June 12, 2021
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
Some years back, we went as a family to Door County, WI in July.  While we weren’t able to beat the heat, we had a great time together. One of the big highlights was a visit to a cherry orchard
 
Btw, if you’ve not had Door County cherries, it’s time you fix that! It was simply amazing standing among the trees, absolutely burgeoning with bright red fruit– cherries were everywhere!  The fruit wasn’t just on the trees either.  The cherries were sold fresh-picked and flavoring  everything from syrup to sausage and cheese to beer.  It’s Wisconsin!
 
We have a cherry tree in our back yard, too!  It’s beautiful and provides good shade, but produces no fruit.  It was “cultivated” to be ornamental and decorative rather than produce fruit, like the Door County trees.
 
This got me thinking about faith and following Jesus…  Surprise!  It’s well-documented that Jesus spent lots of time coming alongside individuals and smaller groups of people to show them what God is like and faith-walking with God involves.  This was in stark contrast to the
religious leaders of his day who “cultivated” themselves into living isolated from and indifferent toward God and people who didn’t fit or measure up to their hollow standards.
 
Could it be said that Jesus had functional and fruitful relationships with God and people grounded in love, while the religious leaders limited themselves to being deluded and merely ornamental?
 
The one who delights in the law of the Lord, and 
who meditates on his law day and night. That person 
is like a tree planted by streams of water, which 
yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does 
not wither- whatever they do prospers.                                Psalm 1:2-3
 
Produce fruit in keeping with repentance…  
The ax is already at the root of the trees, and 
every tree that does not produce good fruit 
will be cut down and thrown into the fire..”                        Matthew 3:8-10
 
But the fruit of God’s Spirit is love, joy, peace, 
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness 
and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.        Galatians 5:22-23
 
Let’s live life Jesus’ way!
 
June 5, 2021
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
I’ve never really been much into birds, especially not red ones. My extended family from Missouri is going to give me grief over that one!
 
Seriously though, while I learned in early grade school about how cool robins and their nests and blue eggs were, I seldom gave them much thought after that.  Then I saw, at much too early of an age, the ravens in Hitchcock’s “The Birds”, and I was done!
 
Fast forward to now and we have a pretty cool back yard where birds like to gather.  I’ve seen finches eat from our feeder, robins feed babies in nests and adolescents in the grass, cardinals offering their distinctive song, and grackles strutting all about.  I’m not fond of grackles since the tend to push
other birds around and look like smaller versions of Hitchcock’s ravens.
 
Anyway, it’s interesting how bird parents provide for and feed their helpless young offspring.  Can you imagine if your mother had fed you like that?
 
Yeah, I know that sounds really gross!  However, when God had a difficult job for Elijah that included powerful opposition and a focused manhunt to get him, that’s pretty much how God beat the odds and provided for Elijah!
 
It is quite often that following God and living well, will require us to take on difficult jobs that open us up to opposition, criticism, or failure.  In such vulnerable situations, it’s key to remember that God is for youhas your back, and can be very creative in providing for you!
 
King Ahab did more evil in the eyes of the Lord 
than any of the kings before him…                                         1 Kings 16:30
 
Now Elijah said to King Ahab, 
As the Lord, the God of Israel, liveswhom I serve,
there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years
except at my word.”
Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah:  Leave here, 
turn eastward and hide in the ravine of Kerith
east of the River Jordan.  You will drink from the brook,
and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.”              1 Kings 17:1-4
 
Let’s learn to trust in God’s provision, when facing difficult tasks put in front of us!
 
May 29, 2021
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
I held Josh’s little hand tighter and got a lump in my throat as veteran U.S. soldiers of varying ages and tours of duty marched by in their uniforms.  Some were carrying rifles, others banners, all were serious.  Then came military vehicles, marching bands, etc…
 
It was my first Memorial Day parade, standing with my beautiful, young family, when the enormity of my benefit from the ultimate sacrifices made by others serving in the military washed over me.  I was deeply moved…
 
My dad served with the Marines overseas in the Korean War.  All military personnel, take an oath to protect and defend the constitution of the U.S. against all enemies. They trust their lives with others and lay down their lives for others while risking abrupt and violent death.  He returned home, but many he knew did not
 
Since the Revolutionary War, approximately 1,300,000 men and women have died serving and defending our country in the military.  Let that sink in.  They did so
in the hope of preserving and providing a better nation for future generations.
 
Jesus Christ served and fulfilled his unique sacrificial mission to set free future generation from the penaltypower, and presence of sin in our lives and the world.  He did so at the cost of his life.  In love for us, Jesus voluntarily laid down his life through his human incarnation and violent crucifixion!
 
God then raised Jesus from the dead, making new life and victory over sin and death available and a reality for anyone who unites their life to Jesus in faith!  Resulting in the growing family of God that lives in and shares God’s grace in ways that transcend differencesbring healing, and promote more sacrificial love!
 
While it may seem like merely a dream…  It’s been God’s dream and plan from the very beginning.  In the power of Jesus’s love, it is moving forward
 
They crucified Jesus at the place called ‘The Skull’along with 
two criminals, one on his right and one left. Jesus said, 
Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.”     Luke 23:33-34
 
On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast 
of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine- 
the best of meats and finest of wines.
On this mountain the Lord Almighty will destroy the shroud 
that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations;
he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces;
he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth.
The Lord has spoken. In that day they will say, “Surely 
this is our Godwe trusted in himand he saved us
This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice 
and be glad in his salvation.”                                                                  Isaiah 25:6-9
 
Let’s honor the dream and sacrifice, being and making things better for future generations!   😎
 
May 21, 2021
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
The right lane of the exit ramp was backed up a quarter mile into the highway.  We took the left lane to avoid delay…  “Probably just rush hour in Asheville,” we guessed wrongly.  At the top of the ramp, we saw the very long line leading to an overrun gas station.
 
“Oh, the pipeline hacking thing- better look for gas.”  45 minutes and 12 empty stations later, we were down to 10 miles left in our tank and farther than that from our hotel.  We wondered if we’d end up sleeping in our car, 800 miles from home and 275 miles from our destination.
 
Seeing a police officer alongside the road, I stopped to ask for help finding gas.  He gave directions to the only 2 stations that might have gas in the area.  As I drove with one eye on the gas gauge, I twice forced out a desperate, “God, please help us!”  We laughed together uncomfortably as we recalled two key points from the message I’d spoken that very Sunday 5/9:
  • Expect to be in situations where needs exceed visible resources.
  • Focus on God’s invisible presence alongside visible needs.
When we saw the first station out of gas, our hearts sank.  The second was mobbed, having 2 lines, each 20 cars deep, with two men directing the chaos at the pumps, and a woman standing at the front doors.  In utter desperation, I wheeled our car into the parking area away from the pumps, got out and approached the woman.  I explained our situation and asked for help finding gas…
 
I was absolutely dumbfounded when she said, “I’ll be out of gas in an hour.  Pull over here,” and motioned me to the pump near her, bypassing both lines. “What?” I blurted out in disbelief. She repeated, “Pull over here,” in a voice so calm I will never forget it.  I thanked her, drove right to the pump, and filled up, fully expecting arguments or worse to break out at any moment.  No one protested or challenged me.  As I got in my car to leave, one of the men directing traffic looked at me and said, “You got a gift.”  I agreed, feeling the parallel between the gift of gas in my tank and gift of Jesus (incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection) in my life.  I drove away with tears running down my face, as they are doing again now!
 
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!  Again, like the disciples in the record below, we were overwhelmed by the disparity between our great need for gas and the limited resources available.  But God showed us the way of his unexpected kindness through the words and actions of the officer, woman, and guy directing cars.  God worked through them to overwhelm the limited resources and make a huge difference for us.  I want to be more like that!
 
Philip answered Jesus, “Eight months wages would 
not buy enough bread for each one to get a bite!”
Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. Here is 
boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish. 
But how far will they go among so many?”                                                     John 6:7-9
 
Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them 
to those seated as much as they wanted.  He did the same with 
the fish.  When they had all had enough to eathe told his disciples 
to gather the leftover pieces, which filled twelve baskets.                          John 6:11-13
 
Let’s look to the resources of Jesus to be positive difference makers in the lives of others!   😎
 
May 8, 2021
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
Not that long ago, in a galaxy not too far away, on a Thursday, my sales manager gave me a customer request for a proposal.  The conversation went something like this…
 
SM:  I’ve got a project proposal for you.
Me:  Looks like a big jobthat’s great, thanks!  When’s it due?
SM:  Friday.  We want this job!
Me:  Tomorrow?  SM:  Yeah.  Me:  But there’s a week of work here!
SM:  Yeah, better get busy.  Me:  I’ll need some help on this.
SM:  Yeah, sure.  Me:  Who, on such short notice?  SM:  You’ll figure it out…
 
My prayer…  Help me Lord, I’m in way over my head here!
 
Our lives can be a lot like this, can’t they?  Abrupt turns of events, new demands, scarce resources, high expectations, and lots hanging in the balance!  It happens with our work,  in our home environments, and always involves our relationships…
 
Jesus and his disciples faced similar situations.  On one occasion when they’d intended to get away for some rest, a crowd of 5,000+ found out where they were going and surprised them, bringing additional needs and variables into the mix.
 
Jesus was unphased and saw the opportunity.  But his disciples grew impatient rather quickly and wanted him to end things for practical reasons.  Instead, Jesus directed his twelve leader-disciples to meet the needs they’d been concerned about.  They were overwhelmed by the visible disparity between the great needs before them and the limited resources at their disposal.  Jesus showed them a different approach
 
Philip answered Jesus, “Eight months wages 
would not buy enough bread for each one to get a bite!”                                 John 6:7
 
Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. Here is a boy 
with five small barley loaves and two small fish. 
But how far will they go among so many?”                                                         John 6:8-9
 
Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them 
to those seated as much as they wanted.  He did the same with 
the fish.  When they had all had enough to eathe told his disciples 
to gather the leftover pieces, which filled twelve baskets.                               John 6:11-13
 
Btw, the customer responded well to the proposal from a “far from ideal” process…

Let’s trust-in the often-invisible resources of Jesus to meet needs beyond us!   😎

 

Be strong in the love and grace uniquely found in Jesus!  -Pastor Steve
 
April 30, 2021

Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,

As we left the New Zealand airport and shuttled to pick up our rental car, we were excited to begin relaxing and enjoying the different culture and beautiful countryside.  However, our excitement quickly turned to tension, disorientation, and lots of stress…
 
You see, we’d never driven on the left side of the road before.  It was unfamiliar and opposite our normal experience and felt wrong and full of risk!  I’d read about and even practiced other side driving online, but it was difficult reality to get used to.
 
This reminds me of three persons who encountered another in a precarious, inconvenient, and unfamiliar situation on their side of the road. He’d been ambushedtraumatized, and discarded.  All three saw him, were headed elsewhere, and reacted.  Two avoided him and moved to a more familiar and convenient side of the road.  One had compassion formoved toward, and looked after the man at risk…
 
About the one who acted with compassion, Jesus said, “Go and do likewise!
 
Sometimes following Jesus is like being in a differentunfamiliar culture.  We are offered the opportunity or expected to participate in behaviors that don’t come naturally to us and haven’t been tried or learned yet.  It was that way with Jesus’ first followers and is still that way now!  It’s how he helps us grow and share the reality of his love with others!
 
Trying to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”              Luke 10:29
 
Jesus asked, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor 
to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”                                                                     Luke 10:36-37
 
Let’s be ready for unscheduled opportunities to move toward others with compassion, rather than moving away with indifference, fear, or disdain.  It’s what Jesus does and calls us to do!    😎

 

Be strong in the love and grace uniquely found in Jesus!  -Pastor Steve
 
April 24, 2021
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
I’ve heard, “three chords and the truth” is an apt description of country music.  That said, here’s a few lines of wisdom from a song I like by Mary Chapin Carpenter…
 
Sometimes you’re the windshield. Sometimes you’re the bug.
Sometimes it all comes together baby. Sometimes you’re just a fool in love.
Sometimes you’re the Louisville Slugger. Sometimes you’re the ball.
Sometimes it all comes together. Sometimes you’re gonna lose it all.
 
