October 2, 2020

Well, as the pandemic lingers on – and will probably be with us for months to come – I hope that you are taking advantage of this unique opportunity to go deeper in your walk with the Lord.  That is what trials do; this is why the Lord allows us to go through difficult times.  It is in times like these, that God exposes the sin in our hearts – the self-centeredness, the complacency,  the grumbling spirit, the lack of love for God and others, etc.  And of course, when He exposes these sinful attitudes and convicts us of our sin, we have the opportunity to confess these to Him and turn from them (repent).  This is how we get to know God better and develop a greater intimacy with Him.  This is how we grow in personal holiness.

Covid-19 has challenged all of us in a lot of different ways.  Certainly, no one enjoys living under the ominous cloud of this virus.  All of us are eager to put this pandemic behind us and get on with our lives.  But the reality is that it is here now and will be with us for the next little  while – so the question is, will we squander this opportunity to grow spiritually or will we make the most of this challenging time so that once the pandemic is history, our faith in the Lord is stronger and more vibrant than ever before?

If this is to happen, you will need to fight against spiritual lethargy – allowing yourself to become spiritually “blah” as you coast along until circumstances change and things get back to normal.     Coasting can be fun and relaxing if you’re riding a bike.  But coasting spiritually is a recipe for disaster.  When you coast you are not putting forth any effort to grow spiritually – to get with other believers, to read and study your Bible on a regular basis, to devote yourself to prayer, to serve others, etc.  In other words, you are simply giving in to the lusts of your flesh – feeding that sin nature which only weakens you spiritually.  Covid-19 has provided a lot of cover for people who want to do this.  Be careful that you don’t fall into this trap.  Purpose that, by God’s grace, you will grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ during this challenging time and you will emerge from this pandemic more in love with the Lord and committed to His work. 
 

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Our NEW Small Group Ministry

A number of you have asked about our Focus Groups and whether or not we would be starting these up again.  I know that everyone has missed the community that we enjoyed in these groups prior to the pandemic.  Covid-19 has certainly forced us to think a little differently about ministry and how we approach it.  We’ve certainly had to make some changes on Sunday morning, and now we are going to be tweaking the way we do small groups.  We believe the changes that we are making will not only provide a little more safety and security, but also promote a deeper level of fellowship with one another.  Here’s the plan in a nutshell:

  • The new groups will be called Community Groups because the focus will be developing community within the body of Christ (one of our core values)
  • The groups will be smaller – from 6-10 people (10 being the Max)
  • The groups will have a lot of flexibility in terms of when and where they meet.  Some may meet weekly, every other week, etc.  Can meet at night, during the day, etc.
  • We can have virtual groups if the need/desire is there.
  • The Facilitator of the group will invite people to meet with him.  
  • Each person in the group will be asked to prepare for the meeting by reflecting on what God has been doing in his/her life in the past week, and by reading a passage of Scripture that the group will be discussing.
  • These groups will meet for a specific period of time (thru November?) and then will form new groups at the first of the year.

We need to know if you are interested in being a part of a group like this.  If you are, PLEASE CLICK ON THIS LINK AND GIVE US THE INFO WE NEED.  Someone will contact you about being in their group.


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July 31, 2020

September 26, 2020!!  Mark that date on your calendar!  Now I know you are wondering what is so special about that day?  Here is what is happening.  God has raised up a group of people who are leading a “Global Day of Repentance and Prayer” for our nation.  Christians from all over will converge on the Washington Mall to participate in this, and those who are not able to attend will be able to participate in this via simulcast. 

My brothers and sisters in Christ – I’m sure that you sense, as I do, that our nation is at a crossroads.  We are nearing the “point of no return” – where, if God does not intervene in some way, we could very well see the America that we have known and love become a relic of the past.  I believe as many do, that the only way to avert our demise as a nation, is for us to humble ourselves before the Lord and repent of our evil ways.  We must do exactly what the nation of Nineveh did in the days of Jonah, and all of this must begin with the people of God, His Church. 

I want you to go to the website:  thereturnwebsite.org and watch the short video of what is being planned.  I have signed up for us as a church to host the simulcast on September 26th,  so I hope you will make plans to be a part of this.  We desperately need a Revival in our nation!  We desperately need God to step in and do what no man can do!  I believe that if we will join with fellow believers in this community and around the country and call out to God for mercy – even as the Ninevites did – He will hear us and He will answer our prayers.  There is so much at stake here!  Let’s not let apathy and complacency keep us from doing our part! 

