Who Smells Like Christ To You?

Hot and dusty, Bob dismounted from the bus he’d ridden to a city far from home.  He was tired from a long day of travel and grateful that he would be able to have dinner with friends of friends who lived in the area.  They welcomed him in, and he immediately felt a sense of peace.  He felt at home, comfortable, safe and valued.

Later, wondering why he’d felt such peace in an unfamiliar place, Bob found an answer in 2 Corinthians.  The apostle Paul describes people who follow God as having the ‘pleasing aroma of Christ’.  ‘That’s exactly it!’ Bob said to himself.  His hosts had ‘smelled like’ Christ.

When Paul says that God leads His people in Christ’s ‘triumphal procession’ spreading the fragrance of His truth, he’s referring to a practice in the ancient world.  Victorious armies would burn incense as they marched through the streets.  For their supporters, the smell brought joy.  In the same way, Paul says the people of God carry a pleasing fragrance to those who believe.  It isn’t something we create on our own but something God gives as He leads us in spreading the knowledge of Him.

Bob is my dad, and that trip to a faraway town took place more than forty years ago, but he’s never forgotten it.  He’s still telling the story of the people who smelled like Christ.

~ Amy Peterson

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These folks were the ‘aroma of Jesus’ to someone recently:

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care ~ Tulsa, OK

Denise ~ MD

Christ United Methodist Church ~ Fairless Hills, PA

Dodie ~ MN

First Lutheran Church ~ Fargo, ND

Birch Ridge Resort ~ Cass Lake, MN

Gary ~ MN

Geralyn ~ PA

Amy ~ WI for Operation Christmas Child

St. Peter Lutheran Church ~ Tulsa, OK

Gold Canyon United Methodist Church ~ Gold Canyon, AZ

Claudene ~ OK for Christian Motorcycle Association ‘Life Savers’

Lorraine ~ AZ

Brad ~ MN

 

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Heavenly Father, thank you for leading your people in triumphs and spreading the fragrance of your truth through us.

 

 

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved. 

2 Corinthians 2:15

Patience

Sharing our family with you:

Joy from MN:  Please send me 100 crosses.  I am freely giving them out again.  What a blessing to have them to give to people as a witness for Christ in these sad and confusing times.  I ‘bundle’ them up for others to give away as well … and they do!  Young people are appreciative!!   

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Emmi: We need to receive Jesus Christ for us to have life, because we can’t stand without Jesus. 

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Lee:  I received this cross and the info that came with it while I was in the hospital because of a fall that I had at home which has temporarily taken away from me the use of my legs to stand and walk. I am praying for the use of my legs to once again stand and walk. This small gift reignited the fire in my soul and spirit to renew my dedication to Jesus and our Father to tell others of His Glorious gift of eternal life for every one who will believe.  

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Sharon:  Yes, we need Jesus!  I read the other day: To try to fix America without Jesus is like rearranging the furniture in a burning house. 

More from Sharon:  Thank you.  There’s love and power in the name of JESUS!

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Mary from OK: Thanks so much for all your work.  Love your cross; love our Jesus.  

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David from CA:  Greetings in Jesus name!  Thank you for your ministry.   

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Edna from AZ: I will be using these crosses in Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes which are collected in the fall.  The children love these small personal crosses.  

And, a follow-up from Edna:
Thank you for getting my order of crosses out so promptly.   They are stored away reading for when I start packing my Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes.   It is so nice to have things ready when I get the boxes together ready to fill them.   I wish I could share with everyone the joy a child gets from just a simple small wooden cross.  When I was in Uganda a couple of years ago giving out the shoe boxes one little boy had a wooden cross in his box and he only wanted me to take a photo of him holding up his cross.  The rest of the items in the box were not as precious to him and he wanted me to know how he loved his little cross. (Unfortuntately it was not a cross that you make but of similar size and design.)   It is a great item to send along in this gift box and I appreciate all the work that goes into making and packing these crosses.   God is blessing others through what you do.

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Barbara from OK: Thank you!  We’ve shared some crosses with a women’s group from Teen Challenge, our Assembly of God Church and Serving Christ Outreach where I volunteer.  Thanks and God bless you!  

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Monica from MN: Prayers for you and yours from Camp St. Michael in Motley.  Life is full and anxious for us all.  Know that your work is still vital during this time.  That cross changes lives…. 

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And, crosses were shared recently with these great family members

Mary ~ OK

Pebble Creek Community Church ~ Goodyear, AZ for Operation Christmas Child

David ~ CA

Billie ~ MN

Greg ~ CA

Geralyn ~ PA

Mary ~ MO

Hilda ~ MN

Barbara ~ OK

Tom ~ CA

Providence Physical Therapy ~ Hampstead, NC

Hope Lutheran Church ~ Palm Desert, CA

Lorraine ~ AZ

Libby ~ SC

Joy ~ MN

Amy ~ MO

David ~ SC

Open Door Community Church ~ Breezy Point, MN

 


 

Patience paints the picture of a person holding on, persevering and refusing to give up.  Patience is what keeps us holding on when it seems like God is holding out.  Patience is what keeps God’s mysterious timing from becoming our faith’s undermining.  Waiting on God isn’t easy, but with patience, it is possible.

