Crossroads Fellowship

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Revival Has Finally Come

A.W. Tozer wrote, "Have you noticed how much praying for revival has been going of late - and how little revival has resulted? I believe the problem is that we have been trying to substitute praying for obeying, and it simply will not work. To pray for revival while ignoring the plain precept laid down in Scripture is to waste a lot of words and get nothing for our trouble. Prayer will become effective when we stop using it as a substitute for obedience."

The words of this quote have hung upon the walls of my office for a very long time. Recently we have been drawn to this truth in our church that Tozer taught so well. Often times we try to schedule revival in the church with a set of services. Often these services are the once a year evangelistic outreach of the church, at least in the south where I Pastor at! But what if the plain precept laid down in scripture isn't a set schedule of services with a gifted evangelist. Services are good, and evangelism is much needed, but is revival really bringing new people into the Kingdom? Perhaps revival isn't outreach, perhaps revival is in-reach!

A familiar scripture to many Christians says these words:
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

It is funny that scripture clearly points out that God's people should humble themselves, pray, seek His face, and repent from their wickedness and then God will heal our land. We seek the lost for the Kingdom of God, yet our actions are the same as those who are "lost." Perhaps what Tozer meant is that we should obey God and repent and that in and of itself is revival. Well that is exactly what happened at Crossroads on May 3rd, 2009 at 6:30pm.

The worship music was going fine, the people were singing, the instruments were playing, and heard the quiet voice of the LORD say to me, "Jerry you have been praying for revival as though it is my choice. But it has never been my choice, it has always been your choice, and the people's choice." As I pondered these words teachings flooded back, the quote came to mind, and I shared with the people what the Lord had shared with me. What ensued was something so miraculous that it overwhelmed the very soul of almost everyone in attendance.

Person after person came forward and publicly confessed and renounced sin. People were broken before the LORD, the tears flowed, and it was good. As people did this the LORD again pointed out to me in His quiet soothing voice every revival in scripture started with a public confession of the people's sin and open repentance before the LORD. Hundreds have not been saved, because revival isn't new converts - it is old disciples being restored to life and consciousness.

re•vive \ri-ˈvīv\ vb
re•vived; re•viv•ing [ME, fr. AF revivre, fr. L revivere to live again, fr. re- + vivere to live — more at quick] vi 15c : to return to consciousness or life : become active or flourishing again vt
1 : to restore to consciousness or life
2 : to restore from a depressed, inactive, or unused state : bring back
3 : to renew in the mind or memory — re•viv•able \-ˈvī-və-bəl\ adj — re•viv•er nMerriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc.

Evangelism will come as a result of this revival as God stirs our hearts towards Himself! The next services that were held were even more powerful than the first. The weekend teaching of Pastor Jerry was strong, and effective. Even more awesome was that on May 10, 2009 elder Keith Morris stood and delivered his first ever sermon to a very full sanctuary during the Sunday evening service. God again moved in the hearts of the people, and we are drawing ever closer to our LORD. Keith's sermon was polished and powerful - as though he had been preaching for years. It appears that the LORD has given him a gift of Prophecy in the forth telling sense!

Revival is your choice! You can return to the LORD or you can stay away - it is all up to you - but coming back is so much better!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

God still cares!

In the crazy world we live in it is often a struggle for us to believe that God really cares. This struggle is compounded by the fact that God often answers prayer on a time schedule that is vastly different than ours. We live in a society that is bent on instant gratification. I am personally one of the people that is seeking the instant fix. I want my computer fixed now, my line at the gas station to be empty and fast, my service at the restaurant to be speedy, I want it all and I want it now. However I know this is not the right attitude to have so I have to constantly remind myself, and my wife reminds me too, to be patient and wait.

