Living with God's People -- Part 2

This week, we’re talking about this thing called the church. Let’s talk today about what the CHURCH is called to do.

Looking back to Acts 2:

  • They gave to anyone as he had need. 
  • They continued to meet together in the temple courts.
  • They broke bread in their homes.
  • They ate together with glad and sincere hearts.
  • They praised God.

The result (after all, that’s why we have job descriptions … we want results) was that they enjoyed the favor of all the people. In other words, the early Christians had a well-known and well-deserved reputation for social generosity that built bridges of community.

You see, the church is Plan A for changing individuals and the world. And here’s the kicker: There is no Plan B. The mission of Crossroads is to reach the disconnected and grow the connected. Let me ask you – if we don’t do it, who will?

When it’s done right, incredible things happen. Bill Hybals is Pastor of Willow Creek Church near Chicago, one of the world’s first mega-churches. He lists three things that happen if the church does things well.

  1. We carry the truth of Christ into our community 
    We are it. The truth of Jesus and His finished work on the cross is something that the world must hear. Local churches can bring that truth to the people closest to us.
  2. We are extensions of God's love into our community 
    Each believer has more than enough life to share to others and more than enough light to shed. In Matthew 5:16, Jesus commands us, "In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." The most available extension and proof of God's faithfulness is the life and testimony of the saints.
  3. We stand in the gap between God and our city into our community 
    Prayer is the most powerful things we can do as people of God. When we pray for the things that are happening in our community, we stand between God and the whole world. When Christians stand in prayer for cities, nations and the world, God shows up.

It was never God’s plan to use city, state or government programs to change the world. Governments can hand out money, but they can’t hand out hope.

The church is Plan A for changing our community. Period.

Living with God's People -- Part 1

Last week we discussed the Holy Spirit.  He’s the dynamite power giving us the strength to do what we are called to do. Share the Gospel Heal, help, and mend.

Look what happens after the Holy Spirit is given.

All the believers were together and had everything in common.  Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 2:44-47  

That is the Church at its best. Can you imagine a church striving to do that those kinds of things? What would that look like?

I think it would look like a church that would go out to their community on Christmas Eve and give away free gifts to people who have to work.

I think it would look like a church that would package more than 100,000 meals for the underprivileged

I think that would it like a church that would transform their building into a hair salon, a beauty shop, a car wash, a massage center, a child care center all to honor single moms.

That would be the church at its best.  What to see a church like that in action? Take a look.

The church at its best – Crossroads hosts Single Moms' Morning out on May 6, 2017, loving and pampering 27 single moms for an entire morning. The Holy Spirit is alive and well at Crossroads!

Living with the Holy Spirit – Part 4

Earlier, we talked about how the Holy Spirit gave the disciples the power to do seemingly impossible things.

That same power is at work here in Crossroads Church. Because when we say we believe in the Holy Spirit, we’re really saying, “I believe the Holy Spirit gives me power!”

He gives us the power to carry out our Christmas Eve Gift ministry. The power to package more than 100,000 meals for Meals from the Heartland. The power to reach our youth through NYPD. The power to change the lives of young mothers with Single Moms’ Morning Out.

And the Holy Spirit is giving power to our partners, as well as others who are related to our partners. For example, the brother of our own Barb Crowder is in Iraq right now. He’s not a soldier. He’s an anesthesiologist, serving to heal the sick and wounded in Iraq as ISIS brutally targets women and children.

  • How about your life? What are you facing that you need the power to get through?
  • Maybe you cower when you share your faith.
  • Maybe your prayer life is weak.
  • Maybe you need strength to stand up to someone at work or school.
  • Maybe you need the words to say to a hurting friend.
  • Maybe you need wisdom.

You know,  life is difficult. That shouldn’t be surprised. Jesus told us it would be this way.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

Jesus has overcome, and He’s given us an amazing power to help us overcome.

Do you know that power? Do you tap into that power regularly? The Apostles’ Creed reminds us that those who know Jesus as Lord have that power available.

