Cross Road Baptist Church
Thursday, October 27, 2016
~ Love God, Love Each Other, Love the Nations
September 1, 2013
Friday, September 13, 2013 Comments (0)
“Whoever watches the wind will not plant,
whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.”
Ecclesiastes 11:4 NIV
I suffer from a disorder that has kept me from starting or finishing some projects I consider significant. I am a perfectionist. Don’t laugh. This has proven to be debilitating at times. Here’s how it works. If I don’t have the time or resources to do a task perfectly I just put it off thinking I’ll have a better opportunity later. So I’m a procrastinator, too. Double whammy! Don’t laugh.
Several years ago this first came to light as I participated in a small group talking about our past and problems associated with past decisions, actions, or environments. A key lesson I learned was to always strive for excellence rather than perfection. In other words, my goal should be to focus on doing what I can do rather than on what I cannot do.
King Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. He must have had people like me in mind when he warned about how focusing on circumstances will keep us from accomplishing tasks.
Christians have been tasked with making disciples. Are you making disciples? Do you know many Christians who are making disciples? For many years research has shown that few Christians are actively involved in the Great Commission. If the research is accurate, what is distracting us from obeying Jesus’ command?
Some Christians are so concerned about when and how Christ will return that they don’t do much to help people prepare for the end times. The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus will return and how that promise will be fulfilled has long been a distraction. Jesus dealt with the distraction in Acts 1. Paul spoke to it in 1 Thessalonians 5. Looking at what Jesus said to his disciples, Christians ought to focus on telling others about salvation in Jesus Christ.
Other Christians are just too preoccupied with living life. They try to achieve as much as they can. They try to acquire as much as they can. They are too busy living like the world to be concerned about eternity. We need to focus on what is important. Jesus said you can’t serve two masters. When you focus on the temporal you will neglect the eternal.
Still others are overwhelmed by circumstances. Debt, divorce, and depression are just a few ways people can be swamped by life. They’re trying to survive and can’t look away from their own concerns. I suggest that some of our problems are due to our misplaced focus. Biblical stewardship, godly relationships, and healthy perceptions are a few ways to redirect our focus.
We have many distractions around us to keep us from doing what the church ought to do. Pray that God will help you “fix your eyes on Jesus” today.
September 6, 2013
Friday, September 06, 2013 Comments (0)
“For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.”
Psalm 1:6 NIV
I can’t remember the name of the game show but I do remember that part of the show involved a maze where one member of the team was perched above the maze so he could see the way out and the other person was in the maze. The first member shouted directions to the other who was supposed to get out of the maze within a certain amount of time in order to win the grand prize.
If you are about my height you would appreciate the help of someone from above looking on and giving directions. I might never get out of the maze by myself and I surely couldn’t complete the task quickly.
Your life may seem like a maze sometimes. You don’t know which way to turn. You can’t see much more than just a few feet ahead. Do you need some help? The Lord is here to help you. Some of Jesus’ last words were, “Surely I am with you always.” Isn’t it comforting to know that Jesus is with you?
For all who follow Jesus Christ, we are assured of his constant presence in our life. His Spirit is with us to guide us, counsel us, and correct us. You can look to him to help show you the way and to lead you back to the right path when you have strayed.
But someone may wonder why they don’t sense his presence or hear his instruction. I can think of two reasons for that. First, you may not be a follower of Jesus Christ. There is no promise for presence and guidance for those who choose to go their own way rather than follow Christ.
That’s bad news but there is worse news: those who do not follow Jesus will spend eternity without him after they die. You can make that right by trusting Jesus for forgiveness, redemption, and salvation. Would you turn from living life your way and begin living life God’s way?
A second reason you may not feel God’s presence or hear his instruction is that, even though you are a Christian, you may have some activity or attitude that blocks your senses from recognizing God’s presence and voice. That activity or attitude is sin and can be cleared away through confession and repentance. Turn to Jesus for help today.
