Mission/Vision

KING’S CROSS CHURCH exists to glorify God and enlarge His Kingdom by gathering regularly to proclaim and celebrate the Gospel of Jesus Christ, yielding to the authority of God’s Word as illuminated by the Holy Spirit and summarized in the historic Christian Creeds and Confessions, partaking together of Christ’s presence in the Sacraments, providing opportunities to love and serve one another in Community, equipping the saints for Ministry to those who are lost and hurting, both locally and globally, and preparing them to cultivate Shalom (peace and well-being) wherever God calls them to serve.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Lectionary Thoughts: August 30


2 Samuel 13. One of the ways that exceptional authors display their genius is by introducing a particular theme and then subtly echoing that theme multiple times as their storylines develop. An example of this would be John Steinbeck’s iconic novel, East of Eden, in which the “Cain and Abel” rivalry and its devastating effects appears and reappears throughout the book. This literary echoing is difficult to do at all; nearly impossible to do well; and the Holy Spirit does it often and superbly using the forty-or-so human authors responsible for writing the sixty-six books of the one book we know as The Bible. A-Mazing!

In 2 Samuel, note how David’s sins “echo” the sins of Genesis 1-6. David’s sin of taking Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11:1-4) echoed Adam’s sin of taking the forbidden fruit. David’s exile from Jerusalem (2 Sam. 15:13-18) echoed Adam’s exile from the Garden. And the lethal rivalry of David’s sons, Amnon and Absalom (2 Sam. 13:28-29) echoed the lethal rivalry of Cain and Abel.

Image result for Cain and Abel

As Solomon repeatedly noted in his Ecclesiastes, “There is nothing new under the sun.” And therefore every descendant of Adam, including King David who was “a man after God’s heart”, was doomed to rehearse and repeat the sins of the first Adam until the last Adam (the Lord Jesus Christ) would come and break the horrific cycle of sin and death.

But the last Adam has come. The cycle of sin is broken and the echoes are abating. For unlike David and the rest of the Old Testament saints, we are no longer the “slaves of sin” (Rom. 6:18.) Alleluia and amen!

HT: Peter Leithart

GH

  

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Courage


Image result for Courage

We live in a time when the virtue of courage will become more and more important as we modern-day Christians learn how to cope with the rising tide of misunderstanding, slander and perhaps even overt persecution. And although we would like to think otherwise, cowardice is no mere peccadillo (a petty misdeed) and will be the reason that many are consigned to the fires of hell (Revelation 21:8).

Perhaps this is why C. S. Lewis placed such a premium on the exercise of courage when he wrote:   

"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality. A chastity or honesty or mercy which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions. Pilate was merciful till it became risky." (from Mere Christianity)

Or as Joshua put it, "Only be strong and courageous." (Josh. 1:7) Amen!

GH


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Lectionary Thoughts: August 23


1 Samuel 15 – 2 Samuel 6

The story of salvation is the story of two Adams. According to Paul in Romans 5 (and elsewhere), the first Adam plunged his descendants into sin, condemnation and death. And the second Adam (Jesus), in similar fashion, plunges his descendants into righteousness, acceptance and life.

So, not surprisingly, in the Old Testament, we see many re-tellings of the “faithless Adam” story accompanied by foreshadows of the “faithful Adam-to-come.” The story of Saul and David is one such story/foreshadowing.

Saul, like Adam, began his reign under the blessing of God. But when Saul failed to put Agag, the wicked Amalekite king to death, Saul lost both the favor of God and his place in the kingdom. Adam failed to dispatch the wicked serpent, and as a result lost the favor of God and his place in the Garden. Saul was, in the end, overcome and put to death by an Amalekite, the very enemy that he had failed to dispatch earlier (2 Samuel 1:8-10). Adam is cursed with death for heeding the wicked counsel of the enemy that he had failed to dispatch in the Garden.

David is victorious over the Amalekites, obliterating them and rescuing those of his own that had been captured by the Amalekites (1 Sam. 30:17-18). Jesus is victorious over his enemies - Satan and death -  (Heb. 2:14), rescuing those that had been imprisoned by them in the grave (Eph. 4:8-9).

Then Samuel gives us a very interesting detail as the Amalekite who slew Saul relates to David how it happened:

“So I stood beside him and killed him, because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was on his head and the armlet that was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord.” (2 Samuel 1:10)
    
An Amalekite, a member of the tribe that Saul had faithlessly failed to dispatch earlier, kills Saul, removes his crown and gives it to David. Think about it: the enemy that was Saul’s undoing was the instrument that God used to transfer kingdom authority from Saul to David. And directly after he received the crown, David dispatched the one who brought it to him (2 Sam. 1:15). Eleven-hundred years later, Adam’s arch-enemies, Satan/death, were the very instruments used by God to put the crown on Jesus’ head (Philip. 2:8-9). And in Jesus’ death, the power of Satan and death were destroyed forever.

As Jesus said to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, all the Old Testament is about him. Jesus is indeed the last Adam who succeeded gloriously where the first Adam failed miserably. And the one who in his death, has conquered death for us. As the people marveled about Jesus in Mark 7:37, “He has done all things well.” Amen, and amen!





Thursday, August 18, 2016

Lectionary Thought: Aug 18

Psalm 109

Psalm 109 is an intense Psalm of Lament and Imprecation. Psalms like this can be extremely grating on our modern ears. There are very few niceties at all in the Psalm but I think our temptation is to gravitate toward what is easier to hear and gloss over the heavy hitting emotional aspects of the Psalm. What do we do with the overt desire of the Psalmist to see the destruction of his enemy rather than his redemption? Is it appropriate for God’s people today to bring similar thoughts to Him in prayer against our enemies? John Calvin reminds us that the book of Psalms is “an anatomy of all parts of the soul,” reflecting the full range of human emotions as in a mirror (Tremper Longman III: Commentary on Job, pg. 321). 

