Where do you want to go?

 

Lord, direct me throughout my journey so I can experience your plans for my life. Reveal the life-paths that are pleasing to you. Escort me along the way… —Psalm 25:4-5a (TPT)

Welcome to Crossroads Church.  Thanks so much for joining us for worship.  We pray that you will be encouraged and empowered as you spend time in the presence of God today! May signifies important things such as warmer temperatures, the opening of swimming pools, Memorial Day, and the end of the school year.  Every May, seniors look forward to completing their “tour of duty” in education.  What a joy it is to march to a platform, receive a diploma, and hear a pronouncement from a school administrator that you’re a graduate.  Those words, though brief, are priceless, aren’t they?  However, a short time later, a new reality begins to set in.  We are no longer under the care of teachers, we’re on our own.  Do you recall the panic that set in when you realized that you had to find a job that paid enough for you to live “on your own”?  You talk about a wake-up call! In the movie Alice In Wonderland, Alice is ambling along when she spots a talking Cheshire cat.  Alice says, “I was just wondering if you could help me find my way.”  The cat replies, “Well that depends on where you want to get to.”  Alice says she doesn’t know, to which the cat responds, “Then it really doesn’t matter which way you go.”  Hmmm… So what’s your plan?  Do you know where you’re going?  If so, how will you get there?  After all, direction only matters if you know your destination. The Word of God has much to say about direction and destination.  In John 14:6, Jesus says He is “the way, the truth, and the life.”  If our destination is the presence of God, we must go through Jesus.  In John 10:9-10, Jesus says, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  Clearly, direction determines destination. The Greek word for “way” in John 14 [hodos] means “a road; progress (the route, act, or distance); journey.” Jesus’s first followers recognized that their new belief system affected more than outward religious practices; it impacted the way they understood the meaning of life.  Following Jesus was way more than adhering to a set of rules; this new “way” was a tangible expression of the very life of Jesus.  There’s no better “way” than that! Have you ever gotten confused when driving somewhere you’d never been before?  There have been times when the Map app on my phone gave me a direction that just didn’t feel right, so I went with my “gut feeling”, making matters worse.  I typically circle the block a time or two to see if I can figure things out on my own.  Eventually, I’ll ask for help and get back on track.  You’ve done the same, right?  We’re all directionally challenged! If you continue down the path you’re on now, will you be satisfied with your destination?  God promises in Psalm 32:8, “I will stay close to you, instructing and guiding you along the pathway for your life. I will advise you along the way and lead you forth with my eyes as your guide.”  The Lord then urges us: “don’t be stubborn when I take you where you’ve not been before. . . . Just come with me!” —Psalm 32:9 Whether you are a graduating high school or college student or someone searching for direction, God has a “pathway for your life.”  He knows the “way” you should go.  Saul of Tarsus truly believed that the “way” he was going was pleasing to God.  He had an encounter with Christ on the Road to Damascus and spent three days in total blindness before he could truly see “the Way” (Acts 22:4).  Where are YOU going?  Are you open to direction or to correction?  Instead of feeling frustrated when your plans do not pan out, pray and wait.  Ask the Lord for HIS way forward.  Don’t be stubborn when He takes you where you’ve never been before.  He wants the best for you. HIS WAY is THE WAY.  God’s life-path for you is always best! Never Forget: YOU ARE LOVED!! Pastors Glenn & Diann Randall



A Love So Great

 

 
 
We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God! —Hebrews 12:2 (The Passion Translation)
 

