Pastor’s Corner

The Holiness of God

Holy, Holy, Holy!

I’ve heard it said that “cleanliness is next to Godliness.”  Although, if I’m being honest, I have no idea what it means.  Do people really believe God doesn’t want us to play in the dirt?  Or, do people believe that dirty people or dirty homes are somehow less Godly than clean people or clean homes?  If you haven’t figured it out by now, the saying “cleanliness is next to Godliness” is not in the Bible.  But the Bible does talk about us being “clean”.

In Psalm 51 David writes, “Purge me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”  Cleanliness and washing are used as illustrations to show how God removes our Godlessness.  In fact, Jesus and the disciples participated in several ceremonial washings and oil anointing rites in the life of their ministry.  But these ceremonial washings and anointing didn’t make the disciples Godly.  Rather, God worked through these ceremonies to make them Holy.

“Holiness is next to Godliness” might be a better saying.  To be Holy is to be set apart for God’s purposes.  Frequently the rituals that were used to set something apart, or make it Holy, involved some sort of washing or cleansing.  These ceremonial washings were done to symbolize physically what God is doing spiritually.

In order for something to be made physically clean it must start off as something that is unclean or dirty.  The unclean object is then washed, removing all the unclean things in order to make it clean again.  For someone or something to become Holy, it must become clean spiritually.  This happens when the uncleanliness in each of us – sin, selfishness, jealousy, etc. – is removed and in its place is the Holy Spirit of God.

While Godliness requires a cleansing for each of us, Godliness doesn’t require us to be clean.  In fact Jesus condemned the Pharisees for being clean on the outside but completely filthy on the inside.  At the same time Jesus lifted up the filthy beggars, prostitutes and diseased individuals who, although dirty on the outside, were made Holy through God’s forgiveness on the inside.

It is normal for us as people to judge other people or other things by their outward appearance, but this is not how God leads us to be.  God reminds Peter through a vision in Acts 10, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”  If God has made it clean, than He has made it Holy.

God has made you Holy by cleansing you “inside and out” through the waters of Baptism.  You have been set apart by God for something very special.  Rejoice and be confident that you are the presence of God in the lives and activities of those around you.  Don’t let anyone tell you differently!


Pastor’s Corner


Sovereignty of God

“Who is in charge around here?”  This is the thought that crosses my mind, and sometimes my lips, when chaos breaks out.  Maybe my household  gets chaotic or maybe the church or school; maybe it is just a poor performance by a favorite sports team or disarray at a local restaurant.  Wondering who is in charge seems a pretty common thought when things seem to be getting out of control.

When we look at the larger context of life and the world, we might wonder if God is really in charge.  On one hand, if God is in charge, then why does it so often seem like He isn’t doing anything?  On the other hand, if God isn’t in charge, then who is?

This weekend in services and this week in our Community Groups and family devotions we are discussing the Sovereignty of God – in other words, the amount of control and power God has and exercises over the world.  We know that God is good and that all good things come from God.  The difficult question is where does the not-so-good stuff come from and who is in charge of it?  Is evil outside of God’s control or does God control the amount and type of evil in our lives?

A common, shorthand answer to the lack of goodness in the world is the term “free will”.  In other words, God freely sacrifices His control and power for the freedom of the people He loves.  The problem with this understanding is that it gives humans the power and control to create a different outcome than what God wills or desires.  So what is the solution, and who is in charge?

God wants us to ask Him these sorts of questions, but He doesn’t want us to question His responses.  In other words, God loves it when we come to Him with our questions.  At the same time, God desires for us to trust the answers He provides.  What God assures us of is this:  He is in charge.  “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’”  Matthew 28:18.  This seems pretty clear – all authority in heaven and earth.

While God is still in charge, He also tells us to be alert because the devil has been allowed to prowl like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  While this may seem as if God has given up power, we are also reminded that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow.  In other words, the greatest effort of the devil will not be able to overcome even the name of Jesus, much less the work and person of Jesus.

There are a lot of questions that we can ask, and we should ask in an effort to better understand God.  At the same time we can take great comfort in knowing that the questions that matter the most are already answered.  God is good!  God is in control!  No evil has power over our God!  While we will go through trials and sufferings in this life on this earth, we can take heart for our God has overcome the world and is seated on the throne of power.