You can survive the maze but only with a little help. Pray asking God will help you with decisions you face today.
August 30, 3013
Friday, August 30, 2013 Comments (0)
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother...”
Colossians 1:1 NIV
You make choices everyday. What to wear, what to eat, where to go, and when to go there. These are such common decisions that you make them without even thinking about it. Automatic, right?
What about following God? What about doing God’s will? Christians claim that we want to follow God and do his will but we also admit that it’s hard to do. So often we want to do our own thing and make our own decisions.
Prior to converting to Christianity, the apostle Paul was know as Saul. And he was a Christian-hater. He persecuted and prosecuted Christians. Then he met Jesus on his way to Damascus. He received new marching orders. He had no choice.
Saul would never choose to become the Paul who started churches, encouraged Christians, and proclaimed Christ to anyone and everyone. His choice was to do what he had been doing. The will of God was to change.
Years after his conversion to Christianity, Paul wrote a letter to Christians in Colosse and introduced himself as an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God. An apostle is one who is sent to proclaim the gospel to all nations. In one sense, that describes all believers. In another sense, it describes those Twelve Jesus hand picked to continue the movement he started. Judas was dropped from the group after his betrayal of Jesus, Matthias was selected by the apostles to replace Judas (Acts 1:21-26), and Paul considered himself an apostle because of his face-to-face call from Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:7-8).
God’s call is to be obeyed. You do have a choice. You can reject God’s call and your life will be defiant, miserable, and meaningless. Or you can accept God’s call and live with joy, adventure, and purpose. You have a choice but it’s really a no-brainer, isn’t it?
So why do we so often reject God’s direction and go our own way? Doesn’t make any sense, does it? Pray that God will help you know his will and choose to follow his will today.
August 23, 2013
Friday, August 23, 2013 Comments (0)
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 12:2 NIV
Several months ago I was running down Rushing Road at 5:00 in the morning. The sky was overcast so there was no light from the moon to illuminate the road. It was dark! I came to this particular portion of the route where there is a street light. But it’s on the other side of a crest so it cast a shadow where I was running.
I had learned from earlier runs that when I am first able to see the street light it lines up perfectly with the middle of the road. If I run directly toward the light I will stay safely on the road. So that’s what I planned to do on this dark morning.
I ran a few strides. Looked down a few strides. Looked up again and discovered that a tree blocked the light but I could still see the light pole. So I set my eyes on the pole. A few strides later the light appeared from behind the tree and I was shocked at what I saw.
The light is set off the road in a pasture. The pole I had been following was right up on the road. The closer I got to the pole and the light, the farther from each other they were! And I had fixed my eyes on the wrong guide. As a result I was running right down the middle of the road toward the top of a hill. I was a sitting duck for oncoming traffic.
Isn’t that just about how life is? We think we are going in the right direction - a safe direction. But the least miscalculation in judgment sends us off course. Maybe even into dangerous territory. Do you see how important it is to use the right guide to determine your course?
I know people who use the latest fashion magazines to determine their dress code. Too often modesty is forsaken. I know people who use the latest interviews of sports stars to determine their attitudes. Too often humility is forsaken. I know people who use the latest sitcom to determine their relationships. Too often faithfulness and purity are forsaken.
But if we fix our eyes on Jesus we will run the course of righteousness, holiness, and faithfulness. You’ll find some impostors and pretenders. Remember my problem of following the pole instead of the light?
Jesus is true and faithful. He will lead us where we need to go. Pray that God will help you fix your eyes on Jesus today.
August 16, 2013
Friday, August 16, 2013 Comments (0)
“Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”
Proverbs 4:27 NIV
Walk with me for a few minutes. I want to take you down a road that might look a lot like the road you are traveling today. There’s no exotic destination; it’s no thrill ride. It’s just a day in the life of most of us.
