This week's promise comes from Romans 8:28. To be reminded of God's promise all week long, save this photo as the background image on your phone!
This week's promise comes from 1 Corinthians 10:13. To be reminded of God's promise all week long, save this photo as the background image on your phone!
This week's promise comes from John 8:31-32. To be reminded of God's promise all week long, save this photo as the background image on your phone!
This week's promise comes from 2 Corinthians 12:9. To be reminded of God's promise all week long, save this photo as the background image on your phone!
This week's promise comes from Philippians 4:19. To be reminded of God's promise all week long, save this photo as the background image on your phone!
The woman at the well was not thinking about worship when she arrived that day. She was there at high noon, likely hot and sticky, long past when the other women had all come and gone. She was eager to get her needed water and hurry back home, hoping to avoid the stares of judgement and pity from the townspeople who knew her story.
In John 4:1-30, we read that this woman’s hurried task was interrupted when Jesus, wearied and thirsty, spoke. “Give me a drink.” Astonished that he would speak to her, a Samaritan woman despised by the Jews, she engaged the Lord in a conversation which would address three barriers in her life that were keeping her from true worship.
She wondered aloud why he would ask her for a drink of water from the well. His unexpected response was that she should actually be the one asking for a drink of living water from his well—one that would ensure she would never thirst again. In other words, she was drinking from the wrong well.
Are you drinking from the wrong well? Are you seeking something that satisfies only temporarily? A new relationship? A better job? A nicer car? A better physique? What is it that you think will bring you satisfaction and contentment? How long will that satisfaction last? If it isn’t living water, sooner or later, it will disappoint, and is a barrier to true worship. Jesus says that only he can truly quench our thirst forever!
Jesus then asked the woman about her husband. She tried to avoid his probe by answering, “I have no husband.” But the Knower of All Things responded, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband.” Jesus knows our sin and our story. It is no surprise to him. But like the woman, we want to hide it. The only problem is that our unconfessed sin is another barrier to worship.
As believers, Jesus has paid the penalty for our sin on the cross. Because of his sacrifice, we have forgiveness and an eternal future in God’s presence. Even though we have been delivered from the penalty of sin, we still battle the power of sin until we reach our eternal home where we will no longer be in the presence of sin. Our eternity is secure, but the sin in our lives, left unconfessed and hidden, creates a relational barrier between us and God, affecting our ability to worship him as we should.
Is there something you’ve tried to ignore or hide from God? Is sin numbing your love for the Lord? Humble yourself and come clean before God. Confess it to him, repent, and receive forgiveness and restored fellowship with him. He longs for a “full disclosure” love relationship with you!
The woman then asked Jesus where people ought to worship, “on this mountain or in Jerusalem.” But Jesus responded by saying that it was not “where” that was important, but “what.” “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know.” He pointed out the importance of not worshipping God in ignorance, but “in spirit and truth.” In the words of Matt Chandler, “God is seeking worshippers with inflamed hearts and informed minds.”
Are you getting to know the God you worship? Is your pursuit of Him a passive afterthought, or is it a priority in your life? Do you pursue him with your intellect as well as with a whole-hearted passion? Each of us likely has a default mode. We are either inclined toward the heart or the mind. But rich worship flows through both. Make sure you are not only leaning on your strengths, but that you are also working those weaker “worship muscles.”
John 4:29-30 is the beautiful result of the woman’s time with Jesus. She had been set free, having overcome the barriers of idolatry, unconfessed sin, and ignorance, and she couldn’t contain herself. She left what she was doing and went back to town, to the very people she was avoiding, and invited others to meet Jesus. Her life had been changed by Jesus’ call to true worship, and it was contagious. Some even consider her to be the very first missionary.
A core value at Crossroads is worship, experienced both individually and corporately through praise, prayer, giving, communion and baptism, and the study of the Word of God. Are you experiencing true barrier-free worship, both in your time alone with the Lord and alongside the rest of your church family? True worship should change your life, and it should draw those around you to Jesus.
- Anna Clagett
 Matt Chandler, Sermon given at The Village Church, Flower Mound, TX.
This week's promise comes from Romans 8:38-39 . To be reminded of God's promise all week long, save this photo as the background image on your phone!
Outreach is fulfilling a command
Jesus’ final instruction in Matthew 28:19-20 is “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” The idea of sending missionaries isn’t merely a modern practice. This originated as a command from Jesus to his eleven disciples who were with Him just before his resurrection.
Jesus’ disciples did a masterful job getting this discipleship thing going. Eleven ordinary men heard and obeyed Jesus’ command, and generations of obedient followers have remained faithful to that command. Today, His church remains strong and continues to flourish! This is the core of outreach, making disciples who will make disciples of others, so that everyone in this generation, and the generations that follow, will hear the Gospel and have a chance to know Him personally.
Outreach and missions are important, but …
Around the globe a lot of time and money are invested into missions, so surely it must be one of the most important priorities of the church, right? John Piper answers this so eloquently,
Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man.
