Tag Archives: The Crossings Eastvale

Life in the Fast-Food Lane

By Rob Norris

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Exodus 20:8

When Truett Cathy opened his Dwarf House restaurant in the Atlanta suburb of Hapeville, Georgia, in 1946, he made a decision never to deal with money on the Lord’s Day. The Dwarf House was always closed on Sundays.
The restaurant was the first franchise for Chick-fil-A®—and by the organization’s sixtieth anniversary; it had multiplied into over 1,200 restaurant locations. As Chick-fil-A continues to grow, it also continues to close its operations on Sunday, traditionally one of the biggest days for food service.
Being closed on Sunday is a reflection of Truett’s purpose statement for his company. It’s an investment in the spiritual lives of his employees and a witness to both the watching world and the restaurant industry. He still refers to his closed-on-Sunday policy as “the best business decision I ever made.” In fact, Chick-fil-A restaurants often generate more money in six days than other comparable restaurants do in seven.
Being closed on Sunday is also a reflection of one of my core values: Sabbath rest. I believe that when we yield control of our lives to the Father—when we reserve our Sundays to turn from our activity to rest and to abide more fully in Him—we receive strength for daily living throughout the coming week and live under the blessing of God.
The Sabbath is God’s invitation to draw near to Him, to rest in Him, and to linger by His still waters. It’s how He helps detoxify you from the pressures of life. It’s how He restores your soul.
Live IT:

How could you make God-honoring relaxation more of a deliberate effort?

Pray:

Ask the Lord to show you the value of keeping His Sabbath.

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

Join us on Easter for a Celebration Service and Egg Hunt

Trusting and believing with you,

Pastor Rob

 

Thanksgiving Day after Day

Pastor Rob Norris, The Crossings

Pastor Rob Norris, The Crossings

By Rob Norris

He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me.
Psalm 50:23

Has it ever seemed surprising to you that God made the Israelites wander in the wilderness for 40 years just for grumbling and complaining? My kids may have spent 30 minutes in their rooms for griping, but 40 years? That’s some severe discipline!
One thing is crystal clear from this biblical account: God is obviously not pleased with grumbling, ungrateful hearts. And we should not tolerate grumbling either—in ourselves or in our children.
Being grateful is a choice that we readily and ritually express on Thanksgiving Day. But what do we do on other days of the year when the mood is less festive or the atmosphere is more ordinary?
I like the contented way the Pilgrims approached life. They did not allow their feelings or circumstances to determine whether or not they would exercise gratitude and thanksgiving. They believed that God was in control—”providence,” they called it. Following this belief to its logical conclusion, they responded to challenges with a perspective that said, “God has allowed this for our good.” They chose to believe—rightly so—that their dependence on a holy, faithful God was well placed and that even though much was against them, there was always much more for which to be grateful.
Developing a heart of gratitude is essential to growing a stronger faith. “If we do not believe that we are deeply dependent on God for all we have or hope to have, the very spring of gratitude and faith runs dry.”
Make the choice today to take your eyes off yourself and your circumstances, gratefully acknowledging who God is and what He is doing. Deny yourself the right to complain, embracing instead the deep-seated joy of thanksgiving … in all things.
A grateful heart pleases God.

Live It:

How would a more thankful spirit alter your approach to the situations you’re facing as a family? Make a list together of some things you need to be grateful for right now.

Pray:

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name” (Psalm 103:1).

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

Join us for a Christmas Eve Service at 10am Trusting and believing with you.

Pastor Rob

 

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 individual men and women 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 “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’s a right-under-your-nose opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives—right where you are? 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? If you can’t articulate your ministry, plan a time when you can begin to pray and think together.

Pray

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

 

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

Trusting and believing with you.

Pastor Rob

 

“I’m There”

By Pastor Rob Norris

“I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare.”
Philippians 2:20

Gary Thomas, author of such inspiring books as Sacred Marriage and Authentic Faith: The Power of a Fire-Tested Life, tells the story of two American soldiers who became fast friends during their preparations for combat in World War I. Though they had known each other only a short time, the camaraderie of battle and their shared dreams of postwar life quickly cemented their relationship.

