Pick Your Spiritual Discipline & Stick with It

I’ve had many conversations recently with a variety of people about the differences in the ways pastors preach and the pros and cons of different styles. Broadly, the two basic categories for preaching are topical and expository. Topical generally means that the preacher wants to address a particular part of Kingdom and Christian life and uses a passage of scripture appropriately. Expository, or expositional, preaching generally is understood to mean starting in a particular book and preaching through that book verse by verse until it is finished and addressing whatever Kingdom and Christian life issues flow forth from the text.

Both of these preaching styles have benefits for the body of Christ, and at Crossroads we employ both methods depending on the year and season. One might categorize the way we try to preach as “topositional” – meaning, we start with the issues we believe God is wanting to speak into at Crossroads, and then we use texts the Holy Spirit points out in an expositional manner to preach.

Regardless, preaching style is often the scapegoat for personal responsibility in these conversations. The thought process goes something like this: “if the preacher were ___________ (different in the way he preached topical/expositional), then the people would be better ‘fed’ and more biblically knowledgeable and so become better Christians.” This logic is flawed, though. Even if we preached for 2 hours a week, given the 7% average retention rate for listening, preaching by itself as one’s only conduit for scripture will not amount to biblical literacy.

The only way Jesus’ people will become Biblically literate is by engaging in the discipline of permeating their own life with scripture. Possible avenues for accomplishing this are manifold! You can engage in the simple act of starting in Genesis 1 and reading a chapter a day; you can listen to the scripture on your drive to work or your morning clean; there are millions of YouTube resources available; you can read one-to-one with another person. If you want to get in shape, there are tons of options: Karate, Keto, CrossFit, running, Atkins, weight training, yoga, dancing. None of these is necessarily better than the other, what is important is picking one that you will stick with and engaging in the discipline of it. None of the options for permeating your life with scripture are necessarily better than another, but any of them are better than none of them. Pick one you can stick with and engage in the discipline of permeating your life with scripture.

~Pastor Nicholas Rich

Thank YOU, Crossroads Sustainers!

Thank You! I am overwhelmed by the commitment of the Crossroads’ family.

It is because of your discipline and generosity, we are “making church more like family,” and contributing to our local, international, as well as global communities. I wish to express my gratitude for your significant and disciplined support.

I am reminded of Paul’s letter to the church of Philippi; specifically, Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Paul is thanking the Philippians for their generosity and expressing his confidence that God will bless them for it.

I, too, believe God will bless you exponentially for your willingness to give back some of your treasures.

I can assure you that all of us on staff and the Lead Team will diligently work at stewarding our resources well and, going forward, reclaiming God’s city as His Kingdom.

~ Ann Krieger, Crossroads Finance Secretary

What Does it Mean to be a Friend of God?

When we think of friendship we think of a relationship where there is trust and commitment. People equally sharing experiences and confidential information. People who have common interests and perspectives. A friend is somebody who always wants the best for you. When you win, they win.

In The Bible (James 2:23, Isaiah 41:8), God refers to Abraham and his descendants as his friends. Almighty, all-knowing, creator of the heavens and earth refers to a mortal, limited man as his friend. Someone who shared his interests and morals. Someone who was always for him and had his best interests in the center of his life. Since God does not show favoritism, if we choose to be for God, as Abraham did, then that statement is true for us as well. His word says he has literally withheld nothing from us. There is nothing he would not do for us.

Much like a friendship with the people around us, there has to be our commitment in the mix too. A true friendship is not one-sided. True friends are loyal, dependable, and make sacrifices for each other. When put to the test, Abraham proved to be loyal when he was asked to sacrifice his son Isaac. Though God did not make him follow through with the deed, God saw his heart and that he would withhold nothing from him. Like wise, God shows that he is loyal to us by sacrificing his son so we would never have to be separated from him again. God looked at us and said we were worth it. God is loyal, to the point of death, to you and I. God wants to know if you will return the token. Will you share his morals and perspectives? Will you have intimate conversations with him and share your heart? Will you be loyal, dependable and trustworthy? Are you for him?

~Jennifer Graham, Crossroads Church Congregational Care

Gospel Families are Small but They're Not Small Groups

Often times I will get asked what the difference is between a gospel family and a small group. I think the first thing that needs to be said is that small groups are not bad nor are they not unhelpful.

In fact, small groups can be a great first step that new Christians can begin to take when creating a life where there is an orbit with other followers of Jesus outside of Sunday morning.

However, small groups often only become a place where people see each other regularly, but yet do not implant themselves as missionaries into the community together.

What the Bible tells us about the early church is that there were groups of people of different ages, background, and seasons of life who came together to do life with one another in an intentional way and also to be planted as missionaries within their community.

Gospel family is the attempt to live as these groups of missionaries who are growing closer to each other and to Jesus as well as being on mission for Jesus in the community in a specific way.

What we at Crossroads have found over the last eight years is that when someone is vested into a gospel family that their maturity in Christ increases exponentially compared to someone who simply comes to Sunday morning worship.

Lots of times there are Christians who already have this missionary mindset and lifestyle and just need to put a name on it. Gospel family is that name and it is the most important rhythm that we engage in at Crossroads.

If you have any questions about a gospel family or what it means to be a part of one, I would love to find some time to talk with you.

~ Pastor Chad Pullins