Whatever you’re waiting on today, know that God’s Word can be trusted. So, hang in there, keep believing! On the other side of your wait is a promise fulfilled. And when your eyes see what your faith has believed, there will be reason to celebrate.

Dear Jesus, I’m growing weary in the wait. Please increase my patience and grow my faith. Give me courage to keep trusting You and tenacity to cling to Your promises. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

Let nothing disturb you, 
Let nothing frighten you, 
All things are passing away: 
God never changes. 
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing; 
God alone suffices.

— St. Teresa of Avila

Jesus Hold My Hand

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As I travel thru this pilgrim land, there is a friend who walks with me.
Leads me safely thru the sinking sand, it is the Christ of Calvary.
This would be my prayer, dear Lord, each day to help me do the best I can.
For I need Thy light to guide me day and night … Blessed Jesus, hold my hand.

 

Let me travel in the light divine that I may see the blessed way;
Keep me that I may be wholly Thine and sing redemption’s song some day;
I will be a soldier brave and true and ever firmly take a stand.
As I onward go and daily meet the foe … Blessed Jesus, hold my hand.

 

When I wander thru the valley dim toward the setting of the sun,
Lead me safely to a land of rest if I a crown of life have won;
I have put my faith in Thee, dear Lord, that I may reach the golden strand,
There’s no other friend on whom I can depend … Blessed Jesus, hold my hand.

 

Blessed Jesus, hold my hand, I need Thee every hour.
Thru this pilgrim land, protect me by Thy power.
Hear my feeble plea, O Lord, look down on me;
When I kneel in prayer, I hope to meet you there …
Blessed Jesus hold my hand.

Albert Brumley

 

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Walk By Faith

TWO HORSES  ~Author Unknown.   Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it. From a distance, each horse looks like any other horse. But if you stop your car, or are walking by, you will notice something quite amazing. Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind. His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him. This alone is amazing. If you stand nearby and listen, you will hear the sound of a bell. Looking around for the s

 

Just up the road is a pasture, which two horses call home.  From a distance, the horses look just like any other horses.   But when you get closer to them, there is something quite different about each.

The eyes of the first horse disclose that her sight is gone, yet she seems totally content to be grazing in this lush pasture.  She appears to be well manicured, her coat glistens in the warm sun; you can tell she is definitely well cared for.  In fact, she has been such a good, well-mannered horse her owner says that he couldn’t possibly think of giving up on her just because she lost her sight.  She has been romping in this same pasture for years and he wanted her to enjoy the remainder of her life there as best she could.   Without her eyesight, he knew this would be difficult for her so he came up with a very ingenious and loving solution.

If you stand quietly and listen, you’ll hear the sound of a bell coming from the direction of the second smaller horse, just a short distance away.  The owner wisely attached a small cowbell to the second horses’ halter.  Its primary purpose is to let the first horse, his blind friend, know where he is, allowing her to follow and not get lost.

As you stand and watch, you see that the smaller horse often checks on his friend; the sound of his bell reassuring the blind horse that her friend is close by.  And so, this mutual companionship goes on throughout the day as the two horses enjoy their freedom and the tasty grass in the pasture.  In the evening, when it’s time for them to return to the shelter of the barn, the smaller horse takes the lead, occasionally looking back to make sure his blind friend isn’t too far behind to hear the bell.

Like the owner of these two horses, God doesn’t throw us away just because we are not perfect or because we have problems or challenges.  He is constantly watching over us, occasionally bringing others into our lives to help us when we are in need.  Sometimes, we are the blind horse being guided by the little ringing bell; other times, we are the guide horse, helping others to find their way.

Good friends are like that. You may not always see them, but you know they are always there.  Please listen for my bell and I’ll listen for yours.  Always remember…be kinder than necessary.  Everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

 

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Some kind words:

‘The beautiful crosses arrived today, along with your most generous gift of the lovely poetry books.  Will show all to my pastor first thing in the morning!  Cannot thank you enough for your wonderful ministry.  Thank you for shipping these exquisite crosses so quickly and safely.  I know many hearts will be touched by your kindness and these powerful reminders of God’s love for His children. You are truly a blessing to our ministry!  Many, many thanks!’

Karen ~ VA

 

‘Your ministry and sharing the crosses is wonderful.  Our staff really appreciate the crosses to give to people needing some support and compassion.  Thank you for sharing Amanda’s Poems. Our Chaplain and others felt the amazing strength Amanda shared.  Your gifts were all a blessing.’

Jackie ~ The Deerfield, Urbandale, IA

 

‘We were first introduced to your crosses at a MN Teen Challenge event.  We loved them and would like to include a cross in every shoebox we pack for Operation Christmas Child.  My family is passionate about this ministry and we pack numerous boxes every year for boys and girls.  Your crosses would be a wonderful addition to each box.  God bless you friends.’ 

Carrie ~ MN

 

‘I would like to order the small crosses for my church family.’ 

David ~ SC

 

‘It is time … starting to hand out crosses again.  I tell people it’s a “gift of hope” but will change that to “gift of hope and love”.  The crosses are received with appreciation.  You are appreciated for all you do to enable all of us to be a witness through handing out these crosses with the inspiring card.  It’s a dear gift.’

