Tag Archives: Pastor Rob Norris

Keep Going

rob-norris-BW-2x2By Pastor Rob Norris

Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
Luke 14:27

We don’t talk a lot about cross carrying. That’s more the fine print of being a follower of Christ–the part we don’t generally go around advertising to those we’re hoping to draw into Christian faith. But as I understand Jesus’ words in Luke 14:27, you and I cannot truly follow Him unless we are carrying a cross.

The cross is not just a popular piece of jewelry but also a unique Christian symbol that represents suffering and sacrifice. So it is with the cross He has asked you to carry. Your cross will undoubtedly extract pain and a price.

Cross carrying is not a one-time decision. No, we must choose daily to pick up our cross, again, and follow Him. We are to continue carrying it over the long haul.

Do you know what your cross is? Think with me for a moment. When the Savior asks you, “Pick up your cross and follow Me,” what exactly is it that He is asking you to carry?

Is your cross:

  • A chronic health issue–physical or emotional?
  • Giving up fame, prestige and popularity?
  • Giving up material wealth, financial security and living a lifestyle that you’ve become accustomed to?
  • The loss of a dream–infertility, a past divorce, infidelity or the betrayal of a friend?

The bottom line? Cross carrying represents death. Death of the easy way–the world’s way. Death to desires. Death to self.

Cross carrying demands focus on Christ (see Hebrews 12:1-3), coming after Christ with faith (see Hebrews 11:6), and perseverance.

Keep carrying your cross–through the balance of the work week, through the long months of a family crisis, through the hard-fought seasons of moral struggle.

Keep carrying your cross.

What does carrying your cross mean to you right now? What cross has God called you to carry right now as you follow Him?

Pray that you won’t rebel against what God is asking of you but that you’ll submit willingly to His claim on your life and pick up your cross and follow Christ.

Join us Easter Sunday for a Celebration Service and a Easter egg hunt for the kids and the adults.

The Crossings meets Sundays at 10 a.m. at River Heights Intermediate School, 7227 Scholar Way, in Eastvale.    For more information, visithttp://www.atthecrossings.com

Holes in the Wall

rob-norris-BW-2x2By Pastor Rob Norris

 

“Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established.”
Proverbs 4:26

The Great Wall of China is one of the great wonders of the world, a true masterpiece of engineering. It’s the only man-made structure that can be seen from outer space. Five to six horses could trot side by side on top of it. It is awesome to see this massive structure snake its way through the mountains.

The wall was built, of course, to protect China from invasion. Watchtowers and various battlements dot its construction at frequent intervals. But in the first hundred years after the wall was completed, enemies managed to invade the country three times, breaching the security of this enormous, rock-solid defense. How?

They didn’t go over it. They didn’t go through it. They didn’t need to knock it down. Because, while China was building this impenetrable defense system, it was apparently neglecting to build character into its children’s lives.

All the invaders had to do was bribe the gatekeepers.

I think of that story whenever I hear parents talk of the dreams and goals they have for their children. Many parents today are vitally concerned with the education their kids receive and the skills they develop. They spend hours shuttling them to school and to various extracurricular activities, looking forward to the day when they will earn scholarships and enter the working world, establishing themselves in successful and lucrative careers. But none of these accomplishments are worth anything without the character to back them up.

It’s our children’s CQ, not their IQ–their “character quotient,” not their intelligence–that will secure their futures and enable them to stand strong in battle.

Live it!  Think of a time when you modeled character to your children–and they got the message! Talk about what you both need to do to develop each of your children’s CQ.

Pray!  Ask for the faith to maintain your own integrity–and the opportunities for your children to see it in you.

The Crossings meets Sundays at 10 a.m. at River Heights Intermediate School, 7227 Scholar Way, in Eastvale.    For more information, visit http://www.atthecrossings.com

Quiet Down

rob-norris-BW-2x2By Pastor Norris

“But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness to pray.” Luke 5:16

Did you know there are cultures in the world that don’t have a word for “minute” or “hour”? They simply have no need or desire to measure time in such short increments. Nor do they attempt to maximize every second of every day. Filling their lives to the brink would be unthinkable.

Sound too third-worldish to you? Isn’t it easy to see how such words are not necessary in places where people grow their own food and rarely venture beyond their own village?

I’m not suggesting that we all move into the woods and live off the land. But I am encouraging you to consider the benefits of pulling the throttle back just a notch and embracing a more contemplative lifestyle. When you allow yourself time for creative solitude, you can see God at work and begin to rediscover life in all its richness. When you give yourself the necessary time and space to seek clarity, gain perspective and ponder decisions, you find more to savor, enjoy and appreciate.

