Have you ever dreamed of an opportunity that you longed to become a reality only to have it fall by the wayside? If not, stick around, because you will. Dreams have a way of fighting against you. Sometimes dreams are not to be because God, in His infinite wisdom, forges a path far better than we could ever conceive or dream of. For years, I have had a dream of starting my own podcast dealing with the issues of the gospel and the transferring of it to the next generation. Somehow time, finances, or other pressing matters took precedent. Even this year found a way to provide many set backs in our attempts to release this new resource. However, through much planning and preparation, the Lord has seen fit, in His wisdom, to allow the release of CrossTalk: ‘The Gospel for Today and Beyond’.
I can hardly believe it’s happening! The Lord has seen fit to allow us – whether big or small – to influence and join the discussion of the centrality of the Gospel and the urgency of the hour to transfer it to the next generation.
You may be wondering: “how will your podcast be any different than the thousands which already do a similar thing?” That’s a good question. Glad you asked. There are two ways that it will be different:
1. The Message
Honestly, I see CrossTalk hitting a niche that has not been served. Don’t get me wrong; there are many quality podcast that serve the purpose of discussing the issue of the gospel. However, our heart is to take it a step further. We want to discuss the implications that it has for our daily lives, challenge everyone to transfer it, and give the call for the next generation to carry the mantle. We want to layout biblically the essential elements of the faith that are important to live out and carry on – not man’s ideas or conjuring, but God’s grace filled truth. We want to bring it back to the centrality of Christ and His work in us – “the hope of glory”.
2. The Platform
Secondly, CrossTalk will provide a unique platform. The show will feature a father and son team as your hosts: Charles Cavanaugh and myself. Dad brings to the table 17 years of pastoral ministry and study. God’s has blessed him with 33 years of marriage to his wonderful wife, Pam. He has also father two sons who – now in their adulthood – are engaging the culture with the gospel. I am equally excited to join my dad on the airwaves. My desire is to pull from what God is teaching me as I study His word on a daily basis. God has given me the joy to journey 12 years in family/church ministry. I am also currently under the mentorship of my pastor. These are not credentials that give us right of passage to speak, but rather experiences that God has used through failure and trials to forge and cultivate a message of the amazing grace of our God.
CrossTalk will release it first episode September 4. You can follow each episode by subscribing to our feed on iTunes or follow our blog at vision4living.org. We look forward to having you join us each week as we seek to grow together in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
When I was boy, I remember the topics of conversation in our home covering many topics. School, work, and chores all took their place around the table, in the car, and in the living room.
But very often, spiritual and biblical matters made their way into our conversations: sermons, theological issues, and witnessing opportunities. We heard my Father speak of witnessing on the job, share thoughts on sermons, and articulate concerns about biblical orthodoxy. It was always clear what his concerns were and where he stood.
Lest you think my Father was a pastor or theologian, I will tell you that he was not. He was a trucker. But his love for God’s Word and interest in spiritual things was genuine and evident. Christ and His Word and the need of others for God’s truth were never very far from his conversation. My Dad was a very ordinary man who possessed a hunger for the things of God. And God used that to instill in me a hunger for the Word and a passion for pastoral and preaching ministry. What these things illustrate to us is that spiritual leadership and vision are a matter of the heart. We cannot communicate what is not in our hearts; at least not effectively and passionately. To have a passion for Christ and His Gospel, we must treasure these things above all else, for “where your treasure is there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). Jeremiah the Old Testament Prophet tried to restrain himself from saying anymore about the truth of God: “But His Word was in my heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with holding it in, and I could not” (Jeremiah 20:9).
You do not have to be a Prophet, preacher, or professor to possess a burning passion for Christ, but you do have to know the reality of Christ and His Gospel in your own life. I am not much on clichés, except as a joke, but it is true that what’s down in the well comes up in the bucket. If you are going to pass on a vision for Christ and His Gospel to the next generation, you must possess it in the depths of you soul, “…for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Proverbs 23:7).
Ask God for such a passion and vision. If there is any hint of such in your heart, cultivate it. Practice heart maintenance, and “keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). In the words of the Apostle Paul, “Meditate upon these things; give yourself completely to them; that your profiting may appear unto all. Take heed to the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this you will save yourself and those who hear you” (I Timothy 4:15 &16). Challenge others with these things and pray that God will work in you and them to touch and change the next generation for Christ, “that the generation to come might know [Him]” and “set their hope in God” (Psalm 78:6 & 7).