Of course, we prefer when it all comes together and the exhilarating moments that go with.  Of course, the images of windshield and Slugger are more appealing than a smashed bug and batted ball!
 
But life is always a mix of contrasting moments, often beyond our control… So, can we look for value and find strength in the less preferred moments that often involve loss and pain?  Jesus, offers an understanding and triumphant, “Yes!”
 
At the place called The Skull, there they crucified him… 
Jesus said, “Father forgive them
for they do not know what they are doing.”                                                           Luke 23:33-34
 
About 3pm, Jesus cried out in a loud voice…
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?                                                   Matthew 27:46
 
Jesus himself stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”
They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.
He said to them, “Why are you troubledand why do doubts rise 
in your minds?” Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself!                           Luke 24:36-39
 

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

For the joy set  before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, 

and sat down at the honoredright hand of the throne of God.                        Hebrews 12:2

 
So, when life isn’t coming together or is knocking you around, take heart for you’re not alone.  Jesus understands your struggle and, in love, chose and choses to go through pain and loss for and with you.  His victory is
always ready to share its immeasurable value and strength with you!  It’s what He does!  😎
 
Be strong in the love and grace uniquely found in Jesus!  -Pastor Steve
 
April 16, 2021
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
As a rule, I greatly enjoy the sound of trickling or rushing water!  Whether from roof downspouts, streams, rivers, or waterfalls.  And it’s so welcome here in Wisconsin’s early spring as the outdoors returns to life again!
 
That was not the case, however, as I stood in our basement with the sound of water directing my attention to a steady stream flowing from beneath the water heater.  Fortunately, it was going directly into the floor drain, harmless for now, but would need to be addressed before it “let go,” causing much bigger problems.
 
I knew the drill from nine years ago.  Turn the shutoff valve- done!  Check warranty for coverage- no, expired three years ago.  Get by with cold water till experienced help can be secured to replace it- difficult and pricey over a weekend…
 
Hmmm, maybe I can do it?  After all, I did watchtalk to, and take notes from the master plumber who replaced the last one…  I’ll spare you the details, but after going through a mix of funangsttough lessons, and urgent trips to Menards, I emerged from the basement on the third day, hot water restored!
 
My plumbing adventure cost me time, energy, and some pride.  Several times along the way, all I wanted was relief, but the learning process was good and satisfaction sweet at the end.  Nine years ago, I benefited from an expert plumber’s victory on my behalf.  Now, far from an expert myself, by paying attention to him, I followed what he did.
 
There are parallels in this to living as a believer and follower of Jesus… If we trust in Jesus’ victory already accomplished for us (in his incarnation, crucifixion,
and resurrection) and pay attention to his expert ways of living, loving others, and shouldering responsibility, we can live in the power of his love, making a lasting, positive difference in the relationships and responsibilities entrusted to us!
 
Believe me when I say that I am in the Father 
and the Father is in me; or at least believe on 
the evidence of the works themselves.  
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me 
will do the works I have been doing, 
and they will do even greater things than these, 
because I am going to the Father.”                                             John 14:11-12
 
Work out the salvation that God has given you 
with a proper sense of awe and responsibility
For it is God who is at work within you
giving you the will and power to achieve his purpose.          Philippians 2:12-13
 
Btw, many thanks to Laura who gave encouragement, showed amazing patience,
and endured cold showers without complaint (only a few shrieks) throughout!
If that’s not evidence of living in the power of Jesus’ loveI don’t know what is!  😎
 
April 9, 2021
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
Standing on the treadmill I was nervous, resigned to whatever…  I’m usually comfortable around exercise equipment, but this was different.  I’d really needed to review some of God’s words about overcoming fear to get me into the room.  As the exercise physiologist
attached electronic leads to my chest and described how the speed and incline would increase during the stress test, I heard a voice… “Nobody beats the machine!”
 
It wasn’t God’s voice, but humor from the sonogram nurse, which God did use to help me!  I burst out laughing, since my first thought was of “the machine” in one of our family’s favorite movies, “The Princes Bride.”  If you’ve seen the movie, you’re laughing too!
 
More relaxed, I took the test and got good results.  After a bit of an unexpected scare, no worries going forward with some very doable adjustments in diet and life habits.  As always, I’m grateful for the care and wisdom of God and health professionals!
 
So, why mention this?
 
We all face unexpectedchallenging, and fear-inducing circumstances all the time. Though difficult and uncomfortable, they are essential elements of real life!  How we respond to them impacts whether we grow and move forward or shrivel up and get stuck or go back.  It’s truly good news that God in Jesus Christ knowsloves, and understands us and is uniquely committed to helping us get unstuck, grow, and move forward!
 
What I neglected to mention is that I’d known my cholesterol was borderline high for several years and “failed to make” a few informed adjustments.  What about you? Have you “put off” learning and moving forward with healthy adjustments in the spiritual, relational, physical, financial, or other dimensions of your life?
 
The third time Jesus said to Simon Peter“Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him a third time“Do you love me?”
He said, “Lord you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep…”                                                                John 21:17
 
If so, know this…  You’re not alone, for Jesus is near to all seeking help to go forward! 😎
 
Be strong in the love and grace uniquely found in Jesus!  -Pastor Steve
 
April 1, 2021
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
They gathered that Thurs night for a Passover Feast
     to celebrate an impossible victory,
        won for them long ago when they were the least.
 
Powerless they’d been, but miraculously set free
     by faith in God’s strong hand
        and blood of a lamb given sacrificially.
 
All was now ready, except the Master, God’s Lamb
     for he had twelve pairs of feet to wash,
        though they did not understand.
 
Peter objected with force and a very strong never
     Jesus explained and continued,
        not cowering then, not now, not ever.
 
Lesson complete, illustrating servant power
     the Teacher called them to follow
        and compelled by love, proceeded to his hour!
 

By faith let’s find in Jesus the power to love, learn, and live his lesson! 😎

 Be strong in the love and grace uniquely found in Jesus!  -Pastor Steve
 
March 27, 2021
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
Our “Unexpected Jesus” series continues as we look to experience Jesus this Easter week and beyond…
His incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection in our lives were always meant to keep growing!
 
Good Friday, 4/2  (3:00pm online only)
  Remember Jesus’ broken body & shed for you, using your own elements
  to share in the Lord’s love feast by faith, wherever you’re at!

Easter Sunday, 4/4 (10:00am onsite/10:15am online)

  Celebrate Jesus’ resurrection that offers his unexpected presence, peace, & power to all
 
With feet washed, stomachs full, and hearts heavy…
     the twelve, now eleven, were in the olive grove with Jesus.
Enticed by silver, emboldened by darkness and armed guards…
     Judas approached to feign friendship and seal the deal.
Outnumbered and surrounded, but far from overmatched…
     Jesus said, “I AM HE,” dropping them to their knees.
Filled with a big boast, intense fear, and sudden fury…
     Peter flashed his sword, removing an assailant’s ear.
Committed to walk the path and drink the cup…
     Jesus commanded Peter, “Put away your sword!
Quizzed in a courtyard, fire revealed the denier…
     Peter uttered and sputtered, “I am not.”
Accused without justice, before the might of Rome
     Jesus said, “My kingdom is of another realm.
Armed with high position, yet in a tight spot…
     Pilate said, “I decide whether you’re free or crucified.”
Without breaking a sweat, nor intimidated in the least…
     Jesus replied, “Your power is given and I will live with that…
 
Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a kingIn fact, that is the reason was born 
and came into the world to testify to the truthEveryone on the side of truth listens to me…”                  John 18:37
 
Let’s find in Jesus new life & power beyond material wealth, positional status, or physical force! 😎
 
March 20, 2021
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
There are many signs we have exited the depths of winter here in WI.  Our days are already longer than 12 hours and southern breezes have raised temperatures and our spirits on several occasions. The ground takes longer to warm and is still quite brown, but at least the snow is gone, for now!
 
About this time each year, the terra firma around us goes through a renewal of life.  Dormant plants start greening up and growing again and dead vegetation is reborn through seeds, left behind or planted by others, that germinate and take root.  It’s a resurrection of sorts that invigorates all of us!
 
In thinking of the spring that’s coming, I am reminded of two sisters who suffered a terrible loss in the unexpected death of their brother.  Undoubted, their lives and faith were shaken and challenged by this.  Though dear friends of Jesus, they were not shielded from the painful, traumatic event, but went through it with Jesus.  In the process, Jesus demonstrated that he changes everything in this life and the life that’s beyond
 
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here
my brother would not have died.  But I know that 
even now God will give you whatever you ask.” 
Mary fell at Jesus’ feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here
my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping
and the weeping of those who had come along with her, 
he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled…                                      John 11:21-22, 32-33
 
Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life
The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 
and whoever lives by believing in me will never die
Do you believe this?”                                                                                   John 11:25-26
 
Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. 
It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.
“Take away the stone,” he said…
Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!
The dead man came out…                                                                         John 11:38-39, 43-44
 
Dormant or dead… Let’s look to Jesus in faith for new life and spring resurrection within us! 😎
 
March 12, 2021
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
In a mere 40 minutes, the difference was startling!  I’d taken my car in to get the windshield replaced after it got dinged and cracked.  It wasn’t just the crack no longer in my sightline, but the overall clarity of the new glass being way better than the old one with 10 years and 150,000 miles of wear!
 
In only 4 days, the difference was totally stunning!  I’d had my first eye exam in 6+ years and gotten a new pair of glasses.  With an updated prescription, no scratches, and a functional anti-reflective coating, the new lenses revealed more detail, improved depth perception, and reduced eye strain!
 
Weird how it took an unexpected impact and overdue evaluation to reveal what was already going on.  I’d been walking/driving around vision impaired, blind so to speak, and didn’t even know it
 
In just 1 year, the difference has been world shaking!  We’re seeing things a bit differently, aren’t we? As the ground has been shifting beneath our feet, lives have been turned upside down, existing deficits brought to light, new perspectives and flexibilities shown, and future opportunity in front of us…
 
Perhaps these words relate:  “Love people, not things. Use things, not people.”  Yeah, let it sink in…
 
As I look ahead, I am reminded of the man who suffered under a life-long burden of being labeledisolated, and written off due to lacking something in his life.  Until he met Jesus, who changed everything…
 
His disciples asked Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned 
this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Neither,” Jesus said, “but this happened so that 
the work of God might be displayed in his life.”                                        John 9:2-3
 
“One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!
Then they asked him, “What did he do to you?
How did he open your eyes?  He answered, 
“I’ve told you already and you did not listen.
Why do you want to hear it again? 
Do you want to become his disciples, too?”
Then they hurled insults at him…                                                                  John 9:25-27
 
Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, 
so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
Some Pharisees nearby said, “What? Are we blind, too?”                       John 9:39-40
 
Let’s look to Jesus to help renew and sharpen our vision all our relationships and responsibilities! 😎
 
March 5, 2021
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
You may have heard the phrase, “like a fish out of water” to describe someone away from or beyond their usual environment, routine, or comfort zone
 
Unlike that phrase, I am quite comfortable “out of water”- running and jumping on terra firma.  In fact, I much prefer the uninterrupted flow of air into my lungs, even with Covid masks, to the possibility of inhaling water.  The fish-world’s likely version is, “like Steve in water”!
 
Now, I am not terrified of water or anything and can swim and keep myself afloat.  After all, I did take lessons when I was young which gave me a healthy respect for it and some functionality in it.  But aside from drinking and bathing, when my land-based world and the world of water intersect, I keep it mostly recreational or therapeutic and in its place.  Perhaps this is true of you, too!
 
Unfortunately, it’s all too common for us physical human beings to act similarly towards the non-physical, spiritual dimension of life.  Often, we will steer clear of that world all together or relegate it to a safe and manageable space, assuming it has little relevance or functionality in the day to day demands of our physical worlds.
 
