The Church: Gathered and Scattered

We believe God has planted King's Cross Church in Flushing to be a witness and community of Kingdom Minded, Kingdom People in this city, for this city. 

As we approach summer, I want to invite you to review or for some, explain, our vision of where we are moving as a church this year. I shared at our last town hall meeting how our Congregational Retreat will be vitally important for us to grow in our understanding of how God has and is gathering and scattering us as a people--to accomplish his mission of redeeming creation and doing good for the city.


This year, as we gather once again around the table of God’s great banquet of grace, the Lord of the banquet has disclosed a deep, intimate yearning in his heart. It is not our request, nor is it a man-made vision. Jesus, himself, reveals to us our Father’s great longing: to see his house filled.

The Greek word being used here, gemizo, means "to fill or to saturate completely." Other uses in Scripture refer to pots being gemizo’ed with water, or a boat that is sinking, being gemizo’ed by massive waves. Our Father’s desire is not for what is on the table, but for those who have not yet tasted how good and satisfying the Bread of Life really is!

The Dynamic of "Gathered and Scattered"

We can lay out the vision like this:

We see our Father’s mission and desire is to restore all of creation, the first fruits of which are worshipers who have been captured by the love of his Son, Jesus Christ. The way he moves and stirs us to fill his dwelling place is by this missional movement we see as the Gathering and Scattering of his people with the compelling power of the gospel message. It’s the process of calling us into worship and building up of our faith, and as we’re filled up with the Word, sent out to live and proclaim that same good news.

If you have served in some of these areas before, challenge yourself to go deeper, to bring others with you, and to experience the wonder of God afresh. If you haven't, challenge yourself and consider how you might want to partner and join in with where we see God at work in our community. Here are just a few areas where we invite you to join to consider joining with us:

  • Prayer Walks. As we walk through where we live, work, worship and eat, let's stop and come aware to what God wants to reveal to us.  
  • Sunday Worship. This might seem strange to have here, but we have a very high rate of visitors that non-regular attendees that gather with us every week. How might God be calling you to simply reach out, get to know someone new, welcome someone into your circle, and possibly become a part of their story of how they became a part of this family. 
  • Theology of Work. As we began to think about how much time we spend at our work places and work communities, we saw what an incredible culture-shaping impact it would be to integrate a deep and wide understanding of how God sees us, our work, and how he calls us to an amazing truth about his Kingdom that could transform not only our hearts, but also our workplaces.
  • Congregational Retreat. Our retreat, this year, will be focusing on our vision of The Church: Gathered and Scattered. We've invited pastor Reyne Cabinte, who will be helping us think, pray and worship in the gospel, and challenge us to consider some ways we can compel others to come to the banquet table of grace in our own context. 
  • Summer Saturday Program. Each summer, for 5 Saturdays, we invite children from our community into our lives and hearts as we engage in sharing the gospel through songs, activities, and teaching--often to children who have never heard the gospel before! Our desire is to build relationships with these children and their families, planting seeds of faith that we pray God will grow into a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Ruth: Background and Introduction

Dear King's Cross,

This past Easter Sunday we saw Jesus open scripture and claim that all of it points to him. In other words, if we truly want to know God and have a relationship that brings life abundant--we need to find him throughout the whole of scripture. 

We'd like to invite you to go through a short series in Ruth with us, and see God working and revealing himself throughout each passage in this beloved story of friendship, courage, romance and redemption. 

I'm also including a short intro to Ruth from the New Bible Commentary to help you gain a little context, as many of us may be new to OT literature or need to brush up on Ruth's background. 

-Robert C.


Introduction

It is not difficult to account for the appeal of this short book. As an example of storytelling alone it has outstanding merit, with its symmetry of form and vivid characterization, but above all, it is a book with a message. When Naomi was finding life bleak and pointless, Ruth chose to stand by her mother–in–law rather than leave the older widow to face the journey into the future all alone. Tragedy in Moab led to a happy ending in Bethlehem, and selfless loyalty was rewarded. God overruled events to bring love and security to those who trusted him, while at the same time weaving their lives into his purpose for the world. God remained hidden, but was nevertheless at work in the ordinary affairs of daily life, fulfilling his promises to his people.