For the glory of Christ,
This past Monday, I experienced a first in my life. Along with some local college students and members from my local church, we gathered on a beautiful sun-lit Monday evening on the campus of USI [University of Southern Indiana] to participate in a prayer walk. Our purpose was to pray over the campus and its various aspects of education before the students arrived this week to begin their fall semester. I cannot tell you what a joy it is to be a part of a local church [Westwood] that is intentionally engaging the University that is at its back door with the gospel of Christ. Not only does it have local implications, but it has national implications as well since we have students come from all over the world. As I walked across the campus with one of my elders and a student who goes to our church [he was saved his freshman year – just two years ago] praying over the freshman dorms, I was struck heavily with the incredible opportunity that we have to affect the next generation with the gospel.
But, it did not stop there.
As I prayed with these men, the college student who was with our little band of prayer warriors shared with us his testimony of how he came to Christ. He told of how two young guys [USI students at the time and members of our church] came knocking at his door in the freshman dorm just two years ago. They had come to invite him to a Campus Outreach event. From there, these guys engaged him with the gospel and in the subsequent days and months he confessed Christ as his savior. Honestly, I could go on about other current and former students who have come to know Christ in similar ways. These stories have been building in my heart and mind over the last several months to a point of conviction for me as I hear the stories of these students.
I am convicted by their willingness and their completely unashamed intentional steps to share their faith with those God has placed in their sphere of influence. I have had to ask myself: what am I doing to share my faith with those around me? And the answer has been a negative.
Oh, I proclaim the joys of the gospel and the need to understand it from a biblical perspective. But am I really engaging others to share the gospel? Not really. Not consistently. Furthermore, if I am desirous to challenge and affect the next generation of gospel believers, then I must realize a key element is sharing it with a generation who does not even know Christ. There must be an attitude from me that does not underestimate and is unashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is commonly known that my passion is to see the next generation grab ahold of the gospel; however, it was the next generation [college students] that showed me my urgent need to share the gospel with the lost around me. Life lessons can come from the most unexpected places and that has happened to me this past week.
We are excited to introduce to you the next episode in the series ‘Is Church Important?’ Building up to P4C13, we are working to develop the concept of the importance of the local church from a personal level – interviews with real people from a real local church. Why? Because this year’s theme is ‘The Body: God’s Plan for the Local Church’.
This episode is an interview with Hilary Scheller, a recent college graduate, librarian, and active church member at Westwood Church, home church of the Cavanaugh family. Hilary explores the question, ‘Why Church is Important?’
I have been traveling on short-term mission trips to multiple countries for almost 10 years now. Each trip has been an adventure and each one has taught me something about the character of God. In fact, there is not a trip where I have not come away a changed person. However, I never really gave much consideration to the sovereignty of God and short-term missions. Oh, I assumed that God was sovereign and believed it to be so but never took the time to view every detail of what was going on around me as God ordained. I guess there is a first time for everything. We can leave the discussion of what makes short-terms missions trip affective for another day, but today I want to share with you something God did in my life this past trip to Ecuador.
I have been traveling to Ecuador for the last four years every summer. I have had the incredible opportunity to serve and work with a group of faithful pastors in that country, which I would not trade for anything. We have labored together in the gospel in both equipping and discipling the churches of this beautiful country. Many children have heard the gospel proclaimed to them and some have come to know Christ through faith. Sunday school teachers have been trained. Laymen have been built up in the faith. Christ’s kingdom has been furthered by gracious blessings upon our efforts.
Each trip has been different and incredible in its own right. God has put together teams who have served tirelessly with faithfulness to the work that has been set before them. I have had the privilege of leading them along the way as we saw God glorify Himself in numerous ways.
My desire in every trip has been to point the team and those in the country to the matchless person of Jesus Christ. But this time, something else happened. Upon looking back on my recent trip, I am realizing that God was magnifying and exalting Christ in my own heart and mind. Yes, things were very different than in previous years. There were significantly less kids at this year’s camps then in any previous years. The children seemed more rowdy than usual. Multiple circumstances took place that I could do nothing about. I encountered counseling opportunities that I never dreamed would cross my path. The trip was different. The people seemed different. Nothing seemed as it had been in previous years. And why was this so? I could not seem to put my finger on it. And then I realized. I am not in control. God was orchestrating the events and circumstances on this trip – as he has and always will. But this time, I saw it in a fresh light. I realized in a magnificent way that it was not about my expectations or me, but it was about what God was sovereignly working to accomplish for the sake of the gospel. And I was there to be a part of it – to make decisions and plans only as the Lord directed my steps.
I was meant to be in Ecuador which means everything that happened was meant for me to experience and that is an encouraging thought. I leave you with one last thing: if God is not completely sovereign then life is completely hopeless. This is what Ecuador taught me about the sovereignty of God.
