December, 2015

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Monthly Archives: December 2015

New Year Meets Ancient Reality: ‘Coram Deo’

Where did 2015 go? Somewhere, hidden away in an as-yet-unsettled portion of my soul, I still “feel like” it ought to be June and my family should be planning its next pool party. I don’t know exactly why 2015 seemed to slip past much faster than previous years, but whatever the reason, I simply cannot

Mission Spotlight Will Return on January 7th

Songs and Scenes: Christmas Eve 2015


“The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.” – John 1:9

“He was created of a mother whom He created. He was carried by hands that He formed. He cried in the manger in wordless infancy, He the Word, without whom all human eloquence is mute.” – Augustine

Getting Ready for Sunday December 27th at The Crossing


This week Kermit Summerall takes a break from our John series with a sermon entitled, “The One Thing We Take for Granted” from Exodus 34:6. The Scripture reads,

And he [the Lord] passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

What have you taken for granted this year? It’s a tricky question. It’s hard sometimes to stop and be aware of what we’re taking for granted, precisely because it’s usually so mundane. Moreover, we take things for granted not just because they’re everyday, but because they’re dependable—they’re always there. But what if there are really crucial things that we’re taking for granted that we shouldn’t? Join us Sunday as Kermit helps us take a fresh look at God and what we shouldn’t take for granted when it comes to him.

A last minute Christmas gift (and it’s not too late)

A few years ago on Christmas morning, after all the gifts were opened, with wrapping paper strewn all across the living room, my husband pulled out an envelope. I hadn’t seen this gift sitting around, but the look on my husband’s face showed that I should be excited. Anticipating what could be inside, I opened the envelope and found twelve homemade coupons/certificates with my name on them for a lunch date with a girlfriend of my choosing. On his own, he had taken a personal spin on our family coupons, which up to this point had been focused on our kids. With loads of respect for my husband, I have to admit, I couldn’t believe he had thought of this on his own!

I needed to set the date a month in advance and he would either come home and be with our kids, or if his schedule didn’t allow that, he would arrange a babysitter. The key is that HE would arrange the sitter for me. All I had to do was select a friend, a date, and the location. He would take care of the rest of the logistics of leaving four kids at home. And on a few occasions, he even volunteered to watch the friend’s kids too, so that she wouldn’t have to pay a sitter. The best was the time we left him with eight kids. We just drove away and laughed the whole way up the street!

What makes this gift the best?

A Stellar Advent Reminder

The Eagle Nebula's Pillars of Creation.

The Eagle Nebula’s Pillars of Creation.

By now you’ve probably been frazzled more than once by the busy press of the holiday schedule. And so you may be at one of those points where you would appreciate something to remind you why we celebrate this season in the first place.

If so, let me make a suggestion: take a look at this rather unusual advent calendar, coming courtesy of Alan Taylor, a photo editor at The Atlantic. It may lack the traditional Christmas imagery, but it might do a whole lot of good for your sense of awe and wonder.

Breaking and Entering

The headlines this past year have not been, by and large, what I would call very encouraging. In some ways, it’s easy to see think our American culture in particular is rapidly spinning out of control; the erosion of moral absolutes – widely-agreed-upon standards that were once common – has left a thick cloud of

Mission Spotlight: Pray for Burundi

500px-Flag_of_Burundi.svgThe Crossing supports a number of missionaries in East Africa. Through these missionaries, we connect with a wider network of missionaries who are teaching, pastoring, church-planting or working in development and humanitarian relief. This week, almost all of them have communicated with us asking for prayers for Burundi. The escalating violence in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, has grown to such crisis that reports of genocide and mass killing are pouring out of the country despite denials by the Burundian authorities.

Burundi is a small Central African country that sits in the triangle between Rwanda, DRCongo and Tanzania. It is home to a little over 11 million people who are largely made up of the same Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups involved in the Rwandan Genocide. We do not fully know the extent of the violence but the reports and photos are alarming. BBC is running updates at this page.

Getting Ready for Sunday December 20th at The Crossing


Keith Simon preaches an Advent sermon this week, taking a break from our series in the Gospel of John. The sermon is “Christmas: A Clash of Kings and Kingdoms” from Matthew 2:1–12. The Scripture reads,

1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

We often make Christmas cuddly, a sentimental time with Precious Moments Nativity sets and the little Lord Jesus, “no crying he makes.” But the actual Christmas story is a clash. It’s about a king being born in a kingdom whose violent, vengeful king doesn’t want him. And that clash of kings—and their kingdoms, what they stand for and what they want—isn’t just back then. It’s real for us today. Join us on Sunday for a look at Christmas that calls us to submit to God’s king and find real life in his kingdom.

Kids Need To Learn To Obey Their Parents

Okay, I know better than to post something about parenting, so I why am I doing this? After all, I’m opening myself up to people misinterpreting my comments to mean that I think that my kids are perfect, or that I am a better parent than others, or that I’m an angry an old man, or simply that people will be offended because they disagree.

None of those things are even close to being true. (Well, I might be an angry old man, but I hope I’m not.) I have four kids. I know from experience that parenting is hard. I’ve often said that it is the most difficult yet most rewarding thing that I’ve ever done. As the saying goes, “I used to have 4 theories on parenting and no kids. Now I have 4 kids and no theories.”

And yet I think that a lot of parents need (and want) help in thinking through what to expect from their young children. I know that when Christine and I started having kids we sought out help from other parents. We didn’t so much ask for advice from those who had young kids like us. Instead we asked advice of parents of older children that we were impressed with. They were, to a person, quick to confess their own inadequacies and failures, and yet pointed us in helpful directions. It’s in that spirit that I offer some quick thoughts on the need of children to obey their parents.

If you aren’t open to different views on parenting, if you aren’t open to having your views challenged, then please do both of us a favor and don’t read this. Stop back by the blog tomorrow when Charles will help get you ready for this Sunday’s worship service.

Quick Thoughts On Kids Needing To Learn To Obey Their Parents