How Are You Getting Along?

I can't say enough how awesome it was to have Kelly Brumbeloe come and preach at Crossroads this past week! She did an outstanding job! And she was kind enough to send me her notes from her sermon. I certainly hope it won't be the last time we get her to come preach! (CLICK HERE for the podcast)

1. Just as Ken talked about last: through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus we have the opportunity to have peace “shalom”. Jesus brought this peace by serving us. He is the greatest act of service, as he died on the Cross-for us. This peace is not one the world can create. It is the peace spoken about in Ephesians, “peace which transcends human understanding”. This is the peace that breaks through the fast paced, suburbia lifestyle we live in. It breaks through the barriers of a husband or wife who are too busy to listen, it breaks through the barriers of children needing more emotionally than we feel we can give, it breaks through the barriers of children who are battling with obedience and a longing for independence. This peace is beyond human understanding!

2. When Steven and I bought our first house we were both greatly concerned with the “feel” of the place. I was more concerned with the interior material “feel” and Steven with the exterior “feel”. What we are looking for in PEACE/ Shalom cannot come from any of these things. It comes from Jesus Christ living in the individuals in the home. This is an example of Jesus enabling us to BE peacemakers along side with him. HE CAME AS PEACE AND HE MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR US TO BE PEACEMAKERS.
a. Philippians 4:6-peace that transcends human understanding.

3. Safe box- READ Colossians 3:17-25. Ask everyone to forget what they have previously heard with this scripture. Forget what you have thought or what you have heard this scripture has meant. This morning I want to take a fresh look at it from a blank slate and consider maybe something we haven’t seen before that God is trying to communicate. Close your eyes…. (Include here people who may have never heard this scripture or may not even know much about bible period…how?)

4. So, the big question is HOW DO WE GET THIS PEACE IN OUR HOMES?

5. Read scripture- Paul is writing about a new way to treat relationships within your household than his culture was saying. Similar to how our friends, neighbors, colleges, and schoolmates tell us how to treat those we love in our home. What the cool or acceptable way is to treat those we love. How to place living up to the Jones’s above looking out for our spouse, children, and parents. Paul lived in Greco Roman culture where the husbands were considered supreme to the women, children, and slaves. The men had all the rights; the women were not even considered part of society without relations to a husband or son. He was telling the Christians that the way they treated one another within their families was a concrete example of their relationship with God.

a. Gal 3:28- we know we don’t live in this culture in anymore. Christ sees us all as one.

6. Three major verbs that stand out to me in these scriptures are submit and love and obey. Jesus came as “shalom”, he came as our example to be peacemakers. In James 3:13-18 it tells us to two kinds of wisdom: one that comes from the earth and is based out of selfish ambition and jealousy that leads to disorder and every kind of evil. The other wisdom comes from above and it is pure, peace loving, willing to yield to others, full of mercy and good deeds. He describes these people as being peacemakers who plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness. Isn’t that the kind of peace we are looking for in our homes? Peace that brings goodness. How? Being pure in motives, loving, lying down our will, and showing mercy! This matches the example of Christ. Maybe...

a. Maybe include if time permits-Then, James next words in ch 4 talk about this earthy wisdom the opposite of heavenly wisdom. He tells us that quarrelling and fights come not because of what others do but because of our own desire to get our own way. How many of you can say this is the case in your home. I would imagine most fights with your spouses and children arise because everyone wants their way and is not willing to lay down their own will. (Just being married for 4 months- I remember the first two months were like bliss…one night my husband said to me “everyone says marriage is so hard…bit I really don’t think it is…and I agreed with him- oh but wait- month three came around and your would have thought the flood gates were opened…we both realized we were being selfish and needed to die to ourselves). This is it!! Let us learn that submitting and loving are all about serving and thinking of others above ourselves.

7. So, James has given us a new way of living, “Heavenly Wisdom”. How do we get this type of wisdom in our homes? What is our responsibility? I believe Colossians has the answer: submit, love, obey.