 Welcome to Crossroads Church! Thanks for joining us for worship today! As the winds of March give way to Spring, we focus on Easter and the earth-shattering events it heralds: The Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus. As we approach the most important week of ours—or any—lives, I recall reading vivid descriptions of the crucifixion of Jesus that pierced my heart a thousand times over. The reality that my self-serving, self-centered choices cost Jesus His rightful place on heaven’s throne broke my heart. If you’re like me, tears flow from your broken heart and then through your eyes when you ponder Calvary. That kind of love is beyond breathtaking, isn’t it? Author Max Lucado wrote a book many years ago entitled, “He Chose The Nails.” In his book, the author makes a point that the cross Jesus took in our place was not meant to torment those whom Christ died for but to give every believer in Him eternal assurance and hope. He writes: “Every gift reveals God’s love…but no gift reveals His love more than the gifts of the cross. They came, not wrapped in paper, but in passion. Not placed around a tree, but on a cross. And not covered with ribbons, but sprinkled with blood.” Do you consider the cross a gift? It’s hard to wrap our minds around that concept. However, the Word of God reveals this truth: Jesus accepted the guilty verdict due every man, woman, and child born into the human family—and He did so with JOY! Joy and suffering seem mutually exclusive, don’t they? Jesus epitomized “A Love So Great.” As the writer of Hebrews shares, Jesus “focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his…” Jesus saw us, our children, our generations before and after our brief time on earth. He understood the price of our self-serving, self-centered choices: DEATH. He knew that He would be cursed, humiliated, and nailed to a cross, but He chose that pain by agreeing to the Father’s rescue plan. Oh, what love! Ponder this thought from Lucado: “The same hand that stilled the seas stills your guilt. The same hand that cleansed the Temple cleanses your heart. The hand is the hand of God. The nail is the nail of God. And as the hands of Jesus opened for the nail, the doors of heaven opened for you.” If Easter proves anything, it proves that love is completely irrational. Wouldn’t you agree? Why would God lay down His crown in order to share our frail human limitations? That’s what love does! Why would God allow His hands to be pierced for our crimes and to hang in open shame? That’s what love does! Why would God allow blasphemies against Him to roll off the tongues He formed in our mouths? That’s what love does! Max Lucado’s words are so powerful: “The same hand that cleansed the temple cleanses your heart.” WOW! That means that we don’t have to hang our heads in shame over our failures. The kindness of God answers the loud demands and protests of our guilt-soaked consciences now and forever! Oh, what love! Do you battle feelings of guilt, shame, and remorse? Please stop! Do you rehearse failures from past relationships? Please stop! Do you wallow in regret over failed promises you’ve made to yourself in the past to quit doing bad and start doing good? Please stop! Here’s why: Jesus poured out His life’s blood to fully, finally, and forever abolish fear and to assure you that God is not angry with you. His resurrection provided even further proof that you and I can rest in His finished work on Calvary and trust in His High Priestly work in our behalf in heaven. God’s Word provides ample proof. Savor each word: “And he has entered once and forever into the Holiest Sanctuary of All, not with the blood of animal sacrifices, but the sacred blood of his own sacrifice. And he alone has made our salvation secure forever! Under the old covenant the blood of bulls, goats, and the ashes of a heifer were sprinkled on those who were defiled and effectively cleansed them outwardly from their ceremonial impurities. Yet how much more will the sacred blood of the Messiah thoroughly cleanse our consciences! For by the power of the eternal Spirit he has offered himself to God as the perfect Sacrifice that now frees us from our dead works to worship and serve the living God.” —Hebrews 9:12-14 (The Passion Translation) As we admit the fact of our crimes and rejoice in the reality of the One who bore ALL sin and shame, paying in full for our redemption, the result should be radical joy! Peter writes: “Through our faith, the mighty power of God constantly guards us until our full salvation is ready to be revealed in the last time. May the thought of this cause you to jump for joy, even though lately you’ve had to put up with the grief of many trials. But these only reveal the sterling core of your faith, which is far more valuable than gold that perishes, for even gold is refined by fire. Your authentic faith will result in even more praise, glory, and honor when Jesus the Anointed One is revealed. You love him passionately although you did not see him, but through believing in him you are saturated with an ecstatic joy, indescribably sublime and immersed in glory. For you are reaping the harvest of your faith—the full salvation promised you—your souls’ victory. —1 Peter 1:5-9 (The Passion Translation) We wish you the most glorious Easter celebration ever on April 21st! We trust that Resurrection Sunday will remind you of the astonishing value God places on you. He wanted you bad enough to send Jesus, who demonstrated A Love So Great that we’ll be rejoicing and singing His praises forever and ever and ever. God bless you and your family this Easter! Never, Ever Forget: You Are Dearly Loved!