I remember going to Disney World with my family several years ago. There was so much going on, so much fun and happiness. But you know what I wanted? Barbecued turkey legs. I saw people walking around with them, and they looked so good. I remember thinking, “I’ve gotta have that,” but I wasn’t sure where to buy them. Finally, I asked someone with a drumstick, “Where do I get one of those?”

Maybe you’re in the same place when it comes to the Holy Spirit. Maybe you’re saying, “I wanna get some of that power,” but you’re not sure how it works.

It’s a simple matter of asking. So I would encourage you to do that right now. Get on your knees and ask God for the power of the Holy Spirit. He will never let you down.

Living with the Holy Spirit – Part 3

Yesterday, we saw the Holy Spirit show up in a big way with the disciples, complete with violent winds and tongues of fire and speaking in tongues. People thought they were drunk, but Peter said, “Nope. It’s only 9 in the morning.”

Not only that, the disciples went from the impossible to “all things are possible.” They began to preach publically with might and energy. This was no small feat, as they had previously been living in fear of being put to death for following Jesus.

The Holy Spirit allowed them to stop cowering.

And that wasn’t all. The Holy Spirit gave them the power to heal, and help, and share hope like never before. Here’s a great example.

As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the saints in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. "Aeneas," Peter said to him, "Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and take care of your mat." Immediately Aeneas got up.
Acts 9:32-34  

Up to this point in the disciples’ lives, only Jesus had healed the sick. Now they were doing this incredible work themselves, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

But the Holy Spirit didn’t stop with the disciples. He is also our dynamite. Our power. He allows us to do the impossible

In 2003, we launched Crossroads Church. Talk about humble beginnings. We had a grand total of 50 people sitting in the Norwalk middle school gym. Hot as can be with a ginormous fan droning in the background. Our entire church in a trailer, unloaded for worship, and loaded back up for the next week.

I remember one Saturday, the snow removal guy at Scott’s Grocery Store had buried our trailer under a small mountain of snow. As I drove by, I saw Steve Wermerskirchen digging the trailer out, so I stopped to help. What a mess!

Board meetings in those days were held in my basement. The church offices were located in a store front that is now Maid Rite.

If you think for one minute I thought we could go from that to what we are today without the Holy Spirit, you’re kidding yourself. Or if you thing we can accomplish any of our nine aggressive outreach goals without the power of the Holy Spirit, you’re just plain crazy.

Speaking of crazy … who put this I LOVE MY CAT MUG on my desk last Sunday?

TOMORROW WE’LL TALK ABOUT HOW THE HOLY SPIRIT CAN PUT THE POWER IN YOUR LIFE.

 

Living with the Holy Spirit (Part 2)

Yesterday, we asked two questions.

The first of these is, WHO is the Holy Spirit? 

The Greek word for this is pneuma, which is used for “wind,” “breath” or “spirit.” When the Greeks talked about the body’s “soul” or “pneuma,” they were talking about the difference between a corpse and a live person.

When the New Testament writers use the word pneuma, they’re using it to explain the third person of the God-Head. In all cases The Spirit is not an “it,” but a live being. The person of the Trinity. Father, Son and Spirit – all the same. All equal.

The next question is, WHAT Does the Spirit do?

Let’s review the various job descriptions we’ve talked about thus far. God’s job description is Daddy. Our Father. Jesus Christ is the deliverer, who sees us not for what we are but, but for what we will be through Him.

The Holy Spirit is the Christian’s dynamite. Our power.

See, too many people get the idea that Christianity is wimpy or weak. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Prior to the Holy Spirit, the Disciples were cowering in fear. They had seen Jesus crucified about 40 days earlier, and they had been hiding ever since.

But the Holy Spirit changed everything. Here’s how:

Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
Acts 2:2

We’re not talking about some weak wind. This wind was violent!

They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Acts 2:3-4

Everything changed for the disciples in that moment. And they did something that was impossible for them just prior to this.