As I reflect on these two different approaches to life–the rushed and the restful–I force myself to ask, How did Jesus live? Was He frantic or steady? Was He checking the sundial every few minutes, wishing He could cut some time off His commute to the next city? Or was He able to stop and tend to the needs around Him?

Jesus had more pressure on Him than any of us can fathom. His own disciples were always peppering Him with questions. The Pharisees wanted Him dead. The crowds wanted Him king. Many pressed against Him, wanting to be healed.

Yet He got alone to pray. To think. To be strengthened. He sought His Father and enjoyed Him in the quiet moments of life.

Live it
What is one thing you could change in order to carve out more time to rest? Talk about how you use Sunday, the day of rest, as a couple.

Pray
Ask the Lord to start you on a new quest towards a quieter heart in 2016. Let Him show you what could be eliminated to open up time with Him.

The Crossings meets Sundays, 10 a.m., at River Heights Intermediate, 7227 Scholar Way, in Eastvale. For more information, call (951) 847-6836, or visit http://www.atthecrossings.com.

Show Up, Lord

rob-norris-BW-2x2By Pastor Rob Norris

 

“Ah Lord GOD! Nothing is too difficult for You.” Jeremiah 32:17

How many times have you prayed for God to “show up”–that He would reveal His purpose and power and presence in an unmistakable way?

Some people might say, “Aw, that’s just the way Christians talk. No one really expects God to ‘show up’ or do anything.” Well, it’s not just talk if God can actually do it. Look at the context for today’s verse:

Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You, who shows loving kindness to thousands, but repays the iniquity of fathers into the bosom of their children after them, O great and mighty God. The LORD of hosts is His name; great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, giving to everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds
(Jeremiah 32:17-19).

This passage tells me that God can break through the most desperate situations in your lives and transform them into trophies of His grace. He can intervene in the lives of your friends and family members–even those who are running hard from Him right now–and turn their whole world around.

Sometimes we grow weary of praying for God to act. When an answer to prayer doesn’t immediately come, we can become impatient. We’re tempted to quit after a while. But never misjudge God’s silence as inactivity. He is working and waiting for the right time to show up, to leave no doubt that He’s the One who makes all the difference. Trusting and believing with you.

Live It:
In what areas do you need God to intervene in your life? Who in your family needs God to show up?

Pray:
Pray for God to show up in your life and in the lives of the people you’re praying for–that He would make His presence real in your lives.

Meeting @ 10:00 at River Heights Intermediate School 7227 Scholar Way, Eastvale CA.

Join us Christmas Eve at 4 p.m. for the musical drama “3 Hidden Gifts” presented by the Crossing Music & Drama Team.

The Crossings meets Sundays, 10 a.m., at River Heights Intermediate, 7227 Scholar Way, in Eastvale. For more information, call (951) 847-6836, or visit http://www.atthecrossings.com.

A New Legacy

rob-norris-BW-2x2By Pastor Rob Norris

“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” -Joshua 1:8
As a people, we are healthier but not happier. We are drenched in knowledge but parched for wisdom. Materially we are wealthy, but we suffer a profound poverty of the soul. The longer I live, the more I see that our nation needs a spiritual reformation in its inner spirit.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the state of the family. The biblical values that built our great nation–once passed on from each generation to the next as a national treasure–are being questioned and dismissed. As a result, never before have we seen such deterioration in our homes:

  • Never before have so many children grown up in broken homes.
  • Never before has the definition of marriage been altered to allow for two people of the same sex.
  • Never before has the marriage covenant been viewed with such contempt by a generation of young people.
  • Never before have parents been ridiculed for seeking to raise children with biblical values.
  • Never before have so many Christians laughed, shrugged their shoulders or did nothing about adultery, divorce and sin.
  • Never before has materialism been so flagrantly embraced over relationships.
  • Never before has the family been in such need of a new legacy.

The pivotal national issue today is not crime; neither is it welfare, health care, education, politics, the economy, the media or the environment. The pivotal issue today is the spiritual and moral condition of individual men and women, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, and families.
Nations are never changed until people are changed. The true hope for genuine change in the heart lies only in the life-changing power of Jesus Christ. Through Him, lives can be rebuilt. Through Him, families can be reformed.
How has the deterioration of our homes affected your family? Your extended family?

Live it: Pray that change in our country will begin with change in your lives and home.

The Crossings meets Sundays, 10 a.m., at River Heights Intermediate, 7227 Scholar Way, in Eastvale. For more information, call (951) 847-6836, or visit http://www.atthecrossings.com.

