O Little Town of Bethlehem: Christ Still Enters the Humble Heart

It would be difficult for any of us to conceive of what life and ministry would have been like during the height of the American Civil War. Who would have imagined that the Civil War would have been a backdrop for one of the most beautiful and beloved Christmas carols of our time? Phillips Brooks, the author of the “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” was an Episcopal priest, a powerful preacher and committed American patriot in the mid-late 19th century. He was a vocal advocate of the abolitionist cause and believed the gospel should infiltrate and saturate the practical world, bringing forth equity and justice for all.

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Update on AB 2943

Update on CA bill AB 2943:

As many of you know, I’ve been posting updates on the progress of California’s AB 2943 bill. In a disappointing but unsurprising vote, the California Senate has overwhelmingly decided to move AB 2943 to the assembly for final approval before heading the governor’s desk. This bill prohibits the exchange of money for any efforts to help someone navigate coming out of an LGBTQ sexual identity. In reality, this bill isn’t about money or business practices, but about a minority group of people who want our laws to declare that there is nothing wrong with the LGBTQ lifestyle.

Does this anger me? Sure. I have a level of righteous anger at this arrogant and blatant disregard for personal freedom and God’s moral standards. Like righteous Lot surrounded by the perversion of Sodom and Gomorrah, I too have a vexed soul. But the larger part of me is saddened. It grieves me to consider those who genuinely want help but will not be able to find it easily. I’m broken-hearted for those who will spend their lives being affirmed by society in a false and dangerous sexual identity. I fear for the godless men and women who think they are casting an archaic God out of their modern society, but in reality, are only storing up judgment for themselves.

This battle is about more than a bill; it’s about the need for revival and salvation to come to our state and nation. Thankfully we serve a God who uses Satan’s schemes for His ultimate glory. It will be amazing to see how God uses this development to bring about His greater plan.

People of God, continue to pray! Pray for our leaders and our state. Love your neighbor, preach the gospel, and stand for truth. I rejoice that we are going to see God move in mighty ways in the days to come!

Independence Day and the Cross

July 4, 1776, represents the day when the thirteen original colonies rarified their declaration of independence, declaring their sovereignty and freedom from the rule of the United Kingdom of Britain. Most people don’t stop to consider that the war for that independence didn’t come to an end until November 30, 1782, approximately six years after Congress signed that landmark document. In other words, freedom was declared a reality before the battle was over.

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California laws and the Church

Update on Bill AB 2943: This bill passed overwhelmingly in California. The good news is that Jesus is still on the throne. My heart is broken, and at the same time, I know that God must have something amazing in store for His church! We will continue to preach the truth that sets people free! Church, don’t stop praying, don’t stop loving, and don’t be afraid!

UPDATE on AB 2943: The CA State Assembly has not yet voted on AB2943 and may not until this Thursday, April 19th. So let your Assembly member know where you stand today.

What a week it’s been! Watching the things going on in our world right is like watching the Bible come to life. US and allied forces confronting Syria, Russia and China on the other side (BTW, you should read Isaiah 17:1 and Jeremiah 49:24-27). In addition to real military action, there are agenda wars going on, and political games afoot. Who knows what or who to believe in it all. It almost feels as though someone has their finger on the hairline trigger of WW3. Thankfully, we as Christians know how it all ends, and Who’s really sovereign at the end of the day. In the middle of so much chaos, it’s comforting to know that God’s Word and its prophecy can be trusted!

Not only is the world scene heating up, right here in California there is a political agenda that is subversively targeting those of us who hold a Biblical worldview. Now let me say, I’m glad that we don’t live in the Roman empire. There’s no doubt that the Christ-less agendas and difficulties we are experiencing as 21st century western Christians pale in comparison to the injustice and persecution that the apostles and the early Christians had to endure (or even modern day Christians in other parts of the world). Things could get much worse for us, and if they do we as Christ followers are called to endure. Having said that, we also live in a country that has afforded us the legal right to be part of choosing the laws and lawmakers that set the moral tone and legal standards for life in the US, and in California.

Right now there are a total of 5 bills in the California state assembly that are reprehensible from the perspective of protecting the rights of American citizens and allowing Christians to practice their convictions under the Constitutional protections of free speech and the freedom of religion.

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Welcome the King (Palm Sunday)

So this is one of those long posts I promised I wouldn’t do. Palm Sunday is a powerful day, here are some thoughts on it from Psalm 24.

[Psa 24:1-10 NKJV] 1 A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. 2 For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters. 3 Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. 5 He shall receive blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6 This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face. Selah 7 Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah

Do you remember times of anticipating someone’s arrival? When you hear the phrase, “Wait until your father gets home…” What do you think of? I can think of moments in my life that statement has excited me. When my dad and I were working on my restoring my first car, I was excited about his arrival. As a kid, in general I was always excited about my dad getting home from work because he was always doing something with us; some fort to be built, some fish to be caught… and I always looked forward to it. Then there were those times when I feared His coming. Like the time when I laughed at my mom when she tried to spank me. I laughed until I heard the words, “You can wait for your dad to get home.” Yeah, I wasn’t that excited.

Well, Psalm 24 is a Psalm of someone’s arrival. It paints a picture of an eternal, worthy King; a King who is Lord and creator of all, who is coming to a great city. His identifying monicker, “The King of Glory”, sets His arrival apart and above all others. He has an anticipated day of arrival, and along with him He brings blessing and salvation to all whose gates are opened to His coming. So why Psalm 24 on Palm Sunday? Many of us are familiar with the Hallel Psalm 118 that declare the cries of the people on that first Palm Sunday, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” While Psalm 24 is not directly mentioned in the triumphal entry narrative, it is an appropriate, prophetic picture for Palm Sunday. It’s also interesting Psalm 24 is one of the psalms used by the Jews in their daily liturgies. On Monday they meditate on Psalm 48 – on Tuesday, Psalm 82 – on Wednesday, Psalm 94 – on Thursday, Psalm 81 – on Friday, Psalm 93 – the Sabbath psalm is 92 – on Sunday, Psalm 24.

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Crossroads Vision Update

Dear Crossroads family,

It’s been such a joy to watch God change lives, equip believers, and bless our community through the work of Crossroads Church. Our mission is a simple one: “We are a community of Jesus followers who desire to experience God and carry His living hope into our world..” To practically see this vision come to pass, we will continue to build our ministry upon five foundational pursuits:

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Your Marriage is Special

Yesterday a random stranger, while serving me coffee, told me he was going to marriage counseling that night. “It’s better to not try and figure this thing out alone” were the words he uttered with a gigantic smile on his face.

I smiled too. I don’t know if this young man knows Jesus, but I’m certainly happy that he cares about his marriage. Jesus cares too… about his and yours.

Marriage is pretty special, and worth about anything to keep it thriving. My advice today? Love your marriage.

Oh, this is also a great opportunity to sign up for the marriage retreat in February.

Click here and sign up… right now.

Hebrews 13:4 – Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled…

Your Dreams

All your dreams might not come true. But don’t be disappointed… God has something better in mind!

Your life gets to be part of something much better and far more important than your dreams, and that’s God’s plan.

Don’t orient your life around your dreams. Orient your dreams around God’s purposes.

Why settle for dreams that come and go when you can follow the reality of Jesus? He is so much better and so much more than we could have ever dreamed.

Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.