8. Jesus is truly the greatest example of this. By the Cross, he exemplified the greatest example of submission, love, and obedience. Three verbs are mentioned here: submit, love, and obey. I believe these are not really two different orders. For how do you submit if you don’t love, how do you love if you don’t submit, how do you obey if you don’t submit and love. Jesus did not separate these as His example to us. We love because he loved us first. He showed us his love by submitting to death. Isn’t this the greatest act of service? So, not only did Jesus “shalom”, submit, love, and obeyed…but he also served. One word would encompass all these others: SERVE others. We are to love by submitting and that is acted out by serving. How are you serving your spouse? How are you serving your children? This world tells us love is what we get…pornography, money, the perfect house, perfect girl friend can never satisfy for the long haul.) But Christ is telling us that love is what we give not what we get.

a. “Let me share a story a good friend of mine experienced. He was a pastor and a lady in the church asked him how to witness to her husband. She was a passionate Christian but her husband did not believe. The pastor as her on question, “what is one thing he would like for you to do, that you don’t want to do?” The lady immediately said, “FOLD HIS SOCKS”. She went on to say, “but I do not fold his socks because I’m not his mother. His mother always folded his socks but he is a man now and can fold his own socks.” The pastor asked her, “Would you be willing to fold his socks if it would lead him to Christ? Fold his socks today tomorrow and continue to fold his socks.” 3 months later the husband came to Christ. Today this is husband is a lay leader in their church. The wife says, she believes her husband is a leader is their church because she folded his socks.”

9. How are you and I doing on “folding socks” for our loved ones? Are we thinking about our needs or theirs? I challenge you to “fold” your spouses, parents, children’s socks. Whatever that looks like for you in your home. Ask, “what does folding socks look like for you?” Write your answer down on a post-it note and think about it, and this week take a step in service and “fold some socks”. This is the peace with transcends understanding. Peace we need in the midst of a world that lacks it. Peace to love when jobs are lost, money is tight, spouses are unsympathetic or naggy, or when children are needy and fussy, when you feel like you are fighting for peace and your swimming upstream a raging rapid, or when parents are not understanding. Peace that can break through our suffering. This peace is miraculous and available to all of us who believe in a Savior called Jesus Christ, who came down and served far greater than we will ever have to do…by dying for us!

Spiritual Fitness Check 008

.008 Be attentive to serving others. Specifically, look at doors. Sure, there are a lot of automatic doors but they’re missing other places. Be the “bellhop” this week and look for every opportunity to hold the door open for others.

Boba Fett - Baggage Claim

Take Out - Peace In The Following

How often do we get the set down meal? How many times does your schedule allow time to date your spouse? How many times do you say you can’t ‘find’ time for your kids?

Yes, it even happens to pastors along the way. I’ve gotten so into a novel or video game from time to time that needed things have gotten pushed to the side. There have been the times when Facebook has wrapped me up or I’ve StumbledUpon one more thing online. And yes, the outdoors – hiking and hunting – have offered up the siren call that draws me away - even from the list that must get done.

We do need Sabbath. We do need RE-creation. Our lives were not meant to keep the pace that most of us set for ourselves – myself included. Yet, with the economy, with the media pressures and with our own guilt pushing is on – we keep going. We try for an extra moment of work. We steal moments away from our kids, our spouse or from God to get one last part of a project finished.

I’ve been mulling words from Oswald Chambers around for a while now. They namely related to these verses:

"Place my yoke over your shoulders, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble. Then you will find rest for yourselves because my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:29-30, GW)

None of us do much work with oxen these days I know. Yokes are just not something we talk about unless we’re trying to cut back on our cholesterol.

Chambers wrote, ““Jesus is asking us to take one end of the yoke - "My yoke is easy, get alongside Me and we will pull together." Are you identified with the Lord Jesus like that? If so, you will thank God for the pressure of His hand. "To them that have no might He increaseth strength."”

I don’t know need to know what a yoke is, I just need to know that what Jesus is doing, he is asking me to join Him in doing.

He doesn’t ask me if I LIKE IT.
He doesn’t ask me if I’M TIRED.
He doesn’t ask me if IT SMELLS GOOD.
He doesn’t ask me if I’M GETTING DIRTY.
He doesn’t ask me if I PRAYED ABOUT IT.
He doesn’t ask me if I’M ENJOYING MYSELF.
He doesn’t ask me if IT IS MY KIND OF MUSIC.
He doesn’t ask me if IT FEELS COMFORTABLE.

