Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Things Jesus Never Said

I'm preparing a blog post based on the prep I'm doing what will be, for us at Crossroads, the last in the series of messages "Things Jesus Never Said."  Look in this space to see it... perhaps later today. 

To hear the other messages from this series click the links below:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

(Revised) Invitation

The email below was originally sent out on Jan. 15 and posted on this blog the next day.  Now, as of Jan. 29, the meeting has been postponed twice and is now scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 3.

Dear Crossroads Friends!

God's peace and power be with you today!

This coming Sunday, Jan. 20 Feb. 3, immediately following worship, our church board of directors will host a "new year" meeting of our church partners and friends.  We invite all to consider becoming a Crossroads Partner for 2013, but if you are as yet unsure about "signing up" for this year, we still hope you will attend. 

At this meeting we'll be brought up to date on what the Lord is doing through us at Crossroads.  We'll also take a look at our 2012 finances and our 2013 budget.

If you've been blessed by a particular Crossroads ministry, we encourage you to share a brief comment or "story" about how God has worked in your life or in the lives of others through Crossroads Community Church, locally or further away.  God has been blessing us in so many ways!  What opportunities have you participated in?  How have you been blessed by giving... or receiving... or both?  We want to give Him the glory at this meeting by briefly sharing together what God is doing. 

In the event that an item will need to be voted on, you will need to have signed the 2013 partnership agreement to vote.  The Partnership Agreement is located in the Fellowship Hall and needs to be signed each year by all who believe God is calling them to be Crossroads partners.  Please be in prayer about that this week if you haven't already.  For more on Partnership please check our church website - http://www.crossroadscokato.com/.

The rest of the email (below) from Jan. 15 related to a "Leadership Day" that a dozen of us from Crossroads attended on Jan. 26.  The following people were able to attend: Don & Robin Begarowicz, Ed & Lynne Lahr, Norma Jean Cruz, Diann Mauk, Steve & Toni Thorson, Al & Becky Sorenson, Duane Melquist, Amy Thostenson.  Chat with them to learn what we did!

On Saturday January 26th several of us from our church will be attending the Leadership Day at North Heights. This is a once a year opportunity to connect with the leaders of our church network in person.  You WILL be glad you took the time to attend if you are able.  RSVPs are due no later than Jan. 18.  If you would like to attend please RSVP by calling North Heights Lutheran Church at 651-797-7362 or email Leadership2103@NHLC.org with the following information for each person attending:
  • Name
  • Home Church (Crossroads)
  • 1st and 2nd choice of workshop (see right and below)
An offering will be received to cover expenses; suggested donation is $15.

Those attending already would like to carpool down, so if you are thinking of going, talk with Steve or Toni Thorson, Ed or Lynne Lahr, Diann Mauk or Becky Sorenson about carpooling.

The complete schedule for the leadership day with presentation topics is available at http://www.crossroadscokato.com/jan-26-leadership-day.html.

Have a blessed week!

Crossroads Board of Directors


revised Jan. 29, 7:00 a.m.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Crossroads in Acts

The following email was sent this morning to those who are on an email list put together by one of those who has been leading our Sunday morning Bible studies. 

Good morning all!

The Lord has been leading us through these studies of the book of Acts.  We have going more slowly than usual because we are facing major questions together, questions about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

As we do this we will be blessed.  We will be "poor in spirit," that is, we will not be so sure of ourselves.*  We will be willing to stop and stand at the crossroads of decision that the Lord brings us to.   We will stop, look, ask and then walk.  That process is one of repentance and of faith.  Fearless, knowing that God is leading us, we will allow our Lord to refine us as silver and gold, fit vessels for His Kingdom.

*(Please pray for me that I am willing to be corrected just as much as anyone else!  And then speak with me if the Lord leads you to do so!)

I hope each of you will stop and "stand at the crossroads" when we come to major questions, look into God's Word, spend time seeking the Lord in prayer, and then go ahead and act on what it is that the Lord is saying to you.  The "looking," the "asking" and the "walking" is often something that we need to ask others for help in. 

Therefore, I hope many will consider coming to prayer tonight at church, 6:30, so together we can ask the Lord to do that refining and correcting work, and that we will be completely submitted to His will.  This is the way that the Lord leads us to pleasant pastures, to peace, to joy, and to the filling of His Holy Spirit into all of our lives.