Well as most of you who are following the progress of the church know we recently started planting churches around the county and even globally via video sermons and live worship. This has been exciting, but far from instant gratification. This last week we ran into our first major road block with one of our daughter church plants. We have a church plant this is meeting in a Long Term Care Nursing Home, and is comprised of two workers and a group of about 17 residents/patients at the facility. Through a series of unfortunate events, some brought on by us making a few minor mistakes in nursing home protocol, and some by misunderstandings we were told that our church could no longer meet there. This was a severe blow for many of the residents of the nursing home, and was an extreme test of faith for us.

Two or three years ago I probably would have went through the roof. But God has been working on me with patience, primarily teaching me patience through our daily early morning prayer meetings here at the church. Instead of going through the roof we decided to pray about this and ask other churches and C&MA leaders to pray with us. This past Monday we went to the nursing home where Xtraordinary Fellowship meets and met with Brian Vermilion, who is the administrator. After talking with him a very brief time Xtraordinary Fellowship was allowed to continue meeting. Right now we are a little unsure if it will be allowed to use the activities room or if it will have to meet in a residents room, but either way it was a great turn of events for the church and we really appreciate Brian's understanding and care for the people there. No doubt Bell Court Terrace is taking great care of the residents/patients there. Would you continue to pray with us as we minister to this community of great people. Also pray for the nursing/care staff of Bell Court Terrace as the job they have is a tough one at best, and every day is full of unique challenges for them. We know the staff there is full of love and grace, and your prayers for them is very much appreciated.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Xtraordinary Fellowship

Sometimes we think of the elderly as something that we can just discard. Heck sometimes we are so ingrained in that mindset we just don't think of them at all. But what if a church that is primarily composed of young Christians, both young in age and the faith, were to reach out to a group of elderly people using cutting edge technology as the means of delivering the message? What would happen, would it go well? Would it be received well? Or would those who are a little older and more mature balk at the idea? These are all great questions that recently got an answer at the very first service of a new church plant called Xtraordinary Fellowship!

As many who read this blog know Crossroads Fellowship has entered into a cutting edge church planting concept using live worship coupled with video sermons to reach unreached people groups around the world. In reaching those unreached people groups we have also included those who may have previously been evangelized, but are now a part of the neglected masses. One such group of people is those that spend the latter days of life confined to a nursing home.

Derry Martell is very new in his faith in Christ, but the call of God to take the message to the nursing home in which his mother lives is something that he not only heard, but answered. God challenged Derry that even though he was a relatively new Christian, that he could in fact be empowered by God's Spirit to reach a group of neglected people with the love of Christ. The eldership of Crossroads Fellowship recognized that call, and held a special ceremony of commissioning for Derry just one day prior to the first scheduled service. The very next morning Derry was off to the home for his scheduled service.

I would love to say that everything went smooth as silk, but rather there was a scheduling conflict that got Derry moved from 10:30am to 4:30pm. When Derry came back he had dinner with the group, and after dinner at 4:30pm everyone went back to their room for a nap instead of coming to church. However Derry would not allow himself to be discouraged, but rather he asked for another time to be scheduled. So on Wednesday, September 17 2008, Xtraordinary Fellowship was born.

Derry used track music, and the video sermon that was taped live at Crossroads the week before to bring the church to those who could not go to where the church gathered. There are forty residents that live in the facility that Derry is ministering to. Seventeen of those forty came to the very first service. Derry got just shy of 50% of his target group to respond on the very first service. Not only did seventeen show up, but what was even more amazing is that a large number of them lingered after the service encouraging Derry and telling him how much it meant to them to be ministered to in this way. It seems as though they did not want the time to end.

So maybe, just maybe, God is able to use technology to plant churches. Derry is not a qualified teacher of the word, and so his Pastor, which is me, teaches the word via video. Yet it is the heart of Christ that the people see in Derry that has brought them, and will bring them back as Derry seeks to introduce or re-introduce them not only to Christ, but to the family of churches that Crossroads Fellowship is a part of. So please welcome our newest church plant, Xtraordinary Fellowship, into the C&MA and the Crossroads Fellowship family of churches. To God be the glory!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Where does time go?