Joy ~ MN

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A couple of months ago, we featured Bob from Bound by Faith Cross Ministries in Barnum, MN.  He visited our home the other day (sadly, our paths didn’t mesh and we weren’t able to personally meet) and left us two awesome gifts he created in his workshop … a plaque and a cross.

 

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There is a tag on the back of the plaque which reads:  ‘Reclaimed board from the late 1800s’. This plaque has found its forever home … on the table by our front door for all our guests to see … just where Bob placed it.

 

 

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There is also a tag on the back of this wooden cross which tells us its origin: ‘Made from a 150 year-old Norway Red Pine damaged by wind storm.  Sawed 2017, Blackhoof Township Sawmill, Barnum, MN.’  This cross has found its forever home on the front of our woodshop, right above the eagle statue, another gift from a friend.  Both greet visitors with the gentle reminder of our freedoms.

Thank you, Bob, for thinking of us and for your service to our Lord!!

 

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Crosses were shared last month by these kind folks:  

David – CA

Janet – MO

David – SC

Open Door Community Church – Breezy Point, MN

Carrie – MN for Operation Christmas Child

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care – Tulsa, OK

Lewiston Christian Church – Dawson Springs, KY

Joy – MN

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Live simply.  Love generously.  Care deeply.  Speak kindly.

FOR WE WALK BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Five Finger Prayer

Our cup has overflowed with blessings this month.   Last month, we featured Bob Cummins, Bound By Faith Ministries and this is the heartfelt blessing we received back from him:

‘Thank you so much, I am greatly honored that you featured my Cross Ministries! … I have given out quite a few of the Cross the World ones that I ordered from you! A 79 year old friend of mine cried when I gave him one! I am so excited with what The Lord is doing and how the Cross touches people! … God is GOOD!’

Here are more blessings from our CTW family:

‘Thank you!  I am saved!  I can’t wait to pass these out!  My grandkids will love putting the crosses places for people to find.  Thank you again!  Have a great day!!’   Margie ~ PA

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‘I just wanted to thank you for what you do.  The first crosses I received was really great.  It is amazing the dialogue that can be opened by just presenting someone with a cross.  A great way to introduce people to Jesus!  Keep up the good work and God bless you all.’   Stephen ~ MO

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‘I received my cross in the mail from my sister. She received it at a physical therapy practice in North Carolina. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to have these crosses to give out at our church’s food ministry. We provide food for those in need in the community. We have seen a dramatic increase in our numbers during the pandemic. I rather like the thought that this one special cross from North Carolina will now become 200 in Virginia. Cannot thank you enough for your wonderful ministry! You are truly a blessing to all.’  Karen ~ Concordia Lutheran Church Food Ministry, Triangle, VA

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‘My sister has opened a new business and wants to be a good witness to all her customers.  Could you please send her some crosses?’ Donna ~ MO

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‘I teach religious education and lead a Bible study group which includes male and female young soldiers.  Because of the Covid-19, our Base chapels have been shut down.  We are praying for the Base Commander to re-open them by Memorial Day.  I hope and trust that we will see many more coming to the services when that happens.  It would be such a joy to have your wonderful crosses to share with them, especially the ones who are going to be deployed to dangerous zones.  Thank you.’ Carol ~ GA

 


 

It seems some new symptom, some new decision, some new protest, some new something or other springs up every time we open the paper or turn on the TV.  Our world is spinning wildly and, while everyone has an opinion on what to do to get it under control, there is always someone else that disagrees.  Shouting, challenging, impatience, disobedience, denial, and disregard … they all seem to be the new ‘norm’.  This latest look at how fragile humanity is hasn’t been particularly tasteful.  Too often, we forget that we are ALL in this together!

During these uncertain times, hopefully the conversations we have with God have become more personal, more proprietary.  We all have issues we’re dealing with … some new found, others have been with us for some time.  Whether we’re dealing with fear, anxiety, frustration or confusion, we continue to seek His wisdom and depend on His guidance.  And, we continue to pray, pray, pray!!

As I was searching for something I thought would be helpful to us, I found this prayer I previously posted in September, 2016.  I liked it then; I think it is even more relevant now.

 

 THE FIVE FINGER PRAYER

 

Your thumb is nearest you.  So, begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember.  To pray for our loved ones is, as CS Lewis once said, a ‘sweet duty’.

 

The next finger is the pointing finger.  Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal.  This includes teachers, doctors and pastors.  They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction.  Keep them in your prayers.

 

The middle finger is the tallest and largest finger.  It reminds us of our leaders.  Pray for the President, the Prime Minister, leaders in business and industry, as well as administrators. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion.  They need God’s continued guidance.

 

The fourth finger is our ring finger.  Surprising to many is the fact that this is our weakest finger, as any piano teacher will testify.  It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble, or in pain.  They need your prayers day and night; you can’t pray enough for them.

 

And, lastly, comes our little finger … the smallest finger of all which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others.  As the Bible says, ‘The least shall be the greatest among you.’  Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself.  By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.

