Thursday, May 31, 2012

Another Public Post

I'm not drinking till I puke.  The picture of a facebook privacy setting above is from a blog written by someone else.  I'm just posting the picture to make a point.  Some people are quite selective about how sees what on facebook.  I'm sure the same is true for what people post on other forms of electronic media.

This comes up right now because Toni and I are out of town on the way to a wedding.  Many people would never post that sort of information online, or they'd limit who could see it.  For me, though, I hate being cautious.  When I'm cautious I feel as though I am blocking what God wants to be doing through what I write here and on facebook.

All of my facebook posts are public, available for anyone in the world to see. Same thing for my blogposts here.  I think I'll leave it that way for now.  Part of the point is to give people a way that they might overhear the Good News of Jesus and the way it impacts this one life (mine).
I think this is one the Holy Spirit works in me.  Certainly I don't tell everyone everything.  There are limits.  I will not post my credit card number.  I will not let everyone know all my thoughts.  Mostly, though, I think God is calling me to push those limits more than many people do.  I think God pushes us all mostly to be more open, at least when we're not putting others in danger.

What do you think?  I would enjoy hearing from anyone about this.  Make a comment below or post a reply on facebook.  Or, heck, give me a call at 763-291-3499 or email me at  Let's share!

(By the way, don't think you can just go in our house and rob it or trash it anytime we are away.  Our neighbors are watching and some of our family members and friends are staying there!  And God is watching you too!)

God bless your day!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Getting People Saved

The last line of Acts 2 says that people were being saved every day.

How can that happen now?  The Holy Spirit is the same as always.  God is not weak.  There's no reason why we couldn't be reaping a harvest of souls now just as they did back then.

In the verses just before that last Acts 2 line, it speaks of a community of believers that were DEVOTED to their God-relationship (in the way God directed) and also deeply involved with one another on a daily basis (again, as God directed).  When we focus on loving God according to His Word and loving one another according to His Word we will also see the lost being saved.

When we focus on God's Word, that Word will always push us to care and share with people who are now far beyond the circle of the saved.  And when we care for one another well, people will see this and long to be part of the family of the Lord.

Pray that we would not hold back in our devotion to God's Word.  Pray that we would not be distracted away from being together for worship and communion and prayer.  Pray that we would be willing to give up some of our private space and private property so that we can be a true community in the Lord.  And, O, please, pray for many to be saved!

Acts 2:38-47      “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off —for all whom the Lord our God will call.”      With many other words [Peter] warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.      They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tomorrow Night!

Crossroads Friends -

Looking forward to tomorrow evening?  I am!  Thank you SO MUCH to the Crossroads' Board of Directors and others, including our friends from First Baptist Church of Cokato, for serving for making our First Annual Partnership Dinner possible! 

When you see them, please thank Libby Bayuk, Veda Davis, Lynne Lahr, Duane Melquist, Jim Richards, Marc Keith and our president, Mark Koller!  Thank you also to our caterer!

Please be specifically in prayer for those who will be chosen to serve on our Board as we move forward from here.  We desire to be attentive to God's call, so we will discern and elect those men and women who are "full of the Holy Spirit and Wisdom" so we can set them apart for some of the practical business of the church (see Acts 6:2-4) so the rest of us are set free to "give attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word of God "  Some have already been nominated, others may be nominated at the meeting.

The dinner begins at 6:30 but from what I hear there will a fellowship time beginning at about 6:15.  At about 7:00 our speaker, Paul Anderson from Lutheran Renewal will share what the Lord puts on his heart for us.  If you can't get there for the dinner please come at 7:00 to hear Paul.  At about 7:30 our Board of Directors will share with us, we'll pray together and elect new members for our board of directors. 

If you want to attend but you need someone to watch your children, please let us know today so we can help you find someone to be with your children until you get home!  We cannot provide childcare at church tomorrow night.  We want everyone in attendance to be focused on the fellowship, the spiritual nourishment that will come through Pastor Anderson, and also the business meeting.

"Praise our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard; he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance."  (Psalm 66:8-12)

It looks right now like the rain of the week will be falling tomorrow night.  Please dress for the weather and come anyway!

Pastor Steve Thorson

Monday, May 21, 2012

Come Holy Spirit!

In yesterday's preaching (which I outlined, more or less, last Monday) I referred to the Acts 10 account Peter's repentance* and the amazing results.  Peter preached to people who had never heard him before, and "the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message" (Acts 10:44).

As I'm thinking about next week's preaching, which will focus on Acts 2, I echo a question that comes out of the group I work with as I prepare: "What step can you take to grow in Passionate Spirituality, Radical Community and Missional Zeal?"  Let's allow God to speak to us so we repent of whatever is holding us back!


