5 things you lose when you give up your hymnals

March 31, 2017 by admin  
Filed under Miscellaneous, newsletter-miscellaneous

My (very traditional) church just recently installed two 80-inch screens in the sanctuary. One is in the front, for the congregation to see, and the other is in the rear of the church facing the choir.

The decision to install the screens came after a “Technology Committee” met periodically for three years to determine what technology best suited the church’s needs, then pitched the idea of screens to the congregation, who voted to spend thousands of dollars on the project.

The screens are now used to scroll church announcements before the service begins, to display Scripture as it is read, to show photos of mission trips and service work, and can be used to play videos that complement the sermon.

There is one thing the screens do not do: Show the lyrics of the hymns we sing.

It would certainly be possible for the video screens to display the lyrics of “Amazing Grace,” “Blessed Assurance,” and “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” but they won’t because the church found it of utmost importance to continue to use our hymnals.

A physical copy of a hymnal might not seem that important when you can display the same words of a song on a screen. However, when we cast aside our copies of hymnals in favor of technology, we lose more than some dusty old paper.

Blogger Tim Challies writes that his church is one of the many that has put away their hymnals for good. And while this is not inherently sinful or wrong, he points out that there is value in taking note of what is lost when technology takes the place of tradition.

1. You lose an established body of songs.

Challies writes, “Hymnals communicated that a church had an established collection of songs. This, in turn, communicated that its songs were vetted carefully and added to its repertoire only after careful consideration. After all, great songs are not written every day and their worth is proven only over time.”

There is something to be said about having songs documented for years and generations. Another church I attend uses the PowerPoint method, and while I truly enjoy the songs, I couldn’t even tell you most of the titles (and I am on the worship team!).

2. You lose a deep knowledge of your songs.

“As we add new songs with greater regularity, we sing old songs with less frequency. This reduces our familiarity with our songs so that today we have far fewer of them fixed in our minds and hearts,” Challies writes.

New songs are great, but that doesn’t mean we should lose the old ones. When the old ones are catalogued in hymnals, they are less likely to be forgotten altogether.

3. You lose the ability to do harmonies.

This is the reason that my church said that our shiny, new screens would not be used for singing. We are a church that still reads music and harmonizes. The congregation as a whole felt it was important that we keep this part of our identity, despite introducing our church to the 21st century.

As Challies says, “Hymns were most often written so they could be sung a cappella or with minimal instrumentation. For that reason, hymnals almost invariably included the music for both melody and harmonies and congregations learned to sing the parts.”

4. You lose the ability to sing skillfully.

With the loss of the hymnal comes the loss of reading music. And with the loss of reading music comes meager worship.

“We tend to compensate for our poorly-sung songs by cranking up the volume of the musical accompaniment. The loss of the voice has given rise to the gain of the amplifier. This leads to our music being dominated by a few instrumentalists and perhaps a pair of miced-up vocalists while the larger congregation plays only a meager role,” Challies writes.

5. You lose the ability to have the songs in your home.

Challies says, “Hymnals usually lived at the church, resting from Monday to Saturday in the little pockets on the back of the pews. But people also bought their own and took them home so the family could have that established body of songs there as well.”

My parents still have a hymnal in their home, even though their church switched to screen-singing years ago. I would often (badly) bang out the tunes on the piano, but my grandmother (the church organist) would play them as they were intended to be played. But the loss of the hymnal would make family worship look very different today.

As I said before, your church has not sinned if you’ve already packed away the hymnals. As long as you are still singing and worshiping God, you’re obeying Scripture.

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” (Psalm 100:1-2)

- cross walk

Are you actually a Christian?

How many people do you know who identify as Christian, yet lack any real sense of living for Christ? We all know, and pray we are not, the type. They call themselves Christians if asked what their religious preference is, but when you examine their lives, there’s little evidence of this.

An ABC News poll says that 83% of Americans identify themselves as Christian.1 That is a staggering number. When you consider the issues of our nation such as poverty, racial strife, political division, divorce rates, unwed pregnancies, and the list could continue, it is head-scratching to consider that over 8 out of 10 Americans would say they are Christian. How can this be the case?

