Weekly Update: February 11, 2016

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (ESV)

Dear Family,

When Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection he promised them that they would be baptized by the Holy Spirit. The disciples asked him if he was going to restore the kingdom of Israel. Jesus replied by telling them that it was not for them to know the precise time of his second coming, but that they would receive power by the Holy Spirit and they would be his witnesses. I stated in a sermon recently that if you want to go on a missions trip simply walk out of your front door and there is a harvest waiting. There are all kinds of opportunities that await those who know Christ to share the good news of the gospel with others. But, often times, I am afraid we don't think of local ministry as missions. Typically, missions is equated with overseas work and evangelism is equated with local ministry, though they are essentially kin. But what is evangelism? Evangelism is proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. So, whether we are over seas or in our own hometown, we are called to be Christ's witnesses - that is our mission.

To help us develop a fuller picture of missions, here is an article written by Jenn Wilkin for The Gospel Coalition entitled, "A Plea to the Mission Minded."  I think this article can help us better see the church's role in our local community as being missional. It's focus is suburbia; something we should all be familiar with.

I spoke at Reformed University Fellowship at the University of North Florida last night on the topic: Is The Bible Reliable. It was a great time with Tommy Park and the students. There were some good, challenging questions asked during the Q&A time. I'd like to say that what Tommy is doing with RUF at UNF is a wonderful ministry. Please continue to keep Tommy in your prayers and I am sure he would welcome any financial support you could give. He does great work.

Please remember that giving matters. One of the many joys of worship is the opportunity to support the church with our giving. Please support Cross Creek's staff and ministries with your generosity.

This Sunday in worship we will continue our study of the Holy Spirit by looking deeply into the sweet words of Leviticus 11:44, "For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy." May we ponder this verse and consider the blessed work of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Lastly for now, I have a real affinity for the lyrics of old, classic hymns. I think the theology is rich and there's so much that can be learned. I think this is part of the reason why I'm so partial to Indelible Grace; they take hymns and create contemporary arrangements for them.

Here are the lyrics to Shine Thou upon Us, Lord. It was written by John Ellerton in 1881.

Shine Thou upon us, Lord,
True light of men, today,
And through the written Word
Thy very self display,
That so from hearts which burn
With gazing on Thy face
Thy little ones may learn
The wonders of Thy grace.

Breathe Thou upon us, Lord,
Thy Spirit’s living flame,
That so with one accord
Our lips may tell Thy name.
Give Thou the hearing ear,
Fix Thou the wandering thought,
That those we teach may hear
The great things Thou hast wrought.

Speak Thou for us, O Lord,
In all we say of Thee;
According to Thy Word
Let all our teaching be,
That so Thy lambs may know
Their own true Shepherd’s voice,
Where’er He leads them go,
And in His love rejoice.

Live Thou within us, Lord,
Thy mind and will be ours;
Be Thou beloved, adored,
And served with all our powers,
That so our lives may teach
Thy children what Thou art,
And plead, by more than speech,
For Thee with every heart.

Peace in Christ,

Paul