One day, these two buddies crawled from their foxhole with the rest of their unit in an attack on the German forces. After a valiant fight, the order was given to retreat. But only one of the two friends returned to the trench. The other had been hit by German gunfire and was lying about 50 yards out of reach.

Against his commanding officer’s orders, the other soldier crawled out of the ditch to go find his fallen comrade. Hugging the ground and dodging enemy bullets, he worked his way across the bloody, corpse-littered ground until he finally located the friend he sought. Finding him semi-conscious, they were left with only a few seconds together before he died.

When the man returned to the trench with the body of his soldier friend, the ranking officer flew into a rage for this overt flaunting of his order, asking, “Was it worth it for you to risk your life?”

“Absolutely, sir. Because when I turned him over, he looked up at me and said, ‘I knew you’d come.'”

That’s the kind of loyalty we are called to in all our relationships–especially in our homes and families. Your spouse needs to know without a doubt that when you are needed, you will be there. Your children need to know they can count on you, not just in a pinch, but also in their most routine of expectations. When they need you, can they be sure you’ll come?

Live it:
How can your marriage and family practically demonstrate this kind of love for one another?

Pray:
Pray that the Lord will keep you sensitive to each other, anticipating when you’re needed most.

 

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

Trusting and believing with you, Join us on Mother’s Day for a celebration service.

Pastor Rob

 

Soul Food

EV - Rob NorrisOh, how I love your teachings! I talk about them all the time. Psalm 119:97

By Rob Norris

We’re all familiar with the nutritional listings on food and beverage packages. Most of us are interested in total calories per serving, especially calories coming from good or bad fat, as well as readings on carbohydrates, sugar and sodium. But while these government-regulated fact lists work well for food required by our physical body, what if a similar kind of list were available to help us evaluate the spiritual content of the products we consume?

What if every TV program, magazine, book, DVD or CD revealed the “recommended daily allowance” of the spiritual necessities it provided–things like holiness, truth, forgiveness, perseverance, grace, justice and repentance? How many of them, rather than supplying anything we need, would be shown to actually deplete us, stripping away whatever spiritual health we already have?

But there is one product–the Bible–that is guaranteed to provide everyone in your family with the perfect blend of spiritual nourishment. Whether packaged in cheap paper or top-grain leather, the Bible comes complete with “everything required for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3, NIV).

Although most Christians today express a deep fondness for the Scriptures, they are apparently failing to feast on it. Noted researcher George Barna has reported that fewer than 4 in 10 Christians read the Bible on their own even once in a typical week. A survey conducted in churches throughout the United States found that two-thirds of couples read or discussed the Bible together but only occasionally.

If you want a spiritually healthy family, you must make sure that each member consumes a healthy diet of the everlasting Word of God. It’s the difference between a healthy spiritual life and lifelessness.

Live it:
What distractions are keeping the Bible central in your family’s life? What are we saying when we let other things take prominence over the Scriptures?

Pray:

Pray for daily consumption of the Word, it’s food for the soul.

 

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

Trusting and believing with you

A Parent’s Top Five

Pastor Rob Norris

Pastor Rob Norris

Rob Norris

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go; Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Tami and I have not been perfect parents, but when you have children God gives you a few hundred lessons along the way. And from our years of experience, we’ve come up with a list of five non-negotiables that all parents need in order to raise a family God’s way:

