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



The Grass

For thus says the Lord, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to  be inhabited: “I am the Lord, and there is no other.” —ISAIAH 45:18 (NKJV)

 

Welcome to Crossroads! Are you as enamored with the beauty of North Alabama as I am? Pollen notwithstanding, is there an area more gorgeous than ours? Spring time shimmers with a glow that scarcely fades. As rain continually waters the earth around us, the greenery seems to burst forth with new beauty by the second. What a Master Craftsman our Lord is!

 

Recently, I saw an interview with refugees in Aleppo, Syria. The news reporter asked a mother of three what she missed most about life before a war that has claimed over 220,000 lives. As she ducked into the rubble of a building, she answered,

“I miss my children playing in the grass. Green grass smells like heaven. Everything is gray, dying, destroyed. I miss the grass.”

Nature—God’s handiwork—ministers to the soul of all who care to appreciate it. No artist could compose anything to rival God’s creative genius. Gerard Manley Hopkins was a 19th Century poet. His work gained much more attention after his death than when he was alive. He believed “the modern world” had lost its spiritual connection with God because it had become estranged from nature. To Hopkins, the invention of shoes meant that fewer would ever feel the thrill of walking barefoot in the grass. He could scarcely fathom this change. What in the world would he think of the changes in our day? God’s Grandeur was Hopkins’ signature poem. It is just as powerful today as it was when written over 140 years ago. It reads like this:
 
The world is charged with the grandeur of God. 
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil; 
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil 
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod? 
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod; 
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil; 
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil 
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod. 
And for all this, nature is never spent; 
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things; 
And though the last lights off the black West went 
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs— 
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent 
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

 

Hopkins describes a world infused by God with a power that withstands human corruption. To make this relevant to our day, after the smoke of bombs clear in war-torn Syria, God’s gracious gifts in nature will bloom again. No matter how dark this world may become, the One

“Who did not create it in vain” will fulfill His purpose for it all! If God is determined to do in and with nature what He planned at the dawn of creation, what does that say about His purposes for you…for me…for us?

 

This world—ravaged by war, pestilence, and natural disasters—is still charged with the grandeur of God. Every leaf on every tree bears witness to the Master Craftsman. Every flower blossom shouts, “He lives!” Every tree bough reveals myriad intricacies that form breathtaking beauty. The Holy Ghost broods over this bent world, indeed! The Psalmist wrote of God’s prized creation—mankind: “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand Against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me. The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands” (Psalm 138:7-8). Despite the efforts of our adversary to destroy, God will perfect all which concerns us. Just as nature withstands drought and destruction, so too will we rise again, in His strength. So…take your shoes off and walk in the grass today. He Lives!

 

Never Ever Forget: YOU Are Loved!

Pastors Glenn & Diann



Forward Ever, Backward Never!

 

Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust. PROVERBS 4:25-27 (THE MESSAGE)

Greetings and welcome to Crossroads Church! May today mark a new beginning in your life; the beginning of something new and beautiful! As we enter 2017, why not adopt the mindset depicted in the graphic above? Regardless of how rewarding or how difficult last year may have been, one thing is for certain—IT’S OVER! Some of us may be eager to forget 2016; others may cherish an experience that changed their life for good last year. Either way, our only option is to move forward.

As a child, I remember the Disney movie, Alice in Wonderland. In one scene there was a conversation between Alice and a weird cat. There is a pearl of wisdom for life in their brief exchange. It went like this:

Cat:       “Where are you going?”
Alice:     “Which way should I go?”
Cat:       “That depends on where you are going.”
Alice:     “I don’t know.”
Cat:       “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

Where are YOU going? Any where? No where in particular? For some people life is rote, repetition, and dry rot. While consistency is definitely commendable, we can easily dry rot if we’re not challenged. Among the spiritual virtues we cherish is FAITH. Author Bill Johnson coined the phrase: “God spells faith R-I-S-K.” In other words, without a possibility of failure, our faith can “dry rot.” One of my best friends in Texas enjoys skydiving. He once threatened to buy me a “jump”! As I tried to persuade him to pursue a tamer hobby (like golf or stamp collecting), he said, “It’s better to be scared to death than be bored to death!” He’s still jumping, and just celebrated his 67th birthday. What a total lunatic!

Do you remember when Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt on their way to freedom? A short time after escaping Pharaoh’s clutches, this rag-tag group of escapees faced a seemingly impossible challenge. Egypt’s army pursued them from behind as they approached the Red Sea. There was NO WAY OUT! I love what the Lord said to Moses: “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward” (Exodus 14:15). I love God’s sense of direction. Don’t you?