Pastors Glenn & Diann Randall
 


Beautiful Things

 
 
 

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet.

 

PSALM 8:3-6 (NIV)

     Hello and welcome to Crossroads Church! We are grateful to have you join us for worship today. Thanks so much for being here!    Do you look forward to a change of seasons? I’ve heard it said that in our great State one can experience all four seasons in the same week. It seems like that’s true, doesn’t it? Spring is, for most, a welcomed and celebrated season. After a long, wet winter, we can’t wait to get outside and enjoy the warmer temperatures. There’s nothing that recalibrates the soul like the beaming rays of sunshine. Welcome back, old friend!    In some circles of society, people tend to personalize and even “worship” nature. “Mother Earth” may be an accepted term but this earth is not your mom, nor mine. Like every other thing created by God, nature is in a constant state of flux. Temperatures rise and fall; water levels do the same; animals, birds, and sea creatures live and die; seasons come and go. Nature was never meant to be worshiped. Rather, nature is a gift from God to the crown of His creation—mankind. Humankind was never meant to be worshiped or idolized either. We are gifts of God to one another. Aren’t we wealthy?

   Would you read on for a brief look at the Eighth Psalm? It’ll be worth your time, I promise…
 
An Old Testament hero—David—composed Psalm 8. This psalm postures God’s creation of man against the backdrop of the cosmos. Obviously, there is NO comparison when it comes to size. The “average” U.S. male is 5’10” tall and weighs 198 pounds. The Milky Way Galaxy (David’s neighborhood then and ours now) is slightly larger. Check this out…
 

If The Voyager spacecraft could travel from one end of The Milky Way Galaxy to the other, it would take 1 BILLION, 700 MILLION years! If The Voyager could travel at the speed of light (186,282 miles per second) on its journey, it would still take OVER 26,000 YEARS! Our Creator God named each and every star in The Milky Way Galaxy (300+ million)! That same Creator numbered the hairs on the head of every human being ever born. He knew every human being before they were formed in their mother’s womb. He numbered the days and ordered the steps of every person who has ever placed their faith in Him as Lord and worshiped Him as God. WOW!!      What does our Father in heaven see when He looks into the depths of our souls? David writes that God sees “rulers over the works of [His] hands.” That includes The Milky Way Galaxy and every galaxy in the observable Universe (between 200 billion and 2 trillion)! Jesus sees Kings and Priests who will rule and reign with Him in heaven. Angels see royalty for whom the worlds were created. Child of God, lift up your head and realize how privileged you are. Embrace the fact that you are God’s priority above every work of His hands. In fact, He has “put everything under [your] feet”!      As a joint-heir with Christ and an heir of God (see Romans 8:17) you are, in fact, a joint-owner of God’s handiwork. God formed mankind from the dust of the earth, and now He’s making diamonds out of that dust. God is raising up royalty from the ashes of a fractured world, and you and I are a part of His glorious plan. Praise God for every breath and every promise He has made—including the one to crown you with glory and honor. God sure made a “beautiful thing” when He made you! God bless and prosper you today and every day. We Love You!   Pastors Glenn & Diann Randall      



Real Love

 
I am contending for you that your hearts will be wrapped in the comfort of heaven and woven together into love’s fabric. This will give you access to all the riches of God as you experience the revelation of God’s great mystery—Christ. —Colossians 2:2 (The Passion Translation)
 
Welcome to Crossroads! We’re glad you’re here today and trust that you will find hope, encouragement, and peace as you experience the presence and love of Jesus during worship. He truly does love YOU!
 
As we enter February, many of us associate this month with Valentine’s Day—a day set aside to express love to the people dearest to us. Does Valentine’s Day mean much to Americans? Consider this: Americans spent over Twenty Billion Dollars on this holiday in 2018! Apparently, people still believe in love, and are quite willing to pony up the cash to prove it. Florists, jewelers, restaurants, and greeting card companies are very appreciative, I’m sure!
 
One of the things that amazes me about the investment people are willing to make in relationships is that statistically, this is the most fickle generation in history when it comes to commitment. Marriage rates have bottomed out in recent years. Couples seem to prefer cohabitation—an arrangement that favors freedom over stability. The fallout from a lack of commitment is being felt in ways that are astonishing. Forecasts for the future of committed relationships look bleak, at best. Where can stability, certainty, and genuine trust be found?
 
