of praise to you.

PSALM 63:1-4 (THE MESSAGE)

 

 
 
  
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For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Psalm 139:13-140

     I want you to picture your heart, that powerful machine pumping inside your chest. Believe it or not, it’s about the size of your fist and weighs less than a half a pound. Yet in less than twelve hours, it does enough work to lift 65 tons off the ground!

     And not only that, but if you were to line up the veins, arteries, and capillaries of the average adult end-to-end, they would stretch over 60,000 miles. That’s nearly 2½ times around the world!

    Three millennia ago, before any of these facts would’ve been known, the psalmist said we are fearfully and wonderfully made. How can any rational person look at the human body and not see a divine hand in its design?

You are created by God, not in a factory, but custom-made unlike any other person in the world!

    God made creation. He constructed light years upon light years of universe. Yet that very same God also knit you together in your mother’s womb. He intricately crafted you before you even took your first breath as a newborn baby.

    You have significance. You are NOT the product of an accident. God Himself created you; He sustains you; and He loves you. Yes, YOU! Praise Him today for that amazing truth!

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
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In this life we have three great lasting qualities—faith, hope  and love. But the greatest of them is love.

I CORINTHIANS 13:13 (PHILLIPS)

 

   Good Morning! Can you believe that there are only 17 shopping days left until Christmas? [I’ll make sure you’re informed from now until Christmas week!] Last week, we shared about the power of faith. I hope that article was an encouragement to you. And speaking of hope…

   The second link of this “life link” shared in I Corinthians 13 is the lasting quality of hope! What comes to mind when you consider this rich word? In my mind’s eye, I see three links of a chain. On one end is the quality of faith. On the other end is the quality of love. Smack dab in the middle of these qualities is the enduring, undeniable link of HOPE! An author/poet from a century ago, G. K. Chesterton once said, “Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.” Powerful, huh?

   As we remember the birth of Jesus, history shows that it was a very difficult period. Rome ruled the world, forcing the servitude of people living in conquered nations. Rome owned it all and there was nothing anyone could do about it…apparently. But God!

   God sent hope to planet earth in the form of a newborn baby. During His time here, Jesus preached hope, gave hope, and fulfilled hope. And He’s still doing the same some 2,000 years later.

   Nothing you can buy online or in a store can supply what the lasting quality of hope provides. Only Jesus can do that. HOPE: That’s what Christmas is really all about!

Hope Works!

Pastors Glenn and Diann

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 Nov 23-0

1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all you lands!

2 Serve the Lord with gladness! Come before His presence with singing!

3 Know (perceive, recognize, and understand with approval) that the Lord is God! It is He Who has made us, not we ourselves [and we are His]! We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name!

5 For the Lord is good; His mercy and loving-kindness are everlasting, His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations.

PSALM 100 (AMPLIFIED)

This Thanksgiving, Be Sure to Count Your Blessings!