Posts with the tag “cross-points”

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
Cross Points 5.7.21
by Kristee Hinson on May 7th, 2021
             “Earth gapes, hell burns, fiends roar, saints pray…” Shakespeare, Richard III.“Electricity will replace God.  The peasants should pray to it; in any case they will feel its affects long before they feel any effect from on high,” said Vladimir Lenin during the Russian Revolution.  Years later when President Roosevelt suggested to Lenin’s successor Joseph Stalin that they check with the...  Read More
Cross Points 4.30.21
by Kristee Hinson on April 29th, 2021
Have you ever gone to a professional counselor during tough times, to allow them to help sort things out?  I have.  One time was a bad experience, with a secular, obviously non-Christian counselor.  The council I received floored me, was very non-Christian, encouraged me to sin in order to meet my needs!  It almost soured me on counselors in general.  But then there was the other experience, this ...  Read More
Cross Points 4.23.21
by Kristee Hinson on April 21st, 2021
We talk about prayer in a connection sort of way, as if it’s a key to communicating with God.  And yet I’ve admitted openly in this series of Cross Point articles that I can be frustrated in prayer, because things often do not go like I want, or like I think they should.  Am I (are we) left with this frustration, simply to cry out without response?  Isn’t something missing? The answer is yes, inde...  Read More
Cross Points 4.16.21
by Kristee Hinson on April 14th, 2021
Some unanswered prayers trace back to a fault in the one who prays.  Some unanswered prayers trace back to God’s respect for freedom and his unwillingness to coerce.  Some unanswered prayers trace back to dark powers of Satan contending with God’s rule on earth. Some unanswered prayers trace back to the impact of sin in this world, through disease, violence, and accidents.  When unanswered prayers...  Read More
Cross Points 4.9.21
by Kristee Hinson on April 7th, 2021
Have you ever been frustrated with no answer to a prayer?  Unless you don’t pray, I’d be surprised if that hasn’t happened.  The simple truth is: Many prayers do not clearly have an answer, at least not that we can discern.  We pray for healing, and the healing doesn’t come.  We pray for Uncle Derwood, near death, but he dies in-spite-of our prayers.  We pray our church grows, but it seems stuck e...  Read More
Cross Points 4.2.21
by Kristee Hinson on March 31st, 2021
I like things to be upbeat at church, don't you?  No one wants a negative vibe at worship time, not on the surface at least.  But down deep, when things aren't going well in life for us, there are times when being upbeat just doesn't work.  If we are honest with God (and why wouldn't we be, since he knows our thoughts and desires anyway) we want times when others share in our problems, when we can...  Read More
Cross Points 3.26.21
by Kristee Hinson on March 24th, 2021
In Jesus' day tax collectors, prostitutes, and those considered unclean reached out to him, and he responded with understanding and grace.  In odd contrast, many of the religious elite, the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes of the Law, shook their fists at Jesus and eventually killed him.  Shaking their fist, they failed to understand that to receive a gift (grace and forgiveness) requires open ha...  Read More
Cross Points 3.19.21
by Kristee Hinson on March 17th, 2021
Praying can be tough.  We explored that in the previous Cross Point.  But let’s not leave it there.  “We must stop setting our sights by the light of each passing ship; instead we must set our course by the stars!” said George Marshall, and we would be wise to take his advice as it relates to prayer.  Too often we let every circumstance swing us from one extreme (when something good happens) to th...  Read More
Cross Points 3.12.21
by Kristee Hinson on March 10th, 2021
Author Philip Yancy says our English word “prayer” comes from the Latin word precarious, which is linguistically connected to our English word precarious.  Precarious means: not securely held in position, with the possibility of collapsing.  Has prayer ever felt that way to you?  You pray, but your confidence is not strong.Statistics tell us that 9 of 10 people in the U.S. pray regularly.  Interes...  Read More
Cross Points 3.5.21
by Kristee Hinson on March 3rd, 2021
“The celebration called worship has less to do with the pursuit of happiness than with the abandonment of the pursuit of happiness.” Richard Neuhaus “Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth.  I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother…  A person’s enemies will be those of his own household.  Whoever...  Read More