  1. Understand the times. In past societies, the culture helped reinforce the values that parents were trying to instill in their children. Not today. That’s why you need to be surrounded with a few like-minded parents who can support, encourage and counsel one another through the choppy waters of life
  1. Have a sacred commitment to each other. Your kids need to see your vows lived out in every circumstance, in times of both peace and conflict. Make it a priority to resolve disagreements with your spouse, to forgive each other, to remain faithful. These qualities of love build a powerful, profound sense of security in children.
  1. Know what you believe. You are the textbook your children read. Your deeply held values about life will influence your interactions with your children. As parents, you need to know what your unshakable convictions are.
  2. Remember God’s perspective on children. Never forget that children are a gift from God. Raising your children is a privilege and responsibility He has given to no one else, and they should be raised to know Him and walk with Him.
  3. Strive for the right goal. More than anything else, your children need to grow to love and fear the Lord. That’s more important than ensuring they have a good education, develop different skills or learn how to succeed in today’s culture. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

Live it

Which of these purposes strike the deepest chord in you? Which ones need the most work?

Pray

That your priorities will be shaped by God’s Word and will influence your choices for you and your family

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.

 

Gods Path Or Your Path

rob-norris-BW-2x2By Pastor Rob Norris

Think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths. Proverbs 3:6

Although the Lord showers His goodness on all men and women, the ability to perceive and enjoy it is limited by a refusal to reverence Him as God. To experience the fullness of His kindness, we must honor Him by choosing His way of submission and obedience. The Lord will never withhold His goodness from those who walk uprightly with Him. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

In love and wisdom, the Father has specifically designed a pathway for each of His children. Because no two people are alike, each path will look different. What may be best for one person may not be good for another. Comparison of God’s ways in different lives will lead only to discouragement and misjudgment. We have neither the wisdom nor the eternal perspective to understand why the Lord leads some people down a road of pain and hardship, but we can know that He is always good.

Every step on God’s pathway represents a deliberate choice to follow Him. By looking around instead of fixing our eyes on Jesus, we may start thinking that we are missing out on some really good experiences or possessions. If we leave the Lord’s course to follow one that looks better, we will forfeit His good blessings and discover, as Adam and Eve did, that any other way leads to loss.

Live It

Take time periodically to ask yourself, Am I on the path the Lord has chosen for me, or have I taken a detour to follow another direction that looks good? To build our own course and ignore the goodness and abundance of His pathway is foolishness. God alone knows the way we should take.

Pray
Ask the Lord to put you on His path and to have the faith to see it through.

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.

 

Life In The Fast-Food Lane

rob-norris-BW-2x2By Pastor Rob Norris

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Exodus 20:8

When Truett Cathy opened his Dwarf House restaurant in the Atlanta suburb of Hapeville, Georgia in 1946, he made a decision never to deal with money on the Lord’s Day. The Dwarf House was always closed on Sundays.

Perhaps this policy didn’t seem extremely revolutionary to his post-World War II American patrons. But that small restaurant was the first franchise for Chick-fil-A® and by the organization’s sixtieth anniversary, it had multiplied into over 1,200 restaurant locations. As Chick-fil-A continues to grow, it also continues to close its operations on Sunday, traditionally one of the biggest days for food service.

Being closed on Sunday is a reflection of Truett’s purpose statement for his company. It’s an investment in the spiritual lives of his employees and a witness to both the watching world and the restaurant industry. He still refers to his closed-on-Sunday policy as “the best business decision I ever made.” In fact, Chick-fil-A restaurants often generate more money in six days than other comparable restaurants do in seven.

Being closed on Sunday is also a reflection of one of my core values: Sabbath rest. I believe that when we yield control of our lives to the Father – when we reserve our Sundays to turn from our activity to rest and to abide more fully in Him – we receive strength for daily living throughout the coming week and live under the blessing of God.

The Sabbath is God’s invitation to draw near to Him, to rest in Him, and to linger by His still waters. It’s how He helps detoxify you from the pressures of life. It’s how He restores your soul.

Perhaps it’s even how He makes Chick-fil-A sandwiches taste so good on Monday.

Live It
How does your family practice Sabbath rest? How could you make God-honoring relaxation more of a deliberate effort?

Pray
Ask the Lord to show you the value of keeping His Sabbath.

