IT’S BABY BOTTLE TIME! Take a moment to play the above video. Pray for Today’s Choice and our support of their work lifting up life in Jesus’ name. Next Sunday each family will have the opportunity to offer hope & help to anyone considering abortion in our community! EITHER take home a baby bottle and fill it with a check (made out to Today’s Choice) or cash, and bring it back in 3 weeks, OR fill a VIRTUAL BOTTLE by clicking “Reaching Out” on our main menu, click “Today’s Choice” and then click the “Donate” tab. May we choose LIFE as we live for Jesus! Pastor Craig
A New Year – a new beginning – finally – 2021! I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the words: “Come on 2021! 2020 was so awful, the only way is up from here!” Without a doubt, the Covid virus has made this past year almost unbearable! Yet with a vaccine on the horizon, with all we have learned about the protection of masking and sanitizing, we look forward in hope. Maybe we are even making many physically healthful resolutions to improve other aspects of our personal lives. Certainly we pray for a better path in the year to come!
But there’s another kind of infection that plagues our lives and world. It’s a spiritual infection called sin that can spread and isolate and drag us down in the way God and we want to live. The Good News is there’s a cure already available, a spiritual inoculation of sorts. God developed this life restoring medicine by sending His Son. What a joy to celebrate again the birth of Jesus this past Christmas. Jesus came into this world to bring the virus of our sin into Himself, paying for the effects of this virus in His body as He suffered and died on the cross. From Him flows the antivirus, the forgiveness, the undeserved love that surrounds and destroys the virus of our sins. This serum flows through God’s Word, the Holy Spirit’s forgiving power in our Baptism, and the life of Christ which becomes ours as we in faith receive His body and blood. The year ahead will be filled with so many opportunities for us to live spiritually healthful lives. So why not include a few spiritual healthful resolutions for 2021? Here are a few:
I resolve to put Christ before my church and my church before my secular schedule.
I resolve to put the spiritual before the material and the eternal before the temporal.
I resolve to put God’s Word before the opinion of others.
I resolve to put prayer before pleasure.
I resolve to walk more by faith and trust, less by sight and reason.
I resolve to live in order to give rather than to get.
I resolve to be good rather than great.
I resolve to put more of God and less of myself into what I do.
I resolve to walk with Jesus, part of His mission, sharing Him in simple ways each and every day through what I say and do.
The Good News for Christians as we resolve to improve our spiritual health is that we do so by God’s power working within us. The Holy Spirit will mold and shape us in the coming year. Each day He offers us a “new beginning.” We can unload the fear and burden of our sin – the guilt and sorrow and pain – knowing that Christ has already carried them for us. In the forgiveness He has earned we can start fresh. Our past is forgiven! Yes, we pray the Lord to bring on the shot to keep Covid away! But may we also pray that the Lord would provide an IV of His Spirit through Word and Sacrament so that we have a health-filled year spiritually as well! May we trust in and live for Jesus, placing Him first in our lives!
A blessed and Christ-filled 2021 to all! Pastor Craig
God grant you the light
which is love;
which is purity;
which is justice;
which is truth;
of Christmas, which is Christ.
Have a Christ-centered Christmas!!
CROSSROADS FOOD PANTRY
We are now experiencing the surge of this second wave of Covid. More & more people will be looking for help in feeding their families.
So, during this holiday time of “GIVING”, we are asking you to help us in making sure our shelves are stocked.
The REVERSE Advent Calendar is a fun way of doing this!!
It encourages us to “give” something (as opposed to “get” something) each day as a way to help those in need.
Add one non-perishable food item to a box every day in December.
After 24 days, you should have a box full of food just in time for Christmas.
Then, on Christmas Eve, simply drop the box off at CROSSROADS Food Pantry.
GIVING BACK TO JESUS HAS NEVER BEEN SO EASY AND SATISFYING!!
(Just click the image to enlarge!!)
A woman was obviously afraid of her flight to St. Paul. As she sat waiting for takeoff, she looked across the aisle out the window at a beautiful sunset. Then she turned her head to the left and looked out the window next to her seat, only to see a depressing scene of paramedics helping a baggage worker who had lost consciousness.
Just like our journey through life, there are scenes of sunshine as well as depressing scenes of challenge all around. The destination doesn’t depend upon which scene we look at. Our journey will still end with the joy of eternal life with Jesus. But along the way we can either dwell on the gloomy picture. Or we can focus on the things that bring joy and sunshine to our lives.
Especially in our relationships – such as within the family and the church – we can become either grateful or resentful, depending on our point of focus. We all have annoying habits and faults. And at the same time there is so much positive brought into our lives by these same persons. Why not appreciate and dwell on the benefits instead of looking for the faults?