When God created mankind, He endowed us with a capacity to form and to sustain life-long relationships. What a gift! In New Testament Greek, there are four unique words that are translated “love”:
 
(1) Phileo: A love that responds to affection, fondness, or liking. Kenneth Wuest writes, “It is a love that is called out of one’s heart as a response to the pleasure one takes in a person or object.” This kind of love involves giving as well as receiving, but when it is greatly strained, it may collapse in a crisis.
 
(2) Storge: A love that is based in one’s own nature; a natural affection or a natural obligation. This love manifests as a natural movement of the soul for spouse, child, or a pet. Storge is a deep settled feeling of satisfaction and appreciation. In other words, this kind of love makes you feel good all over. Who doesn’t need that?
 
(3) Eros: An overwhelming passion that seizes and absorbs itself into the mind. Eros is an emotional involvement based on body chemistry. A reason for Eros is self-satisfaction: “I love you because you make me happy.” The foundation of this love is a characteristic in the other person which pleases you. If that characteristic did not exist, the reason for love would also cease. Without Eros, the planet would be vacant. No Eros = No Babies. Not good!
 
(4) Agape: A love caused by the preciousness of the object loved. Agape treasures an object not based on its inherent worth, but on the ability of the Source to appreciate said object. Agape delights in giving. Agape keeps on loving even when the loved one or thing is unkind, unlovable, unworthy, or unresponsive. Agape is an unconditional love—possessed with a consuming passion for the well-being of others.
 
Our theme for this year is VISION 2020. If we’re going to grow stronger and healthier moving forward, we’ll have to do it together. As our world spirals into division and toxic self-absorption, you and I must be committed to each other. We must pray for and lift the burdens of those among us who are weary, weak, or wounded. In the words of St. Paul, “I am contending for you that your hearts will be wrapped in the comfort of heaven and woven together into love’s fabric” (Colossians 2:2). Only as you and I develop Agape love can we love one another for the other’s sake. This is a counter-cultural quality. Our world needs to see Agape love on living canvases—hearts that are attuned to our Lord Jesus and to each other. Agape love will change our families, our communities, and our world, one heart at a time.
 
On February 14th, you probably won’t be thinking about those you sit by in church on any given Sunday, but will you pray for your Faith-Family the other 27 days this month? We pray for you like Paul prayed for the saints in Colossae. We are “contending for you that your hearts will be wrapped in the comfort of heaven and woven together into love’s fabric.” This is true Agape love. That is REAL LOVE! May God bless you and keep you in His Agape love today and every day of your life.
 

We love you dearly! Pastors Glenn & Diann Randall



Reset

 

I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness that I’m pursuing, but I run with passion into his abundance so that I may reach the purpose that Jesus Christ has called me to fulfill and wants me to discover. I don’t depend on my own strength to  accomplish this; however I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead. I run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus. So let all who are fully mature have this same passion, and if anyone is not yet gripped by these desires, God will reveal it to them. And let us all advance together to reach this victory-prize, following one path with one passion.   PHILIPPIANS 3:12-16 (THE PASSION TRANSLATION)       Welcome to our last Sunday worship encounter of 2018. We trust that today will be a blessing for all who desire to meet with the Lord. Whether this year has been fulfilling or frustrating, easy or hard, happy or sad for you, one thing is certain: we must move forward in order to grow spiritually. That’s the only way we can capitalize on every circumstance, whether good or bad, right?       The passage above was written by the Apostle Paul while a prisoner of the Roman government. He likely wrote this letter while confined in Rome. Why the background info? If anyone could have insisted on feeling hopeless due to negative circumstances, it would have been Paul. However, the tone of this letter is wildly optimistic. If you’ve never read the entire letter to the Church at Philippi, I recommend you do so. It will take less than an hour, and it will lift your spirits beyond cloud nine!  

