January 2016 …. The Abundant Life

Introduction
It was in 1957 that Christian Literature Crusade first published the initial work of Watchman Nee.  That this – then unknown – Chinese author became an almost overnight success in England as well as America is not surprising. It can probably be said simply: it was Mr. Nee’s immovable commitment to scripture that caused his work to become widely read so early on.

For us at Crossroads, there was another aspect of Watchman Nee’s expositions that drew us to his early books: It was his insistence that any serious seeker, who properly unpacks the Gospel, will earnestly strive to do anything and everything to enjoy the experiential nature of the biblically revealed  “Life in Christ”.  The key word here being “experiential”.

Watchman Nee’s “Sit, Walk, and Stand” commentary on Ephesians is a magnificent example of his powerful teaching. The 3-part outline below of Ephesians says it all.

            1. The believer’s position in Christ ………… SIT,
            2. His life in the world, attitude toward …..WALK
            3. His attitude toward the enemy ……………STAND. 

It was Nee’s insistence on the nature of the genuine seeker’s behavior or lifestyle that drew us to him in the early 1970s.  In fact, it was Nee’s published work that caused us to begin to read and dig into the work of “Christian Literature Crusade’s”  

I opened this website article to make this point: almost from the incorporation of the Crossroads’ ministry in 1972, we have sensed a clear call. Crossroads was being called to study the scriptures: with an emphasis on those truths that are clearly taught throughout the NT that pertain to the believer’s daily life and lifestyle. 

The chart below depicts some of the so-called paradigms (or word-constructs) created to give the true seeker a framework upon which to prayerfully learn the revealed truths that produce the Abundant Life that Jesus described in John 10:10.

   1957            1980s         1980s        1990s                        1996                         1996-2015                        2016
    Sit,               Come,          Grace,   Expeiencing God    Simplicity,           Abide,                           Crucified with Christ
    Walk, and  Take, and   Faith,                                        Solitude,              Fix Your Eyes, and     Christ Lives in Me, and
    Stand          Learn           Focus                                        Silence, and        The Exchanged Life    Union with Christ
                                                                                                  Surrender 

This website continues to make available resources, teachings, articles, and testimonies that reveal the nature of the life and lifestyle that derive from word-constructs like those shown above. 

The Importance of Adopting a Biblical Life-style Paradigm
Reflecting on our 40 plus years of the Crossroads ministry … and our long-term relationships with the many, seriously committed believers, we have been blessed to know several who have embraced an intimacy paradigm and gone on to develop cosistent spiritually intimate lives iin Jesus Christ. But we have also witnessed many believers who have not persevered, and have not succeeded in seeing their lives transformed.  

The secret to the transformed life is clearly seen in the lives of those who have learned to now enjoy intimacy with Jesus Christ.  

Many of the articles on the sidebar elaborate on this fact. Most anyone reading these words today would agree: the draw of our culture as – described by Swindoll in his “Intimacy with the Almighty” as far back as 1996 – has grown by leaps and bounds since his writing.  

One of the riches of the Gospel is embodied in the biblcal call to a life of spiritual intimacy.  It is only by living a consistent life in Christ that one can enjoy the "Abundant Life" that Jesus taught.    

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December 2015 .. A Blessed Merry Christmas

And a Joyous New Year !

          It’s Christmas and Christmas is all about Jesus.  Jesus is Christmas and Christmas is Jesus.  
           I started this article two weeks ago, but our doctor and hospital visits interrupted this effort.
            
           If you’ve been to this website before you know that Crossroads is also all about Jesus.  More 

           specifically, Crossroads is all about the mystery of Jesus’ indwelling Presence in believers. 
           That this mystery is about believers experiencing his Presence is the wonder of the Gospel.
            

           This article is about Dr. Charles Swindoll’s little book, “Intimacy with the Almighty”.  Please 
           read and enjoy Life to the fullest this holiday season.

Seasons Greeting and Merry Christmas. For the believer, Christmas is more than a celebration. It’s a time of significant opportunity: a time in which we can fine-tune our spiritual lives. This article is written to encourage any and all serious seekers during this holiday season. 

Two days ago I picked up a small book by Charles Swindoll.  It was published in 1996.  I remember reading thislittle book over a decade ago; in fact, I remember reading it in a single sitting.
                                                                                                                                                                                       
Small Swindoll Pic

As I held this little book, I was conscious of my clear recall: this little gem was something that I handed out to several people years ago.  Now!  Years later, I realized two things that drew me to it in the first place: it was its very attractive cover and it’s title.  To find a book, labeled,“Intimacy with the Almighty” was a find!  

