Crossroads Fellowship

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The King Asked Me An Important Question!

Ok so maybe it wasn’t “the” King, but it was a King, it was Wayne King to be exact. Wayne was the first Pastor that I worked under in the C&MA, and while I was still a lay person (not a pastor) he asked me this important question. “What would hinder your witness with other people?” This question was a little odd for me in the beginning, but ultimately I came to understand that he was asking me what things that I could control would make me lose credibility with some people if I did not change them. For me that was when I decided to quit drinking, smoking, and chewing tobacco. It was not that I believed then or believe now that these are sins that would separate me from God, which I know people are tempted to debate, but I quit because these things would turn some people off towards me. If people are who I am trying to reach, then I think I need to try not to offend them unintentionally.

You see nobody is going to be offended if I don’t drink or smoke, but some people might be offended if I do. Another example of this is that a good friend of mine went to a job interview. He wore earrings to the interview, and the boss that interviewed him was bothered by the earrings. Had this been a witnessing encounter he may have completely lost all credibility to share the gospel with this man. While on the same note nobody would be offended if he didn’t have earrings. Is this what it means to die to ourselves and put our wants and desires to the side so that we might win more into the Kingdom of God? Our missionaries cross cultural lines all of the time where outward actions have to change because people might take them wrong. But even in America we have cross cultural experiences. My friend, who is a city boy, found that out when he went to interview for this country job. What would hinder your witness? We said at church the other Sunday night that how we present ourselves is crucial in church planting, so what would hinder your witness?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Personal Sin (Written by my wife Sara Breedlove)

If I decide to speed to church because I am running late, that decision only effects me, unless of course I wreck and injure someone riding in the car with me, or in another car. If I decide to lie in order to benefit myself or get out of trouble, that decision only effects me, unless of course someone else gets blamed or punished because of something I did. I could go on and on with more examples of “personal” sins that will only affect me, however the reality is I may never know the effect my sins will have on other people. Even if I don’t wreck the car and physically leave a mark on someone, I am speeding by people who may know I am a professed Christian, and if I am on the way to church then I know my children are in the car, as well as the teenager we pick up and give a ride to, all of whom are witnessing me disregard the law. What kind of Spiritual mark am I leaving on them? It is just like when David chose to sin with Bathsheba and lay with her. She became pregnant and that one sin affected not only him and her but also David's entire family. Read what Nathan the prophet said to David when the Lord exposed his sin.

Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.' Thus says the LORD, 'Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.'" David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child who is born to you shall die." 2 Samuel 12:9-14 At no point in any of this does God say go ahead act anyway you desire because our actions are ours and ours alone, on the contrary, He gives specific instruction throughout the whole Bible on how we are to act, because someone,( in addition to ourselves), is always effected by our sin.

My relationship with my dad is daily affected by choices he made. Our relationship consists of letter writing, as that is our only form of communication. I can not see him, as the miles between us prevent that, nor can we talk, as the costs of collect calls are too much for me to pay. Thus we write. Our relationship is unconventional at this point, and has caused me a great deal of sadness. Despite the fact that his sins were not against me, I am still directly affected by them.

In conclusion let me say this, Jerry and I tell the kids that just because we don’t see their every sin, doesn’t mean God doesn’t see it, but let me also add this; just because you are not sinning against someone personally, doesn’t mean someone is not effected by your sin.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I Hate Plumbing!!!!

Does that make me guilty of murder in my heart, because we know that hatred is the same thing as murder. If so I guess that I am comfortable in my sin. You see I really hate plumbing, or rather I really hate working on plumbing. You might be interested enough to keep reading this article to see how spiritual content comes out of it when it is about something so mundane as plumbing, but ultimately it will work out that way. You see the problems for me with plumbing are many and varied. First, and probably the biggest, is the fact that I am not a small guy. I am over six feet tall and I weigh a comfortable 250 lbs. Most plumbing jobs force me to get into holes my nine year old daughter can't fit into, which in turn hurt me and make me want to scream. Secondly sometimes plumbing is just nasty business with the stuff you have to mess with. There are some pretty foul things involved with a lot of plumbing jobs. What is precipitating all of this? Well mostly it is the fact that yesterday out of a true labor of love I went over and helped my dad put in a new garbage disposal and faucet. Needless to say plumbing is fresh on my mind, but it goes deeper than this.