    Philippians 3:12-16 reveals: A COMPELLING FOCUS IS A CRITICAL NEED! Paul could have wallowed in self-pity. After all, he was fulfilling the ministry given him by Jesus. However, the tenor of Paul’s letter is quite the opposite of self-pity. Instead of a “woe-is-me” attitude, Paul kept his desired destination first and foremost in his heart and mind. He writes: “I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead” (Philippians 3:13 TPT). Friend, is your heart fastened to your future? Do you possess “one compelling focus”?
 

Here are some insights from Philippians 3:12-16…   (1) It’s not a negative confession to admit that you have not yet arrived. Historians believe that Paul wrote this letter to the church in Philippi around 62 A.D., some 25 years after he met Jesus face-to-face on the Damascus Road. Paul enjoyed great success in ministry, despite the pain he endured at the hands of his persecutors. Notable miracles were attributed to Paul, as the Holy Spirit verified the gospel of Jesus with signs, wonders, and miracles. Yet, Paul wanted more! Do you?   (2) Applause is an impediment to destiny. If Paul had been almost idolized (as some in “Churchianity” are today) he may have sought the approval of man instead of God. Numbers are practically worshipped today. Religious organizations gather data and produce presentations for their “significant” donors. I’m thankful that the Bible was written in the first few years of the church’s existence. It was hard to throw a party for leaders back then (unless you had a prison pass). Paul had no time for applause. He was determined to “run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). If we are going to finish the race we’ve started, we cannot afford to be distracted by compliments or criticism; either might prove fatal!   (3) Run your race for Jesus and trust Him to create that desire in others. Does it bother you that people in churches act at times like they’re doing God a favor by showing up for “worship”? No prayer, no mourning, no change! I’ve discovered a secret I’d like to share with you today: If you pay too much attention to others, you’ll wind up in a ditch with them! Paul wrote that “all who are fully mature” would share the same passionate pursuit of Jesus. For others who may not be at the same level, “God will reveal it to them.” The Body of Christ is healthiest when the strong keep growing and model the maturity available to those who desire more.       As we approach 2019, I hope that you’ll join me in pushing the RESET button. We can’t repair the past but we can make the future better as we focus on where we’re going, not where we’ve been. Don’t hang your head over missed opportunities or broken promises. Let’s hold our heads high, square our shoulders, and move toward our dreams. Like Paul, let’s forget the past and fasten our hearts to our futures instead. May we all “advance together to reach this victory-prize, following one path with one passion” (Philippians 3:16)! God Bless You and Happy New Year!!   Pastors Glenn & Diann Randall    



Merry Christmas

 

With the hustle and bustle of Holiday preparations, it’s a challenge to keep our hearts focused on the eternal significance of Christmas. Baby Jesus wasn’t just the apple of Mary’s eye, He was also the Darling of Heaven, and the Hope of Humanity. When we gather around the tree or the table on December 25th, may we focus our hearts on the extravagant mercy of our Ever-Gracious God. Here’s why:   God’s Love Compelled Him to Give His Very Best For Us “For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life.” —John 3:16 (AMP)   God Planned Our Redemption Even When We Were Hard Core Rebels But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), —Ephesians 2:4-5 (NKJV)   We Inherit a Kingdom Prepared For Us From The Foundation of the World Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: —Matthew 25:34 (NKJV)

 

The Secret Is In The Praise

There’s a time for prayer and a time for praise. We weary God with too many words from our mouths, our minds…He wants to hear your heart…lift Him up like He’s God…because He is our God! We have made Him into what we want Him to be…we have selfishly reduced Him to nothing more than merely our very own personal magic wand…you seek Him only when you want something…merely to satisfy your every whim, your every desire. It is time to put away your egotistical greed and lift up the name of Jesus…lift up the One who didn’t just walk on water but who parted the waters…lift up the One who not only carried His cross to Calvary but who suffered in agony and torture to die on that same cross …just so you could sit here today in your comfort, on a padded pew with cool air…listening to beautiful music as even the words are given to you. Did Jesus have those same luxuries? No, He did not. But let me remind you what he did have…nails in His hands and feet, thorns in His head, vinegar to drink, blood and sweat…He gave His life for you and me…for what? So we can have freedom, so we can have peace, so we can have a part in Heaven…and we can’t even give Him the one thing He seeks…our hearts. The secret to everything you seek is in your praise to Him. When you get home, instead of turning on the TV or escaping into your phone, crank up the music…sing God a song…sing Him a love song of praise. Let everything else go…all your demands, all your needs…and praise God with the only two things you have to offer Him—your heart and your soul. It’s all He wants…as He so freely gives to you, won’t you freely give to Him? Remember, the secret is in the praise…  
 