It is helpful to note that the Psalmist is not asking God to give him the strength or the means to carry out the vengeance he is seeking against his enemies. Rather he commits the request to God and puts it in His hands (vs 4). Notice the basic assumption of the psalmist that he can trust God to deal justly with people. That is why he can come to God in the midst of his suffering at the hands of evil men and commit the outcome to Him. This is what Paul commends in Romans 12:19 “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’” The psalmist also demonstrates a couple of ways he appeals to God. He shows that he wants God to act retributively against his enemies and knows he would be justified in doing so (Vs. 17, 18 Let them be treated according to how they have treated others). But he appeals to God to deal with him according His names sake, out of his steadfast love (Vs. 21). He does not desire the same retributive principle to be carried out on him. Is this a double standard or a recognition that God can act with justice, God can act with mercy but God can will never act unjustly. 

I think it is also helpful to contrast the request of vengeance against his enemies that the psalmist expresses in response to their injustice with Jesus’ response to those that treated him with injustice. Jesus does not hurl imprecations at his enemies. In fact he calls upon the Father not to deal with them according to their actions against him. Rather he calls for forgiveness, “for they know not what they do.” Clearly, the hymnbook of God’s people leaves room for us to cry out to God honestly and sets the proper boundaries to do so. But, as the law of Christ became fully realized in the person of Jesus, there is a maturity that we are directed towards as God’s people responding to suffering and injustice at the hands of others. While the Psalmist responds with imprecations hurled at the assailants who caused him to be the object of scorn (vs. 25), these actions against Jesus brought him to selflessly request mercy and forgiveness on his enemies.  

Monday, August 8, 2016

Lectionary Thoughts: August 8


(1 Samuel 22:7–8) And Saul said to his servants who stood about him, “Hear now, people of Benjamin; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, that all of you have conspired against me? No one discloses to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day.” 

Saul starts well as the first king of Israel, but ends tragically and horribly. And in the throws of his personal and political meltdown the Holy Spirit uses him as a foil to highlight the sterling character and faithful behavior of David.

In the above verses we see a whiny, thin-skinned ruler who knows that his people will not follow him on principle and need to be bribed with promises of wealth and positions of power. David can offer his followers neither of these enticements, and yet his band continues to swell with men perfectly willing to suffer hardship and disgrace with David in the wilderness.

Sadly, the candidates for POTUS this year seem to resemble Saul much more than they do David, who was but a faint shadow of his greater son, Jesus. May the Lord raise up candidates and elected officials who fear no one but God, who bless when they are cursed, and are quite ready to suffer derision, disgrace and even death for the sake of righteousness.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Thanks, Dads



(1 Thessalonians 2:9–12)  For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

Our God is, as Jesus taught us, "our heavenly Father.” And so that we might begin to understand the glory of that privilege, God has given us earthly fathers to enrich our apprehension of what it means to be the sons and daughters of the Creator of the universe. Although earthly fathers imperfectly bear the likeness of our heavenly Father, when they do so faithfully, they do it with profound effect.

-       Fathers bear the image of their Creator when they beget something that bears resemblance to them and yet is completely unique and separate from them.

-       Fathers bear the image of their Creator when they conceive children knowing in advance that they will be difficult, selfish, ungrateful and who at times will defy their fatherly authority and ignore their fatherly wisdom.

-       Fathers bear the image of their Creator when they conceive children, not for what the children can do for them, but rather as objects of their intense love and unflagging devotion; little people upon whom to lavish affection, encouragement, provision and praise.

-       Fathers bear the image of their Creator when they lovingly perform a thousand selfless deeds for their children accompanied by a thousand gifts of provision and are happily content to have one or two acknowledged and praised.

-       Fathers bear the image of their Creator when they wrestle with their children and pretend to be overpowered by their children’s vastly inferior strength and agility.

-       Fathers bear the image of their Creator when they sagely allow their children to take on tasks too big for them; to fail, and to suffer loss, pain, frustration and humiliation confident of the character that these afflictions will almost surely produce.

-       Fathers bear the image of their Creator when they teach, and then re-teach, and then re-re-teach the same lessons over and over again, patiently committed to teach the lessons as many times as it takes for the wisdom to take root in the hearts of their children.

-       Fathers bear the image of their Creator when they listen patiently to their children tell them things they already know; listen empathetically as their children vent their frustrations, cry their fears, and listen attentively as their children share the minutia of their tiny little lives.

-       Fathers bear the image of their Creator when they exercise their strength to defend, protect, guard and rescue their children from overwhelming dangers, foes and catastrophes.

-       Fathers bear the image of their Creator when they stand tip-toe, patiently scanning the horizon for the return of wayward, thankless and rebellious sons and daughters, all the while remaining ever-ready to receive, forgive and bless them.

-       Fathers bear the image of their Creator when they, just like the Lord God, are perfectly easy to please, and forever impossible to satisfy. Ever eager to acknowledge and praise the smallest of their children’s victories and accomplishments, and ever wanting for them more than they are able to ask or imagine.


And so, dads, we sons and daughters thank you from the very bottom of our hearts, not merely for your myriad acts of love and service. But for the countless ways that you displayed and revealed to us the big-hearted goodness and never-ending love of our Creator God. To Him be all glory and praise!


Friday, June 10, 2016

She's Perfect!

Albert Mohler has a podcast called "The Briefing." In this installment he comments on the letter written by a mom whose doctor strongly encouraged her to abort her Downs Syndrome daughter in utero. If you have a smartphone you can download a program called "iCatcher" and then program iCatcher to automatically download The Briefing five days a week. Enjoy!
"She's perfect!"