Archive for February, 2013
I do hope you will take a couple of minutes to read as I share some upcoming events:
Our Financial Opportunities
The Lord gave us a great first quarter in our budget, and now we are in the final month of our second quarter. While God is faithful to take care of His church, He always uses His people to give.
Therefore, I appeal to you: Be faithful to honor God with the first-tenth of all He has given to you and do so through our Ministry Budget. This is the financial PRIORITY of our lives personally and is the bread and butter of all we do here at Cross Church. Be faithful to complete your pledge to GREATER THINGS and if you are new to Cross Church, join us in giving above the Ministry Budget, to GREATER THINGS. GREATER THINGS is a three-year program (March finishes year two) that provides resources for great missional opportunities like church planting, church ministry expansion like we have done in Fayetteville, the Compassion Center, greater missionary support, the Cross Church School of Ministry kick-off, strengthening our financial posture as a church, and so much more. This has been one of the greatest programs ever done here in our church. If you were one of the hundreds of families that made commitments, we are now entering month 24 of a 36-month commitment . . . Let’s finish well. If you want to join us, give a gift weekly or monthly to GREATER THINGS in our final 13 months of this campaign.
BE FAITHFUL to these areas of giving when you are here and even when you are away. You can do so by sending in gifts prior to your departure or you can give online by clicking here
Thanks for all you are doing through our church. We are grateful for your giving.
Our Cross Church School Of Ministry
As you know, Dr. Jeff Crawford is our first President of the Cross Church School of Ministry. Students will report on August 15, we are now accepting students. It is amazing what the Lord has done and is going to do. Please go here and look at what has happened already.
As well, our #1 need is for students! Please pray God sends us students from all over the world! They can enroll here
This past Sunday, I was talking to a prospective student. He is about to graduate from one of our Baptist universities and knows God has called him to ministry. He plans to attend seminary, but is also considering coming to us first. Why? He can earn at least 18 Masters-level hours by coming to the Cross Church School of Ministry. So this one-year ministry residency experience can set him apart for the rest of his ministry. Pray . . . pray . . . pray for God to send us men and women who have been called to ministry!
Highlights of the Passion Week: The Final Week in the Life of Jesus Christ
I want to assure you that these eight days will be extremely powerful and unique, like NOTHING we have ever done in the last 26-years. It will all begin on Sunday morning, March 24, and closeout on Sunday, March 31, which is Easter Sunday.
In the coming days you will begin to see more information, but know that during Passion Week you can go on a walk through the final days of Jesus’ life. You can go through His death, His burial, and His resurrection with us.
I am releasing the dates, the titles, and the experiences today, so read below.
Sunday, March 24: Worship services at each campus, “The Lord’s Supper: Remembering the Gospel of Jesus Christ” from Matthew 26:17-30
Monday, March 25 – Friday, March 29: Passion Week Luncheons at our Pinnacle Hills campus. Join us from noon – 1 p.m. for lunch, worship, and a message that will highlight a key moment in the final week of Christ. Each day will hold a new message, so please attend as many luncheons as you can.
Monday, March 25: “The Garden of Gethsemane: Jesus Christ Preparing to Die” from Matthew 26:36-46
Tuesday, March 26: “The Betrayal of Judas and the Kiss of Death” from Matthew 26:17-25, 46-56; 27:3-10
Wednesday, March 27: “The Denials of Peter and his Deep Regret” from Matthew 26:31-35, 69-75
Thursday, March 28: “The Scourging of Jesus Christ and the Final Hours Before His Death” from Matthew 26:57-68; 27:1-2, 11-32
Friday, March 29: “The Crucifixion and The Death of Jesus Christ” from Matthew 27:33-56
Friday Night, March 29: “The Death and Burial of Jesus Christ.” This will be a powerful evening of music, worship, and reflection at Cross Church Pinnacle Hills with special guest music from the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas. Admission is free.
Saturday Night, March 30, and Sunday Morning, March 31: “The Resurrection of Jesus Christ From The Dead” from Matthew 27:62-65; 28:1-15.
Blessings and prayers as we look to a fabulous March together, beginning with Sunday, March 3!
One of the major challenges that prevent many churches from being focused on their mission can be summarized in one word: insecurity. It eliminates opportunities for evangelism, planting churches, ministry expansion, and making disciples because it creates conflict in the church. I have even seen insecurity ruin ministries.
A Testimony: I will never forget talking with a leader who served with his Pastor for decades in one of the strongest ministries in America. I asked him about the challenges of adjusting from leading church staff leaders from people in the world. He remarked, “I have found that ministers are the most insecure people I have ever met in my life.”
Since insecurity can hurt ministers, churches, and ministries, we need to consider ways to overcome this problem. Here are some helpful tips for identifying the signs of and solutions to insecurity.
Signs of Insecurity
- Competitiveness – One of the biggest problems insecurity carries with it is overt competition. Churches try to “out-do” one another. Pastors find themselves competing with other pastors. This competitiveness results occurs because of insecurity and further results in jealousy and a critical spirit.
- Solution: Remember that as a Christ-follower your only competition is the world, the flesh, and the devil; not other pastors or churches. Remember who you are in Christ and abide in this spiritual reality.
- Combativeness – I have seen many pastors or other church leaders ruin their ministry by the incessant need to have their way all the time. God has not called ministers to always “be right”, but to “be godly.” In my book, “Ten Things Every Minister Needs to Know” I talk about this issue in detail. I am convinced we can do the right thing in the wrong way. We need to operate with the Spirit of Christ at all times.
- Solution: Recognize that not every hill is worth dying on. Sometimes the best, most Christ-like way is to humble yourself and see that the best idea is not always your own. Listen to others. Learn from others. Learn from your own mistakes. Do not let a word, a sentence, or a spirit take away from your main message. Your goal is always be like Christ, not to always be right in the eyes of others or even in your own eyes.
- Complaining – Some of the whiniest people I know are ministers. It also happens that pastors are some of the most insecure people I know. The two often go together. Complaining is a serious obstacle for many ministers of the Gospel. How can we expect others to be attracted to our message and our leadership if we are complainers? This does not magnetize people to the message but it distracts them from the message.
- Solution: Return to the reason you are in ministry. Church leadership roles are often very hard. When all the bad stuff starts coming your way instead of complaining about it keep your heart in the Word of God and keep your eyes on Jesus and the lost-ness of the world. Most of all, return to your call from God to go into the ministry . . . this is why you are doing what you are doing.
What We Do Not Have Time For
We don’t have time to play games and be insecure. We are not competing against the pastor across town. We are not competing against a church across America. While every church is called to make disciples of all the nations, we have to carry out this commission in the different contexts God has called us to serve. We are not entitled to getting everything our way because we’re in a church leadership role.
Insecure Pastors and Churches
Insecure pastors create insecure churches. Insecure churches are ineffective churches. Competitiveness, combativeness, and complaining do not have a place in the church of Jesus Christ, especially in the life of a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So let’s set aside the competiveness, combativeness, and complaining and focus on taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world and making disciples of all nations.
Why There Is No Need To Be Insecure
Our Lord’s command to go and make disciples is prefaced by the statement, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” and is followed by “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mt 28:18, 20). Because we live in and with the authority of the Great Commission there is no need for insecurity. This is why there is no need to be insecure . . . The Lord is with you always!
Daily, I pray for the authority of the Great Commission to operate within and through my life as a leader. Knowing that the One who has all authority is with us, we can face anything in life and ministry.
Yours for the Great Commission,