Crossroads, this was a word given to me in the middle of the night. However, it is more than just a word. It is truth that I have experienced in my own life. There is a freedom and a peace found in true praise. Praise Him. Love Him!  —
Joyce C.  


We Give Thanks!

 

So now, what can I ever give back to God to repay him for the blessings he’s poured out on me?  I will lift up his cup of salvation and praise him extravagantly for all that he’s done for me.  I will fulfill the promise I made to God in the presence of his gathered people.  When one of God’s holy lovers dies, it is costly to the Lord, touching his heart.  Lord, because I am your loving servant, you have broken open my life and freed me from my chains.  Now I’ll worship you passionately and bring to you my sacrifice of praise, drenched with thanksgiving!

 

PSALM 116:12-17 (THE PASSION TRANSLATION)

 

 FIVE WAYS GRATITUDE AFFECTS YOUR BRAIN                                                                                                               O. C. Tanner

 In recent years, study after study has been published about how gratitude promotes positive brain activity, a healthier life, and a happier   workplace.  

  1. The brain’s natural response to gratitude is to activate a reward center that increases social bonds. Every time you say a simple “thank you” your brain is flooded with positive chemicals.
  2. Giving gratitude has been directly linked to reducing depression and anxiety, and increasing overall personal well-being. It’s also a natural shield against negative emotions.
  3. Ever heard of the hypothalamus? It’s the part of the brain that is responsible for keeping the status quo throughout the body. When gratitude is expressed, this area of the brain is pushed to excel, keeping your body in peace, balance, and harmony.
  4. Want to be more resilient to stress? Give more gratitude! People who are grateful for the small things in life typically recover more quickly from very stressful situations.
  5. Do you dream of falling into a deep sleep every night? People who express gratitude regularly sleep better, feel refreshed, and have less chronic pain.
 
 

   

HIS
 
In this strange city I was left,
                         alone,
no one to care for me.
All eyes were turned away,
as I searched for something,
for someone…  
 
Not to show they cared,
for this I had no need.
But to be fed,
for I was hungry, oh so hungry.
My soul cried out, won’t someone, anyone, help me?  
 
It was then that I met a man.
Powerful, yet caring,
he must be a king!
I fell on my knees,
I had no choice.
I cried at his feet,
dear sir, have mercy on me.
He looked at me, and
with love in his eyes,
he placed a nail-scarred hand on mine
and suddenly my hunger was gone.  
 
In its place was peace and joy,
no more was I hungry or                        
                        alone.
I stood now before him,
a brand new creature,
whose heart and soul will forever be…                          
                          His  
For my God,
For I will forever be His.                                                                                                         By Joyce C.    


God has a plan for me!

 

 

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” –Philippians 2:13 (New Living Translation)
 
Welcome to Crossroads, friend! You may not have heard this lately, but, YOU are irreplaceable, unique, significant, and gifted. Seriously!Sadly, far too many people feel useless, forgotten, and disposable—even in the family of God. Our theme for this month is “Made For More.” “More” should be the life-long pursuit of followers of Jesus. We realize at some point in our spiritual journey that merely reading the Bible, learning tenets of our faith, attending worship services regularly, etc., leaves us feeling kind of hollow inside. Why? Because, we were Made For More!