This past Sunday evening at church I was teaching the second lesson on church planting. We had talked about identifying our target audience the week before and we were discussing that night our main event each week and how we would use other outreach avenues to ultimately funnel folks into the main event and into the life of the church. We had a lot of awesome ideas from everyone and ultimately we shaved down the list to a manageable size by identifying people who might have a heart for certain things on the list. Now it's time to pray!

As we pray I have asked each person to pray about calling to that ministry. You see the thing is ministry is like plumbing sometimes. I can do plumbing, and I can do it well enough that it works, but I hate doing plumbing and if I had to do it long term I would eventually become very frustrated and want to quit. However there are guys out there that love to do plumbing, which makes no sense to me, but when they are using those tools and crawling in those tight spots they really feel at home. It is like a calling on their lives, and sure they have bad days and frustrations, but the love they have and calling they feel to be plumbers keeps them coming back even when it is nasty. It is the same way with our outreach ministries. There are a lot of great ideas and initially we have identified possible leaders for some of them and now those leaders are praying about if God has called them to this. For me an after school children's ministry might be like plumbing. I love the kids, I see the need, but I just don't feel called to that ministry. I could do it short term, and not burn out but over the long haul I would eventually crash and burn. The places it wants to take me are tight and hard for me. But for others they might love it and feel called to it. And that calling from God is what will get them through it when it gets really hard. Calling is critical - what are you called to?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Looking For Hope

As I sit in my office conversing with my intern I am deeply disturbed by the direction that the church in America seems to be taking. I am not the first person to sound this horn, nor will I be the last. The thoughts that I have I do not credit as my own, but they are the thoughts of many Godly men and women who have went before me. It seems the more that churches struggle to stay afloat in America the more the message becomes compromised, the more it becomes a message that is man centered rather than God centered. Austin and I read an article in a magazine this morning that is written to target lost people. This magazine comes in the mail once in a while to our church as an advertisement from the company that makes it trying to get us to mail it to local homes in the area. The cover article was about searching for significance, and how each of us struggles looking for life fulfillment in all sorts of activities. The article was a good article, that was true, however it was an article that should have been aimed at believers who were struggling with their identity in Christ, and not a message to unbelievers who have never been born again.

The reason I say this is that the presentation of the article makes it sound like life's biggest problem is finding significance, or being important, and how each of us struggles with that. I can attest that as a believer, and even when I was an unbeliever, I struggled with feeling significant and important. However when I got saved it was not because I discovered that God thought that I was important, it was because I discovered that I had sinned against a holy God and that I was doomed to an eternity in hell because of it. Suddenly as I was confronted with the consequences of my sin I was sorry! I am sorry still, even when I stumble and sin now, I am sorry and I want to change. The denom that I pastor in has a presentation on it's website called Looking For Hope, that basically says life's biggest problem is that we essentially can't find happiness in fame, money, drugs, etc. It says that there is no true happiness in anything but Christ. The message is true that there is no true happiness in anything but Christ, however this is not the Gospel that we were commanded to preach. We were commanded to preach of sin and righteousness, and of the wrath to come. (Matthew 24:1-14 with tons of emphasis on 14, Mark 1:15) We are commanded to teach all men everywhere to repent of their sins, to turn away from them, and follow and serve the creator rather than their own selfish desires for happiness. (1 Timothy 1, 1 Timothy 4:7-11, Acts 17:30)

The church in America seems to struggle more and more everyday with church closures, budget shortfalls, not enough workers, moral failures of clergy, and general turmoil. Could it be that the reason we are struggling so much is because rather than teaching the truth we have exchanged the truth for a lie, for something that looks like a form of Godliness, and that our problems stem from the fact that the church is full of people who have never turned from their own selfishness and sin to God? I mean if the message I preach is Jesus makes life so much better isn't that just another form of selfishness? Is it possible that the church and it's teachers are no longer reproving, rebuking, correcting, and exhorting and are rather teaching what sounds good to the itching ears of the people? (2 Timothy 4:3-4) Scripture warns of perilous times for the church - are these the times? Is the church now desperately looking for hope?