Back to the Future

There were a couple surreal moments this week as Back to the Future day came and went. I admit there was some nostalgia as I thought back over the past thirty years of life. It’s funny that thirty years later a sci-fi comedy is causing so many people to ask, “Is this what I expected?” I couldn’t find a radio host Thursday who didn’t banter about the wonder of the iPhone or lament that we aren’t all flying ourselves to work every day.

In 1985 I was a ten-year-old who couldn’t see past his next birthday when Doc Brown set the destination date in the Delorean for October 21, 2015. Having spent half that time here at CrossRoads, as much of my reflection contained images of your lives as my own hopes, dreams, accomplishments and shortcomings.

I remembered the first time Shelly and I walked into the Fossil Creek AMC theater (a little overdressed). I remembered the Saturday morning I missed our dress rehearsal for our fist Sunday in Spicer Elementary because I was filling out a police report after my ’88 Nissan Sentra was broken into. I remembered hours and hours of band rehearsals at Paul and Teresa’s house with a bunch of musicians who made me look like a middle-school kid with a department store guitar. I remembered a smoking section outside our back door full of people who realized we cared so much about them, we weren’t going to judge them for a bad habit. I remembered Guy who had been burned by a church where he had served leading music and found healing and love as his daughter and her friends found a home in our youth ministry. I remembered Rob who knew he wanted to find Jesus but found CrossRoads to be the first church that communicated the message of Jesus in an understandable, non-threatening way (without people who freaked him out). I remembered Ed cruising up to the elementary school in his wheelchair, and I remembered conversations with him about eternity has he watched it bearing down on him like an out-of-control freight train – with the confidence of a man who had found his savior.

I can’t say that I’m surprised about what our world looks like in 2015. (I’m not sure I ever bought into flying cars.) I guess the one thing that surprises me most about our church is best summed up in the words of Karen who called CrossRoads, “the best kept secret here in North Texas.” I think she was right – and still is. My hope for our church fifteen or thirty years from now is that we would be able to communicate how much love there is in this place, how much joy we find in Christ and how willing we are to accept people who are looking for a savior. If you have found what Karen, Guy, Rob and Ed found as part of CrossRoads, I want to ask you to do one simple thing: keep letting the secret out. I am confident that we will continue to see God do great things as people find him here with us.

Love and Taxes

What do love and taxes have to do with one another? I spent almost my whole week doing my taxes. I know most of you knocked that out six months ago, but it’s been one of those years at the Atwell house. Not that I’m complaining about how our country does things, but what a mess! As I reflected on this experience, I had a thought: I wonder if people think getting things right with God is as hard as doing our taxes?

Just imagine… So, God probably gave me life – I probably owe him for that. But I’ve done some good things for people I care about, so that’s probably a credit for me. I’ve also done some bad things. That can’t be good. I’ do done some good things with people, but do I get full or partial credit for that?  I wonder if there’s something else I can get credit for…

Next week we will be talking about the question, “Can I know God personally?” If you know someone who has been asking questions about God, invite them to check out a small group next week or our service next Sunday. The good news for us is not in our experience of God but in the reality of a God who personally footed the bill for us.

Often when I have heard Christians talk about a personal relationship with God, they have followed up that idea with a list of things this relationship fixed about them. Is that what salvation is about? Is it about God fixing us? Or is it about God loving us whether we are fixed or not? Is love about being fixed?

Don’t miss next week’s small groups and Sunday’s service as we talk about our personal God’s deep love for us, maybe even if we’re not interested in being fixed.

Learning to Hustle

This weekend Shelly and I had the pleasure of hanging out with our niece and nephew. Along with fun food, board games, baking and the Texas – OU game we got to attend a first grade soccer game. As all you parents know, this is always an adventure. It was a pretty lopsided game. There was some basic knowledge and skill difference between the two teams, but the element that won the game was very simple: speed. One team was simply faster than the other. The faster team got to the ball first and outran the other team to their goal. Then, it was just a matter of beating the goalie. The frustrating part for some of the parents was that both teams were hustling, so why was one team faster than the other? Hustle makes the difference, but not the hustle on gameday…

The hustle that makes us faster is the hustle that happens the other six days of the week. In his first letter to the church in Corinth, Paul writes:

1 Corinthians 9:25-27
Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

He also tells his younger friend, Timothy:

1 Timothy 4:7-8
Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

How are you working on your hustle? We only become better at the parts of life we work at when it’s not game day. The pressure of the game usually only makes us more likely to drop the ball. Take a few minutes today to talk with God about what’s really important. Then, learn to hustle. If you find you need some help, find someone in our church family who seems to have that part of life figured out. Buy them coffee and ask them to coach you on that area of your life. You’ll probably find there’s something you can help them with, too.

Conversations at the CrossRoads Episode 2

Be part of the conversation with Conversations at the CrossRoads Episode 2!

Faith isn’t just something we believe, faith is a conversation. You’re invited to be part of the conversation in our new podcast, Conversations at the CrossRoads. Sit down with Charles, Cos and our Lead Pastor, Jonathan Atwell, as they talk about faith and life together.

You can be part of the conversation by sending your comments and questions to

In this episode: Current event at CrossRoads Church, meet Home Group Leader, Bob Dvorak and our continued conversation from the book of Joshua: “Why would a loving God wipe out so many people?!”