Until the end of this age, it is necessary to continue to make disciples, the work of outreach and missions. It is also important to regularly gather as a corporate body of believers to worship our Lord. It is equally important to spend time individually with the Lord, daily, in praise, worship and adoration of Him. Oh, that the whole world would know Jesus, to worship Him, and be counted as His friend.
That the World would know
At CBC we take the command of making disciples of all nations seriously, which is why we invest in planting churches and developing leaders.
Planting churches is a natural outgrowth of making disciples. When people are called to follow Jesus, those new believers will be drawn to meet together. If no church already exists for the new believers to meet in a location, then a new church will need to be formed, with appropriate biblically based leadership and governance. Crossroads partners with church planters to form new churches, providing encouragement, prayer, training, and support, until they are soundly rooted and standing healthy on their own.
Leadership development is also crucial for the growth and sustenance of the church. Whether working in another culture or with a future generation in our home culture, developing leaders native to the local environment is the best way to start and maintain healthy churches. As a result, our focus is to work alongside of, to train and encourage, local leaders to be the primary disciple-makers in their native-language and culture.
Where in the world?
Outreach is done somewhere other than “here," internationally, right? Jesus taught that “here” is just as important as “there." Some of His final words spoken on earth, in Acts 1:8, are “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Jesus was speaking to the apostles in Jerusalem telling them they would be His witnesses in “the local city” of Jerusalem. Then to all of Judea, which is similar to saying “in our local state." He then references Samaria, which was a nearby, yet foreign, nation. And finally, to the end of the earth, to all people, nations, and tongues. Outreach is just as important in our own city as it is internationally, to our neighbors, co-workers, family and friends, whether locally or globally.
How and where is the Lord prompting you to make disciples? Is it across the street, in the office, with your college friends or sports teammates? Maybe He’s been prompting you to go someplace farther or bigger. Whatever the call, stop and give thanks to the Lord, praise Him for his faithfulness in your life, and listen to His voice, his call, to where He wants to use you for His outreach. Finally, obey His call in your life.
- Mark Grotte, Minister of Global Outreach
 John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad!: The Supremacy of God in Missions, 3rd edition. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010), 15.
This week's promise comes from Jeremiah 29:11 . To be reminded of God's promise all week long, save this photo as the background image on your phone!
When I was younger, I remember hearing my pastor tell the congregation that he wasn’t exactly a handy person. In fact, he said that on a work site when armed with a hammer he got the nickname “Lightning” because he never struck the same place twice. It true that for some people, myself included, the proclivity to wield tools does not come naturally. My guess is that some people feel the exact same way when it comes to sharing the Gospel. They feel as if sharing God’s word is outside of their skill set and better left to the professionals. Truth is that sharing the Gospel can be quite a daunting task. What if we say the wrong thing or we get a Bible verse wrong? What if in our fumbling we do a disservice to the principals of the Christian faith? The reality of attempting to lead someone down a road that leads to the cross can seem insurmountable and impossible to get right. However, it is something that we are called to endeavor to do as followers of Christ. So, then the question becomes, how do we share the Gospel successfully? How to we equip God’s people for a lifetime of faithful service?
When I think of the word “equipped” I can’t help but think of a tool belt. If you’ve ever seen a competent person on a work site they are not only equipped with a tool belt with every imaginable tool in it, but they know how to use those tools properly. When a need arises, their hands need go no further than their hips to find the right gadget to accomplish the job. It isn’t just about owning or possessing the tool itself, but about the experience and training that they bring when employing the object to fix a problem. Even when it comes to something as simple as swinging a hammer, it can be clear at a moments notice who has experience and who is likely to hit their thumb. God wants us not only to possess the tools that we need but to be familiar with how to best exercise his truth to achieve Kingdom results.
This takes time and effort and can profoundly push some outside of their comfort zone. It might mean risking a reputation and being known as the “church guy” or to risk being comfortable as sharing the Gospel is an uncertainty in how it’s received. For some the idea of talking to another person or finding themselves in a tense conversation is a nightmare realized. For this we can take heart because God has equipped his children with a myriad of skills. For some the best way to equip others is to be a mouth piece and to verbally share his gospel, but for many more I suspect that the best Gospel presentation will simply be a life lived in accordance with God’s will for your life. We should never underestimate the incredible power of acting in a manner worthy of the Gospel. I think that faith genuinely lived out is the biggest precedent for others being attracted to a commitment to Christ.
So, know that God has called you above and beyond what you thought was possible. Know that he wants you to love him enough to seek his voice and to trust him enough to act when he calls upon you. God never wastes gifts or talents and whatever gift he’s seen fit to give you he will use to further his kingdom if only you will let him. Be confident in your faith, and be familiar with his truth. Know how to utilize the tools that God has made available to you and most importantly use to those tools to help build a community that changes the world.
- Kellan Peterson, Student Ministry Director