Easter Message

Posted in Evangelism, Events, holiday, witnessing by PCraig on April 13, 2017

Hey Crossroads family,

Easter is coming in just a few days (April 16) and I am filled with anticipation over what God is going to do in each of our services. Here’s how I could use your help this Easter:

The message that day is called “An Empty Easter” and will focus on the emptiness of life versus the full life the empty tomb provides. This is a great opportunity to invite people you know as it focuses on who Jesus really is and came to do. In the few minutes it takes to invite someone, you never know what God might have in mind.  Let’s get busy and reach one more for Jesus!

Please use the various tools that are available to invite others to Crossroads. You can use your own Facebook (or social media) account to encourage others to come to one of the Easter services. Be sure to share posts from our Crossroads Facebook Page, this is huge! Hopefully, you also have the small “Invite Cards” we’ve made available each weekend at the Information Desk. These have a map to the church and feature the service times as reference help for those desiring to come. Sometimes people need reminders and helps after you walk away! I would suggest you keep these cards handy in case God opens a new door of opportunity to share.

Finally, as usual, we’re preparing for lots of new guests to be with us for Easter. It would be great if you could…

  • Attend the first service – which is usually less crowded.
  • Make an extra effort to give a warm welcome to the people you meet.
  • Park away from the doors to make room for guests to park close.
  • Sit in the middle of a row, so guest don’t have to step over you for a seat.

It’s going to be an awesome Easter at Crossroads, and it’s a privilege to partner with you!  I’m praying for your family and friends to come to Jesus this Sunday!

 

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This Gets God’s Attention

When you know a friend needs Jesus, how do you respond? There’s a story in Mark 2 about a man who couldn’t walk, so four guys literally carry him to Jesus. The problem is that by the time they get there, they can’t get into the house where Jesus was teaching because of the crowd. Rather than say, “Oh well, dude we tried to get you in.” They refuse to be denied and carry this man up on the roof. Once up there they tear open the roof (probably made of mud, tiles and maybe straw) and lower the man down to Jesus.

The Scripture says that when Jesus saw “their” faith, he responded. In other words, it wasn’t even the man on the mat’s faith; it was those bringing him to Jesus that touched the Master.

Here’s my question: who are you currently carrying to Jesus? Who do you know that needs a touch from God, forgiveness of sins, and a fresh start? Please understand that it is your responsibility to carry them to Jesus. This man got to meet Jesus, be healed, made whole and restored to God because someone cared enough to carry him.

“God so loved the world that He gave His only Son,” and we are most like Him when we love others enough to take action. Friend, it’s too easy to get caught up in our Christian circles and ourselves and forget who Jesus came for. He came to seek and to save that which is lost. If you don’t know any lost people right now, you need to change that. Get out of your bubble and love like God loves.

It impresses Jesus when he sees us bring others to Him. If you want to get Jesus’ attention today, lift someone up and bring them to Jesus. Nothing moves God’s heart more than when we care enough to carry someone to Him.

Not only does this story come from today’s reading in the One Year Bible (that I’m doing again this year), but it is also our text for Sunday. I hope you can be with us as God anoints His Word to our ears. God has a word for you this weekend!

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Lessons From A Lame Man

Posted in Evangelism, Friendship, Relationships, Salvation, witnessing by PCraig on January 12, 2017

One day some men brought a paralyzed man to Jesus lying on a mat. The Bible (Matthew 9:2) says something interesting, that “when Jesus saw THEIR faith…” He did something. There are several things that speak to me out of this passage from the One Year Bible. One thing is that it’s important to have good friends. You need some friends that will carry you to Jesus if they have to.

Another thing is that Jesus is moved by the faith of people around you and not just you. That means you better how some people of faith around you. Who knows how many of us have been impacted by the prayers of a grandparent, parent or friend?

Then, I see that Jesus is more concerned about the man’s spiritual need than his physical need. Keep in mind that it was the physical need that drew him there, but Jesus wanted to remedy the paralysis in this man’s heart. His greatest need wasn’t his legs, it was his life.