Jesus encourages otherwise, offering us the transcending reality of His Spirit
 
“Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God 
unless they are born of water and the Spirit
Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
You shouldn’t be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again…’”            John 3:5-7
 
“A time is coming and has now come when true worshipers 
will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth,
for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
The woman said, “I know the Messiah (called Christ) is coming.
When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you- I am he.”                             John 4:23-26
 
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, 
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified 
the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.                         Galatians 5:22-25
 
Let’s live “with Jesus in the Spirit” and not “like fish out of water” in all our relationships and responsibilities! 😎
 
February 27, 2021
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
Every now and again, I am reminded of the value of the sanitation trucks that come through our neighborhood Friday mornings taking away the garbage.  I mostly don’t think about them till going to bed the night before or hurrying to put out the bin early morning!
 
When I do, it usually has something to do with the kitchen trash under the sink having stayed too long and committing olfactory assault when I pass by or open the door to toss something else in.  You know what I’m talking about!  Anyway, it’s in those moments I am very thankful for the kitchen liner, large bin in the garage, and weekly truck!
 
Can you imagine keeping that rotten, decaying stuff around?  Not a chance, right!
 
Everyone knows that’s a bad idea.  Nobody denies they produce garbage or need help with its removal.  And there’s no shame whatsoever in rolling the bin to the curb.  In fact, it’s not uncommon for neighborly connections to begin or be renewed curbside!
 
Yet we have a much different approach to dealing with our own refuse from sin and failures, don’t we?  In fear and pride, we keep them around far too long, deny their very existence, and can get unhealthily preoccupied with other’s rubbish- pointing fingers, poking around, etc… Yeah, yuck!
 
Fortunately, Jesus Christ continues to offer and will always offer a formidable solution to this long-standing, persistent human malady that has sourced so much human strife and suffering.  He offers a faith relationship with himself that deals with our crud and frees us from arrogantly and self-righteously marginalizing anyone else for theirs!
 
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust 
in your brother’s or sister’s eye and 
pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
How can you say, ‘Let me take the speck out of you eye,’
when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?'”                 Matthew 7:3-4
 
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinnersChrist died for us.                              Romans 5:8
 
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves 
and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, 
Jesus is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins
and will purify us from all unrighteousness.
If we claim we have not sinned, we call God a liar 
and his word has no place in our lives.
My dear children, I write this to so that you will not sin
But, if anyone does sinwe have an advocate 
with the Father- Jesus Christ the Righteous One.
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and 
not only our sins, but the sins of the whole world.                    1 John 1:8-2:2
 
Let’s live in the grace of Jesus’ unexpected solution to this nagging problem we all face! 😎
 
February 19, 2021
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
Often, I am the first one up in the morning in our household.  I enjoy the quiet and making coffee. Laura says I make the best coffee.  I think it’s more about it being ready than actual taste.  She can be pretty crafty, you know!  Anyway, what gets you up and going most mornings?
 
Perhaps…  anticipation of a warm caffeinated beverage; little people and their needs for care, feeding, and direction; work challenges and opportunities; exercise or music that invigorates; need for a paycheck; taking on a project or large list of “to do’s“; daylight and all it reveals, human interactions, or all of the above!
 
While we’re all wired a bit differently, life is largely about relationships and responsibilities of various sorts and the revelations that are found in or guide us through them.  One of the things I so appreciate about many of the Psalms is how they invite God’s presence and guidance into the practicalities of everyday life…
 
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you 
and wait expectantly.                                                                     Psalm 5:3
 
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.                   Psalm 90:14
 
Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon 
have dwelt in the silence of death.  When I said,
“My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, 
supported meWhen anxiety was great within me, 
your consolation brought joy to my soul.                                   Psalm 94:17-19
 
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love
for I have put my trust in youShow me the way 
I should go, for to you I entrust my life.                                       Psalm 143:8
 
Let’s invite God’s presence and guidance into the amazing mosaic of our relationships and responsibilities! 😎
 
February 11, 2021
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
Well, our mild winter gave way to two weeks of snow…  Now, it’s working on two plus weeks of deep freeze.  You know, when outside temperatures average about 70 degrees below inside.  Gotta love our Wisconsin!
 
When it’s like this, road salt gets everywhere and coats everything, including clothing that brushes against the car.  Breathing either freezes the snot in nose hairs or makes teeth hurt when the wind is blowing.  But on a brighter note, one need never feel alone when driving, since ice in floor mats is a constant companion in all but longer trips!  Yes, the bitter cold can darken mood, sap initiative, and throw a big chill into general outlook…  And no, I didn’t hear this “through the grapevine”!
 
Temperature is not the only thing that can have a chilling impact on people.  Years ago, Jesus warned of a future time when many will “turn away” from the faith (Love God with all yourself and love your neighbor as yourself) to “betray, hate, and deceive” each other.  And that because of the proliferation of such behavior and activity, “the love of many/most will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:10-12)  Sounds awful, doesn’t it?  May it never be true of us!
 
Jesus continued, “My command is this: 
Love each other as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this, 
that one lay down his life for his friend.”                                     John 15:12
 
God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.                           Romans 5:8
 
Now let me show you a way of life that is best of all
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful 
or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way.
Love is not irritable, and doesn’t keep a record of being wronged.
Love does not rejoice about injustice, 
but love does rejoice whenever truth wins out.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful,
and does endure through every circumstance…                            
Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.                                                 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
 
Let’s warm up whatever chilling situations we get into with the everlastingever-warming love of Jesus! 😎
 
February 6, 2021
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
Our dishwasher racks have started rusting again.  I’ve used DW repair goo with limited success in the past.  So, I’m going to try some used racks I got on eBay for a good price.  Also, we get unasked for mail all the time, offering to evaluate our house and give us quick money for it.  I circular file those real fast.  Lastly, a certain shorted stock got lots of publicity from huge share price increases in Jan, only to see it retreat this week…
 
What do items on eBay in “like new” condition, slick real estate proposals, and shorted stocks have in common?  At a particular timetheir value is determined by what someone is willing to pay for them.  
 
While the value of such things can go up and down “like a roller coaster”, we all too often are quite willing to attach important things, like our and others perceived value and significance, to “hitting” on highly variable and speculative performance-based circumstances.  Without realizing it, we can slip into viewing and treating ourselves and others as mere commodities, to be bought, sold, traded, and released when returns diminish.
 
While such thinking and practice can appear to be exciting, efficient, and “how things work”, left unchecked by some other means of establishing value, the “chase for value” ultimately works to marginalize and enslave everyone- performers and strugglers alike.  Jesus has a much better and more substantive way…
 
What if value could be established and secured at a particular time for all time? That is exactly what Jesus did through his incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection as the Son of God!  For all time, he paid an infinite price to show and secure the value of every human person and all creation on earth and throughout the cosmos!
 
Jesus Christ suffered for our sins once for all time
He never sinned, but he died for sinners 
to bring you to God. He suffered physical death, 
but he was raised to life in the Spirit.                                            1 Peter 3:18
 
It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life
   Just make sure you don’t use this freedom as an excuse 
   to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom
Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love
   that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know 
   about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: 
   Love others as you love yourself. 
   That’s an act of true freedom
If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—
in no time at all you will be annihilating each other
and where will your precious freedom be then?                        Galatians 5:13-15 (Message)
 
Let’s focus on trusting in Jesus and being set free to affirm the value of and encourage the best in others! 😎
 
Be strong in the love and grace uniquely found in Jesus!  -Pastor Steve
 
January 28, 2021
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
After a mild and welcome reprieve for a few months, we are now in the depths of winter here in WI.  Some do quite well with the low temperatures and accumulation of ice and snow.  Others (like me), not so much!  I lean toward the latter group, preferring heat, humidity, and outdoor activities that don’t involve shoveling the white stuff.  I know, cue up the sad string music!
 
But enough whining already…  You’ve probably heard the phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  Well, if you’re struggling at all with winter blues, have I got a great picture for you!  It was taken by a friend on a frosty winter morning.  He shared it with our morning study group.  We all got a positive jolt of wonder over the beauty and majesty of God’s creation, even in winter!
 
I’m sharing it with you and hope you get jolted, too!  Take a close look…  My first thought was that it was a pine tree with frost that had merely clung to the needles, which would be cool enough!  He then told us it actually wasn’t a pine tree at all.  Instead, the temperature and humidity must have been just right for  the water molecules (H2O) to crystalize in this amazing spiked manner!
 
They’re 100% water and called crystal dendrites.  The same water that comprises about 70% of our bodies, covers 71% of the earth’s surface, and whose solvent, cohesion, adhesion, and specific heat properties make it uniquely life-sustaining!
 
Jesus answered the Samaritan woman, “If you knew the gift of God 
and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him 
and he would have given you living water…”
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water 
will be thirsty againbut whoever drinks the water I give them 
will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them 
will become in them spring of water welling up to eternal life.”             John 4:10-14
 
Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, 
“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 
rivers of living water will flow from within them.                                         John 7:37-38
 
Jesus poured water in a basin and began 
to wash his disciples’ feetdrying them with a towel…                                 John 13:5
 
If my less than 1,000 words don’t add much, just look at the picture and give thanks to God!  😎
 
Be strong in the love and grace uniquely found in Jesus!  -Pastor Steve
 
January 23, 2021

Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,

I spent many summers playing organized baseball as a young person.  Games were played on basic fields with rudimentary backstops & dugouts, “all dirt” infields, and no fences.  In dry summers, a basic hit between or getting past outfielders could roll forever for a home run!
 
Things changed when the park district built a “real field” at the beginning of the season next to its office.  It had a “grass & dirt” infield, complete fencing all around, a scoreboard, and lights for night games.  There would be no more ground ball home runs, only real ones!
 
When we finally got to play on it, we were so psyched!  Now, I didn’t have much power, so I had to make contact and hustle down the line to get on base.  My first time up, I hit a line drive and ran like the wind. To everyone’s surprise, it flew over the fence for a home run!  Back in the dugout, we all celebrated,
and then my coach said, “Nice hit, but don’t let it go to your head!”  Unfortunately, it did…
 
Next time up, I hit a majestic fly ball I was sure would clear the fence again.  Instead of running hard, I paused to savor and glory in my second home run of the game!  Instead, it landed well short of the fence and I barely got a single.  Third time up, I struck out on three pitches.  Yuck!
 
What happened?  I got preoccupied with my success, “tuned out” my coach’s wise words, and stopped thinking about what best helps the team.  It was a humbling, but good lesson.
 
In the Book of Daniel, Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar has a similar struggle.  He was told that he and his kingdom is “the head of gold” over and above others in his dream.  His initial response was to humble himself and worship God.  Later, however, he would build a golden image (of himself) 90 feet high and threaten people with death if they did not bow down and worship his image…  Yeah, double yuck!
 
So how can we live out not letting success go to our heads?
Center our lives on the humble, yet matchless greatness of Jesus and all he makes available to us…
 
In these last days, God has spoken to us by his Son,
whom he appointed (1) heir of all things
and through whom he (2) made the universe.
The Son is the (3) radiance of God’s glory
and the (4) exact representation of his being, 
(5) sustaining all things by his powerful word.
After he had (6) provided purification for sins
he sat down at the (7) right hand of the Majesty 
in heaven. So he became superior to the angels…                           Hebrews 1:2-4
 
Since Jesus himself has gone through suffering and testing
he is able to help us when we are being tested.                              Hebrews 2:18
 
Let’s focus on Jesus’ greatnessrevealed in our every breath, heartbeat, failure, and success!  😎
 
Be strong in the love and grace uniquely found in Jesus!  -Pastor Steve
 
January 16, 2021
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
Just this week I was asked if I was competitive.  I answered that I can be… 
Growing up in my neighborhood, we played all kinds of outdoor games all the time!  Games like wiffleball, 500,kickball, running bases, hoops, horse, offense/defense, kick the can, flashlight tag, ghost in the graveyard, etc…  Most parents were supportive of all this competitive fun (except when we got home late, of course) since it channeled our energy, built friendships, and kept us from wrecking the inside of our houses!
 
Even “picking teams” or “going first” involved creative competition.  Our “go to” method for such things was “Rock-Paper-Scissors” or “Paper-Scissors-Rock”.  Early on, I was partial to “rock” because I liked the idea of rock smashing scissors and wanted to impress the older kids.  Also, it sounded cooler than scissors cutting paper or paper covering rock.  It took me a while to learn that always choosing rock put me at a competitive disadvantage!
 