Repentance means a "change of mind" and that's just what happened in Acts 10 in the Apostle Peter's life.  By supernatural means God led Peter away from religious traditions he had held to all his life, bringing him into a more open spiritual place.  "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right" (Acts 10:34).  He said this in the home of a Gentile Christian by the name of Cornelius, a home he he had entered with the following announcement: "You are well aware that is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or to visit him.  But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.  So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection" (Acts 10:28-29).  God had led Peter to a radical change of mind, a change that did not bring him farther from God, but closer than he had ever been.  Such intimacy brought the amazing results I refer to above from Acts 10:44.

It is absolutely necessary, however, that we do not give into peer pressure or social niceties in order to somehow gain influence over people.  Only God has the right to demand change of us.  And only when God is in charge of the repentance will the Spirit that comes upon amazed people be the Holy One.  There are plenty of politicians and religious leaders who try to stir up excitement by giving into popular demands.  This is not what happens in Acts 10!  Here, God is in charge!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Good but No Fun

I'm not sure when in my life I began to understand the importance of regular physical exercise.  I never was an athlete but I did do lots of activities when I was growing up.  When I was in high school I bought a "10-speed" and rode long distances for fun, so I guess there was something I liked about it way back then.  My dad liked bike riding so maybe I got that from him--that plus the wonderful feeling of getting somewhere without polluting the atmosphere at all.

Some sorts of physical activity I really enjoy.  I still like riding bike--whenever I can I bicycle around town instead of driving.  I love getting out in God's creation, walking, hiking, canoeing... it just feels good.

Working out with machines and weights is a newer experience.  That didn't start until I bought a used "Nordic Flex" from a neighbor in Taylors Falls.  It's not that I really enjoy the workout, but I know it's good for me and I like the result of having a stronger body.

I think lots of people can relate.  Today at Snap Fitness I was talking with an exceptionally fit grandmother who, like me, doesn't particularly enjoy the time up there lifting weights etc., but we have learned how good it is to take the time to do that hard work.  I call it "enlightened selfishness."  After all, I'm the one who benefits from staying in shape.  It won't prevent every health condition, but it does improve my odds.

Now I'm looking ahead to next Sunday and the preaching I'll be doing on Mark 1:16: "The kingdom of God has come near.  Repent and believe the good news!"  As I've been studying this, I'm thinking there might be three different kinds of repentance.
  1. There is the repentance that leads to a new self, the born again experience, the surrender of one's self-will to the Lord.  John 3:3 says, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."  I think of the Ethiopian who was baptized in Acts 8. He turned his entire life over to the Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. Then there is the change of mind like in Acts 10 where Peter repented of his misunderstanding of the ceremonial law, that is, that the Old Testament laws such as about clean and unclean foods somehow made or established one's right relationship with God when, in fact, they are signs of that relationship.  This means they are not any more necessary for a right relationship with God than wearing a wedding ring is necessary for a right relationship with my wife.  
  3. Finally, there is the repentance needed when Christ-followers fall into sin, whether out of ignorance or rebellion.  The New Testament Epistles are chock-full of admonitions and warnings about sins and evils that Christians need to repent of.  
In all of these cases, repentance is a good thing.  Confronting the truth may bring pain and sorrow; repentance is not fun.  It is, however, necessary, as is the discipline Gintare reminded us of on May 13. 

Repentance continues for us all as long as we live in this broken world.

Let me know what you think!  Time for me to head to Dassel and the school bus!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

God Created Family

We need Mother's Day more than ever!  The family unit, mother, father and children, is created by God!  Sadly, the God designed family unit is under attack in so many ways.  So we need days like Mother's Day to refocus our attention on the truth!  God created family!

As we celebrate Mother's Day tomorrow, let's not only give thanks for our own mom and the mothers we know, let's give thanks for God's design of the family, and let's pray for all families everywhere.  Let's pray for renewal of families where they are broken.  Let's pray and care for those who grieve.  And let's be ready to take in those who have no loving family here on earth.

Gracious Father, you bless the family and renew your people.  Enrich husbands and wives, parents and children more and more with your grace, that, strengthening and supporting each other, they may serve those in need and be a sign of the fulfillment of your perfect kingdom;  where, with your Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, you live and reign, one God through all ages.   (from the Lutheran Book of Worship and its wedding service)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Faithfully Fit

Thanks to Denise Ertl we here at Crossroads have been blessed with a program that many people truly need in their lives.  Faithfully Fit Forever includes basic aerobic and strengthening exercise along with Christian music, some health eduction and a brief Bible study.  I want to publicly thank Denise for her years of service to the Lord through Faithfully Fit.

