God at Work

What a great Sunday! I’m still processing the overwhelming and beautiful truths we dug into today from Hebrews chapter 2. Jesus has defeated the enemy and delivered us from the bondage of fear and death! Let’s walk in that truth this week!

Washington DC

It’s been a while since my last post, but so many beautiful things have happened in that span of time. We had a fantastic family trip to Washington DC where we saw old friends, met new family members, and walked through an incredible amount of history! Among many others, here we’re some of the tour highlights: Historic Williamsburg, Jamestown, the National Mall (and all its monuments), the Museum of the Bible (a must see), and a Washington Nationals game. Being my first visit, I was overwhelmed by the visible hand of divine providence in the creation of our nation. God indeed designed this country to be a beacon of hope and blessing to the world. I pray that we can be faithful to carry on that legacy. By the way, if you haven’t registered to vote in the California June elections, now is a great time! Do it by clicking here.

Coffee for a Cause

Moving right along, there have been some exciting developments at the church. We finished remodeling our North Campus cafe and coffee shop. So many talented people in the church pitched in to make it a beautiful and meaningful fellowship space. We named it, “Coffee for a Cause.” All of the proceeds will go towards helping a kingdom-oriented cause. I’m also glad that I have a new study space… that has windows… and coffee.

The Ascent Worship CD:

Our church worship team is releasing an original worship project called, “The Ascent.” If you’re in the area on Wednesday, May 23, I encourage you to join us for the cd release at our north campus. It starts at 6:30. The album will also be available on all the digital services. These 11 songs have been a labor of love for the Lord and the church, and I couldn’t be happier with the finished product. I have no doubt God is going to use this project powerfully!

God is moving in mighty ways, and it’s a privilege to be a small part of it. Please continue to pray for our nation and the church that inhabits it; that we might be active, humble servants who make much of Jesus while the opportunity exists.

Until next time, grace and peace to you!

Pastor Josh

The Answer to Prayer (Poem)

This last week I was honored to share a short message on prayer with our men’s and women’s Bible studies. I wrote a short and simple poem that capped off the message. Several people asked if they could get a copy, so I thought I’d post it here. I hope it challenges and encourage you to prayer!

What if God is waiting, for a humble, faith-filled heart

To ask Him for the things, He desires to impart

What if God is longing, for His children to draw near

To communicate His vision, and make their vision clear

What if the Spirit is searching, for the one who will say, “Yes!”

To fill them with His power, the world through them to bless

What if Christ is praying, for those who will truly care

Will you allow your life, to be the answer to His prayer?

Good Friday and Unity

This Good Friday was a victory for the Kingdom of God and the church in Auburn, California. As Christians we often speak about the cross being the unifying factor among believers, but it is infrequent to actually see that truth physically manifested. This is what made Friday night so beautiful!

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Baptism and Easter

We had an incredibly moving baptism service on what is traditionally known as “Silent Wednesday”, but it wasn’t so silent at Crossroads Church! There was rejoicing and celebration as many declared their commitment to Jesus Christ through baptism. Did you know that the scripture actually links baptism and Easter? That’s right, the resurrection of Jesus is what makes baptism under the New Covenant so powerful.

baptism-1

Before Jesus, baptism was a Jewish ritual cleansing that was done as a repentant response toward God. This is why John was baptizing in the Jordan river declaring, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” But the bad news for those who were being baptized under the Old Covenant (with the exception of Jesus), was that the water represented a grave that you could never truly rise from. You would be baptized, but come up from the water the same as when you went in:

  • No new heart
  • No new desires
  • No new power
  • No new ability to serve God acceptably

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The Cross, God, and Me (Good Friday)

Colossians 1:19-22 – For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight–

As Good Friday approaches, we once again reflect and meditate on the cross where Jesus gave His life for us. When you stand before the cross, I believe that it is only right to feel a level of conflict in your soul. You see, the cross presents to us a dichotomy of tragedy and triumph, despair and hope, suffering and salvation, and judgment and redemption. I would like to suggest that we should never try to resolve the conflicting emotions we feel when we gaze upon the cross. I believe the tensions exist to bring about a balanced maturity in us as believers.

“…the cross presents to us a dichotomy of tragedy and triumph, despair and hope, suffering and salvation, and judgment and redemption.”

