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    



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



In Their Own Words

 

As we prepare to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy as Americans, it would be good to be reminded of the significance that Christ and His Church held in the hearts of people who were key contributors in the early struggles for freedom and liberty. One person quoted is a very well-known historical figure while the other two leaders are hardly household names. However, all of these public servants were deeply committed to the cause of Christ Jesus. This week, please pray for a reversal of the spiritual blindness of the majority our nation and pray for the light of the Gospel of Christ to shine brightly through America’s citizens, statesmen and governmental leaders once again. Thank you!

“Christ Jesus–the promise of old made unto the fathers, the hope of Israel [Acts 28:20], the light of the world [John 8:12], and the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth [Romans 10:4]–is the only Savior of sinners, in opposition to all false religions and every uninstituted rite; as He Himself says [John 14:6]: ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.’ There is no salvation in any other than in Jesus Christ of Nazareth. I shall now conclude my discourse by preaching this Savior to all who hear me, and entreating you in the most earnest manner to believe in Jesus Christ; for ‘there is no salvation in any other’ [Acts 4:12]. It is evident that both the prophets in the Old Testament and the apostles in the New are at great pains to give us a view of the glory and dignity of the person of Christ. With what magnificent titles is He adorned! What glorious attributes are ascribed to him! All these conspire to teach us that He is truly and properly God–God over all, blessed forever! He is the best friend to American liberty who is the most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind. Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy to his country.”

~ John Witherspoon, Signer, Declaration of Independence; Ratifier of the U. S. Constitution; President of Princeton

“On the mercy of my Redeemer I rely for salvation and on His merits, not on the works I have done in obedience to His precepts. Grateful to Almighty God for the blessings which, through Jesus Christ Our Lord, He had conferred on my beloved country in her emancipation and on myself in permitting me, under circumstances of mercy, to live to the age of 89 years, and to survive the fiftieth year of independence, adopted by Congress on the 4th of July 1776, which I originally subscribed on the 2nd day of August of the same year and of which I am now the last surviving signer. I, Charles Carroll, …give and bequeath my soul to God who gave it, my body to the earth, hoping that through and by the merits, sufferings, and mediation of my only Savior and Jesus Christ, I may be admitted into the Kingdom prepared by God for those who love, fear and truly serve Him.”

~ Charles Carroll, Signer, Declaration of Independence; selected as Delegate to The Constitutional Convention; framer of the Bill of Rights; U. S. Senator

“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God. Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company: I mean hell. The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity. Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts therein exhibited. What a Eutopia …would this region be! I have examined all religions, and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the world.”

~ John Adams, Signer of the Declaration of Independence; Judge; Diplomat; One of Two Signers of the Bill of Rights; Second President of the United States

 



We are the Clay

WE ARE THE CLAY

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Pastors Glenn and Diann



The Best is yet to come

 

FROM THE OUTSIDE IN

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Happy Resurrection Day!!

 

Never Ever Forget: YOU ARE LOVED!

Pastors Glenn and Diann



You are still God

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