Jesus asks me to pull with Him.

Do you get that? I don’t.

I don’t get why God Almighty is, in fact, inviting ME to JOIN in HIS mission!

Doesn’t he know I’m going to screw it up?
Doesn’t he know I’m not strong enough?
Doesn’t he know I’m not spiritual enough?
Doesn’t he know I’m already busy enough?
Doesn’t he know I already volunteer enough?

Oh, yeah, I’m sure He knows. In fact, I’m fairly certain he already covered the gist of our excuses (check out Luke 9:57-62). I know for certain John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement didn’t think highly of excuses either.

But then Jesus didn’t call us to more volunteering. Jesus didn’t call us to another non-profit organization or business venture. Jesus asked us to follow him – to push alongside him – to join in his mission. And it is in the mission we find “intermission for our soul!”

There is no peace in silence but only in Jesus’ presence – where ever He leads.

Spiritual Fitness Check 007

007. Pay It Forward.
At least two times this month buy a meal for someone else or pay for the next person’s oil change. If you can, do it once each week.

Take Out – Shalom!

Suddenly, a large army of angels appeared with the angel. They were praising God by saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those who have his good will!" (Luke 2:13-14 GNB)

If you’ve not gone to the Tellus Science Museum, you really ought to go. If nothing else, you can see the progression of where we were 100 years ago compared to today. To look at a car made out of wood or consider the centuries it took for minerals to form leaves you in awe of how far we’ve come in so short a time…and yet longing for a time where things were simpler and moved at a slower pace even.

We’re a society of take out. We are on the go more than probably any generation in history. We’ve got to have it quicker, get there faster and have it done sooner than at anytime in civilization. Yet what has it done for our well-being? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t long for the days of out-houses and hand cranked engines. Can we get busier? Can we do more? And in the midst of it find the time and give attention to our homes?

When the angel declared “Peace on earth…,” an end to wars was only part of the idea. Peace comes from the Hebrew word ‘Shalom.’ Peace was never intended to be exclusively a reference to conflict or war. This is a very narrow of view. Shalom is BIG picture – peace is for our well-being. It relates to health, to the prosperity of a nation, relationships and working connection to governments.

But it is too easy to look at Shalom; at this idea in terms of material goods and items. It is always a religious term. Some may find that threatening but peace is grounded in the idea of blessings being from God. The prophets Micah (3:5), Jeremiah (28) and Ezekiel (13:16) all challenged a purely political peace because such peace ignores the failures, rebellion, the sins of people!

But shalom is never indicates an inward peace. Peace, like so many other things, is personal but not private. It is a social not an individual term.

When the angel shouts out, “Peace on earth…” it isn’t the “Peace out!” of pop culture which does little but offer the same promises that the prophets called out as false. Where is there peace in the political realm where our nation remains divided? Tell me, when has a movie or song brought about peace in our world? On every side peace is treated like some kind of tennis match or volleyball game as if you can spike peace down and claim a victory.

When the angel shouts out, “Peace on earth…” it is a statement – pointed and direct – Peace is tied to salvation. Peace is what God desires not just for the soul, not just for the church, not just for the USA, not just for Jerusalem, and not just for the human race but for the whole of creation. Peace is to be the normal state of things and peace is only in connection to Jesus Christ. (“…because God does not want us to be in disorder but in harmony and peace. As in all the churches of God's people, (1Co 14:33, GNB))

And it is Jesus who makes plain, to follow after him is to be more than just talk and more than just platitudes – but “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. (Mt. 5:9)

Organ grinders haven’t be around but many of us have seen pictures or cartoons of those guys who used to go around streets with a hand crank box that played music and a little monkey to collect money. One such entertainer had an especially clever monkey. On one occasion, when a big dog broke away from some children with whom it had been playing and made a dash for the monkey, the bystanders were surprised to see that the monkey did not seem in the least afraid. He stood perfectly still in evident curiosity, waiting for the dog to come up to him. This disconcerted the dog, for it would have much preferred to chase something that would run and not stand its ground. As soon as the dog reached the monkey, the funny little scarlet-coated creature courteously doffed its cap. Instantly there was a laugh from the audience. Its head drooped and its tail dropped between its legs. It looked like a whipped cur and not at all like the fine dog it really was. It turned and ran back home, and the laughing children could not persuade it to return. As for the monkey, he wanted no disagreement, and he knew instinctively that it took two to make a quarrel.