 

EVERY time we look at our hands and all the ways they serve us, we should remember this five finger prayer.  Andwe should remember how many ways we are to serve the Lord … and we should pray.

 

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Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.  That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.  – Minnie Louise Haskins

 


 

We are so thankful for our Cross The World family and especially thankful for these folks who shared the cross during the month of May:

Clairemont Emmanuel Baptist – San Diego, CA

Augustana Care Health Center – Apple Valley, MN

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care – Tulsa, OK

Marcia – PA

David – CA

Jill – WI

Margie – PA

Stephen – MO

Donna – MO

Carol – GA

Concordia Food Ministry – Stafford, VA

The Deerfield – New Richmond, WI

 


 

A couple of notes from us:

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First of all, Cross The World continues to thank you, our family, for your support of our ministry.  We tell you all the time that we can’t do this without you and your faithfulness to us and God has been outstanding!  This pandemic shuttering of businesses has been hard on all of us but we want you to know that, because we are a small ministry and our woodshop is remotely located (er, in the woods!), we have remained safe and healthy.  Praise the Lord!!  Additionally, we want you to know that we have not shuttered our doors to your needs.  We continue to work as we always have to produce and ship crosses to you so you will have them available as you need them.  We’re there for you!  Don’t be afraid to let us know how we can assist you!!

Secondly, if you don’t want to wait to receive an email letting you know there has been something new added to our blog but would rather get an automatic notice, consider entering your email address in the ‘Follow Blog Via Email’ box located in the lower right hand corner of any page of this blog.  Remember to hit the ‘Follow’ button too!

And, lastly, we invite you to visit the Covid-19 page.  We’ve added some new things (the new entries will be printed in red).  If you have something you want to share with your CTW family, send it to us and we’ll pass it on.

 


 

In a world on unrelenting changes, I am the One who never changes.
I am the Alpha and the Omega … the First and the Last … the Beginning and the End.
Find in Me the stability for which you have yearned.
In My Presence, you can face uncertainty with perfect Peace.

 

Bound By Faith Ministries

We received some great feedback from some of our Cross The World family members and I am excited to share!

‘Have a blessed day.  Truly a clear message.  Amen.’    Mary ~ IL

‘Thank you for your ministry.’       Liz ~ PA

Frank from MI forwarded this note on to us.  His church received it from one of the Christmas Shoe Box recipients.

‘Hi everyone there!!  I am Eder, father of Joseph, who received the box gift of all of you.  Thank so much!!  We are living in Medellin, Colombia.  Joseph is very happy for everything in the box, specially for the cross.  He told me: ‘Dad, Jesus isn’t on the cross.’ I answered: ‘He rose!!’  Just for that, Thank you!!  Thank you for blessed us!!!  We would like to have contact with all of you!!’

 

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This month, we are pleased to feature Bound By Faith Ministries located in Barnum, MN.  This ministry was founded by Bob Cummins who serves the Lord by making and distributing wooden crosses (most of them made from reclaimed barn wood) free of charge, all under the direction he receives from God.  After making these crosses for years, Bob rejoices in the fact that over 500 of them have left his hands for others.  He says, ‘Each cross the Lord directs me to give away is a special message from Him to the party receiving it.  The message is that there is power in the cross and, through that power, lives and hearts are changed.’  Amen!

We feel so privileged to welcome Bob and his ministry to our Cross The World family and look forward to a long-lasting relationship.  To read Bob’s testimony and to see photos of his beautiful crosses, click HERE.

 

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Please remember to visit our Covid-19 page to read notes/comments shared by other CTW family members.  You can get there by clicking on the Covid-19 tab on the top of this page or by clicking HERE.

Our intention is not to clutter our site with repetitive information from the internet but to share our personal thoughts.  So, if you have something you feel is pertinent, please send it to us and we’ll publish it.  New comments will be published in red.

Remember … we’re all in this together.  God is with us … don’t let go of His hand!!!

Although storms have many origins, there is only one answer for all of them.  When everything around us comes unglued and falls apart, we must go to our knees, trusting the Lord to give us a sense of assurance and boldness to stand firm in obedience.  A yielded life that’s settled in God’s Word, open to His work within us, and made adequate in the Holy Spirit’s love and power is immovable in the tempests of life.

~ Charles Stanley

 

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Summer is officially here … Ernie saw his first mosquito last week!!  And, that reminded me of this:

 

 

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In spite of just about everything being shut down due to the coronavirus, there is still a need for crosses and some made their way from our woodshop to others; we’ve listed those folks below.   We are so thankful for our entire Cross The World family; we appreciate you sheltering in place and staying healthy!!  You all remain in our prayers; keep safe!

Mary – IL

Frank – MI

Shirleen – NC

Gale – MN

Carla – MN

Pam – PA

Sherry – MN

Nancy – PA

Lewistown Christian Church – Dawson Springs, KY

 

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Irving Berlin wrote this to honor his mother; Kate Smith made this famous during her radio show in 1941; the US Congress stood on the steps of the Capitol Building and sang this on 9/11.  It’s a great reminder.

 

 

 

 

Holy Week

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We are Christians!   And, we won’t be stopped!!

A familiar view of church parking lots on Sunday mornings.

