Posts with the tag “cross-points”

Smart Phones: Be a Smart Christian
by Ryan Shoemaker on September 24th, 2022
Maybe you remember this from Jonathan Swift’s satire called Gulliver’s Travels.  The Lilliputians (little people) believe Gulliver’s clock is his god.  Why?  Because he seldom does anything without referring to his clock.  He tells them that it points out the time for all his actions.  This response provided a picture of how enslaved such people had become to time management.  It raises the questi...  Read More
The Three Sieves
by Ryan Shoemaker on September 21st, 2022
What is a sieve?  Well, my freshman year in college the dorm RA (resident assistant) was named Jim Sieve, but of course, that’s not what we’re after here.  If you do much cooking, maybe you know what the word means.  According to the dictionary, a sieve is a utensil consisting of a wire mesh held within a frame, used for straining solids from liquids.  In other words, a filter. The story is told o...  Read More
Sayings of the Saints
by Ryan Shoemaker on September 9th, 2022
Indeed, all Christians are saints, as the Bible uses the word.  But as we know, through the ages the Catholic church usurped that word making it unique for those who lived exemplary lives, at least in the mind of the authorities.  To be a saint meant the officials of the church had decided the person fit their criteria and were deemed a “saint.”So, when I call this Cross Point “Sayings of the Sain...  Read More
Melt Down The Saints
by Ryan Shoemaker on September 1st, 2022
During the tenure of Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector of the British Isles in the 1600’s there was a severe shortage of silver for minting coins.  Cromwell ordered his advisors to scour the country, searching for sources of silver.  They came back to him with the report that no source could be found for silver other than what was used to make statues of the noted religious figures of the past, lo...  Read More
Wasted on the Way
by Ryan Shoemaker on August 26th, 2022
As a college age kid living in the dormitory called Freudenberger House (Freddy for short) we would listen to all the popular music of that time, as students played their records in the dorm rooms.  I often listened to the songs of James Taylor, or Carol King.  One of my favorites was Dennis Yost and the Classics Four, with songs like Stormy and Spooky.  This was not a good thing overall, since th...  Read More
The Personality of a Church
by Ryan Shoemaker on August 18th, 2022
For any of us with church experience, we all know that churches can vary from one denomination to another, from one congregation to another.  There are what we call “high churches” where the service is very formal, very rigid, little congregational expression; and there are what we call “low churches” where the service can be lively and not nearly so formal, with all sorts of variations in-between...  Read More
An Ounce of Prevention
by Ryan Shoemaker on August 10th, 2022
If you’re like me, you’ve heard numerous testimonies over the years from people who were rescued from the pits of an earthly hell by pursuing faith in Christ.  Such stories are inspiring and grasp the attention of those in the audience.  I admire those who have made such a transformation!By comparison, the person (maybe like me, as an example) who grows up going to church, sitting in Sunday school...  Read More
Salvation is Messy
by Ryan Shoemaker on August 4th, 2022
I love to take pictures.  One of the things I enjoy about Facebook is the opportunity it provides for me to post pictures I’ve taken, just because it’s fun.  But as an amateur photographer I understand how getting a good picture involves framing it.  The right angle, the best lighting, cropping out what doesn’t enhance are all part of the process.  But here’s the thing.  Such pictures don’t really...  Read More
Cross Points 7.17
by Ryan Shoemaker on July 15th, 2022
Consider the following concepts as Jesus communicates to his disciples (including us):“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11: 28-30).“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and m...  Read More
Cross Points 7.10.22
by Ryan Shoemaker on July 8th, 2022
I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.  My faith, my desire to follow and obey Christ is sincere.  Can you say that?  Is there evidence?  Many things might be listed as measures of our discipleship (Bible study, church attendance, service to others, etc.).  But let me offer two for your consideration.House QuotientI read about something unique called the “house quotient.”  The idea is that many church g...  Read More