When I look upon the cross I am horrified that God had to go to such great lengths to rescue me. It reminds me that even on my best day, apart from God, I still deserved only death. The cross is an immovable portrait which declares that it was my insatiable sin, done as an enemy of God, that drove the Son of God to suffer. It makes me sick to realize that my foolishness and rebellion had a part to play in the innocent Savior’s unthinkable torment as he endured the cross and absorbed the wrath of God that belonged to me.

Yet, in the exact same moment of my horror, I find a rush of inexpressible joy stemming from the amount of love that is displayed in the sacrificial act of Jesus. The cross declares that humanity is so loved and valued by God, that He would stop at nothing in order to make a way possible for us to be restored into fellowship with Him. We aren’t intrinsically valuable, but God chose to value us nonetheless. I can’t help but be very happy about this! The cross doesn’t only declare, “God hates your sin”, it declares, “The depth God’s love toward you is unfathomable!”What rest, comfort, peace, and strength I find when I consider that the cross has made me innocent before a holy God, imparted righteousness to me that I could have never earned, and secured all promises of God toward me by grace!

When I look at the cross I cringe, then I smile. I weep, then I laugh. I tremble, then I become secure. I hang my head in shame, then I raise it up again with unshakable confidence. I hope that I never loose the ability to tread on both sides of that scale. I don’t ever want the cross to be a place that keeps me in a state of perpetual condemnation, for that is not the heart of God’s grace. Neither do I want to see the cross without considering the fact that the cross wouldn’t have been necessary if not for my sin. When I look at the cross, I always want to feel the weight of judgment as well as the gift of grace. I want to remember God’s wrath as well as His mercy. I want to embrace conviction as well as stand in confidence.

This year, let the cross of Jesus speak for what it is, and may you, with open heart, wholeheartedly receive its message.

John 3:16 – “…For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in His will not perish by have everlasting life.”

Welcome the King (Palm Sunday)

So this is one of those long posts I promised I wouldn’t do. Palm Sunday is a powerful day, here are some thoughts on it from Psalm 24.

[Psa 24:1-10 NKJV] 1 A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. 2 For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters. 3 Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. 5 He shall receive blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6 This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face. Selah 7 Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah

Do you remember times of anticipating someone’s arrival? When you hear the phrase, “Wait until your father gets home…” What do you think of? I can think of moments in my life that statement has excited me. When my dad and I were working on my restoring my first car, I was excited about his arrival. As a kid, in general I was always excited about my dad getting home from work because he was always doing something with us; some fort to be built, some fish to be caught… and I always looked forward to it. Then there were those times when I feared His coming. Like the time when I laughed at my mom when she tried to spank me. I laughed until I heard the words, “You can wait for your dad to get home.” Yeah, I wasn’t that excited.

Well, Psalm 24 is a Psalm of someone’s arrival. It paints a picture of an eternal, worthy King; a King who is Lord and creator of all, who is coming to a great city. His identifying monicker, “The King of Glory”, sets His arrival apart and above all others. He has an anticipated day of arrival, and along with him He brings blessing and salvation to all whose gates are opened to His coming. So why Psalm 24 on Palm Sunday? Many of us are familiar with the Hallel Psalm 118 that declare the cries of the people on that first Palm Sunday, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” While Psalm 24 is not directly mentioned in the triumphal entry narrative, it is an appropriate, prophetic picture for Palm Sunday. It’s also interesting Psalm 24 is one of the psalms used by the Jews in their daily liturgies. On Monday they meditate on Psalm 48 – on Tuesday, Psalm 82 – on Wednesday, Psalm 94 – on Thursday, Psalm 81 – on Friday, Psalm 93 – the Sabbath psalm is 92 – on Sunday, Psalm 24.

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The Faith to Say No

We all understand that God’s economy runs on the currency of faith. Faith brings us into right relationship with God (Ephesians 2:8-9), sustains us as we wait for God’s promises that have yet to be seen or experienced (Hebrews 11:3), and allows us to be part of the supernatural things that only God can do (Matthew 17:20). Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). When we consider what it means to walk in faith, many times we think about what God is calling us to say yes to. “Here I am Lord, send me!” This is the common cry of faith. We say things like, “Lord I’ll go where you want me to go, I’ll give what you want me to give, I’ll say YES!” We should think in these terms, for God frequently calls us to do things that are beyond us. For these things we need the faith to say yes.

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