Some lessons for us:

  • Be the kind of person that brings others to Jesus.
  • Listen for the pain in others that leads to an opportunity to invite them to Jesus.
  • Don’t be too busy to carry others burdens in prayer or personally.

The fact that these men got involved in this paralytics life, enabled him to walk away physically and spiritually healed. Who could you get involved with and bring closer to Jesus this week?

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I’m Gonna Let It Shine

Posted in Christian Lifestyle, Evangelism, Love, One Year Bible, witnessing by PCraig on January 4, 2017

We used to sing a song when I was in preschool Sunday School classes that went, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…” My favorite part though, was when it came to the verse that said, “Hide it under a bushel, no…” The reason I liked that portion is because we were allowed to shout the word NO when asking about hiding our light. I must confess, that at the time, I really didn’t even know what I was singing about, but it was fun.

Later on, I came to understand that the meaning of the song came from this week’s reading of the One Year Bible in Matthew 5:14-16. Jesus proclaims that His followers are the “light of the world,” and just like no one hides a light under “a bowl,” likewise, we are not to hide our light.

During this year, my intent is to take a similar passage like this, from the One Year Bible reading, and to make comment on it in this blog. My hope, is that it will not only speak to those of you reading the Bible through this year, and keep you encouraged along the way, but it will also inspire you to let God’s Word speak directly to you. (We are providing 21-day devotionals this weekend to go along with our 21 Days of Fasting & Prayer this weekend, so don’t miss it!)

Getting back to our passage, I would like to suggest that each of us are carriers of the light of Jesus to our world in 2017. As a result, it is imperative that we feel that responsibility to let our light shine as Jesus stated. We cannot expect God to shine for us, we are to shine for Him. We shine when we do our work well, do more than is expected, love our enemies and show Christ’s compassion to all.

Another way to shine this week is by inviting someone into your life with Christ. You might respond to their need for help by offering to pray, or share an inspirational thought from Scripture you’ve been reading. One more way is to simply invite them to be your guest at your church. Statistics say that most people would be glad to attend church with a friend if only they were invited.

Let’s commit to shine our light in the darkness of our world this year so others can find their way to God.

 

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The Day Grace Ran

Posted in Evangelism, Love, Love for God, Salvation by PCraig on April 7, 2016

There are a lot of amazing things to see, experience and hear in life, for example: a newborn baby, the stars, and Niagara Falls, just to name a few.  But, for me, nothing fits the description of amazing more than the grace shown to others and me by God.

Grace defined by Webster is, unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification; a virtue coming from God.  I heard it said as, God’s unmerited favor toward us.

Nowhere is this revealed more explicitly than the story Jesus told of the Prodigal Son.  Now, I grew up hearing about this story, but it’s only been in recent years that the power of the message pierced my heart like never before.  As you may know, the narrative is that the younger of two sons, takes his inheritance early and goes out and blows it on wild living.  He parties hard until the money runs out.  When it runs out, the friends run out too.

This isn’t the most incredible running is the story however.  Jesus goes on to say that the young man realizes what a fool he’s been and that life was so much better in the father’s house.  So, he comes up with a speech to say to his dad in the hopes that he can at least move back as a servant.

Now, here’s where it gets crazy and blows the minds of the listeners.  Jesus says, the dad is looking down the road as the son is coming home and actually runs out to meet him, so that he can tell him what an idiot he’s been – NO!  The purpose of the running is to get to his son as fast as he can and throw his arms around him, show his love, restore his place and celebrate his return.  If that’s a picture of our Heavenly Father’s reaction to us coming home to Him – wow!  That’s all I got, amazing, astonishing, overwhelming, beyond description.  That’s our God.

Why wouldn’t everyone love Him?  Why would anyone ever want to leave?  Who wouldn’t want the power of grace in their lives?