  Consider every word in Ephesians 2:10: “We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it!” (TPT) As God’s children, we have a Divine destiny to fulfill. Read it again: “Even before we were born, God planned…our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it!” If those words are true, boredom and half-hearted worship are indicators that something is missing—IN US —not in God. I wish we were as excited about Him as He is about us!   It’s time to change your status from “stuck in the mud” to “sticking it to the devil”! Don’t you want to wake up each day with passion, purpose, and joy, regardless of your age or bank balance? You can, starting today.   In Ephesians 1:18 (TPT) Paul writes, “ I pray that the light of God will illuminate the eyes of your imagination, flooding you with light, until you experience the full revelation of the hope of his calling—that is, the wealth of God’s glorious inheritances that he finds in us, his holy ones!” Focus on, “the eyes of your imagination.” The Holy Spirit is saying in essence to us, “Let me stoke your imagination. Let me show you what I see in you, what I know about you, and what I’ve planned for you from before you were even born!” [P.S. Please don’t attempt to drive a motor vehicle or operate machinery while you ponder this truth.] As a line from an old song says, “God is trying to tell you something.” Are you listening?   God not only saved us from something (hell/wasted life), He saved us for something. It’s one thing to take something from me—sin, sickness, guilt; it’s another thing to give something to me—gifts, talents, callings! God finds in us “glorious inheritances.” In estate law, an inheritance is something of worth, and an appraisal may be ordered to determine value. Whatever an expert deems the fair market value of an item becomes it’s declared worth. Our Creator, theexpert”, regards us as objects not just of His love and grace, but as assets worthy of the term “inheritance.” We definitely were made for more; way more!   What are you doing now to increase your worth? Whatever value we had when we accepted Jesus as Savior, we are worth more today, because God redeemed us and planned for us to accomplish great things for His Kingdom. God saved us to “fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One.” He made provision for us to do the impossible by joining us to Jesus, the Anointed One, plus, giving us the Holy Spirit. We have everything we need!   Apart from the presence of the Holy Spirit, we are powerless. Jesus told His disciples to wait until they received power from heaven. Why? Holy Spirit power is necessary if we’re to accomplish good works. Our destinies include “good works” which are proof positive of God’s presence in our lives. As the graphic above states, “God has a plan for me.” He sure does!   You’re never a burden to God; you are His treasure. He delights in you and wants to manifest His power and goodness through you. Give yourself without reservation to Him today. He’ll make you His masterpiece!   Never Forget: You Were Made For MORE! Pastors Glenn & Diann



The Titanic

 
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” –Matthew 9:36-38 (NLT)

  Welcome to Crossroads! We are honored that you’ve chosen to worship with us and we pray that you’ll encounter God’s boundless love today!   The photo above is a still taken from a riveting scene in the 1997 movie, Titanic. In the scene, Harold Lowe, 5th Officer of the Titanic, directs Lifeboat 14 in a desperate search for survivors. During the search, Lowe said to his crew: “We waited too late.” “Too late” is the epitaph on every missed opportunity and the indictment of every mission failure. It was “too late” for 1,503 souls who died in Titanic’s sinking. 2,208 people were aboard; only 1,178 lifeboat seats were available. Of those seats, a mere 706 were used. The greatest tragedy in sailing history took more lives than it should have due to a failure to prepare adequately for a mishap by the company who built and staffed the ship. The goal of any ship’s captain and crew is to make sure that passengers arrive safely at their intended destination or in the event of an accident, that every passenger is kept safe and secure.   What does this have to do with us? Every person that we’ll meet today is in the process of dying. No matter how successful or beloved anyone may be in life, no human achievement or merit can grant them immunity from mortality and its final outcome: death. As followers of Jesus, it is our privilege and our responsibility to share the only path of escape from death: a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.   In Matthew 9, Jesus sees a multitude of lost and lonely people. Like scattered sheep, they desperately needed a shepherd, but not just any shepherd. They needed a Shepherd-Savior—Someone who truly cared for their SOULS. Jesus cared enough to leave His throne in heaven, to suffer false accusations, to be betrayed by those He came to save, and to die a horrible death on a cross to prove His love for the lost. Why? Love sees a need and pays the price to meet it, even if it means personal loss.   In Christian circles, there are a lot of “Officer Lowe’s.” Many messengers are sounding doom and gloom. Prominent ministers even state that God has given up on America and its people. Meanwhile, as Jesus said of the scattered and the helpless, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few.” You and I are the laborers needed to work His harvest fields in Marshall County. Time is of the essence. For the sake of those whom Jesus loves, may it never be said of us, “We waited too late.”   Do you have a list of loved ones that you are praying for? We shared handouts this January and asked all who took them to write the names of their loved ones and others whom they wanted to come to know Jesus as Lord. Are you praying for them daily? It is never too late to pray for those who are lost until it’s “too late”, heaven forbid.   The words on the front of the bulletin were taken from a hymn written by Frances J. (Fanny) Crosby. Historians say she wrote over 8,500 texts in her lifetime, of which over 1,000 were set to music and are sung even today. P.S. Fanny was blind! Once in New York City, Fanny met many men in an inner city mission. As she shared the gospel with them, a few responded to her plea to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord. Dozens more spurned Fanny’s invitation. She felt a huge burden for those who heard the Savior’s call but refused His heart. As she wrote this hymn that night, she included this stanza: “Though they are slighting Him, still He is waiting, Waiting the penitent child to receive; Plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently; He will forgive if they only believe.”   Friend, will you take some time daily to plead for the lives of those you love who are drowning in a sea of despair? Will you also plead with them? Ask the Lord to lay someone(s) on your heart and plead the blood of Jesus over their sin-sick soul today. “Pray to the Lord who is charge of the harvest.” Save our loved ones and friends, Lord Jesus! Amen!!   God Bless You and All Those You Are Praying For!