We live in a culture that’s guilty for knowing things about God without any real love for God. Many people can recite things they have heard about God, or learned growing up. People can speak about God being powerful, all-knowing, loving, forgiving, or any number of other qualities. But how many of those people actually love God? How many of the 83% of Americans who claim to be Christian have any affections for the Christ of Christianity? How many love Jesus?

Evidence of Fellowship and Love

In Matthew 7, Jesus makes it clear this issue is a real problem. In verses 15-20, Jesus is coming near the end of the Sermon on the Mount; he warns those claiming to be something, but not bearing the fruit of what they claim to be.

Healthy trees bear good fruit. Diseased trees bear bad fruit. You will recognize who is real by their fruits. This emphasis is also covered in Luke 6. There (vv. 43-45), Jesus highlights that a tree is always known by the kind of fruit it produces. Figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor grapes from a bramble bush. Whatever the tree is will determine the kind of fruit it bears.

Genuine Christians will bear corresponding fruit. There will be evidence that we are in Christ.

In the same way, genuine Christians will bear corresponding fruit. There will be evidence that we are in Christ.

One of the greatest is our desire for fellowship with God; we want to draw close to him. Another fruit is radical, life-giving joy. As we walk in fellowship with him, we experience the highest and most satisfying joy available to our hearts (Psalm 16:11; John 15:11). Another fruit we exhibit is love for Christ, genuine affection for him. We see him as the treasure above all treasures, worth losing and leaving everything to attain (Matthew 13:44; Philippians 3:7-9).

When you look at America, do you see 83% of the people overflowing with those fruits? Do you see love for Christ, abundant joy, or eagerness for fellowship with God? No, you don’t. That is because we have made Christianity less about loving God and more about knowledge of God.

Evidence of the Gospel

Again, in Matthew 7:21-23, following the tree and fruit teaching, Jesus continues by explaining how many on the Last Day will appeal to their beliefs (“Lord, Lord”) and behaviors (“Did we not…”), only to hear the key was knowing him.

Knowing Christ and being known by him is how we inherit the kingdom of God.

Beliefs and behaviors alone (“alone” is the key word here) cannot save. Unfortunately, we often promote these two things as “the gospel” in our churches:“Believe the right beliefs, and you’ll be saved. Behave and get your life together, and you will be saved.”

But these are false. Beliefs and behaviors matter, but in their right context. Beliefs matter because we are not free to make up views of God and dictate our versions of morality. Behaviors matter because they are evidence of what kind of tree we are. They are the fruit of salvation, not the root.

What is the root of the gospel? Jesus came into the world to pay the debt we could never pay. He died on the cross as our substitute and resurrected three days later. Our sins were atoned for through his shed blood. He drank dry the righteous wrath of God at Calvary’s hill. We become recipients of this amazing love and grace when, upon hearing this good news, the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see it, and in seeing it, we put our faith in Christ alone.

This not only gives us union with God (legal status change), but communion with God (relationship status change). The fruit of being a Christian is not that you have believed the right facts of the Bible—for even the demons do that (James 2:19). But true Christians exhibit the fruit of loving the God who saved us and show the joy that is found only in walking with him.

The Fruit Tells the Truth

Thomas Watson, the puritan preacher of old, once wrote, “Knowledge which is not applied will only light a man to hell.” There are too many in our country today who profess to be Christians, but their lives do not show fruit, for a tree is known by its fruit.

Are you and I exhibiting the fruit of a true Christian?

  • Let the absence of these fruits send you to Christ. Beseech him to show you mercy for the lack of fruit, and plead for his grace to do this work in your heart.
  • If you are in Christ, make fellowship with God your highest priority. Seek him daily. As we abide in him, we will bear much fruit (John 15:4-5).

- cross walk

Praying through your pregnancy

March 15, 2017 by admin  
Filed under Miscellaneous, newsletter-miscellaneous

Expecting. Pregnant. With child. In the family way. A most exciting time!

