First Things First

Each year doesn’t have to be another year full of good intentions and broken commitments – another year where we say, “Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda…done it sooner!”  2017 can be different if we get ONE thing right!  You can lose all the weight, save all the money, and climb the ladder but it will all come crumbling down if you don’t get this ONE thing right!  What is it?  It’s so simple it’s hard…SEEKING GOD!  Consider these words from the Bible: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.”  How about, “How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path of sinners…instead his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night.  He is like a tree planted beside streams of water…whatever he does prospers.”  Or as we talked about this morning at Crossroads…King Uzziah, “as long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.”

The ONE thing that will make the difference this year…seek God!  Don’t waste another year saying, “Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda…done it sooner!

Seek Him by reading the Bible!  Remember, it’s not about knocking it out or checking it off the “to do list.”  It’s not even about reading the whole Bible in a year.  It’s about customizing a plan that works for who you are, your personality, how you are wired, your life situation, etc…THE POINT IS…SEEK HIM…SPEND TIME WITH HIM!

Here are a few reading plans that you could use:

1. “The Story Bible”:  We are actually giving every person at Crossroads a copy of “The Story” Bible in January.  It’s a really cool read the Bible because it reads like a book rather than a chapter and verse Bible.  I started reading this a few weeks back and really have to say…it’s hard to put down. Love it!

2.  ”Everyday with Jesus” Bible:  I’ve used this one a couple times.  It has a reading from different parts of the Bible everyday.  It really helps me not to get bogged down in some of the tougher chapters or books because you move around so much.  There are also great devotions to help you focus on what you are reading.

3.  YouVersion App:  This app is amazing!  You can customize your plan, pick your favorite version (I use ESV and/or NIV), read a section every day or EVEN have it read to you.  I do that a lot of times driving back and forth to Crossroads.

4.  Bibleis App:  I’ve used this app a whole lot last year.  It has 846 languages available and it’s high quality, dramatized audio that makes you feel like you are right there!  This app is definitely for the creative at heart who likes to put themselves in the story.  One of my top favorite apps ever!

I’d also like to challenge you to read this year.  Read books that push you to think about God and take practical steps to know Him more.  I’m not really a reader.  My wife is…she reads a book a day.  That sickens me!  But I force myself to read and I’ve sought God by immersing myself in books about God.  Remember, I’m not trying to read a book a day or even a week.  Some can and some can’t!  I can’t!  But I seek God by reading books that keep my mind sharp and my heart focused on Him.

Here are a list of my favorite books that you might like to read in 2017:

 The Reason For God by Timothy Keller

The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask by Mark Mittleberg

Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller

The Grace of God by Andy Stanley

How Good is Good Enough by Andy Stanley

Choosing to Cheat by Andy Stanley

Forgotten God by Francis Chan

Crazy Love by Francis Chan

Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know by Wayne Grudem

Spiritual Disciplines of a Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney

The Grace Awakening by Charles Swindoll

A Great and Terrible Love by Mark Galli

And Then He Called My Name by Richard Exley

More Than A Carpenter by Josh McDowell

It’s Not About Me by Max Lucado

In the Grip of Grace by Max Lucado

Just Walk Across the Room by Bill Hybles

Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning

Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper

Finishing Strong by Steve Farrar

What’s So Amazing About Grace by Phillip Yancey

Boundaries by Henry Cloud

Maybe I’ll hit on a few other ways to seek God later.  This certainly isn’t exhaustive.  I haven’t even touched on listening to music, worshiping, praying, writing and many others.  But…I promised I’d post this during our weekend services.  No more, “Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda…done it sooner!  Seek Him!  Do the First Things First…