Remember – Go to www.thereturnwebsite.org  and watch this short video.
 
 

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Goodbye with Thanks

Firstly, I want to thank God for bringing me to Crossgate. Like many others, I came here hesitantly. As a young man who could trace his Baptist roots into the 18th century, I entered every non-Baptist church with caution, and Crossgate was not an exception. However, the cautious wall was no match against the warm heart of Crossgate. Quickly, Crossgate began to feel like a home, made this Baptist wonder what he had been missing for so many years, and put the hesitant heart at ease. At Crossgate, God began to show me how a church is supposed to be, how a church can be a beacon of light and unity while standing firm on the Word of God, on the Cornerstone, the Stone of Stumbling. At Crossgate, God taught me the importance of the preaching of His Word, the administering of the sacraments, and church discipline. God has shown me the density of His Word and to never take it for granted, recognizing its immeasurable depth. He has shown me that the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is more than just a symbol but that it is nourishing to the soul, that it is something that should be done regularly. Finally, God has shown me the importance of church discipline, something that I did not see growing up and can thank our church for greatly. I have seen that pursuing after knowledge, righteousness, and holiness is something that must be done as a body, under the leadership of elders and the ultimate leadership of Christ. I have seen the joy that comes from piety. I thank God for these lessons and the many more that He used Crossgate Church to teach me.

Secondly, I want to thank you, elders, deacons, and laymen, for submitting to the triune God and His communication through Scripture, seeking to believe what we are to believe concerning God and to do the duty He requires of us. In this church, I have seen exemplified the call of the Gospel: repent and believe. In many churches, one of those is treated as more important than the other. Some bodies only talk about believing with no real out working of that belief into repentance. Some bodies only talk about repentance, hammering in works with no hope. However, at Crossgate, I have seen a God-honoring balance, that faith is to work out into repentance of the hands, heart, and head. Thank you for being a church of truth, seeking to honor God in all facets of life, in thought, word, and deed.

Thirdly, I want to thank you for letting me serve the youth. I know that I have been far from perfect, and I can look at many times where I could have done better. In spite of this, you let me serve, recognizing that God can use a crooked stick to strike straight. Thank you for this opportunity. I have enjoyed it greatly.

Finally, I want to now discuss my departure. Starting in August, Amaris and I will no longer be attending Crossgate. In order to care for my family, which will, Lord willing, be growing soon, we will be moving to Duncan, South Carolina, where I have received a job to teach science in a public school starting this Fall. We have found a church called Antioch Presbyterian Church (PCA), which we will be attending, but Crossgate will always have a special place in our hearts, recognizing it as such a formative time in our lives.
 
In Christ, 
Lucas McKown

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July 24, 2020

I mentioned last Sunday that we would resume celebrating the Lord’s Supper on the first Sunday of each month, beginning August 2nd. We will be doing a couple of things differently so as to protect everyone as best we can.  The first thing we will do is have those who prepare the elements wear latex gloves and masks.  We will also have the servers do the same.  We will not be passing the plates as we have traditionally done, so only the servers will be touching them with their gloves on.  The servers will walk down each row and those who want to receive the elements will hold the palm of their hand up and the server will place the element in their hands.

One other thing that we will do for those who feel a little uncomfortable in a gathering where everyone isn’t wearing a mask – during the 10:45 service, we will use the youth room (in the building behind the main church) for overflow and everyone who comes to this gathering will be required to wear a mask.  The service will be watched on YouTube, but then the sacrament will be observed with a server distributing the elements in the same way we’re doing in the main building.

We have all missed having the Lord’s Supper, and so we hope that in taking these measures, more folks will be encouraged to come out and celebrate this sacrament with us – one that not only depicts our union with Christ, but also our union with each other in the body of Christ. 