Later on, as a young adult, while looking into Jesus for the first time, I wondered if believing in and following Jesus would put me in a similar competitive disadvantage.  Sure, his words, conduct, and character were certainly inspiringBut were they practical for the competitive world I’d lived in and the larger one I was launching into?
 
I was indeed skeptical.  Then, I ran across Jesus’ words that conclude the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:24-29).  In them, he contrasts choosing to build a house on a foundation of rock or on sand, with predictable results during the storms of life.  This resonated deeply with me as I’d built many sand castles on family trips to the beach and watched when the tide came in!  I knew the immense advantages of building on rock!  Jesus said “Rock” involved listening to his words and living them out.  I wanted Rock!
 
As I follow him now, I continue to find reminders of the value of making Jesus my Rock…
 
Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice
is like a wise person who built their house on the rock.  The rain came down, 
the streams rose, and the wind blew and beat against that house;
yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”                 – Matthew 7:24-25
 
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; 
my God is my rockin whom I take refuge, my shield… 
The Lord lives!  Praise be to my Rock!  Exalted be God my Savior!        – Psalm 18:2, 46
 
You are coming to Christ, who is the living Cornerstone of God.  
He was rejected by people, but precious and honored by God.                – 1 Peter 2:4
 
Let’s make a habit of listening to Jesus and always choosing the Rock!  😎
 
Be strong in the love and grace uniquely found in Jesus!  -Pastor Steve
 
January 9, 2021
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
You might have noticed a disturbance in the Capitol this week…
It was an ugly scene that brought forth all manner of outrage, embarrassment, despair, and commentary from both sides of the political divide that seems to be consuming us.
 
I will not add to the pile, for I am not adequately informed of all details nor qualified to level judgment that is comprehensive and just.  It’s not that I am dispassionate or don’t care.  I do deeply and grieve regularly over the “it’s all about me” thinking and “scorched-earth” tactics debilitating our personal and national lives.
 
That said, I will attempt to point us toward some perspective and insight from God.  It may help facilitate the healinghumility, and hope that’s needed for us to truly love our neighbor.
 
Again, I do strongly believe love will prevail.  I do so, because God the Father, Son, and Spirit believe it and have seen to it through the Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of Jesus and the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  We have all the tools we need to live out loving God with all ourselves and loving others as ourselves…
 
About 600 years apart, Jesus and Daniel lived in times of great social/political trauma and uncertainty. Both followed God.  God gave Daniel insight into the unique kingdom Jesus would usher in…
 
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, 
my servants would fight to prevent my arrest.
But now my kingdom is from another place.”
“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king.
In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world 
is to testify to the truth.
Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”                                          – John 18:36-37 
 
“In the time of those kings, the God of heaven 
will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed
nor will it be left to another people. 
It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, 
but it will itself endure forever
This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, 
but not by human hands- a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, 
the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces…”                                          – Daniel 2:44-45
 
Let’s listen to Jesus and find ways to prevail together!  😎
 
Be strong in the love and grace uniquely found in Jesus!  -Pastor Steve
 
January 2, 2021
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
Welcome to 2021, congrats on making it through 2020!  It’s been a long year, hasn’t it?  Actually, it’s been a lot longer than you may realize…
 
Our journey of 365 days around the sun covered about 584 million miles.  Counting a rotation once a day at 40 degrees latitude, we can add another 7 million milesNo wonder we’re tired!  And you thought you didn’t go anywhere last year!  Think of all the cosmic frequent flyer miles, too!
 
Anyway, I mention this to help put the unexpected changes, traumas, disorientation, and isolation we’ve gone through in perspective.  Yes, all of us have experienced a variety of “gut punches” this year and many wonder if things will ever get “back to normal.”
 
Personally, while I don’t think “normal” is coming back, I do strongly believe love will prevail, whatever develops.  Love of God, Creator and Sustainer of all, that’s worshipful, relational, dependent, and dynamic!  Love of others that takes an interest, listens, sacrifices, crosses boundaries, forgives, and looks forward with hope and humble confidence in the prevailing love of God in Jesus Christ!
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal,
flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the 
great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life
bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. 
And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb
will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face
and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night
They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the 
Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.            -Revelation 22:1-5
 
I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony…
I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say,
“Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes 
take the free gift of the water of life.                                                                  -Revelation 22:16-17
 
Let’s start and finish 2021, living out our hope in Jesus, the author of life and love!  😎
 
Be strong in the love and grace uniquely found in Jesus!  -Pastor Steve
 
December 26, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
As our evening drew to a close and the fireplace lost its glow, we lit candles and sang Silent Night…
 
Silent night, holy night,
All is calm, all is bright…
 
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories steam from heaven afar:
Heavenly host sing alleluia!
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born!
 
Son of God, love’s pure light.
Radiant beams from thy holy face,
with the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth,
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth!
 
While it was a nice moment remembering Jesus’ miraculous birth, life, death, and resurrection, we are invited into so much more!  Chapter 2 of Matthew’s gospel illustrates for us the God-given dignity and responsibility we have being made in God’s image.  We are given the power to choose to turn away from or turn toward what has been revealed about Jesus.  Embrace in faith or stay distant in skepticism and unbelief.  The responses of the Magi (Wise Men) and King Herod give us some helpful the contrast…

…Wise Men from the east came to Jerusalem and asked,
“Where is the one  ho has been born king of the Jews?  

We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”            -Matthew 2:1-2

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed…                                    -Matthew 2:3

When the Wise Men came and saw the child
with his mother Mary, they bowed down and worshiped him.
Then they opened their treasures to present to him…                           -Matthew 2:11

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi,
he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem
and its vicinity who were two years old and under…                              -Matthew 2:16

 
Let’s be more like the Magi, offering ourselves in daily worship to Jesus, the author of life and love!  😎
 
Be strong in the love and grace uniquely found in Jesus!  -Pastor Steve
 
December 19, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
The light irritating my left eye was much stronger than the light in my right…  Was I getting a long overdue, eye exam or driving into the glare of oncoming traffic?  No, I was standing on the stage at Crossroads and noticed the spot light on my right was out.  Since the stage lighting hangs from the ceiling of our worship space about 18-19 feet above the floor, it’s not like changing the bulb in a lamp or something!
 
We are blessed with great neighbors (local towing and truck repair business) who let us borrow really cool equipment when we need to elevate to work that high up. We helped them out many years back and we’ve had a great relationship ever since.  I wish the bulbs burned out more often because I absolutely love using their hydraulic scissor-lift!
 
Not only is the lift extremely useful to get the job done in such a situation, but it also quickly elevates my perspective which I find refreshing.  In a matter of five seconds, I move from the floor to 18 feet.  Though I’m in the same space and situationmy perspective totally changes.  If I have a poor attitude about the mundane task of changing the bulb, when I’ve got loads of other stuff on my list, I jump on the scissor lift and my attitude elevates in a hurry!
 
Below is a picture of our Christmas worship space from the scissor-lift.  See what I mean!
I mention this because, the hustle and bustle, to do lists, and end of year deadlines and expectations can become overwhelming and robbing us of the joy of celebrating Jesus and with others at Christmas.  Instead of getting stuck in that rut, let’s jump into and elevate in the “scissor-lift” of carving out time to focus on Jesus and talk with him!  I guarantee that doing so will elevate your perspective and attitude in a hurry…

 

The Word of God became flesh and lived for a while among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son,
who came from the Father full of grace and truth.              – John 1:14

 

Jesus is the image of the invisible God…
For by him all things were created: things in heaven
and on earth, visible and invisible…
all things were created by him and for him.
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together…
For God was pleased to have all his fulness dwell in Christ,
and through him to reconcile to himself all things…
by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross…      – Colossians 1:15-20

 
Let’s elevate and be Jesus ready this Christmas.  His love and joy await!  😎
 
Be strong in the grace and peace of Jesus!  -Pastor Steve
 
December 12, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
The loss of daylight this time of year, can get to be a problem for me.  Negative emotions likegrumpiness, impatience, and discouragement come more quickly and can be more difficult to shake.  Can you relate?  By my count, our “days” have shortened to 9 hours and “nights” gotten longer to 15 hours. Thankfully, this disturbing trend (not a fan), begins to reverse itself in about 10 days, as it does each year!This is one of the reasons I’m a big fan of Christmas lights and enjoy putting them up outdoors!  I may be trying to dispel some of the darkness that seems to envelope our house and yard.  It’s kind of amazing how the combined, yet spread out, small points of light make such a big difference during the dark nights!
 
In our neighborhood, many people do the same, but very uniquely.  With a wide variety of colors, styles, and arrangements, their houses are wonderfully lighted and pushing back the darkness in their own way! It’s fantastic to behold the luminary variety and multiplied impact when returning home in the evening!  Also, it’s interesting that all the beautiful variety is powered by the same source, our local utility…
 
I mention this because it has important connections to Jesus Christ and the positive impact on our lives of his birth, life, death, and resurrection victory!  God entered the world born as the child Jesus, in the humblest of circumstances. In his childhood he experienced love, care, danger, displacement, refugee status, political oppression, and personal loss.  Through it all he thrived into adulthood.
 
Adult Jesus shown as “light in the darkness”, the exact and unique expression of God’s as human being.  All manner of people were drawn to his light and the “grace and truth” he lived out.  He guided them and guides us to, “love God as God alone with all of our being and to love our neighbor as ourselves.” He also identified himself as the source and means to love God and others as he described when he said, “I am the light of the world” as well as “I am the way, the truth, the life.”
 
Trust in Jesus and his sacrificial love, voluntary death on the cross, and resurrection victory over sin and death unites us to him and his light.  That’s why he told his first disciples and now tells us,  “You are the light of the world” and calls us share his light with others.
 

The people living in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned…       – Isaiah 9:2 & Matthew 4:16

 “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world…
Believe in the light while you have the light,
so that you may become children of the light.”       – John 9:5; 12:36

 Christmas lights remind me of Jesus, God’s greatest gift to everyone, who banishes all manner of darkness!
Let’s be sure to unwrap it and put it to good use throughout the year… 😎

Be strong in the grace and peace of Jesus!  -Pastor Steve

 
December 5, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
Many, many years ago when I was a wee lad…  No, I don’t believe I have Scottish heritage, but my aunt sure could tell you a riveting diaper changing incident!  I’ll let you figure it out…
 
Anyway, I remember being transfixed by the majestic scenery, dramatic moments, and amazing singing in one of my first movies, though I may have seen it on television first.  It was the story of a young woman whose enthusiasm and joy in singing transformed those around her.  “The Sound of Music” continues to be a classic!  In one of her songs, she sings that “brown paper packages tied up with strings” are on her shortlist of “a few of her favorite things.”  It’s a delightful song about when painful or sad things happen to us there is great power in focusing our minds and choosing to remember favorite things that transcend!
 
Speaking of favorite things that transcend and brown paper packages tied up with strings, causes me to think of and remember Jesus Christ (my favorite-est thing) and his incarnation as a human being in the most common and unpromising of circumstances.  His mom and step-dad were thought to be immoral, his last month in utero was spent bouncing on a donkey for about 100 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem (actually Mary had it worse!), and he entered this world in a filthy stable amongst animals!
 
To this day, Jesus Christ continues to be a great and transforming treasure, wrapped humbly and making a life-changing difference starting in obscurity and not calling much attention to himself.  How refreshing!  Also, he understands real life and will come alongside any of us and lead us forward.
Again, how refreshing!
 
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned… 
For to us a child is bornto usa son is given, and the  
government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called  
Wonderful CounselorMighty God, Everlasting Father
Prince of Peace.  Of the greatness of his government  
and peace there will be no end.                                         –Isaiah 9:2, 6-7  
 
Let’s remember him who is “The Favorite-est of Things” and “Be Jesus Ready” this Christmas! 😎
 
Be strong in the grace and peace of Jesus!  -Pastor Steve
 
November 28, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
Over the last few years, the young adults in our family and extended family have been beating the pants off me at a board game called Settlers of Catan.  It’s a strategy game about utilizing resources effectively to build the key elements of civilization (settlements, roads, cities) and beat your opponents.  I enjoy the time spent strategizing and laughing with them.  However, I’m not fond of regularly being a step behind and short key resources (wood, brick, wheat, sheep, ore) to establish my dominion and become a winner.
 