(This photo is of our country church parking lot on Easter morning.  It was good to see our friends again, even if from the front seat of our car.   If we can’t worship from our pews, we can still worship together!!!)

Because of today’s social distancing mandates, many church pastors are utilizing social media to reach their flock … recording their messages on Facebook or their own church website, sending printed messages via the mail, or utilizing television or radio programming … whatever it takes to broadcast God’s word.

Last week, the following messages about Holy Week were sent to me and I found them so wonderfully penned, I wanted to share them.  The first message was written by Rev. Robert Rahn, founder of the Lutheran Heritage Foundation in Macomb, MI.  He wrote:  “As we enter this Holy Week, we do so in uncertain times.  We, however, have the sure promises of God as they are fulfilled during this week by His suffering, death and His ultimate victory for us all.”

The second message was written by Rev. Rahn’s fellow staff member, Rev. Larry Rockemann.

Rev. Robert Rahn’s message


Go into the village ahead of you; there, as you enter you will find a colt tied on which no one has ever sat; untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, Why are you untying it? You shall say, THE LORD HATH NEED OF IT.   

Luke 19:30-31

And that’s what they did. It marked the beginning of Holy Week and is the emphasis for this article even though the bigger event were the words of angels: “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? HE IS NOT HERE, BUT HE HAS RISEN.”  Luke 24:6    

It’s not the donkey that’s needed today. It’s not the donkey that Jesus requests. What is it that He asks of us?  Every day He comes to us and says “I have need of it!”  He has need of our time, talents and treasures. They belong to Him.      

So, what’s the problem, why are we so reluctant to give Him what He asks for?  Do we even hear His request?  We are so busy with our own agendas, whose got time for His? And that’s why we need constant reminders- “THE LORD HATH NEED OF IT.”   

When parents die, children are left to sort out all the items in their HATH NEED OF IT treasure chest. If your basement is like ours, it’s full of those HATH NEED OF IT items.  It becomes a big stockpile that someone is left to dispose of. By nature, we are hoarders, collectors. I often visited a friend in Iowa where I had to pull out a folding chair from between the refrigerator and wall in order to sit and visit. There was a small open space in the kitchen and in one bedroom. The rest of the space was newspapers and magazines piled from the floor almost to the ceiling. He felt HE HATH NEED OF IT.    

WHAT HATH THE LORD NEED OF?  According to this Holy Week event, HE HATH NEED OF

  • Humble service (not just the big things that bring fame and recognition, little things)
  • Honor of His Word (hear it, act on it)
  • Recognition of purpose (who am I, what am I here for?)
  • Focus on the mission (where are we headed, what’s our mission)
  • End result-the cross (what do we hope the end result will be?)
  • Sing His song (it’s not “glorify me, my needs, but glorify Him)
  • Placing things in the road (not to hinder, but to honor the King)

What can you add to your personal list of items THE LORD HATH NEED OF?

Let me remind you that in all of this our focus is on the King, triumphant in meeting our needs, our greatest need- the forgiveness of sins by His shed blood of Calvary. He knew we HATH NEED OF THAT. Hosanna in the highest!

Rev. Larry Rockemann’s message

 

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

  John 1:14

We’ve gone from the urging of being close to the plea of maintaining a “safe distance.” What’s that? How far is safe? The health authorities are telling us that at least six feet needs to be kept. Best if we could keep it at ten feet, though.

The question of what is a safe distance is an intriguing one, to say the very least. I suppose it depends upon the object from which you’re trying to stay.

So, think with me for a bit here. What’s a safe distance to stay from a black bear in the Great Smoky Mountains? How about the safe distance from an erupting volcano, or a stingray, or an alligator?

What about Satan—what’s a safe distance to remain from him? Or online porn…or your favorite sweet treats…or the temptation to have more and want more? Safe distance?

And what’s a safe distance to maintain when it comes to God? Well, for that one, you only need ask Adam and Eve. They found the spot in the cool of the Garden day. Of course, this was all spoiled royally by God. He apparently didn’t get the memo on social distancing, and He obviously didn’t keep it at six or more feet away from them.

Thankfully, there’s no “safe distance” for the Lord. He comes up close. Real close. Too close. “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us…” How close is too close? How’s “bone-of-my-bone, flesh-of-my-flesh,” made “like us in all things except sinning.” Immanuel – “God with us.” That close.

Womb and manger close. Cross and grave close. Jesus gets close. “I forgive you all your sins,” He says into our ears, His Spirit winging those words right to the heart of the matter. Jesus gets close: “My Body given for you…My Blood shed for you.

He gets up close and personal – oh, so very personal! – as we get too close to things we ought well to run from. He gets up close to us as we try running the other way – away. Away from God. Away from our neighbor. Away from our marriage, away from the sanctify of human life, away from the sister or brother who has a great need, away from generosity of life and the gentleness of spirit. Away is where we head. Safe distance is what we’re seeking. “All we like sheep” … the farther the better. And safer, too.

But Jesus doesn’t keep the distance. After all, He is the Good Shepherd. When He sees us off in the distance of our runaway, rebel lives, He doesn’t wait for an “ALL CLEAR” from the local health authorities. He just takes out running. Running after us. Running to us.

