Pastor’s Corner

Jesus: A New Kingdom

jesus-new-kingdom-title-smallWe finally made it! We are in the New Testament in our journey through His Story, God’s Story. Our start to the New Testament coincides almost exactly with Lent. Throughout this next 6 weeks, until Easter, we will learn about the life and ministry of Jesus; His time on Earth, His teachings and preparation for the all important work of salvation on Easter.

We invite you to do the same and join us in rediscovering the story of Jesus’ Life and ministry that led Him to the Cross and the empty tomb. What this work means for us and How Jesus’ teaching still leads us today! We are calling this focus on Jesus’ life and ministry “Jesus: A New Kingdom”. We will discover how Jesus points the leaders of the church away from their false understanding on the supremacy of the Jews and reminds them of the promise God first made with Abraham. Namely, that “all nations” would be blessed through Israel.

Jesus came to save the Jews but He also came to save all people; to build a “new kingdom” of every tribe, nation and tongue. A Kingdom that would not come and go under the power of man but an eternal kingdom that last forever. This new kingdom would be led by the one true King, Jesus Christ a descendant of David and who reigns on the throne of heaven that never falls.

 Each week there are a few readings to help you prepare and to guide your thoughts to God each day. The weekly messages will be reflections and teachings off those weekly readings. IN addition, Community Group study materials have been custom made by the pastors to help guide your community group and/or family study time together. This all makes for a simple yet powerful focus on how God is working in the world through His Story of old and His New Kingdom of ALL believers still today!

Many new Community Groups will be forming throughout this season. Look on the Church website or on the “HisCross” app in your mobile app store and register for a community group today! A simple yet intentional focus on God’s word builds up His Kingdom today will prove beneficial for all eternity.

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” Revelation 7:9.

Pastor’s Corner


Spiritual Awakening

Every spring in Illinois the earth awakens from its winter slumber. This year the timing seems a little off but nonetheless, the days are getting longer, bulbs are peeking through the soil and the first hints of spring are upon us.  The same opportunities are there every morning for our spiritual life, but the rhythm of the seasons allows for a deeper renewal and revitalization that can’t happen every day.

Easter is the spring awakening as we remember again the most pivotal moment in all of history–the day a dead messiah came back to life to finish what He started, Eternal life and salvation for all who would believe. This new life for Jesus is also our new life every day and yet the worries of every day try to drown it out. We all go through these seasons where God seems distant or we seem distant. Easter is a wonderful time to get back the proper perspective that has been stolen from us and to fix our eyes on Jesus instead of whatever else seems to have our attention.

Lent is a season designed to do just that, to help us reflect on the reality that there are dark seasons, bitter cold “winters” that come for no other reason than this world is broken and cursed. We can’t escape these spiritual trials but we can defeat them and conquer them with the power of God. The same power of the same Holy Spirit that rose Christ to life on Easter is ours, if we are willing to acknowledge we need.

Throughout these 40 days of Lent, (Ash Wednesday through Easter) we are encouraged to engage in a spiritual awakening as we emerge from the trials and challenges the devil has put in front of us. To consider the reality that this world is not and cannot be perfect and neither are we. But, we have been credited the life of someone who is. If we have been credited with Christ’s righteousness, than we have new life again, no lies of the devil or coldness of our own heart can keep us from this great blessing.

Traditionally, people have cut something out of their life, a bad habit, a sin, or a “guilty pleasure” in order to remember the suffering Jesus endured on the Cross in our place. But this so often simply leaves a whole that is filled back in after Easter. Instead of, or in addition to cutting something out, consider adding a spiritual discipline this Lent, something that will help you keep your eyes on Jesus and help fight off those cold winters and brutal lies that are certain to come in this life. The Bible teaches that if we put on the full Armor of God that nothing can conquer us and that we can defeat the Devil and ALL his works and ALL his ways.

The gift of focusing on Jesus is not a chore to be done or a task to accomplish; it is a treasure to unlock as a strong relationship with God brings peace, joy, stability, hope and clarity to every day.

Join us this season of Lent. Join Jesus in this season of renewal and reflection. Join with the whole body of Christ as we focus on Jesus and defeat the lies of the devil. This victory is already won, we just need to wake up and remember. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10-11.