With doctor’s appointments, an expanding abdomen, ultrasounds, and baby showers, the focus of baby’s development is dominated by her physical growth. But she is progressing more than that. Just as her body grows daily in your womb, so her spirit is learning from the Lord.

We all know the promises of Psalm 139, but the Bible contains many more assurances for unborn children. Father is intricately involved in the development of your child. He is the giver of life, forming and protecting her.

The following is certainly not an exhaustive list, but comprises of scriptures that will encourage a pregnant mother. They demonstrate the God has his hand on your baby while she is in the womb. You might like to pray through these verses as you are pregnant and claim these promises. Whether you are mother-to-be, grandmother-to-be, Aunty-to-be, or happy friend, your prayers make a difference in her tiny life.

The Gift of Life

After all, God is the one who gave life to each of us before we were born (Job 31:15, CEV).

God is the giver of life. Life is not the result of chance. It is not an accident or fluke. Life comes about because God gives. He grants life to each baby before birth. Your baby has been filled with his life.

Commissioned by Heaven

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5 NIV).

Baby has a destiny. More than that, she is commissioned by heaven. She is set apart to declare the Lord’s plan to the nations. She is known by the Almighty and marked for him. She is chosen and loved. A pregnant woman does not carry just another baby, she carries one appointed by the Lord for greatness.

Formed by the Lord in the Womb

This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself (Isaiah 44:24 NIV).

Father sees baby in the womb. He listens to her heartbeat. He shapes her delicate parts and forms her perfectly. There is no need to worry about deformities or abnormalities. His hands gently mould her beautiful life, body and spirit.

Wonderfully Complex

He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love (Ephesians 4:16 MSG).

Every part of baby’s body fits together perfectly. All the intricate and complex parts, fashioned by God. Her whole body is healthy, growing, and full of love. I especially like that she is full of love. As her body is formed, God says that he is also filling her with love. More than anything, I want my children to be full of love. I don’t know about you, but it is the most important part of growth to me.

Taught of the Lord

I will teach all your children, and they will enjoy great peace (Isaiah 54:13 NLT).

But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there (Psalm 51:6 NLT).

God is the ultimate teacher. He teaches us our entire life, beginning in the womb. Father teaches babies wisdom even there. Though humans are born with a sinful nature, God gets a head start by teaching children his ways in the womb. Your baby is wise with the Lord’s wisdom the minute she pops out. Wow! And a by product of learning from the Lord is great peace. Baby is peaceful. What mother does not want that?

Filled with the Holy Spirit

At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke1:41 NLT).

If Elizabeth was filled with the Spirit, her womb was too. No wonder John was such a powerhouse, he was soaked in the Spirit before he was born. Just as the Spirit bathed John, your baby is surrounded immersed in the presence of God. The Holy Spirit is intimately acquainted with her already. How awesome!

Sheltered with His Wings

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: he alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection (Psalm 91:1-4 NLT).

Lastly, baby is sheltered in the wings and feathers of the Lord. Baby is cradled in soft, beautiful feathers of protection. The womb is a safe place, a cocoon of protection. Protected from every deadly disease. Safe from harm. No wonder some babies never want to leave (well, at least my babies)! The womb is the ideal place for baby to flourish. Growing in stature, and growing in spirit, from the moment of conception.

- cross walk

There is no such thing as a fatherless child

March 8, 2017 by admin  
Filed under Miscellaneous, newsletter-miscellaneous

“He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.” (Malachi 4:6 NASB)

According to the latest statistics, approximately 24 million children in America live apart from their biological father; but that may not mean they are all completely fatherless. Please hear me when I say I am writing this with the utmost sensitivity and am in no way attempting to demean or put less value on anyone’s current situation. I’m all for finding ways to keep dads involved in the lives of their children and encouraging single moms who are parenting alone! Still, I believe the word “fatherless” gets thrown around too quickly in many situations, without putting the hard effort into understanding or assisting the bigger picture.

