In this issue:
In Heaven's Name, Why on Earth? / Christians at the Border / RCL Notes
I SIMPLY MANAGE / SEPTEMBER 2018
For the first few years after my college experience I worked as a support-based international missionary. I had to raise all or some of my salary from donors. I became well-practiced at sharing with others how God was working through the ministry to which I was called that they might give sacrificially toward supporting that work. I wanted to communicate the value of the work to help them understand why it was worthy of their contribution.

As a parish pastor, I find that the conversations I have around finances are now quite different. When I speak with church members about the work God is doing through the congregation, it is actually their work. The ask is now less, “give toward this work that you may never see in person” but, “give toward this work with which you are intimately involved.” And now, the member-donors have a much deeper understanding of how those finances are used. As I have learned more about having these conversations with the people who are a part of the Body of Christ within my congregation, I see more and more the value of sound Biblical training in financial stewardship.

In Heaven’s Name, Why on Earth? , the Crossways International publication dealing with financial stewardship, has been a help in my ministry as I seek to train good stewards in my congregation. The main points of the curriculum—God is the owner, I simply manage; All that I do, in every aspect of life, is to the glory of God; and How I handle money is a reflection of how I handle the rest of my life—have offered a platform for conversation with my congregation around who God has called them to be not only in relation to how they support the church financially, but in how they organize their lives in general.

One of the most empowering revelations of the Christian life is that we are used by God for his purposes. That the choices we make are guided and directed by the grand narrative of God’s in-breaking Kingdom. With finances and financial conversations being one of the biggest sources of tension in homes and relationships, it is incumbent on those of us who minister to folks in the midst of life to give them frameworks for understanding stewardship and financial decision-making. There are few resources as simple and as clear as In Heaven’s Name, Why on Earth?

 Pastor Jacob Hoyer / Board of Directors Member
BECOME A MEMBER TODAY
C rossways International ® (CI) is looking for followers of Christ who would like to become Members of CI. A Member is a follower of Jesus who is willing and able to commit time, talent, and treasure to enhance, expand, and extend Crossways International's mission and ministry, and is eligible to serve on the Board of Directors and elect two members of the Board annually . Please click on the below link to access the application.  
FACEBOOK GROUP FOR INSTRUCTORS
Starting September 1, a new and totally FREE online resource is available to teachers of any Crossways International course. Simply log onto Facebook, search for "Crossways International Instructors" and request access to the group. Moderators will grant access upon request.

This closed Facebook group is devoted to answering questions and providing additional support to make the most of your teaching experience in order to better serve your students. 

The group will be moderated by two of our knowledgeable board members who have access to some of our most experienced teachers, including Dr. Harry Wendt. Feel free to enter into dialog with your fellow instructors in the group as we explore the course contents and delve more deeply into the Word.

We look forward to this opportunity to engage with you in a new and meaningful way.  
Follow us on  Facebook  to keep up with all of our latest news and events!
CHRISTIANS AT THE BORDER: IMMIGRATION, THE CHURCH & THE BIBLE / M. DANIEL CARROLL R.
Today, the political and moral landscape of the United States and the developed world have been occupied, and sometimes overwhelmed, with issues around immigration, refugee resettlement, and asylum seeking. These can be deeply emotional issues because of how they affect the social fabric of local communities and how they impact people’s understanding of national identity.

But what are we, who identify ourselves as Christians and who want to live the Word of God in thought and action, called to think about these issues? M. Daniel Carroll’s timely and accessible book, Christians at the Border , seeks to provide us with a non-partisan and faith-based look at these questions. He begins with a short history of migration to the United States, with special attention to the role that religion has played in the formulation of immigration policy and procedures. Chapters two and three focus on what the Old Testament has to say about immigration issues today, specifically, what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God and what the Law and the prophets tell us about hospitality to the sojourner in a foreign land. Chapter four focuses on what the New Testament tells us about welcoming the stranger in our midst. The book is rich with biblical stories that demonstrate these themes, and every chapter ends with a section called “Implications for Today.”

The final chapter entitled “Where do we go from here?” does not prescribe a particular set of actions related to this issue. Rather, it urges us to engage one another in conversation that takes seriously “a biblical and theological framework” from which Christians might contribute meaningfully to modern debates about immigration. In the end, whether you agree with M. Daniel Carroll or not, I think you will find this book to be a compelling and thought-provoking read.