 


Are You Ready For School?

O my people, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past—stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders.

PSALM 78:1-4 (NEW LIVING TRANSLATION)

 

Greetings, friend! We are so glad you’ve joined us for worship today. We pray that you will experience God’s presence and power in a mighty way as we bless and magnify His great name!

 

As the calendar turns to August, a lot of children groan as school starts back, even as their parents lift their hands to God in gratitude, right? This time of year reminds me of a grand truth: Learning never stops. If you’re in school right now, this thought may seem terrifying. If you’re a little further down the road, you probably realize that this is an unchanging principle.

 

A poll published in 2017 revealed that less than 1 in 6 adults in the USA ever read a book. EVER! Now that’s a terrifying thought! Perhaps this may explain the semi-conscious condition which so many people today exhibit. With the proliferation of social media, it is possible to allow our spiritual formation to come from sappy slogans set against decorative backgrounds, sprinkled with an emoji or two. No wonder we are confused and stuck!

 

May I ask two questions? Are you a life-long learner? Are you setting an example for your children by diligently studying God’s Word daily?

 

Asaph’s words as recorded in Psalm 78 reveal a truth that followers of Jesus need to reclaim. Spiritual truths are to be modeled and taught from one generation to the next until Jesus comes. In America, we’ve privatized faith—a tragic development that has all but erased our Christian heritage. Even the mention of the name of Jesus invites a firestorm and ignites a controversy. Millions of Americans have never heard a Gospel presentation, let alone attended a Christian worship service. In short, we are paying a steep price for failing to share “lessons from our past—stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us” (Psalm 78:2-3). So what can we do about it?

 

Parents, teach your children! Grandparents, reinforce those principles and testify of “the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders” (Psalm 78:4). Study Scripture so that you can explain the reason for your hope to others (see 1 Peter 3:15). For a child of God, the School of Wisdom is always in session. God guides us through each challenge we face. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you” (John 14:26). We can all be lifelong learners because we have the Best Teacher!

 

Consider these words from Peter’s 2nd letter to the saints in Asia Minor: “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). If his instructions worked for 1st Century followers of Jesus, they will work for you and me. As you develop your devotional life with the Lord, you will be amazed at how your time in His Word pays off. Often, in my experience, something I read in the morning will apply to a situation I deal with that day. God has promised to reward every person who earnestly seeks Him (see Jeremiah 29:13) and He keeps his promises.

 

Please pray for our children and for students who will begin school soon. They face many challenges and need prayer warriors to intercede for them. Join me as well in praying for a student-led revival in our community. We need a move of God that shakes Sand Mountain and reverberate throughout our region. May God be glorified in every home. Study God’s Word and be blessed as you follow Him with your whole heart, in Jesus name!

 

Never, Ever Forget: You Are Dearly Loved!

Pastors Glenn & Diann