Home Of The Brave

rob-norris-BW-2x2By Pastor Rob Norris

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Maurice “Mo” Cheeks has enjoyed a long and successful career as a player and coach in the National Basketball Association. But in my opinion, his greatest moment in basketball had nothing to do with the action on the court.

On April 25, 2003, 13-year old Natalie Gilbert began singing the national anthem in front of the Portland Trail Blazers’ home crowd — as well as a national TV audience. Shortly into the song, she jumbled some words, and then she froze. Panicking, she held the microphone to her forehead, as if searching her brain for the right words. But just as she was about to give up (and look for the proverbial hole to crawl in), “Mo” Cheeks stepped to her side and began singing the song with her, helping her hold the microphone in place.

Urging the crowd to join in, he stayed with her the whole way, his off-key voice shadowing hers in sweet duet. It sounded awful, but it was beautiful. And you could see (and hear) Natalie’s confidence grow stronger with every line.

“He totally saved me,” Natalie told an interviewer. “I was walking off afterward, and he said, ‘Don’t worry, kid — everyone has a bad game once in a while.'”

As our kids would say, “Cool.”

The episode reminded me of the power we have as parents to come alongside and encourage our children. They need to dream big and shoot high, to put themselves out there into the battle where they run the risk of failure. And when they stumble — as they sometimes will — they need us to be there. Be all there, occasionally with the right words to see them through. They should never have to fall on their face too far from where our arms are.

Discuss:  Regardless of your children’s ages, in what areas do they need your active encouragement right now?
Pray:  Pray that your words of affirmation, belief and support will be encouraging and uplifting.

The Crossings meets Sundays, 10 a.m., at River Heights Intermediate, 7227 Scholar Way, in Eastvale. For more information, call (951) 847-6836, or visit http://www.atthecrossings.com.

Ready, Willing And Able

rob-norris-BW-2x2By Pastor Rob Norris

“The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the LORD,” (Proverbs 21:31).

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, former Staff Sergeant, David Karnes, was watching the horrific events unfold on television at his office in Connecticut. But this ex-Marine – now an accountant – felt more than pain and sympathy. He felt a call to action.

Leaving his office, he proceeded to the barbershop for a “high and tight” haircut. Then he picked up his starched camouflage fatigues at home. Grabbing some basic rappelling gear, he jumped back into his car, swung by his church for prayer with his pastor, and then headed for lower Manhattan.

Despite numerous roadblocks, his military demeanor provided him clear passage right into the heart of Ground Zero. And from there, along with another volunteer, he helped pull the final two survivors from the smoldering wreckage of the World Trade Center.

We can learn a lot from David Karnes about how to deal with the crises that we all face at times in life. First, he was ready. When the time came to respond, he knew where his stuff was. He wasn’t caught careless and unprepared.

Second, he was humble. Despite his warrior mentality, his first response was to pray and to seek God’s direction and strength.

Third, he acted. He threw his courage and convictions into the fight at the risk of his life.

Are you spiritually prepared for what may come ahead? Are you ready to act when the time comes? I believe the great need today is for men and women who are willing to engage real-life issues, instead of doing nothing.

Live It:  While you reflect back, discuss opportunities that may exist around you that may need your help. Talk about your willingness and readiness to step into the life of another.

Pray:  Pray that the Lord will protect our nation and world in the future from such pointless evils as what happened on 9/11. Also pray that He will use you as a couple to touch the lives of others.

Join us for Family Month in September.

The Crossings meets Sundays, 10 a.m., at River Heights Intermediate, 7227 Scholar Way, in Eastvale. For more information, call (951) 847-6836, or visit http://www.atthecrossings.com.

Home Fires

Pastor Rob Norris

Pastor Rob Norris

By Pastor Rob Norris

“We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders.”  (Psalm 78:4)

Five grown siblings came together at the event of their parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. When the time came to express their thanks to each parent for the one thing that stood out above all in their memories, each of them – without consulting the others – thanked their father for his leadership in family worship.

One of the brothers said, “The oldest memory I have, Dad, is of tears streaming down your face as you taught us from Pilgrim’s Progress on Sunday evenings. No matter how far I went astray in later years, I could never seriously question the reality of Christianity. I had seen it in you.”

Whenever the subject of family worship comes up, you may feel guilt at your failure in this area. I understand that. Few things seem harder to pull off or easier to put off. But when you consider the impact this one commitment could make in your own children for a lifetime, what could be more important?