Apart from Henry Blackaby and his, “Experiencing God” material, very few authors were writing about anything experiential when considering the Gospel during the mid-90s.

My mind was jumping from thought to thought. It was clear: I had to stop everything I was doing. I had to sit down and read once again Swindoll’s book. Yesterday I finished my re-read of “Intimacy with the Almighty”. 

As I put the book down, an overarching thought surfaced. I needed to use the message of this small, dusty, library book as a significant part of the December opening page of our website.

If you’ve been on this web site before, you are aware of the passion that fuels Crossroads.  After many years of busy ministry, Nancy and I cherish our present calling.  To share our lives with serious seekers who need encouragement, or to listen to anyone – young or old – who are looking for a genuine ear:  that’s the indescribable blessing we enjoy everyday. 

I finished the book, and as I closed the last page, I was moved by a growing inner conviction.  Not only is the message of this little book powerful and profoundly relevant; it speaks clearly today: December 2015.  It is a message that encourages any earnest believer. It’s message is especially poignant at this Christmas season.

I am writing these words after arriving home from a quick shopping trip.  On my way home, my mind was focused on two thoughts: my recent reading of Swindoll’s book, and what I had just experienced in the stores I had just been in.  It was the five lines inside the cover of Swindoll’s book; and, it was the pandemonium of the Christmas shoppers that flooded my mind.  This is the five lines inside the cover of his book.

 NOISE AND WORDS  
 and frenzied hectic schedules    
 DULL OUR SENSES
 closing our ears to HIS STILL , small voice
 and MAKING us numb to HIS Touch

Using the cliche .. Swindoll had hit the nail on the head.  I had just experienced Swindoll’s overpowering “noise and words” of our culture.  AND !  My senses were “dulled”.  

Now I can say simply, this is the every day experience of every believer living in the 21st century.  These are crazy times.  Dr. Charles Swindoll’s little book is written to counter the consuming nature of this upside-down world.  More specifically, it’s written to help all of us who are hungry to experience more of Jesus’ indwelling Presence in our daily lives.

This article will briefly lay out the 4 part lifestyle paradigm that Swindoll develops in “Intimacy with the Almighty”.  The message of this small book is worth its weight in gold. It is a masterpiece in simplicity and it’s easy to understand.  

As we begin to examine Charles Swindoll’s book it is help to have an idea of what a believer who is enjoying a life of “intimacy with the Almighty” looks like.  The apostle Paul’s words to the church at Galatia is a wonderful succinct statement that describes just such a life. Even if you’ve read this verse a dozen times or more, take time to slowly ponder again the essence of what Paul is saying in Galatians 2:20.  

    “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. 
    The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me 
    and gave himself for me.”  

 
The life described here has been given names: “The Exchanged Life”, “The Surrendered Life”, or simply, “The Galatians 2:20 Life”, and there are many more.  Whatever name one uses to describe this life …. every true seeker of spiritual intimacy will be repeatedly returning to these four disciplines – this paradigm – that Swindoll develops in his book. 
                             

The Swindoll Spiritual Intimacy paradigm
This paradigm uses an alliteration of 4 S words to form an outline.  Then Swindoll unfolds the Galatians 2:20 biblical life-style, one discipline at a time. We will examine each of these four words separately, but first we will note a few things about these four words as a set or complete paradigm of disciplines.  Each of these four disciplines is really dependent upon each of the others, but it helps to think about them one discipline.  (Obviously, as believers, this set of words is nothing new.)  If one has been a Christian for any length of time, he or she has been introduced to the subject of discipleship.  And, discipleship is often built around regular quiet times that practice these disciplines.   
 
                    Simplicity
                    Silence
                    Solitude, and 
                    Surrender

To begin .. Swindoll makes no apology in calling the reader to a definite resolve … a serious commitment to prayerfully do whatever is necessary – to reorder his or her daily life.  In fact, this paradigm is of little use to the inquisitive reader who wants to just pause for a moment to look over these disciplines. This paradigm does not give one an outline to a “quick-fix” to becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ.  

Based on our few years of sharing this spiritual intimacy message with others,  we would add this: to be willing to literally “reorder our lives” is an absolute must;  this is the singular starting point.  Those that Nancy and I have seen desire to adopt this Intimacy paradigm .. and .. go on to develop a genuine lifestyle of intimacy has wrestled through this lifestyle decision.  

