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!
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 encourages 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?
Update on Bill AB 2943: This bill passed overwhelmingly in California. The good news is that Jesus is still on the throne. My heart is broken, and at the same time, I know that God must have something amazing in store for His church! We will continue to preach the truth that sets people free! Church, don’t stop praying, don’t stop loving, and don’t be afraid!
UPDATE on AB 2943: The CA State Assembly has not yet voted on AB2943 and may not until this Thursday, April 19th. So let your Assembly member know where you stand today.
What a week it’s been! Watching the things going on in our world right is like watching the Bible come to life. US and allied forces confronting Syria, Russia and China on the other side (BTW, you should read Isaiah 17:1 and Jeremiah 49:24-27). In addition to real military action, there are agenda wars going on, and political games afoot. Who knows what or who to believe in it all. It almost feels as though someone has their finger on the hairline trigger of WW3. Thankfully, we as Christians know how it all ends, and Who’s really sovereign at the end of the day. In the middle of so much chaos, it’s comforting to know that God’s Word and its prophecy can be trusted!
Not only is the world scene heating up, right here in California there is a political agenda that is subversively targeting those of us who hold a Biblical worldview. Now let me say, I’m glad that we don’t live in the Roman empire. There’s no doubt that the Christ-less agendas and difficulties we are experiencing as 21st century western Christians pale in comparison to the injustice and persecution that the apostles and the early Christians had to endure (or even modern day Christians in other parts of the world). Things could get much worse for us, and if they do we as Christ followers are called to endure. Having said that, we also live in a country that has afforded us the legal right to be part of choosing the laws and lawmakers that set the moral tone and legal standards for life in the US, and in California.
Right now there are a total of 5 bills in the California state assembly that are reprehensible from the perspective of protecting the rights of American citizens and allowing Christians to practice their convictions under the Constitutional protections of free speech and the freedom of religion.
We know that for the Christian, every day is Resurrection Day. The life and power of Jesus are always available and always at work in and through us. Praise God that we can walk in His resurrection power and promises every single day! Having said that, there is something special about taking intentional time to reflect on the work of the cross and resurrection. Easter week is always a week where the Spirit of God works in people’s hearts in powerful ways through the message of Christ crucified and risen to life forevermore. It was no exception this last week here in Northern California! Here is a brief recap of some of the wonderful things God did among us.
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!
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.
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
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.”