The Legacy of My Two Heroes

It's a Hat Thing!

Dad and me!

In Topeka

Deryl Schuster

I have been blessed! Within the Word of God there are many statements declaring the importance of the role a father plays in the life of his children. I was thinking the past few days of the heroes in my life and there are two men who hold great responsibility as to the direction, focus and success of my life (if success is to be measured in peace and happiness and joy).

The first is my father, Lt. Col. James F. Cooper, (retired). My dad has first hold and primary responsibility for the character and determination (if I have any) in my life. My relationship with my God has a direct correlation to the love and encouragement and persistence of faith he demonstrated to me all of his life and that I enjoy in my life today. My dad has always put me before himself in assuring me of a safe and secure childhood, a responsible and reliable adolescence and any maturity I carry as a father and grandfather today. He instilled values and beliefs into my mind that drive my conscious thought patterns today and have given me great enthusiasm in pursing the goals and desires of my heart though the years. I am so thankful for him.

The second is my father-in-law, Deryl K. Schuster, who has lived his life dedicated to the betterment of everyone he has ever known, dedicated to his home state of Kansas and dedicated to his family. I chased after his shadow all of my young married life wanting to be just like him. He has always echoed my own father’s philosophy “there’s no such thing as can’t be done.” With nearly eight decades behind him, God has blessed him with health and stability of mind. Even today he pursues lofty goals and dreams and I have learned to share that same passion and drive.

Above all else, these two men chase after God and their relationship with Him. I admire that. I love them both. And I want that known. I am so proud of them both. They are my heroes.

You Can Save The Church…

…a lot of time and money! We need your help. This is an open invitation to members and non-members of Crossenduracom help button Road Fellowship in Wichita, KS. We are wanting to be creative on the best way to simplify the mission statement of our church. In its correct and complete form, the mission of Cross Road is “to reach the unbeliever for Christ and, through the teaching of Scripture, for the believer to understand (and execute) God’s will, plan and purpose for their lives!”

Now, that is a lot of words for people to remember. I read the mission statement of another church recently and it said our mission is to help spiritually restless and unchurched people love Jesus, serve others and tell the world about Christ.” But if you asked anyone in their church to repeat it, what they said was the mission of Cedar Creek is to love people, serve others and tell the world! How simple is that to remember? Even the little children in that church could tell you, “love, serve, tell!”

So, to everyone in the Cross Road family, and anyone reading this blog, help us out. We don’t need a big time marketing firm and gazillions of dollars spent and we are not trying to re-invent the wheel. Just help us simplify the way we say “reach the unbeliever for Christ and, through the teaching of Scripture, for the believer to understand (and execute) God’s will, plan and purpose for their lives!”

Thanks for the help!

Pastor Brad

MIND GAMES…What is my life worth?

mind games sermon graphicNo one truly escapes asking that question of themselves once in a while. During the past few weeks, at Cross Road Church, we have been discussing “Mind Games.” Mind games are the mental gymnastics we go through as we seek to understand our place in this world and how we fit in.

Because of a world system where values are driven by self on the throne, our self-image can become distorted and our self-esteem downcast. After all, how many of us are as deep, compassionate, and contributing to our community as a Kim Kardashian?

Interestingly enough we are told in the Bible in Paul’s Letter to the Romans to “think of ourselves with sober judgement.” It means to look at ourselves realisticly. Now, for some people, the initial thought would be, “gee whiz, I don’t have much going on in my life and I sure don’t count for much in this old world.” And yet, the King of Creation, the one who placed us here in the first place, considered your life and mine so important He was willing to send His Own Son as a sacrifice that we might live a full and “abundant” life while we are here.

If you are spending your time measuring yourself against those around you, consider this, “God so loved the world (that’s you and me) that He sent His one and only Son. And whoever believes in Him will not perish, but will have everlasting life.” Your life may not matter a hill of beans to those living around you in this day and age, but your life matters very much to the one who gave you that breath in the first place.

As you wake up this day and consider yourself with sober judgement, remember these words from Ephesians 2:10, “For you are God’s workmanship…” The word “workmanship” means you are His work of art, His poem, His masterpiece.

Find your self-worth in that!

ps: If you are suffering from depression, please watch Mind Games: Depression at http://www.crfbc.org/sermons/?sermon_id=65

If fear has you trapped and unable to move forward in your life, you might watch Mind Games: Fears and Phobias at http://www.crfbc.org/sermons/?sermon_id=66

What Do Christians Believe?