At His cross, we see in stark measure just how close He comes. We smell His bloodied sweat, the sour odor of His cheap-wine breadth, the grey heaviness of death itself. It hangs around Him—hangs on Him. He is that close to us. No safe distance here. The heavy-weight floor-to-ceiling Temple curtain is sliced in two. And we are face-to-face with God Himself!

It is what Holy Week is all about.  The Lord draws near. And He will get close.

Is This The Time To Review Our Message?

Alarm.  Confusion.  Disobedience.  Anguish.  Tension.  Disorder.  Frustration.  Fear.  Disbelief.  Denial. Whatever adjective you want to use, it’s vastly present in today’s world.  Who would have ever thought we would be in a crisis situation such as this?  Unbelievable … or so we thought.  But, here it is … at our doorstep, in our homes and businesses, affecting our lives every minute of every day … an invisible, yet deadly threat to all of us.

This is real, folks, whether you want to accept it or not.  Life as we knew it a month ago, last week or even yesterday, is nothing like this exact moment or like it will be the next hour, the next day …this could go on for months … or longer.  Everything we knew in the past has changed, rapidly and confusingly.

Because of the unknown, we are fearful, we are uncomfortable, some of us are falling apart at the seams.  So, when life falls apart, what do you do?  All of us have faced difficult circumstances before, some of these situations lasting a long time.  Unless we have a purposeful focus, we flounder and can’t get a grip.  But, the good news, and there is some … we can find hope and peace by setting our eyes on God and focusing on His character, His ways, and His will.

Maybe now is a great time to reread the sayings on the hangtag we put on each of the crosses you’ve shared with others.  I hope you will spend some time thinking about each one.

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Trust in His Timing

This might be the time in our lives when we have to learn to let go.  Say good-bye to loved ones, rid ourselves of unnecessary possessions, release control, and TRUST.  Trust God … just one day at a time, as the song goes.  Practice trusting and thanking Him over and over as we go through each day. By practicing putting our trust in Him, He will lift us above our present circumstances.  We will gather strength and our fears will be taken away, as he promised.

‘In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.’
Proverbs 16:9

Rely on His Promises

When we talk our heart matters over with God, He will answer us.  He does want to hear what we have to say and we shouldn’t ever be afraid to share this intimacy with Him.  After all, He knows what’s in our hearts before we even speak. In today’s hysterical world, there are many maniacal voices out there that are trying to pull us in all the wrong directions.  We need to take time from this chaos; find a place we can be still and listen to His voice and His voice only.  He has promised us strength, hope, peace and awareness of His continual presence; no power can deny that.

Taste and see that I am good.’
Psalm 34:8

Wait for His Answers 

Of all the sayings on the hangtag, this is probably the hardest one for me.  I ask; I pray … but I don’t always wait.  I’m human; I’m too impatient … ‘Give it to me now or I’ll do it myself!’  That attitude gets me in a lot of trouble.  But I’m slowly learning the more patiently I pray, the more answers I receive if I just open my heart and talk earnestly to God.  When I ask Him to lead me and then patiently wait, His guidance is always given.  Patience!  It’s simple, but not easy … please, God, can you make it easier for me??

‘The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.
Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish,
but everyone to come to repentance.’
2 Peter 3:9

Rejoice in His Goodness

God loves to shower blessings on us, His beloved children.  Let’s approach Him with open hands and thankful hearts, ready to receive all He has to give.  It’s impossible to thank Him too much but every minute we do, we glorify Him and that fills our hearts with unspeakable joy!  He is our constant companion and is totally devoted to us.  By glorifying Him, our hearts become so full of the Holy Spirit that we become an example to others!

‘I take great delight in you; I rejoice over you with singing.’
Zephaniah 3:17

Believe in His Miracles

Sometimes the road we’re on seems impossible to travel.  But, when we walk along this road, hand in hand with God, we face nothing alone … pleasures, hardships, adventures, disappointments.  He brings beauty from the ashes; He gleans joy out of sorrow; and, He restores peace from adversity.  I wake up each morning asking, ‘God, what great thing will You show me today?’  Remember:  Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  This King of Kings is my eternal BFF … not to be outdone by anyone or anything else!  Glorious!!

We cannot understand the great things He does,
and to His miracles there is no end.’
Job 5:9

Relax in His Presence

God’s plan for us is greater than we can even imagine but not many people realize that.  We are normally so busy scurrying around that we completely miss what He has in mind for us.  I suggest that now would be a great time to take some time with God and soak in His love and grace.  I think that as we relax more and more with Him, we’ll find that whatever we’re holding onto so tight will gradually release. And, as we release more and more things into God’s care, we will come to know that He will never let go of our hand. And, therein lies our security, not to be taken by anyone or any circumstance ever again.

I am with you, watching over you wherever you go.’
Genesis 28:15

As we continue working our way through the pandemic that’s sweeping the world, we need more than ever to hold tight to the cross.  We need to remember what Jesus did on that cross for us … He died so we could live.  He gave us salvation; He freed us from paying for our sins; His grace and love are ours for eternity.  Jesus isn’t asking for us to pay Him back but the least we should do is be a godly example for others and help them grow strong spiritually.  We should be the light so others can see Him through us.  Maybe that’s the answer to our prayer, ‘Lord, so many people are hurting in so many ways.  I want to help.  What would you have me do?’

