“New Year Resolution: Saying ‘Yes'” (January 20, 2019)

from Romans 5:1-11, Romans 3:20-26, John 4:1-18

The idea that God’s grace exists for us before we have done anything to earn it, that “Jesus Knows,” and that Jesus seeks us out is comforting. That kind of grace, that prevenient grace begins to get us on the track toward believing something about God’s love for us…but what happens when we are brought face to face with the extend God is willing to go in order bring that grace to work in our lives?

What do we do when the cross forces us to come face to face with our brokenness that necessitated such a sacrifice?

What if we simply started where we are? What if we simply said, “yes?”

w/ Vern Collins

“New Year Resolution: Broken Already (Jesus Knows)” (January 13, 2019)

from Ephesians 1:5-10 and John 4:1-18

Many of us see the turn of the calendar year as an opportunity for a fresh start, a chance to make some changes, to improve some things about who we are. We enter a new year with a sense of hope and possibility.

What happens when we fall short of those things we want to see change?

What happens when this seems to be the pattern not only in our resolutions and goals, but more importantly in our walk with Jesus? How do you navigate the feeling of falling short once again? Is there guilt? Shame? Weariness? How does it affect your relationship with God? With others?

How might things begin to look different if you approached those disappointments with the understanding that…Jesus knows…and loves you anyway?

w/ Vern Collins

“Believe” (January 6, 2019)

from Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

Much of our energy and effort at the start of a new year is given to some measure of improvement of who we are. Whether it is committing to exercise more, be more intentional in relationship, eat healthier, or work harder…the new year represents for many a new start.

What if instead of simply trying to improve something about who you already are, you allowed a new or renewed understanding of who you are as one loved by God to transform the way you live the life that is ahead of you?

Imagine what could be different if you lived into the truth that you are the beloved of God. In the waters of baptism we have opportunity to claim that truth over our lives.

w/ Vern Collins

“Losing Jesus” (December 30, 2018)

from Luke 2:41-52

While we might give Mary and Jospeh a hard time for losing track of young Jesus…we must deal with the question, “when have you taken your eyes off of Jesus…when have you lost sight of Jesus in your life?”

w/ Vern Collins

“Manger and Mystery: Recalling the Story, Restoring the Call” (Christmas Eve Service 6:00pm)

from Luke 2:8-20

The story of Christmas is often a familiar one. Come to think of it, the story of your life can begin to feel familiar as well. The hope of Christmas is that the birth of Jesus speaks something NEW into the familiar!

w/ Vern Collins

“Manger and Mystery: Remembering the Song” (December 16, 2018)

From Luke 1:39-42, 46-56

We all have those songs that define a moment or a season.  Those songs that transport us back in memory, or that focus and excite us toward some goal or event in the future.  

But what about a song that names a promise?  What about a song that claims hope in the face of trial?  What about a song that offers a future for the forgotten?  What about a song named and still can spark a revolution?  

In week 3 of Advent, listen to Mary’s Song as Luke records it in his Gospel account…yes it is the song of an expectant mother, but it is also the song of a faithful follower…one who longs to see God’s Kingdom become a reality on this earth.  Imagine what could change, if you took up this song!

w/ Vern Collins

“Manger and Mystery: Recovering the Stable” (December 2, 2018) w/ Vern Collins

First Sunday in Advent

from Isaiah 9:1-7

As we begin the season of Advent, the march toward Christmas we must acknowledge that there is much that is familiar about this time of year.  There are traditions we uphold, customs, gatherings that happen every year, people we expect to see, even food we expect to eat…it is part of what makes this time of year so special…being able to enjoy things that we don’t always get to.

What if in the familiar, we have lost sight of that which is foundational to our reason for celebrating?  Has the birth of Christ simply become for us another familiar tradition rather then the foundation of our hope and the expectation of our future?

w/ Vern Collins

“What Kind of King?” (November 25, 2018)

from John 18:33-37

Who or what are the little kings you have set up on the thrones of your life to serve and protect the kingdoms of your desires, your pursuits, your opinions, your comfort or your convenience?  How are those little kings serving you?  Have they proven weak yet?

What happens when your little kings and kingdoms begin to collide with the kings and kingdoms of those around you?  We tend to live in this perpetual state of conflict with the world around us and feelings of being unfulfilled with our own life.  Surely this can’t be all that Jesus had in mind.

What if instead of fighting against the reign of Christ in your life, you lived a life submitted to Jesus as King.  What if by losing yourself you found what life is meant to be?

w/ Vern Collins

“A Stewardship Journey: Choosing to Follow” (November 18, 2018)

from Matthew 4:18-22

What kind of follower are you?  In an age of social media, we “follow” any number of people and organizations.  Are you simply an observer, are you one who engages hoping to prove your self right, or are you one who follows until you don’t like what you hear or see at which point you are quick to “unfollow.”

Have you ever considered how who and what and the manner in which you are following in culture is impacting how you understand what it means to follow Jesus?

We can know everything we need to about stewardship and what that means for discipleship, but until we are willing to follow, until we are willing to take our first step or our next step we cannot experience the fullness of what God has for us and wants to do through us.

w/ Vern Collins

“A Stewardship Journey: Most Important” (November 4, 2018)

from Mark 12:28-34

What does stewardship mean to you?  Often times we cringe at those words in church…here comes the ask, right?  More money.  More time.  More serving.

What if stewardship weren’t about what you GIVE, but about Who you understand God to be, and how you lived your life in response to that?