I have watched countless times this played out with cats and dogs. I know that my cat is more than content to leave this centuries old rivalry behind. One of our neighbor kids declared one day, that he “saved” our cat from getting bit by their dog. I didn’t have the heart to tell him, there was little chance that his chihuaha’s mouth was going to get past the claws of our cat. Tigger had alert said dog yards away that “peace” was in jeopardy by arching his back and hissing. Too often, dogs have pushed the limits.

In his second letter to a young pastor named Timothy, Paul wrote to, “Avoid the passions of youth, and strive for righteousness, faith, love, and peace, together with those who with a pure heart call out to the Lord for help. But keep away from foolish and ignorant arguments; you know that they end up in quarrels. (2Ti 2:22-23)”

As families on the go, we’ve missed the signs and signals given by those closest to us. We rush by failing to look both ways and listen before crossing the street. We desire peace in our homes but fail to realize peace is first a gift of God in Jesus Christ and that it isn’t for us alone but for all around us. Whether it is in our immediate family, our extended family, or our human race family, we have received both the blessing and opportunity to be peacemakers.

May I Ask: Will you live it?
May I Suggest: As a family or for your family, take the FAMILY COVENANT FOR PEACE from now through Mother's Day:

Family Covenant For Peace

This covenant is in effect from ___________(beginning date) to ____________ (ending date).

We promise to:
1. Seek God’s presence in worship.
2. Love one another – loving the PERSON even when correcting BEHAVIORS.
3. Be truthful to all members of the family.
4. Listen to other family members and speak without yelling or blaming.
5. Spend time together eating, playing and praying as a family.
6. Seek ways to serve Crossroads and our community.
7. Avoid foolish arguments!

Signed by (all family members sign covenant):

For MP3 of sermon CLICK HERE!

Take Out - Finding Peace for Families on the Go

Is it time lapse or real time?

I guess it all depends on who you ask!

Ever feel like your life is in fast forward? There is no time - to eat - to stop - to laugh - to be. Everything is at a take out pace. We're frustrated whenever YouTube has to buffer and when we wait for an extra moment in drive thru.

An angel declared, ""Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom he is pleased! (Luke 2:14, GNB)"

Join us at Crossroads UMC over these next four weeks as we discover some of the points and helps which can bring peace to families on the go. Whether you're a grandparent, parent, or child, peace is something promised to us all.

Warning: A Story of the Hunt

I know not everyone is into reading about hunting. Out of respect, you may want to skip this post. For me, this is part of who I am - I'm a speaker and writer and this is part of my life. So with that warning in place...

Yesterday was the kind of hunt that just makes it real and connected so many pieces for me. It began @ 6:50am with the sound of 2 gobblers coming off their roost. After and hour of tracking, they went silent and not to be heard from again. Thus began my walk to the backside of Sheffield.

With winds gusting 5-10mph, I went deeper to the left than I had been in a while, passing two food plots before arriving at the third. Along the way, I spooked one crazy hen that took off. I kept going on yet the woods remained silent. I began to go by the third food plot when I spotted a track going over one of the roadblocks. Climbing over I found a couple of scratchings. I yelped on my Lil Deuce slate and clucked/cutted on my diaphragm. I walked about 30 yards and stopped.

Out of the corner of my eye I spotted the stretched, red periscope neck of a tom about 150 yards to the right. A run into a bottom separated us as well as plenty of downed trees and limbs. I didn’t move an inch yet still I had the slate in my hand. The tom stepped away and up on a log and as he did I let out a soft cluck and purr on the slate and that was it. He dropped down and started coming my way.

I knew I had one chance to move and set-up and that was when he stepped behind a row of downed trees in front of me. As he walked out of view, I dropped and got back to a muddy stump and quickly set-up, with my slate by my side. No sound came from the tom as he came in but as the purr got him coming, I did one more on the slate and settled in for a moment.

