Try Crossfire, a Place to Experience the Father's Heart

All this week I‘ve been encouraging you on the Father’s Heart. It is the heart of grace, compassion, love and affection toward you. The Father wants you to not only have faith in Him but to experience relationship with Him. If you’re looking for a church home, a place where you can experience the Father’s Heart, try our church in Centennial, Colorado.

We have vibrant worship and dance and a great children’s ministry. We offer a strong message of grace with a prophetic edge. We have both men and women in key leadership within our church. Our ministry reach is extended by outreach to more than 12 countries and we support children’s homes in Kenya and Nepal. Our emphasis is on building people, not buildings. We have a passion about sending capacity, rather than seating capacity. Come visit us at 10:00 a.m. this Sunday near South University Boulevard and Arapahoe Road in Centennial. Get the details on the web at here. I'd love to see you there!
Photo: Team from Crossfire on a trip to Vietnam August 2008, working with Habitat for Humanity.


The Father Has Affection For You

Did you know that the Father God actually has affection for you today? Jesus says in John 16:26-27 that, "The Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God." The word "love" in this scripture is phileo, meaning to have relational affection and tenderness toward someone. The Father has affection and tenderness toward you today.

As you drive to work, have a cup of coffee, or read the newspaper, know that He is emotional about you!! Yes, He is not some distant, runaway Father, who only shows up on special occasions. He is here and he is tuned into what you’re going through today. The Holy Spirit says that someone listening today just had a huge relational blowup and you’re wondering if God cares. God says, "Yes, I care and my heart is tender towards you even now. Reach out to me and I will fill you with sense of my phileo love. Reach out and touch me as my hand is already extended to you."


Do You Have a Father-Son or Father-Daughter Relationship with the Father?

The apostle Paul brought the revelation of grace to the church. His writings revealed the heart of the Father under the new covenant of faith and grace. He opens each of his letters with that heart, often with a greeting to all the saints using words like "grace", "mercy", and "peace". In 2nd Timothy chapter 1 Paul greets Timothy with the words “to my dear son”. Paul had a close relationship with Timothy. Timothy was his spiritual son in the faith and was personally mentored by Paul until going to Ephesus to lead that church. It was this father-son relationship reflecting the Heart of God.

God the Father sees each of us as his spiritual sons and daughters. Each day He desires to greet you by saying "my dear son" or "my dear daughter." If you can’t hear these words, perhaps you don’t have a father-son or father-daughter relationship with the Father. You can begin this today by accepting Jesus, His son. Then ask the Father to show you his heart.


God as Shepherd

It’s that time of the year when the sheep herders of Colorado are getting ready to bring their sheep to lush meadows of the mountains. The shepherd will live all day, everyday of the summer in the high country with their sheep; protecting them from predators, bringing them to the lush meadows to feed, and keeping them together in relationship with him.

Jesus likens himself to a shepherd; one who cares for, nurtures, protects and guides those entrusted to Him. Jesus said in John 10:11,14 “I am the good Shepherd.” Our view of God the Father should be like that of the shepherd with the sheep. As Christians we have a Father that nurtures, protects, and is engaged in our life. It is a relationship. That must be our view of our Heavenly Father. Hebrews 1:3 says that Jesus is “the exact representation” of God the Father.

It’s the Father’s desire that He be your Shepherd every day. Start your day today knowing He is the Good Shepherd and He desires to bring you to the lush meadows of life.


God Is Not Angry With You

Is God the Father angry with you today? Is He punishing you for a wrong you have committed? Your answer will depend upon your view of God the Father. If you see Him as a hard task master, as an angry disciplinarian, as a boss doing your annual performance review, you may answer "yes." But if your view is scripturally accurate, you will see God the Father as you see Jesus. Jesus said “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father” (Jn. 14:9). He also said that “I and the Father are one” (Jn 10:30).

For born again Christians, our view of Father God is the view of Jesus. Now. . . you may be feeling the effects of living in a fallen world. You may be reaping the effects of sin in your life, but the Father is not punishing you, nor is he angry at you. Start your day today knowing that nothing can separate you from His love; nothing can separate you from His acceptance; and nothing can change His excitement that He is your Father.