Pastor’s Corner

daniel_prayerWe are finally turning the corner. So far we have seen a lot of hope turn into disappointment and judgment as the people fail to follow God’s instructions. People in great prosperity and favor over and over again credit themselves for their success instead of God and His mercy. Over and over again God lets the people reap the reward of their efforts without God’s favor. This path only ever leads to destruction. I can’t tell you how many people have asked when do we finally get past all the bad stuff and get to the good stuff? The answer is now!

But, first, we must deal with the reality of God’s faithful people who are scattered all over the known world and are being persecuted in a land of unfaithfulness. How will God rebuild and reunite His people? How will He restore them to their positions of power? What do they do until all this happens?

I believe Daniel is a great book for Christians trying to succeed and thrive in today’s America. Daniel is not only surrounded by unbelievers, but he also is in a land that has made laws saying his faith is illegal. While only a few such laws have passed so far in our country and most of them have been litigated to give a religious exemption of some type, the truth around us still remains. We live in a country that increasingly turns away from and rejects the truth of God and all those that adhere to His teachings.

Daniel remains faithful and obedient. In a time where many would rather “fight back” or “return shots over the bow” Daniel remains faithful to God and lets God determine His success. What does that look like for us? What does it look like to remain faithful to God and still be loving towards others? How can we believe wholly in the truth of God and still not be “closed minded” or “bigoted”? Believe it or not, it is possible and I think Daniel shows the way.

Better yet, Daniel shows us that when we remain faithful and trust in God alone He will fight our battles for us. And, when we win battles because He fights for us, it makes a far greater impact than when we fight them alone. By ourselves we can accomplish great things, but only as much as any man. In Him, all things are possible. Through Daniels faithfulness and God’s power a whole kingdom returned to God’s favor overnight! Daniel and all God’s followers were able to prosper!

God continues to work in and through His faithful followers today. If and when we pursue Him and trust in His ways He fights our battles for us and delivers nations into His hands. May God give you and me humility to trust in Him above ourselves and faithfulness to endure all things until that day.

Pastor’s Corner

We’ve Hit Rock Bottom

seeking-godNo, I’m not talking about our country or the world (although that would be an interesting discussion). This weekend we hit rock bottom in the story of the Israelites and their relationship with God. Punishment is dished out in an excruciating way and the people beg for mercy. But, even though they hit rock bottom, there is still hope for today and for the future.

Each year I get older it seems the world is getting “worse” or I am learning more about how bad it has always been. As a child it seemed everything was perfect, or at least better than other times in history or in other countries, but now… could it get any worse? Of course it could get worse, and it has been worse, but not in my memory. What do we do?

For the nation of Israel it had been bad, but it hadn’t been worse. They had been slaves in Egypt, but they had gone there willingly. They had wandered in the desert for a generation, but they had still been protected by God. Not since God had called Abraham has it been this bad. They were getting forcefully thrown out of their homes, raped, murdered massacred. What do they do? Where do they turn?

God once again reminds His children He is there and He loves them. If and when we turn back to Him he will “heal our land” 2 Chronicles 7:14. It is not about a “Godly King” and it is not about following the rules, it is about leaning into God and trusting Him above all things. In Him we find refuge and strength. In Him we find hope for today and for tomorrow. In Him the Israelites realized that even though the temple had been destroyed, God was still with them and would reunite them.

After 3 chapters describing the pain and despair of Israel, finally, Lamentations 3:22 states “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” There is nothing to indicate things would get better except that in their desperation the people of God turned to God and FINALLY remembered His promises. “I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

The most powerful thing a Christian can do is to live faithfully and wait for the Lord. Wait for the Lord restore you. Wait for the Lord to keep His promises. Wait for the Lord to bring redemption through you and make you and your story a testimony of His love and power to the world.

Upheaval is high in our country; people are hurting and crying out. What do we do? Where do we turn? We turn to the Lord our God for He alone can deliver those who hurt and through His church He can provide hope today and forever. But, He is sending us, those who believe, to be faithful and a witness of hope and a proclaimer of truth that healing is in Him Alone. We don’t need to shout from the mountain tops, but the people in our lives need to hear it from us; from Him through us.

“The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:39