It doesn’t have to be tightly preplanned. Take five or ten minutes before school to read a devotional with your children. Schedule one night a week when you’ll all be home to read a story and Scripture, sing (or make a joyful noise) and have some outrageous fun. Watch for those opportunities to practice “sandbox theology,” turning your children’s everyday events into spiritual training moments.

Don’t miss this: Dad and Mom, your ultimate assignment as parents is to introduce your children to God; His Son, Jesus Christ; and His Word. It may be hard to start and a challenge to continue, but it will make a huge difference in how they finish.

Live It:  Talk about what each of you can do to be helpful and encouraging to each other in getting family worship started or in keeping it going.

Pray:  Pray for priorities to firm up in your life, for incidentals to be seen for the waste of time they are, and for God’s Word to recapture each of your hearts.

The Crossings meets Sundays, 10 a.m., at River Heights Intermediate, 7227 Scholar Way, in Eastvale. For more information, call (951) 847-6836, or visit http://www.atthecrossings.com.

Living The Blessed Life

Pastor Robert Jewett

Pastor Robert Jewett

By Pastor Robert Jewett

In a world of lies and deception, we are blessed to have God’s word to lead us in righteousness.

Since God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18), every word of His proves true (Proverbs 30:5).  God promises great peace to those who love His word and says nothing can make them stumble (Psalms 119:165). The test of whether one loves God’s word or despises it is simply assessed by whether they obey it or not.

God’s word was given for our good…it is what the Holy Spirit uses to penetrate our hearts with truth.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart,” (Hebrews 4:12).

It is also God’s word that perfects us and equips us for every good work that He has prepared for us.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work,” (2 Timothy 3:16–17).

Jesus said, “Blessed … are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:28).

So grab your Bible and open it up…read it and obey it!

Word of Truth Community Church meets Sundays at 10:30 a.m. and Wednesdays at 7 p.m., at 850 E. Parkridge Ave., #110, in Corona. For more information, visit WordOfTruthCC.com.

Without A Friend

rob-norris-BW-2x2By Pastor Rob Norris

 

Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother far away,” (Proverbs 27:10).

We’ve never had so many options for connecting with people – mail, email, phone, text-messaging, Facebook. Yet recent findings reported in the American Sociological Review show that the number of people who claim to have no one to confide in on important matters is up from 10 percent to 25 percent – 1 out of 4 – since 1985.

True friendship…what’s happened to it?

Some people, of course, claim to have a multitude of friends. One college student said, “You go on some people’s online profiles, and they say they have a thousand friends. Truth is they probably don’t even know half of them.”

So these days, in this high-tech, low-touch culture, is genuine friendship even necessary? More specifically, once you’re married and settled as a couple, is there still a great need for you to maintain friendships?

Hopefully, your best friend is the person you’re sharing this devotional moment with. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. But husbands and wives both need at least one close Christian friend of the same sex. It’s also important for you to have at least one other couple you can share with; mutual friends you can turn to for fellowship and accountability.

Tami and I have a handful of true friends upon whom we lean on for counsel, advice and balance. We’ve discussed everything from disciplining our children to finances, areas of struggle, managing pressure, and the seasons of life.

As you look at today’s culture of high-tech communication, one of the greatest needs you have is to be connected to some true friends – followers of Jesus Christ who will tell you what you need to hear.  Friends who won’t hesitate to weep with you or bring comfort or encouragement (or even correction) in a time of need.

Live It:  Who are your closest friends? What do you need to do to keep those friendships healthy and vibrant?

Pray:  If you need a close friend to come alongside you, ask God to direct you. Be patient, and expect Him to provide.

The Crossings meets Sundays, 10 a.m., at River Heights Intermediate, 7227 Scholar Way, in Eastvale. For more information, call (951) 847-6836, or visit http://www.atthecrossings.com.

Down But Not Out

Pastor Rob Norris

Pastor Rob Norris

By Pastor Rob Norris

“We have troubles all around us, but we are not defeated. We often don’t know what to do, but we don’t give up,” (2 Corinthians 4:8).

Have you been through a period of life when everything looked bleak? When it seemed everything around you was coming unraveled? When you hoped the phone wouldn’t ring for fear it would be more bad news?

During seasons like that, I’m often reminded of this story:

Karl, a Norwegian fisherman, had taken his two teenage sons out for a day of fishing. The morning had been beautiful when they started out, but the afternoon turned nasty in a hurry – catching them too far at sea to beat the incoming storm to shore. The wind-whipped ocean began to work into a frenzy, until Karl and his sons were battling for their lives. As darkness fell on their frantic efforts, even the steady beacon of the seaside lighthouse was suddenly extinguished by a terrific bolt of lightning. Hope seemed lost.

