I never imagined we would still be dealing with COVID and all the implications that go with it in June 2021! But here we are!
As I reflect back on this last year of ministry the challenges have been more and greater that we anticipated, and yet I am humbled and grateful for the faithfulness of the Lord.
Consider these things:
- We have been able to produce services at a high level because of the commitment and very hard work of a productions and technical team that, compared to other churches of our size, is considerably understaffed. Personally I would like to thank Wally Hildebrandt, Eric Halchik, and Wilma Vander Leek, as well as a whole team of outstanding servers! Our communications team have done great work supporting the services in every way. Thank you to William Knelsen, Troy Whitehead, Karli Harder, and Lindzy Johnson.
- Your faithful giving has meant our finances have enabled us to continue to do all that God has asked us to do and support. Thank you!
- People continue to be drawn to Christ. We have seen conversions, baptisms, and people “just walking in” to find hope.
- ALPHA and Celebrate Recovery had carried on their work with many new challenges
- We were able to have over 1000 people attend in person at Easter! Such an encouragement considering we only had an online audience last Easter.
However, as you know the challenges remain. We wish we could be able to fully open up, but presently AHS guidelines limit our attendance. We are committed to following those guidelines and I know this is not acceptable to many. As lead team (Jordan Polson and myself) and the Board of Elders, our decisions are guided by scripture, but two in particular: Romans 13:1-7 which says;
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour.”
And 1 Peter 2:13-14:
“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by Him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.”
Praise the Lord we can still teach from the Bible and preach/share the good news about Jesus!
At CrossRoads, we have been called by the Lord, “to give everyone in Central Alberta an opportunity to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and be following Him together, impact the world with compassion and hope.”
For us, that is the main thing! We don’t want to get pulled off it, distracted by rabbit trails or ‘bunker down’ and forget our neighbours. Our mission is to reach Central Alberta for Christ not ‘instruct the government’ how to do their job, or be driven by the latest cause. We want to be known by what we are for not what we are against.
Perhaps this will always be the greatest challenge.
Prayerfully pondering what God might be up to in our world I have come to three conclusions:
- It is a time of pruning the church.
Pruning is not pleasant but painful. Branches are cut off and trimmed back, but the end result is more fruit.
- It is a time where God is preparing the world to hear/receive the gospel.
With the loss of hope and a world trapped in despair and fear, the ground is being prepared for an unprecedented outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which I believe, will sweep many into God’s kingdom.
- It is a time for the church (you and me) to get ready.
Love the Lord. Love your neighbour and do everything to be found confident and unashamed when God comes with power.
Let me mention three exciting, upcoming events:
- We are planning, Lord willing and weather permitting, another outdoor service on July 25 that will include baptisms. The details need to be worked out, but we are looking forward with anticipation to a great Sunday.
- We are beyond excited that Nik and Ruth Ripken are planning to be with us the weekend of September 17-19. Nik and Ruth have spent many years in Somalia and other countries and have much first-hand experience with the persecuted church or as Ron Pearce would call them, “the persevering church.”
Nik wrote: The Insanity of God and The Insanity of Obedience.
Don’t miss them – this will be a life changing weekend we will never forget! In preparation, pick up a copy of: The Insanity of Sacrifice. It is a 90-day devotional Nik wrote packed full of challenges and incredible stories of God at work in our world.
- Starting this fall, we will be ‘officially kicking off’ our 10 week Foundations of Faith course lead by Pastor Denise. It is a course designed to help you understand, experience and put into practice some of the core beliefs of Christianity.
Finally, Ginny and I would like to thank you for your prayers, support and care for us – now for 24 years. I never imagined we would have the privilege of being here this long. Thank you!