Holy Cross Announcements:

 

Red Letter Challenge – Day 33

October 12 – Day 33
“Giving” 

“It is better to give than to receive” – Acts 20:35

Is it really better to give than to receive?  When we were children I’m sure most of us thought it was much better to get things than to give them.  However, as adults I’m sure we get much more satisfaction in giving a gift than in receiving one.  When I buy a gift for someone I truly care about, it’s hard to keep it a secret.  I usually want to give it to them right away.

We have all been given the most amazing gift in the entire world by receiving the grace of Jesus in our life.  As amazing as it is to receive this gift, it is even better when we can give that gift to others.  Any time I’ve ever gotten a gift I really like, I love to tell others about it.  I’m sure you are the same way, too, yet so often we fail to give people this greatest gift.  The best thing you can do with a good gift is to open it, enjoy it, and share it with others. 

Challenge: Give a great gift to a worthy person or charity today.

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill

Today’s devotion came from the book, “Red Letter Challenge,” by Zach Zehnder, pages 196-201.


Read more...

Red Letter Challenge – Day 32

October 11 – Day 32
“Giving” 

“Sell all that you possess and give to the poor.” – Mark 10:21

Yesterday we talked about tithing, but for some people giving a tithe is not really a sacrifice at all.  They believe that since they are tithing they are doing what God wants them to do.  I believe God asks us to give until it hurts, until it feels good.  The more you start giving the easier it gets.  It hurts to sacrifice at first, but if you keep giving and sacrificing, it begins to feel really good.

It is similar to exercising or working out.  If you haven’t worked out for a while and then all of a sudden go in and lift weights, you will be very sore, especially if you push yourself hard while you are there.  But you will realize it’s “good pain.”  Then you work out again and you feel less pain.  And then the next time, even less pain.  This pattern continues until you work out and experience no pain at all.

The same is true of giving.  To follow after God faithfully means following after Him with everything you have, including your money and your possessions.  He wants you to be a generous person.

Challenge:  Give sacrificially today.  Pray about where to give and how to give it.  Then act in faith.  

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill

Today’s devotion came from the book, “Red Letter Challenge,” by Zach Zehnder, pages 190-193.


Read more...

Red Letter Challenge – Day 31

October 10 – Day 31
“Giving” 

“Do not neglect the tithe.” – Matthew 23:23

Money is an extremely divisive topic, because how you spend your money shows the condition of your heart.  Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there you heart is also.”  But there’s a second reason we don’t like to talk about money.  Money is the number one idol in our lives and it is difficult to separate people from something they love.  There is nothing wrong with money in itself.  It’s not money that is the root of all evil, but the love of money.

Jesus talked a lot about giving, but not much about tithing.  Therefore, some pastors don’t want to talk about tithing.  But the practice of tithing goes all the way back to Abraham.  From the beginning, God’s people have returned the first 10% to Him as an offering to show that we fully trust Him to provide for us.  If someone were to look into your bank account, would they know you are a follower of Jesus?  You cannot truly go all in for God if you cannot trust God with your money.

Challenge: Tithe for the next 6 months to your local church and watch how God works in big ways.

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill

Today’s devotion came from the book, “Red Letter Challenge,” by Zach Zehnder, pages 184-189.


Read more...

Red Letter Challenge – Day 30

October 9 – Day 30
“Giving” 

“I was naked and you gave me clothing.” – Matthew 25:36

Jesus talks in His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 about making sure we don’t store up treasures on earth, but instead store up treasures in heaven.  He mentions not worrying about clothes, and this is something most of us have never had to worry about in our lives.  In fact, we could probably ask ourselves, “Do we have too much?  Can someone else benefit from the stuff that’s just sitting in our closets and dressers?

Imagine Jesus on the side of the road with no clothes.  If you knew it was Jesus what would you do?  Of course you would clothe Him.  You would give Him whatever He needed.  If your dressers or closets are full and you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’ll have clothes tomorrow, you can be a big part in completing today’s challenge.

Challenge: Go through your dressers and closets and give all the clothes you don’t need to charity. 

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill

 

Today’s devotion came from the book, “Red Letter Challenge,” by Zach Zehnder, pages 180-183.


Read more...

Red Letter Challenge – Day 29

October 8 – Day 29
“Giving” 

“For I was hungry and you gave me food.” – Matthew 25:35

We hear a lot about food in our country.  We hear about obesity and how much Americans eat, while at the same time we hear about millions of people around the world who are without food.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 25 that whatever we do for the least of those in the world, the least privileged, we’ve done it for Him.  He says that the people who take care of the least privileged will be the ones who are welcomed into His Kingdom.