Hmmm, I’m either exaggerating to make a point or overly invested in winning…  I know what they would tell you!
 
I bring this up post-Thanksgiving and pre-Christmas in order to identify an obstacle we all face one way or another to living thankfully each day.  It involves trying to fill the God-shaped emptiness we all experience with things that are not capable of providing the lasting fulfillment and satisfaction we long for.  When we go down those paths, there will never be enough personal victories, positive experiences, accumulated possessions, enduring relationships, or lasting health to fill the void or validate our existence.
 
In our world of constant change and unrest, the everlasting love of God uniquely demonstrated in Jesus Christ is the rock-solid foundation for personal significance, secure standing, and service to others!  Jesus kept it very simple…
 
“The most important is this…’Love the Lord your God with all your heart 
and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength
The second is this… ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
There is no commandment greater than these.”  – Mark 12:30-31
 
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”  Mark 13:31
 
Let’s love God with all ourselves and love others as ourselves that peace and thankfulness may sustain and propel us forward! 😎
Be strong in the grace and peace of Jesus! -Pastor Steve
 
November 21, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
Sitting behind the wheel of my car, I held my breath and pushed the start button…
I hoped it would start and not blow up or something, which would be both inconvenient and expensive!
 
My car had been “getting up there” on the odometer and not running like earlier days.  You know the feeling!  Anyway, since I like learning new things and about how stuff works, I decided to try changing the spark plugs.  I’d never done this before, but what could go wrong?  As I got into the fun of prepping and actually starting to do it, it dawned on me though my car weighs 3,000-4,000 pounds (varies by load), it is powered by 4 small spark plugs, weighing less than 1 pound.
 
Though spark plugs are small, often overlooked, and difficult to access, they are absolutely essential to the proper functioning of gas-powered car engines.  They are the point of ignition where fuel becomes power!   When I got the old plugs out, I was shocked how worn they were when compared to new ones (see pic).  It is no wonder the car had been running poorly!
 
As we finish a tumultuous 2020, it’s also occurred to me how critical being thankful to God is in order to live and love well.  Like spark plugs, thankfulness can seem like a small thing, that’s often overlooked and difficult to access in our culture that seems to relentlessly perpetuate insecurity and dissatisfaction.
 
No matter how life-altering 2020’s been or 2021 looks ahead, choosing a spirit of thankfulness can be the spark plug or ignition point of much faithlove, and joy in our lives!  Yes, I know many of our hopes, dreams, and even specific plans abruptly changed in the interpersonal, vocational, financial, and health-related aspects of our lives.  However, our living and loving God reminds us there is a lot more that remains constantstable, and worthy of our focus
 
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever.  
– 1 Chronicles 16:34, Psalm 136:1
 
I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heartI will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
– Psalm 9:1
 
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and wonderful deeds for all mankind.  
– Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31
 
When Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home… Three times a day 
he got down on his knees and prayedgiving thanks to his Godjust as he had done before.
– Daniel 6:10
 
Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, Jesus gave thanks 
and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people.
– Luke 9:16
 
Let’s cultivate thankfulness in our lives that it may ignite a powerful love for God and the people around us😎
 
Be strong in the grace and peace of Jesus!  -Pastor Steve
 
November 14, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
It’s about that time of year again.  Days are getting shorter and nights longer and colder… Can’t wait to get the fireplace going!
 
Right now, however, it’s got birch logs in it taunting me.  They’re from a triple-trunked tree just off our patio, now a double.  They know it was me who felled, limbed, and segmented them into beautiful, fireplace-ready logs.  They might even remember the bite of that chainsaw!  Still, they don’t tremble around me.  For they will never be kissed by flames or give themselves to share heat and light with others.  They’re just ornamental and they know it.
 
Soon, however, I’ll exchange them for the less uniform, decorative logs from our wood pile and really heat things up!  In our pile, all manner of oak, cherry, maple, and irregular birch logs can be found.  Mixed together, they’re beautifully functionalgiving themselves to provide much heat and light!
 
Similarly, Jesus Christ calls every person into a faith-ignited love relationship with him.  A relationship that’s so much more than ornamental.  Instead, being generously passionate and functional, bringing the warmth and light of God’s love to others!  Jesus’ incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection open this door!
 
I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God 
given to and now within you.
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity,
but a Spirit of power, love, and self-discipline!   -2 Timothy 1:6-7
 
O God, you are my God, 
earnestly I seek youmy soul thirsts for youmy body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than lifemy lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.  
My soul will be satisfied…   – Psalm 63:1-5
 
Oh God, help me resist slipping into an ornamental faith, which lacks love, gratitude, and generosity in relationships.
Instead, help me give myself intentionally to a beautifully functional faithignited by a passionate love relationship with you.  Amen! 😎

 

Be strong in the grace and peace of Jesus!  -Pastor Steve
 
November 7, 2020
Reminder: ONLINE CHURCH ONLY this Sun, 11/8 at 10:00am (Lord’s Supper & Message)
Reason:  Response to Confirmed Case of Covid at church on Sun, 11/1
To protect our church family, businesses, and local communities from possible spread of the virus.
It will also give any symptoms a chance to surface and encourage those at risk or concerned to get tested before gathering to worship again.  More updates next week…  Thanks for your concern and prayers!
 
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
Somebody pinch me as I must be dreaming…
I had coffee this morning on the patio without a coat.  Most of my day was spent in a t-shirt and sandals (jeans, too) doing yardwork.  As the sun sets, my ears are filled with the happy sounds of many neighbors frolicking outdoors through our wide-open windows.  To put this in perspective, last year we were “treated” to shoveling 4 inches of snow on October 31st.  That trick was no treat!
 
Circumstances sure can change suddenly, can’t they?  Up, down, and all around- change is constant in all areas of life like weather, health, vocations, politics, finances, technology, relationships, responsibilities, etc…  Such change can be unsettling, disorienting, threatening, and fear-producing.  So how can we function better in the waves of constant external change?
 
Internally anchoring to the enduring love of God is a great place to start…

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
Let Israel say:  “His love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say: “His love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say: “His love endures forever.”
When hard pressedI cried out to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place.

The Lord is with meI will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?
The Lord is with mehe is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.”   -Psalm 118:1-9

Let’s anchor our security and significance in God’s unshakeable love in Christ when change begins to cast us adrift! 😎
 
Be strong in the grace and peace of Jesus!  -Pastor Steve
 
November 1, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
Three solid days of temps in the 30’s and 7+ inches of rain seriously altered our visit with extended family…  Off the table were all the outdoor plans- taking walks, biking scenic trails, eating on the patio, and even possibly playing a round of golf.  None of it happened!
 
Trip was a bust, huh?  Nope, not hardly!
 
Instead, we masked up indoors and took things at a slower pace.  Coffee, conversation, more coffee, crockpot meals, and lots of cards!  It turned out to be just what was needed.  God blessed us with the opportunity to prioritize people over plans and be fully present with one another.  It worked!
 
Thank you, God, for your presence and blessing in the middle of disrupted plans!
 
My heart, O God, is steadfast in you;
I will sing and make music with all my soul.
Awake, harp and lyre!
   I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.  -Psalm 108:1-5
 
Let’s center on the love, faithfulness, and glory of God, delighting in the people around us! 😎
 
Be strong in the love, grace, and peace of Jesus! -Pastor Steve
 
October 24, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
Shuffling across our kitchen in a pre-dawn haze, I switched on the light and began my morning coffee ritual…
Fill the Brita, grind new beans, rinse out carafe, open top to… Whoa, yikes! 
 
I was startled out of my stupor by a pair of eyes staring at me from within our drip coffee maker.  The animal was crouching right in the middle of the used grounds and grinning at me rather defiantly.  No, I didn’t imagine this nor make it up!  What did you do?  Well, I burst out laughing and smiled from ear to ear!  Have you lost my mind?
 
Not entirely…  You see, the animal was a jaguar.  What?  Did I mention it’s not a living creature, but a plastic one that’s had many happy years of stalking prey across the savanna of our carpets and roaring from beneath furniture in our house.  He comes to life at the initiative and vision of whoever holds him.  Children of various ages mostly, but recently he seems to be expanding into new markets!
 
Back to the coffee maker…  No, it wasn’t a child, but Laura who cleverly placed the jaguar for me to find at just the right time!  You see, it’s become a bit of a game with us.  Each trying to delight the other with an unexpected jaguar encounter!  I appreciate them for a few reasons.  First, when the jaguar shows up, it’s a reminder that Laura loves, is thinking about, and wants me to be delighted.  Second, in unplanned or mundane moments, the eyes and smile of the jaguar remind me that God sees me always, knows me best, and takes delight in me.  Also, just as the jaguar “comes to life” in our hands and becomes a manifestation of our love for and delight in one another, so we are called to “come to life” when we trust God to take hold of us in Christ.  In his hands, we become reminders of God’s love for, grace towards, and delight in others!
 
The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an 
everlasting loveI have drawn you to myself with unfailing kindness.  -Jeremiah 31:3
 
Lord, you have searched me and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;   you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue, you, Lord, know it completely.  -Psalm 139:1-4
 
Jesus answered, “The most important of the commandments is this…
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
The second is this, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
There is no commandment greater than these.”   -Mark 10:29-31
 
Let’s live and share the reality of Jesus’ resurrection love in unexpected and delightful ways! 😎
Be strong in the love, grace, and peace of Jesus! -Pastor Steve
 
October 17, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
I wasn’t having the best of days…
Alarming expansion of my “to do list” was greatly outpacing my progress.  Anxious about a misunderstanding that had me stewing for some kind of resolution.  Approach of shorter, colder days signaled the quickly closing window for favorite outdoor activities.  Anger over the state of our nation’s political climate.  And worst of all (not really)…  Abysmal described the descent of my fantasy football team (and my attitude) into last place in our neighborhood league!
 
You may be thinking, “Get a grip man,” especially on that last one.  If so, you’re spot on!  I share this as reminder of how easy it can be to allow minorunexpected, and beyond our control things to get under our skin, into our hearts, and on top of our attitudes!  Fortunately, God gives us helpful insight in these two passages…
 
Then Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands.
Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to Jesus, “My Lord and my God!
The Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me you have believed;
blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed.” -John 20:27-29
 
Now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. 
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorableand right
and pure, and lovely, and admirable
Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—
everything you heard from me and saw me doing. 
Then the God of peace will be with you.   -Philippians 4:8-9 
 
Let’s fix our thoughts on and live in the power of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection! 😎
 
Be strong in the love, grace, and peace of Jesus! -Pastor Steve
 
October 10, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
“What’s that awful smell? I wondered with disgust.  It ambushed me as I hurried into the medical building for an early appointment.  Answering my own question, I first guessed, “spent mop water” had been used near the entrance.  Not seeing an unattended mop bucket, I recalled the olfactory assault began as I put on a mask just before opening the door.  Must’ve grabbed an “old mask,” I surmised as I slipped it off to take a whiff.  Hmm, it was fine.
 
Then it hit me how wrong I was…  With sudden clarity, I realized the offensive odor had come from “my own breath” which was now a toxic mix of stale morning breath and reheated coffee!  In my rush, I forgot to brush and the doctor was going to pay the price.
 
How easy it is to judge, critique, or blame others before ourselves!  Jesus talked about this all too common, toxic habit
 
“And why focus on a speck in another person’s eye when you have a log in your own?
How can you think of saying to another person, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ 
when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?  Hypocrite! 
First get rid of the log in your own eyethen you will see well enough 
to deal with the speck in another’s eye.”  Matthew 7:3-5
 
Let’s focus on bringing ourselves and our logs to Jesus’ healing cross.  His arms are always open wide! 😎
 
Be strong in the love, grace, and peace of Jesus! -Pastor Steve
 
October 3, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
Bang!  Shock and surprise quickly gave way to a flash of anger as I realized my car had been hit…
As I hopped out of my car hopping mad, I was reminded that years ago I too had once caused an accident, more substantial than this minor fender bender.  Empathy prevailed over anger as I asked, “Are you okay?” Fortunately, damage was limited to rattled nerves, disrupted routines, and a replaceable rear bumper.
 