He May be Around

Just like many other scenarios, there are usually two sides to a story. Many times there are good, loving fathers who want to be involved to a greater degree in their children’s lives… but are hindered by barriers such as spiteful moms, courts, or even distance. In fact, I can name several men right now who would love to have more time with their children but are unable to do so because of the actions or decision of another person. Encourage the dads who may be in an uphill battle when it comes to custody; and speak truth when applicable about the need for both parents in a child’s life. Single parenting brings in brokenness, and often that brokenness turns to bitterness. Where can you step in to bring Christ’s love and truths into a situation like this?

Stop Condemning and Start Addressing

In our book The Daddy Gap, I make the following statement: In his Law of Motion, Sir Isaac Newton teaches us that “an object in motion will continue in motion unless acted upon by an outside force”. It does not matter how long a man [goes without a father], the fact is that he will continue down an unnatural path of despair unless acted upon by an outside force—that force being another man or God Himself.

It’s easy for us to throw a deadbeat label on someone, without giving much effort to get messy and involved in their life. I don’t believe every dad who is doing the bare minimum or on the fringe is a lost cause… but who is going to go get him? Look at the three parables Jesus tells in Luke 15. They all address two very important themes: the lost are found and sinners coming to repentance. Better yet, there is celebration for all of those involved. Granted, we all make mistakes, but a dad in a situation that is less than ideal is no more qualified for salvation than anyone else. We have the tools and resources as believers to go get them—which is exactly what we should be doing.

Spiritual Fathering

If a child’s biological father is not an option at all, father-figures such as a grandpa, uncle, or family friend can surely step in. Often, just having a strong male role model around sets a great example for a child to look up to. He fills a very necessary void. Behind ministering to single fathers, my greatest passion is mentoring—and I will continue to preach this message until every child in need of a mentor has one. A minimum of one hour a week is all it takes to make a huge difference in a child’s life. Ladies, do you have the heart to mentor a young lady who may need some extra encouragement? Men, are you willing to stand in the gap on behalf of a boy who desperately needs your presence in his life?

Cast Your Nets

When it comes to building fathers up and investing in kids without a dad in their life, we can do better. As the body of Christ, we have an awesome opportunity before us. What does this look like in your own community? Honestly, I cannot say. I realize everywhere is going to be different when it comes to resources, manpower, and demographics. Forget about what it may look like right now and how convenient it’s going to be—but envision how our world would be changed if we had a revival of fatherhood. There is no shortage of where we can go with this, just be prepared for a net-breaking haul when done the Lord’s way.

- cross walk

What is Lent: Honoring the sacrifice of Jesus

March 5, 2017 by admin  
Filed under Miscellaneous, newsletter-miscellaneous

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry. Matthew 4:1-2

What is Lent – A Time Set Aside

Just as we set aside time to spiritually prepare for Christmas Day, it makes sense to set aside time to prepare for the two most important days of the Christian year. Lent is a time that offers us an opportunity to come to terms with the human condition we may spend the rest of the year running from and it brings our need for a Savior to the forefront. Like Advent, Lent is a time to open the doors of our hearts a little wider and understand our Lord a little deeper, so that when Good Friday and eventually Easter comes, it is not just another day at church but an opportunity to receive the overflowing of graces God has to offer.

But unlike the childlike joy associated with the season of Advent, with it’s eager anticipation of the precious baby Jesus, Lent is an intensely penitential time as we examine our sinful natures and return to the God we have, through our own rebelliousness, hurt time and again. Lent is also an opportunity to contemplate what our Lord really did for us on the Cross – and it wasn’t pretty. But ultimately, the purpose of Lent does not stop at sadness and despair – it points us to the hope of the Resurrection and the day when every tear will be dried (Rev. 21:3).

And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:33-49

Although the nature of suffering is not one that offers itself to easy explanations or pat answers, the answers we seek seem to make the most sense in light of the Cross. There is nothing in the world – no religion, philosophy, or material comfort – that offers such a powerful answer to life’s toughest questions as the two slabs of wood on which our Savior died.  Although I was drawn to Christianity in search of joy, it’s the Cross that keeps me coming back day after day, year after year. It is this time of year, known as Lent, that I am reminded of what Jesus did for me.

