One of the few things I have learned about music is that when performing it (whether vocally or instrumentally) you need to always stay true to the melody. You can add your own “flare” to the arrangement as long as you stay true to the melody.
As I have thought about this over the course of this week before Easter, I have been convicted of the need to stay “true to the melody” when it comes to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. With all the made for TV movies about the resurrection that have been aired (or will be aired) this week, the need to stay true to the melody becomes all that much more important.
The message of the resurrection is a simple one:
God created the world for his glory and with his plan in mind. Mankind, in the person of Adam and Eve, sinned against Holy God and all of creation was cursed for their sake. All people born to Adam and Eve along with their progeny throughout all the ages live under the bonds of the curse. As sinners we are condemned to a life lived in our own strength and eternity without God in the lake of fire.
But God, who loves all of his creation, created a way of escape from the curse that rests on us all. He would come in the form of his Son, Jesus Christ, live a sinless life, die a substitutionary death, and resurrect as proof of God’s power to free us from the curse.
The resurrection, therefore, tells us three stories:
- Mankind is wandering through life in the midst of a curse. (Even if they don’t know, understand, or believe it.)
- The curse and the unbelief that it spawns, has condemned mankind to a life apart from God their Creator.
- God’s plan to redeem mankind from the curse required an eternal price be paid to satisfy the penalty of the curse. And, Jesus’ resurrection is proof to all who will see that the price has been paid!
So, as Easter dawns tomorrow, consider yourself. Do you recognize the familiar melody of the resurrection song? Have you responded to the call of this melody? Are you staying true to it as you live life day by day?
If you don’t know and/or would like to know more, don’t hesitate to contact us right away!
Have a Blessed Easter,
Dave Wellman, Pastor
We are in the process of revamping our church website. To this end we hope that the finished product will bless the hearts of God’s people, encourage the curious to visit with us for worship, and most of all to honor and bring glory to the God who saved us and built us into one body in Christ.
I hope you will pardon our “dust” while we go through this process. We plan to keep things basically as they appear today, but you will see some changes as we go along.
Thank you for your patience, and to God be the glory in it all!
This week is the beginning of what everyone calls the “Holiday Season.” It is a time when it seems like two worlds come crashing together. One is the world of reflection and contemplation and the other is the world of abject consumerism. At first look they seem to be polar opposites. Thanksgiving and Christmas are quiet and reflective times considering our gratefulness as Americans and the wonder of the gracious gift of God through his Son Jesus. But, these times have also given way to the hustle of Black Friday and the official start of the most commericalized and consumer driven time of the year where merchants make up to half their years revenue/profits.
I am not suggesting that we not participate in all that the season has to offer, but I am suggesting that we keep firmly in mind the truth behind all the goings on. We live in a country whose whole existence is a direct result of the God of heaven and we need to remember His worldview in how we live in the freedom He affords. We also need to remember that amidst the gift giving, the Christmas programs, the hustle and bustle of the season, that the birth of Jesus, God incarnate, the Saviour of the world is the reason we celebrate at all! Don’t let the season dictate your behavior, rather, allow Christ to rule in your hearts and make this “Holiday Season” be a beautiful testimony of God in your home, your neighborhood, your community, your church, and to the whole world!
Dave Wellman, Pastor
Crossroads Independent Baptist Church
We are living in the most troubled times of my 58 years life. It seems everything is just “falling apart at the seems.” The world is exploding with wars, the world economy is on the brink of collapse, moral decay has become the new modern norm. God’s people are confused, frustrated, and in many cases have just given up. Some to just “wait out” the arrival of Jesus and others to just bow their knees to today’s Baal.
Debate rages around the “Christian world” today about what is acceptable and what is not. Many churches are reevaluating their stance on things that since the beginning of the world were/are established by God and his word as sin. It seems that God’s word is being questioned or simply abandoned on every hand. The downward spiral found in Romans 1 seems to reflect the world we live in today like never before.
So, with all this happening, what should be our response? How should God’s people live, act, love, and testify in this most chaotic world? I for one think that there are only two options:
We can take the offensive and engage the world with the same level of contempt with which they have engaged us.
- Remember, even the disciples hoped for Jesus to restore the earthly kingdom of Israel, and Peter sought the use of force to “protect” Jesus from the cross.
- Look at our facebook posts (those of God’s people). Can you not see a tendency for these posts to be political in nature and often times visceral in their approach. Often our attacks bear the same marks of those living in darkness rather than the longsuffering patience of those living in the light.
- The anger is palpable and the results are as expected. The enemy hates us more and uses our own anger to prove his point.
We can recognize our own role in the conditions we live in and seek the power of God for revival.
- Nehemiah recognized that the condition of the people of Israel and the city of Jerusalem were the result of God’s judgement of his people rather than the wickedness of God’s enemies.