From our perspective there are storms and sunshine, good and bad times, happy and sad situations in each of our lives. But from God’s perspective He has a loving plan being worked through it all for us. We have reason to be grateful all the time! Because of His undeserved love for us – His amazing grace seen in the saving work of Jesus – there is healing in the midst of sickness, forgiveness to light the burden of guilt, provision when finances seem at their worst, eternal life even when surrounded by death. That’s why Paul, with the crucified and risen Christ as the center of his troubled and turbulent life, was empowered to say, “We know that all things work together for good to those that love Him.” (Romans 8:28)
During this time of Thanksgiving, with the continuing challenge of Covid, whatever the situation in our lives, we live our gratitude to God! “We give thanks because His name is near!” He has sent His Son to Bethlehem, the cross and through the grave in resurrection for each of us! He is now so near to us in Baptism that He has become one in relationship with our lives. He’s in control! May we reflect our thanks for Him by carrying His strength and peace into our lives of relationship with each other and those around us in our worlds! May we tell of His wondrous deeds! A blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours! Pastor Craig
So many things have changed over the last 6 months since the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic…………in our personal lives, in our church, and in our Food Pantry!!
· Families experiencing “food insecurity” and are in need of the help of our Food Pantry have DOUBLED!’
· The amount of food availability from the Food Bank of NJ has decreased tremendously.
· CROSSROADS purchased a Chest Freezer, and most recently, a stand -alone Refrigerator to be able to store FRESH & FROZEN foods……in bulk……WHEN they are available.
· Due to our new “additions” (above), the layout of the Food Pantry has changed.
In order to keep both our Volunteers and our Clients safe during this time……….
· A COVID19 Food Pantry Policy was developed, utilizing a lot of the same restrictions needed as when you enter church.
· A MAXIMUM of 4 Volunteers are allowed in the Food Pantry area at one time……….1 in each designated room in order to Social Distance.
· PREPACKED BOXES of food are distributed,……….
· A CONTACT FREE PICK-UP is now utilized. Clients stay in their vehicle and the groceries are placed directly into their trunk. No One is allowed into the church building.
But, despite our challenges, WE HAVE BEEN BLESSED!
· Monetary Donations received from the church and the community over the past Holiday season have kept us worry-free in providing for those in need.
· Crossroads Food Pantry received a Grant of $2500 from ACME Supermarkets.
· HELP A NEIGHBOR donated $200 worth of fresh meat products from Sussex Meat Packing.
· WEST MILFORD SHOPRITE (and Alison) is holding Food Pantry Food Drives every Saturday this month of November……………CROSSROADS is one of the receipients ! Thank you, Alison!
And so…our MISSION goes on! Dot Flar
Dear Saints in Christ, I have had our nation, this election and our participation in it in my prayers these past few days. I’m sure you have done the same as well! I know we all are experiencing a bit of anxiety as the big day has drawn ever closer. Well, tomorrow is the day. I wanted to send a quick word of encouragement and hope!
Some days, it may feel like America has reached its breaking point. We face a deeply divided nation. And there are two very different potential paths ahead of us depending on who is elected tomorrow. But no matter what happens, remember that we have great reason to be hopeful no matter what. In Psalm 20:7, we’re reminded that our trust isn’t in chariots or horses—the things of this world. Our faith isn’t in political parties. Our confidence is not in presidents, but in a God who’s in control and loves each and every one of us! And He knows exactly what is going to happen in the coming days, months, and years. He has a loving plan and future carved out for each and every one of us. And God is faithful! No matter what the outcome, we have His Son and a loving message of forgiveness and hope in Jesus for everyone!
So make sure you vote your heart if you haven’t already! But know in that same heart that God is lovingly in control and means for us not to judge others, but to love Him and our fellowman no matter what! Together in His care, Pastor Craig
I am a Jack O’ Lantern
My lights will shine so bright
For I’m a Christian pumpkin
My symbols tell what’s right
My nose is like the cross
On which our Savior died
To set us free from sin
We need no longer hide
My mouth is like a fish
The whole wide world to show
That Christians live in this house
And love their Savior so!
The story starts at Christmas
My eyes are like the star
That shone on Baby Jesus
And wise men saw from far
My color, it is orange
Just like the big bright sun
That rose on Easter Day
Along with God’s own Son
And so on Halloween
Let’s set our pumpkins out
And tell the trick or treaters
What God’s love is all about!
Members of CROSSROADS FOOD PANTRY volunteered at TABLE OF HOPE’s Food Distribution at Swan Lake Park off Rt. 15 in Jefferson last week. Table of Hope, with groceries from the Community Bank of NJ, stations themselves at various locations in Morris County and delivers, in contact-free fashion, canned goods, fresh produce, dairy & meat to those who are food insecure. We worked alongside other Jefferson Food Pantry members, and helped pack and deliver bags & boxes of food, to a long drive-up line of cars. How rewarding for all of us to be working for the same cause! AND, we came away with donations of surplus for our OWN Food Pantry!!
After 16 years of the sun, snow, wind & rain beating down on me, I looked so washed out & tired!
It was time to get a “facelift”!
So, I took a little trip back up to the outskirts of Albany, NY (did a little leaf-peeping on the way). It was only right that I should return to my original birthplace at MONTAUK SIGNS. Kevin, the woodcarver who made me, was so happy to see me. He set out immediately to get me spruced up (cleaned the mold & lichen from my back side) and bright again (repainted and reapplied the 24K goldleaf)….….getting me back to my initial brilliance, and, a week later, I was on the road back . I couldn’t wait! Once I was able to get back on my new “legs”, I let out a sigh of relief! I was finally home on Paradise……… Thank you, Kevin, for your expertise in taking such good care of me! (And thank you Dot and Brian for making it all happen!)