It has been a very long while since it seems that I have written here, at least written here on a regular basis. As the church grows it seems like other things come in and take away time, and demand my attention. Where once I had regular time to sit and put my thoughts in written form, it now seems as though I have only enough time to spend in prayer, sermon preparation, and planning out church planting. I am sure that it is the same for each one of us as we go through our hectic lives. More and more things constantly demand a portion of our ever shrinking time. So how are we to prioritize?

I think for that answer we should look to Jesus and his example in scripture:

Mark 1:35-38
35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, 37 and they found him and said to him, "Everyone is looking for you." 38 And he said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out."

You see the disciples, and practically everyone else, was demanding a portion of Jesus' time. Yet it was a habit that he had to rise early in the morning and go out to a place and meet with the Lord for prayer. Jesus had to go out and check in with God the Father, to see what SHOULD be on his to do list for the day. Is this a habit that we have as believers today? Do we commit ourselves to prayer, first thing, and check in with the "boss" before we plan our day? I think if we could get in this habit that we would find that our days aren't quite so hectic, and that our lives would be so much more rewarding. Why not pray about this, and see if the Lord agrees?


Monday, June 23, 2008

Summer is crazy!

Summer is such a crazy time in ministry at Crossroads Fellowship, and it always has been. As a lot of churches slow down ministry for summer break Crossroads really ramps it up. For instance we just ran our first ever summer camp program. We have done camp before, but we have never ran the whole thing, we have only participated before, but this year we ran a really good camp using the facilities of Coldstream Christian Camp. All in all we had 42 campers attend camp, ranging from grade school through high school. When the week was over and the smoke was cleared we had 14 first time decisions for Christ, 13 re dedications, and 10 kids felt as though the Lord was calling them into Christian service. So camp was awesome, but ministry doesn't end there.

Our youth minister, Larry, also has several things going for the youth through out the summer that are special. Thursday nights he is having skate night at his home on the half pipe he built, Saturday mornings at 9am we are having mountain boarding at the church on the new trails we cut through the woods, and as always youth group is meeting on Wednesday and Sunday evenings. Last night at youth group he had 24 there, and the reason they came is to hear him as he preaches verse by verse through the book of James. That is a great testimony that 24 youth came for preaching, with no fun, no games, just the Word of God! One of those was a first timer and became a Christian last night, so that makes a total of 15 salvations in one week!

God is really doing some amazing things in this crazy summer time, keep praying for us as we try to reach the world with the gospel of Christ!

Monday, June 09, 2008

What's new in Clarksville?

I have been really bad as of late about blogging. A lot of you may be wondering what is new in Clarksville, and that is exactly why I have been so bad about actually blogging, and getting it out where people can read. We are going through a lot of ministry changes as our church here continues to grow and flourish. If you will indulge me a little I will write to you here in a few paragraphs and bring you all up to date. As well if you would please pray about what is happening here. Because God is leading us into God sized ministries that only He can do!

First most of you know that a team of five people from Crossroads took a vision trip to Mongolia not to long back. Well this coming Sunday that team is going to be presenting to the church that trip, and what we believe God is calling us to do in missions as a church. There are four major ministry partnerships that we are looking to enter into with the Mongolian field. Curious what they are? Be at church Sunday during one of the morning services to find out, or check next week online for Sunday's message.

Next Summer camp is right around the corner. Crossroads is doing a camp here locally this year and we are really excited about it, however it is a lot of work as well. This is the first time our church has ever done a camp like this on it's own. So be praying for us. We have right at forty (40) kids registered for this camp. We still have space for more, and are hoping God will bring thirty (30) more. Camp is only $130 per child for the week, and it is for any child that is school age, from elementary through high school.

Next we have hired a new staffer here at the church. Joe Salerno has come on as our new worship leader and audio/technical expert. Joe has had a lot of experience in the area of Worship Leading, and audio/technical ministries. Some of that experience includes being on staff at North Coast Church in San Diego, being interim worship leader at Trinity Church in San Antonio, and being on staff as an audio/technical person at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, which is the church Max Lucado pastors.