So, where are YOU going? Any where? No where in particular? In case you’re thinking about buying property on Memory Lane, remember that while the past may launch memories, it will limit or even extinguish faith. It is impossible to grow backward. When Spring flowers emerge soon, you will notice every blossom stretching upward to meet the Sun. As it is in nature, so it is in the Kingdom of The Son. All who desire to grow in their faith embrace this mindset: Forward Ever, Backward Never. Is it growing on you, yet?

Poet Thomas Campion (1567-1620) wrote: “Time’s fatal wings do ever forward fly; to every day we live, a day we die.” That’s the truth! Friend, should Jesus tarry His return (the Rapture of the Church), and should you and I live every day of this calendar year, we will have 365 days to affect the lives of those we love, work, or play with. We’ll have 52 opportunities to worship together with our Forever Family at Crossroads. We will have priceless opportunities to minister to children, teens, and families. We will worship together, pray together, and serve together, squeezing every ounce of joy out of each occasion.

What NEW will YOU DO in 2017?

If you’ve never dared to engage in ministry, Do It Afraid. My lunatic friend in Texas is right: It’s better to be scared to death than be bored to death! This is our prayer/confession for you: “You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance” (Psalm 65:11). We declare and decree that your paths will be saturated with God’s goodness and favor in 2017. The Hebrew word for “abundance” means to become prosperous [fat], to drip with anointing. CLAIM IT! Don’t look back, long back, or go back. Walk hand in hand with Jesus and experience the good things He has planned for YOU. God Bless and Keep You in 2017!

Happy New Year!

Pastors Glenn & Diann



Love Came Down

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

 

The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.
I love thee, Lord Jesus! look down from the sky,
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.

 

Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
And take us to heaven to live with thee there.

 

AWAY IN A MANGER

©1895 William J. Kirkpatrick / 1887 James R. Murray

 

Good morning! Welcome to Crossroads Church. We pray that you will sense the peace and grace of God as you express your love to Him today in worship. The Lord always blesses those who bless Him!

 

Can you believe Christmas is only a week away? My father used to tell me that the older he got, the faster time flew by. He was telling the truth! This year only 32 days pass between Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you work for a living, rake leaves around football games on weekends, and do other “normal” stuff, those days seem to pass awfully fast, don’t they?

 

I saw a video recently shot at a shopping mall. A reporter was asking people to comment on their shopping experiences on Black Friday. Several people shared, all appearing flustered and tired. One lady said that if it were up to her, she would cancel Christmas because it leaves her broke and worn out. She ended by saying that Christmas was just “one huge inconvenience” for her. Is that what Christmas is supposed to feel like?

 

Jesus birth was very inconvenient for Mary and Joseph. They lived in Nazareth—over 70 miles north of Bethlehem. The couple was forced by legal decree to make the long trip. With neither highway nor vehicle, Mary and Joseph walked the rugged terrain toward the City of David, the place of Joseph’s birth. We celebrate their pilgrimage with smiling faces and joy today, but for this couple there were no songs of cheer and no one to share their burden. The journey would’ve taken at least three days and was quite difficult as they arrived late at night, too late to find a place to lodge. Mary shuddered with each contraction, hoping to find somewhere—anywhere—to get some relief. I guess a sheep stable would qualify as “anywhere.” The Creator of all that exists within time came into the world He spoke into being with no particular fanfare. In that stable, He was only noticed by a few lowly animals. How appropriate that sheep were present. Jesus was later referred to in the New Testament as “that great Shepherd of the sheep” (see Hebrews 13:20).

 

If we can learn anything from that night, it is that something beautiful and life-changing can come from

“one huge inconvenience.” Jesus did not come so we could shop until we drop. Nor did He come to shove us into amassing debt clear up to our eyeballs. Christ’s birth, while incredibly inconvenient to Mary and Joseph, proved to be the most glorious occasion since the dawn of time. This was like Pablo Picasso putting down his paintbrush to step into the canvas to flesh out what he saw in his mind. It was like Michelangelo dropping his hammer and chisel to get inside the block of marble he was sculpting to breathe life into the lifeless stone. The artist enters his work and becomes the subject. Brilliant!