When I look into the eyes of our suffering God, I’m in awe – suddenly the complexity of our Lord, the love of our Lord, the humanity of our Lord shows through. I realize God is not just some nebulous energy source or a grandfather sitting in the clouds – He is so much more. The Cross is where our faith stands when all other faith’s fail. Christ’s sacrifice and his subsequent resurrection are the true “cruxes” of the Christian faith. Without one there would be no salvation, without the other, no hope. This is why Good Friday and the following Easter Sunday are the most important dates on the Christian calendar – even more so than Christmas.

How Lent Started

So where does Lent come from, and how do we “do” Lent? The Lenten season developed as part of the historical Christian calendar and is typically celebrated by Catholics and some mainline Protestant churches that follow a liturgical calendar. Although its format has varied throughout the centuries and throughout different cultures, the basic concept remains the same: to open our hearts to God’s refining grace through prayer, confession, fasting, and almsgiving as we anticipate Holy Week. Lent traditionally lasts forty days, modeled after Christ’s forty day fast in the desert, and ends on Good Friday. In the Western Church, Lent officially begins with a reminder of our mortality on Ash Wednesday (this year, falling on March 1st).

Practicing Lent Today

As with Advent, you can benefit from celebrating Lent even if your church does not formally do so. Here are some of the key elements of the Lenten season, along with some of the symbolism that comes with it. Many of these practices can be celebrated both individually and as a community:

  • Purple: Like Advent, the official color for Lent is purple. Usually, churches that celebrate Lent choose the deepest, darkest shade of purple for this special season. They may also strip their churches bare of some of the usual decorations adorning the walls. Purple is the color of repentance for sins and also symbolizes the state of our souls outside the light of Christ. During this time, pray for those who do not know Christ and for those who have sinned gravely against Him.
  • Confession: As mentioned above, Lent is a penitential season, even more so than Advent. The 40 days are set aside to really examine areas of recurring sin in our lives that prevent us from being conformed to God’s Will.

    Keep in mind the idea here is not to be overly scrupulous or to deceive yourself into thinking you can earn heaven through your own goodness. The goal is to honestly examine your life in light of God’s Word and to make a commitment to change in any areas you have not submitted to the Lord. A good way to start an examination of conscience is by praying Psalm 139, verse 23-24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Then, hold up your life to the Ten Commandments. Confess, perhaps even to your pastor or an accountability partner (James 5:16), the ways you’ve sinned against God, thank Him for His forgiveness, and ask Him for the grace to change.

  • Fasting and Prayer: Fasting is a practice that has really gone by the wayside in many Christian circles. Yet, if done correctly, it can be a powerful time of renewing your relationship with God. Fasting can be found in both the Old Testament and the New, with Moses (Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 9:9,18 ), Elijah (1 Kings 19:8), and our Lord (Matthew 4:2) all participating in 40-day fasts. Fasting is a way of denying ourselves the excesses of life so that we might be more attuned to the Lord’s voice. It is also a way of disciplining yourself, strengthening your “spiritual muscles” so to speak, so that when temptations arise in life, you are already used to saying “no” to your desires. And finally, fasting is also a way of participating, in a small way, in the sufferings of Christ and can be particularly powerful when accompanied by prayer and confession.

    A word of caution: although fasting can be a wonderful spiritual exercise, it is also an easy one to abuse. Make sure that when you fast, you do not deprive yourself so much that you do harm to your body. Fasting should only be practiced by adults and mature teens. Also, take into account any medical conditions or nutritional needs when deciding what and how much to abstain from (I recommend consulting with a doctor and/or spiritual advisor before undertaking a serious fast). On the spiritual front, Jesus warns us to guard against pride while fasting (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18).

