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




Blog 5.3.15
 

You Are God’s Masterpiece                                            MAX LUCADO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   Grace comes after you. It rewires you.

   From insecure to God secure.

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

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

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

 

 
 
Blog 4.19.15
 

Worry Is Worthless: God Takes Care of You

CHUCK SWINDOLL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 
 
blog 4.12.15
 
 

GOD’S POWER WHEN IT MATTERS MOST

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

I CORINTHIANS 10:13 (AMPLIFIED)

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

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

Never Forget: You Are Loved!

Pastors Glenn & Diann

 

 
Love your enemies
 
 

Even From the Cross: Love Those Who Hate

Dear Jesus,

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

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

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

* * *

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

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

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

 

 
 
 
blog
 

CHILDREN OF THE BURNING HEART

 

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

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

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

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

 

 
 
 
 
3.15.15
 
 

Tragedy Turned Into Eternal Triumph

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Valentines
 

Communicating Love and Respect in Marriage      Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 
 
Love
 

I CORINTHIANS 13 (THE MESSAGE)

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 
 
 
Keep my mouth shut

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

PSALM 141:3 (THE LIVING BIBLE)

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

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

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

 

Never Forget: You Are Loved!

Pastors Glenn and Diann

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Know Christ
 

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

Possessing the Fullness of Christ                                 Francis Frangipane

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PSALM 63:1-4 (THE MESSAGE)

 

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

Psalm 139:13-140

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

I CORINTHIANS 13:13 (PHILLIPS)

 

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

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

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

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

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

Hope Works!

Pastors Glenn and Diann

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 Nov 23-0

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

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

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

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

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

PSALM 100 (AMPLIFIED)

This Thanksgiving, Be Sure to Count Your Blessings!