Best Friends Can Be Our Harshest Critics

Sometimes our harshest critics are our best friends. As we read the prophets in the Bible, it seems important that we don’t read them at a distance as if they are only a word to other people in another time and place. We need to let God use them to speak to us, too. All of the prophets shared one central message, “stop doing that, it is not right.” It’s a hard message that few people like to hear. When someone calls out our faults, we often get defensive, prideful, and look for justification for our actions rather than accepting the reality that our lives are peppered with bad habits, and misguided deeds. But if we were honest …

There have been times in my life when I have been called out by a friend (or the Holy Spirit) who noticed sin in my life, and my instinct was to justify it or ignore it, even though deep down inside (or just under the surface), I knew that their critique was accurate. The decision to ignore their prophetic voice has always led to bigger messes and deeper pain. If I would have listened, I would have been better off.

I can’t help but wonder if it was the same for the recipients of the harsh words from the prophets in the Bible. Did God’s people know that the words being said to them were true. If they would have just been humble enough to accept the correction could they have saved themselves from the pain and the destruction that came their way? Will we be wise and humble enough to change our course?

God wants to free us from the destructive power of the sin in our lives; God wants to make something beautiful out of the messes that we make; God wants to give us a joy-filled life that is pointed in the right direction, but for that to happen we need to listen to those voices. The voices of our friends, our critics, and the Holy Spirit who subtly (or overtly!) point out where we are not living right. If they are actually saving us from the eventual negative consequences of our misguided deeds, then our critics are actually our best friends. Maybe we need to be brave enough to let our best friends be our harshest critics.

This week, let’s name those trusted people in our lives who we go to when we need someone to point out our blind-spots and bad habits. Do we have people that we listen to? Do we seek out their input? Do we confess to them the conviction of our heart? Maybe God wants to use our friendships as a way for healing grace to enter our lives. I pray that we are wise and humble enough to let their words move us closer to God’s heart.

Give Like No Other

Do you have control of your finances? Or are your finances controlling you?  According to Dave Ramsey, taking control of your money is 20 percent brain power and 80 percent behavior. Just because you might know something, doesn’t mean a hill of beans if you don’t put it into practice. 

What incentive do you have to become financially stable?  To be debt free and have ready cash to buy things is great, but that really is not the end goal. It is so we can give like no other. We were all created in God’s image. God is the biggest giver of all.  If you don’t believe that, then you should read John 3:16 - “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Being made in his image, we have the potential for being great givers as well.

If you have not had the opportunity to attend Financial Peace, I would encourage you to try and find the next available class and go.  It is a behavior worth putting into practice.

Content borrowed from  Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money.

 

Give Like No Other

Do you have control of your finances? Or are your finances controlling you?  According to Dave Ramsey, taking control of your money is 20 percent brain power and 80 percent behavior. Just because you might know something, doesn’t mean a hill of beans if you don’t put it into practice. 

What incentive do you have to become financially stable?  To be debt free and have ready cash to buy things is great, but that really is not the end goal. It is so we can give like no other. We were all created in God’s image. God is the biggest giver of all.  If you don’t believe that, then you should read John 3:16 - “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Being made in his image, we have the potential for being great givers as well.

If you have not had the opportunity to attend Financial Peace, I would encourage you to try and find the next available class and go.  It is a behavior worth putting into practice.

 

Content borrowed from  Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money.

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