  • Meditating on Christ’s Sacrifice for Mankind: In addition to periodic fasting and prayer, our scriptural meditations typically turn to the salvation offered to us through Christ’s suffering. Read Old Testament Scriptures prophesying the suffering of Christ and the New Testament Gospel accounts.
  • Charity/Almsgiving: A very important element of the Lenten season is becoming aware of not only the suffering and sacrifice of Christ but also to the suffering of others. Between now and Good Friday, choose one way you can increase your giving to those in need. It could be through extra financial offerings, donating goods you no longer need or use to charity, or increasing your personal time commitment to a ministry or cause close to your heart.

Lent is a time when Christians separate from the world; when we find out our faith is not just a feel-good, self-help religion but one that answers the deepest questions of life and eternity. Those who journey through the Lenten season will enter the Easter season with an increased appreciation for who God is and what He has done for us. And the joy of Resurrection, as well as the promises of eternity, will not be soon forgotten.

Bible Verses for Lent

Philippians 3:10-11 – “I want to know Christ, yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participate in his sufferings, becoming like him in death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Joel 2:12-14 – “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate.

Matthew 6:16-18 - “when you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites…but when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

- cross walk

3 Christian messages from the lego batman movie

February 26, 2017 by admin  
Filed under Miscellaneous, newsletter-miscellaneous

I don’t think anyone ever doubted The Lego Batman Movie would be a success. When the Dark Knight first appeared in 2014’s The Lego Movie, he gave fans a performance they never knew they wanted. It only made sense that the loveable, brooding crime-fighter (expertly voiced by Arrested Development’s Will Arnett) would return for his own adventure in the universe of bricks. What perhaps did surprise viewers was the depth of the movie. Over at the Christian Post, Michael Foust noted how in-between the laughs and the inside jokes, The Lego Batman Movie contained a number of valuable lessons specifically aimed at Christian audiences.

You can read Foust’s insights below, along with several observations of my own,

Don’t Neglect the People Closest to You

One of the funnier plots in The Lego Batman movie is how the Joker feels neglected by Batman. They’ve been enemies for how many years? And he still doesn’t appreciate him?! The sentiment is apparently shared by other members of Batman’s rouges gallery, who ultimately team up after they conclude the daring crime-fighter is showing them the appreciation they’re due. This would be bad enough, but it turns out Batman has also been neglecting his friends as well.

It’s easy to take the people in our life for granted. As Christians, it’s vital we remember our Church communities are built on the fellowship of believers who support one another. Instead of retreating into your own world, remember that God designed us to live and learn together (Hebrews 10:24-25, Romans 12:4-5, Psalm 133:1).

A Self-Absorbed Life is a Miserable Life

“How is it possible to be a superhero and selfish, too? I’m not sure, but Batman fits the mold. Sure, he fights crime, but he also thinks too highly of himself.”

“‘If you want to be like Batman, take care of your abs,’ he tells kids.”

“Asked who his No. 1 enemy is, a jealous Batman answers quickly: ‘Superman’ — even though they’re on the same side.

“Later in the film, we see a happy Superman laughing and dancing with friends and a confused Batman wondering why he wasn’t invited to the party. Perhaps Superman should have invited him — that’s another topic — but we must remind our kids what the Bible says about selfishness: ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’ (James 4:6)”

Being a Leader Means Becoming a Mentor

Some Christians are called by God to become leaders within their communities (Hebrews 13:7), but leadership has its share of pitfalls. One of the most common is when a leader tries to do everything themselves. Suddenly they must accomplish everything, oversee everything, and control every aspect of their mission. Typically, this kind of attitude leads to overextension and an eventual burnout. On top of this, a leader who doesn’t work with others will never reach their full potential.

In The Lego Batman Movie, Batman is outraged when he discovers the commissioner actually wants to work with the Caped Crusader to make Gotham a safer place. Similarly, a disgruntled Batman is forced to take on the sidekick Robin despite his years of fighting crime solo. It’s only later that Batman discovers he has a responsibility to teach and train these young individuals so they can carry on the mission when he can’t. If Christian leaders hope to spread the message of the gospel, they must also become mentors to the next generation of believers.

- cross walk