It wasn’t easy for me turn over my car to a collision repair shop…  You see, we’d been through a lot in our 9+ years and 150,000+ miles together!  Taken many memorable family trips and hauled everything under the sun (bikes, brush, kitchen stove, donated food for the local pantry, and even 50+ folding chairs for two grad parties) with the rear seats down.  Super functional and indispensable!  I left the shop in a new, provided rental car, but it wasn’t the same…
 
When I got my car back, the bumper repair was done great.  Also, they had cleaned and buffed it both inside and out.  Seriously, my car was the cleanest it had been and smelled in 5 years!  However, as I drove home, I had a flash of guilt.  They had taken care of my car better than I was doing!  You see, even though my car was indispensable to me, I’d gotten lax in doing in all sorts of necessary maintenance.  You know, washing it more than once a year, vacuuming the interior, removing discarded banana peels, apple cores, and yoghurt cups, and changing the oil, filters, and spark plugs in a timely manner!
 
Why share this?  Similarly, even though a faith relationship with God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit is both indispensable to our lives and super functional, we can get lax and overlook necessary maintenance that’s essential for quality relationships with God and everyone else in our lives!
 
Jesus answered, “The most important of the commandments is this…
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
The second is this, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
There is no commandment greater than these.”   Mark 10:29-31
 
Let’s make time to talk with, listen to, and move in love towards Jesus and the people around us! 😎
 
September 26, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
It was a perfect evening sitting outside at a favorite local restaurant.  Talking with one of the owners who’d stopped by, we didn’t notice the server deliver our second small plate.  “Octopus!” proudly announced the owner.  Now, we are not timid foodies, but were caught off guard and paused…
 
“Oh, that must be somebody else’s.  It’s not our order,” we replied with surprise.  “Well, it’s yours now, no charge!  Otherwise, I’ll have to throw it away,” she persisted super-hospitably.  Not wanting to offend, we chorused a semi-enthusiastic“Okay great, thanks so much!”  When she left, we confronted the reality of the pale, sucker-sided, five-inch arm segments gifted to and before us.  It wasn’t going to be easy to move beyond our fears and preconceptions in this food arena.  However, doing so could affirm and show respect to the people involved in the preparation and delivery of the meal.  So, we gave octopus a try…
 
Guess what?  It was surprisingly and refreshingly delicious!  In fact, we’re going to order it ourselves in the future.
Years ago, God challenged Peter’s ideas of “unclean food” (and unclean people) to help him understand and live out the reality that God’s grace in Jesus Christ is fully available and offered to all people and every personnot just (certain types) people within his race, culture, religion, and community!
 
The voice spoke to Peter a second time, 
Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”  -Acts 10:15
 
Peter said, “God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted the Gentiles 
by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us
He did not discriminate between us and them, 
for he purified their hearts by faith in Jesus…  We believe it is through 
the undeserved grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”  -Acts 15:8-9, 11
 
This surprising, challenging, yet very refreshing Good News is meant to be embraced and lived out today!
Let’s move beyond our fears and prejudices in all the broadening encounters and relationships gifted to us! 😎
 
Be strong in the love, grace, and peace of Jesus! -Pastor Steve
 
September 19, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
There is something about being outdoors that has always invigorated me
Taking a walk on a trail, mowing the grass, jogging in the morning, listening to wind in the trees, camping in a tent, feeling the sun on my face, painting the house trim, frolicking at the beach, planting and harvesting a garden, rolling in a birdie putt, trimming the bushes, getting rained on, riding a bike, raking fall leaves, picking apples in an orchard, looking at the moon and stars from around a firepit, etc…  While your favorites may differ, you’re with me, aren’t you!
 
“The heavens proclaim the glory of God.    The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;   night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word;    their voice is never heard.
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,   and their words to all the world.” Psalm 19:1-4 
 
God whispers, speaks, and even sings to us through creation…

Let’s open our hearts afresh to his love and majesty on full display! 😎

September 12, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
About a month ago, walking across our yard had become a decidedly unpleasant experience
Lush green grass had given way to something more like dry breakfast cereal!  While weeks of sunshine and no precipitation had provided a nice break from mowing, it had also taken a withering toll on the grass, bushes, and trees!  They all were desperate for water…  Fast forward to the present, where we’ve had a renewal of rainfall and the last several days have been overcast with cooler temperatures and lots of rain.  Though few appreciate such dreary weather, it is greening up around here and the grass is caressing our feet once again!  Water is indeed essential for life! 
 
Much like physical water, the Bible tells us that God’s and Jesus’ words to us in the Bible are life-sustaining… 
 
Jesus:  “Everyone who drinks the water from this well will be thirsty again
but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst
Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water 
welling up to eternal life.”  (John 4:10-11)
   
God:  “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”  (Isaiah 55:10-11) 

Let’s drink deep and often
 of this water…  Even the most parched of us, can be made lush and verdant! 😎
 
September 5, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
Pulling weeds from some landscaping, I suddenly (ouch!) felt a sharp pain in my wrist…
I’d gotten too close to a bush housing the hidden domicile of a family of yellow jackets.  Though I was unaware of them, they perceived me as a definite threat and instinctually treated me to a painful sting!  I was lucky to get away with just one sting, as several more emerged to confront me and had no interest in listening to my benign explanation!
 
Similar reactions happen among human beings all too often, with more serious results…
We feel threatened, yet do plenty of our own threatening.
We are hurt by harsh words, yet aim them all the time with precision.
We dislike being misunderstood, yet often listen absently or not at all.
We hate being used or exploited, yet carelessly treat others as transactional commodities.
 
Jesus Christ came to help reconcile and unite human beings with himself and each other.
He desires us to be “made new in the attitude of our minds” as we trust and follow him! 😎
 
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, 
brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
Choose to be kind and compassionate toward one another
forgiving each otherjust as in Christ God forgave you.”    -Ephesians 4:31-32 
 
Be strong in the love, grace, and peace of Jesus! -Pastor Steve
August 28, 2020
 
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
For a second or two, I was caught off guard by the polite request, “Can I see your scar?”
I’d shown it to others and not been self-conscious about it.  In fact, she’d seen it early on, 3+ weeks previous, when the swelling and bruises were fresh and obvious.  Noticing my pause, “I want to see how you’re doing,” she explained.  Oh, sure…
 
Scars are complicated things.  We all have them, yet they can be so different!  Some are physical and perhaps readily visible, while others are more difficult to notice and relational, emotional, psychological, or spiritual in nature.  They all tell stories, yet their narratives vary widely.  Many tell of something gone wrong, injury or conflict endured, and perhaps lessons learned in the process.  Others show vulnerability or brokenness, interrupted plans or dreams, and of the need for overcoming intervention.  Our scars are personal.  They can inspire and strengthen or distract, discourage, and disrupt us.

God is very familiar with all kinds of scars- yours, mine, everyone’s.  He even has scars of his own!

In Jesus, God become fully human and experienced the scarring realities of living in a corrupted world, among fallen people.  Motivated by passionate, sacrificial love for each person, Jesus allowed himself to be scarred by vulnerable poverty and refugee status, personal opposition and verbal assault, exhausting temptation and relational betrayal, which then culminated in the agony of Roman scourging and crucifixion.  Yes, he understands scars!

Jesus showed his scars
 to his disciples, proving he was alive and giving them his presence, peace, and power!
Through his scars and resurrection victory, Jesus’ healing and transforming power are at the ready…
He was pierced for our transgressions,  he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.    -Isaiah 53:5

 
Risen Jesus asks, “Will you show me your scars?” “Let me help you, so you’re doing way better than okay! 😎

August 21, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
True confession.  Sometimes I fall asleep when I pray with God.  Yeah, it happens!
I say “with God” because I try to have prayer conversations where I both speak and listen to God.  It’s during “listening” that I’m most likely to doze off.  Not just at night or when horizontal on the couch or carpeting, either!
This morning, sitting upright in a bright room, focusing with my eyes closed, and keeping my second coffee within reach, I did some quiet praying with God.  When I opened my eyes from “listening,” I was greeted by Laura’s smiling face within one foot of my own!  It was a nice vision.  “You were sleeping, weren’t you?” came her loving non-question.  “No, I was praying,” I dreamily, but inaccurately, replied.  She knew better, yet was delighted for me!

God lovingly smiles and delights over us whenever we approach him in prayer!
  God is described in the Bible as just, truthful, loving, compassionate, and highly relational.  In Jesus, he understands and identifies with all of humanity and each of us personally.  Through faith in Jesus, we are granted and guaranteed access to God, interpersonally.  That’s what Jesus’ incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection are all about!  God much prefers we pray with him– even when we get distracted, doze off, struggle with our attitudes, or don’t do much listening- rather than live without interacting with him.
Delight yourselvesin Godfinding your joyin him at all times.
Have a reputation for gentleness, never forgettingthe nearness of your Lord.
Don’t worry about anything whatsoever… 
Tell Godevery detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer, 
and the peace of God,which transcends human understanding,
will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus.”  -Philippians 4:4-7
When prayer is difficult or seems futile, envision God’s loving smile and delight in you and keep at it!  😎
August 14, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
It’s good to be writing to you again and speaking this week!  I hoped to write last week, but couldn’t even though my recovery was going well.  I wasn’t ready; too soon, too vulnerable.  I’ll try to explain…

It’s only been five weeks since I learned about my colon cancer, the last three during post-surgery recovery.  In the two weeks before I was rolled out of a successful surgery, a lot of good and necessary stuff happened that I would never have chosen, but now would not trade…  Fasts, cleanses, tests, scans, and scopes out the wazoo (literally).  Pathology reports, abdominal incisions, robotic maneuvers, plumbing removal, hand sewn reconnections, etc…

As I try to process it all, I am incredibly thankful to God and so many others for their personal involvement in my healing and recovery! In my vulnerability and need, God reminded me to come to him and his love…

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; 
   and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread
   and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, 
   and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenantwith you,
my unfailing lovepromised to David.”  -Isaiah 55:1-3😎

 

July 18, 2020

Crossroads Family & Friends,
Another head-spinning, but good week…

At some point during my surgical consult the details started to overwhelm me.  Not emotionally, which would’ve been okay, but cognitively.  I wanted to understand everything, but wasn’t quite able or prepared.  My questions were more than my usual curiosity about how and why things are done.  I was in need of some sense of control for a surgical process soon to involve me!  It was then I heard the inaudible whisper, “we got you,” and I relaxed…

I am thankful my surgery has been expedited and scheduled for Wed, July 22.  This is good news since “we” are trying to limit the spread of the cancer to other areas.  I say “we” because by God’s grace I am surrounded and being upheld by a formidable team!  God the Father, Son & Spirit; ever-present, ever-loving & everlasting!  Medical professionals; highly-skilled, caring & mobilized!  Laura, Emily & Josh; who share my heart & love like no one else!  Our extended families; kind, loving, and committed to pray!  Fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who love God with all of themselves and others as themselves; as part of Crossroads and in broader and expanding spheres of influence!

Thanks so much for being part of “we” and your manner of upholding!
Btw, Jesus has always been and always will be about “we”
Just as each of us has one body with many members,
and these members do not all have the same function,
so in Christ we, though many, form one body,
and each member belongs to all the others.  -Romans 12:4-5 😎

July 11, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
It’s been a weird week…
Sometimes “routine” things turn out to be lifesaving things.  This week, the pathology report from my “routine” colonoscopy revealed that I have an aggressive/invasive type of colon cancer.  It will require surgical removal of part of my colon and resection.  It is hoped the cancer has not spread to affect other areas, which would make treatment and recovery far more difficult.  I have a CAT scan on 7/14, surgical consult 7/16, and surgery toward end of July or early August.  Yeah, my head is kind of spinning, too!
I ask you to pray for Laura & I, Emily & Josh, our extended families, and Crossroads.  Please pray for Jesus’ presencepeace, and power to “show up” and make a meaningful difference in all concerned and that God would be glorified through this trial.  Also, since the surgery is time-critical, that God would help me keep clear of Covid-19, which would delay things.  Thank you so much!
Lots of things have changed for me this week, but really nothing has… My life continues to be in God’s good and capable hands!
I’m reminded of one of my favorite passages in Psalm 103 from David:

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits-
who forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases,
who redeems my life from the pit
and crowns me with love and compassion,
who satisfies my desires with good things
so that my youth is renewed like the eagle’s.  -Psalm 103:1-5 😎
July 4, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
I hope this Independence Day weekend give you opportunity to relax, relate, and refresh
in the freedom and power of the love and resurrection life of Jesus Christ!
Since today is a national holiday, I will be uncharacteristically brief with my comments,

deferring to the timeless insight of the Holy Spirit through Paul…

“You have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters.
But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature.
Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.
For the whole law can be summed up in this one command:
Love your neighbor as yourself.”
But if you are always biting and devouring one another,
watch out! Beware of destroying one another.”  -Galatians 5:13-15

Serving someone in love
 can be as simple as showing appreciation, forgiving an offense,
helping with a to do list, letting go of a grudge, observing & meeting a need, listening attentively,
offering a compliment, investing your time in another, lending a hand, initiating kindness…

Okay, let’s just do it!
 😎
June 26, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
The masked and shielded woman seemed to be testing the plasticity of my brain rather than
swabbing my nasal passages for Covid-19.  In the words of Bob Uecker, “Juuust a bit inside!”

