Weekly Update: August 24, 2016

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. - Philippians 1:3-6

Dear Family,

As Summer winds to a close and we prepare to enter the Fall season, I have been reminiscing about the past year. I've been thinking about the ways in which we laughed and cried, prayed and cared for one another, and miss sweet members who have left while welcoming new ones to our family.

Cross Creek has much to be thankful. God continues to amaze us with his grace, love, and provisions. And though that does not mean that things will proceed with ease, it does mean that we are to continue to have faith and trust in the Lord and how he directs Cross Creek's paths. I'm excited to see how God will continue to work among us.

It was last summer when Dr. Don Sweeting, Orlando campus president of Reformed Theological Seminary, preached for us. It was such an honor to have him, and his message of gospel reliance continues to impact me to this day. I hope we have more opportunities to invite guest preachers in the future.

I can't say enough about our many volunteers. Most of our volunteers work full-time jobs and have families of their own, but you sacrifice so that God may be glorified. Thank you for your willing hearts of service.

Cross Creek has been loving our community well. Our Fall Festival last year welcomed roughly 400+ folks from the community to our campus. We had Trunk or Treat, food trucks, bounce houses, and an overflow of chili and dessert to enjoy. We are planning to do it again this year. 

In addition to the Fall Festival, we hosted a Health Fair, Vacation Bible School, and Fine Arts Camp that welcomed many more to our church. I have never seen Cross Creek reach out to the community like it did this past year. We are loving our community well, but the work is just beginning.

Boy, did I weep when these kiddos went back to Australia. Rarely a day passes when I don't think of the Bartholomews. Tim, Marnie, Isaac, Ella and Chloe are dearly missed. But isn't that what the gospel is all about? Isn't it about sweet, long-lasting relationships formed because of Christ? Though we hated to see them go, we rejoice that God brought them to us so that we can miss them.

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And through it all, God continued to bless us with more families. His mercies are new every morning. As long as we remain faithful to his Word and consider it pure joy to welcome people to church, God will continue to grace us with his people.

We prayed a lot this past year. We lifted up so many from our church in prayer. As a pastor, there's something special about the church gathered in prayer. We surround people, lay hands on them, and even anointed them with oil. Cross Creek thrives on prayer and my hope is that we continue to grow as a praying church.

Baptism is a means of God's grace. It's one of the many ways God shows his love and faithfulness. When a child is welcomed into the covenant community, it is cause for great delight. This is one of the ways the Lord increases and grows his church. Please keep the little ones in your prayers. Seek ways to serve and love them.

I have never known Cross Creek to turn down some good ol' grilling. We love to get together after worship, sit on the lawn, let the kids run wild, and sink our teeth into some juicy burgers. This is part of doing life together and I hope we do more of it.

Cross Creek had the honor of hosting Presbytery. Keith did such a great job with the Lord's Supper. I am so grateful for him and our entire staff. Please keep the staff in your prayers. They are hard working folks who love Cross Creek deeply.

For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. - Philippians 1:8-11

See you this Sunday for worship.

Blessings,

Paul