Abba Father:

This world, as we have known it, is reeling and we need You more than we’ve ever needed You.  We know You are speaking to us; we ask that You help us open our ears and our hearts to Your Will.  The coronavirus pandemic is a very real thing and it is affecting many, many lives.  Please give those infected, those isolated/quarantined, those sheltered at home strength, comfort and hope; we all need to feel Your tender care.  Please protect the doctors, nurses and staff attending the infected; give them the knowledge and guidance to treat this disease.  More than ever, this is the time we need our government officials to work together; we ask that You guide them to make sound, timely decisions for all of us.  Please watch over the many manufacturing companies as they feverishly work to produce the equipment/materials so badly needed by the medical teams.  And, please bless the military and the private sector as they step up, in whatever capacity that may be, to offer helping hands to their neighbors.  We are all calling out to You to lead and guide us, to erase our confusion and fear.  Your Will will be done; please give us patience to wait for Your answers.

Amen

 


 

I wanted to share these great words from our family:

God bless you!  These crosses will go to residents in the nursing home.

Kathy – MN

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Blessings to all at Cross The World in the matchless name of Jesus.  We have a small church in Ottumwa, IA and we declare in the name of Jesus the crosses we order are going to be a huge ministry tool for our church to use to witness for our Lord and add to the Kingdom of God.  Hallelujah!  Thanks be to God!  God bless. Thank you!

Pam – Jesus is the Answer Fellowship, Ottumwa, IA

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Thank you so much for your ministry!

Pastor Bonnie – Cando Lutheran Church, Cando, ND

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I was a missionary to Ukraine off and on for about 25 years, also spent time in Moldova, and Poland. I recently received a cross from a church called Hope in Westminster, California. I try to go to the Huntington Beach Pier and make myself available for people that pass by either for prayer, or some free Christian materials about the love of Jesus Christ. I also go to various food banks in Orange County. With Resurrection Sunday around the corner, I would love to pass these out to those who desire one. 

David – CA

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God bless your ministry!

Pastor Tom – Alverton United Methodist Church, Youngwood, PA

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And, we are so thankful that crosses were generously shared by these kind folks in March:

Diane – TX

Epworth United Methodist Church – New Castle, PA

Byers Avenue United Methodist Church – Joplin, MO

Santa Cruz Lutheran Church – Tucson, AZ

First English Lutheran Church – Spencer, IA

Ilonha – VA

Jennifer – IN

Joy – MN

Sue – MN for Lamp Ministries

Dodie – MN

Christ Lutheran Church – Slayton, MN

Open Door Community Church – Breezy Point, MN

The Word Christian Church – Ft. Mohave, AZ

Brenda – ND

Brenda – CO

Tom – CA

Hilltop Chapel – Palisade, MN

Greg – MI

St. Francis Hospital – Tulsa, OK

Bob – MN

Holy Cross Church – Onamia, MN

Cando Lutheran Church– Cando, ND

Stella – OR

Christian Senior Bible Study – Foley, MN

Good Samaritan Society – Inver Grove Heights, MN

Roger – IL

Jesus Is The Answer Fellowship – Ottumwa, IA

Alverton United Methodist Church – Youngwood, PA

Volunteers of America Care Center – Sleepy Eye, MN

Frank – MI

David – CA

Cuyuna Regional Medical Center – Crosby, MN

My Father’s House – Minneapolis, MN

 


 

And, finally, we all need a chuckle.

Until next time, stay healthy!!

‘For My Life’ Retreat

We received some lovely words from some CTW family members; we just had to share:

‘My friends and I surely appreciate the crosses you make.  I give them out to all kinds of people who cross my path and they are almost always appreciated.  If not, we can say ‘give it to someone you love’.  One such man said he’d give it to his wife who had cancer.  I’m assuming it blessed her.’

‘The crosses are such a unique way to lift people’s hearts upward to our Lord.  Almost always well received.  I give ‘bunches’ to friends to hand out … and they do!  Thank you for all that you do to make this ministry possible.’

Joy – MN

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‘Your crosses are so well received by so many during these troubled times.  I am sure you hear this over and over.  May God greatly multiply the measure of all your sacrificial endeavors!’

Carol – A

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Recently, two of our CTW family members (Frank and Ann) attended a ‘For My Life’ retreat held in Thomaston, GA, sponsored by the Be In Health ministry of the Hope of the Generations Church.  Founded in 1989 by Dr. Henry Wright, this ministry has evolved to understand how spiritual problems lead to physical problems and illness, primarily through a breakdown in relationships individuals have with God, themselves and other people.

These week-long ‘For My Life’ retreats consist of intensive teachings, group ministry sessions, time to interact with the teachers and ask questions plus a time for personal prayer for healing at the end of the week.  Through their guidance, teachers provide participants tools that help to remove ways of thinking, speaking and acting that make it impossible to develop a closer relationship with God, enjoy His blessings and, possibly, even the healing of all disease.

