Get the Zeal Back for Christmas

Christmas is upon us! I can't wait. Can you remember being a kid, the feeling of not being able to sleep because the next day was gonna be amazing! Such a good feeling!

But it doesn't always stick, right? Sometimes as parents, even though we want our kids to be excited we aren't really excited. It can feel like Christmas was just here, the money is too much, decorating ... we're just gonna have to take it down.

What happens is this, the malaise of the world creeps in because we begin to believe that Christmas is about the trappings, wrappings and trees. We hear things like, “Jesus is the reason for the season” and we can be tempted to think kitschy or cheesy that is. But we have to bring ourselves and our families out of the cloud of malaise and back into zeal.

We are told not to be slothful in zeal. We should be on guard against being blah, being unexcited about this season. One of the best ways to do that is to really press in with the events of your faith family. The church sets up many of its functions around the liturgical or Christian year. We ramp up to Christmas with Advent and move from there toward Easter every year to remember Christ.

This season we can read with our families and consider the questions that are with the reading. Having conversations about Jesus’ birth with our kids changes things. Also, when our kids see us prioritize worship (zeal), they begin to understand that it really matters to us. This is one of the reasons we really want to encourage you to come out to the Christmas Eve’s Eve service in the park. Bring your kids, crack a glow stick, and let them see that in this season, Jesus and his church are special.

We are super excited to be there with you, and we are super excited to see a shift across our movement from being “conformed” to the world this season but rather being “transformed” by the renewing of our minds and proving what is the good and perfect will of God.

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

Making the Most of Your Online Giving

Did you know that part of your online giving more often than not goes to the company that processes the contribution? That means that while your intention is to give $10 on PayPal, in reality only about $8 goes to Crossroads. But that fee can be avoided so that all of your giving goes where you intend it to go.

First of all, your contribution to Crossroads helps empower the church to live out its vision – making church more like family.  Without it, we would not be able to maintain our structure, pay our staff, support the children and youth, and most importantly, bless our local and global communities through our outreach and mission programs.

There are many ways in which you can donate to Crossroads – cash, check and online. Giving online is a modern convenience since so many of us no longer carry cash or use checks.

Not So Fun Fact -- Crossroads pays about $300 in processing fees each month to use online giving.

If you prefer the convenience of online giving (we do too, by the way!), we have made it as easy as possible for you. You can donate online directly to any of the three campuses by going to the Crossroads website or by using the myChurch app. Just click on the link “online giving”.

Or, if you have PayPal (which is free), you can link your giving to whichever campus you are attending. Currently, South and West campuses accept online donations through PayPal — South at info@connect2crossroads.com and West at cwcinfo@connect2crossroads.com.

Either through the website or PayPal, processing fees automatically apply, which means your intended giving is chipped into.

However, there are ways to reduce the cost of convenience. If PayPal is your preferred method to contribute, you can send money through Friends and Family/Personal Payment Type. By doing this, there is a $0 fee to the church and it's fee-free for you as well. If you use the website or the myChurch app, you can click on the box to cover the fee.  This way you know that your entire donation goes to Crossroads.

We diligently process all donations and record them in our database, called Planning Center. If you have provided us with an email, you will receive a temporary link to view your donations made to Crossroads. Donations via myChurch app receive a temporary link immediately. If you use any of the other methods — checks, PayPal, cash — AND we have your email, you will receive a link once the donation has been verified and processed.

If you have any questions about your giving in general or how to set up online giving to avoid fees, please contact Ann Krieger.

Thank you for your Support!

Many are uncomfortable when we talk about money.  However, without your financial support, our mission to reclaim our city through gospel families would not happen. Crossroads thanks you for your blessings and continued support.

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