Cross Points 6.26.22
by Ryan Shoemaker on June 24th, 2022
I can remember in 1993 listening on the radio to Billy Joel’s song River of Dreams as I went to eat lunch in a downtown café in Columbia, MO.  I thought the lyrics were intriguing.  You might want to get the song on YouTube and listen to it before reading on.  Here are a few of the words:In the middle of the night, I go walking in my sleep, from the mountains of faith, to the river so deep        ...  Read More
Cross Points 6.12.22
by Ryan Shoemaker on June 10th, 2022
While living in Moberly, MO for 20 years, a close friend was Richard Koffarnus, Professor of History and Theology at Central Christian College of the Bible.  He also taught their philosophy classes.  Mr. K (the students name for him) recently had an article in the Restoration Herold Magazine that I’ll try to glean from and summarize here.When we talk about Worldviews, it may seem a boring subject,...  Read More
Cross Points 5.29.22
by Ryan Shoemaker on May 27th, 2022
There’s an old Jerry Seinfeld comedy routine that states the two biggest fears people face.  The number one fear, he says, is speaking in public, and the number two is fear is death.  “Does that sound right?” Seinfeld asks.  “That means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’d rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy!”  I can tell you about my early adult fear of speaking in publ...  Read More
Cross Points 5.20.22
by Ryan Shoemaker on May 19th, 2022
You may remember the old hymn that goes: There is a new name written down in glory, and its mine, oh yes, it’s mine.  The white robed angels sing the story, ‘a sinner has come home’…   So, we might ask, what is this new name the song speaks about?If you are familiar with the Bible, you’ll know that on several occasions God changed a person’s name to show how he saw them in a new light, and hopeful...  Read More
Cross Points 5.8.22
by Ryan Shoemaker on May 4th, 2022
O, Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high;                                                      I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.                                        But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother;like a weaned child is my soul within me.  O Israel, hope in the Lord from this              ...  Read More
Cross Points 5.1.22
by Ryan Shoemaker on April 28th, 2022
As we continue our ascent up the mountain toward the temple in Jerusalem figuratively, we come to Psalm 127.  This ascent to worship for the Jew has many parallels to our ascent into maturity as we actively perform discipleship, including our worship of Jesus.  This song, or Psalm, tells us something that is very practical but often neglected.Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it la...  Read More
Cross Points 4.24.22
by Ryan Shoemaker on April 21st, 2022
A priest, a preacher and a rabbi met weekly to share stories about ministry.  One day one of them commented that preaching to people wasn’t hard, what if they tried to preach to a bear.  So, they made a bet about who would accomplish the most during the next week, each seeking a bear to preach to.Seven days later they met again.  The priest spoke first, his arm in a sling and with several bandages...  Read More
Cross Points 4.17.22
by Ryan Shoemaker on April 15th, 2022
There are several typical reasons people give for not wanting to “go to church.”  You’ve probably heard them.  Maybe you’ve used one of them yourself!  Such as: “I just went because my mother made me when I was a kid” or “It’s the only day I have to sleep-in and relax” or “There are just too many hypocrites in the church.”  Good excuses?  Not for the true disciple who loves the Lord and wants to h...  Read More
Cross Points 4.10.22
by Ryan Shoemaker on April 8th, 2022
“I look to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains?  No, my strength comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth, and the mountains” (Psalm 121:1).The above is from The Message, and not the typical wording of this verse.  But I must admit I was always a little confused by the traditional translations.  The ESV renders this: “I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help c...  Read More
Cross Points 4.3.22
by Ryan Shoemaker on March 31st, 2022
In this new series starting today we will look at some of the Songs of Ascent, which were Psalms written to be sung as Jews made their way ascending from the countryside to the mountain that Jerusalem was located on.  No matter where they came from, as they neared the city they would ascend (go up) to the capital and the temple.  A theme that can be put to these Psalms is “A Long Obedience in the ...  Read More