Here’s what Frank had to say:

‘We attended the ‘For My Life’ retreat.  Our Heavenly Father led us there.  He knows us so well and He is an awesome loving Father.  The retreat was overwhelming.  It was full of really great info on how to fight the fight and resist the enemy.  It showed us how to recognize the voice of evil and begin the process of freedom.  Some of us have junk that we carry around with us that influence our behavior and the quality of life we have.  The junk is mostly sin, some of it we aren’t even aware of.  We returned home with more confidence and have a better understand of what God has for us in this life.  I learned to accept His love, the Father’s Love.  Healing is a byproduct of this program.  For some, healing happens miraculously and, for others, it’s a process.’

Thank you, Frank, for sharing your experience.  We are more than happy to pass this on to others.  For more information about this ministry, please click HERE.

 


 

We are so blessed that our crosses were shared in the last couple of months through these CTW family members:

Joy – MN

Diane – MN

Diane – CO

Essentia St. Joseph Hospital Spiritual Care – Brainerd, MN

Carol – AZ

GracePoint Wesleyan Church – Brookings, SD

Shanta – WI

Patricia – WV

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care – Tulsa, OK

Centenary United Methodist Church – Shady Side, MD

Mary – AZ

James – PA

Helen – ND

GracePointe of Sedona – Sedona, AZ

Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church – Minneapolis, MN

Tiffany – MN

Nikki – OK

Community Lutheran Church – Bullhead City, AZ

Birch Ridge Resort – Bemidji, MN

Sherreen – WI

Unionville United Methodist Church – Rochester, PA

Char – AZ

Elim Lutheran Brethren Church – Clearbrook, MN

Debbie – PA

Open Door Community Church – Breezy Point, MN

Christ the King Community Church – Ponca, NE

 


 

And, we know that you all would like to continue sharing the cross,
especially during the Lenten/Easter season
soooo just a reminder:

If you are wanting crosses for this season, please get your orders in ASAP!! 

We currently have lots of orders to ship out to meet the Easter deadline and,
even though we will do our very best to make sure
everyone gets their needs filled, we are asking you to please

ORDER TODAY!  

 


 

Sowing His Seed

Jesus told a story about the scattering of seed that had the potential of producing ‘a hundred times more than was sown’. That seed was God’s good news planted on ‘good soil’, which He explained is ‘honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest’.

The only way we can be fruitful, Jesus said, is to stay connected to Him. As we’re taught by Christ and cling to Him, the Spirit produces in us His fruit of ‘love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control’. He uses the fruit He produces in us to touch the lives of others, who are then changed and grow fruit from their own lives. This makes for a beautiful life.

And, the questions are asked: How are you staying connected to Jesus? What fruit do you want Him to produce in you?   (Excerpted from Our Daily Bread)

As we enter a new year, I wanted to share these words written by Howard Thurman:

The Work of Christmas

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among others,
To make music in the heart.

Isn’t this a wonderful New Year’s resolution?  

 


 

These CTW family members planted seeds for beautiful lives through our crosses in December:

The Center for Family Counseling – St. Cloud, MN

Joy – MN

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care – Tulsa, OK

Hope Lutheran Church – Westminster, CA

Trinity Lutheran Church – Billings, MT

Todd – PA

Shelly – MN

Betty – PA

Dick – AZ

Kay – AZ for mission work in Costa Rica

First Church of God – Monroe, MI

Presbyterian Homes– Minneapolis, MN

Cora – MN

First United Methodist Church – New Castle, PA

Geralyn – PA

Kay – MN for HELPS

Hilltop Chapel – Palisade, MN

Mike – MN for Project Video

 


 

There were two brothers.  Both of them were big troublemakers, always lying, cheatingon tests, and stealing.  Their parents were worried about them, so they asked their pastor if he would talk to them.  He said, ‘Yes, but only one at a time.’

So, the first brother went into the office with the pastor.  He asked the brother, ‘Son, where is God?’  The boy wouldn’t answer.  The pastor, confused and beginning to get angry, said in a louder voice: ‘Where is God?’  To his surprise, the boy bolted from his office, raced through the parking lot, down the street and didn’t stop until he reached his house.

He ran into the house, up the stairs and into his brother’s bedroom, where the other boy was sitting.  ‘Hey’, he panted, ‘we’re in big trouble now.  God is missing and they think we did it!’


 

We received some very touching testimonials:

I stumbled over one of these crosses at a funeral for my aunt. I was hoping to have five hundred of them sent to our church so we could pass them out. Thank you for this opportunity and may God continue to serve and to bless you abundantly in the name of Our Risen Savior Jesus Christ.

Pastor Kevin Spencer, First Church of God – Monroe, MI

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It was a pleasure to speak with you today. I called from New Castle, Pennsylvania to find out about the crosses you make. I received mine at a Christmas party yesterday and loved the cross and message that is attached to it. Wishing you a lovely Merry Christmas.

Anna – PA

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Hi.  This is my first cross.  I received it when I was sick with my seizures.

Andrea

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These crosses will be taken to Rice & Beans mission in Costa Rica in January.

Kay – AZ

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Thanks so much!  I love my cross and cannot wait to get my crosses to give away!

Betty – PA

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