But things were actually worse than Karl knew. Lightning had also struck his home and the structure quickly erupted into a fireball. So when Karl and his sons finally staggered ashore, exhausted, he was met by his wife with the bad news.

Strangely, Karl seemed unfazed, much to his wife’s frustration. As he stroked her tear-lined face with his tough, leathery hands, he said, “Don’t you understand, sweetheart? When the lighthouse went out, the glow on the horizon became my compass. The fire that destroyed our house guided us home.”

Tami and I and our family have certainly gone through times when there were “fires” burning. But we’ve also discovered that during these times, these crises have guided us “home,” because they’ve forced us to hunker down in faith, crying out in absolute dependence upon God.

“Lord God, You know what You are doing! We don’t know what You are up to, but we trust in You.”

Live It:  What is an example of a trial you’ve experienced that turned out to have a good consequence from an eternal perspective?

Pray:  That you will face the fires together and that your faith in Christ will grow stronger as you go through them.

The Crossings meets Sundays, 10 a.m., at River Heights Intermediate, 7227 Scholar Way, in Eastvale. For more information, call (951) 847-6836, or visit http://www.atthecrossings.com.

Dreaming Dreams

Pastor Rob Norris, The Crossings

Pastor Rob Norris, The Crossings

By Pastor Rob Norris

“So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people,” – Galatians 6:10.

I think one of the greatest needs in the Christian community is for individuals to dream some dreams about how they can use their talents to impact people’s lives for Christ.

Let me tell you about a family that is making a difference. A small family ministry called Standing with Hope provides prosthetic limbs for below-the-knee amputees, not only in the United States, but also in Ghana, Africa.

The process of adding a “skin” covering to make a prosthetic look real can cost thousands of dollars – far too costly for an outreach whose goal is to help as many people as possible be able to walk again.

That’s where the family’s 15-year old son, Grayson Rosenberger, comes in. While noodling over an entry idea for a nationwide science contest, Grayson came across one of his mom’s old, discarded prosthetic legs. He found that by wrapping it in a very common household item, he could give the mechanical limb a realistic shape.

His inexpensive solution? Bubble wrap. Total cost for application? About one dollar.

No, it doesn’t look like skin. But with the right hose or stockings, the prosthetic leg can be made to look real. And for poverty-stricken adults and children in Africa who are often ostracized and teased for the primitive, bare-bones appearance of a fake leg, this is a confidence-creating alternative.

Bubble wrap. Who’d have thought?

Could it be that there is a right-under-your-nose opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives?  Could it be that, if you slowed down and set your mind on seeking God for a way you could really serve Him, He might lay out an idea that’s so simple, you’ll be shocked you didn’t think of it earlier?

Just think. Bubble wrap.

Live It:  Every person and every couple has an assignment from God – a ministry. What’s yours?

Pray:  Express your availability to God, and ask Him to show you the best way to serve.

The Crossings meets Sundays, 10 a.m., at River Heights Intermediate, 7227 Scholar Way, in Eastvale. For more information call (951) 847-6836, or visit www.atthecrossings.com.

Bringing It Home

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,” Ephesians 5:25.

By Pastor Rob Norris

Pastor Rob Norris, The Crossings

Pastor Rob Norris, The Crossings

On Valentine’s Day 2005, Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee, and his wife, Janet, restated and renewed their wedding vows along with 4,000 other couples gathered in Little Rock’s Alltel Arena. It included husbands and wives of all ages and backgrounds, celebrating the lifelong commitment of covenant marriage.

One of the most touching stories of the night, however, happened not in the crowded arena, but in a nearby home where a couple was listening to the proceedings on the radio.

At one point, the husband became so moved by the significance of the moment that tears began to well in his eyes. Soon they were streaming down his face. His little son, surprised by what he was seeing, crawled into his father’s lap and asked, “What’s wrong? Why are you crying?” No explanation seemed to satisfy the young boy’s curiosity, so he kept asking his father, “Why are you crying, Daddy?”

Finally, the man pulled his son up close and whispered something into his ear. The boy then crawled down quickly and ran to his mom, who was sitting across the room. He took her by the hand, looked into her eyes and explained, “Daddy said he’s crying because he loves you so much.”

We have a generation of children today who desperately need to look into the eyes of Mom and Dad and see two people deeply in love with each other, committed to one another for life, and honoring God in their relationship. If God has blessed your life with children, make sure your children know and see your love regularly. Make the marriage they see in you the same type of relationship they’ll want one day for themselves.

Remember Jesus loves you and wants the best for your marriage.

Live It:  If your children were asked to describe your relationship, what would they say? Why not ask them.