The Right Tool


I went on the hunt for my screwdriver last week.  I have the one where you spin the bottom and you have many options for the head of the driver.  There are several sizes of Phillip heads, flat heads, star heads (is that what they are called)?  Anyways, I couldn’t find it.  I tried to do a simple task without the right tool.  I tried scissors, knives, my hand, other tools in my bag.  Nothing would work!  It’s important to have the right tool!  How often do we try to do small things and big things in life without the right tool…PRAYER?  It’s the only tool that is right for the job.  Here are some verses to remind all of us to use the right tool:

  1. Matthew 7:7  “Ask, and it will be given to you seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
  2. Matthew 21:22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
  3. Mark 11:24  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
  4. John 14:13-14 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it
  5. Mark 9:29  And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
  6. Acts 9:40 But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up.
  7. James 5:14-16 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another,that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
  8. Ephesians 6:18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
  9. Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

As leaders, we often try to do things in our own strength.  That’s the wrong tool.  As leaders, we think about where we are headed.  Right?  That’s part of leading.  It’s fun for me to think about where my church is headed.  But then I begin to think about what I need to do, what people we need, what financial resources we need, what the strategy is, what to do in this situation or that.  All those things are necessary but first I should go to my tool bag and pull out the right tool…prayer.  Otherwise, I’ll spend a lot of time trying to use the edge of a knife to do something that can only be done with a screwdriver.  Use the right tool with me…


4 Ways the Bible Autocorrects: “It Doesn’t Matter What You Do”

Guest Blogger: Chad Duncan

Continue the Conversation: God Never Said That Part 2

You are at your desk typing up a pudding recipe for your upcoming church picnic. You attempt to type “banana”, but you fail to remember that Gwen Stefani song and put bananana. You realize your mistake, but pay it no mind.

It autocorrects for you.

Auto Correction and spell checks are a gift from the computer nerds. They let us know when we are wrong, and corrects our mistakes. The Bible is our autocorrect when it comes to our culture’s misbeliefs about sin.

As Pastor Aaron continues the “God Never Said That” series, this past weekend we looked at  4 worldly ideas about sin and how the Bible autocorrects our sinful nature’s misconceptions.


  1. World Says: I’m not really a bad person.

In a quiz to score whether a person was bad, included a few of the following yes or no questions:

  • I recycle when I feel like it

  • I’ve broken up with someone over text

  • I hardly ever leave big tips.

Answer the questions right and the back patting begins. I’m a good person after all!

Bible Autocorrects: You’re right, you are not just a bad person but a sinner.

The Bible clearly says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” – 1 John 1:8. Our ability to break-up in person, leave 50% tips, and walk the occasional senior citizen across the road is a good act for sure. But until we ask for forgiveness, we are all just sinners at the end of the day.


  1. World Says: All sin is the same

When we take God’s grace for granted, we can start believing our sin is no big deal. It’s just a routine forgiveness dance and all will be fine. Look too long at that girl at the gym? No worries. Flirt with the new accountant at work as a married woman. No biggie. Except…

Bible Autocorrects: All sin leads to death, but have different consequences.

1 Cor. 6:18 brings us to a quick realization of the seriousness of certain sins, “Run from sexual sin!” Don’t jog, Usain Bolt from that stuff!


  1. World Says: It’s okay because it’s not hurting anyone.

“It’s just me and my computer. It doesn’t hurt my wife as long as she doesn’t find out.” Our society loves to weigh behaviour by who we think it affects. If it’s not blatantly affecting anyone else, then it’s gotta be ok.

Bible Autocorrects: It’s always hurting someone. You or God.

James 1:15 gives us a picture of how something our society views as solely individual, desire, can turn into so much more, “ Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”  Whether sin separates us from God, destroys our lives, or slowly destroys the lives of those around us, sin always hurts someone.


  1. World Says: I’ve already done it, i might as well keep doing it.

Bible Says: I’ve done it, but I don’t have to keep doing it anymore.

 Romans 6 says through Christ we have “died to sin.” Finito.

Share with us on Facebook stories about how in your past someone convinced you it didn’t matter what sin you did. Don’t stop there. Then explain how God delivered you from that sin and that lie.

