Weekly Update: September 6, 2016

Dear Family,

This weekend we embark on a new sermon series from Paul's epistle to the Romans entitled, The Gospel of the Heart Set Free. Romans is considered by many to be Paul's magnum opus, for it is the most comprehensive exposition of apostle's gospel that we have. What is also striking is that the canon places Paul's writings in descending order based on length. Thus, Romans appears first and addresses a litany of issues to a church he didn't plant, nor did he visit. The theology of Romans is rich, so we will take our time in absorbing its teachings.

As we begin this study, my plan is to take us through short increments of verses as we unpack the profound depth of the gospel. My prayer is that this series would increase our affections for the Lord as we learn about his incomparable grace. The first sermon will entail Romans 1:1-7. I'd like to encourage you to read the text ahead of worship. Also, if you use an iPad or tablet and would like the sermon slides that appear in worship to be sent to your email, please send me a note and I will gladly add you to the list.

As a reminder from last week's update, our adult education classes start this Sunday morning at 9:30 am. Keith Snow, Ernie Jennings and Shane Fowler will be teaching these classes. My hope is that you make plans to attend, particularly if you're inclined to worship on Sunday mornings. Also, if you are not in a life group, please go to the website and get plugged-in. Much of our sign-up process for various ministries is online now, so please go to the website!

When you come to church this weekend you will see a new information desk and coffee bar. We are making steady progress in revitalizing our church building. I'm grateful to the many folks who have given of their time and talents to this project.

Lastly, I recently received a note from Tim and Marnie Bartholomew that I'd like to pass on to you. It's a sweet testimony of what God is doing in their lives and also the impact Cross Creek has had on them:

Dear Cross Creek,

G’day. 

It is hard to believe it is already Spring (Fall in the US) and already 9 or so months have passed since we returned to Australia from Florida. We feel terrible for taking so long to write to our Florida family - but hope you know that despite our poor communication efforts, we miss y’all terribly and remain deeply impacted by the love, care and friendship we experienced at Cross Creek. The example you gave us of authentic, thoughtful and gospel centered community has continued to influence us in so many aspects of life. We remain deeply grateful for our time in Florida and with our crazy Cross Creek family. 

Perth… a lovely city and a wonderful tourist destination for Floridians!! We have settled into a house in one of the northern coastal suburbs - with room to accommodate any visitors who decide to make the trek (and it is a trek!). The kids are all settled into their school routines and Marnie is just about to commence a ‘re-entry’ program that will hopefully see her regain her nursing registration. We have found ourselves at North Coast Church which shares a lot in common with Cross Creek -  and are enjoying getting to know people there. As you would expect, it takes time to really settle into an area and develop relationships. Perth (similar to Jacksonville) is full of reasons to be very busy - we are aware of the challenge to keep priorities and perspective, still some room for improvement on that front. 

Tim’s dad passed away in July - thank you for keeping us all in your prayers. There is such comfort in knowing he has been welcomed home by his heavenly Father. 

With all the challenges of the last 9 or so months, we are aware (albeit sometimes retrospectively) of God’s provision and grace (sometimes through discipline). He is so kind and patient isn’t He?!  We love you and miss you.

God bless,

Marnie, Tim, Isaac, Ella and Chloe.

Cross Creek prays for the Lord's continued blessings on the Bartholomews. We love and miss them so much.

See you this weekend for worship!

Paul