Sign Progress

Recently I posted the picture shown below, which shows the hole we dug to install the new church sign:

We’re making progress!  Below is a picture of what it looks like now.  The wooden box sits over the hole.  It’s actually a whole lot more complex than it looks.  It’s perfectly level and is tightly in place.  The next step, which should happen today, is to pour the concrete into the wooden box.  It will be two feet deep and two feet high.  After three days we can bolt the sign to the concrete block.  The little PVC pipe in the picture is where we’ll run the line for the electricity to light the sign.

By the way, something I found pretty interesting: I was wondering how we would get it level.  I didn’t know what would be our standard to measure by.  John, the stone mason in our church who is running the project, told me it’s something so obvious and simple that it’d be easy to miss: the water!  If you look in the picture at the top, you’ll see we hit water.  Water, obviously, lies perfectly level.  So John marked the top of the water with some stakes.  Before we pour the concrete, he’ll check the stakes to make sure they’re still level with the water, then he’ll pump out the water (or “evacuate” it, as he says in the professional vernacular).  It’s actually an ancient trick.  John says the Egyptians did it–but knowing how John likes to mess with me, he might’ve made that up on the fly.

Published in: on March 18, 2008 at 10:09 am  Leave a Comment  

Updated Podcast

The podcast is now up to date!  Just so ya know.

Published in: on March 18, 2008 at 5:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Marriage: Back to Basics

Yesterday at CrossWay Church we talked about marriage.  We looked at 1 Peter 2:20-3:7.  Sometimes 1 Peter 3:1-7 is preached by itself and taken way out of context.  To understand it correctly, it’s necessary to back up at least as far as verse 20 in the previous chapter.  (Chapter and verse markings in the Bible were not in the original text.  They were added centuries later merely as reference points.)

The bottom line is simply this: To have a healthy and satisfying marriage, we must love our husbands and wives as Jesus Christ loves us.  That’s the main point of this passage of Scripture.  It’s too easy for us to take our spouses for granted and not even notice them or consider them anymore.  Sometimes we’re even nicer and more attentive to strangers than to our own husband or wife!  This passage in 1 Peter challenges us to reverse that mindset and get back to the basics of loving our spouses selflessly and sacrificially.

Ironically, I was preaching about marriage to a couple who had celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary the day before.  I tried to talk him into preaching the message, but understandably, his focus this weekend was on enjoying family.  Carolyn and I have not even been married a month for every year that Norm & Sara have been married!  Add to the mix the awkward fact that I was also preaching about marriage to my wife’s parents, and you can see why it was a great help and relief to know that I was preaching God’s Word and not my own ideas!  That’s the beauty of preaching Scripture, when you do it true to the text.

I know I’ve fallen behind on uploading the weekly podcasts, but I should be caught up this week.  (I have to say it doesn’t help that GoDaddy, our podcast host, has technical problems every single week when I try to upload the podcast!)

Published in: on March 17, 2008 at 10:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Sign Installation: Step 1

Well, at least we’ve got a hole dug where the new sign is going to be:

As you can see, we’ve got some drainage issues!

Published in: on March 16, 2008 at 5:03 am  Leave a Comment  


Published in: on March 15, 2008 at 12:03 pm  Comments (2)  

Tough Questions About God

On Easter at CrossWay we’re launching a five-week series called “Tough Questions about God.”  Each week we’ll wrestle with a different question.

Week One: Why should I believe Jesus really rose from the dead?
Week Two: Why do bad things happen to good people?
Week Three: Is the Bible really true?
Week Four: Don’t all religions lead to God?

For the fifth week, we’re going to collect questions from people during the series and address four or five of them during the worship service that week.

If you would like to submit a tough question about God (the goal here is to gain understanding, not play stump-the-pastor), you can do so in one of several ways:

(1) Leave your question in the comments section of this post.
(2) Email your question to
(3) Text message your question to a phone number that will be printed in the bulletin each week (I’m not posting it here because you’re on a computer, so you obviously don’t need it anymore than I need junk calls and spam).
(4) If you attend CrossWay during the series, you can just write your question on your Connection Card.