    Many attempts have been made to classify the book of Ruth according to the categories of modern European literature. It has been regarded in turn as a novella, an idyll and a historical novel, all of which imply a large fictional element. In an attempt to set the book against a Near Eastern background, other scholars have suggested that it had its origins in cultic mythology, but without producing convincing evidence. The book itself, with its opening words, ‘In the days when the judges ruled’, and its concluding genealogy ending with King David, imply historical and verifiable events. True, it deals with an ordinary family and not with the exploits of the great, but the link between Ruth the Moabitess and King David is not likely to have been invented, for it did nothing to enhance his standing in Israel. Though the writer took great pains to make his book a work of art, he evidently intended it to be accepted as historical. It is a true story, beautifully told, after the style of the patriarchal narratives, where some of the same themes occur, such as famine, exile and return, and childlessness, through which God makes himself known.

Themes

    Famine is the circumstance that caused an Israelite family to migrate to alien Moab. Famine was a recurring event in patriarchal times, causing Jacob and his sons to migrate to Egypt. Enslaved and oppressed, they experienced God’s deliverance, an event remembered annually at Passover (Ex. 12:1-29). In the book of Ruth the same God came to the aid of two needy women, demonstrating his power to bring good out of sorrow, life out of death.

    Marriage is another theme central to the book. It was central in Naomi’s thinking. While she regarded herself as too old for marriage, for her daughters–in–law it was a priority which she urged them to pursue (1:9). The birth of a grandson would give her new zest for life and if, by God’s providence, he could be legally accepted as Elimelech’s heir then her joy would be complete. Ruth, the young widow from Moab who had thrown in her lot with her mother–in–law and had embraced the faith of Israel, assumed that remarriage was not only right and proper but also her express duty. In order that she could provide for Naomi, she needed a husband who would accept Naomi as a member of the family. For that reason her story had to be a love story with a difference, but under Naomi’s guidance it turned out to be even more unusual. She might have married an eligible young man of her own generation, but that would not have solved Naomi’s problem over the family property, nor would it have given an heir to Elimelech. By marrying into her late husband’s family, Ruth brought security into Naomi’s life as well as into her own. Her selfless love mirrored that of the God of Israel, in whom she had put her trust.     The two women dominate the story, but Boaz, a close relative of Elimelech, also had to be willing for new responsibilities. Not only was Naomi expecting him to marry the widow of Mahlon, his relative who had died in Moab, but also to buy property which might not in the end be his. The legal provision favoured the family which had been bereft, ensuring that a son born of the marriage would inherit Elimelech’s property and continue his line. The nearer relative to whom Boaz put the proposition rejected it on the grounds that it endangered his own estate (4:6). Boaz large–heartedly accepted the family responsibility, though it was costly, to the unqualified approval of the elders and people of Bethlehem, who prayed for God’s blessing to prosper his standing in the community and give children to Ruth.

    By the end of the story those prayers were answered more fully than any of the participants could have imagined. Israel’s felt need of a king was to be met after Saul’s death through David, a grandson of the boy called Obed who was born to Ruth and Boaz. David, for all his faults, established the kingdom, built Jerusalem, and inspired visions of the ideal king to come. God took the love and obedience of Naomi, Ruth and Boaz, and wove it into his eternal purpose to show ‘love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments’ (Dt. 5:10). The Messiah was indeed born into this same family (Mt. 1:5-6, 16; Lk. 3:23-31).