Pray:  Pray that your children see real love between two real people for a lifetime.

April Series:  “Legendary” (Make Life Count)

**Join The Crossings for Easter Sunday with an Egg Hunt following the service.

The Crossings meets Sundays, 10 a.m., at River Heights Intermediate, 7227 Scholar Way, in Eastvale. For more information call (951) 847-6836, or visit www.atthecrossings.com.

Believe God, Not the Deceiver

By Pastor Rob Norris

pastor-rob-norris-the-crossings“Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies,” (John 8:44).

A Long Island businessman in the 1930s bought an expensive brass barometer to mount in his home. However, when the man pulled the instrument out of the box and started to hang it, the arrow that indicated current weather conditions was pointing hard to “Hurricane.”

Angrily, he pounded his palm on the glass face of the barometer. The arrow didn’t move. He shook it and then banged it on the table. The arrow still didn’t move. This thing was obviously defective. So the next morning he fired off a nasty letter to the manufacturer and dropped it in a mailbox on his way to work in Manhattan.

But sure enough, a storm did roar through Long Island that day. And when he drove home in the afternoon, his house was destroyed … in a hurricane.

You see, there is absolute truth and there is deception.

All of life is a choice of who you will believe. Life is a battle between believing the truth and swallowing lies. And because the nature of our hearts – like that of the man in this story – is to doubt the truth and believe deceptions, it takes a deliberate effort to embrace God’s truth as non-negotiable. If we don’t keep our minds in the truth of the Scriptures on a daily basis, we become easy marks for our constant foe, the devil, who is both “an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14) and “the father of lies.”

So even when the Scriptures teach something you don’t like, it’s always the right choice to believe God anyway. It’s better to know the truth that a hurricane is coming than to mistakenly think you’re in the clear.

What deceptions have you fallen prey to in the past? How have they burned you?

Live it:  What is God asking you to believe today?

Pray:  For daily, deliberate, ongoing discernment.

Our March Series is, “Grace And Truth;” and join us Easter Sunday for an Easter Celebration and egg hunt following the service.

Trusting and believing with you!

The Crossings meets Sundays, 10 a.m., at River Heights Intermediate, 7227 Scholar Way, in Eastvale. For more information call (951) 847-6836, or visit http://www.atthecrossings.com.

Near Beliefs

By Pastor Rob Norris

Pastor Rob Norris, The Crossings

Pastor Rob Norris, The Crossings

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it,” (2 Timothy 3:14).

I’m afraid too many of us Christians don’t know what we really believe. Like a cork in the ocean, driven and tossed by the waves, we bounce from opinion to opinion, influenced more by the last book we read than by a lifetime of Biblical study. We’ve become activity junkies, seldom stopping long enough to decide what really matters to us, too busy to determine what’s really worth living for, let alone worth dying for.

As a result we live our lives based upon “near beliefs.” Near beliefs have just enough truth in them to sound strangely familiar to convictions, yet they’re too weak to inspire us or our actions. Too anemic to influence us to make a decision that demands a sacrifice.

Near beliefs wimp out when a teenager is pushing you out of his or her life. Near beliefs won’t keep a marriage together when romance fades. Near beliefs almost always fall silent on such issues as same-sex marriages and homosexuals adopting children. Near beliefs don’t inspire the courage to change a behavior or to press on against disapproval or opposition from “the herd.”

Near beliefs are to blame for a new brand of Christianity that is epidemic in our homes and churches – a faith that has little flavor, little light and little influence. When near beliefs are our only source of motivation, tough stands are never taken, feathers are never ruffled, and absolutes are held very loosely. Without core convictions to help us navigate, we stand uneasily on shifting sand, and we lack the solid footing with which to stage a life of principle and character.

Today is a call to Biblical conviction. A call to spending time studying the Word. A clarion call to challenge you to determine: What do I believe?

What is needed today is a battalion of believers who follow Christ and stand for Him and His truth.

Live It:  If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Pray:  Ask God for the courage to stand for that which you know to be true.

Join us for our February Series “It’s Not You, It’s Me.”

The Crossings meets Sundays, 10 a.m., at River Heights Intermediate, 7227 Scholar Way, in Eastvale. For more information call (951) 847-6836, or visit http://www.atthecrossings.com.

Missed Opportunities 

By Pastor Rob Norris

pastor-rob-norris-the-crossings“God has reserved a priceless inheritance for His children. It is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay,” (1 Peter 1:4).

