In this issue: RCL Notes / Parables of Jesus / God is On the Move
LIVING IN "ORDINARY" TIME / FEBRUARY 2019
The lectionary of Sunday readings is a bit like going on pilgrimage with Jesus. During Advent, we are invited to reflect on the coming (and second coming) of the Son of God into our broken and needy world. It is a time of longing and great expectations! Then comes Christmas and Epiphany, when we are called to ponder the awesome mystery of God-with-us. Before long, we will enter into the solemn season of Lent, when we are asked to reflect on our sinfulness, as we anticipate the powerful events of Holy Week.

And now we are in the weeks after Epiphany, a period that some Christian traditions identify as “Ordinary Time.” Anyone who has gone on pilgrimage will recognize this as the “between” time, when you are traveling to the next religious site or preparing for the next spiritual encounter. Sometimes it is a frustrating time. Sometimes it is a time of struggle laced with otherwise unnoticed moments of grace, but it is far from ordinary.

During this “ordinary time” of the church year between Epiphany and Lent, we are invited to reflect on Jesus’ words and deeds as he carried out his ministry among God’s chosen people and beyond. Concerning Jesus’ deeds, you might immediately think of the gospels’ miracle stories. These stories are dramatic and eye-catching. Biblical scholars describe them as evidence of the coming Kingdom of God, when there will no longer be suffering or illness and death, when God’s eternal power will be fully manifest in the world.

Miracle stories are great, but the teachings of Jesus are personally more challenging, because they tell us what it means to be Jesus’ disciples and how to do our part in bringing about the coming Kingdom of God. Sayings like “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:28) and “Give to everyone who asks of you” (Luke 6:30) call us to live justice and mercy in ways that fly in the face of today’s societal norms, especially in the western world. People will think we’re foolish and naïve!

And what about the parables? This is the second large category of Jesus’ teachings as revealed in the gospels. You might think “Yes! They are straight-forward, easy to understand, and enjoyable to read.” But beware! Like Jesus’ sayings, the parables call us to do our part in bringing about the Kingdom, but they make us work for the message. If you read one of Jesus’ parables and you say to yourself, “That was easy. I get it!” you’ve probably missed the point, because parables are riddles. Read more .

Catherine Cory, Ph. D. / Theological Council Member
MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
“…in all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:6

Dear Friends,

I give thanks to God for all of you, because your prayers and gifts to Crossways International ® (CI) this year and in years past have paved the way for CI to now celebrate 40 years of ministry. All thanks be to God!

In recognition of this biblically significant anniversary of 40 years, and in thanksgiving for all of our customers and partners, CI is offering a 40% discount on all Crossways International products for 40 days: January 18-February 28, 2019.

Please be sure to take advantage of this discount and prepare for your church’s instructional year ahead of time! (This 40% discount only applies to CI products. Other authors’ materials are not included in this discount, nor are shipping costs.)

I am writing also to share some important updates with you.

First, you may have heard that Crossways International relocated its operations from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Converse, Texas, in December 2018.

The Board of Directors and I reached this decision based principally on the fact that Minneapolis is the sixth most expensive place to live and do business in the US. Additionally, the remote fulfillment options available in the Midwest were not affordable or available based CI’s limited resources.

CI’s Board of Directors and I recognized that we had reached the point where we could no longer afford to stay in our office at 7930 Computer Ave. With no state income tax and (relatively) temperate weather most of the year, our new location in Texas allows us to stretch our funds further and focus more on ministry–which is our principal goal! Read more .

Your Sister in the Risen Christ,

Kate Silvas
Executive Director
40-YEAR CELEBRATION SALE
ENJOY
40% OFF
40% discount on all Crossways International ® products to celebrate 40 years of ministry

Valid on all Crossways International ®  narrative and topical course materials.
Expires February 28, 2019.
To receive the discount online, add CODE 40% OFF to the comments;
by phone, simply mention this coupon.
VAYA CON DIOS! (GO WITH GOD!)
See Through the Scriptures ® (STS) in Spanish is gearing up to make a trek south of the border. With the assistance of one of CI’s Board members, pastor Jacob Hoyer, CI’s Executive Director is making arrangements for copies of STS in Spanish to find their way into the hands of seminarians in Guatemala.
 