Cross Points 3.27.22
by Ryan Shoemaker on March 25th, 2022
I’m a soup and sandwich sort of guy.  I remember working in Columbia, MO for years, and my favorite lunch places were those that provided soup and sandwich options.  A little diner downtown that would provide tomato soup and toasted cheese sandwiches, or vegetable soup with ham and cheese on rye.  This was mostly before the advent of Panera Bread, and I preferred the mom and pop places anyway.  I’...  Read More
Cross Points 3.20.22
by Ryan Shoemaker on March 17th, 2022
Have you ever wondered what the deal is with Satan?  I mean he is the adversary of the Christian, seeking his or her downfall, tempting the Christian with sin, diverting our eyes to distractions that take us away from the straight and narrow path.  Bad dude.  Seriously. One of the questions I’ll have for God when I get a chance in heaven is: Why does Satan even exist?  First, let’s consider where ...  Read More
Cross Points - Between Catholics and Calvin
by Ryan Shoemaker on March 10th, 2022
Catholics are known for their system of salvation that relies on works.  You must follow through with the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church to have assurance of being saved (baptism, confirmation, communion (eucharist), reconciliation, anointing sick, matrimony, holy orders).  For followers of John Calvin and his doctrine of predestination, faith alone is the path to salvation, and God grant...  Read More
Cross Points 3.6.22
by Ryan Shoemaker on March 2nd, 2022
 As Rexanne and I traveled to Prague, Czech Republic in late 2021 to run the Christian library there for 6 weeks (while the directors traveled back to the states for a conference and to raise support for library expansion), people seem intrigued when we tell them that about 80% of Czech people identify as atheists or agnostics. Why is that? More recently you can point to the times when the Nazi’s ...  Read More
Cross Points 2.27.22
by Ryan Shoemaker on February 25th, 2022
We live in an age when there are many who want faith in Christ to be very subjective.  In other words, if they believe in a vague way in Jesus, and accept him into their heart (never prescribed in the Bible), then they are bound for heaven and can pretty much live the way they want.  Not the biblical prescription.There was a time in history when Christians had to rely on the church leaders to teac...  Read More
Cross Points 2.20.22
by Ryan Shoemaker on February 16th, 2022
G.K. Chesterton is not a name known by many today, but he was an Englishman of the early 1900’s who was noted for his wit and use of paradox in his Christian writings.  In 1910, for example, he liked to raise eyebrows by solemnly telling visitors that he had “been doing what is wrong” all morning.  Playing with the words, he was referring to a book he was writing, entitled “What is Wrong.”  Over h...  Read More
Cross Points 1.23.22
by Ryan Shoemaker on January 21st, 2022
It’s January 1604.  King James and his closest advisors (called the Privy Council), along with nine bishops and deans, and four Puritans, are together, keeping warm at The Palace Hampton.  The Puritans have requested this meeting.  They had presented the king with a petition to purify the church as he was on his way from Scotland to London, claiming his throne.  1,000 Puritans signed the petition,...  Read More
Cross Points - Bright as the Promise of God
by Ryan Shoemaker on January 14th, 2022
Is the Christian life an easy one?  American Christians have been very spoiled for many years but are starting to experience what has been true through much of history, that the Christian way can be difficult and filled with turmoil as we live with purpose and for a cause that is “good news” and yet rejected by many vehemently since they do not want this commitment and lifestyle.  The tough life o...  Read More
Cross Points - To The Glory of God
by Ryan Shoemaker on January 6th, 2022
In the year 1738 Johann Sebastian Bach is recognized as one of the greatest organists of his day.  He is a choirmaster at Leipzig, Germany, and he also composes and teaches.  He is considered an outstanding teacher, many of his students becoming musical professionals of high caliber, including four of his own sons who study under him.  This is all true, but Bach’s love of music and his perfectioni...  Read More
Cross Points - City on a Hill
by Ryan Shoemaker on December 31st, 2021