TOMORROW, WE’LL SEE THE HOLY SPIRIT’S POWER AT WORK.

The Apostles' Creed – Living with the Holy Spirit (Part 1)

If you’re a Christian you probably know that if there is one thing non-Christians don’t understand about Christianity, it’s the idea of the Holy Spirit. 

And if you’re not a Christian, you know that if there is one thing Christians don’t understand about Christianity, it’s the idea of the Holy Spirit. 

This week, we continue our series entitled The Apostles’ Creed.  In the first week, we talked about living with what you believe. What do you believe and why? Next we talked about living with God as Father, our daddy, which is mentioned 135 times in the New Testament (65 times by Jesus).                       

Last week, we turned to the idea of living with Jesus as Savior, and how He sees us not for what we are, but for what we will be through Him.

This week, we’re talking about living with the Holy Spirit.

First, let’s review the Apostle’s Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
He descended into hell.
On the third day He rose again;
He ascended into heaven,
He is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
and He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Amen.

Now let's turn to the book of Acts.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Acts 2:1-4  

They all began speaking in other tongues. That must have been a sight. According to the bible, those looking on said, “They’re drunk.” Peter refutes it, saying, “Hey, it’s only 9 in the morning.”

But it begs two questions. Who is the Holy Spirit? And what does the Holy Spirit do?

TOMORROW, WE’LL LOOK AT SOME JOB DESCRIPTIONS.

PART 5 – Do you know Him?

Jesus Christ is not just a title. It also tells us exactly what the Lord is able to do for you and me. He is the chosen one of God who changes lives

When we say, “I believe in Jesus Christ,” we are saying, “I believe He is the one who can transform my life” This can only happen if you know Him personally. It happens when you call Him your King.

Do you know Him? Watch this video.

If you don’t know Him, I want you to know Him right now. Consider me your Andrew right now. I want to bring you to Jesus. Call me at the church, or click the button below to send me an email, and I’ll help you know Him – the One who changes lives.

A few years ago I got an email from someone in my last church. She just wanted to thank me for introducing her to a closer walk with Jesus who transformed her life.

Dear Glen,
As I read this, I began to cry, because I knew how very much you touched not only my life and my family, but my heart. You truly made a difference in my life and I didn't want to wait until we got to heaven to say "Thank You!" So "thank you" from a very grateful and humble friend and fellow servant.

That could be you.

Remember, it’s not who you are – but who you WILL BE.

PART 4 – The One Thing

Jesus, the Deliverer. He’s the One who asks, “How can I help you?”

 

Here’s what the bible has to say.

 

Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.

2 Corinthians 1:9-10

 

Andrew essentially says to Simon Peter, “We have found the Messiah. Christ, the deliverer. Peter, let me be blunt. You need deliverance. Frankly, you’re a hot head. You’re impatient.  You’re always gets mad when we don’t catch fish.”

 

Look at the first thing that Jesus does with Simon. He changes his name from Simon to Peter, which means rock.

 

Now make no mistake – Peter was anything but a rock at this time. He was impulsive and unstable. But read the book of Acts. By the time Jesus gets done delivering him, he is the pillar of the church.

 

So … why would Jesus build His church on a hothead? Why would he rename such an unstable person as “Rock”? Jesus named him not for what he was, but for what he would be. That’s how Jesus works!

 

TOMORROW WE’LL TALK ABOUT JESUS’ PLAN FOR WHAT YOU WILL BE.

 

 

Yesterday, we saw how Jesus took Simon, a flawed, impulsive man with a quick temper, and called him Peter, which means “rock.” Jesus did this not because of who Peter was, but who he would become.

That’s the one thing I want you to take from this series. Jesus sees you in the same way – not for who you are, but for who you will be.

He’s our deliverer. And like a personal trainer, He sees our potential, and He changes us.