As the scriptures say (this is part of Psalm 119):

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
    enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
    and all of them are righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold,
    than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
    than honey from the honeycomb.
11 By them your servant is warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can discern their own errors?
    Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
    may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
    innocent of great transgression.
14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Please consider coming to prayer tonight.  In any case, please spend time in prayer about what we have studied so far in the book of Acts.  We looked carefully this last Sunday at Acts 2:36-41. 

If we proceed as we have been, on Jan. 20 we might review a bit of what we talked about on Jan. 13, see if there are any questions we should talk about as a group, and then proceed to the rest of chapter 2, where the Holy Spirit knits his people together into a supernatural community of faith, hope and love. 

This is also the topic of the Holy Spirit "Alpha" videos that have been being shown on Monday evenings at the Begarowicz's home.  God is moving THROUGH HIS WORD and Holy Spirit and I am so thankful!  (I missed last night's Holy Spirit study because I needed to be at our church board of directors meeting... I heard it was a wonderful evening!)

If you have questions or concerns of any sort, about what we are doing in our Sunday morning Bible study, or anything else, please read God's Word, then ask Him to speak with you in prayer.  Asking someone else who is also studying God's Word to read and pray with you is important too, since God does not leave us alone, but gives us one another as brothers and sisters who can be used of God to correct and encourage.  I am available and love to talk with any of you too!

I am learning, as I read God's Word with you.  I am praying that I will not be the "answer man" who knows it all!  I am learning to come to crossroads too, and to allow God to examine me.  Pray that I will be brave in standing on God's Word, and brave in casting aside anything that is not of God. 

Religious traditions and religious teachings that you and I have learned in the past must be examined in the light of God's Word, to see if they are indeed God's will.  Even questions as basic as baptism need to be held up to this light, to be examined, and to be prayed over.  This may cause discomfort, but sometimes discomfort is a part of the process of coming to "crossroads," where we look, ask, and then walk more and more in agreement with the Lord.  God will bless us as we do.

I ask your prayers and your patience with me and with one another through this process. 

Peace be with you my dear brothers and sisters.  Feel free to pass this email on to others who might be interested.

Steve Thorson
Crossroads Community Church, Cokato

Monday, January 14, 2013

God At Work

Crossroads Community Church is a church of freedom.  We do not demand obedience in our church to any human authority.  Our only authority is God himself.

This means that at our church it will not be uncommon for people, for believers, to have disagreements with one another.  We are not be surprised when these disagreements come.  After all, because our unity does not come from any one human beings interpretation of God's will, and because there are flaws in each human interpretation of God's will, God is at work refining our understanding, correcting us according to the Word of God as in Second Timothy 3:16 where it says: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness..."

It's exciting to be part of a church where people love God's Word more than their own personal comfort!  Thank you, Lord God, for allowing us to be here!


Thursday, January 10, 2013

On the Prayer List (Part 2)

I woke up thinking of one of the families in particular that, sadly, has less than a week now to move out of their home.  I barely know them.  Late last week, before the wedding, I found out about this.  I inquired about the situation but did nothing significant.

I ask: What is my responsibility in situations like this?  What is yours?  The "watchword for the day" today is this from Second Chronicles 19:7: "Now let the fear of the Lord be on you. Judge carefully, for with the Lord our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery."  

Am I the scribe or pharisee that passed by on the other side of the road? Is God calling me to repent? How about our "church" community here in Cokato?

Father God, use this situation in whatever way you choose in my life and in the lives of others.  And, please, protect the family for whom I have prayed.

(The "watchword for the day" is from the Moravian Daily Texts.  For today's texts go here - http://www.calvarymoravian.org/dailytext/2013-1-10.  To learn more about the texts or to subscribe by email go here - http://www.moravian.org/faith-a-congregations/moravian-daily-texts/54-an-introduction-to-the-daily-texts.html.  We use these texts as inspiration for our 6:30 morning "conference call" prayer.)


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

On the Prayer List

After spending an hour at the food shelf last Friday, my prayer list of people in need has grown.  There are some new names on it.  Other names have been there for a very long time.

Who's on this list?  Some are the names of people in deep financial trouble.  Others are needing to get free of addictions.  Some have major health issues.  And then there are complex family difficulties and painful emotional turmoil.