 

Jesus was willing to be inconvenienced for us! The Architect of all that may be seen came to our planet because He was not content to speak and act outside of time only. He stepped into time to reveal the Kingdom of God and to demonstrate grace to the crown of His creation—mankind. In the next few days, take some time to meditate upon the simply profound words of Away In A Manger. As the last stanza so beautifully says, “Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask thee to stay, Close by me forever, and love me I pray. Bless all the dear children in thy tender care, And take us to heaven to live with thee there.”

 

That, friend, is why “LOVE CAME DOWN.”

 

We Wish You A Merry, Blessed, Peace-Filled Christmas!

Pastors Glenn & Diann



A Child is Born!

   

Welcome! We’re grateful that you’ve chosen to worship with us today. Our prayer is that you experience a love and grace beyond compare as we welcome the presence of God together! As we race toward Christmas, let us push “pause” on the hectic pace of holiday preparations. Let’s focus on THE CHRIST of Christmas for a few minutes.

 

    Can you imagine how Mary and Joseph handled news that they would be caring for the Christ child? Forty weeks is a long time to dream, plan, and prepare for a new arrival. The emotions that a parent experiences are unique to their role in the development and life of the child they plan to welcome. A mother-to-be tends to focus on needs like comfort, clothing, and necessities to nurture her infant. A father-in-waiting typically focuses on the finances required to provide for a new family member and making sure the baby is safe and secure. If you are a parent, you can relate.

 

    I wonder if Mary and Joseph understood that since they’d be caring for a Child they did not plan for, the One who did would take care of His needs? This would free them to celebrate the Miracle that changed their lives and ours. Mary “pondered” the joyous adoration and testimonies of the shepherds who hailed the birth of Jesus (see Luke 2:19). She glowed like any new mom would—her face radiant with joy, her heart flooded by dreams of her son’s future. Joseph, a carpenter, made Jesus his first toy. He taught Jesus carpentry skills and modeled a strong work ethic. Their home was filled with joy, laughter, hope, and love—lots of love!

 

    Parents dream of their children living long, happy lives, but this Child was different. His destiny was planned from eternity past by His Heavenly Father. The joy Mary and Joseph felt was tempered by that reality. There would be time to think about all of that later, but for now, pure joy! Heaven held in human arms. The Hope of the world sleeping, oblivious to the sounds and smells of the sheep stable that was His first “room.” In his marvelous book, God Came Nearauthor Max Lucado writes:

 

    It all happened in a moment, a most remarkable moment that was like none other. For through that segment of time a spectacular thing occurred. God became a man. While the creatures of earth walked unaware, Divinity arrived. Heaven opened herself and placed her most precious one in a human womb. God as a fetus. Holiness sleeping in a womb. The creator of life being created. God was given eyebrows, elbows, two kidneys, and a spleen. He stretched against the walls and floated in the amniotic fluids of His mother.

 

    God had come near. No silk. No ivory. No hype. To think of Jesus in such a light is — well, it seems almost irreverent, doesn’t it? It is much easier to keep the humanity out of the incarnation. But for heaven’s sake, don’t. Let Him be as human as He intended to be. Let Him into the mire and muck of our world. For only if we let Him in can He pull us out.

 

    The prophet Isaiah wrote: “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6 NKJV). Seven centuries before Bethlehem, and generations before the birth of either Mary or Joseph, a Master’s Plan was in place. That plan has impacted our lives individually, and the world collectively for thousands of years. Thank God!

 

    Don’t get so caught up in wrapping Christmas presents that you forget

HIS Presence. Heaven’s greatest Gift has already been given. He is ours to enjoy forever! Jesus came into “the mire and muck of our world” so that He could “pull us out”I’m so thankful that God came near. Aren’t you? May you enjoy HIS Presence today and every day this Christmas season!

 

Never Forget: YOU Are Loved!!

Pastors Glenn & Diann



Gratitude

 
THE PROLIFIC POWER OF GRATITUDE

 

Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. –COLOSSIANS 3:17 (NASB)

Welcome to Crossroads! Our dear friends, Pat and Karen Schatzline will minister this morning and tonight. If you’ve never met this couple, you’ll fall in love with them quickly. They are standard-bearers for truth and grace in this generation. The Lord has signally blessed them—a fact that we at Crossroads can personally attest to. May every heart and life be changed as we feast on the unsearchable riches of Christ today!