It is helpful at this juncture to reference Matthew 11:28-30.  This is the first time in the New Testament that the subject of spiritual intimacy is even hinted at. The phrase here that is key to intimacy is the two word picture of “being yoked”.  In this brief passage Jesus offers a clear teaching.  And ! He issues a blanket invitation to everyone.  

It is interesting that He speaks these words during the first year of His public ministry. And, it is more than interesting that He utters this invitation as a blanket invite to anyone hearing His voice.  Indeed !  This is a magnificent passage!

            “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you 
            rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and 
            humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is 
            easy and my burden is light." 

Simplicity
Swindoll’s first discipline word, simplify, is the proper starting discipline for anyone who truly desires to develop this intimate lifestyle. The paragraphs above uses strong words:  resolve, reorder, and yoked to make the essence of this life crystal clear.  To actually adopt this intimacy life one must establish a definite intent. One needs to make use of this paradigm the top priority of his or her life.  For most of us this is not an easy assignment. 

To digress for a moment. For Nancy and me, this initial decision involved several unsuccessful attempts; and there were  several repeated resolves. Fortunately we had two close-friends who ministered consistent, loving, encouragement to us for a considerable time. If it hadn’t been for their always-available ears and big hearts we might well still be “seeking”. 

Moving on …. As the two of us began to enjoy a genuine sense of the Lord’s Presence, our faith-lives showed more evidence of His Hand.  And quite unexpectedly we began to see a change in our ministry.  With increased frequency, long-time believers – some brand new friends, others people we had known for years – began asking us to share our journey with them.  Clearly, a new calling was emerging.  

It wasn’t long after we started sharing our experience with others, that we realized that other new seekers were just like us: they too needed the support of like-minded, trustworthy “fellow-travelers” friends.  Once we had acknowledged that we were entering a new ministry we began to see a number of believers who were serious about a deeper life in Christ ask us to begin a monthly group meeting.  As this idea took route we were amazed at how many would travel from NH or ME to MA to spend a day together with other genuine seekers.  

Once these meetings became a planned happening the phrase, “Fellow-travelers” began to have a special meaning. Concurrent with the increased interest in monthly meetings, we began to have more phone calls and email inquirers. What we learned from those we spent serious time with was helpful.

Several inquirers told us that they had had to reach a place of near-helplessness before they were ready to think seriously about lifestyle changes; but, as difficult as a change seemed, they knew that had to come. Some shared with us that it was a matter of losing their job; others told us about difficulties in their marriage; and, still others told us, with tears in their eyes, about their serious struggles with teenage kids.  

The common thread that ran through out this interaction with these other believers was “need”.  Almost without exception .. several good, solid, long time believers, made the decision to willing to simplify their lives and establish new priorities.

At this point it was crystal clear, although the SIMPLICITY factor was by far the most difficult obstacle for most believers, the powerful motivation of real need was able to bring about a significant change. But the second big obstacle was also very real. Every new seeker needs to find another seeker with an open ear and an understanding heart.  

But at this juncture it is important to say this: this support person has to be a true “fellow-traveler”.  He or she must be an intimacy seeker who is further down this faith-road of intimacy than needy believer.  It is easy to see: it is the witness of others who have experienced the life of spiritual intimacy that can seriously alter one’s resistance and willingness to change. 

The wonder of the life-transformation that intimacy brings can not be over stated.  Swindoll puts flesh on the bones of what we have been discussing.  He comments particularly about the value of our determined purpose. He says “However valuable such a determined purpose may be, it is neither easy nor automatic. Furthermore, you and I will find no encouragement from the world’s system”. 
               
Silence
Those of us who have grown up hearing the words “Quiet Times” in describing our regular times of prayer and Word time know well this word Silence.  All of us can recall the many scriptures that speak to the need to be still.  One of the most prominent and most loved verses is Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God”. Swindoll quotes this verse and then states the following.  “I am more convinced than ever that there is no way you and I can move toward a deeper, intimate relationship with God without protracted times of stillness, which includes one of the rarest of all experiences: absolute silence”.

Further on in his treatment of Silence, Swindoll makes reference to Matthew 11:28-30.  He points out that we are commanded to “stop (literally) … rest , relax, let go, and make time for Him.  The scene is one of stillness and quietness, listening and waiting before Him”.  Swindoll closes his section on Silence by saying, “Knowing God deeply and intimately requires such discipline.”

Solitude    
The discipline of Solitude is so closely related to the disciple of Silence that it is nearly impossible to unpack either one by itself.  Swindoll does a wonderful job of demonstrating the difficulty of practicing both disciplines, but he does offer several helpful ideas that apply to both.  

