Tag Archives: Mount Pisgah

North Atlanta Christmas Festival

If you are in the Atlanta area, make plans to join us for the North Atlanta Christmas festival December 13-15. Now in its 8th season, the North Atlanta Christmas Festival has become the must-see event of the Christmas season. The NACF is a spectacular musical and dramatic display featuring state-of-the-art technology, stage production and choreography along with a 150-voice choir and 40-piece live orchestra. It is sure to captivate the attention of all ages. Come join us this year on a musical journey of wonder and imagination as we experience the best of the Christmas season! For tickets and event times go to www.nacfonline.com and be sure to “like” us on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nacfonline.

 

Continuum: Engaging All Generations

LCI_2014Mount Pisgah is excited to be hosting the Continuum (LCI 2014) Conference on April 28 – 30, 2014. LCI (Large Church Initiative) is an assembly of church leaders and guests from around the nation who lead some of the largest and most influential churches in Methodism in an effort to share ideas and best practices as well as encourage and inspire one another in their respective ministries and callings. It has been my honor to serve on the steering committee of this great conference and carry on the tradition of equipping the next generation of leaders for Christ’s kingdom.

This year will feature keynote addresses from some of the most influential and innovative speakers and writers today. Among these are Mark Batterson, Chip Ingram, Jorge Acevedo, Steve Wood (my pastor), Sharma Lewis and Tim Tennent!  The music and corporate worship times are sure to be inspiring as we are led in worship by Natalie Grant, Jason Ingram and One Sonic Society, the Nelons and the 150 voice Mount Pisgah Worship Choir. We are really excited about the worship and songwriting round table luncheon that we will host with Jason Ingram, Natalie Grant, Jason Clark and more!  This will be a great time for worship leaders to get inside the hearts and minds of some of the leading songwriters of our generation. The conference will be a great time for pastors, their staff and key lay leaders to get refueled and equipped for maximum kingdom impact.

Mount Pisgah is rolling out the red carpet and hundreds of volunteers are already in preparation to make your experience at Mount Pisgah, LCI 2014 and the Atlanta area one that you will not quickly forget. We can’t wait to see you soon!

For more information and to register go to www.LCI2014.com.

Welcome to the new jasoncrosslive.com

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photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/barnett/ ©Creative Commons

Well, I finally got around to a blog overhaul. I haven’t done that in over 4 years and there has been a LOT that has happened since then. We are enjoying a new season of ministry here at Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church in Johns Creek, GA. We have made a new home in Roswell, GA and have met many new friends!  I’ve been waiting for a more convenient time and realized that that wasn’t going to happen. So in typical fashion, I laser focused on it (that sounds better than “obsessed”, but that is usually what I do with creative projects) and just got it done. It’s definitely not perfect, but it’s my little corner of the “intranets” and I trust that if you know me, you’ll at least appreciate my efforts, and if you don’t, well, I trust you find something helpful or useful to your life or ministry. If you’re wondering about the name, well, it’s as simple as “jasoncross.com” was taken (evidently by someone even more “geeky” than myself), the suffix “music” just seamed a little too narrow and, well, “live” was a whole lot better than “dead’, I guess. So there you have it.

I’m always learning and have a strong desire for growth in my life. Most of what you find here will just be things that I’ve found out, stolen, borrowed or begged from someone else (with proper credit of course!) and a few random (none dare call them ‘original’) musings of my own. Some that are way smarter than myself claim that everyone is an “expert” at something. If I am, I’m not sure I have figured that out yet. I have been doing the church music thing for a while, though, and have “discovered” (fancy word for a lot of ignorance and trial and error) some things along the way that I’ll share here. I have had the privilege of studying with some of the best there are in church music and my desire is to simply be a conduit of all that has been poured into me while adding any value that I can to it along the way.

Most of my ministry has been leading multi-generational congregations and helping them transition into a worship environment that attempts to encourage the church as well as be sensitive to the presence of those who may be far from God. Some may call this “blended”, but I just prefer to pursue relevant (contextual), multigenerational worship, whatever that may look like. So with that, most of my “professional” posts will revolve around that topic as well as the fact that I’m a “gadget guy”, a music gear aficionado and producer. I’m also a proud dad and husband of the best girls in the whole world  (btw…WAY too much estrogen in my house–anybody got a mountain cabin I could borrow from time to time?) and they might make their way here every so often too.

Thanks for partnering with me in growth and I hope that we can ask good questions together and encourage each other along the way even if we disagree on the answers. I hope you will leave a comment or fill out the poll below and let me know what you would like to see here. Thanks for stopping by!

Leave a comment by clicking “Read More” below.

