Tuesday, July 26, 2011


This past week, while on a three-day family vacation break, I read two books, which seemed at first to be unrelated. One book by Wesley Hill is titled, “Washed and Waiting.” It is the story of his personal struggle with same sex attraction and how he dealt with it as a serious Christ-follower. The second book by Roger Rosenblatt is titled, “Making Toast.” It is the story of his personal struggle with grief over the untimely death of his 37-year old daughter, Amy.

Each of the men tell of bearing a great burden. Wesley Hill carries the heart-pain of loneliness, knowing that he will be living out his life as a celibate gay man. Hill is committed that he will not to enter into homoerotic activity, nor will he seek a monogamous relationship in same sex marriage. He is a committed Christian [washed] and he is committed to sexual purity until Christ returns or he dies [waiting]. His story is a story of fulfillment and contentment that is the by-product of his uncompromised Christian faith. Roger Rosenblatt carries the heart-pain of loss, knowing that he will live out his life without the daughter who was the light of his life. Instead he and his wife have moved in with their son-in-law to help raise three pre-school children in their late sixties. His job was making toast. Rosenblatt is an atheist who also expresses his bitterness towards a God he claims does not exist. His story is a story of despair and hopelessness that is the by-product of his unbelief.

In contrasting these to autobiographical works, I found myself encouraged by the faith of one and moved by compassion for the other. Bottom line: Jesus is the Lord of life. His power and presence in our lives makes all the difference in how we handle life’s trials, whether with victory with Him or resignation without Him.

Pray with me…. Lord, thank you for your loving Lordship which makes life worth living and insures our hope for life to come. We pray for sensitivity to those around us who need to see the truth lived in our lives and need to hear the truth from our lips. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Monday, July 18, 2011

July 18th, 2001

In his book The Purpose-Driven Church, Rick Warren explains how being part of a healthy church is essential to living a healthy life. He asserts that God designed his church specifically to help us fulfill the five deepest needs of our life:

1] A purpose to live for
2] People to live with
3] Principles to live by
4] A profession to live out
5] A power to live on

Today, I want to focus on #2…. The Church Alive meets our need for a people to live with. Ephesians 2:19 in the Living Bible says, “You are members of God’s very own family, citizens of God’s country, and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian.” God’s plan for each of us is perfect. His will is that we are physically born into a family of origin with a mother and father who love God and each other. These parents are sacrificially committed to our welfare and love us unconditionally. Then, His will is also that we are spiritually reborn into a family of faith and we become part of a network of individuals and other families called the church. God’s best for us is that we are an active part of this community that helps to change us, inspire us….motivate and prepare us [and others] for an even greater life beyond.

But sadly, many have not traveled God’s ideal life path. They have been forgotten, rejected, hurt and neglected by family or friends. There is great injury and disappointment in the lives of many people as God’s perfect plan, revealed in His Word, has been tragically unshared, willfully refused or passively ignored.

Although we cannot control our family of origin, we are free to make a personal decision about Christ and His church. So will we decide to be attenders or members? Attenders are uninvolved; members are commited. Attenders are spectators; members get involved in the ministry. Attenders are consumers; members are contributors. Attenders want the benefits of a church without sharing the responsibility. They are like couples who want to live together without committing to marriage.

Why is it important to join a local church family? Because it proves you are committed to your spiritual brothers and sisters in reality, not just in theory. God wants you to love real people, not ideal people. The Christian life is more than just a committed love for Christ; it includes a committed love for other Christians. Paul said in II Corinthians 8:5, “First they gave themselves to the Lord; and then, but God’s will, they gave themselves to us as well.”

Pray with me…. Father, thank you for the way you provide for us, literally from the cradle to the grave. Your plan is perfect….yet it has not been embraced by everyone. As a result there are people who do not know the love of family or the support of a Christian family in the church. May we unselfishly recognize that, in Christ, we who are many are one, and that each member belongs to all the others. In Jesus name, amen.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It is not often that a movie stirs me emotionally; and it is less often that a movie impacts me spiritually. But, I saw one with my wife recently that made such a positive impression. It is based on a true story and is called Soul Surfer. I recommend it as a high quality film that amplifies the truth of Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

Seeing it reminded me of another such film I saw several years ago called Chariots of Fire. If you have not seen this one, I would encourage you to rent or buy it and watch it with your family. It is the true story of legendary British athlete, Eric Liddell. He was Britain’s star sprinter, scheduled to compete in the 1924 Olympic games. Upon arrival at the games he learned that his first race, the 100-meter dash, was to be run on Sunday. Liddell determined that he would not run that race because of his consistent practice/personal commitment to honor God by being in corporate worship in church on the Lord’s Day.