He shares this: “Solitude has been called the furnace of transformation.  I don’t have in mind mere personal privacy for a 12 second pit stop where we get a quick fix to re enter the race. It is more than that. It is an oasis of the soul where we see ourselves , others, and God in new ways….  Soul surgery transpires as serenity replaces anxiety”. 
    
In his 79 pages of magnificent teaching Dr. Swindoll closes his treatise by addressing the subject of Surrender. But before we think about surrender I want to digress briefly and focus on what the apostle Paul calls the mystery of Jesus indwelling Presence.  These are his words in Colossians 1:27. 

    “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the
    glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” 

In this verse Paul defines the indwelling life of Christ in believers as a mystery.   As we probe this biblical word mystery it is very important that we recognize a most important truth.  Back in the 1990s the idea of a “quiet time” was very prevalent among many young believers.  This practiced idea of “quiet time” was really a distinctive of Campus Crusade and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship.  In this article we need to pause long enough to see … and understand … that this particular type of quiet time is not what Swindoll is talking about.  And!  It is indeed it is not what Crossroads describes as its passion.

This mid-1990se time of quiet was a part of something quite different than what we are talking about here when we think about spiritual intimacy or “Intimacy with the Almighty”. It is important that we understand this difference . 
                        
Indeed!  More often than not, when an IVCF student had his or her quiet times, intimacy was his or her purpose. Rather, the quiet time was spent in bible study and the prayer.  And, the widely practiced desire was to earnestly pursue in a prayerful study of scripture with a genuine commitment to apply what has just been studied to everyday life. 

When an intimacy-seeking believer develops a regular time of quiet he or she is not seeking the how to do to do anything.  The nature of this type of quiet time is the seeking of an intimate faith-relationship with Jesus Christ.  The time of Solitude and Silence is, of course, one of the keys in developing such an intimate faith-relationship. 

At first glance, its may appear that the time of quiet in both of these disciplines are the same, but indeed they are quite different.  For the intimacy seeker, it is Jesus Who is the focus of his regular time of quiet and prayer. And! The end objective of time spent in developing the disciplines for the seeker is experience.  

This use of the time in scripture and bible study and the time in prayer is not a matter of information – even wonderful biblical instructive piece of information.  It is about this mystery that Paul mentions to the church at Colosse.  It is this mystery that continues to fuel the Crossroads passion.   

Before moving on again … it is important to explain that this Crossroads website is a compendium of articles that exist to help anyone who is seriously investigating the life of spiritual intimacy.  
 
Surrender
Having said all of what we have considered thus far in this article, we can make this statement: the last of Swindoll’s four disciplines, Surrender, is for most of us nearly as difficult as the fist S-discipline. In fact these two lifestyle-truths, Simplicity and Surrender … that form the end pieces of the four discipline paradigm … are two life-long disciplines that every true seeker recognizes will always be at the top of his or her priorities. 

I feel the need to testify to a huge personal experience here .. this story illuminates my own personal intimacy faith-life.  For the last five years I have been blessed beyond words by having a dear, dear brother/seeker share his life with me.  I am referring here to Jack Fogg.  Jack is now in Heaven and with His Savior, Lord, and best Friend.  Jack died in September of this year. My story will help me unpack this word Surrender.  Some of you reading this have heard what I have said before.

During the last six months of Jack’s earthly pilgrimage … and especially during the last month of Jack’s life, he taught me more about the meaning of this word Surrender than I will ever find in any book on what it means to Surrender.  Through really just a few intentional and purposeful phone calls I just dialogued with Jack. I should really say, I just listened to Jack as we discussed the subject of “giving up”.  

The sequence of Jack’s and Gerri’s forced downsizing can be explained without painting in all the detail.  The downsizing involved having to part with a huge part of his life:  his custom-fitted boat, the Fogg’s wonderful home, and eventually Jack’s best friend, Hector.  As he sold and gave away the material things .. he continually shared with me the pain that he felt. (Bear in mind this process labeled downsizing was pursued while Jack was in literal pain throughout his body.)

The sequence of Jack’s parting with these huge things was always prayerfully carried out by focusing on his faith and what he saw as his mission.  Through a study of a passage in Luke’s gospel, Jack clearly understood that his cancer was simply a part of the “tools” the Lord was used to help him prepare for his home-going.  What that meant to Jack was that he needed to willfully surrender each of these life-shaped endearments in an intimate manner by seeking the Lord’s directions on the how tos of each separation.     