    A further theme, implicit in all that has been written thus far, is God’s providential ordering of human life. The author of Ruth could see part of God’s purpose for human history being fulfilled in David; the Christian reader can fit the part into the whole, for God was executing a plan to redeem humankind through great David’s greater son. The author of Ruth was also aware of God’s hand upon the personal circumstances of families and individuals, encouraging them to look back over events and to trace the mysterious outworking of God’s overflowing goodness in their lives. The events speak for themselves. In personal life and in history God was working out his good purpose.

- Joyce Baldwin


Portraits of Grace: Hee-Jung (2 of 2)

Portraits of Grace is a snapshot into the lives of the people at King's Cross Church. As "kingdom minded, kingdom people," we recognize God's work in every detail of our lives. We invite you to meet the people of our church.

The Bible says we need to fight sin to its death. “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” (Hebrews 12:4, ESV) How am I going to be able to fight to the point of shedding blood and break the sinful pattern of anger? Sometimes, I even can’t bite my tongue for two seconds. When I need to make an active choice to not react in anger, it brings forth a bitter agony touching the core of who I am. It hurts. It hurts my ego. I’d rather suffer the consequences. My ego screams, “If I lose, let me lose!” My willful sinfulness is strong and deep, but the Word is clear: If I don’t resist sin to the point of shedding my blood, it will get me. Just as a prominent 17th Century theologian John Owen said, “Be killing sin or it will be killing you.”

I had to admit and confess my desire to be in control of everything and my angry reaction when reality resisted this desire. I confessed this willful, habitual sin against God and against Ben and Eugene (my closest people). Since then, God has continuously brought my sin into light and granted me a new desire to fight and hope for change. I want this sinful anger in me dead. I want gentleness to grow in the place where anger died. In his book, The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis describes God’s unceasing pursuit of holiness in us as his “intolerable compliment.” In his “intolerable compliment,” God pursues us until he accomplishes the good he’s willed for us. God’s unbounding, ceaseless love embraces me and constantly transforms me. How many triumphs have I achieved? Not as many as I would want. The struggle is ongoing. The challenge is present. The battle is still on. But God will love me and be with me until the end (John 13:1; Matt 28:20). I hold on to this truth. And the hope I have in this truth keeps me fighting.


Portraits of Grace: Hee-Jung (1 of 2)

Portraits of Grace is a snapshot into the lives of the people at King's Cross Church. As "kingdom minded, kingdom people," we recognize God's work in every detail of our lives. We invite you to meet the people of our church.

“If I lose, if I lose, let me lose.” Gillian Welch

When I am angry, it feels like nothing really matters but my feeling at the very moment. It feels like my whole being is swept up into one big black hole of anger. Even if I have to lose, I will lose. I want to lose. I am willing to lose. If I lose, let me lose. That’s how I feel when I get angry and how I lose my battles with anger. One of the terrible effects of this sin is I become numb to the people and circumstances around me, insensitive, inconsiderate, incapable of thinking of the feelings of others. I give in to the rushing eruption of this monstrous emotion. In the midst of that moment, losing control of myself doesn’t matter because that’s what I want: I want to sin. When the moment of anger passes, I realize how sinfully I reacted to the situation. I regret. I make my apologies and ask for forgiveness. But somehow it’s too late. The explosion has occurred, the damage is done.

I didn’t realize my anger problem until I married (I have been married for 5 years). During the first year of our marriage, we had to go through a great deal of personality clash. It was tough. Many times, in frustration, I reacted in anger to the challenges we faced, which was having a great and negative impact on our relationship. My anger kept me from having constructive communication with Ben. Thus, our relationship was not growing in depth. I remember Ben called me out one day and told me that I have to seriously reflect on this issue and make changes. At first, I quietly dismissed his advice in my heart because I believed my anger was legitimate. My reasons were not nonsense. My anger was reasonable and even righteous. I was utterly blinded by sin.