This is not a scare tactic.  Jesus is simply saying that those who believe in Him are people who help the least privileged, it’s what they do.  The stronger a person’s relationship with God, the more natural it becomes to take care of God’s children in this world.  Even in America, the land of blessing and opportunity, people are still starving.  They need help, and who better to help them than the followers of Jesus?

Challenge: Give food to the needy.  This can be done to someone on the side of the street, or to our Backpack Buddies program or Matthew Ministry at Holy Cross.

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill

Today’s devotion came from the book, “Red Letter Challenge,” by Zach Zehnder, pages 176-179.


Read more...

Red Letter Challenge – Day 28

Good Morning!

This week’s devotions will focus on the fourth principle of “Giving.”

October 7 – Day 28
“Giving”

“Lend, expecting nothing in return.” – Luke 6:35

How many times have you truly given something and not received anything in return?  The reality is it’s actually hard to give without getting something in return.  We worship a God who gave up His most prized possession for us, His very own Son, Jesus, to die for us.  Through His death and resurrection, He paid the entire price for all the sin we’ve ever committed and ever will commit.  How disappointing it must be for God to look at us and see that we still fail Him.

If God sent Jesus expecting that after His death and resurrection we would be eternally grateful and therefore live lives of complete holiness, then He must be very disappointed.  However, God sent Jesus not because He expected perfection from us, but simply because He loves us.  God sent Jesus knowing that even after His death and resurrection we would fail Him.  This is what it means to lend, or give, without expecting in return.  We do not give because we have to, we give because we want to be like Jesus.

Challenge: As we start our week of giving, lend or give to someone and don’t ask for or expect anything in return. 

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill

 

Today’s devotion came from the book, “Red Letter Challenge,” by Zach Zehnder, pages 166-169.


Read more...

Red Letter Challenge – Day 26

October 5 – Day 26
“Serving” 

“Let your light shine before others” – Matthew 5:16

It is important for us to not just talk about doing good things and meeting needs in the community, but to actually do them.  In this Challenge we are to point people to God by letting our light shine.  God has wanted us to represent Him to the rest of the world from the beginning.  This is what He wanted to do with the Israelites in the Old Testament; this is what He wanted for His disciples; and this is what He calls us, as His followers who make up the church, to do today.  The amazing thing is that Jesus actually says that someone can see the good deeds we do and glorify God because of us.

It’s amazing to think that through what we do and the way we live, we can actually point people to a real relationship with God.  We may never know what kind of impact we have made in somebody else’s life, but we will continue to be faithful in serving Him and giving Him the glory.

Challenge: Serve God today in one of the following ways:

  • Volunteer at a food pantry or at a shelter.
  • Clean a neighbor’s yard.
  • Visit an elderly person.
  • Encourage someone who is sick.

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill

Today’s devotion came from the book, “Red Letter Challenge,” by Zach Zehnder, pages 158-163.


Read more...

Choir

Melissa Sultan, our traditional service music director, will begin choir practice this Sunday, October 6, at 10:00am in the sanctuary.  If you are interested in singing with the choir please come to practice this Sunday to learn more about their plans and rehearsal schedule.  If you have any questions please contact Melissa at mgsultan96@gmail.com.

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill


Read more...

Red Letter Challenge – Day 25

October 4 – Day 25
“Serving” 

“I was sick and you took care of me.” – Matthew 25:35

There is a story in the Bible about a man who was paralyzed.  The man had four friends who carried him on a mat to see Jesus.  When they got to the house where Jesus was, they saw the whole house was full of people.  Rather than give up, they took their friend all the way to the top of the roof and lowered him through a hole so he could Jesus.  When Jesus saw the faith of the friends He forgave the paralyzed man and healed him.

I don’t know how or why God heals some and not others.  It seems like He heals some who have faith and others who have no faith.  But the friends of the paralyzed man had faith in Jesus and their friend was rewarded because of their faith.  This means that God honors your faith and your commitment to those in need.

Who do you know who is sick?  Who do you know who needs our encouragement?  Being sick is not what we were meant for, so we are looking forward to a time when Jesus promises us no more sickness, disease, death, or even tears.  Jesus promises that all who follow Him will experience this sort of life. 

Challenge: If you know someone who is sick, then visit that person.  Encourage, support, or call him/her.  If you can’t do that, then send a gift or message to someone you know who is sick.  