Know Your Story! Know God’s Story! Tell Them Well!


The word evangelism is a word that can make the stomach hurt!  Maybe it sends a tremor up your spine?  Maybe you’ve heard a sermon about evangelism and you left feeling more guilty than pumped?  Or maybe you just don’t know how to do it?  I’m with you!  I want to help you!  What if there were no formulas or scripts or huge chunks of memorized information to regurgitate when talking to someone about Jesus?  Intrigued?  I think it’s actually way more simple than that…

First, check out some ways of sharing Jesus that never work:

Bad Ways To Do Evangelism

Pretty funny huh?  But we’ve all seen this done, maybe done it ourselves…minus the bull horn guy or the picture above of the crazy man on the crazy van!

Why Evangelism?  Let’s answer that briefly, real briefly because you are looking for help, not why?  We answered “why” at the beginning of our “Dare To Share” series at Crossroads Community Church.

Shortly after Jesus’ resurrection, He appeared to his disciples on a mountain in Galilee.  The wide eyed group sat with their attention directly on Jesus as He delivered some orders to be carried out until His return.  You can find them in Matthew 28:19-20.  This is called the “Great Commission” and not the “Great Suggestion.”  We talk about what we love.  We want others to experience what we’ve experienced.  In John 1:43-50…Jesus finds Phillip, Phillip starts following Jesus and immediately finds Nathanael.  Jesus found Phillip, Phillip found Nathanael.  That’s the way it’s supposed to be for those who follow Jesus.

So, now let’s talk about how!  I read a book and led a connect group on the book, “Just Walk Across the Room” by Bill Hybels.  Life Changing…evangelism is as simple as walking across the room.  He calls it 3D living!

The First “D” is Developing Friendships:

We have to be in continuous search mode.  We’ve got to make a habit of searching out new friends on the horizon.  That is the heart of a Christ follower.  Watching for ways to connect with people, looking for friendships in the making.  It’s being aware of your surroundings and who is in them.  You see someone across the room, maybe they are alone, maybe not…you don’t know them at all.  I wonder if heaven parties when you take one step towards them to begin a conversation or friendship that could lead to them following Christ.  I’m convinced that relationships are the most effective way of evangelism!

The Second “D” is Discovering Stories:

Sometimes the persons story can be discovered in seconds and sometimes you will have to be patient.  Sometimes you will rush into spiritual things immediately and other times you have to show faithful, consistent friendship uncovering slowly the person’s deepest need for Christ so they don’t go running and screaming to never speak to you again.  Have you ever taken the risk to probe someone’s story and then be absolutely floored by the doors that opened?  Give it a try!  Strike up a relationship with someone who needs Jesus and start hanging out with them, start praying as God leads to spiritual conversations.

The Third “D” is to Discern Next Steps:

Once you’ve walked across the room to stick out a hand of friendship and begin to delve into their story, the very best thing you can do is lean way into the whisperings of the Holy Spirit.  During every single second of the conversation with the other person…beg, beg, beg for the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Know Your Story!  Know God’s Story!  Stories are powerful…and how can you get to the point where both of these stories are told well.

Know Your Story!  Write it out…

1. What type of person were you before you met Jesus?  Write down five to ten adjectives that come to mind.  (If you came to faith at a young age, think about how you would describe what you were like prior to developing a thriving, more mature relationship with Jesus.)

2. From the adjectives you noted above, what is the one word in particular that best summarizes your “before” story?

3. Now describe the circumstances that caused you to give your life to Jesus.   What finally triggered your desire to ask Jesus into your life?  What was the most significant thing about your making this decision?

4. Now after completing the sentence below, note the primary difference that Jesus has made in your life?

I used to be (before adjective) and now I’m ______________________________.

5. Put it all together now.  The “before”, the “final trigger” and then the “after”.  Try out your story on a few friends this week and ask them to give you feedback on whether you were brief, clear, simple and humble.

