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.

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!"

Monday, June 6, 2016

Be Careful What You Swallow

The graduation ceremony for The River Academy took place last Saturday afternoon. And for me, it was a bittersweet ninety minutes. Sweet, because it called to mind many of the reasons that I admire and appreciate Travis Koch, Scott Welch and Chad Warren. Bitter, as I pondered what life and ministry in the Wenatchee Valley will be like without them.

Travis was asked by the graduating class to give them one final address and I am pleased to share it with you here. Enjoy.

"Nearly 40 years ago, Theodor Seuss Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, was asked by a friend to deliver the graduation speech at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois.  Geisel was the famous author of numerous best-selling children’s books, but he hated speaking in front of large audiences, so he flatly refused the request.  He did agree, however, to attend the ceremony and receive an honorary degree from the college – Doctor of Humane Letters.

The president of the college presented the degree, and, still hoping Geisel would say a few words to the graduates, shook his hand and gestured for him to take the microphone.  Geisel moved to the podium, fished a small piece of paper out of his robe, and read the following poem, which, according to one source, he had written on the drive to campus that morning.  Here it is.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Lectionary Thoughts: April 15

Numbers 20: Having recently returned from Nepal where Hindus still regularly sacrifice animals to appease the gods, I am particularly (and almost daily) grateful for Jesus, the sacrifice "offered once for all" (Heb. 7:27). Previously, in Exodus 17:6, God had instructed Moses to strike the rock in order to provide the water necessary for Israel's survival in the wilderness. But in Numbers 20, God instructs Moses to "speak" to the rock for the same life-sustaining drink. So, it was necessary for the rock, who according to Paul was Christ himself (1 Cor. 10:4), to be struck in order for us to be saved. But it was only necessary for Christ to be stricken (Isa. 53:4) once never to be repeated. For after Jesus' "once for all sacrifice" words testifying to what he had accomplished would forever be sufficient to effect the salvation of those wandering in the wilderness of sin.

Numbers 22-24: Preachers in every age have much to learn from the pagan prophet, Balaam of Pethor, who, when called upon to curse the children of Israel, replied that he could not "go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more" even if given a "house full of silver and gold." Just like witnesses in American courts of law, faithful preachers are required by God to "speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." But in truth, this is very difficult to do week after week. Please remember to pray for those who preach God's Word to you.

Psalm 55: In times of treachery and deceit, it is a very great comfort to know that we are not alone; that many godly men and women before us have suffered the intense pain caused by the betrayal of people close to them. In verse 12 the psalmist says that he could have easily avoided the attack if it had come from a known enemy, or at least have borne the pain knowing that it came from the same. But in verses 13-14 the psalmist describes with anguish the devastation caused by an attack that came from an associate; a counselor; someone with whom he had taken "sweet counsel together" and even worshipped with. In verse 22 the psalmist gives us the only sufficient remedy for such a betrayal of trust: Cast your burden (literally, that which has been given to you) upon the broad shoulders of the LORD, believing that He will sustain you, and will never permit you to be jostled out of His perfect plan for you. True comfort indeed!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Lectionary Thoughts: April 2

Numbers 10: Sometimes in the OT figures like Moses were foreshadowings of Christ, showing us, albeit imperfectly, something of Christ’s person and work. And just as often these same figures were employed by the Holy Spirit as so many foils whose weakness and sinfulness served as backdrops against which the strength and goodness of Jesus could be seen and understood in stark contrast.

Moses was not at his best in Numbers 10, but his weakness and waywardness nonetheless serves to highlight the faithfulness of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Whilst trekking through the wilderness, as Israel sunk into a state of whiny overt rebellion. Distressed by this, Moses complained to God that he was not able to bear the burden of her sinfulness and asked God to kill him in order to put him out of his misery.

In stark contrast, Jesus looked at the whiny rebellion of his people and willingly accepted the burden of our sin upon his broad shoulders. And having done so, submitted himself to the shameful death of the cross, not to end his own misery, but rather to embrace, endure and triumph over our sin and misery by taking them to the grave and leaving them there.

As we love to sing, “Hallelujah, what a Savior!”

Friday, March 11, 2016

Lectionary Thoughts: March 11

LEVITICUS 14: The God of Scripture a master-storyteller. Almost all of the literary devices that we enjoy today in both fiction and non-fiction first appeared in the "story of stories", the Bible.

According to vocabulary.com, "Foreshadowing is an advance sign or warning of what is to come in the future."And this being true, Leviticus 14 provides us with an amazing foreshadowing of the Jewish Temple's destruction in 70 A.D.

God's prescription for houses infected by "leprosy" had three phases. Phase I: After the contents of the house had been removed, a priest would visit the house in question to examine it for disease (Lev. 14:36). Phase II: The priest would return to the house for a second inspection. If the disease remained, then the house would be scraped and stones removed from the house (Lev. 14:39-40). Phase III: The priest would return for a third examination and if the disease remained, the entire house would be destroyed "stones and timber and all the plaster of the house"(Lev. 14:43-45).

Fast forward 2000 years to the time of Jesus' first advent. Phase I: Jesus, who was a priest "according to the order of Melchizedek" (Heb. 7:17) visited God's "house" (the Temple) near the beginning of his ministry, examined it and removed certain diseased elements from it (John 2:13-22). Phase II: Jesus made a second inspection of the God's house near the end of his earthly ministry, found it diseased and once again forcibly removed some of the diseased elements (Matt. 21:12-13). Phase III: Jesus, just as he had promised the Council in Matt. 26:64, visited Jerusalem in a cloud of judgment (e.g. Isa. 19:1-2) determined that God's house was still diseased and leveled the Temple and the holy city "stones and timber and all the plaster" via the might of Titus and the Roman army.

Just as Jesus said in Luke 24, all of the Old Testament is about him. Even the hard to read passages about leprosy, open sores and the demolition of houses.

And, for what it's worth, Leviticus 13:40-41 are two of my all-time favorite verses in the Bible. And if you've ever seen my forehead (actually, more of a fivehead) you will understand why ;).

HT: James B. Jordan and Peter J. Leithart.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Lectionary Thoughts: March 2

JOHN 21: This chapter could be read as the second act of three act play.

Act I: Jesus calls his first disciples and promises them that if they follow him, he will make them "fishers of men" (Mark 1:17).

Act II: After a night of fruitless fishing, Jesus directs these same men to cast their net on the right side of the boat producing a haul of fish that strained the nets to the point of breaking (John 21:6-11). And recall that in the Old Testament, the sea/sea creatures were associated with the Gentile nations/Gentiles.

Act III: As Peter preaches to the Gentile Cornelius and his household the Holy Spirit falls upon them and they are gathered into the family of God via baptism (Acts 10:44-48). Although Paul is known as the "Apostle to the Gentiles", it was Peter who landed the first "fishes" from the Gentile sea just as Jesus had foretold and foreshadowed.