I listened to each phone call that pertained to these separations, and I was continually overwhelmed by what I found.  Without exception .. and sometimes after a time of difficult “waiting on the Lord” .. what I heard repeatedly was identical in every case.  What came forth from Jack was an absolutely, unmistakable, exclamation of joy … and always midst an obvious inner peace.  The purity of what I witnessed could only bring forth one response. I found that I could very easily shoot up arrows of deep thanksgiving to the One Who was the Source of his joy and peace. Every call was a profound inspiration.

To finish this short scenario.  It was Jack’s final earthly separation that capped his faith-walk.  After dispatching all of his material holdings, he had one HUGE, faith-struggle to conquer.  And!  It was the parting with family and friends that climaxed his earthly sojourn.  Some of you have heard this part of my story, so I won’t repeat it. But it was the last wonderful phone call from Jack that proved to me that Jack had reached the pinnacle.  

As emotional for me as this call was it was very clear.  I knew that a time of celebration was coming.  I sensed that Jack was prepared to go home.

I think this story that I have tried to tell says what I want to communicate about Surrender.  For me this discipline will always be a fairly long reach away. However I want to give the praise and thanksgiving to all that the Lord has done in my life and Nancy’s.  Nancy and I are learning.  And ! I want to continue enjoying every day and cherishing those moments when I feel as though I am smothered by the Love of my Heavenly Father.  Now, I can add this closing statement: what I had watched grow in the faith-life of Jack Fogg was his unembellished love for Jesus Christ.  It was the indwelling Life of Jesus in Jack that was his ever increasing portion.    

Closing and Summary comments 
The fact that I came across this little “Intimacy with the “Almighty” book by Dr. Charles Swindoll has made this Christmas an exceptional time of seasonal Thanksgiving.  But I want, as well, to use these last few comments to thank all of you reading this article for your gracious and loving support over so many years.

Nancy and I and our family have been blessed so abundantly by the Lord and His believing family that my vocabulary is totally inadequate to communicate the desire of our hearts right now.  Please know that our love for you the reader is rooted in an immeasurable Fountain of Love !!

Have a wonderfully, blessed, and Glorious Christmas !

Much love from the Crossroads Board and
Jack and Nancy and family  

November 2015: An Exciting Time For Believers

To all serious believers in Jesus Christ !  These are wonderfully, exciting times for any and all true Christians. No matter how you found this Crossroads’ website, please know that you can feel at home here.

Independent of your emotional state – independent of any discouragement you may be feeling – and independent of what brought you here – know that you have found a safe harbor. And know, too, that you will find a clear answer to the root motivation that brought you here. More importantly!  You will discover a biblically sound answer that can meet you where you are at this very moment in space and time.

For the next few minutes — get your mind off the truly decadent nature of the culture. AND !!  Set aside any personal problem that may be attempting to convince you that things are hopeless.

To begin … please understand: those of us who minister through this ministry undoubtedly see our culture through spectacles nearly identical to yours.

How can these be exciting times ????
The Sovereign, Creator and Sustainer God is – even as we think together – raising up an unmistakable answer to this question. Please read and reread this next sentence.  The answer is found – and only found – in Jesus Christ.  No matter how many times you’ve heard this statement, don’t stop here!!  We want you to believe the simple, yet profound nature of that Truth and want you to witness this on your own, independent of us.

At this juncture,  I want to insert a link that opens up a very powerful testimony which vividly illustrates the nature of what God is doing in November of 2015.  This link will connect you with a YouTube interview with Dr. Rosaria Butterfield, a former, tenured professor at Syracuse University.  Her book,  “Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert”, is exploding and being read even as we are thinking here and now. Here is the link.  Please take the time to view this link !!

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQ_YI6INTQU

Go to the Patrick Henry web site that contains the Olasky interview with Rosaria. If you find this interview challenging, continue: find any of the several interviews that Rosaria has done. When you are personally convinced of the integrity of what you have discovered …. know that God is at work doing the same thing to believers the country over.  And He is doing it in serious believers of every denominational or traditional background.  You can read the 2013 CT article using this link:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/january-february/my-train-wreck-conversion.html

Once your interest has been ignited, please read on.  I would recommend that you follow the outline that we have included at the end of the next section of this web site..

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The FRUIT of the Presence of Jesus Christ in a believer’s life

To appropriate the genuine fruit of the Life of Jesus Christ in any believer is not difficul. But!!  For anyone beginning to prayerfully pursue this Life,  there are a few undergirding truths that help facilitate the reality of this Life.