Today marks the start of one of the most memorable weeks of the year. Thanksgiving is not only a National holiday (since 1863), it also signifies the start of the Christmas shopping blitz. [There are 34 shopping days until Christmas.] Shopping fever threatens the significance of this day of gratitude. Instead of rejoicing in God’s faithfulness and enjoying our family time, a disturbing trend has emerged in recent years. Black Friday shopping ads are the topic of conversation at many gatherings. Instead of being grateful for the blessings we already have, we turn our eyes—and  hearts—toward getting even more. Isn’t that missing the point?

Zig Ziglar once said: “Of all the ‘attitudes’ we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life changing.” Gratitude—thanksgiving—has been evaluated by researchers involved in disciplines such as medicine, social sciences, and the field of psychology. Almost universally, one thing is agreed upon: Gratitude—like a magnet—attracts MORE of whatever one is grateful for.

Conversely, ingratitude stops the flow of blessing, every time. Do you recall how the Israelites behaved in the Wilderness after being freed from bondage in Egypt? {By way of reminder: 430 years of forced labor, all the while subsisting on a diet of vegetables, and no “civil” rights, to speak of.} God forced their release, and made sure that the wealthy Egyptians PAID BACK their former hostages on their way out of town (see Exodus 12)! You talk about “back pay”! Naturally, you’d expect the Israelites to be grateful. That’s how we’d respond, right? However, their fears over God’s direction, protection and provision turned an 11-day journey into a 40-year –long nightmare. Ingratitude manifests in complaining and whining, often accompanied by a pickled prune-face. Can you just imagine the sights and sounds of two million crybabies? Every opportunity for faith died a cruel death in the desert. And the people who saw God provide their miraculous deliverance from Egypt wandered around and around in circles until they all died in the desert (except for Joshua and Caleb). Well, that’s enough about “Negative Ned and Nelly”.

What happens when God’s miracles and mercies are received with gratitude? In Matthew 15, a very desperate Canaanite mother asks Jesus to help her demon-possessed daughter. Jesus pretty much ignores her. Yet, instead of having a “snit-fit”, this “foreigner” says she’d be grateful even for crumbs that fall from a table. Jesus is totally astonished at her attitude of gratitude! He says, “Woman, you have great faith” (Matthew 15:28)! Scripture goes on to say that the lady’s daughter was healed from that very hour. That is what I call “The Prolific Power of Gratitude”That same principle and practice produces miracles and mercies to this day.

As we approach Thanksgiving, may I ask you a few questions? Do you tend to complain and whine? Is your face set in a prune-face pucker? If so, would you be courageous enough to evaluate your progress—or the lack thereof? Aren’t you tired of walking around in circles? Are you ready for a change? Good! Starting right now, think about crumbs, leftovers—like what we eat after Turkey Day. Practice an attitude of gratitude—even if you’re not  getting what you want, when you want it. You can do it!

Glance again at the picture of a baby folding her hands in prayer. She’s probably praying for food or water. Over 1 million children die every year due to malnutrition. Crumbs look good to someone who’s desperate. You and I have nothing  to complain about.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pastors Glenn & Diann

 

P.S. We hope you enjoy your crumbs this week, too!



Election Infection

 

Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.  – PSALM 146:3 (NASB)

Welcome to Crossroads Church. We’re so glad you have joined us for worship. May our gracious King Jesus wrap you in His loving arms and heal you from the inside out. He’s really good at that!

Last week our nation experienced a seismic shift, to put it mildly. “Expert” prognostications proved worthless. Media sources were stunned as polling results began pouring in Tuesday. I watched about 30 minutes of news coverage. News analysts were incredulous, mumbling things like, “How could we have missed it so badly?” I feasted on James 5:16b, “The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]” (AMP). Praise God for the opportunity to impact our world through earnest prayer! Isn’t it a shame that it took the meanest political campaign in recent times to provoke God’s people to pray like never before? And pray we did!
 
A friend of mine said that Christians were coming down with cases of “Election Infection.” Symptoms of E.I. included fatigue, intense feelings of fear, trouble sleeping, and irritability. One wouldn’t have had to look far to notice folks with a bad case of E.I.! You didn’t catch the bug, did you? Are you getting better, or are you getting bitter?
 
The only known cure for E.I. is THE GOSPEL. Psalm 146:3 advises, “Do not trust in princes (or presidents), In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.” The most intelligent and gifted of men are but chaff when compared to God. Our hope, peace, and security cannot originate in mortals. We are so fragile, aren’t we? Thankfully, our Creator remembers that we are but dust and is therefore gracious, merciful and kind.