Christians in the United States often do a poor job of taking care of their bodies.  Labor saving devices keep us sitting way too much, and it doesn't help that we have had a carbohydrate heavy tradition of eating.  I confronted some of that today as I picked up food for a family at the local food shelf.  It was a carb loaded haul... understandable because of the relatively low cost and convenience of bread and pasta based dishes, but, honestly, it is something we need to pay attention to as we care for one another.

Earlier this week I heard an interesting radio show on this topic... The speaker, Gretchen Reynolds, has written a book called "The First Twenty Minutes."  She says that just standing up for two minutes has a wonderful effect.  The human body was not made for sitting!  "Sitting for long periods of time tends to cause changes physiologically within your muscles," says Reynolds. "You stop breaking up fat in your bloodstream, you start getting accumulations of fat ... in your liver, your heart and your brain. You get sleepy. You gain weight. You basically are much less healthy than if you're moving."  She recommends standing up every 20 minutes or so.  I encourage you to listen to the radio show at this link - Stand Up!

Today on the radio I heard about what seems to be a wake up call to the United States as regards what has been called an "obesity epidemic."  A series called "The Weight of the Nation" will be available free at this link - The Weight of the Nation - beginning Monday May 14.  It sounds like it will be honest -- completely honest about how things really are.

Those of us who, for one reason or another, do not have a significant issue with food and/or weight, whether it's being too heavy or suffering from an eating disorder cannot really understand the challenges that others deal with on an every day basis.  But we can pray for one another.  We can care.  And we can learn.  Together we can bring our lives more into line with reality--with the science that is teaching us about how we can best care for these treasures from God--our amazing bodies!

I hope Crossroads will continue to take steps toward being Faithfully Fit in the months and years to come.  I pray that the Lord will release us to know and tell the truth about our health, being patient with ourselves and others on the journey.  When we have a dinner together, let's make sure it's okay for people to leave something on their plate.  There is no pride in the "Clean Plate Club" in the 21st century United States.  We could also talk together about what sorts of food we provide to others, whether it's through church dinners, potlucks or the food shelf.

Now it's time for me to stop writing and stand up!

An Unexpected Journey

Thinking about the journey so many of us have been on over the past few years.  We didn't expect to change churches, but, in the process, we have grown deeper in prayer and in dependence upon God.  I am so thankful and am looking forward to the journey ahead.  I am thankful for the partnership of so many and am looking forward to whoever the Lord brings alongside for the next stage.

At Crossroads we're getting ready for a "Partnership Dinner" that's scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23.  This is truly an important, priority event for our church.  It will help us be prepared for what the Lord will bring our way in the months and years to come.

I hope you can join us for the dinner, and the journey that the Lord is setting before us.

See below for more about the Partnership Dinner.


This Partnership Dinner is open to everyone who has an interest in Crossroads.  The menu we're planning for is baked chicken, roast beef, cheesy potatoes, vegetables, rolls and salad with two deserts!  The plan is that we will be served family style thanks to volunteers from the First Baptist Church of Cokato.

Because of the limited configuration of our building (something we hope to remedy in the future), we're not able to provide childcare during this dinner, but if you would like help finding someone to be with your children at your home let us know!

As we share our dessert the Lord will bless us through the ministry and prayer of Pastor Paul Anderson, former long time director of Lutheran Renewal and founder of the Master’s Institute seminary.  (Some of you know Paul Gustafson who is a Master's Institute graduate.)

After a time of prayer with Pastor Anderson, we will be brought up to date on the mission and ministry God is doing through Crossroads and elect several members for our board of directors.  We are hoping everyone will stay through the dinner, the ministry update, and to stay with us as we elect board members.  Those who have signed the Partnership Agreement for the 2012 year will be eligible to vote.  Please encourage one another to consider signing that agreement prior to the meeting!

Once again, thank you!  Thank you for your partnership in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Please continue to pray and please let us know if you can attend.  Please make this a priority!  We are planning on making more personal contact with all of you to share additional words of encouragement!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Intentional Change

Today's facebook status:

What have you intentionally changed about yourself?
If nothing comes to mind have you truly repented and believed?*

Yesterday in a 1:00 p.m. telephone huddle one of the participants spoke about how much his leadership group had grown into the "repent and believe" circle.*  There were frustrations with that because there is more to ministry than individual repentance and "faith in action" (i.e. "believe")--there's a need to grow into multiplying leadership--however, if we do not practice the circle on a regular basis we cannot be Jesus' disciples.

So, have a look at those questions above.  Can you come up with an answer or two?  Then go on to allow the Lord to continually transform you. How is God calling you to change/repent and believe/act differently now?  Will you obey?


*The question arises from the circle, the basic shape of 3dm ministry, and refers to what Jesus said at the beginning of his work here on earth: "The Kingdom of God is at hand!  Repent and Believe!"