For those who have experienced this kind of grace that goes beyond comprehension, our job is now to invite others into the Father’s house.  It’s a place of return, restoration, and revel.  Not everyone knows and understands it, so like Jesus, let’s spread the true story of a Father’s love.

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Easter Letter 2015

Posted in Evangelism, Events, holiday, Serving, witnessing by PCraig on March 24, 2015

Hey Crossroads family,

Easter is coming in just a few weeks and I couldn’t be more excited about what God is going to do in each of our services.  Let me share a few things I’d love to get your help with this Easter:

That weekend kicks off our new series, LIFE TO THE FULL.  This is a great opportunity to bring along people you know as it focuses on what it means to be Christian.  In the few minutes it takes to invite a friend, you could play a role in changing someone’s eternity.

Use the various tools that are available to invite others to Crossroads.  You can use your Facebook account to encourage others to come to one of the Easter services.  We have small “Invite Cards” available every weekend at the Information in the lobby.  These have a map to the church and feature the service times as a reference help for those desiring to come.  I would suggest you keep these cards handy in case God opens a new door of opportunity to share.

We’re preparing for lots of new guests to be with us for Easter.  It would be great if you could

  • Serve for an extra experience (maybe attend 1st and serve in 2nd?).
  • Attend the first service – which is usually less crowded.
  • Make an extra effort to give a warm welcome to the people you meet.
  • Park far away from the doors to make room for guests to park close.
  • Sit in the middle of a row, so guest don’t have to step over you for a seat.

Thanks for being a part of what God is doing at Crossroads.  It’s a privilege to partner with you!

Craig White, Lead Pastor

P.S.  Don’t forget to invite folks to our 1st Helicopter Easter Egg Drop on April 4 at 10 a.m.!

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2 x 2

Posted in Evangelism, holiday, Impact, Relationships, Salvation, witnessing by PCraig on March 19, 2015

We finally got the rest of our Christmas decorations down the other day (don’t judge me, we’ve been busy J) and it’s already time for Easter – I can’t believe it!  In just two weeks from this coming Sunday we will be celebrating the greatest event in history, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Here’s what I would like to suggest:  over the next two weeks, let’s do everything we can to bring two people to church with us.  You don’t have to drive them necessarily, though that helps to ensure they show up, but we can invite them.

I saw a recent statistic that said that approximately 20% of people were undecided yet on whether they would attend church on Easter.  Friend, that is one out of every five people you meet.

Just yesterday I was out to lunch with someone and as he was paying the bill, he invited the server to Easter services.  He also informed her that I was the pastor.  Instead of just saying a polite, “Thank you,” she said she was looking for a church to attend on Easter and wanted her child to go.  I spoke up and told her that her kid would love our church.  I pray she follows through and shows up.  What’s interesting is my friend said that if I hadn’t been with him, he probably wouldn’t have spoken up to invite her.

Let’s do what we can to impact two people in two weeks and reach at least one more for Jesus.  If we all do that, imagine how it will move from addition to multiplication.

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Getting Prepared For Thanksgiving

Before you load up the car and head over to spend time with friends & family eating, watching football, and possibly taking a nap (if you’re lucky), what else might you do to get prepared for Thanksgiving?  For some, it might be psyching yourself up for a new debate over an issue, getting set for another fight over the past, or watching other dysfunctional members remind you of why you don’t overly enjoy these gatherings.

But, as a follower of Christ, knowing there might be family present who aren’t believers, what might we do to prepare?

  • Pray, for you to say the right things, for them to be impacted and for the Holy Spirit to fill the house.
  • Listen, to all they are saying around the table.  Ask some questions to gain greater understanding and resist the temptation to “set them straight.”  This is true love in action.
  • Remember, it is only natural for people who don’t know Jesus as Savior and Lord to act like they don’t.  Don’t allow yourself to be upset about their choices and lifestyles, rather, be sympathetic to their lost state of heart.
  • Obey the Holy Spirit’s prompting to share only what He tells you to share. Stay away from debates and focus more on how you have been impacted by God’s love and presence.
  • Leave the results of any sharing up to them and the Holy Spirit.  Don’t be discouraged if they don’t put down their pumpkin pie and ask how to be saved.  Sometimes you plant, other times you water and only God can control the harvest.