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July 17, 2020

Who are you keeping up with from church? When is the last time you had a good, meaningful conversation with someone from church? I know that with all the “social distancing”, meaningful fellowship with others in the body has taken a big hit and I know all of us miss that – A LOT! Many are still live-streaming worship on Sunday, so we don’t get to see them (and we miss them). But even those who come on Sunday are encouraged to keep their distance, so that enjoying one another becomes a little more challenging. So how do we do what we are commanded to do in Scripture – love and care for others in the body of Christ? Do we simply put fellowship on hold until such time that we can all meet together again? Do we wait until Covid-19 is a thing of the past (which could be a long way off)? The reality is that we need each other – we need to be in fellowship with other believers – and our spiritual (and emotional) health really depends on this. So how can we preserve that close- knit fellowship that Crossgate has been known for? Let me suggest one thing that I think can make a difference.  It’s really a “no-brainer”; couldn’t be any more simple. The solution I have in mind is simply using that little gadget we call the phone. What could be easier than calling people to check on them? When is the last time you called someone from church just to check on them and see how they were doing? Does that seem strange to you or a little weird? Well, it’s not. It may take you out of your comfort zone a little, but that’s not a bad thing. Let me ask you something – How would you feel if someone called you and asked how you were doing and how they could be praying for you? More than likely, you would appreciate the fact that they thought enough about you to reach out to you in this way. Well, if you would feel this way, why not make an effort to help others feel special? And Men, you can (and ought to) do this just as well as women. It may not come as easy for you, but I would encourage you to engage in this kind of “fellowship-outreach”.  So let me encourage you to pray about making one phone call this week (and each week thereafter) to someone you haven’t seen in a while. Ask the Lord to show you whom He would have you reach out to. I believe if we will do this, we can refresh and encourage each other and continue to enjoy some sweet fellowship together. Let’s not allow Covid-19 to weaken the bonds of love at Crossgate.
 
 
 
 
 

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God at Work…In Our Children’s Ministry

When Emma was small, Crossgate was in its beginning stage. The church had not “organized” and was not in its own building.  The normal place for children was in the service and, well, sometimes out of the service if they got too verbose!  Young children cannot be little adults no matter how cute they look in their fine Sunday clothes!  If you might be concerned that the whole world must be watching or thinking about the behaviour of your children during Sunday service, we are not!  

In my day, I was approached by loving “older” members with many an encouraging word.  Now it is my turn and I feel privileged to offer the encouragement!  Your children are learning that it is important to come to God’s house and to listen.  At their young age, this is an important lesson even if they cannot listen.:) They are watching the actions of adults, teenagers, and older children as we sing to the Lord with great volume and sit quietly as a pastor leads us in prayer to our Heavenly Father.  All these experiences get embedded in a child.  I have a fond memory during the hymn singing at my home church of looking around at the throngs of people all offering their sacrifice of praise to their God…..I knew God was in that place.  I have reflected on that moment and now, of course, realize that it was a great gift to be given at a young age.  God is real, tangible and loving.  So, we are glad to have your young ones in the service!

With everything going on, the family in worship has become an even more important and needed experience.  Your church family wants to know your children and offer you that support!  Take heart, that even when you do not hear all of the sermon because you are focused on your child’s needs, God is faithful to you and your children.  It is a season of purposing your own personal time with God as often as you can AND training your children for the relationship with Him you pray for. 
 
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.  Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.”         -Galatians 6:9,10
 
—submitted by Leslie Warlick, Nursery Coordinator  

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July 2020

All of us know how Covid-19 has impacted our whole way of life.  I still find it strange that when I go to a store, I see people with face masks on.  I certainly understand why, but it’s still a weird feeling to see this in the U.S.  And then we see how this virus has impacted our economy, affecting virtually every segment of the American workforce.  And as a result, a lot of people are really struggling to meet financial obligations.  But looking beyond these things, we can talk about the physical and emotional impact of this virus on a whole host of folks. Whether you catch the virus or not, it’s obvious that this virus has altered our way of living.

But how has Covid affected you spiritually?   There’s no doubt that this virus has affected the local church.  Churches have not been able to meet together for worship as in the past, and most of the church programs have been put on hold for fear that we might inadvertently spread the virus.  But what about your personal walk with the Lord?  Has your walk with Christ become rather sickly and anemic in the midst of this pandemic?  Is your spiritual life so dependent upon outside Bible studies and other programs that when those are not available, you just sort of hobble along spiritually and become more and more complacent and apathetic?   Are you consistently spending time in God’s Word and prayer, or have these things been sort of pushed aside for the time being?  And what about church worship on Sunday?  Are you staying home for worship because it takes less effort on your part or because you have a genuine concern about your health?  Now don’t misunderstand me here.  We know that there are people in our church who need to stay home and join us livestream, but sometimes I wonder if there are some who are going to the stores and work during the week, but using Covid as an excuse for not coming to church.  Maybe not.  But my point is simply this – it’s easy in times like these, to just sort of throw spiritual discipline out the window and become somewhat flabby spiritually.  (like the Covid /quarantine weight gain!  Have you experienced this?)  We can either focus on doing what feels good at the moment, or we can see this as a great opportunity to nourish our souls and become strong in the faith.    