 

In the days that followed the Presidential election, crowds of people in some areas of our nation took to the streets, belching out vile threats and destroying property. If it weren’t obvious before the election, such scenes confirmed the destruction caused by E.I. As followers of Christ, we have a grand opportunity before us. We can be agents of healing and hope in our communities. The answers being sought by those who feel alienated and angry won’t come from political leaders. The politics of abject hate can only divide, leaving in its wake devastation which it can never heal. That’s where you and I come in.

Consider these words: “…to you, the ones whom God our Father loves and has called and whom Jesus, the Anointed One, has kept. Kindness, peace, love—may they never stop blooming in you and from you”  (Jude 1:1-2 The Voice). Here are three things to impart courage to us today—
 
1) We are “the ones whom God our Father loves and has called”;
2) Jesus, the Anointed One, KEEPS us;

3) Due to our privileged position, kindness, peace, and love are constantly blooming in us and from us!

Our family, friends, and community need from us what’s growing in us. How’s your garden? Is KINDNESS blooming in you today? Does your
PEACE dispel chaos and confusion in the environments you enter? How about LOVE? Do you remember the adage: “Fake it until you make it”? That may work in some areas of life, but never when it comes to LOVE. That’s why I value every opportunity to be with children, teens, and young adults. Many of them are starving for authentic love. So are “big” kids! I’ve got lots of love to give. Don’t you? Now that the election is behind us, can we get back to doing what we are called and anointed to do?

 

The cure for hurting and broken people in our world is growing inside the hearts of Holy Spirit-filled believers. “Election Infection” dries up in the presence of kindness and peace. “Election Infection” is no match for the powerful love of Jesus. This week, will you give away what is growing in you? Will you show KINDNESS, even to those who may not return the favor? Will you bring PEACE that dispels resentment? Will you LOVE regardless of race, creed, color, or political persuasion? Diann and I pray daily for you. We are so thankful that you are passionate about the peace, love, and kindness of Jesus. Now LET’S give it away!

Pastors Glenn & Diann



Election 2016

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. I TIMOTHY 2:1-4 (NIV)

 

Welcome to Crossroads; we are so glad to have you with us today! On Tuesday, voting citizens will elect the 45

th President of the United States. Analysts suggest that this race has “lowered the bar” as it relates to the character of the candidates and their hostility toward not only each other, but also their hostility toward each other’s supporters. It is hard to imagine a bar any lower than the one set by the respective candidates for President. My favorite buttons on the TV remote are now “mute” and “off”!

 

A timeless leadership principle states: “As goes the leader, so go the people.”
We have seen the truth of this statement manifest over the last few months. I can’t remember a time when it was as dangerous to attend a political rally. Verbal assaults by Presidential contenders fueled violent assaults by some of their supporters. Such malevolence reveals a gaping hole in our nation’s soul—something our next President cannot heal.

 

Political leaders throughout history have risen and fallen. Some of them left their constituents in better shape than when they took office. Others were famous for all the wrong reasons. Some leaders used their position for personal gain. Others leaders were truly public servants. You don’t really know what you’ve got until the dust settles and history reveals the accomplishments or failures of a particular leader. However, a leader’s legacy doesn’t stop when his or her term expires. A leader’s character—or the lack thereof—makes a mark that can last for generations. And that, friend, is the ultimate cost of this horribly contentious election cycle.

 

Anyone who has paid attention to the shenanigans that have marred the election process over the last few months will realize that this nation has effectively been divided and conquered not from without, but from within. Hostility is so common that incidents that once would have been front-page news are routinely ignored. Respect for others has become quite rare. We need look no further than the respective political parties to see why. Elephant see; elephant do…Donkey see; donkey do. Lord, help us all!!

 

Today, you may hear a sermon unlike any you’ve ever about the state of America as well as the rest of the world. The “spirit[s]” we are seeing demonstrated in America, as well as in other areas of the world were part of John’s revelation of Jesus Christ. The turmoil, anger, and volatility of this hour are like pieces of a complex puzzle falling into place. I’m far from a “doomsday” prophet, but I’m confident that things will not go back to the way they were regardless of the results of Tuesday’s election. Over the last few years, the world has moved at warp speed toward Globalism. Boundaries that once divided nations have dissolved like an ink blot in water. We could put on ruby red slippers and click our heels three times like Dorothy (The Wizard of Oz), but that won’t change a thing. We are experiencing “a new normal” whether we like it or not. As much as we might like to push the “reverse” button, we can’t.