What do christians believe graphic_edited-1

What Do Christians Believe? This is a question I am asked rather frequently. That should not be surprising in my role as pastor in a church setting, but what is surprising is the number of Christians who ask the question. Our faith is based upon particular beliefs which drive thoughts, attitudes and behaviors. And it begs the question, What do Christians believe. Then, as Chuck Colson asked in his book, THE FAITH, Why do they believe it and why does it matter? We start with God. What we believe about the existence of God and His hand in creation drives the majority our understanding of “end of life” issues and all spiritual matters. The volume of information on God and creation and evolution and all of the things of man is endless. Ultimately, each individual must decide what is to be believed and then live it. May we all decide wisely!

 

“And Seven Spanish Angels Took Another Angel Home!

This Week proved to be extraordinary in the life of one Cross Road Family and it is amazing to me how one life can affect so many others. Casey Thomas (Spanish Chica) died very suddenly this past Thursday evening. So like Casey, she had texted a friend just an hour earlier to inquire about the time of surgery for another friend because she wanted to be sure and be praying for that one during her surgery. Even though she did not feel well at all and would be with her Lord less than two hours later, Casey was focused on others to the very end.

Don’t get me wrong. Casey was no angel while she was on this earth. As a matter of fact, she could be downright onery. But she had an engaging personality and never say die mentality. Despite living challenged with Cerebral Palsy and all the difficulties that come with that territory, Casey never let that define who she was in her life. As a matter of fact, the only time most of us ever knew Casey to get truly upset was because of the way she was limited at times in her desire to live life to the fullest.

Casey Thomas came to our church family just three years ago. She might as well have been with us all of her life. She became an immediate family member. I know in every one of her other social circles, it was the same. Once is while God grants us a glimpse of the innocence of heaven and the complexity of eternity. Here was a young woman who showed grace to all of us and is gone from us all too soon. Our grief is not for her. We grieve because we know we lost something valuable in our own lives. We lost a smile, a hug and an authentic joy embodied in this one young lady. And another Spanish Angel went home!

Ten Years On The CROSS ROAD!

    It is hard to imagine a decade can go by so quickly. Ten years. Ten years in which life can change so dramatically. This picture is from July 21, 2002. It was a brilliant Sunday morning and 42 people showed up at our home on Wood Street for “Donuts and Devotions!” As I look at the faces here, I realize at least four of these wonderful friends have gone home to be with the Lord and only a handful still today call Cross Road their church home. So much has changed. So many people have come into this church family and then moved away, either to another town, another church or even another land. But everyone of them, every person who has been a part of the Cross Road family has left a permanent imprint, a lasting contribution, a marker of their passing after they have gone.

    All of us who call Cross Road home today owe much to the legacy of those first pioneers. They were unwavering in their commitment in every way of life in the church. They gave generously. They served faithfully. They worshiped joyfully. And they formed the early framework from which the church would grow. In that first year filled with food drives, “church in a box,” the creation of by-laws and governing documents, the finance committee and more, there was a once in a lifetime opportunity to lay a church’s foundation. We who are Cross Road today owe a debt of gratitude and a hearty “well done, good and faithful servant” to all of those who have gone before.

    This is an open invitation to all who have ever attended Cross Road. Join us this Sunday as we celebrate ten years on the Road. Services will be at 9:15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. at Cross Road Fellowship, 7315 W. 13th. Wichita, Kansas.

    May God bless us all.

Are you living with scars?

I have scars on my body. I have one from a contest my brother and I had when I was eleven years old. We were trying to determine whose knife was the sharpest. Determinedly cutting into a piece of cardboard with my trusty cub scout knife, I finally managed to push hard enough to tear through it. Unfortunately the next thing stopping the knife blade was my upper thigh. The wound healed, but the scar remains. That is true with most physical wounds. It also happens inside of us when we fight our internal battles.

This Sunday I am going to talk about you at church, but most people won’t know that, only you. I’m going to highlight the ups and downs of life and talk about living with scars. I know that each of us bear scars. Some are external. Some are internal. Some the world will see, but most the world will not. I hope you will join me at Cross Road. The scars you bear won’t be seen by everyone in the audience, but you know they are there. I’m going to talk about your life and your battles, your defeats and your victories because…every scar has a story. Our scars tell our individual story. But there are some scars that are different. Those are the scars of sin that wound us eternally.

