November, 2016

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Monthly Archives: November 2016

5 Tips for Understanding God’s Will in Your Life

Should I change my major? Should I take this job, or stay at my present position? Should I ask this person to marry me? How many kids should we have? How should we balance our family’s activities and obligations? Should I start a business? How do we deal with the tension in our marriage? Should we buy that house? How do I handle that difficult situation at work?

Those are just some of the many important decisions we face from time to time in our lives. But how do we know what to do when they come? More specifically, how do understand what God’s will is for us in those situations?

I won’t claim to have the last word on the topic, but here are at least five guidelines to help the process:

When It Doesn’t Feel Like “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

For some of us, the idea of celebrating Christmas this year feels easy and exciting. Perhaps you can’t wait to pull all of the decorations out of your attic and sing Christmas carols that seem to match the mood of the season. For others of us, the holiday season feels far from the most wonderful time

‘Do you want to be healed?’

John 5:1-9a (ESV) After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids – blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who

Songs and Scenes: Advent 11.27.16


November 27th is the first Sunday of Advent 2016. Advent (which means “coming” or “arrival”) is a season where the church remembers Christ’s first coming and anticipates his promised return It is a season characterized by prayer, quiet waiting and joyful expectation.

This post reviews the songs from the the first Sunday of Advent. We’ve included a link to a Spotify playlist of Sunday’s songs (when available) so you can enjoy listening to them throughout your week. This week’s liturgy recap features photos by Shoshanna Herdon.

Getting Ready for Sunday November 27 at The Crossing

Running Race of Life graphic

It’s the better late than never edition of our weekly post. This week we continue our sermon series, “Running the Race of Your Life,” as Charles Anderson preaches a sermon entitled, “Body Parts Wanted” from Romans 12:3–8. The Scripture reads,

3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Here’s our song list for this Sunday (with links to lyrics and music):

Prayer for Missionaries & Those in Need

Father God, as we enjoy Thanksgiving weekend and kick off the Holiday Season, we praise you and thank you for the provision and blessings you have given. We pray for missionaries who live far from their families in order to serve others with your love. Comfort them when they ache with longing and miss their

The (Not So Terrible) Burden of Your Many Blessings

Have you ever stopped to notice how many of the things we see as problems in our lives are in some way tied up with the many, many blessings we enjoy?

I’ve written about his before on ESI, but given how often I need this reminder, it might be helpful to bring it up again, particularly during the week of Thanksgiving.

These won’t necessarily apply to everyone, but consider a few common examples:

27 Things to Give Thanks For No Matter What Life Looks Like

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we have to be thankful for. But when we look around and see that our life doesn’t look like what we wish it did, when circumstances are tough, it’s hard to give thanks. And yet the Bible tells us to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess 5:18). But how do we do that when it’s hard to find things to be thankful for?

Here are some things that we can thank God for, no matter what our particular circumstances look like. Really, this list is a lot more about God, who he is and what he does, than it is about us. And it mixes in some things that are true as part of how we, as God’s image-bearers, continue to develop and advance creation. And the fact that it’s 27 is really rather arbitrary (and the order is somewhat random too). Maybe you can take this as a jumping off point and think of another 27.

I can be thankful to God that . . .

Songs and Scenes: November 20, 2016


Songs and Scenes is a weekly blog review of songs, readings and prayers featured in The Crossing’s Sunday morning liturgy. We’ve included a link to a Spotify playlist of Sunday’s songs (when available) so you can enjoy listening to them throughout your week. This week’s liturgy recap features photos by Scott Patrick Myers.

Getting Gritty in Prayer: Stories of Answered Prayer

Today’s sermon shared some answered prayers. Such stories help us get gritty for prayer: they tell us about God’s faithfulness in the past and thus encourage us to keep on trusting him in the future. There are all sorts of caveats and nuance to how to understand God answering our prayers. But at the end of the day, God, the Lord over everything, tells us as his children to pray, and he promises that he will hear and answer. So hopefully these stories from all sorts of people (some anonymous, some perhaps identifiable) can encourage you to be gritty in prayer and to be aware of how God has answered prayer in your life.


March 20, 2004. Two weeks before our son was to marry a sweet young woman named Maria, whom we looked forward to adding to our family. We got the call from Maria, ‪at 1:50am that Kyle had been caught up in an avalanche. He had not been found yet. They called off the search ‪until sun up in 5 hours or so. We literally fell to our knees and prayed. Overwhelmed with grief, at the more than real possibility that he did not survive, falling on our knees before our Father was instinctive and the only thing we could do til morning.