Ben’s reminders helped me think about the underlying problems and see the pattern of my sinfulness: how much I enjoy being in control, sought this control through anger, and how much I didn’t want to give it up to God, because having control felt really good. I repeatedly gave in to this false sense of euphoria and power, which was enslaving me. Seeing my sin, even dimly, was only the start, of course, the pattern of sin continued and I struggled and felt defeated by it. One day, my three-year-old son, Eugene, asked me when I was raising my voice in an angry tone, “Are you a good mommy or a bad mommy?” I couldn’t answer. I needed to fight this sin and fight hard. But how?


Today is Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday: the beginning of the Lenten season. We don't officially practice Lent at King's Cross but if you'd indulge me anyway with some thoughts on the season.

For those of you (like myself) who did not grow up practicing this because it was too formal/dry/dead or had the perspective, "Isn't Lent for Catholics?!"... Lent is a season of lament, intended to help the church posture herself in repentance to anticipate the cross (Good Friday) and the resurrection (Easter). Just as we prepare for anything in our lives (wedding, job interview, certification, exam, etc) with practices of anticipation, Lent helps the church prepare together... to form us together. So here is one reflection for us to consider as we anticipate the cross and resurrection:

You may have noticed people in your offices, or on the subway, or walking around carrying the ashen mark on their foreheads. There's a line from one of my favorite psalms that I love: "For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust." (Psalm 103:14)

How often do we live or serve the church on our own strength, forgetting that we are dust, animated by the breath (Spirit) of God? (Gen 2:7) We forget; but David reminds us in the psalm that He knows our frame. God does not forget. The wise sage who authored Ecclesiastes reminds us: "All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return." (Ecc 3:20)

Being of dust reminds us that we live in a neighborhood that lives in brokenness, and we are part of that brokenness that needs restoration. We lament with the poor because we are also poor. We lament with the weak because we are also weak. We lament with immigrants because scripture reminds us we are foreigners who were invited to be natives of the Kingdom.

And in Christ coming, he who lived in perfect splendor came down to be dust with us. (John 1:14) So today, if you are so inclined, join your heart with me and many others all over the world (just as we recite the Apostle's Creed every Sunday), to remember who we are, and that this symbolic smear of ash on our foreheads remind us that we are dust. We lament the state of our lives and the state of our world. But it is being fully immersed in this lament (not trying to avoid it or fast forward it til we get to the "good part") that we can better see the beauty of the life we've been given through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

As we are exploring Gathered & Scattered, how can we lament well and join our hearts *with* and alongside our neighbors? Let us seek to understand and know our community, our church, and those who've been entrusted to our care and friendships.

Prayer:
Lord, remind us by whose power we live and move and have our being. Give us eyes to properly see ourselves and more clearly see the brokenness of our lives and community. And give us hearts of love that models after your heart: that you came and dwelt among people like us. Empower us by your Holy Spirit to show forth the Gospel in all areas of our lives. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.


Dust to Dust, Ashes to Ashes

As of now, King's Cross does not follow the liturgical calendar too strictly. However, both Norman and I wanted to share a few thoughts on this day that many will be observing around the world.

Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent, which is the solemn preparation for the church to move toward the reflection and consideration of Jesus Christ’s passion—especially his crucifixion and then, subsequent resurrection.

The significance of the ash on the forehead, which many “high-church” or liturgically heavy churches practice are demonstrative of the reflection on our own human brokenness. Ashes or dust are commonly poured on one’s head in the bible as a symbol of mourning. Why all the soil and detritus? It’s because of this “earthy-curse” that came from our defiance of everything that God is and loves, we are relegated to a destiny of dust.

Dust to Dust, Ashes to Ashes.

Therefore, by placing the ashes on our foreheads, we’re identifying with the frustration and futility that our one common end will bring. Rich and poor, small and great, we all inherit the same thing in the end... dust and ashes. 

However, while the journey of Lent begins with dust and ashes, it brings us to a much fairer end, a much finer destination which we cannot miss.

The gospel of Jesus Christ tells us that upon Christ’s brow, he bore the symbol of that “earthy-curse” (Gen 3:18,)—a crown of cruel, piercing thorns while he hung on the cross. However, after rising anew, we see the arisen Lord in Revelation 19:12, which says, “and on his head are many crowns...”