The Arabella ship rises and falls, creaking and rolling on the sea, as the ocean lifts it up and then drops it down on the water.  The so-called Puritans are on their way to this new land, across the Atlantic to the west.  A man named John Winthrop gently writes, making slight adjustments in his posture as he allows for the movement of the ship. He will be governor of this effort to colonize.He ha...  Read More
Cross Points - Blessed Assurance
by Ryan Shoemaker on December 22nd, 2021
Fanny Crosby is a name well known among people who use old fashioned song books in church.  I grew up using the typical hymns and continued through much of my adult life.  Contemporary worship songs are a relatively new phenomenon.  I didn’t pay a lot of attention back in the day to the authors of these hymns, but I do remember the name Fanny Crosby.  Blind from infancy, Fanny Crosby was a compete...  Read More
Cross Points 11.5-12.17
by Ryan Shoemaker on November 3rd, 2021
Type your new text here. While Rexanne and I are on our Missionary Trip to Prague, Czech Republic, from 11/5-12/17/21, instead of the weekly Cross Point article, I will point you to my blog, where I plan to give updates on Thu or Fri during the trip, called Prague: People – Places – Prayers.  Timing depends on circumstances. Keep in mind there is a 7-hour time difference (if 10am here, it’s 5pm in...  Read More
Cross Points 10.6.21
by Kristee Hinson on October 5th, 2021
Type your new text here....  Read More
Cross Points 6.25.21
by Kristee Hinson on June 23rd, 2021
While visiting Italy in 2017, Rexanne and I had the privilege of taking a tour of the Vatican while in Rome.  The Vatican is where St Peter’s Basilica resides, the largest physical church in the world.  They believe that the Apostle Peter is buried below the altar at the front of the church.  We looked at the famous sculpture by Michelangelo with Mary holding Jesus’ body after the crucifixion, had...  Read More
Cross Points 6.18.21
by Kristee Hinson on June 18th, 2021
Borrowing from Andy Stanley’s new book: Better Decisions, Fewer Regrets.  Stanley states, “You are where you are for the most part because of the decisions you’ve made.  So, yeah, it’s your fault.”  He goes on to elaborate that we all have regrets, things gone bad due to decisions we’ve made.  Sure, we’ve had help, but… Nobody decides to blow up a marriage, yet every divorce is at the end of a tra...  Read More
Cross Points 6.11.21
by Kristee Hinson on June 4th, 2021
If you’re not “into” theology, you may ask: what is a Calvinist?  John Calvin was a principle figure in the Reformation Movement of the 1500’s.  Located in Geneva, Switzerland, he was a biblical scholar who taught on many topics of scripture.  Most Bible believing people would agree with him on many issues.  But the term “Calvinist” usually refers to believing, as he did, that God predestined ever...  Read More
Cross Points 6.4.21
by Kristee Hinson on June 2nd, 2021
In this series I’ve written a lot about the frustrations we can feel when praying, and how God accepts prayers of frustration as we struggle with life’s complications.  I’ve written about how we don’t and can’t always understand why God seems to make some exceptions with miraculous type answers to prayers, and other times (most times) allows the natural consequences of things to play out.  I’ve wr...  Read More
Cross Points 5.28.21
by Kristee Hinson on May 26th, 2021
Jesus was the Son of God, Immanuel, which means God in the flesh.  Why would he need to pray?  The mystery of the relationship between God the Father and God the Son is just that, a mystery.  As we’ve stated in previous articles of this series, some of God’s ways are above us, we just don’t understand.  Jesus understood but prayed, a lot.  “In these days Jesus went out to the mountain to pray, and...  Read More
Cross Points 5.21.21
by Kristee Hinson on May 19th, 2021
What do people pray for most of the time?  If you are in group settings where prayers are offered, or if you are in your churches “prayer chain” to help with requests for prayer, you know the answer.  People pray most often for those who are sick.  I understand that.  When I’m sick, I covet prayer also.  In his book on prayer, author Philip Yancey says, “More than half the spontaneous prayers I he...  Read More
Cross Points 5.14.21
by Kristee Hinson on May 12th, 2021
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase about Bible promises that goes, “name it and claim it.”  I’ve always had a problem with that.  It tends to take promises out of the biblical context and turn them into a magical wand for personal gain.  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil” from Jeremiah 29 becomes a personal promise for goodness.  Never mind that...  Read More