Let the tough questioning begin!

Published in: on March 14, 2008 at 5:02 am  Comments (2)  

Sign Update

This evening we’re breaking ground for installation of the new sign.  Yes!

Published in: on March 13, 2008 at 10:45 am  Leave a Comment  

Getting Rid of Hymnals

We’re getting rid of our hymnals at CrossWay.  We just don’t use them anymore.  Today I took inventory so I could give details to some people who are interested in them.

Apparently we’d become a kind of orphanage for stray hymnals.  There were 63 of them–consisting of 14 different editions!  How would that work in one congregation?  “Please turn in your hymnal to number 394, 11, 30, 204, 209, 581, 582, 10, 952, 28, 295, 444, 591, or 229”?!?

How nice to live in the digital age.  Bring on the video projection!

Published in: on March 12, 2008 at 2:38 pm  Leave a Comment  


Last night we had an awesome baptism service at Berlin First Baptist Church!  Three churches combined and we baptized about 20 people.  The service crossed ethnic, denominational, and language barriers.  Two churches were Baptist, while the other was Mennonite.  Two were English-speaking, one was Spanish-speaking.  Baptizing about 20 people and having everything translated into both languages made for a two-hour service.  But praise God that there were so many people making public professions of faith, and that two often-segregated communities came together to celebrate and worship Christ!  Sure, we got home late, but I’ll stay up all night anytime for something of such magnitude and significance!

At the end of the worship service so many people responded to the invitation that the Hispanic responders overflowed to Pastor Daryl and me.  It was truly awesome!  What a great celebration we had.  Here’s how one young attender felt about it:

There were two young girls baptized from CrossWay, about six from SonRise, and around 13 from Nuevo Amanacer (I lost track of exact numbers).

One little girl from another church was excitedly telling her friends: “I’m getting appetized!”

Published in: on March 12, 2008 at 2:33 pm  Comments (2)  

Simple Church Conference

Last Friday I went to Baltimore with Pastor John Coleman from Church @ the Gathering Tree. We attended a conference at Streetlite Christian Fellowship, led by Eric Geiger. Geiger is the co-author, along with Thom Rainer, of Simple Church. Some takeaways from the conference:

  • If someone came to our church and asked a bunch of people: “What does winning in your church look like?,” we should all have the same answer.
  • A simple process for making disciples is prevalent in the most fruitful churches.
  • A scattered vision is no vision at all. An effective church will have a focused, cohesive vision.
  • When dealing with church process, two key words should be “streamline” and “simplify.”
  • Research shows a strong relationship between vibrant & evangelistic churches and the use of a simple process.
  • Avoid clutter! Don’t let church programs spring up like weeds. Make sure they move people forward in the discipleship process and are not there for their own sake. Don’t have competing programs.
  • Definition: A simple church is a congregation designed around a straightforward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth.
  • “Simple” is important, but “process” is the key word.
  • Discipleship is not part of the process–discipleship IS the process!
  • The tendency to over-program in the early parts of the process can prevent people from moving to the later parts of the process.
  • Choose one program for each phase of the process. For example, in the community step of discipleship, don’t expect people to go to both Sunday School and a small group.
  • An overabundance of choices can keep people from making a decision at all.
  • Don’t take energy away from what is essential. Invest resources wisely.
  • Don’t collect Christians on a shelf in a warehouse. Send them out into the mission field!
  • Align people around the simple church process.
  • And a great Geiger quote: “Vision has to be preached. It can’t just be announced.”

One of the best takeaways for me came not from the conference itself, but from a conversation with John on the ride up to Baltimore. He said that he writes his sermons out in manuscript form in order to leave a legacy. He also made the interesting observation that many historical figures that we remember as theologians never thought of themselves as theologians and never intended to be theologians. They were simply preachers whose thoughts and teachings were preserved through their writings. Excellent insight! It definitely challenged me to be more intentional about writing out my sermons.

Published in: on March 11, 2008 at 5:37 am  Leave a Comment