Through Jesus’s triumph over shame, sin and death— he’s not simply reversed the curse, he’s greatly multiplied the inheritance we all long for. In Christ, I no longer am destined to dust and ashes as my eternal reward—but he places on my head his own reward and inheritance, it’s often referred to in the bible as “eternal life.”

Is it good to put ashes on our forehead? Sure. But only if it leads you to deeper mourn the brokenness of how the curse of sin has embittered much of which should have been sweet, and ultimately, must lead you to confess yet again, that your only hope and salvation and glory... is in Christ Jesus. 

I’ll leave you with this. The story of the God’s redemption ends with our foreheads—much like how it quickly began with shame and contempt marring the minds and thoughts of mankind. Revelation 22:4, “They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.” What could this mean? It means that better than dust and ashes, better than even a crown—we belong to him. It’s adoption as children of God. He’s kissed his name upon our foreheads, to ever be his beloved children. Thank you Jesus for bearing that crown of thorns on your brow so that we could have blessing on ours.


Portraits of Grace: Caleb

Portraits of Grace is a snapshot into the lives of the people at King's Cross Church. As "kingdom minded, kingdom people," we recognize God's work in every detail of our lives. We invite you to meet the people of our church.

What do you want to be when you grown up?
A car wash man

What do you like to do?
Play with my toy cars

Do you like your sister? 
Yes

Why? 
Because she shares

Why do you go to church?
To worship Jesus

What is your favorite thing about church?
CEM!

Why?
Because I learn more about Jesus

Who is Jesus?
God's son

Do you love Jesus? 
Yes

Why? 
Because he died for our sins


Portraits of Grace: Iris

Portraits of Grace is a snapshot into the lives of the people at King's Cross Church. As "kingdom minded, kingdom people," we recognize God's work in every detail of our lives. We invite you to meet the people of our church.

Over the last few months, I have learned it isn't true that I'm not good at making decisions. Rather, I always want things on my timeline. When clarity doesn't come when I want it, I become anxious and frustrated. I need to keep learning to simply walk with the Father's lead instead of running ahead of Him. The Father is continually working in my heart and preparing me for what He has next. I am excited to see Him continue to bring clarity for my year after furlough, as I wait, I am confident in telling others that I am not sure what is next. Knowing or not, His name will be glorified.


2017 Elected Leader Nominations

Dear King’s Cross,

This has been an incredible season of seeing God’s provision and faithfulness to us a church. We are growing, as is our commitment and vision to the Kingdom here in our neighborhood and city. However, we need to recognize the great importance and role of leadership in the church. In Ephesians 4, the apostle Paul reminds the Church:

“And he [God] gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…”

I am hardpressed to believe there can be any lasting and impactful work done for our Lord and King here in our city, lives, and church, apart from us continuing to truly believe that it is Christ’s will and desire to raise up such leaders as the apostle is speaking of. Therefore, as one of my first pastoral exhortations to you as a congregation, I urge you to take up this weighty matter of discerning those among us who the Lord may be calling to help lead King’s Cross to be truly Kingdom Minded, Kingdom People--that God would receive the great glory and worship he is worthy of in all the earth. 

In Christ,
-Robert C. 


Nomination process

The nomination process is exclusively for members of Living Faith Community Church. The nominations must be submitted in hard copy and must be submitted in person to either Ester Linton between February 19-March 31
We will have forms at the welcoming table on Sundays or you can download and print your own here. For any other questions, please email info@kingscrossnyc.org. 

All nominees will be initially screened for membership and Christian experience requirements. If the nominee qualifies under both categories, they will receive a letter confirming their nomination and the process to follow. 

Once the nominations are in, a personal interview will be set up with the nominee and two elders (for elder nominees) and/or two Diaconate Members) to discuss the appropriateness and timing of their nomination. Nominees will begin training in April once they have been recommended. 