That’s always been my vision for Crossroads. We say it all the time: “Crossroads is a hospital, not a museum.” It’s not a place where shiny perfect people sit on pristine shelves, never to be touched. It’s where sick and broken people come to be healed. It’s a place of change. You come in one way, and you leave transformed!

We want to be the Andrews of life, bringing our brothers and sisters to Jesus for transformation. Bringing our neighbors, children and friends to Jesus for healing.

There are a number of ways you can be like Andrew.

  • LifeGroups, where we gather regularly to experience Jesus by sharing testimonies, caring and praying for each other, and loving one another. 
  • Crossroads Kids Preschool, where children come to learn who Jesus is, and learn how to be a friend.
  • The Free Medical Clinic, where we offer physical healing through the loving efforts of professional medical practitioners at no cost to patients.
  • Operation Christmas Eve, where we bring gifts to people who are forced to work on Christmas eve, just because we love them.
  • Meals from the Heartland, where we gather to package more than 100,000 nutritious meals for hungry people all over the world.
  • Single Moms’ Morning Out, where we offer love and support for single mothers and their children in central Iowa.
  • The Ultimate Journey, where we come together to discover a path that takes us from a life of wandering to a place where God wants us to be.
  • NYPD (Norwalk Youth Pursuing Discipleship), our youth program that prepares young people for life by bringing them closer to the Lord.

These are just a few of the ways we can bring people to Jesus. There are more. Please look throughout the website to discover all the ways you can be like Andrew.

TOMORROW, WE’LL CONCLUDE THIS SHORT SERIES BY TALKING ABOUT HOW YOU CAN COME TO KNOW HIM MORE.

PART 3 – It's not about who you are

Yesterday we talked about Jesus, the Deliverer. He’s the One who asks, “How can I help you?”

The bible says this.

Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.

2 Corinthians 1:9-10

Here's what's happening. Andrew essentially says to Simon Peter, “We have found the Messiah. Christ, the deliverer. Peter, let me be blunt. You need deliverance. Frankly, you’re a hot head. You’re impatient. You’re always the first one who gets mad when we don’t catch fish.”

Look at the first thing that Jesus does with Simon. He changes his name from Simon to Peter, which means rock.

Now make no mistake – Peter was anything but a rock at this time. He was impulsive and unstable. But read the book of Acts. By the time Jesus gets done delivering him, he is the pillar of the church.

So … why would Jesus build His church on a hothead? Why would he rename such an unstable person as “Rock”? Jesus named him not for what he was, but for what he would be. That’s how Jesus works!

TOMORROW WE’LL TALK ABOUT JESUS’ PLAN FOR WHAT YOU WILL BE.

 

PART 2 – A beautiful delivery

Yesterday we talked about the word Christ being a title. In Hebrew, it means “deliverer,” while in Greek, it means “anointed one.” In other words, it’s a title given to someone very important.

When someone asks if you’ve “accepted Jesus Christ as Lord?” they’re really asking if you’ve been delivered. They’re saying, “Do you trust Jesus as the chosen one who delivered you from your sins?”

That’s what Gene meant when he came to me.

But why? That’s what has puzzled me for many years. Why would my brother even ask? He’s not an evangelist. He’s not a Bible thumper. And he’s certainly not touchy feely.

Matter of fact, here’s a Facebook meme Gene sent to me this week.

So … why?

It has to deal with the title of Christ, meaning “deliverer.” Gene needed delivering. See, he wasn’t going in a very positive direction, and Jesus showed him a way of deliverance from the direction he was heading.   

What do I mean by deliverer?

This week, a Ted Lare van came. The driver came into my office, and I said what I usually say: “How can I help you or how can you help me?” He said, “It’s how can I help you. I have a delivery for Liz. I have a bunch of flowers and potting soil.”

Wow!  What a beautiful delivery.

That’s what Jesus does. He’s like, “How can I help you? I can deliver what nobody else can. I can deliver the gift of forgiveness.  And I can also take you out of your life of sin and pain.”

Tomorrow, we’ll look at a disciple of Jesus who desperately needed deliverance.