Your alarm just went off: WAKE UP! Are you tempted to hit the snooze button and sleep a little longer? What will happen if you do? Maybe you built in a nine minute buffer because you know you’ll procrastinate getting out of bed. I see nothing wrong with that if you did, but if you didn’t then snoozing might cost you. You may miss the first bell at school or the first appointment at work. Giving in to a selfish desire and missing a responsibility is swerving to the right or the left.
Your spouse or children need your attention today - like every day. Isn’t it easy to rush through the day and run out of time for them? When our obligations are too heavy the family is often the first to take the hit. We cut out time with them. We move our attention away from them. We swerve to the right or the left.
That friend request you just received - don’t be so quick to accept it. Do you know this person? Have you looked at their profile? Filth-peddlers are trolling the social media looking for people who swerve easily. Take a minute to see if this person is really someone you should connect with before accepting their request. Pornography is an easy bait to get you to swerve to the right or the left.
Money’s tight, isn’t it? I like to say that most of us live on a fixed income because there’s not much we can do to go out and make extra money this week. The boss won’t let you work all the hours you want to work. You can’t just raise the price of everything in your shop and expect customers to swallow it. So we make what we make and sometimes that’s not enough. Does that ever make you think about cutting corners on taxes or piggy-backing the neighbors wifi or doing something else to ease the financial burdens? Don’t swerve to the right or to the left.
Followers of Jesus are to have integrity that reflects his character. “What would Jesus do?” is a pretty good question to help us know how to walk through this journey of living. Pray that God will help you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus so that you can reflect his character and stay on the path of righteousness.
August 2, 2013
Friday, August 02, 2013 Comments (0)
“He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given,
but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away.”
Luke 19:26 NIV
“Use it or lose it.” How often have you heard that phrase? We might refer to muscles or brain power or many other things. And most often, it’s true!
United Airlines sent a notice to me in the mail last week because my frequent flyer miles are about to expire. “Frequent flyer” doesn’t describe me at all but I did go to Russia last year and that’s a lot of miles! My expiring mileage balance is 8,231.
The airline apparently (and correctly) assumes I’m not going to use those miles to purchase airfare so they sent a voucher to redeem for magazines. How about a gift card to my favorite coffee shop or pay for the next semester of tuition? That would be useful.
But I get magazines. Either that or I lose my miles. I wonder how many dollars I’ll save if I use all my miles for magazines. I would prefer the airlines just reduce the price of airfare by that much and forget the mileage program.
So I use the miles or I lose the miles. Just like in the story Jesus told about the servants who managed their master’s resources differently. The two who did well and showed an increase were praised and rewarded. The one who did nothing was punished. His was taken from him.
I want Jesus to find me being faithful, don’t you? I can use my abilities and resources for his glory or not. That’s my choice. But I think I know how he’ll respond. Pray that God will help you be faithful when your blessings today.
July 19, 2013
Friday, July 19, 2013 Comments (0)
“...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles,
and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith...”
Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV
My son is attending a baseball camp this week. I took him to the college campus for check-in then stayed around to watch the first workouts. I love baseball and I love teaching/coaching baseball. I’m just not knowledgeable enough to be good at it! But every chance I get, I watch and listen to the guys that do know what they are talking about.
One of the drills the boys participated in was running to first base. Seems pretty simple, doesn’t it? It reminded me of Riley’s first day of T-ball. The boys all stood around home plate with the coach. He asked them, “Where is first base?” Riley pointed to third. He has since figured it out!
The coach taught these 12-year-old boys how to run to first. None of them did it right, at first. They looked at the ground or they looked at the sky or they closed their eyes. The end result was that they ran a crooked line to the base and were much slower.
By keeping their eyes on the bag - “Point your nose at the bag,” the coach said - they ran straighter and faster. That’s the difference between being safe or being out.
We are told to fix our eyes on Jesus as we persevere through life. It makes all the difference in the world! Pray that God will help you stay focused on Jesus today.