After the training, a personal interview and a group theological and doctrinal interview take place. The Session then votes on each nominee to either recommend or not recommend them to the congregation as officers.

All nominees who are approved and recommended to stand for election will then be voted on by the congregation at the Annual Anniversary congregational meeting. Nominees who are voted in are then installed in February and begin their office on March. 

Qualifications

  • Requirements Nominating a member for either Diaconate or Elder:
    • Nominees should have been a professing Christian for at least (3) years.
    • They should either have been a King’s Cross member for at least (1) year
      • OR a King’s Cross member for at least (6) months with committed regular attendance at King’s Cross for at least (2) years.
    • In order to enter the screening process, a member needs a minimum of (3) nominations is required.

Personal questions to consider

  1. Should I nominate a particular member to be an elder, diaconate at King’s Cross?
  2. Should I accept a nomination to be considered as an elder, diaconate at King’s Cross?

*The following guidelines, though not the final word on the matter, ought to help as you consider these questions.

Five categories of qualifications

  • Calling: Calling is both inward and outward. A candidate should desire to serve and should be recognized by others as possessing the gifts and graces necessary for the task.
  • Character: Though no leader can expect to be perfect, he or she must be exemplary, modeling in a consistent way the character of Christ. 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1:5-9 offer a useful summary of the character qualifications.
  • Competency: God calls elders, and diaconate team to serve in distinct and varying ways. A candidate should evidence the inclination and ability to fulfill that particular biblical role.
    • Elder candidates should be able to equip and care for people spiritually and should know their way around the Bible and be able to teach it. They should be comfortable praying with people in need and should be good managers.
    • Diaconate candidates should demonstrate a practical and caring spirit. They should be willing to serve under the authority of the elders and in such a way as to free the elders to focus on their particular responsibilities. At King’s Cross, diaconate members pray for individuals after services on Sundays, assist in membership interviews, assist in examining diaconate candidates, assist with finances and advocate and care for those in need.
  • Compatibility: Candidates need to understand and fit into the King’s Cross life and vision.
  • Comprehension: Candidates need to understand and accept King’s Cross convictions about theology and church government. This involves commitment to the Bible’s authority, to Presbyterian Church government and to the Westminster standards. 

Training schedule

Training begins in April of each year with the theological and doctrinal class. Both Diaconate and elder nominees attend this training class. It is taught by elders.

After the conclusion of theological training, elder nominees attend a practical skills training class for elders, while diaconate nominees attend a practical skills training class for the Diaconate. Nominee training is held on agreed upon schedule with all the candidates.

Deferments

If a nominee is unable to continue with the nomination process due to time constraints or other life circumstances, they may defer their nomination for up to one year. The Diaconate Director should be contacted and a deferment requested. If the nominee is unable to move forward with the process within the year, they will need to be re-nominated at a later date.


Portraits of Grace: Jeying

Portraits of Grace is a snapshot into the lives of the people at King's Cross Church. As "kingdom minded, kingdom people," we recognize God's work in every detail of our lives. We invite you to meet the people of our church.

I was once told that my life was like the movie Failure to Launch; that like the main character, I had failed to become a “real” adult. This became a source of shame for me as my whole life had been centered around the need to be both intelligent and successful, but here I was- a failure to launch.  The gap between what I had dreamed for my life and what reality actually was is something that I struggled with for years and truthfully, many times, I still see myself through that lens of failure and shame. I'm nowhere near where I thought I should or would be in terms of career, relationships, or life stage, but I'm learning more and more to trust in a good and loving Father.

One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 16:9: "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." I'm struggling with, but seeing that my plans and desires are but a small part of God's plan, and that although I make mistakes, God doesn't. He knows exactly where I am and where I should be in every moment of life, and His plans and timing are way more reliable than mine ever will be. My challenge then, is to strive toward faith- not because faith is achievable by my own strength, but because His heart for me won't waver; to daily become more and more like the "glory-self" that He has made me to be.