My Story:

I was going through the motions, went to church because my parents did, hid my faults because I didn’t want anyone to know that side of me.  On the outside I looked like I had it all together.  But I knew I didn’t down deep in my own soul.  I was missing something.  I met the reality of Christ and began a relationship with Him.  Since then, I still don’t have it all together…but I’m not pretending anymore.  He was more concerned with my heart than my appearance or what I looked like to others.  So, now I’m being real with people and with my God.  I’m working on what’s important…my heart!


Know God’s Story…learn to tell it well!  Here are a few easy ways to tell His story in just a couple minutes.

This short video shows the “Bridge Illustration” and “Morality Ladder”…two of my favorites!

The “Bridge Illustration” and the “Morality Ladder”

If you only have a few seconds…this one gets right to the heart of the matter:

Do vs. Done Illustration

Remember, you are not responsible for transforming a heart…that is the role of the Holy Spirit.  Your role…develop friendships, discover their story, discern next steps!  When prompted to do so, open your mouth and give a tender, thoughtful, clear understanding of who God is and what He has done for you and every person on this planet.  That is all!  Nothing more, nothing less!  Know your story, know the story of God and tell them well!  It’s that simple…


5 Questions For Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts

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These five questions came to mind yesterday afternoon after a message on serving at Crossroads Community Church.  They are a practical way to discover what your spiritual gift could be or how you could best serve at Crossroads.  Read Luke 10:25-37, Matthew 25:14-30, Ephesians 5:15-16, 1 Peter 4:10.  Check here for a list of spiritual gifts.


1.  What gets you pumped up?

God has burned in your heart a desire and passion for something that you were created to do in this world.  There is no thrill like being used as an instrument in the hands of God to meet a need in someone’s life or to push for His church and His purposes.  If you were created to do it…you will LOVE doing it!  Read the spiritual gifts…what makes your heart race and your blood pressure rise?  What gets you pumped up?  That’s a great place to start!


2.  What things do you do well?

You were created on purpose, with a purpose and for a purpose!  Knowing what you do well can help you find the gift that God has given you.


3.  What really bothers you?

Often times God places a burden on our heart over something that He too is burdened over.  When you look at this church or world, what makes you say, “Somebody needs to do something about that.”  That may be your invitation to use your spiritual gifts.


4.  What opportunities are in front of you?

Determining your spiritual gift may be as simple as taking advantage of opportunities in front of you.  Where do you see places that you could begin experimenting and test driving some serving opportunities to flesh out your gift?


5.  Who?

None of the previous four questions matter, unless you answer this one.  Who am I going to live for, really?  When we recognize that God is the Master, we will live for Him and use our gifts to make a difference.  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

So, enjoy the treasure hunt of discovering the gifts that God has given to you!!!


10 Things I Want To See At Crossroads in 2015

VisionAt the end of the year, I begin to pray/think through what I really want for everyone who comes to Crossroads Community Church and call it their church home.  I love to dream and think about the upcoming year.  This December, God began to burn in me a vision for Crossroads for 2015.  As a pastor and church leader, I take seriously the direction I feel God wants me to lead people in.  After a whole lot of prayer and discussion…I look forward to laying out this vision for Crossroads for the New Year.  Here is where we are headed and what I want to see at Crossroads in 2015.

10 Things I Want To See At Crossroads In 2015

1.  I want all of Crossroads to go all in and experience God’s best!  I want all of us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength!

2.  I want to see hundreds of people through Crossroads, begin a relationship with Christ and learn to follow Him…and go all in with us!

3.  I want all of Crossroads to have right relationships with others.  We are a unified group on a mission together!

4.  I want all of Crossroads to know how to lead someone to Christ and have the boldness to do it!

5.  I want to see what’s happening on Langley Air Force Base happen all over the Peninsula…coworkers getting together at lunch to read the Bible and pray together.