Bad, huh?
  Well not really.  I may be exaggerating just a bit for effect!
You okay?   As far as I know.  No symptoms, just ticking boxes before a preventative health procedure.
Why do it?  Doctor insisted.  If I’ve got Covid-19, it benefits/protects me and others to reschedule.

Why share this?
  It occurs to me recently, that going through preventative health procedures has strong parallels to following Jesus.  Both require faith in the credibility, experience, and good purpose of those in charge (doctors, Jesus).  Both involve following instructions or guidance, even when personal need or urgency isn’t perceived (patient/follower).  Last, both are designed to bring benefit to more than just the person directly involved.

Simon Peter
 didn’t like it much when Jesus revealed his greater mastery of fishing.
“Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8-9)
Saul (Paul) was undone when Jesus’ greatness exposed the fragility of his carefully constructed life…
“Who are you, Lord?” (Acts 9:5)
These examples of the preventativehumbling touch of Jesus, and many that followed, benefitted Peter and Paul greatly.  Thousands of years later, that benefit is still bringing benefit to many.  May future generations say the same of us😎

1)  Onsite
 Worship & Online Live Messages this Sun, 6/28 will work together this way:
As you participate, may the love and good news of Jesus Christ wash over and bless you!

10:00-10:15am
 > Onsite starts...
(Greeting / Worship music- acoustic guitar & singing this week / Video)
10:1510:50am > Online joins in…
(Greeting / Inspiring message from the Bible / Closing prayer / Sending music)

2)  
Online Live Sunday Message  (Join our live-stream message on Facebook…)
We continue our series “New Life Reaching Out” this week 6/28 with a message
from Acts 11 “Join Jesus’ Seeking Initiative!”
Follow link below, then scroll down Crossroads Fb page.  Broadcast begins about 10:13am…

3) 
Visit our website (gocrossroads.net)
> For more messages and helpful updates to renew & recharge in this Covid-19 pandemic.
> Continue or start worshipful financial giving to God’s ministry through Crossroads Church as God provides for you!
You can either send a check by mail or go online to the PayPal portal on our website (www.gocrossroads.net).
Be strong in the love, grace, and peace of Jesus! -Pastor Steve
June 20, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
After three months of quarantine, Crossroads re-opened for “limited” worship last Sun, 6/14.
Many thanks to those who made it possible!  Volunteers moved by the Holy Spirit truly are the heart of Crossroads!
We’re making a small (5 min) adjustment to the Sunday schedule this Sun, 6/21.
Onsite Worship & Online Live Messages (via Facebook) will work together this way:

10:00am-
10:15am Onsite Begins (onsite welcome, updates, music, video, etc…)

10:15am-10:50am Online Joins (online welcome, Lord’s Supper, Bible message, closing prayer & music)

This Sunday, 6/21 we will share in the Lord’s Supper together (onsite & online) shortly after the online broadcast begins.

We do this to remember and give thanksfor Jesus’ broken body and shed blood for us!  The elements are both
physical reminders and powerful symbols of his demonstrated love for us and the ultimate cost he paid on the cross!

Onsite elements:  1) packaged/prefilled cups with soft wafers or 2) bring your own from home!

Online elements:  1) bring your own wherever you’re watching!

However you choose to participate,
may the good news and love of Jesus Christ wash over and bless you!

Onsite Worship
Thank you in advance for reviewing the details and guidelines, particularly as we move into
Limited (Phase 1) Onsite Sunday Worship.  As we worship together, we want to affirm, respect, and
build up one another in the grace, mercy, and powerful love of Jesus Christ!

Online Live Sunday Message
– We encourage you to watch online if in high risk group, not comfortable, or unable to come to church.
This Sunday, 6/21 at 10:15am join our live-stream message on Facebook…
This week is Acts 10: “Follow Jesus into a Wider Circle!”
Follow the link below, then scroll down the Crossroads page to find it.  Music broadcast begins 2 mins before start time…

Onsite Sunday Worship
 (Phase 1- limited)
– See guidelines under June 12, 2020 post below…
Be strong in the love, grace, and peace of Jesus! -Pastor Steve

June 12, 2020

Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,

I am excited to announce Crossroads will re-open for “Limited (Phase 1) Onsite Worship”
this Sunday, June 14 at 10:00am!  We will continue to offer live online Sunday messages via Facebook
and message outlines & recorded messages (on gocrossroads.net) for any and all who may be in high-risk groups,

not comfortable coming to church yet, or unable to come to church.

However you choose to join in, may the good news and love of Jesus Christ wash over and bless you!

Here’s how Onsite Worship & Online FB Livestream Messages will work together in Phase 1:

10:00am-10:10am Onsite Begins (onsite welcome, updates, music, video, etc…)

10:10am~10:45am Online Joins (online welcome, Bible message, closing prayer & music)

Thank you in advance for reviewing the details and guidelines below, particularly as we move into

Limited (Phase 1) Onsite Sunday Worship.  As we worship together, we want to affirm, respect, and

build up one another in the grace, mercy, and powerful love of Jesus Christ!

Online Live Sunday Message

– Continue Online Livestream of Sunday messages on Facebook (Crossroads Church – Pewaukee, WI)
– Encourage people to watch online if in high risk group, not comfortable, or unable to come to church.
Join our live-stream message on Facebook this Sunday, June 14, 2020at 10:10 am
Message series from the Book of Acts. This week is Acts 9“Be Jesus’ Supporting Evidence!”
Follow the link below, then scroll down the Crossroads page to find it.
Broadcasts with music background begin 2 mins before start time…
– Simple service (limited music, welcome/announcements, Bible message, limited music)
– Maintain social distance (6ft) in seating groups (2, 3, 4, or 6) for 58 people max
– Practice social distance in all interactions and any singing
– Encourage wearing of masks, but not required, respecting either choice
– Hand sanitizer and new masks (free) offered at welcome table in foyer
– Use restrooms one person at a time
– Preaching w/o mask done at 20ft distance from front row

– Lord’s Supper (when celebrated) with packaged pre-filled cups with soft wafers or BYO

– No snacks or coffee offered (BYO)

– No bulletins handed out (BYO from website)
– No pens, envelopes, or communication cards in seats
– No passing of offering plates. Offering box & envelopes on side table.
– No nursery/childcare or children’s church at this time
– Children are welcome, but must also practice social distance
– Children sit with their adults during the entire service
– Children who get restless may go and stay with one of their adults to a designated nursery room,

that will have access to a toilet, sink, kid’s table & very limited toys. BYO toys, books, etc…

Visit our website (gocrossroads.net)

> For more messages and helpful updates to renew & recharge in this Covid-19 pandemic.
> Continue or startworshipful financial giving to God’s ministry through Crossroads Church as God provides for you!

You can either send a check by mail or go online to the PayPal portal on our website (www.gocrossroads.net).

Be strong in the love, grace, and peace of Jesus! -Pastor Steve

June 5, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
We planted a small flowering crab apple tree two years ago.  It has since become a hot commodity in the spring and summer rental market for nesting robins on Airbnb!  Anyway, during planting I noticed the bark changed about 3/4 of the way up the trunk.  I learned it is common practice with some trees to “graft in” a less hardy upper portion into a proven, durable root stock.  The top benefits tremendously from the more stable, nourishing root stock without changing what it is.
This practice mirrors what happens when anyone trusts in and follows Jesus Christ!  Let me explain…  When anyone places their faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord, their personal story “gets grafted into” the proven, life-giving root stock of God’s living and active story revealed in history and the Bible.  In so doing, they join with countless others across generations, genders, and cultures bringing redemption and blessing to the world!
In the early church, Stephen helped solve a discriminatory food distribution problem in Acts 6.  Later in Acts 7, he highlighted three men who were “grafted into” God’s greater story (Abraham, Joseph, and Moses) and the blessing God brought through them.  While there are many lessons to be internalized from their stories, here a three that can help bring stability and flourishing to our lives and others…
Trust in God to Fulfill His Promises in and through You!
         (As God promised, Abraham’s descendants are blessing the whole world)
Let God Change Hardships into Sources of Blessing!
         (God elevated Joseph from slavery & prison to leadership that saved nations from famine)
> Allow God toWork Through You Beyond Your Ability!
         (God worked through Moses to lead millions out of slavery and bondage)
By God’s grace in Jesus, let’s purpose to be “fully grafted in” and bringing that kind of blessing😎
Be strong in the love, grace, and peace of Jesus! -Pastor Steve

May 22, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
As the frozen turkey carcass made its way up from the depths of the basement freezer to the garbage, we couldn’t help but burst out laughing!  No, it didn’t waddle itself up to the bin, but did land with a dull thud in stark contrast to our Thanksgiving hopes six months prior…  turkey soup, turkey waffles, turkey hair conditioner.  Well, the first one anyway!  All that turkey potential unused…  Yet, we laughed even harder, realizing this was two years in a row!
While “turkey potential” may not be terribly important, human potential (individual & collective) certainly is!
That said, it’s worth noting God is very passionate about developing human potential and always has been.  In Jesus Christ, God demonstrates his loving commitment to free and release our potential in such a way that brings forth benefit and rolls back injury within and through as many people as possible!

Trusting
 in Jesus’ incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection and leaning into his Holy Spirit overcomes barriers, creates harmony, and releases the power of his practical, generous love within any person or community!
This can be seen in the way the early church (Acts 6) addressed an overlooked problem in one of the church’s important ministries.  Jesus’ message was drawing people from different cultures and life experiences into the new church, a good thing, but things were falling through the cracks.  Like then, today’s church also needs people to help manage changes and find solutions togetherthat benefit others!  This is how Jesus develops and releases our potential to multiply and distribute his blessings to others!  🙂
Be strong in the love, grace, and peace of Jesus! -Pastor Steve

MAY 15, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
“To open or not to open– that is the question…”  No, I’m not quoting some weird version of Shakespeare’s play Hamlet,
nor have I been watching too much British “tele” during quarantine (actually that’s probably true)!  As most know, the
“stay-at-home” order to reduce the spread of Covid-19 was suspended midweek here in Wisconsin.

So, what does that mean for worship or other gatherings at Crossroads?

Short answer
:  Nothing will change this weekend or until further notice…
We will continue to Facebook Livestream messages on Sundays at 10:00 am,
continuing the series, “Experience New Life- Taking Root” from the Book of Acts.
Our study groups for men and women will continue to meet via Zoom.
Right now, we’re not ready for anything more.

Long Answer
:  While state law has changed, Covid-19 and its transmission and health risks have not.  This is particularly true for larger groups, gathered indoors, and that involve close proximity for respiration and vocalizations.  As Christ followers and a local expression of Jesus’ church, we are constrained to:
Love God with all of ourselves and to Love Others as ourselves. (Mark 12:28-31)  
So, though we long to gather in worship right away (for inspiring music, engaging messages, growing friendships), we will take a more deliberate approach to facilitate both the spiritual and physical well-being of childrenvolunteersguests, etc…
We have much to consider, pray over, communicate, pray over, coordinate, pray over, and then worship together!
In the mean time, I ask you to pray for the leadership team and I as we seek wisdom from God and insight from
experienced others in making important decisions ahead. Thank you so much for your prayers and input; we will keep you posted!
Again, let’s continue to be Jesus contagious, showing his sacrificial lovegraciousness, and patience to the people around us…😎
Be strong in the love, grace, and peace of Jesus! -Pastor Steve


MAY 8, 2020

Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
Stifling a cough into my mask at the grocery checkout, I wondered about the reaction of other foragers nearby…
They didn’t know about my seasonal drainage.  Thankfully, no one yelled, “Unclean” or had me forcibly removed!