At 40 yards, the head came up and begin to survey the scene. I knew that was the only shot I was going to get as he expected to see 1-2 hens feeding. I dropped the hammer on him at that point and when he went over, I had no idea if he was down but the #5 Winchester Supremes did the job. At roughly 10am, I had called in my first bird solo! I estimated the weight probably too light as I think after cleaning him that he was easily 20 lbs. I hiked out roughly 1.5 miles but at a mile, realized I had left my slate call in my excitement. I would have to return.

After icing down my first bird, I began my trek back out a mile and half. Calling as I went, I still heard nothing. As the birds have tended to go quiet I knew my only chance at this time of day was stay as quiet as I could. When I got to the site of my first kill, I found my slate waiting patiently and I began my journey back.

I spooked the same hen, must have been my omen for the day. I called a few times on the road. At the crest of one hill I called again. Moments later, I heard the clear sounds of turkey coming out of a bottom to my left. I moved to the right side to try and set-up on a pine tree and prepared to bring out a call. There was no time for either. To move to the pine tree, I’d have to make too much noise and the turkey was coming up quick. I made the decision to set-up in the road knowing I’d only have a second to determine if said turkey was tom or hen.

When the turkey came into view, the first moment I saw the red and the beard to confirm I could take the shot. The second moment, the turkey knew the gig was up. With the first putt, he tried to run but the load of #5’s was on the way. At 28-30 yards, he went down.

I paused and gave thanks for the Lord’s provision. To take one of these incredible animals home on a day is an achievement. To take a second, I think you can only do it humbly. Both were gifts that go hand in hand with the life that I experience each and every day. I've learned there is nothing cruel in the hunt or the kill so long as suffering is eliminated swiftly and fair chase is honored. I am in awe of all that I have learned and experienced in the woods this past year.

Part of me wishes I had experienced these before now. Yet, would the lessons have been as powerful? Would I have appreciated as much overcoming my own fears, impressions, and discriminatory ideas of who hunters are and what they do? Probably not. Instead, like so many other experiences with humanity and life, I know more than facts or have gained more than just a skill. I know a people; a tribe; I didn’t know before because I’ve walked in their shoes – literally.

Thanksgiving Comes Early In The Woods!

It was ninja day in the woods as both of these birds came on quiet and never gobbled.

First one I shot around 10am and weighed in around 19lbs, 1" spurs and 10" beard. The second was my ninja skills as I found him making too much noise eating and I only had seconds to set-up on him. He was around 1pm and weighed in around 18lbs, 3/4" spurs and 10" beard as well.

After cleaning them, I'm planning on sending some of the feathers off to a native American tribe. The meat is now in the freezer and I give thanks for God's blessings. I would never have imagined any of the scenarios that played out and it is not lightly I thank God.

Here are just a few things: both were with my grandfather's gun (a '67, JC Higgins, SXS). The first bird I had to hit from 40 yards. The only reason I had a chance at the second bird was because I left my call in the woods and had to go back. That meant I but over 25,000 steps on my pedometer in one day!

I've learned so much about myself in few times I've been out too and have grown to be much more patient. God uses so many things to shape us and change us and I'm thankful for it all.

Spiritual Fitness Check 006

.006 Pray.
Pray for the D.O.T. workers you pass in traffic. They do hazardous work so we can get where we need to be. Pray for their safety, for their families and for them to know Peace.

Easter - ONE HOPE

Life and faith are messy things. The Bible contains the one of the most incredible collections of people who put FUN in dysfunctional. Going back to the beginning we find…

Noah liked to drink adult beverages.
Abraham was too old.
Isaac was a daydreamer.
Jacob was a liar.
Joseph was abused.
Moses had a stuttering problem.
Miriam was a gossip.
Rahab was a prostitute.
Sampson had long hair.
Gideon was afraid.
Naomi was a widow.
David’s armor didn’t fit.
Solomon was too rich.
Jonah ran from God.
Hosea’s wife was a prostitute.
Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.
Elijah was burned out and suicidal.
Peter had a big mouth.
John was self-righteous.
Paul was a murderer.
Timothy had ulcers.
Titus was too young.
Thomas doubted.
John the Baptist ate bugs…
Martha was a worrywart.
Mary was lazy.
Lazarus was dead.