Being a Cheerful Giver

Our hearts determine if we are abundant financial giving for God’s purposes. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says that we should decide what to give in our heart and when we do so we become cheerful givers. Our heart is the thermometer of our attitude towards giving away money.

If your heart has been changed and conformed to God’s will for all areas of your life, including for your bank account, you can be a cheerful giver. Because your heart is transformed by God’s grace, you enjoy giving and do it generously and cheerfully. That is good news! We don’t have to be manipulated into giving when our heart has been changed. We don’t have to be motivated into giving because our heart has been transformed. We don’t have to be coerced into giving because we have decided in our hearts that it is God’s principle and his plan for our finances to be abundant, cheerful givers for His kingdom.


Believers Are Rivers of Giving

God designed every believer in Christ to be river of giving. As we send money downstream, The Lord causes a flow of wealth from upstream. 2nd Corinthians chapters 8 and 9 lay out this principle of giving financially for God’s purposes. We are givers first and receivers second. We are God’s financial river to help accomplish His purposes here on earth. This principle is totally counter to natural ways of thinking but it is supernatural in its effect in our lives.

If you increase your giving for His purposes by 10% this year, there will be a supernaturally increase by 10% or more what flows in to you. He tells us that we will be ‘made rich in every way so we can be generous on every occasion’. It starts by opening the gates on your river to let more flow downstream. Let go of what you already have, and He will supply from His watershed of abundance so you can increase your generosity.


Invest It, Don't Hide It!

This week you may have looked at your 401(k) retirement plan and been discouraged with the return on your investment. You may even be considering moving your money to the ‘mattress fund’. (That’s the fund where you hide your money under your mattress thinking it’s the only way to save it.) But God is not a God of hiding anything-- including your money. He’s a God of investment.

His spiritual principles are principles of increase based upon the Parable of the Talents. Jesus gave us this principle to show us he wants increase in our financial lives. Increase comes from investing not burying your money. If you’re thinking today of putting your money in the ‘mattress fund’ you’re like the man in the parable who buried what the master gave him because of fear. But if you are secure in God’s love for you, you know based upon this Parable that He encourages investing for increase.


Trust in God's System, Not Man's System

The leading economic indicators in America point to a slowed economy. Whether you’re old or young, you are concerned about protecting your job and your investments today, or wondering about surviving in a future retirement scenario. Many of you have a knot in your stomach today as you ponder your financial future. The knot comes from the stress of the unknown of the economic system. It comes from placing your trust in the wrong system—man’s system. It doesn’t matter how much money you have saved, you’re going to be stressed out if you’ve placed your trust in man’s system.

The only way to get rid of that knot is to know that you’ve invested in God’s financial system. His system has a guaranteed return. You’ve been an abundant giver into His work on the earth, His church, His ministry, and His plans. If you’re not an abundant giver to His work, start today! Get rid of that and the knot in your stomach. Trust in His system by giving into it!!


Grace Extends to Finances

God’s grace for the believer extends to the area of financial giving. Giving financially is an ‘act of grace’. It reflects God’s undeserved favor extended to us by us extending it to others. We can only give abundantly as we understand how abundantly God has given to us; those who don’t deserve to have been saved by Jesus Christ.

2nd Corinthians chapter 8 tells us that we can ‘excel in the grace of giving’. Wow !! We can actually tap into this supernatural grace, this supernatural power through Jesus Christ! Paul gave kudos to the church in Macedonia in 2nd Corinthians Chapter 8 because they pleaded with him for the privilege of giving to help others. If you want to be that kind of giver you need to understand and tap into God’s abundant grace. When you really understand what the Father gave, you will begin to understand the grace of giving. You will begin to excel in the grace of giving.


Choose Faith=Choose Life

There are many Christians today who try to live by the legal requirements of the Old Testament law. The Old Testament law relied upon good works to satisfy its thirst for human compliance. There are hundreds of dos and don’ts in the law. But Galatians Chapter 3 verse 12 says “The law is not based on faith. Do you know that if you try to live by the Old Testament law you are not living by faith?"