 

There is nothing pleasant about the condition of this world. Good news is hard to find at times like this. Jeremiah recorded God’s perspective on seeking a positive word in the face of judgment. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says to his people: “Do not listen to these prophets when they prophesy to you, filling you with futile hopes. They are making up everything they say. They do not speak for the Lord! They keep saying to those who despise my word, ‘Don’t worry! The Lord says you will have peace!’ And to those who stubbornly follow their own desires, they say, ‘No harm will come your way!’ “Have any of these prophets been in the Lord’s presence to hear what he is really saying?  Has even one of them cared enough to listen?”
(Jeremiah 23:16-18 NLT)

 

Seek the face of God and listen to Him! HE ALONE is our Source of security. Peter urged First Century believers to conduct themselves as “temporary residents and foreigners”  (2 Peter 2:11). That’s the only way they could live for God in a darkened world. The same is true for us today.

 

Please Pray and Vote on Tuesday. Rest assured, however, that the next President is not our deliverer. No human being is capable of doing for us what GOD alone can do. We need Him now more than we’ve ever needed Him! Amen?

 

Never Forget: YOU Are Loved!

Pastors Glenn & Diann



Joy

Why am I so overwrought, Why am I so disturbed? Why can’t I just hope in God? Despite all my emotions, I will believe and praise the One who saves me, my God. PSALM 42:11 (THE VOICE)

Welcome to Crossroads! I hope you came looking for JOY today. As we near the end of what seems like an endless election campaign cycle, I don’t think I’ve ever heard as many moans and groans in all my life. Ever heard of a “sour puss” [when someone looks like they’ve chewed through a bushel of lemons]? There are a lot more scowls than smiles these days. I’m hopeful that November 9th will signal the end of what feels like a collective depression. We sure could use some joy around here!

I love meditating in silence and isolation. That’s how I’ve started each day for decades. Silence is a healing agent. Being alone is a precious gift, too. 32 ounces of hot coffee and a few chapters in the Bible later, I’m full of joy, peace, and love. I’m sure there are those who would prefer I kept my singing to myself, but when you’re juiced with joy, you’ve got to let it out. Plus, I’m thinking about trying out for one of those “hidden talent” kind of shows. I might be the next Pavarotti!

I was praying last Monday when I was interrupted by the Holy Spirit, Who revealed that my praying sounded a lot like whining to Him. I then prayed: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (Psalm 139:23-24 NLT). I don’t recommend praying that Scripture unless you’re ready to be challenged by the Lord. Why? Because He loves us enough to point out anything that offends Him!

I then heard a transforming word from heaven (I believe). The Lord said He’s searching for hearts full of JOY. He looks favorably upon those who have elevated their expectations from things on earth to heavenly realities. He reminded me that the 2nd listed
“fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 6:22) is JOY! He gave me a message to share today: The JOY Mandate.
I hope that it will encourage your heart as it has mine.
 
Many Psalms invite JOY regardless of circumstances. Psalm 27:5-7 is a great example,
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord. Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me”
(NIV). Today, this promise of protection applies to us, too!
 
Notice that David’s response was to “sacrifice with shouts of joy.” How could he think of such with all that was happening? The context of this Psalm is dire: being abandoned by parents, hunted by adversaries, facing false accusation… Regardless, JOY IS A CHOICE!
 
In her book, Glorifying God, Patti Hummel writes: “Spiritual joy is a sweet and delightful passion arising from the apprehension and feeling of some good, whereby the soul is supported under present troubles and fenced against future fear.” Regardless of the political climate, financial markets, or family situations—GOD supports our souls (emotion, will, reasoning) under present troubles and fences off future fear. Hallelujah!
 
Today, tune out all frequencies that cause you to fear. Exercise your power to choose your environment. At the moment we enter heaven, we’ll realize just how insignificant this “dust realm” was. Why wait? “Since you became alive again, so to speak, when Christ arose from the dead, now set your sights on the rich treasures and joys of heaven where he sits beside God in the place of honor and power. Let heaven fill your thoughts; don’t spend your time worrying about things down here. You should have as little desire for this world as a dead person does. Your real life is in heaven with Christ and God” (Colossians 3:1-3 TLB). Let’s joy and rejoice in the God of our salvation today. It will confuse the devil and delight our gracious King and Redeemer, Jesus! He’s Worthy!!

 

Bless The Lord, O My Soul!

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)

 

 
 
  
   Lion
 

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!