For most of us … to even get started on this Christ-centered lifestyle … we need to recognize that there is a great deal of built-in wrong thinking that we must confront.

Think about the following: no matter how much we try to deny it, most of us have unknowingly developed a mind-set that starts with us … that is …. we automatically think about ourselves.  I’ll illustrate: most of us have many times said

     “I know that there are things I need to do if I am serious about growing my everyday
life in Christ”.

Stop !! Don’t go one step further.  PLEASE recognize that you are not alone; you are thinking like most  genuine believers think.  But!!!  We need to shift gears.   Bear with me and continue …… Our Loving Heavenly Father has done EVERYTHING … say that aloud, HE HAS DONE EVERYTHING, that is needed for us to fully enjoy the fruit that we started thinking about above.

When Jesus Christ came forth from the tomb, 2000 years ago, He put His resurrected Life in every believer, past, present, and furure. That was a sovereign act that our Father built into His Plan to ignite a “NEW CREATION” in every true believer. (Most of us can quote II CO 5:17; but most of us never enjoy that Truth and allow it to flood our everyday lives.)  For several decades, even truth-seeking believers in this country have missed the experiential underpinnings of this verse.

When Jesus uttered those words … words that we all love to quote,

    “ …I am the way, the truth, and the life …”   We miss the “…. " I AM THE LIFE" ….
portion of this magnificent life-changing Truth. John 14:6

But let’s move on …. when we truly discover the applicable intent of the entire “Upper Room Discourse” AND …..  we begin to embrace it …. we discover the JOY and PEACE that Jesus so clearly articulated in this passage:  John 13-17.   At this point I want to insert a short excursus ….
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As you continue to read …. please know that what you are reading … in absolutely no way minimizes the need to have our lives built upon solid biblical doctrine. The truths that you will read on this Crossroads’ website are derived from scripture and scripture alone.  So!  Before you become too overcome with questions please continue to read.

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Back to Jesus’ words quoted above: When He uttered the words,  ….  I AM THE LIFE …. , He was in effect saying, “This is the Life our Father wants to begin to develop in you, the reader.
Once you begin to digest this fact … the next question is obvious: “Ok! I get it, but how do I appropriate this spiritual truth in my life?”   Congrats !!!  That is precisely the right question !!! But to address this huge truth we need to think about a few other basic biblical truths. Let’s take them one-by-one: remember what the writer to the Hebrews commanded us,

    “ …. fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set
before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand
of the throne of God.”

It is more than a little interesting! This command has a negative implication that we need to be sure we understand.  If we study the context of this scripture passage it becomes clear, Jesus is saying,

    "Get your mind off yourself and your problems, and the problems of the culture.
In fact, get your mind off everything else but Jesus Christ.""

If anyone prayerfully meditates on this verse AND it’s powerful implications, the intended spiritual meaning of this verse, the profound truth will begin to emerge.

To properly unpack our response to this truth, we have to be willing to stop everything we are doing. And!  We need to find a place of solitude, silence, and serenity. To unpack the profundity of this concept of true surrender, we must engage our hearts: this is a heart venture.

If you have read this far, and you find your spiritual appetites hankering for more …. please stay tuned.  We are rebuilding this web site.  And we will add to what you have just read. The following web site material below is certainly solid, helpful material, but we want to add more to the prelude of what this indwelling Life of Christ looks like. Our passion is to unfold this magnificnt paradigm and help every genuine seeking believer to learn how to enjoy bit. So !!!  PLEASE stay tuned. There is more on the way.

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New  Addition: some thoughts to ponder ...
John Piper, the much loved pastor, author, and much in demand speaker has captured a relevant, life-impacting thought through his book, “Desiring God”.  Ponder his words for a moment:

      ”God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”

Piper has written many books highlighting the truth that the believers rightful inheritance is an experiential Peace and Joy. That is a weighty truth that serves us well if we rehearse it regularly as a measurement of our spiritual well being.

Another of Piper’s most helpful statements is this: “Submission is at the very heart of Christianity, because if it weren’t for Christ’s submission to death, we would not know salvation. Like Christ, once we submit and are willing to die to ourselves, we are resurrected to new life in him”.

Those two thoughts of dying to self and new life emphasize two of the three points of Paul’s words in Galatians 2:20.  Meditate for few minutes on this verse.