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

Bouncing Ball

rob-norris-BW-2x2By Pastor Robert Norris

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 For Example, Tax season for the accountant and 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 relationship 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.
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, visit atthecrossings.com. Join us for Kids Camp (VBS) June 26, 27 and 28 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (Free dinner included).

Fifty Years Faithful

By Pastor Rob Norrisrob-norris-BW-2x2

“For love is as strong as death.” – Song of Solomon 8:6

Only 10 months into their marriage, during an otherwise calm Sunday drive to church one July morning, a young Navy couple’s car was broadsided by a streaking ambulance racing through an intersection. The driver of the car, R. L. Alford, sustained some minor injuries. His wife, Hilda, was thrown from the vehicle, suffering a massive head injury that left her not only a quadriplegic, but also legally blind and unable to speak.

That was 50 years ago—50 years of communicating with his wife through little more than the nods of her head. Fifty years of pushing her wheelchair or (his preferred way) carrying her in his arms. Fifty years of emptying her urine pan and cleaning up her bowel movements. And in the last few years, even feeding her through a tracheal tube and learning how to insert her catheters.

Along the way, R. L.’s brand of marital loyalty has drawn some unexpected notice (“Undeserved,” to hear him say it). When a longtime family friend spearheaded a drive in the mid-80s to raise funds to build the Alfords a new home, help came from such high-ranking places as Florida governor Bob Martinez, who not only gave them a brand-new refrigerator but also spent a day working at the construction site. President Ronald Reagan sent a check for $500, followed by another for $1,000.

“When R. L. was asked to repeat the vow ‘for better or worse,’” a neighbor said, “he heard it real loud. Medically, it’s a miracle Hilda is still alive. But she’s not alive because of all those doctors. She’s alive because R. L. gave his life to her.”

In September 2006, the Alfords celebrated their golden anniversary. Looking back, R. L. humbly remarked, “Sure, it’s been rough in some ways. But it’s been rewarding.”

Fifty years of being there. May all our promises to each other be that long lasting.

Live It! Talk about what you would do for one another if the unthinkable happened. Promise you’ll be there, regardless.

Pray: While asking God for many more years together, pray it with a promise that you’ll remain faithful no matter what those years entail.

 

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

 

Marching Orders

rob-norris-BW-2x2By Pastor Rob Norris

 

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers . . . the powers . . . the world forces of this darkness.
Ephesians 6:12

Whether you realize it or not, you are engaged in a spiritual battle every day. You live in a culture that is increasingly hostile to your faith. The devil and those who promote his self-indulgent agenda are relentless in their assault on your mind and affections. You can’t afford to drop your guard for a minute.

Here are some suggestions for surviving—and thriving—in the battle:

  1. Don’t engage the enemy alone. Ephesians 6:10 says, “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” Whatever temptations you’re facing right now, it is His strength alone—not yours—that can see you through. Keep on surrendering daily to the Master.
  2. Employ every piece of your spiritual armor. As Ephesians 6:13 says, to resist the schemes of the devil, you must “take up the full armor of God.” Not just the belt of truth, but also the shoes of His gospel, the breastplate of His righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of His salvation and the sword of His Spirit—the Word of God (see verses 14-17). Don’t head off into battle without them.
  3. Go on the offensive. It’s not enough just to play defense. Though people without Christ may seem fulfilled and self-satisfied, the truth is that they need to know God’s forgiveness.
  4. Quit wasting time. You and I are fighting for the soul of future generations. So turn off the television. Put down the sports page. Unplug from the internet. The consequences of your life are too eternal to waste on forgettable moments.

Never forget that your marriage is taking place on a spiritual battlefield, not on a romantic balcony. Help one another maintain your “war footing.” If you do, you won’t be a casualty.

Live It: Identify two or three areas where the constant pull of the world has been wearing down your spiritual sharpness lately. Talk about what you need to do.

Pray:  Pray for strength when you’re weak, attentiveness when you’re tired and new discoveries of what it means to put your trust in God.

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

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.

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.