6.  I want all of Crossroads to seek God personally and hear and recognize His voice by reading our Bible consistently.

7.  I want all of Crossroads to grow more generous in our giving so more people far from God can be connected with Him…through the FIRE and SURGE of our generosity!

8.  I want all of Crossroads in the game…nobody on the sideline…no more begging for help in our ministries…get in the game with us!

9.  I want all of Crossroads to love the church and fully be bought in to her full potential.

10. I want all of Crossroads to join us as we create more space in 2015.  It’s time to MAKE SOME ROOM!!!!

Should A Church Have Security Cameras????

The best television series EVER is “The Office”.  No doubt about it!  I’ve watched every episode multiple times and even own them.  The series depicts the everyday life of office employees in a paper supply company in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  Michael Scott, the manager, is what made the series.  His constant desire to be the center of attention often manifests itself in selfish behavior.  He did everything that a boss shouldn’t do!  Hilarious!

On one of my favorite episodes, Michael Scott had the IT guy set him up so he could read all of the emails that his employees sent or received.  He did it because he wanted to read all of the great things his employees had to say about him.  It didn’t go over too well and nobody liked the “big brother” looking over their shoulders.  So, he responded in his typical “Michael Scott way”when he said, “the problem is that when people hear the term ‘big brother’, they immediately think it’s scary or bad, but I don’t. I think, wow, I love my big brother.”  HA!

So, you might ask, why are you telling me this?  Good question!  Let’s get to it!  Many churches are beginning to install security cameras.  Sometimes those security cameras give a “big brother” type feel which I guess is a normal thing.  It all depends on perspective.  But I see it from a different perspective!  So, I wanted to tell you why I think all churches should have security cameras and why we are having them installed at Crossroads this week.

I could give you dozens of reasons but I’ll just share five with you:

1.  It protects the staff!  You’d probably be surprised how many people come to the doors of churches during the day.  It’s no different at Crossroads.  The door is always ringing for deliveries, for groups, for ministry and for walk up help.  If one of our staff is at church alone, I want to make sure that they know who is at the door before they just say, “come in” and buzz them in.  With the security cameras in place, we will be able to see who is at the door before buzzing them in.  We don’t like to think that someone would have bad intentions but you know as well as I do, some do.  I know you’d agree that the protection of our staff is a high priority.

2.  It protects the children!  Security cameras protect the children that God has entrusted to us.  It steps up our game when it comes to creating a safe and nurturing environment for kids and youth.  Cameras will also deter predators.  They will think, “this church ain’t messing around”.  And we ain’t…we want our children protected.

3.  It protects our volunteers!  If for any reason, one or more of our volunteers are accused of anything, then we can protect them by going back and producing the video.  We love our volunteers and want to make sure that any false accusation can be disproved.  Cameras not only capture incidents but verify what didn’t happen as well.  If you volunteer at Crossroads with our youth or children…we want to see you protected.

4.  It’s attractive to parents!  I feel more at ease and willing to take my kids to a church that is taking big steps to protect my children.  Many, many parents will feel the same way.  I’d prefer to take my kids to a church screening volunteers, taking precautions and steps to keep them safe, any day!  Let’s remove hindrances and be the church that says, you and your kids mean that much to us!

5.  It puts Crossroads on the cutting edge!  Remember the big Tylenol scare back in 1982?  Deadly Cyanide was placed in Tylenol bottles and then placed back on the shelves.  That was a bad day for Tylenol but they responded with a triple seal tamper resistant package that everyone copies now.  They had to react and develop cutting edge precautions.  I’d rather be proactive than reactive.  These cameras put us on the cutting edge of protecting children and volunteers.  I’d say that is a win!

At Crossroads, we want to do things with excellence, we want to protect our staff, children and volunteers.  This is a BIG step in the right direction for us!  I also love that it sets us apart and is attractive to families seeking a safe place for their kids which in turn creates continued opportunities to connect people to God.  It’s the right thing!