A man at speaking engagement in Switzerland stayed at a beautiful hotel, compliments of the conference host. Each day, as he walked through the lobby, he passed the hotel’s lavish dining room and smelled the wonderful aromas of delicious entrees and desserts. But, determined to save money, he bought fruit, cheese, and crackers from a local market and lived on that all week. As he was packing to leave, his host asked him how he had enjoyed the cuisine. He stared at him in amazement.  He had not informed him upon his arrival that his meals were included! The hotel had one of the finest chefs in the entire country. He could have eaten like a king.

Let’s think about this and apply it to our own lives. If we are unaware of our wonderful spiritual inheritance, we will miss out on a bountiful banquet which God has prepared for us.

But simply understanding our spiritual inheritance isn’t enough. Many of us live spiritually poor lives because we don’t really believe God. We don’t take Him at His Word. But if God really is absolute truth, then we can and should stake our very lives on his Word.

Satan will do anything to prevent us from fully experiencing the blessings we inherit as God’s dearly loved children. He will try to convince us that the treasure is worthless. Or, he will sow seeds of insecurity and guilt so we feel undeserving. But we must not believe his lies!

Trusting in God’s absolute truthfulness releases His riches. The treasures of heaven that we inherit are claimed by faith here on earth.

LIVE IT:  Find a promise in God’s Word to fulfill a valid need in your life. Make a decision to believe it and hold on to God’s promise by faith without wavering. Because God is absolute truth, I will believe what He says and Live It.

Join us for our January Series, “GOOD INTENTIONS.”

The Crossings meets Sundays, 10 a.m., at River Heights Intermediate, 7227 Scholar Way, in Eastvale. For more information call (951) 847-6836, or visit http://www.atthecrossings.com.

 

Bouncing Ball

BY PASTOR ROB NORRIS

pastor-rob-norris-the-crossings“I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity,” Ecclesiastes 2:11.

There are seasons in life when our work requires more of us than it does at other times; tax season for the accountant; Christmas season for the retailer. Whatever your line of work, it likely has a natural rhythm that spikes at certain times.

But increasingly in our success-driven culture, busy seasons have run together into all seasons. We have allowed the pace to perpetuate itself, driving us at full throttle month after month, year after year. Things begin to come totally unraveled at home, in our marriage, in our relationships with our children. It can happen, seemingly, in a blink.

This reminds me of a commencement address attributed to Brian Dyson, who held several senior management positions with Coca-Cola during his long career. He told a class of Georgia Tech graduates, “Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling five balls in the air: work, family, health, friends and spirit. You’re keeping all of these in the air.

“You soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. It will never be the same.”

You may not get as many pats on the back for being at home to dry the dishes or settle a disagreement or help a child study for a test. You may not receive the same sense of affirmation you feel from accomplishing a work goal or achieving recognition among your peers. But you will be living proof that winning at home first is the key to winning anything of value.

Marriages and families don’t bounce. They shatter. For generations.

Live It: What is your “busy season”? What are the first signs that work is getting out of balance? How can you help each other handle those seasons that demand more of you than usual?

Pray: Pray for the ability to juggle well, and to know which balls can drop without causing major damage.

The Crossings meets Sundays, 10 a.m., at River Heights Intermediate, 7227 Scholar Way, in Eastvale. For more information call (951) 847-6836, or visit http://www.atthecrossings.com.

 

 

Comeback Of The Year

BY PASTOR ROB NORRIS

pastor-rob-norris-the-crossings

2 Corinthians 4:1 – Through God’s loving-kindness, He has given us this job to do. So we do not give up.

It’s easy to become discouraged when we fail. It’s easy to lose heart and stop trying. That’s why I love stories like this one:

For many years, Bob Brenly was the starting catcher for the San Francisco Giants. But because of a last-minute lineup change in November of 1986, he was pressed into duty at third base. Everything was going fine…until the fourth inning.

That’s when Brenly committed not one, not two, not three, but a record-tying four errors in the same inning – including two on the same play. In fact, he almost had a fifth error.

“I missed a head-high line drive that tipped off the webbing of my glove and went into left field,” Brenly said. “If they hadn’t called that one a hit, my name would have stood alone in the record books.”

The home crowd booed. Brenly’s coaches and teammates avoided even looking at him. But his manager left him in the game. Good thing.

When Brenly came up to bat the following inning, he smashed a solo home run. His next at-bat was a two-run single in the seventh to tie the game. And with the final plate appearance of the day in the ninth inning, he stroked a game-winning homer. His manager later commented, “This man deserves to be the Comeback Play of the Year for this game alone.”