That’s right. The only way to live by faith is to live based upon what Jesus did for us on the cross and through his resurrection. As we receive Him as savior and receive the filling of the Holy Spirit we can live by the Spirit rather than by the law. Legalism is totally opposed to a life of faith led by the Spirit of God. Living by faith is a life of freedom, a life of abundance, a life of liberty and a life of favor with God. But we must choose. When we choose it, we choose real life.


You Cannot Earn Salvation!

George Barna, the prominent Christian social researcher of today, found about 55% of all Americans believe they can earn salvation. This statistic includes Christians and non-Christians alike. Yet we know from Ephesians 2:8 that “It is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast.”

In other words you cannot earn salvation. Period! I don’t care how good you are, how many humanitarian projects you support, how many homeless people you feed, how many good words you say, you cannot be saved by them.

This is good news!! All we have to do is have faith in Jesus the author of grace, and we are saved. What a deal! Good works are good. Feeding the homeless is good. But grace is a gift--it’s the gift that will save you! If you haven’t entered into grace, do it today by asking Jesus Christ to save you. What your good works can’t do, His good grace will do.


Legalism Frustrates Grace

Today in America we find about one in ten Christians who claim they are going to heaven because they have kept the ten commandments. This is a surprising statistic given the fact that under the new covenant, we know that it is our belief in Jesus Christ that gains us eternal life. Romans 3:20 says that no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law. So you may say "how could self proclaiming Christians believe this?"

It’s because human nature finds works more satisfying than faith. It is easier to point to our good works, however biased that view may be, and prop it up as sufficient for eternal life. It also demonstrates that nothing has changed since Paul told the Galatians they were frustrating grace by going back to legalism.

We received grace, not because we deserved it, but because God gifted it to us. The moment we look to our own works as something good enough to gain acceptance before God, we are frustrating God’s grace and undermining our faith in Jesus. He is the only one on whom we can rely for eternal life.


What Is Your Standard of Measurement When It Comes to Righteousness?

The Bible says in Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ set us free. Stand firm, then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

The kind of slavery Paul was talking about is slavery to rules and regulations for being right with God. Jesus died and was resurrected to set us free from the legal standards of measure for righteousness. You’ve probably made your own set of standards: i.e. Do this, don’t do that, do this five times, and do this one hour each day.

The days you measure up, you feel okay with God. The days you don’t measure up you don’t feel okay with God. You’ve got your own form of slavery. You are not free. You’re not living by the only standard of measure valuable to God, the standard of believing Jesus for your righteousness.

Jesus set us free, not only from measuring up to the Law of Moses, but from our own personal law of measuring up. If you have a personal law of measuring up you are frustrating grace. You are not free. Check yourself today. Look to and believe in Jesus only as the measurement of good standing with God the Father.


Life In the Sweet Spot

As a young boy I learned to play baseball. My favorite part of the game was hitting, and we only used wood bats. Hitting a baseball with a wood bat only feels good when you make contact with the ball in the ‘sweet spot’ of the bat. Hitting the sweet spot causes the ball to travel faster, and you have a better chance of getting a hit.

I learned to use the ‘sweet spot’ of the bat to drive the ball harder and increase my success in the game. It seemed that the season of baseball and hitting line drives off the sweet spot was my time, my hour. . . it what I was born to do. I now realize how blessed I was to play the game I loved on those long summer days. It was the abundant life for a boy. It was life in the ‘sweet spot’.

How is your life today? Is it like living in the sweet spot or is more like getting a fast ball off the bat handle? Jesus came to give you a life of living in the sweet spot. You're going to hit a few off the bat handle, but God has called you to a life where you feel like it’s your time, your hour, feeling like it’s what you were born to do. Seek Him-- he’ll show you the sweet spot.


Are You in God's Will?

Have you wondered if you’re doing what God has called you to do? The Bible says that we were “created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph. 2:10) There is an expectation by God, that once we come to know Him we will use His blessings, gifts, grace, and power to do what we are called to do on this earth!