- After hearing of the plight of the people and the shameful testimony of God’s city, he “fasted and prayed many days …” acknowledging both the righteousness of God’s judgment and the sinfulness of the people of God beginning with himself and his father’s house. (Nehemiah 1:5-11)
- David said it this way in Psalm 51, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.”
- Note in the last verse, it is only with a clean heart, a place in the presence of God, a restored joy, and the power of God upholding us, that transgressors can see and understand God’s was and sinners will be converted to God.
I know that my thoughts today have been tough ones. I also know that if we are not revived then we will be dealt with at the judgement seat of Christ and what things we believe we have done for Christ will go up in smoke as wood, hay, and stubble. And, on this side of eternity, our lives will be more difficult, or enemies will be bolder and God’s hand will be withdrawn from helping his own.
2 Chronicles 7:14 is still in God’s book and unless we heed it we can expect that the place we have in this world will become more perilous by the day. My challenge for us all is to take a deep look at ourselves in the light of the life/words of our Lord Jesus Christ and see if there be some wicked way in us. If so, we need to repent, seek God’s face, and let the revival begin with us!
We have experienced a very sad moment this week with the home going of one of our church family. John has lived for years with MS and this week his body succumbed to the debilitating nature of this disease.
This said, he told me something that I wanted to share with everyone who will read this post. We were talking the other day and he told me that while he knew his strength was fading and that he knew he was going to soon pass from this life, he also knew that he was going to be healed. When I looked at him with a puzzled look, he told me his thought.
He said that, as a believer, he had received eternal life. Some of that would be lived in this world, but the vast majority of it was to be lived in the next. That being true he knew his prayer to be healed was going to be answered in the affirmative. The healing would come however in the next life.
The sad part of that view is that his family was going to have to give him up for their prayer of healing to be answered. The wondrous part is that John had determined that God is in control and that if he had to pass into eternity in order to be healed, he was satisfied that God had made his decision with John’s best in mind. John had given himself over to the will of God and was comforted more and more by God’s control on his life.
He knew that his departure would bring hurt and sadness for his family, but he also trusted that the same God who gave him peace would give them comfort and rest. He was convinced that God was/is in control.
I was strengthened by his faith and will be able to lean on his understanding when struggles seek to rob me of my faith. My only purpose in telling this story is to remind us all that God is in charge no matter what he requires of us. We need to remember that and trust God in every circumstance in life. Thanks John for giving you Pastor a new perspective on an old struggle!
As we move through the first couple months of our “All In” campaign for 2014, I have been drawn time and again to the question: “What does it mean to yield?” You see, I had a definition of what it means to yield, but since January I have discovered that God has a completely different definition than mine
This sad truth came to a head when I was looking at Paul’s life and ministry. He said in Philippians 3, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” (vs. 7-11)
In this passage I see a definition of yielding that indicates several things:
- Yielding means that I am willing to loose all things that I have in this life. This means that when struggles come, I need to rejoice rather than complain.
- Yielding means that my life is simply a reflection of the righteousness of God. I must constantly re-focus my life on him rather than seeking to exalt myself and “my righteousness.”
- Yielding means that I must be on a constant quest to know Christ better and better. I cannot rest on the knowledge I already have. What I know is never enough. I cannot be truly yielded if I turn off my desire to know more.
Yielding is an all day, every day proposition. It is not the doing of things, it is the letting go of everything and letting God live through you. He is who you seek emulate. You are not seeking to be “the best you, you can be” rather you are seeking to be so like Christ that the world sees “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)
Are you truly yielded to God through Jesus Christ?
I believe that we are living in the most critical time in history. It seems that everything in scripture that speaks of the end times is becoming clearer and clearer in our day. It also seems that people are more aware of the “spiritual” world and while they don’t understand it or how to incorporate it into their everyday living, they are curious to know more.
These truths place us in a time like no other and provide us with opportunities to serve God in ways we have never seen before. But for us to make the most of these opportunities, we must make the choice to go “all in.” We must say to God, “I am yours Lord and I will yield to whatever you ask me to do whenever you ask, for as long as you ask!”
When we are “all in” people will see five things in us:
- We will be seen as people who trust God’s word in all things.
- We will be seen as people of prayer by all those around us.
- We will be seen as people who live quietly and humbly before our God.
- We will be seen as people who understand what it means to love both God and our neighbors.
- We will be seen as people who can be counted on and trusted in all matters of life and living.
As we grow into a church (churches) that represents these characteristics of being “all in” God will be able to empower us to be more sound and committed witnesses of him in these exciting times.
Are you ready to go “all in?”
What is the point of biblical missions?
- Is it to reach the world with the message of Christ?
- Is it to start churches and train/ordain pastors?
- Is it to work, labor, and put forth effort for the Lord in all things?