     “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
 The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me
and gave himself for me.”  (NIV)

Before we move on we need to mention the third AND most important phrase in this scripture.  In just 4 simple words, the apostle unpacks the key to appropriating the first two points highlighted above.  The words “I live by faith ..” are at the base of everything we are thinking about in this November article.

But!  Here again I suggest that you stop and plan to spend some time rethinking all that we’ve thought about in getting to this point.  For most of us, this thought of truly living by faith is debilitating. It is especially debilitating when we think about it in light of the first two points of Gal 2:20.  To die to self is not easy; some have called it impossible. To die to self requires a work of the Holy Spirit.

Shift gears once again !
We ended the opening part of this November article by mentioning that we need to find a place of solitude, silence, and serenity if we are serious about this pursuit. Given the business of everyone’s life today — including most Christians — we must recognize that pursuing this Christ in you lifestyle means that we must engage our hearts.  Remember!  We are talking about a lifestyle transformation; and, this can be a dramatic change for most of us.

At this juncture it maybe helpful to consider a few more extremely important truths:  When we use the words faith-life in the context of Gal 2:20, we are talking about the life of a person who is seeking to literally allow Jesus Christ to direct his or her life.  This is a reality; not a mystical leap of faith.

Furthermore, we must become convinced of the biblical reality of what we are doing.  And, we need to prayerfully be sure we don’t becoming discouraged. Our Heavenly Father is more committed in what we are doing than we can begin to grasp. We are talking about eternal truths that are at the basis of the incarnation.

At this juncture … don’t be deterred.  If this seems more reasonable … don’t feel bad in taking some time to discover more evidence of what our Father is doing in the lives of others.  This is not a problem.  His Spirit will be a part of anything that engages our heart in a desire to grow in Jesus Christ.  A genuine passion in seeking more of Him is the main essential. This may mean that we disengage for a bit and not hurry our search at this point. Perhaps you would benefit by reading more sound, biblically based, testimonies.  We can help here and we are anxious to do so.

See the sidebar; "Helpful Testimonies"

V.Raymond Edman
Charles Trumbull

 

Welcome to Crossroads

 About Crossroads ….

Crossroads joins the myriad of preachers, teachers, and authors who are currently producing helpful teaching materials and books that clearly focus on the indwelling Presence of Jesus Christ in believers.  It is the learning how to experience His Presence that is the essence of the Crossroads ministry.  
 
Since the early 1990s Crossroads has been a biblically-based, ministry that works with individuals and churches.  And …. the over-arching word that describes the ministry is RELATIONSHIP: Relationshp with Jesus Christ.
 

The passion that continues to undergird Crossroads in 2015 is the unrelenting commitment to the Spiritual Intimacy paradigm: the "Christ in you" message.

In 2010, Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet published their book, “Jesus Manifesto”.  This book, a devotional treatise, amplifies, in detail, the essence of the Crossroads ministry. And the contemporary cliche – "it is all about Jesus" – summarizes the Viola/Sweet book. The following Viola/Sweet quote reveals the conviction that drives this Crossroads' web site and every aspect of the Crossroads work.

          "Christians have made the gospel about so many things—things other than

          Christ. Religious concepts, ideas, doctrines, strategies, methods, techniques,
          programs, and formulas have all eclipsed the beauty, the glory, and the
          reality of the Lord Jesus Himself."

The every-page- message of the Jesus Manifesto does such a thorough job of “unpacking” the “Christ in you” message, that Crossroads has been using the book as a primer for inquiring believers seeking to engage the spiritual intimacy paradigm.

Using a second statement from the book priovides Crossroads with the opportunity to shout from the roof-tops:  a loud "amen":

"…the Christian family today is starved for a real experience of the living Christ.   We know a lot about the Lord,  but we don't know Him very well.  We know a lot  about trying to be like Jesus, but very little about living by His indwelling life."

Referencing another contemporary writer, “At no place in the history of Christianity has there been a greater need for the life of Jesus Christ to be evidenced in and through the lives of genuine believers.” .  
       

Here again, the Crossroads day to day ministry experience bears out this truth. We repeatedly hear words like these:

      ♦ “I feel like I’m turning a crank .. as far as my faith life goes" or
      ♦ “My passion is gone; I’ve become caught up in the business of life” or
          a similar statement: 
      ♦ "I am very involved in church work but my passion has gone." An even
          more often repeated phrase is this:

      ♦  “I know there has to be more, but I don’t even know where to start.”

If you have read this far, you have discovered the “WHY” of this web site. All of the material contained herein is to provide serious seekers with a compendium of relevant articles, links, and references to the spiritual intimacy truths.