Though I could not swim, I stepped into the gradually deepening water of the lake. I slowly walked away from the shore. What would it be like to wade up to my chest? Not bad. Maybe just a little farther; up to my shoulders. I was facing the shore but gradually moving backwards. Now I was to my chin, and the water was near my mouth. Something strange began to happen. It felt like a current was pulling me away from shore. I was on my tiptoes, and I could not seem to control where I was going. I was frightened beyond words; words which could not come out. I was desperate and helpless. I thought I was a goner.
Of course, I did not drown, but it was a close call. Standing as high on my toes as I could, I pulled my arms through the water, pushing myself forward until I could stand on firm ground. Then, shaking with fear and relief, I walked to the shore. While that sense of desperation did not leave immediately, I was grateful to be alive.
Perhaps you have had such an experience, a time when the impossibility of the situation left you desperate. It can be frightening, or worse. How vulnerable we are, and how dangerous life can sometimes be.
And so it can be with parenting. At first, the initial thrill and excitement outweigh any foreboding. There is nothing quite like this. “I have begotten a child.” But it is not long until your thought becomes,”What have I gotten myself into?” Conscientious Christian parenting is a daunting task. Being the spiritual leader of a Christian home is daunting, even impossible.
How do we build a Christ-centered home? We must define our target and aim for the bull’s eye. We must press toward the mark and put ourselves completely into the work of building a Christ-centered home. But we must quickly and consistently embrace the desperation of impossibility. As Christians, as parents, and as pastors and church leaders we are always cast upon the God we seek to please. And we come to know and are continually reminded that, “Unless the LORD builds the house, we labor in vain who build it” (Ps. 127:1). At the risk of sounding absurd, desperation is only bad if it leads us to despair, but it is profitable when it drives us to our Lord.
I have been reminded recently that this process never ends. Even as the Father of adult sons, I am still building(though in a different way) and still cast upon The Lord to build. I am in a spiritual venture with my Lord, and I am very much the “junior partner”. I am often left helpless, with nothing to do but cast myself upon Christ my Rock.
Do you need a list of saints to assure you that you are not the only one? There is Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joseph, Nehemiah, David, Jeremiah, Peter, and Paul. Even Christ was finally and ultimately cast upon the Father.
A list of how to’s is not your answer. A loving dependence on Christ and His grace is both the beginning and the path to a Christ-centered life and home. May our Lord lead us there and keep us there through the desperation of the impossible.
Looking to Christ,
What a wonderful weekend the Lord gave me! I am reminded of the verse: “…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). I had the privilege of spending quality time with two of my favorite people this weekend – Dave and Becky Cavanaugh. Not only are they family, but we also have been very close friends for years, even before I entered the Cavanaugh clan.
I am writing on the tablet of my heart of the gratefulness I have for these two folks. They have invested in my life and they have stuck closer to me than “a brother.”
They came to visit Charles and me while coming to our family reunion. These are the kind of friends that, even though I do not see them all the time, we can pick back up right where we left off – a friendship that fits like a glove; like a cool drink of water that satisfies my thirst.
What a blessing I have been given by having Dave and Becky in my life. We have laughed, cried, and shared so much together. This friendship is true richness in a society that is so greedy and focused on material gain. Do you invest in people when your lives come together from time to time so that you can say with the Scripture in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend”? I am so grateful for this weekend of iron sharpening my countenance.
Purposeful friends remember all about you and are a blessing in small ways. My dear friends brought me pumpkin doughnuts all the way from Circleville, OH – the best doughnut and my all-time favorite. “Just a little thing,” you say. But I think of how Christ loves me and is always doing even little things in my life.
So… as the weekend draws to a close, I say goodbye to the precious times I have had to laugh, care, and share together. I put the extra doughnut in a zip lock bag and place it in the freezer. I want to be able to savor the treasure and it will remind me of how much I treasure the time spent with my dear friends Dave and Becky. I savor their friendship and anticipate spending eternity together sharing, caring, and praising the Lord.
And I am convinced there will be pumpkin doughnuts in heaven… Just sayin’. I savor the thought! :-).
[Image courtesy of Marcus/FreeDigitalPhotos.net]
The team is just a few days away from returning home after a full trip.
They kicked off their last week with a bonfire on the beach Saturday evening with the youth from the local church in Esmeraldas. The kids loved Micah!
Before the team took off for kid’s camp, Daniel had the opportunity to speak at the Sunday morning church service on the topic of discipleship.
Camp week was fun, full, and exciting. One of the older boys trusted Christ for salvation. Praise the Lord! Please pray that the other children continue to think on the truths that they heard and that their hearts will be turned to Christ.
Please also pray for strength for the team to finish the trip strong and for safe travels for everyone as they return home.