While all these things are certainly a part of what we call missions these days, I think that we have allowed the tail to wag the dog in much of this and that we have forgotten the real point of biblical missions:
2 Corinthians 5:12-21 – the point of missions is to reconcile those apart from Christ to Christ!!
Two categories of people in need of reconciliation:
- The Lost – At the end of Jesus visit with Zacchaeus, Jesus said that he was come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:1-10)
- The Languishing – Paul concluded his comments about reconciliation by saying to those in the church at Corinth, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20-21
Much of modern missions is about the process rather than about the nature of the results. In Revelation 2:1-7, Christ himself declares his thoughts about the church at Ephesus.
- The church at Ephesus had the process down pat.
- The missing elements at Ephesus were those that comprised the nature of the results of their efforts.
- They had left their first love.
- They had ceased to do the first works.
Modern missions most often reminds me of the church at Ephesus. Hard working, doctrinally sound, suspicious of strange teachings, but without a biblical approach that changes lives at the root level.
- Our “first love” is replaced by duty and a cowering fear of God’s judgment. (Same kind of fearful religion taught by the pagans.
- Our “first works” are replaced by a set of rules established more for the smooth operation of the church than to truly worship the God of heaven and bring glory to him.
In the end, we will only know if our missions efforts are successful if ALL of the great commission is fulfilled. If we are making disciples who know and understand the love of God and his grace bestowed upon them. If these disciples willingly declare their newfound faith through surrender to baptism/church membership. And, if once associated with the church they continue to grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, living for his glory and surrendered to his will!
November has always been “Missions Emphasis Month” at Crossroads. We spend our time throughout the month preaching and teaching about missions, praying especially for our missionaries/for the opportunity to add new missionaries to our mission family, and looking for ways to do missions in our own communities, area, and region.
It is an exciting time for us and in the end we take our faith promise offering that gives us budget direction for the next year.
However, in this time that is traditional in our church (as it is in many around the country), I want to remind us of five thoughts about missions:
- Missions is about more than money. If all we did during our missions emphasis month was to attempt to raise money, we would be denying the bulk of the great commission. Emphasizing missions is about encouraging everyone to participate in all aspects of the commission as they are led of the Holy Spirit.
- Missions is about more than personalities. One of the reasons we do not fill our calendar with Missionaries throughout the month is to avoid the “beauty contest” approach to missions. The prophet Samuel was warned by God that while man looks on the outward appearance that he looks on the heart. It is within the nature of all humans to be persuaded by look, skill set, etc. and that is not what our emphasis should be.
- Missions is about more than demographics. Where God is leading missionaries to go should have nothing to do with whether they are worthy of support. Too much time is spent “picking winners” than of simply following God’s lead.
- Missions is about more than “a burden.” Too many people think that if they are “burdened” for missions and missionaries that their part in the process is complete. While a burden for missions is a great thing to have, if it stands alone without effort it, life faith without works, is dead.
- Missions is about more than money. Oh, wait, I already said that … but … with all the emphasis on the missions budget and the faith promise offering, I think that this needs to be said again!! The commission was give to the church to fulfill, not just fund. We should become willing vessels, fit for the Master’s use to perform the activities of missions at work, in the neighborhood, and at play. When we step up and take our place, God will bless with opportunities to help others as well!
Well, my prayer is that this Missions Emphasis Month will produces a missions program led by the Spirit of Holy God and one that can be used of God for his glory and to his praise!
On Wednesday, God made it very clear to me that for our (or any) church to be the church that God commissioned it to be, we were going to have to make the choice to stand. Now, I know that this seems like an obvious thing, but unfortunately it is something that is often lacking in churches and among God’s people these days.
In order to stand, we must consider three things:
- Who God really is. In other words, we must have a right vision of God. When Moses gained a right vision of God, he worshiped. When Isaiah gained a right vision of God, he repented. When Peter gained a right vision of God, he wept bitterly. When Paul gained a right vision of God, he said, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” In every case a right vision of God led to a lifetime of faithful service to the God they knew.
- What we stand for. No one can be asked to stand, if they don’t know what it is that they stand for. We need to become students of the word. Not students so that we can be intellectually smart, but students who are also active disciples of the word. Knowing the word of God allows us access to his exceeding great and precious promises that allow us to be partakers of the divine nature. That is what the knowledge of God does for the genuine disciple of Christ.
- How we relate to those without. The word of God tells us clearly that we are to preach the word, stand against the wiles of the Devil, and to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered. While these things are true, the same word tells us to make sure that our “speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt” and that we speak “the truth in love.” How we present the message is critical as to how it is received and with what power the Spirit can drive it home!
As we seek the wisdom, power, and mercy to simply stand, God will bless and empower us to fulfill his will for our lives individually and collectively as the members of His New Testament Church.