Transmission
 is on everyone’s mind- with visible symptoms or without; receiving from or giving to others.
Let me to encourage you to excel at all of the above…  What?  Have you lost your mind?
Yes, if I were talking about Covid-19.  No, since I’m talking about the grace of God in Christ!
Within your “Covid-19 Quarantine”, whatever it looks like, opportunities abound to be positively contagious
with the sacrificial love and generous grace of God in Christ!  Seize the opportunities to show people they matter.
Open your eyes to their needs, stories, and priorities!  Give your full attention in person, remotely, and through prayer!

It has been done…
  See Jesus’ activity through Peter and John! (Acts 3)
It can be done today…  You will do similar by the same Spirit! (in your world)
Let’s be the right kind of contagious, showing the resurrection reality of Jesus in far from perfect people like us…
Start by giving your mom some extra and deserved love this weekend! 😎
Be strong in the love, grace, and peace of Jesus! -Pastor Steve


APRIL 30, 2020

Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
Looking back on the last two months, my mind is drawn to sports parallels.  Weird, I know…
-Third and long…  Edge rushers anticipate bringing pain to the QB…  Draw play up the middle for a long TD… Now they’re in pain.
-Five seconds, four…  Defender plans to lock down point guard once again…  Quick crossover, no look pass, slam dunk… Gut punch.
-Bases loaded, two outs, and a full count…  Batter expects to drive a fastball…  Gets an off-speed curve… Not pretty, rally over.
It’s been a difficult time for all of us!

Looking forward
, the new realities of “Covid-19 Spring” are going to hang around a while in varying ways.  How we handle the disruption and ongoing change will largely be shaped by what goes on inside our heartssouls, and minds and how that works its way out!  Even though we are less prepared and more vulnerable than we anticipated, there are good, unshakable reasons for hope and courage!
When Jesus passed the baton to us mere mortals, he said we wouldn’t have to go it alone
He promised to give the ever-present lovepowercouragepeace and companionship of the Holy Spirit (his spirit) to all who trust in him.
That’s good news since the Holy Spirit…
…..Works alongside & beyond our human limitations!
…..Wants everyone to experience new life in Jesus!
…..Breaks barriers & brings together God and people!
So, whether you’re experiencing the pain of a missed goal or opportunity, feeling the gut punch of personal loss and your own limitations, or the emptiness of striking out and letting others down, Jesus is completely and totally in your corner!  The cross, empty tomb, and Holy Spirit prove that!
Be strong in the love, grace, and peace of Jesus! -Pastor Steve

APRIL 23, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
Easter moves around in concert with Passover’s full moon.  For many here in WI, it marks the start of “psychological spring.”  As such, expectations run high for warming temperatures, greening landscapes, and renewed life bursting forth!  No one wants to wait a single minute, let alone four more weeks.  Yet, here we are facing a quarantine extension together.  Many have strong, legitimate, and yet divergent opinions about this, so it remains to be seen if we will be graciouskind, and respectful to one another in the midst of our differences…  By the way, I am unabashedly optimistic and hopeful we will do so!
The first Easter, Jesus demonstrated his victory over sin & death and announced his plan to use ordinary & unproven disciples to share his victory with all peoples, in all places, and in all times!  An outlandish plan with long odds…  In the words of Gimli the Dwarf (from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Return of the King), “Certainty of death.  Small chance of success.  What are we waiting for?”  Indeed, centuries later, as always, today’s Jesus followers can be:

-Hopefully Confident:  
JESUS replaces death with resurrection life!
-Humbly Authentic:  JESUS renews and uses real, imperfect people!
-Expectantly Transformed:  HOLY SPIRIT gives power to soar!  🙂
Be strong in the love, grace, and peace of Jesus! -Pastor Steve

APRIL 17, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
With 3-4 weeks of social distancing under our belts, the new normal involves my pants becoming too tight!  But I digress…
Seriously, many with “adjusted” work routines, social connections, health risks, and personal dreams are wrestling with
how to adapt, find significance, and live with hope.  Feelings of isolation, uncertainty, and vulnerability abound.
On resurrection Sunday, quite unexpectedly, Jesus stepped into the “turned upside down” & “locked up” lives of his followers.
He reassured them of HIS PRESENCEdeclared HIS PEACE with them, and breathed into them HIS POWER in the Holy Spirit!
Whenever loneliness, disorientation, or agitation start to get the better of you, remember…

-JESUS is present, 
always understanding and never abandoning you in whatever situation!
-JESUS is peace, transcending and dispelling our inner unrest that tends to work its way out!
-JESUS is power, forgiving human failure and selfishness, while equipping us to do the same!
Jesus, we ask you to help us experience the presence, peace, and power of your resurrection reality!  🙂
Be strong in the love, grace, and peace of Jesus! -Pastor Steve


APRIL 9, 2020

Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
The events of the first Easter weekend were quite a roller coaster ride.  For Jesus’ first disciples, events progressed from celebratory to ominous; to disorienting, frightening and devastating; then quite unexpectedly to disbelief, rejoicing and empowerment!  Sounds like timeless Good News worth a listen… 🙂

Experience Easter renewal & rejoicing two ways this weekend on our Facebook page
For either one, please follow the link below, then scroll down the Crossroads page to find it.
Broadcasts with just music background will begin 3-5mins before official start times…

1- Good Friday, April 10, 2020 at 3:00 pm on Facebook, share in the Lord’s Supper remotely!
Can we do this?  Absolutely!  All you need is any kind of bread & juice to remember Jesus’ broken body & shed blood for you
on the cross, and your willingness to trust in and be thankful for Jesus’ sacrificial love for you!  Pastor Steve will lead you
and whoever you’re with, through the rest.  We will join millions of Jesus’ followers worldwide…

2- Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020 at 10:00 am on Facebook, join our live-stream Easter message
!
We will celebrate Jesus’ resurrection victory over sin and death with an uplifting Easter message from Pastor Steve!
-For more messages in the series “Soaring Hope” and helpful updates to soar, slow-down, and recover from Covid-19 pandemic.
-Continue or start worshipful financial giving to God’s ministry through Crossroads Church as God provides for you!
Two options:  Send a check by mail or go online to the new PayPal portal linked to our website (www.gocrossroads.net).
Be strong in the love, grace, and peace of Jesus! -Pastor Steve

APRIL 4, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
As soon as the words flew out of his mouth, he regretted them…  Harsh words they were, coming from the frustration and fear in his own heart.  Regrettably the words were mine, directed at my favorite person in the world and impossible to take back.  Coming to my senses, I whispered an embarrassed apology and went out for a walk, a long one.  “It’s easier to learn and teach my ways than live them,” said the Promised Companion as he came alongside…  He continued, “Just, revisit what you taught last week and go forward. Lean into me, I’ll help you!”  Okay then, message received…

In these stretching times, remember to…
1- BE KIND TO YOURSELF, remembering Jesus has washed “your feet”, been crucified, and risen for you!
2- BE AS KIND TO OTHERS, realizing that’s Jesus’ way and “other’s feet” are no more offensive than yours!
3- BE MOST KIND WHEN IT’S INCONVENIENT, revisiting the “inconvenience” of Jesus’ cross, for you and others!
Be strong in the love, grace, and peace of Jesus! -Pastor Steve

MARCH 26, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
In this time of testing, we are still all about Jesus, people, worshiping & growing together, and life-saving moments!
It’s why Crossroads means so much to us and brings forth our love, commitment, and passion!

In this time
 of upheaval and stress, it’s a big deal to experience threats and disruption to our health, families, vocations, churches, social connections, personal finances, and so much more, all at once!  We need Jesus more than ever and so do the people around us!  That being true, I am reminded of Jesus’s words to his disciples, and us, after he washed their feet mere hours before his own crucifixion…

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, 
you also should wash one another’s feet.”  John 13:14
“…As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

In this time
, I encourage you to…
1- BE KIND TO YOURSELF, remembering Jesus has washed “your feet”, been crucified, and risen for you!
2- BE AS KIND TO OTHERS, realizing that’s Jesus’ way and “other’s feet” are no more offensive than yours!
3- BE MOST KIND WHEN IT’S INCONVENIENT, revisiting the “inconvenience” of Jesus’ cross, for you and others!
Be strong in the love, grace, and peace of Jesus! -Pastor Steve

MARCH 19, 2020
Crossroads Family & Friends,
First and foremost, I want you to know that I love and care deeply about each of you and your families
and pray for God’s gracious hand upon you regularly. You don’t need me to tell you we are in difficult times.
Coronavirus has seismically shifted the social, cultural, and economic landscape of all our lives in less than a week.
Many people are unsettled, fearful, and even terrified.  The “earthquake” we’re in will have more “aftershocks”
that will threaten to destabilize and disorient us further…

Thankfully,
 in all this upheaval, Jesus Christ is still the same yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever…
HE IS eternal & everlastingHE IS rock-solid footingHE IS pursuing loveHE IS grace & truth,
HE IS unshakable compassionHE IS unexpected victory –
giving resurrection life, hope, power, courage, and so much more! 
As Jesus believer-followers, let’s help one another to rememberstand firm on,
and serve out of these unchanging realities in our unique spheres of influence and God’s family!

Last Sat & Sun, we took some good first steps
1- Cancelled Sun service to fight unseen virus transmission
2- Streamed message “Soar when Facing Giant Odds” to encourage people (our first ever)
(Find video, parts 1&2, on Facebook: crossroads church – pewaukee wi)
(Message outline & scripture on website: gocrossroads.net)
Take look & listen if you haven’t already!

Going forward, we’ll take more 
& better steps
We, Jesus’ people, must continue to CONNECT, ENCOURAGE, & EMPOWER people.
Connect (use remote technologies regularly & effectively)
Encourage (share God’s Living Word & worship, and show care in meaningful ways)
Empower (breathe Holy Spirit vision to give power to serve & contribute)

1- Stream Sunday messages from God’s Word
1a- Make video messages & outlines easier to access on Facebook & website.
1b- Find ways to include periodic worship music & Lord’s Supper on live streams.

2- Start mid-week “Connecting Point” communications
2a- Use emails, video links, or website to encourage & strengthen people

I strongly believe that God will help us all to…
1- Adapt/Not Quit, leaning on Jesus!
2- Serve/Lead, showing Jesus & giving hope!
3- Pray/Involve, releasing the Holy Spirit in our lives & midst!
For Jesus, your brother & pastor, -Steve

MARCH 14, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family & Friends,
Crossroads Church leaders and I have decided to cancel this Sunday’s (March 15) worship service. 
Here’s why…  Right now, Covid-19 is an insidious enemy of all people and communities, particularly harming the weak and vulnerable among us, through undetectable transmissions. It is sweeping the world and now our nation.  It demands action to overcome it.
Jesus calls us to two primary things: “Love God & Love People”, which is really one thing (Mark 12:30).
We get to work out the details… 
So, to help defeat this enemy and “run quickly to the battle line” (1 Samuel 17:48), we encourage you to be part of our church family
sharing in these three proactive steps:

1. Avoid larger gatherings to limit opportunity for human transmissions.
    (We will keep you posted on the status of future Sunday worship services…)

2. Pray daily & earnestly for God to mercifully & powerfully help us (as communities, states, and nations) 
to defeat this pandemic through love, hope, kindness, compassion, sacrifice & civil behavior.
(It is very important we believe in and pray for God’s powerful help!)

3. Use technology to stay grounded in God’s Words of love, grace, power, & hope!
(We are working on live-streaming a message on “Soar when Facing Giants” this Sunday at 10am.)

Thank you for your prayers, consideration, and trust in God during these unsettling times!
For Jesus, -Pastor Steve