To top it off – Jesus was crucified, dead and buried. So if it couldn’t get any messier...
Mark 16:1-7 GNB After the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices to go and anoint the body of Jesus. (2) Very early on Sunday morning, at sunrise, they went to the tomb. (3) On the way they said to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?" (It was a very large stone.) Then they looked up and saw that the stone had already been rolled back. (4) (SEE 16:3) (5) So they entered the tomb, where they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe---and they were alarmed. (6) "Don't be alarmed," he said. "I know you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is not here---he has been raised! Look, here is the place where he was placed. (7) Now go and give this message to his disciples, including Peter: 'He is going to Galilee ahead of you; there you will see him, just as he told you.'

What a mess! The gospel goes on to talk about the questions and doubts these early disciples struggled with even when faced with the risen Jesus Christ. And today, we live in a world governed by emotions and the heart and that heart is precisely the problem Jeremiah wrote when he said: "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it? (Jer. 17:9)”

As long as we put our trust merely in our hearts and our feelings, then like Bono sang, we may not find hope even in the message of the church.

Hope is not to be found in government. Hope is not found in military might. Hope will not be found on the internet or next door. Hope is not found in education or diplomas. Hope will not be found in a better job or promotion. Hope is not in your career or your 401K. Hope will not be found at a doctor’s office or on a street corner. And Hope is not to be found in our own hearts.

I ask that your minds may be opened to see his light, so that you will know what is the hope to which he has called you, how rich are the wonderful blessings he promises his people, and how very great is his power at work in us who believe. This power working in us is the same as the mighty strength which he used when he raised Christ from death and seated him at his right side in the heavenly world. Christ rules there above all heavenly rulers, authorities, powers, and lords; he has a title superior to all titles of authority in this world and in the next. God put all things under Christ's feet and gave him to the church as supreme Lord over all things. The church is Christ's body, the completion of him who himself completes all things everywhere. (Eph 1:18-23)

In Hebrew, the original language of the Old Testament, there was no word for Hope yet it was hope that echoed all around it – especially in those who trusted in God. In the Greek, the language of the New Testament, hope became a word which can actually sum up all of the meaning for Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

But practically speaking, hope is more than an eternal life after death or peace in this present day. It isn’t going to be found in just tradition, or just in reason, or just in experience and it is the Bible that points to hope – to Easter and Jesus’ resurrection.

Hope believes the tomb is empty for good reason…
Hope believes the same power that raised Jesus IS working in us…
Hope believes Jesus was, is and always will be going ahead of you…

When the nurse told me on the phone that Saturday morning in January to go immediately to the Emergency Room, I knew. I knew it was cancer, the doctors only confirmed it. I also knew I had hope and not because of anything or anyone. I had hope because of the young man’s words at the tomb: “He is going…ahead of you.”

Jesus Christ is the one hope and Paul said that hope lives within the church. No, not in some building – but in the lives and actions of all those who seek to connect, follow and become disciples of Jesus Christ. Jesus is still going ahead of us because if we look we see him in the start of new churches like Crossroads and other around the world. It is when we see Jesus in our mess and know that he meets us there and in every mess we’ve ever made.

This Easter, you can have hope! Jesus has risen and he is going ahead of you and if you desire, today, that hope can begin working in you if you believe Jesus is who he says.

Prayer for Easter Sunday

On this Easter morning, I pray you will know the reason for hope...

O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten
Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection
delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die
daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of
his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,
now and for ever. Amen.

From The Book of Common Prayer.

Prayer for Good Friday

It isn't always easy to come up with words to pray. Sometimes we're not even sure we really know how to talk with God. The Book of Common Prayer is where I most often go for help. On this day known as 'Good Friday' in the Church, the day Jesus died, may this prayer be help to you:

Prayer for Good Friday
From the Book of Common Prayer

Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your
family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be
betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners [he came to save], and to suffer
death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and
the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Easter Sunday - One Hope

it is Easter Sunday at Crossroads UMC this weekend. Our first! Our series on Messy has been a blast but to think we're "ending" it on Sunday would just be crazy! It is one of the difficulties with preaching in "series" because the idea is that it comes to an "end."