A recent book discovery has been the third of a three-volume series by Dr. Andrew Farley, pastor, college professor, and author. His book, “Heaven is Now” was released in 2012. Farley's web site has links to many of his sermons as well as several of his TV interviews.  If you Google his name, you will discover links to his church “Ecclesia” in west Texas. 

A group of us here in Maine read his entire series; and all agree: he has produced a terrific series to add to the growing library of very helpful relevant books.

In summary: we are living at a time in which the Holy Spirit appears to be birthing a passion in contemporary writers similar to that of some of the legendary writers of old like Oswald Chambers, Andrew Murray, Martyn Lloyd Jones, L.E. Maxwell and so many others.     

The Index article listed at the top of the sidebar provides a suggested reading list for anyone just starting to investigate the spiritual intimacy, faith-relationship paradigm.

About the intimacy paradigm ….

Since many of you have asked for a simplified explanation of the spiritual intimacy paradigm, we have added “The Intimacy Paradigm in a Nutshell”.  Although this was originally written as a talking outline for a meeting here in Maine that met to study Farley's book “Heaven is Now”, we are including it on the opening page of our site, trusting that it may help the “quick visit inquirer”.

The intimacy paradigm in a nutshell ….

What Andrew Farley has done for us can be very simply stated: he has provided the complete biblical apologetic for the “Christ in you” paradigm. Here are some of the most significant aspects of the paradigm as viewed from an experiential standpoint.

The INTIMACY PARADIGM construct depends upon a TRIPARTITE definition of the human frame.  Man is comprised of body, soul, and spirit.

 

To enjoy life by means of the Paradigm, we must recognize that every act of life begins in the MINDWe must understand what scripture teaches; and more than that, we MUST LEARN HOW TO LIVE ACCORDINGLY.
 
We must LEARN how to live by means of a genuine FAITH-RELATIONSHIP w/ Jesus.  Jesus Christ must become our first thought at every decision point of every day. This is, of course, a matter of learning to live supenaturally. 
 
Our most significant God-given gift is the PRESENCE OF JESUS' INDWELLING LIFE IN US.  The “new Creation” of II Co 5:17 is certainly the starting point of a life change that ignites one's faith-life. We must LEARN the power of His Life in us.
 
The second most significant gift from our Heavenly Father is the FREEDOM OF CHOICE.  Life here on earth will always involve CHOICES. We can choose to live by the FLESH, SIN, or HIS EMPOWERMENT. We word RECKON of Romans is a good word !!!
 

We MUST LEARN that we are perpetually FORGIVEN; and that He will NEVER LEAVE US OR FORSAKE US. A Huge Truth.  

We MUST LEARN to NEVER ALLOW GUILT to RESIDE in our frame.  BUT !!  HOWEVER!!  We MUST never set aside our RESPONSIBILITY.                                                    

DECISIONS on a moment by moment basis bring consequences in the human, everyday plane of our lives.

Our JOY FACTOR and our PEACE FACTOR are legitimate measurement tools.

The BOTTOM LINE: IT’S ALL ABOUT JESUS !!!
Conclusion: Farley has laced together the essential elements of the paradigm. It is his emphasis on “total forgiveness” and “choice” and “the UNION relationship" that looms so large to us.

                               Thank you Dr. Farley. MORE IMPORTANT,

                                                    Thank you Father

 Further conclusions to seriously think about ….

1.  There is absolutely no value in simply knowing and even understanding the paradigm
     Unless we are learning how to make it a part of our everyday lives. 

2.  All that Farley has done is to “put legs on our knowledge of the paradigm”
3.  Given his hard-hitting words used to hammer home the “NEVER AGAIN 
    
GUILTY” and his equally hard words concerning our FREEDOM FROM 
    
THE LAW ….. few nominal believers will warm up to his writings.
4.  REVELATION is an equally good biblical word to describe what I said in the last sentence
5.  No matter how you cut it …. it is all about Jesus. The age old story many of us love so
     much is “dead-on”.  Remember this story:

           School had just started. The setting: the 3rd grade class room. And! 
          To start the day off with an attention getter, the teacher asked a question. 

          BUT !!! Before she could even get the question out, Johnny raised his hand. 
          Bursting with pride … he said,

         “I don’t know the question; BUT the answer is Jesus”.

         Johnny!! You passed with flying colors; you really done good !!

Thank you for coming to our website.l  Prayerfully continue and read the artciles listed in the sidebar or call us at 207-627-4685.