These are the scars Jesus bears. The wounds this man suffered were both external and internal. He has scars on his forehead from a crown of thorns. He has scars on his hands and feet where nails were driven. He has the scars from the whipping post and a scar where a spear was rammed into his body. And he has internal scars as well. We’ll talk about him some the next four weekends and why his scars remain thousands of years after he died.

I hope you will join me Sunday at Cross Road. We are going to talk about wounds suffered, hurts that seem to never end, and we are going to learn why His scars can make a difference in ours. Living with scars is something we all do. Healing with scars is something we are all offered. Discover with me how you can be healed while living with scars.

 

Pastor Brad

Come See Us Tomorrow at Cross Road!

Sunday, May 27, 2012….Memorial Day!

Come join us at Cross Road Fellowship this Sunday as we worship and celebrate Memorial Day together. We will be honoring those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to keep America free. We will also be recognizing all of our graduates tomorrow and hearing The Voice of God through His Word!

There are great things happening at Cross Road and I want all of our friends to join in this great weekend together. Services are at 9:15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. I hope to see you there!

Cross Road Fellowship   *    7315 W. 13th St.   *   Wichita, KS 67212

www.crfbc.org

Why So Much “Shock and Awe” at the President?

I just got off the phone with my dear mom. I talk to her several times a week on my way to work in the mornings. This morning we were rocking along talking about the church I pastor and how things were going. In the course of the conversation, she expressed her sadness and shock over President Obama’s recent statements supporting same-sex marriages. I thought about it for a second and then my poor mom got the better part of a ten-minute dissertation on the subject. I’m still fired up, so here goes.

Why are we so surprised? I believe there is a  simple and very compelling answer that calls every Christ-follower to action. On many occasions I have expressed my empathy and compassion for persons struggling with issues of sexual identity. So, this is not a comment on persons and specific issues. It is a comment on the major issues facing the Church in the world today. Never in our lives have Christ-followers faced real oppression or persecution in Western culture. As a matter of fact, the general understanding of America having been founded on Christian principles has created a false belief in the Christian community that America still today has a Christ-following majority and this is simply not true. It has not been true for a long period of time, but the Church enjoyed such a long run in American history as the recognized majority in matters of faith that believers were lulled into a false sense of standing in the world around us. As a result, today, church members waste their time debating chairs versus pews and the color of paint on the walls; traditions versus modern settings, hymns versus choruses and all manner of non-issues resulting in a colossal waste of time, energy and money. This is all done at the cost of true discipleship and intentionality toward the Great Commission.

Christ was not born into a world where God was followed by everyone. As a matter of fact, the people of God, the nation of Israel, was held captive by many pluralistic societies and never enjoyed a day where God was hailed as the one true God. What is happening in America today has been foretold in the Bible since it was written. Society is going to continue to devolve until the day of His return. The challenge to Christ-followers is to be pro-active rather than reactive to the situation.The Great Commission was given by Christ to His followers as a recipe for reproductive growth in the Kingdom community. Only by investing ourselves in others to see them know Christ and grow to maturity in their faith, is that Commission fulfilled. This includes seeing those who have been discipled reproducing themselves in others.

I believe all people, regardless of gender identity, religious belief, race, or creed should be treated with the love and respect Christ always demonstrated in His dealings with people. Everyone should be welcomed into the Church. The results of a life transformed by the Holy Spirit of God and the receiving of His Word isthe only way unity will ever be seen in this world. President Obama’s declaration of support for same-sex unions is not a surprise. As a matter of fact, it should serve as a clarion call to the Church at large. Time is short. The call is clear. There is work to be done. Let’s get to it!

 

An Enemy Called Average…

I’ve settled for the average life!

Years ago my father gave me a book by the title An Enemy Called Average by John L. Mason. It is a little book of inspirational nuggets for your personal success. I read some of the book, but not all of it. Many of the little treasures inside I had heard before. What I really like about the book though was the thought behind it. I don’t mean from the author, I mean from my dad. I never met anyone who hated average more than my dad. He is not a famous man. The world doesn’t know him by his first name like Elvis. But what he is, is a man who poured himself into his four sons and daughter and never wanted them to settle for anything less than their best. I did not appreciate it then nearly as much as I do now. I am reminded whenever I look toward my bookshelf and see the cover of that book that my dad never wanted me to settle for less than an amazing relationship with God. Continue reading