Worshipping Through Grief

grief_small_bwWhen we first moved here to the Alpharetta area, one of our members described living here a little like “living in Disney World” and in many senses this is so true. We live in a great community surrounded by beautiful landscapes and the benefits of affluence, hard work and the American Dream. All of us know, however, that no matter where we live on planet earth, there are none of us that are immune to grief. We all suffer loss, whether that be the loss of a business due to a bad economy or the loss of our deepest relationships from disagreements, misunderstandings, or even death. Someone much wiser than I has said, “When times are good, they are rarely as good as we think they are, and when times are bad they are rarely as bad as we think they are.” I really believe that the Scripture would bear this out as well. Our worst of times and best of times will fade quickly compared to the glory that will one day be revealed in us (Rom 8:18). So, with this hope, we rejoice even though we live in a fallen world and even though we see suffering all around us.

Over the last couple of weeks, my heart has shared in the pain of two significant events. A couple of weeks ago, hearing of Rick Warren and family in the loss of their son Matthew to suicide (he suffered from mental illness his entire life)–my heart literally hurt. Rick has been a “pastor to pastors” and has been a pioneer and champion for reaching the unreached and adding value to millions through his books. For any family this would be painful and especially to such a public figure, I knew this would be a tragic loss and one that would meet it’s deal of “haters” from some in the media and mainstream culture. Yet, we have seen the hope of Christ and His Church shine through as many have lifted this family up in prayer and as we have witnessed the testimony of Rick, Kay and the family through social media and personal testimony.

Of course, we all have heard of the bombings in Boston over the last couple of days and our hearts go out to the many families and friends of those that were lost and injured during the blasts. It is so easy to become immune to this as it seems we hear of a bombing somewhere nearly every day. When these tragedies strike so close to home, it is a difficult reminder, however, of the evil that does exist in our world. How can anyone hate that much?

Yet, through the scriptures we also are given several examples of those who also worshipped in the midst of pain.

Job worshipped through grief. Job lived a righteous, God-fearing life. He was blessed by God with a dear family and much material wealth, yet he was allowed to be tested by Satan, who took nearly everything from him, yet Job said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

Hannah worshipped through grief. Hannah was barren and wanted a child with every ounce of her being, yet this blessing was delayed and she was found weeping in the temple yet “They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord” (1 Samuel 1:19).

Jeremiah worshipped through grief. So much so, in fact, he is often known as the “weeping prophet” probably due to a book in the Bible that he penned called “Lamentations”.  The theme of this book is developed as Jeremiah grieves over a wasted and desolate Jerusalem as a result of Israel’s exile. Yet in the midst of all of this he says, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will hope in him” (Lamentations 3:24).

Jesus, of course, knew grief. On the night before His crucifixion, we see Him praying in the garden of Gethsemane and weeping as it were “great drops of blood.”  Yet in the midst of this, he prays, “Not my will, but yours, be done,” and “Father, glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you” (Luke 22:42, John 17:1). We also read in Hebrews where it give us insight into the “big picture” that Jesus was able to keep before Him even despite His great suffering and grief–”Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2).

Like Jesus, may we see the “big picture” and worship through our grief. It doesn’t mean that grief won’t still hurt or that suffering won’t still sting, but it does mean that we know the One who somehow through it all will one day “make all things new”.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:1-5

 

How have you worshipped through grief? What advice do you have for those who have suffered a great loss? Let us know by leaving your comments below.

Looking Back – Looking Ahead

clock_towerThe Christian faith is a paradox of time, possibly like nothing else. It is in this paradox of time, however, that we find great mystery and yet we also find a strong and lasting peace. We can see in Scripture the many times that God’s people have looked back at His faithfulness, and yet, we are “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (Philippians 3:13b).

To really live effectively in the present, it is helpful to have a biblical understanding of the past as well as our future. As we look back, we remember God’s faithfulness, not our failures. As we look forward we press on in the faith and power of the gospel–knowing that Christ has already accomplished for us, what we could not accomplish for ourselves.”O God, Our Help in Ages Past” is a hymn that is a singable illustration of these biblical truths. Originally published as part of The Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament in 1719 by Isaac Watts. It was also later published by John Wesley in his hymnal Psalms and Hymns in 1738.

It speaks of God’s faithfulness in the past as our assurance of His presence and power in the future. Take a few moments this week and write down moments of God’s faithfulness to you. As you take the time to reflect, I believe you will find that though life can often be hard, God is indeed good. No matter what state I may find myself in, I can know that through God’s faithfulness, I am so much better off than I deserve–and you are too!A couple years ago, Tommy Walker did an arrangement of this hymn and added a chorus that really sums the whole thought up well–“O God Your are–You are our Help, You are our Helper! In all generations You will be–forever and ever–Our Shield and our eternal Hope, O Lord! You are the Ancient of Days and worthy of our praise!”.  As we sing this hymn, let’s remember the unfailing love and faithfulness of our Lord…He is good!

*An updated and tasteful arrangement of this hymn can be found at Red Tie Music (www.redtiemusic.com).
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