I suppose for some they do but for me, series never end - the good news just takes on a different flavor, a new theme, or a new idea. It is still the same Gospel and that is what this Easter is all about - ONE HOPE.

So, this Sunday if you're out our way in northeast Paulding and around Cedarcrest Rd. then come and join us for a church where the whole family is welcome and can find a place to connect!

8:00am Early Edition Easter Sunrise Service (in front of Shelton - weather permitting)
8:45am Breakfast (on us!)
9:39am Worship with Communion celebration
(Nursery and Crossroads Kids for Preschool is offered)

Spiritual Fitness Check 005

Be Present.
Make a commitment to attend religious services once a week for an entire month. That may mean getting the kids in bed a little earlier the night before and changing some routine. But make this commitment to be present and connect with others on the faith journey.

Star Wars Chapter VII

see more Political Pictures

What Does A Trillion Dollars Look Like?

I know, you were wondering about this all night last night and couldn't get the least bit of sleep! So here is the link to what a trillion dollars looks like. I'm sure you'll sleep much better now.

Messy - The Dynamic Duo

Impressions go a long way. Before Crossroads began, we visited a number of churches and each left an impression – some good and some not so good. As someone who wears a name tag everyday – almost everywhere I go, I am constantly aware of the impression that I make and leave – everyone knows that it was Ken who has been there!

I’ve been reading a great deal on the American Revolution, the Founding Fathers and George Washington. As a “start-up,” there are a great deal of similarities between the start of the USA and a new church. The impressions of other nations regarding the original 13 colonies was crucial for the USA. The impressions of the people regarding George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Ben Franklin and a host of others were important as well.

It has only been recently that biographers and historians have begun to publish and market the more seedy details of the Founders. Maybe it is just we’re just a society eager for the information. But in the start of the Church, Jesus didn’t pick people with exemplary resumes. And arguably the two most influential men in the early Church were far from perfect – both Peter and Paul, lived very messy lives

Peter – Denied Christ and Jesus called him Satan.
Mark 8:31-33 (31) And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. (32) And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. (33) But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man."

It is hard to imagine the only other person Jesus calls Satan…the other being Judas who betrayed him…becoming the “Rock” on which the Church would be built. It is even harder to imagine that 1) Jesus would tell Peter that he would deny Jesus, 2) Peter would do just that – deny knowing Jesus 3 times, and 3) Jesus would come back and forgive. It’s only hard for us because we cannot see past the mess.

The other of the dynamic duo would be Paul, who was too Religious & a murderer. He was quite the religious type – militant and focused. According to him there was none whose life was messier.

Act 9:1-6 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest (2) and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. (3) Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. (4) And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" (5) And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. (6) But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do."

Not only did have a messy past but Paul’s conversion messed up Christians, Jews and the Romans! But it was out of the mess of Paul’s life that the Good News of Jesus Christ spread beyond Jerusalem and the Jews to the world!

When Jesus entered Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday, everyone cheered and celebrated…but Jesus knew what was to come, he knew how messy things were going to get. The contradictions abounded for these same ones would be asking for crucifixion and his death within the week. We know for certain that Peter was there that first Palm Sunday and later he would deny Jesus. As a Pharisee, it is quite possible that Paul was there on the other side and would be there when the first martyr for the Christian faith was killed.

Jesus did not mind the mess. In fact, it was because of the mess of contradictions and mistakes that we make that Jesus came. For both Peter and Paul, Jesus offered second and third chances. He met them right in the mess. For us Jesus does the same. Paul wrote to the Ephesian church: Let us praise God for his glorious grace, for the free gift he gave us in his dear Son! For by the blood of Christ we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. How great is the grace of God, which he gave to us in such large measure! (Eph 1:6-8a GNB)

I can tell you that as a teenager, preparing for graduation but having no hope for my future – Jesus met me in the mess. Life has never stopped being messy – whether it is my own mess or those around.

We can’t run away far enough. We can’t yell loud enough. We can’t fly high enough. We can’t dive deep enough. We can’t sin so much that Jesus will not forgive the mess we make of our lives.

The Future For Sponge Bob

H/T to Utopia Theory

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