In the case of most of those I'm thinking of and praying for, it seems that all of these issues, in one way or another, are present in their lives-- all at the same time.  To top that off, many of them have their children to think of and, most, for one reason or another, are single parents.

How will we respond?  Will we dare to come alongside them?  Or will we hold them at arm's length?  Will we at least look for them and pray for them by name?  Will we be open to walking beside them for as long as the Lord calls us to do so?

Let's ask God to bring those names to mind every day.  After all, they are way more than names on a list.  They are the beloved of God.

Time for me now to go and call, and perhaps even go and see, in person, one of those families that is on my list.  I believe that's what God is calling me to do.  What about you?


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

After the Wedding

Good afternoon everyone!  The Thorson house is quiet after being full of family and friends for Jon & Breanna's wedding over the weekend until yesterday afternoon. 

We were REALLY blessed at Crossroads on Jan. 6 as Professor and Missionary Brian William Thomas preached and prayed with us!  Brian led the wedding service too (pictured at right).  He's been a mentor to Jon throughout his college years and an adviser to Jon & Dan and their Igniter Ministries group.  His message at Crossroads is worth listening to at sermon.net/crossroadsdc/sermonid/1199933618.

So what's next?

Well, we had a super time last night out at Don & Robin Begarowicz's home as we launched into the first Monday that we're sharing together around the Alpha Holy Spirit videos.  This morning I was back on the school bus and since then I've been mostly doing some planning and publicizing for what's next.  Take a look at the Crossroads website.  That's where you can learn more.  Please come tonight if you can for prayer, 6:30 p.m., and tomorrow for youth at 6.

Time now to spend some time preparing in the Lord for this coming Sunday's message.  We're moving into a series together with our network partners -- a series we're calling Things Jesus Never Said.  The first thing Jesus never said is this:
Jesus Never Said
"God Helps Those Who Help Themselves"

Our Jan. 13 message will be based on the passage in Matthew 5 where Jesus DID say people who can't help themselves are blessed -- the "poor in spirit," the "meek," those who mourn and "those who are persecuted because of righteousness."  We'll also look at Proverbs 28:26 which says, in part: 

He who trusts in himself is a fool...

At the wedding on Sunday afternoon I heard Brian Thomas say that, because Jon is set on going into ministry, that he and Breanna can't count on being secure in the so-called "American Dream." The American Dream includes ideas such as freedom, which is a part of the Christian message to be sure (freedom "in Christ," though, is different than absolute liberty).  But the American Dream also says we ought to work hard SO THAT we become financially secure and independent.

Hard work is important for the Christ-follower!  But, as we learn in Ephesians 4:28, the purpose of work is different for the Christian!  The Bible there sayswe ought to do things that are useful so we "have something to share with those in need."

Mr. Thomas spoke with me about this personally before the wedding, so I know what he was getting at.  He himself has experienced, many times, a different kind of life, a life that is DEPENDENT instead of independent.  Dependent directly on God, and also dependent on God's people.  

There is a strong "counter cultural" character to the Christian message that we need to be aware of.  That quite different "Christ centered" culture is described in the book of Acts and is lived out today in communities where the Holy Spirit is allowed to take control.

Join us on Sundays as we address these topics:
  • Jan. 13 - Jesus Never Said "God Helps Those Who Help Themselves" (message based on Matthew 5:3-12 and Proverbs 28:26)
  • Jan. 20 - Jesus Never Said "It's Just Between Me and You" (message based on John 17:20-23) with communion
  • Jan. 27 - Jesus Never Said "It's OK not to love certain people" (message based on Mark 2:13-17, 1 Cor. 13)
  • Feb. 3 - Jesus Never Said "Everyone should believe and act like you do" (message based on 1 Cor. 12:14-20, John 21:23) with communion

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year to Trust God

A new year to trust God, to continue to become "less" so He can become more. Our Bible reading has taken us to Psalm 1, First Chronicles 3 and the beginning of Acts 9.  In Acts 9 Saul is brought to his knees by Jesus, only to be lifted up to a new life.  The First Chronicles "genealogies" of the show me that each of us has a place in God's plan, but no more than "a place."  And the wonder of the Word, celebrated in Psalm 1: Blessed is the human being who delights in the Law of the Lord and who meditates on it day and night.

If you would like to participate in the Bible readings this year, let me know and I'll connect you up.