Pastor’s Corner

Building on the Past, Faithful for the Future

Pastor’s Corner – Architect Selected!

It is with much joy that I am able to share great news with you!  The building committee has selected Wildesign Architects as our architecture firm for our children’s ministry project.  David Wilde founded Wildesign in 2002.  In 2008, he spent many years with a large Design/Build firm in the area.  David still works as a principal architect with them on occasion.  David relaunched Wildesign in 2014 in an effort to better serve the relational collaboration with the congregation that can be lost when working in a larger institution.

Wildesign desires to create “ministry focused” facilities that allow the congregation to accomplish its mission.  David and Wildesign stood out among the other architecture firms, because he seemed to fully understand our mission to mature as disciples that make more disciples.  He has worked with several congregations that share the vision to send people out on mission for the Lord.  David also brings a deep understanding of designing spaces that resonate with people, who may not be a familiar with church culture.

A major challenge we have at Cross is being able to utilize the facilities to accomplish the Mission and Vision.  We have amazing amounts of space that are underutilized or in the wrong spot to accomplish the stated goals of our ministries.  David will take that challenge head-on as he looks at our entire facility early in the process.  David will challenge us to think differently and to have an eye for the visitor or new family walking in our school and church facilities.

The next steps in the process will be about communication and information gathering.  We will be seeking input from you, our church and school families on important improvements that need to be made.  This information will help us to create an overall design that will serve us well now and keep our eyes on the future!

Please continue in prayer for this process.  Please participate in this process as we move forward together.  Do not assume someone one else will say something.  If it is on your heart or mind, please share it so we can prayerfully attempt to incorporate the idea, or at least, let it shape the process.  The only bad idea is an idea that isn’t shared until it is too late to make a change!

This process has not been as easy as we had thought, but God has truly delivered when He gave our building committee unity on this step.  I believe that God will continue to lead and provide that unity as we go forward in His will and with His timing.

Check out Wildesign on the web at

“We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, His power, and the wonders He has done!” Psalm 78:4

Pastor’s Corner

The Real God Sermon Scrolling Slide

Pastor’s Corner – The Real God

Close your eyes and imagine a conversation with God.  I’m serious, take fifteen seconds and pause and think about God.  What do you imagine?   A.W. Tozer writes in his book, The Knowledge of the Holy” — “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

So, what do you see when you close your eyes and imagine God?  Do you see Jesus walking the beach in a light blue sash as He is so often portrayed in shows?  Do you see the talking head of God in the clouds like in Monty Python skits?  Do you see a loving person reaching out his arms for a hug?  Do you see a judge behind his bench ready to deliver a verdict?  Do you see a disappointed father shaking His head because you “messed up again?”

There is no one right answer on how we ought to view God, He is a complex being and there are many sides and responses to Him.  There is, however, only one source that ought to inform our view.  During the next eight weeks, we will be digging into that source, the Word of God, to see how God describes Himself.

How we view God greatly impacts how we like; how we react to situations; how we make decisions; how we treat others; and so much more.  Last January, we participated with Explore God which was a surface level conversation started about the possible existence of God and some common questions or objections.  In The Real God, we will dig deep into scripture to explore the nature and personality of God.  We will discuss God’s roll in Good and Evil and we will talk about how God describes Himself.  We will deal with God’s anger and jealousy, as well as His love and mercy.

The hope is that after eight weeks you will be able to tell the difference between what God says about Himself and what the world says about Him.   Through The Real God, we hope you will be able to close your eyes and see God as He truly is.  We also hope each participant will grow in understanding what God thinks about each of us as well!

The Real God Church Campaign offers content supporting five core ministries: Worship, Adults, Families, Students and Children.  Each of these groups will be seeking the scriptures to discover The Real God as He reveals His thoughts to us.  Don’t miss out, take the time to dig deeper and challenge your perceptions and allow them to be sharpened and clarified.  Even if you think you understand it all, I am certain that you will be challenged and will grow in your ability to help others see and believe in the promises of The Real God!

Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.  But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”  John 20:30-31