Listen, these are tough days that we are living in.  They’re not fun and I know that we all can’t wait until we can resume some semblance of normality.   We’re tired of this “social distance” stuff!  We’re tired of feeling blah!  We long for things to get back to normal.  But until then, we have to ask – “How does God want to use this pandemic to feed my soul and to mature me in my faith?”

Brothers and Sisters in Christ – I want to encourage you in these strange times to seek after the Lord with your whole heart.  Get to know Him better through His Word and Prayer.  Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.  Don’t allow the sin of apathy and complacency to infect your soul so that you simply coast along.  Rather use this time to deepen your walk with Christ so that you might grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.


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Worship’s “New Normal”

  • We recognize the need to be extremely cautious in this start-up and we will take numerous precautions to create a safe environment in which we can worship.  Moreover, we realize that some of you are more at risk and may not feel comfortable attending a worship service at this point.  If that is the case with you, we encourage you to remain at home and continue to worship with us online.  We will continue to live stream our worship service on YouTube. 
  • We would also encourage you to stay home and worship online if….
    • You or someone in your family is not feeling well – have any symptoms such as temperature, cough, etc.
    • You have been around anyone who is sick
  • Because of the steps we are taking to ensure a safe environment, our worship service will have a little different feel – perhaps, not quite as warm and friendly because we will continue to encourage social distancing.  But be patient.  This will pass and hopefully, we will soon be able to hug and shake hands and enjoy a closeness with each other.
  •  
NOW FOR THE SPECIFICS:
  • We will have 2 limited capacity worship services – one at 9:00 am and the other at 10:45 am.  Please plan on arriving 10 minutes early.  To meet social distancing guidelines, we will remove every other row from the auditorium so we will only be able to accommodate 70-80 people in each service.  
  • We are not requiring people to wear a mask, BUT if you feel more comfortable wearing one, please do so. 
  • We will ask everyone to enter only through the front door of the building and move straight into the auditorium and be seated.  We encourage you to leave 2 seats between you/your family and others who may come.  Inside each bulletin, there will be two red pieces of paper/markers.  Once you sit down, you can place these red markers on the seats adjacent to you and your family.  If you’re comfortable with only 1 seat between you and others, just use one of the markers. DO NOT SIT IN A SEAT WITH A RED MARKER
  • After the service we will let one side of the church leave through the front door and the other side will leave through the side door.  (We will provide directions after the benediction) We ask you to leave the auditorium as soon as the service is over, and then once you are outside, you can visit as much as you would like. 
  • We will be cleaning and sanitizing surfaces between the two services.
  • We will NOT have a nursery or Kids’ Worship for our worship services.  Children are welcome in the worship services, and should they become restless or noisy, we will have space where a parent can take their child and continue to listen/watch the service online.
 
We are so looking forward to being together for worship – even if our fellowship will be divided into two services for a time! But the day is coming – and we can’t wait! – when we will be able to forget about social distancing and just be able to enjoy close communion and vibrant worship together.

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God at Work…In Our Fellowship Ministry

Many Crossgate Church members comment on the exceptional welcome they experienced when first visiting our church. They relate how people they met were gracious and friendly, helping them to feel as though they are an important part of the Church’s fellowship of believers.
 
“I felt so welcome,” said one guest. “On our first visit, so many people greeted us and made us feel like we were a part of the church community.” 
 
And the support and encouragement of the congregation to the individuals who choose to attend our church continues well beyond the first visit. It is essential to the health of a church that members and regular attenders find a strong sense of community among the congregation, as the reality of Christ is witnessed through love for one another.
 
“When we first moved to the area, we did not know anyone.  But through being a part of the ministry of Crossgate, we have made friends with fellow believers,” says a new church member.
 
Another member expressed that he knows that no matter where he sits for the worship service, he will be sitting among friends. 
 
The Fellowship Committee seeks to facilitate the social interaction and development of friendships among our congregation by planning a variety of events such as Friendship Dinners and church-wide fellowship activities, while also seeking to connect people with particular interests (such as hiking, sporting events, quilting, etc.) with opportunities to explore those common interests with other church members. The goal is to build relationships among our church family who will then encourage and support one another through the joys and challenges of life, providing a strong and supportive congregation of people who care for and demonstrate their love for one another.

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