I hope you and I have an opportunity to be show and tell followers for Jesus this Thanksgiving.  Let’s be ready for more than just turkey, pie and football (and hopefully a nap).  May God show his light through us to our family and friends, giving us another real reason to be thankful.

I’m thankful for you!

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Ever Lost Your Cell Phone?

Posted in Evangelism, Joy, Perspective, Salvation, Used of God, witnessing by PCraig on July 24, 2014

Have you ever lost anything of value (cell phone) and turned the house upside down to find it?  My wife may or may not have recently lost her cell phone and thought she might have left it somewhere.  It was like it disappeared.  We looked everywhere in the house for it, called it (of course it was on silent) and searched anywhere we thought it could be all to no avail.  Ultimately we discovered the phone was in the garbage in our garage!  By the way, if you think I’m telling on my wife, let me say that at least she has never driven off with her phone on the roof of the car like someone else may have done once in their lives.  (That story didn’t end well)

Here’s my point, when you have something of value that is lost you will do whatever it takes, spending time and energy to find it.  Jesus told a story about this that involved a woman who lost             one of her ten silver coins.  He said she will do whatever it takes until she finds it.  The story is found in Luke 15:8-10 and once again illustrates the principle of seeking after lost people.

In this second of three successive stories of Jesus, there are a few things I would like to highlight:

  • She searches “carefully” until she finds it, which implies she is deliberate in the pursuit.
  • She also is very diligent in the hunt and will not rest until the coin is found.

These imply to us:

  • The value of one lost person.  Everyone matters to God.
  • Love will search carefully, not casually for the lost.
  • Love cannot sit still while there is still a chance of find those who are lost.

Lastly, as in the prior story, Jesus says there is “rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”  So, if you want to get heaven excited, find one more lost person.

We’re challenging our church family to reach out to one person each week and invite them to church on August 17.  On that date, we are having an “everyone bring one” Sunday with former American Idol finalist, Phil Stacey as our guest.  But, you don’t have to wait another moment when the stakes are as high as eternal life.  For whom do you need to search carefully, locate for God and then celebrate?  I think the angels are ready!

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True Love Leaves

Posted in Evangelism, Friendship, Love, witnessing by PCraig on July 17, 2014

Yesterday I was reading the account in Luke 15 where Jesus tells three stories in succession that all have pretty much the same theme.  What’s remarkable about this is that this is the only time Jesus does that.  If Jesus takes three different approaches to teach a central theme, then I just think we better pay careful attention to it.  Therefore, over the next three blogs, I want to take each of these stories and share some gleanings.

The first story is to ponder, “What is you were a shepherd and had a hundred sheep and lost one, what would you do?”  Jesus says, that a shepherd would leave the 99 and “go after the lost sheep until he finds it.”

Our first principle is that Christ followers are to GO AFTER the lost.  Believers are not supposed to wait inside the church for non-believers to show up.  There must be a sense of duty and responsibility felt by the Christian to  “go after” lost people.  Let me say it this way, love leaves and goes.  True Christ-like love cannot stay and be content while bunches of people are lost without God.

What’s this look like for you?

  • Look around and notice that there are lost people who need to know God
  • Let a sense of duty & responsibility for them grip your soul
  • Go find them and bring them back to God where they belong

Finally, the story ends with Jesus explaining “there will be more rejoicing in heaven over ONE sinner who repents than over 99 righteous person who do not need to repent.”  In other words, whatever gets heaven excited ought to excite us!  If you want to get God and the rest of heaven happy, then go out and bring a lost person back to God.

This gets heaven more excited than healings, gifts, and choirs.  And, I just think whatever heaven celebrates; we should be celebrating as well.

Who can you reach out to today?  Is there someone you could invite to church this weekend?  True love cannot stay – it must go.

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