If you’ve been trying to branch out of the ordinary – at home, at work, in your walk with Jesus Christ – don’t let a few setbacks get you down. Keep swinging for the fences. And if it’s your spouse who is failing, like that manager, keep on believing in your teammate.

Live It: Talk about any recent failures in your life or your spouse’s life. Discuss how you can encourage each other to stay with it and keep believing.

Pray: Thank God for how He comforts us and empowers us to keep stepping out in faith. Pray for the perseverance to press on.

Join us Wed., Dec. 24, at 4:30 p.m., for our Christmas Eve Service.

The Crossings meets Sundays, 10 a.m., at River Heights Intermediate, 7227 Scholar Way, in Eastvale. For more information call (951) 847-6836, or visit http://www.atthecrossings.com.

 

 

 

 

Love at Sublevel

BY PASTOR ROB NORRIS

Love one another, even as I have loved you (John 13:34).

Pastor Rob Norris, The Crossings

Pastor Rob Norris, The Crossings

Danny Akin, a seminary president with the bold audacity to write a book on sexual intimacy, shares this true, touching story:

A woman had been diagnosed with breast cancer so severe that the doctors had no choice but to do a radical mastectomy. And like most any woman who awakens from this unsettling surgery, the blow to her self-esteem was deep and profound. Not only was she dealing with the loss of her breast, but she could see in the mirror how her hair was matted and her face was swollen from reaction to the antibiotics.

One day during her hospital stay, when her husband entered the room, she burst into tears. “Look at what I look like!” she moaned through her sobs.

Immediately, he left the room and returned soon thereafter with a cart of shampoo, creams, and lotions. He picked her up in his arms, carried her to the sink, and set her down on his lap. Then leaning her head back over the basin, he washed her hair. He combed it out. He blew it dry. Then with unsteady hand, he applied her makeup the best he could—blush, lipstick, mascara.

She looked at herself in the same mirror that had earlier sent her into convulsions of vanity, and saw someone she recognized: herself. She was back again. All because her man had loved her well through those crucial moments when her world had been crumbling around her.

Today, even though this woman’s experience with breast cancer qualifies as perhaps the lowest point in her life, one of her favorite moments from all of her marriage has become those few precious moments in her hospital room – when her husband loved her in a way any woman would have understood.

“Husbands . . . , live with your wives in an understanding way” (1 Peter 3:7).

Live It: Tell each other about a time when your spouse’s love spoke volumes to you.

Pray: Pray that God will always keep you sensitive to the exact expressions of love your mate needs from you, at any individual moment.

The Crossings meets Sundays, 10 a.m., at River Heights Intermediate, 7227 Scholar Way, in Eastvale. For more information call (951) 847-6836, or visit http://www.atthecrossings.com.

Inside Baseball

BY PASTOR ROB NORRIS

 

“I know that you want truth to be in my heart. You teach me wisdom deep down inside me,” Psalm 51:6.

Pastor Rob Norris, The Crossings

Pastor Rob Norris, The Crossings

Sometimes in the midst of correcting your kids, you can easily lose sight of the main reason you discipline them in the first place. It’s not just to get their clothes picked up, or to eat the meal you’ve prepared, or to stop hitting a sibling. The reason for discipline is to develop inner character, the kind that knows and is learning how to respond to life’s challenges.

The core of a baseball is made of hard rubber. But imagine if the core were marshmallow. What would happen as the string wrapped around it or when a bat smacked it hard several times? It would smash into a mess.

It’s the inside that counts; the character you’re growing in your children. As life begins to happen, as circumstances and decisions begin to wrap around them, it’s their character that will hold them together.

Tami and I define character as “response-ability” – the ability to make the right choices in response to authority and to life’s circumstances. From the time your children leave the cradle, your work as a parent is to turn life situations into teaching situations, growing their “response-ability” one day at a time, teaching them how to respond to you, to others, to life and to God.

In the next few days, you’ll have plenty of opportunities either to overreact to your children’s behavior or to address the roots of their development, and to deal with externals or to train their hearts. Remember, you’re growing character here. It’s only the ones who grow strong at the center – especially as character is strengthened by commitment to God’s Word – who are able to hold up to the challenges they will face in life.

Live it: One of the biggest challenges to a parent is building character on the fly, in the midst of a busy schedule and a family with a multitude of different needs. Talk about how you can take advantage of natural teaching opportunities to train your children in how they should respond.

Pray: Pray for God to give you the discernment to know what issues need to be addressed and what issues you need to let go.

 

The Crossings meets Sundays, 10 a.m., at River Heights Intermediate, 7227 Scholar Way, in Eastvale. For more information call (951) 847-6836, or visit http://www.atthecrossings.com.