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill

Today’s devotion came from the book, “Red Letter Challenge,” by Zach Zehnder, pages 154-157.


Read more...

October Newsletter


Read more...

Red Letter Challenge – Day 24

October 3 – Day 24
“Serving”

“Let the little children come to me.” – Matthew 19:14

Matthew 5 contains Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount and in that sermon He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  The poor in spirit recognize they aren’t perfect, feel genuinely sorry for it, and receive the grace of Jesus to make them perfect.  Children are really good examples of how to be poor in spirit and so in this way they are a model for us.

Time and time again Jesus mentions how important children are in His ministry.  It’s important that as we are doing the Red Letter Challenge, we invite our children or grandchildren to come along with us.  The principles we are learning and the themes we are putting into practice are things every child should know.  We have a responsibility to model to our children what God’s love looks like on a daily basis.

Challenge: Serve a child who is in your life today and let this child know how important he or she is to you.

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill

Today’s devotion came from the book, “Red Letter Challenge,” by Zach Zehnder, pages 150-153.


Read more...

Red Letter Challenge – Day 23

October 2 – Day 23
“Serving”
 
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:39

We may complain about our neighbors and sometimes it may be hard to love them, but God can look down on us and say the same thing.  Sometimes He must think, “Why do these people act this way?  They are messy, they don’t listen, they have no regard for me, and they are not taking care of the stuff I’ve given them.”  It has to be hard for Him to love us.  God could have looked down at us and said, “I’m done with them.”  Instead, God looked down upon us and said, “They need my help.”

God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to die on the cross for us and to pay the price for the sins we commit.  Through His death and resurrection all who believe in Him are given eternal life when they die, and eternal life now as we participate and work with Him in bringing His Kingdom to this world.

Challenge: Do something for one of your neighbors.  Show them you care with no strings attached.  

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill

 

Today’s devotion came from the book, “Red Letter Challenge,” by Zach Zehnder, pages 146-149.


Read more...

Red Letter Challenge – Day 22

October 1 – Day 22

“Serving”

“When you give a dinner, invite the poor, crippled, lame, etc.” – Luke 14:13

Today we want to focus on the people God calls us to serve.  It’s really easy to serve your friends or family.  It’s really easy to serve those people in your life who are well-connected and could help you be more successful.  It’s a lot harder to serve those who may not ever be able to offer you anything.  Many times we serve and expect to receive something in return.  But God wants us to be people who just naturally serve and don’t expect anything back in this world.

What’s amazing about Jesus is that the people He came to serve would continually let Him down.  Jesus didn’t wait for us to have everything together before He served us.  Instead, He gave His life for us while we were still a mess.  Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  It’s important for us to remember that we do not serve in order to get something.  We serve because we want to be more like Jesus.

Challenge: Serve someone today who will not be able to give you anything in return.

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill

Today’s devotion came from the book, “Red Letter Challenge,” by Zach Zehnder, pages 140-145.


Read more...

Youth Fundraising Events

Just a reminder that if you eat dinner tonight at Simple Twist, located at 5638 NC Highway 42 in Garner, between 5:00pm and 9:00pm, 10% of the proceeds will go towards the high school youth attending the 2022 National Youth Gathering in Houston, Texas.

Also, the youth are selling Butter Braids again this fall.  The sales will be done online.  Please use the following link to order Butter Braids:

https://store.myfundraisingplace.com/f8e16fbb-6065-4bbc-ba25-5ffb737fa1fc

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill


Read more...

Red Letter Challenge – Day 21

Good Morning!

This week’s devotions will focus on our third principle of “Serving.”  We are halfway through our 40-Day Challenge and I pray you will enjoy putting Jesus’ words into practice this week.

September 30 – Day 21
“Serving” 

“If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant to all.” – Mark 9:35

Jesus is calling us to put ourselves last and not first.  However, this is not at all what we hear in our world today.  We are taught to promote ourselves and to put our own needs first.  But Jesus tells us the opposite.  In Jesus’ counter-cultural Kingdom, the ones who are blessed are the ones who serve others and put others before themselves.  Time and time again, Jesus talks about being a servant, practicing humility, being meek, and doing things for others.  Jesus didn’t just talk about serving others, He did it.

Philippians 2:5-8 explains how Jesus was focused on serving, telling us: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!”  

Challenge: Find a way to put someone else’s needs before yours today. 

God’s Blessings,
Pastor Bill


Read more...