For most of us this involves going to an office or worksite to be a light to those around us. We use God’s gifts to benefit our employer. We use God’s power and grace to affect people around us with His goodness. You don’t have to be working in a church or ministry to be fully walking out God’s calling in your life. You can do it right where you’re at by being who God created you to be.

Check your heart today. Are you in God’s place for this season of your life? Ask Him today and He will answer.


Let Grace Pave the Way to Contentment

When life seems particularly rough, it feels like we can’t go on one more day. Many of you were driving to work this morning wondering if you can go on one more day. Well, you’re not the only one who has felt this way! Given the choice we all prefer good days and good jobs.

Paul the apostle knew both. He said “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned that the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” (Phil 4:12-13)

God has placed this incredible power on the inside of you that can give you strength and contentment in the worst of situations. It’s called grace: undeserved power and favor flowing from God the Father to all those who believe. You must choose to allow His grace to strengthen you today. As you do, it will pave the way to contentment.


Uplifting Words Can Build a Strong House

Ephesians 4:29 says, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

Words have incredible power to lift you up or tear you down. Words can and do hurt. They can tear down in a moment what has taken years to build.

The words we speak have power to benefit or diminish a person. As people who confess Jesus as Lord we need to speak words that benefit people. This doesn’t mean we can’t accurately speak correction into a situation, but it must be done from a wholesome and helpful motive of the heart.

Uplifting words and encouragement help build a strong house. We don’t have to look too far to understand the impact of critical, negative talk. Think of times in your life when words knocked you down. It took awhile to get back up, didn’t it? As you let God’s grace flow through your spirit, you will desire words to build and benefit those around you.


Jesus Is the Load Lifter

Until we are born again, all people live under the burden of guilt from sin. The ten commandments and the rest of the Old Covenant defined sin and set a benchmark for righteousness. The result was a heavy burden; a heavy load. It’s a load we are not designed to carry. People attempt to lift the load through self-help, psychology, secular therapy, drugs, sex, success, money, and even good works. Some even deny the existence of God attempting to remove the standard.

There is only one way to lift that load. It is through the one who met the standard of righteousness and took sin and guilt to the grave: Jesus Christ. When He arose from the grave he came up without the load. Jesus is the load lifter!

Once you are born again you are no longer guilty before God. If you’re feeling guilt and condemnation today it’s not coming from God the Father. His son, Jesus, already lifted the load. You are free from guilt and condemnation!


The Active Lifestyle of a Believer

A Life in Christ is an active lifestyle. There is nothing in the life of Jesus or in believers in the New Testament that equates to passivity. They were an active bunch! They lived like they were at a green light all the time!

They seized every opportunity to bring good news. Jesus seized the opportunity for a teachable moment with Mary and Martha. Jesus seized the opportunity for a miracle moment with the Syropheonician woman. Jesus seized a relational moment when He took James, John and Peter to the mountain.

The only thing that stands between you and living at a green light is fear. Fear acts like a continual red light, stepping between us and God-ordained opportunity. The more we receive God’s love and grace, the less room there is for fear. Grace paves the way for an active life in Christ. Love removes fear, making risk acceptable. It frees you to live like you’re at the green light. Receive God’s love and grace today. Take the risk and seize your opportunity today.


We Are the Land of the Living

Psalms 27:13 says “I am confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” As believers in Jesus we ARE the land of the living. We have been made alive by the finished work of Jesus on the cross and through His resurrection!

Under the new covenant you and I are the "Body of Christ." The Word of God says that the Church is a living body. We are a living, breathing, moving being, designed to reveal the goodness of God. As we walk by His spirit we produce goodness because His nature is now on the inside of us (Gal. 5:22). The Body of Christ is the land of the living! It is the land of goodness!

If you’re a believer in Jesus, you’re alive in Christ. You are designed to bring confidence and goodness into your surroundings. You’re designed to bring life in place of death and goodness in place of evil. Be confident the people around you will see it!