Fellowship at Cross Creek
Looking Backward to See Forward: Coincidence or Inspiration? Part IV…
Part IV (Evidences: 31-43)…Infusing Worship with a Few Missing Ingredients; Joe Takes a Much-needed Teaching Sabbatical; Dave English Exposes Fellowship to New Look at Grace; God’s Provision Once Again; a New Name for Accountable Love; Increasing Momentum and Another Scheduled Surgery for Chase…
31) Joe using Robyn T., challenges Shann S. to take another bold, more vocal step in his leadership of Fellowship’s worship, as well as, starting the service on time and closing the service with a song.
32) Also, Kevin H. suggests to Joe to take a summer teaching sabbatical in order to come back fresh in the Fall. (Spring 2011).
33) Following up on Kevin’s suggestion, Joe invites David English from Campus Crusade to teach at Fellowship. David graciously launches a four-week study on Grace, in which among other things, he shares: 1) Grace is for now; 2) the world will try to steal it and 3) while we all love Abundant Grace, it is God’s Sufficient Grace in the midst of our trials which draw us closer to him, and thus our purpose–intimacy with God via relationship with God. (June 2010).
34) Once again, despite having made financial adjustments from the previous Summer, Fellowship/Joe finds the church falling financially further behind. Despite these pressures, the Crosses still attend their son Jordan’s wedding in the Outer Banks. When they come back, once again God provides. (June 2011).
35) Refreshed by having 5 out of 6 weeks off from teaching, something Joe has never been able to do in 25 years of ministry, as well as, sensing a younger generation’s woeful misunderstanding of how to love, Joe makes a crucial decision. Following through on Sheila T.’s recommendation, beginning in the Fall, Joe will teach a refresher course on Accountable Love. (July 2011).
36) Inspired by David’s study on Grace, Joe continues with more studies on Grace. He discovers that: 1) the Greek words for grace and joy (charis and chara) are similarly related and that Grace, or favor–that which causes well-being–is what produces Joy; 2) Grace not only acquits the condemned, but serves as the now freed former prisoner’s aftercare, and therefore, 3) Grace is the Spirit (or Wind) of God, constantly breathing his favor and care upon us. In addition, Joe asks for weekly stories of God’s sustaining grace. Sharing is transformed from previously, mainly just prayer requests to wonderful stories of God’s everyday grace and provision.
37) Inspired by the culture’s embrace of the term “sustainable” and desiring to reach this audience, Joe renames Accountable Love, Sustainable Love, and the entire Fellowship Toolbox to Sustainable Spiritual Living, including Sustainable Joy, Truth, Community, Change and Influence.
38) Joe presents the idea–to not only teach Sustainable Love this Fall, but for a season, morph Fellowship into a ministry to help people learn how to practice and share the skills and tools of Sustainable Love--to his Think Tank, then the elders and finally to the Body for their consideration and support.
39) In a bold, but obedient response to fly to Texas to help a family in a terribly, desperate plight, once again, Joe is reassured that the world (including godly families, with their very fallible, ninety-percent incomplete spiritual bridges) needs exactly what Fellowship is offering in the tools of Sustainable Spiritual Living. (August 2011).
40) Much like Bezalel was inspired by God’s Spirit to teach Israel’s skilled craftsmen how to reshape the people’s freewill offerings into a tabernacle by which God would dwell with his people (Ex. 35ff), might not Joe equip Fellowship’s skilled spiritual craftsmen to master the forms needed to help people transform their worldly, flesh-driven and very fallible attempts to love into a holy dwelling of God’s sustainable spiritual love. (August-Sept. 2011).
41) Including a renewed Facebook presence, led by Janelle M., handing out attractively designed Sustainable Love cards and flyers (designed by Joe, Shann and Janelle), a press release written by Sheila T. and the Body inviting others to come to this study, the Body overwhelmingly embraces the idea of presenting Sustainable Love this Fall (August-September 2011).
42) Sustainable Love is set to begin Sept. 18th.
43) Painfully, and despite rigorous chemotherapy, Chase’s tumor is growing again, but once again–Just One More Thing–Dr. Yasargil feels he can remove the tumor and have Chase back in school in just a few days. Surgery is scheduled for the end of September or the beginning of October.
Joseph M. Cross