So, should churches have security cameras?  It’s a resounding YES!

Top 10 Reasons Why Every Man Needs To Go On The Men’s Retreat

Top 10 Reasons Why Every Man Needs To Go On The Men’s Retreat

The Men’s Retreat at Crossroads Community Church is quickly approaching. In case you missed the memo, the trip is October 10-12 at Grace Bible Camp in Goshen, VA. The theme is “Greater”, Igniting God’s Vision for your life.

Here are some of the best reasons why every man should go on this trip:

1. Steak! What else do I really need to say about that?!

2. Campfire…Cool, Crisp Night around a fire…YEP!!!

3. Man Stuff! This ain’t a sissy retreat. There will be football, meat, guns, fire and a lot more.

4. No doubt that the Sunday morning worship service is the highlight of the trip every year.

5. You get away from work, cell phones, email, spreadsheets, etc. for a weekend.

6. It’s only $130 which includes 6 meals, snacks and lodging. AND if the cost is preventing you from going, contact Jon at

7. Men need men in their lives. As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) Isolation is a dangerous place for men!

8. We want you to be there!!!

9. You’ll experience some great worship away from everything and hear some men at Crossroads talk about how to be “Greater” men right from the best source, the Bible.

10. And last, it’s going to impact you and those around you way more than you can ever imagine!!!  You’ll see!!!

You can get signed up this weekend at Crossroads Community Church!!!  Don’t wait any longer!  See you there.

A Rescue Shop Within A Yard Of Hell

C.T. Studd said, “Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.”

There are two types of churches…”messy” and those that “pretend they aren’t messy”.  There are churches that by design knowingly and strategically fill their building with those who are addicted, broken, hurting and deep in sin and then there are churches that do all they can to stay clear and make sure they fill their churches with the “right kind of people.”  Reality is that many of the “right kind of people” are only hiding the messiness in their lives.  The truth is that when you have people…you have mess and the more people you have…the more mess you have!

I’m thankful to be in a church that doesn’t pretend, is designed to reach people who are deep in sin and unashamedly shares the Gospel.  Jesus is where we find life both now and forever.  He is the only answer, our Savior and our only rescue.  I have no desire to live within the sound of the church bells…I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.

#500forEaster “Top 10 List”

ImageWe have big plans for Easter.  One united service at 10:30AM on Easter Sunday…OUTSIDE!

A couple weeks ago…I dropped a HUGE challenge at Crossroads Community Church.  It sounded something like this, “what if there were 500 people at church on Easter that would have the opportunity to hear the Gospel?”  I was nervous about saying it all week.  We typically have 300 or so at our weekend services so this is a BIG deal!  So…here are the top 10 reasons why you should invite someone with you on Easter:

10.  Easter is one of those times during the year when people are more open to spiritual things.  It’s an easy, easy invite!

9.  If every person invited one person to attend with them…we’d have over 500.

8.  We design our services so that you can easily say to someone, “come and see”.  So, it’s pretty non-threatening!

7.  There is an Easter Egg Hunt for kids right after service.  Hey…that makes it easy to invite families with children.

6.  We’ve made it easy for you to invite people by creating social media invites for you to send to anybody you know.  They invites will be posted in the next couple days.  Here is one example:

5.  I’ll be sharing the Gospel message that day.  You have family and friends that need a relationship with Jesus.  Who knows what God could do by you inviting them?  That’s pretty compelling!

4.  Crossroads is the place to be every weekend!  Best church in the state!  Just sayin’!

3.  One of our values is growth.  We want everyone to open up their lives to people far from God.  So, you should have plenty of people to invite.

2.  The worship is gonna be AMAZING!  The team is ready to bring us into the presence of God as we focus on the cross and resurrection of Christ.

1.  Jesus rose from the dead!  What else is there to say?  That’s some good news to share with others…should be on our lips everyday!