Craig Groeschel wrote, “Just because he was in Paris to compete in the Olympics did not justify changing his lifelong commitment. Most normal people today would think him more than just weird – they would think him foolish for passing up a chance at personal glory and international acclaim. Many in Liddell’s country called him a traitor for his bold and unusual stand. Even the Prince of Wales begged him to change his mind. But this uncommon man made an uncommon stand. In the next race, the 400 meters [not run on Sunday], Liddell beat the runner up by an amazing fifteen meters! He won the Olympic gold and set a new world record. Though he could have done almost anything with his life after this success, Eric and his family moved back to China to serve as missionaries.”

While we are studying The Church Alive at Crossroads this summer, I thought it relevant to spotlight a man who was a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ and a man who was faithful to worship in the church. No excuses. No exceptions. No rationalizations. For followers of Christ, worship is not something they have to do. It’s something they love to do and want to do because of their love for God and their love for their brothers and sisters in Christ. Of the early church it says in Acts 2:46, “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.” Paul said of the church in Troas in Acts 20:7, “On the first day of the week we came together to break bread.” And the Hebrews writer encourages Christians then and now in 10:25, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

The fact is, each of us, like Eric Liddell, determine our own convictions. No one else can do that for us. Our decisions and actions are a direct result of the priorities we establish based on those convictions. There is so much more to say here, but suffice it to say…. The 3300-3700 people who find their way to Crossroads to faithfully worship each weekend represent a faith community of probably 4500-5000 who consider Crossroads their church home. But, some come once or twice a month. Some come twice a year. Some come when they ‘feel’ like it. It is my pastoral prayer that a growing number of people will make worship, every Lord’s Day, without exception, the highest priority of your life regardless of what other opportunities/activities present themselves. And, if you are ever in the Olympics on a Sunday you will be found in God’s house, numbered among God’s people, faithfully worshipping Him.

Pray with me…. Lord, we agree with the Psalmist who said, “I was glad when they said to me, let us go into the house of the Lord.” It is part of our covenant relationship with You. It is part of our training in righteousness. And it is part of our witness to the world about the number one priority of our life. The pendulum has swung too far in the direction of casual Christianity; and so Lord, we want to swing it back hard today, back in the direction of exercising our wills to recommit our time and energy to faithfulness in worship. In the name of Jesus, amen.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

When God wants to begin a new work in the world, He almost always starts by speaking into the heart of one person. Drawing up the courage to listen, obey, and share the vision with others, these are the people we call leaders.

Over the years we've come to appreciate just how critical leadership is to church vitality. We have observed that a church's effectiveness in pursuing its God-given mission is largely dependent on the character, devotion, and skill of its leadership core. Thats why we support events like the Global Leadership Summit that work to elevate the quality of leadership within churches everywhere. It's also why we prioritize the attendance of our core leadership to attend every year to be challenged and inspired.

The leadership core of a church can be formal or informal, staff or volunteer, clergy or person on the street Christ follower. What matters most is their sold-out devotion to the cause of Jesus Christ. This leadership core almost always includes men and women working in business, education, government, and the social sector.

The Global Leadership Summit welcomes all these leaders, believing that the influence and impact of the church is felt most fully when Christ-centered leaders are at the forefront of establishing and growing well-led local churches, companies, schools, governments, and social enterprises.

This the church at it's best, as God's love and care inevitably spills out into our neighborhoods, towns, and cities through acts of love, justice, mercy, service and restoration.

Join us at Crossroads for this extraordinary event:

The Global Leadership Summit
August 11-12

Register today at www.crossroadschristian.com to receive the host church discount price of $79.00. (Use code word 2011SUMMIT)

Please continue to pray for our team of High school and Middle school students who are currently in Joplin helping with the relief efforts.