As we start this series inviting you to consider a new way of thinking about stewardship, what if you thought about the journey of stewardship as a journey?  When starting a journey, what is most important to have…in order to sustain a journey…what is most important to have?

w/ Vern Collins

“Healing Connections: Forgiveness” (October 28, 2018)

from John 8:1-11

Often times we can know that God loves us and calls us to love those around us…to be LIKE JESUS to the world around us.  We can know that God loves us so much that He gave His Son as a payment for our sin.

If we know those things, what keeps us from feeling like we are living the new life that Jesus promises?  Why do we feel “stuck” somewhere between where we were and where God is calling us?  For many of us, it can be boiled down to one word: FORGIVENESS.

Too many of us carry the stones of condemnation or anger or frustration or hurt around, hindering our walk in the freedom of grace that God offers us in Jesus.  Maybe it’s our inability to forgive someone who has hurt us, or maybe it’s our inability to forgive ourselves…regardless, the invitation is to out those stones down and walk in freedom!

w/ Vern Collins

“Healing Connections: Vulnerability” (October 21, 2018)

from Mark 5:21-43

Perhaps the one thing that keeps us from experiencing the fullness of God’s ability to heal and restore and renew, both our relationship with Him and relationship with those around us, is the one thing that is most difficult for us to do…that is, admit that we are weak.

Admitting weakness, coming to terms that we don’t have it all together, that we have been hurt and that we hurt others, that we are desperate for help, that we try to put on a facade of strength, but the truth is many of us are broken and bruised and worn out.

Coming to terms with this about ourselves, naming these things…there is a word for that.  Better yet, there is a posture for that…vulnerability.

While it is one of the most difficult things for us to practice, it is the catalyst for God to bring healing in our relationship with Him and with those around us.

w/ Vern Collins

*including a special testimony from two from our Crossroads family

“Healing Connections: Listening Well” (October 14, 2018)

from James 1:19-21

It takes no intentional effort to hear.  Hearing is merely our body’s ability to perceive sound.  Listening however, requires an intentional action.  The ability to perceive sound, and then process what it is and what it means.  I wonder how many of us confuse the two.

Or to push that a bit further, I wonder how many of us when we do listen, listen in a way that values and honors the other person.

In our 2nd week of our “Healing Connections” series we are challenged with what it means not only to listen, but to listen with humble attentiveness.

w/ Vern Collins

“Healing Connections: Humility” (October 7, 2018)

from Philippians 2:1-8

Not only were we created for relationship with God, but we were actually created for relationship with one another as well.  We know that Jesus makes possible through His death and resurrection, relationship with God.  But Jesus also makes life-giving relationship with one another possible through that same death and resurrection.

The problem is, something that is meant to be such a gift and such a reflection of Who God is in the relationship of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…relationship with one another…is the cause of some of our greatest frustration and hurt in this world.

So how do we love one another well.  How do we operate in ways that are healthy and foster relationships that reflect Who Jesus is to the world around us?

We begin with humility.

w/ Vern Collins

“Framework for Faithfulness: Boldness” (September 30, 2018)

from Joshua 1:1-9

What are you afraid of?  What keeps you from taking your next step of faith…from being faithful to that which God is calling you to do?

Boldness is the catalyst for living in to who God has called you to be in this world.  What if you stopped “collecting” the characteristics for a faithful life, and you started living the life God has given you faithfully?  What if you stepped boldly into the work of bringing hope to this world?

Imagine the ways you might grow…imagine how the world around you could be transformed!

w/ Vern Collins

“Framework for Faithfulness: Christ at the Center” (September 23, 2018)

from Luke 10:38-42

We are conditioned, many of us, to compartmentalize our lives as a means of surviving the pace at which we tend to operate.  We can call it self-preservation, and while it might help us feel like we are keeping our heads above water, when that mentality creeps into our spiritual life it becomes dangerous.

Without realizing it, it means that define what is at the center of our lives by determining what Christ can touch and what He must leave alone.  We set aside time to connect with Him, and often in doing so, try to decide the parts of us that He gets to connect with.

What if everything we do is meant to be an act of worship, and act of placing and keeping Christ at the center of who we are?

w/ Vern Collins

“Framework for Faithfulness: Values” (September 9, 2018)

from Daniel 3:1-18

What drives your decisions?  What determines the way you spend your time, your resources, your energy, the things you pursue?  Follow the trail of those things and you’re not too far off from being able to determine what you value most.

If Vision (see the message from 9.2.18) determines the path on which we are journeying, then our Values determine HOW we journey that path.  The questions we must wrestle with in this are: Are the things we tend to value worth the value we assign them? And are the values by which we live in fact life giving or are they stealing life from us?

w/ Vern Collins

“Framework for Faithfulness: Vision” (September 2, 2018)

from Nehemiah 1:1-2:6

Much of our time, energy, and attention are spent reacting to someone else’s urgent or to our own need to achieve or acquire or accomplish.  We have deadlines to meet, meetings to make, assignments due, bills to pay and on top of all of that we set goals and have ideas for things we’d like to accomplish and overcome.

This is life, right?  But is this really the “full life” Jesus came to offer (John 10:10)?

What if the picture we grabbed on to for who we could be come or what our situation or the situation of the world around us could look like isn’t born out of our own need for validation or comfort or security…what if it is born out of something that God plants in us?

What if God has a vision for you?  A preferred future born out of His call to live life to bring Him glory and invite others into His story?

w/ Vern Collins

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