Catherine Cory, Ph.D./Theological Council Member
Check out our  Fall Specials !
DEAR DIARY
Do you wonder about God’s purposes? Who am I meant to be—really? How do I fit into God’s big plan?

Actually, God usually takes a communal perspective, not one that considers only my comfort and hopes. Think about coincidences then. I always call them Divine Connections nowadays. That is why Harry and I are absolutely amazed at God’s plan and timing regarding the appointment of Crossways International’s ® (CI) newly elected Executive Director. After all this time…!

Kate Silvas graduated well prepared to spend 20 years of her life in several roles as a City Administrator in San Antonio, Texas—a long way from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Soon after graduation, her Episcopal priest asked her to teach in his church. “I have had no experience,” she protested. “The best way to learn,” he advised, “is to teach… The Divine Drama.” So, Kate took her leader's package, including the student manual still printed in black and white. She listened to Harry's audiocassettes over and over. And she taught the course. “It changed my life,” she asserts. Many years later, did she ever anticipate what impact it would have on her life?

Meanwhile, the Wendts waited and waited. Harry always asserts, “We have a very tricky God who knows our name and address!” Yes, it is true! God even picks one out of a population of 326,766,748, who is 1,251.6 miles (2,039.04 km) away from Minneapolis, Minnesota, but who has taught CI’s materials. Besides, she has a heart for the Kingdom—a humble devotion to CI’s mission—to following Jesus. The Wendts are amazed, relieved, and thankful to God!

So, pray for Kate and the members of her family and her team—a number of whom are part of the miracle. Indeed; in heaven’s Name, why are we on earth?

Chloris (and Harry) Wendt / Co-Founders
SHARING GOD'S GOOD NEWS
Harry Wendt
REVISED COMMON LECTIONARY NOTES

" No—there should never be a checkpoint at a church entrance, only a welcome point . And while some of CI’s materials suggest placing a 'Servants’ Entrance' sign above the door leading into a worship center, perhaps it would be more appropriate to word that sign, 'Forgiven Servants’ Entrance.' No! We do not invite people to church so that they can “get” forgiveness. Rather, we invite them into our Christian family so that they might learn about the forgiveness that God has been offering to them throughout life! However, God’s goal has to do with more than offering information for the head; it has to do with achieving a radical transformation of the totality of life. His invitation is, 'Believe in My forgiving, saving, servant Son—and follow Him full-time!' ” 

SIGN UP FOR INSPIRATIONAL PASSAGES
Ephesians 4:29

Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. (NRSV)

 To receive a daily inspirational Bible passage like this one, send an email with the subject "Daily Verse" to info@crossways.org or change your email preferences by clicking on the "update profile" link at the bottom of this newsletter and selecting "A Daily Bible Verse."
LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
JOIN A CLASS OR WEBINAR

Looking for a Crossways International ® class near you? Visit our  Class Map for locations and details! Interested in starting your own class? We're happy to help you with planning and promotion. Just call  800-257-7308  or email   info@crossways.org .

You can also join us online! Our  webinars  provide an interactive way to promote discussion and answer questions. They're the perfect resource for leaders preparing to teach a class within their own congregation, and a great opportunity for learners who prefer to study on their own. Click on a webinar below to learn more!

In Heaven's Name, Why On Earth? Webinar September 13: 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. (CST)
Christmas: the Real Story Webinar October 16: 10 a.m. - noon (CST)
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Rethink your understanding of how we manage our lives and resources with In Heaven's Name, Why on Earth?

This three-unit study of Christian stewardship challenges us to manage what belongs to Godthat is, the time, talents, body, and life with which God has entrusted us. 
Gain insights regarding the role of oral tradition in Middle Eastern culture with The Historical Jesus: A Middle Eastern View DVD .

Dr. Kenneth Bailey draws on his experience in the Middle East and makes for absorbing viewing and faith-building discussion.
Inspire thoughts of, "Who is my neighbor?" with the Earth Marble .

These 7/8" marbles are great for incentives, favors, or gifts. 
A PRAYER TO SHARE
Great and loving God, we thank You for teaching us to know You through Your written and Living Word. Empower us to look beyond the things that surround us to the wonders of the heavens above and to the miracle that is each of us. We thank You for providing us with our daily needs. Empower us to look beyond our own needs to the needs of all who live on Planet Earth—a nd to care and share in the spirit of Your Son, our forgiving Servant Lord. In the name of Jesus, Amen. (From In Heaven's Name, Why on Earth? student manual)
FOLLOW US