With our proximity to the US-Mexico border and our headquarters in the Hispanic-rich San Antonio region, we are trusting God to help us disperse this fantastic material into the hands of our brothers and sisters who speak Spanish. CI has enough inventory in Spanish to reach, teach and transform hundreds of lives. Praise God!
 
We will keep you posted, but in the meantime, if you’d like to become a Member and be a part of reaching, teaching and transforming lives worldwide—in particular south of the border—reach out to us today! We would love to hear from you!
AFTER 40 YEARS, WE'RE STILL "DOING FEET"
Join us in celebrating 40 years of ministry—and become a Member. Crossways International ® is still reaching, teaching and transforming lives worldwide with the news of a loving God who washes our feet. Become a Member and give of your time, prayers, and financial blessings. You are a vital part of Crossways International—now is the time to wash feet with us!
Follow us on Facebook  for  our new Narrative Connections by Tim Schaefer. They are posted each Monday as an alternate lectionary option.
GOD IS ON THE MOVE!
While everyone was busy with the holidays, Crossways International was crossing the country. Above are some photos of CI's Executive Director and her family busily preparing our new warehouse for our customers.
 
Pictured are Julia Rodriguez, Emilio Silvas, and Brandon Silvas erecting shelves. And yes, Kate Silvas on a skid steer! What a lot of work!

Our New Address and Contact info:

9155 Schaefer Road, P.O. Box 374, Converse, Texas 78109

(210) 774-4094 or toll-free (877) 376-0245

Email address info@crossways.org

The best way to order materials and find resources www.crossways.org
MEET BRANDON
Meet Brandon Silvas, the newest addition to the Crossways International (CI) family. Brandon is our Shipping & Warehouse Assistant and a vital member of our team. A professional warehouse technician, licensed to drive forklifts, and who orchestrated our move-in as a volunteer, Brandon is the brother-in-law of Kate Silvas, CI’s Executive Director. Brandon works full-time for a logistics company in San Antonio and handles fulfillment for CI on a part-time basis after hours. A hard worker and fun to be around, Brandon and his wife Trish live in San Antonio with their two daughters, Ariana and Yalena. In his spare time, Brandon enjoys woodworking and working on cars.
SHARING GOD'S GOOD NEWS
Harry Wendt
REVISED COMMON LECTIONARY NOTES

" When Jesus’ hearers express their rage toward Him, He responds with words indicating that, although His hearers believe that they, as Jews, are God’s genetically special people, in Old Testament times God used Elijah and Elisha to minister to Gentiles, to non-Jews. Elijah ministered to the widow of Zarephath; Elisha ministered to Naaman, a leper from Syria. If Jesus’ audience rejects what He has to say, God will turn His attention to the Gentiles once again. At this, Jesus’ hearers become enraged, drive Him out of Nazareth, and make plans to kill Him by throwing Him off a cliff. ” 

Read the Rev. Dr. Wendt's February 2019 Revised Common Lectionary Notes .
Sponsor a  CI Workshop  in your community in 2019.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Explore how Jesus' audience would have understood 11 of His parables with The Parables of Jesus

This Bible study gives cultural and historical information on some of His timeless parables.
Gain insight into key females
of the Bible by watching the Women in the New Testament DVD .
 
These 6 lectures by the Rev. Dr. Kenneth Bailey cover Old
and New Testament women
leaders, prophets and more.
Visualize the chronology of the Bible with our Time-Line Bookmark

It features the books of the Bible on the reverse side and is great for Bible study and confirmation classes. Discounts on large quantities.
SIGN UP FOR INSPIRATIONAL PASSAGES
James 3:17-18

17   But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.  18   And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace. (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

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  877-376-0245  or email   info@crossways.org .
A PRAYER TO SHARE
Lord of creation, time and eternity, we glorify You for granting us life now—and forever. We thank You for entrusting to us the care of Your creation. Teach us to manage it responsibly, to honor You and benefit all. Grant us peace in knowing You will ultimately welcome us into Your eternal mansion. May this fill our hearts with joy, and our lives with meaning. In Jesus' name. Amen. (From The Parables of Jesus leader's manual)