Speaking of Joe a lot of the reason Joe is on staff with us here is because of his vision for Great Commission church planting, and his technical experience to help us to get our vision to work. At Crossroads we have a vision to plant daughter churches not only locally, but around the globe. So how does a church have a global church planting impact? To answer that question we point to technology. Many churches are venturing into pod casts of their sermons, however at Crossroads we are getting ready to take pod casting to a whole new level. We currently are working with leaders inside the C&MA to plant a daughter church in Pennsylvania where we will have live worship lead by a real person and the sermon will come in via video from here in Clarksville. Sound exciting? It is! We don't have all the details worked out yet, but we will keep you informed as things move along. We also have our sights set on a daughter congregation in Nahsville TN, as well as one international congregation possibly that is halfway around the globe!

So as you can see things have been mega busy, and that is why I have been lacking. I apologize and ask you to continue to pray for us as we move forward advancing the Kingdom of God through these wonderful ministries both locally and abroad!


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Mongolia - Days 2 - 5

So here I am writing to you all again from Mongolia. It has been rather difficult because of the travelling to actually communicate via this forum. For that I apologize, and eagerly dive into the meat of what has been happening here. Our team started off in Ulaanbaatar for about a day and half. On day two in the morning time hours we were immersed in a course of language study. We learned the basics of telling people hello, goodbye, our names, etc. It was rather challenging for us, especially for Larry as he was so bumfuzzled that he began mispronouncing his own name. However it really opened our eyes to what our missionaries go through when they come to a new country and learn a language. For the first two years our missionaries pretty much do nothing except for study the language. After only a couple of hours we felt like our heads were going to explode, and so this experience opened our eyes on the importance of surrounding our missionaries in prayer as they learn the language. From there we travelled to the town of Darhann.

In Darhann we went to the CAMA Center, which is a medical clinic, where those patients who come not only get treated for thier physical ailments, but also get told about Jesus. The CAMA center also has several families working on other projects as well. One missionary couple is working on a water project, drilling wells for these people to be able to get fresh water. Jeremy and Krista actually have a well in front of their own home that about a hundred people a day come to to pump water. Pray for them that they would be able to use the well for evangelism. As of yet the well has not been used in an evangelistic manner, but it is the desire of their heart. Another family, Peiter and Haniki, are setting up what will be known as ABTC. ABTC is a theological eduction center where Mongolian Christians can be trained in leading in the church in Mongolia. ABTC is a very new project and hopes to start enrolling students in September.

Dr. Pham, from the clinic, shared with us how the Lord has been working through the clinic for just shy of a decade. Dr. Pham helps patients to get needed health care, and preventive medical training, but then points out to them that in the end no matter how good the doctor that they will die anyway. He then swings into the gospel with each patient that will listen and for the many, over 50 last year alone, who have come to Christ he begins a discipleship process.

From Darhann we traveled to Erdenet, where there is a relatively new Alliance church plant. The church there has about 15 believers meeting on Sundays, and on Saturdays runs a children's worship program where about 30 children attend. The church right now is working towards evangelizing the community, but needs prayer to overcome the enemy in this area. The primary religion in Mongolia is Tibetan Buddhism mixed with tribal shamanism. Satan has a very strong hold here, but by the grace of God we are seeing folks come to a saving knowledge of Jesus.

Currently we are in Bulgan, with Jeremy and Renee. There family has lived in Bulgan only for six months, and is currently seeking inroads into the community so that they may share the message of Jesus. One of the ways the Alliance is trying to reach the people is by service projects. The Mongolian people herd a lot of cattle, sheep, goats, and horses. Jeremy is actually working on a service project that will teach the people here take the milk from the cattle to make cheese that ultimately will be exportable. Service projects such as these give the missionaries a platform from which to share their faith as Mongolian people actually see their faith helping others. Pray for Jeremy and Renee as they work through this idea and try do the Lord's will in this area.

Please continue to pray for our team as we seek how we may partner long term with those here in the field. May God give us a vision and heart for a people who desperately need to know him.