Author Archives: Pastor Tommy

About Pastor Tommy

Pastor Tommy is the senior pastor of Cross Community Church (PCA) in Deerfield Beach, FL. Rev. Tommy Boland is his official title. Pastor Tommy often seems too formal. Most everyone calls him "Coach".

HE BORE YOUR NAME UPON HIS HEART! 

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Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of decision as a continuing memorial before the Lord. (Exodus 28:29)


As God spoke to Moses and gave him the plan for the tabernacle in which the Lord God would dwell in the midst of His people Israel, He also gave instructions for the garment that Aaron, who was to be the first high priest of Israel, would wear while ministering in the tabernacle and offering sacrifices to atone for the sins of the people. These included instructions for the breastpiece that the high priest would wear, bearing the names of his people on his heart.

If you’ve spent much time in Scripture, you know that Jesus is identified as our great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14), and I am quite certain that He, like Aaron, bore the names of His people upon His heart as He offered His perfect, paid-in-full sacrifice before the Lord to atone for the sins of His people.

For centuries, the Old Testament’s Song of Solomon was widely considered to be a poetic allegory of God the Shepherd’s love for the people of Israel and Christ the Bridegroom’s love for His bride, the church. While that interpretation has been rejected by many modern theologians, there have been a number of outstanding Bible scholars, past and present, who read the Song as a breathtaking love letter from the Bridegroom to the bride. While I readily and respectfully acknowledge that there are good and godly interpreters who disagree, I favor the traditional reading of the text, especially when I come to passages like these, where the Bridegroom croons to His bride —

How beautiful you are, my darling,

How beautiful you are!

And the bride exults —

He has brought me to his banquet hall,

And his banner over me is love. . . .

My beloved is mine, and I am his;

He pastures his flock among the lilies. (Song of Solomon 1:10; 2:4, 16 NASB)

I wrote in an earlier article that as Christ hung on that cruel cross, He clearly heard the jeers of the crowd: “He saved others, but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him” (Matthew 27:42).

And here’s the incredible truth: He could have! Jesus Christ could have come down from that cross in an instant, uttered one word, and twelve legions of angels would have turned the hill Golgotha into a slaughter pen (Matthew 26:53). It wasn’t nails that held Jesus Christ to the cross; it was his love for YOU!

This is pure speculation on my part, but I wonder . . . As our Savior hung on the cross, experiencing the terrible, utterly unimaginable wrath of God, shuddering as fresh jolts of agony coursed through His body with each tortured breath . . . could it be that He was thinking of you and me during that entire time? And perhaps He was repeating to Himself over and over . . .

“How beautiful you are, my darling,

How beautiful you are!”

Christian, you are the bride of the King. I pray you will exult in the amazing, unfathomable love that your great High Priest has for you. He bore your name upon His heart as He bore your sins upon that cross . . . and His heart beats with love for you today. May that truth strengthen you and encourage you to walk in faithfulness and joy this day.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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TREADMILL OF TIME

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Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)


After reading the title “Treadmill of Time,” you may have read today’s verse and thought to yourself, “Yeah, right! I can’t remember the last time I was still before God with all the running I’ve been doing on the treadmill of time. Well, you are not alone.

In our fast-paced society, stillness simply doesn’t feel right. If we are not going, going, going, we believe we are falling behind. Yet God makes it clear that in order to grow into the person He is calling us to be, we must develop the discipline of stillness. If we are not disciplined to be still, we simply will not know God as fully and as deeply as we ought. When we are running from one activity to another . . . from one event to another . . . we are either too busy to spend time with God, or too tired to hear Him speak to us when we finally do slow down.

If you find yourself constantly running on the treadmill of time, know that it is not God who has put you there. I long ago lost count of how often I’ve heard members of our congregation say that they have so many plates spinning that they simply can’t keep up with them all.

Here’s the thing: If you can’t get all your work done, it’s not God’s work you are doing! God will always give you the right amount of time to do exactly what He is calling you to do in order for you to still have time left to be still in His presence. God will not overfill your agenda so as to crowd Himself out of your life.

Perhaps this would be a good time to take inventory of how you have been “investing” your time lately. Remember, God’s gift to you is time. Your gift back to God is how you spend it. Why not invest a little extra time in your relationship with Jesus this week? Take a walk with Him today. Spend some time alone at the park with Him. If you are raising children, open God’s Word while they are napping and let God speak to you.

I have learned from personal experience that we always get more done when we step off the treadmill of time to be still before God. I know it feels counterintuitive, but it really does work!

One more thought: the more you are still before God, the more you will know just how much He loves and cares for you.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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BELIEVING GOD’S BENEDICTIONS

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Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy . . . (Jude 24 NASB)


There was a time when the church service wasn’t finished until the minister pronounced God’s benediction over the congregation. However, in today’s culture of individualistic spontaneity, these inspired expressions of praise are often set aside for a more casual prayer.

That’s not the case at Cross Community Church. There is no better way to end a worship service than by declaring God’s Word over the lives of His people as they prepare to go back out into the mission field. However, there is an unfortunate challenge that must be overcome when we do this: that challenge is the familiarity that results from missing the Master’s meaning.

Take another look at our verse for today. What a powerful promise is given to us! And that promise should be a source of cosmic comfort for you today. “Now to Him [the only God our Savior] who is able to keep you from stumbling [that is, committing either sins of commission or omission] . . .” What a wonderful reminder that the power that is at work within us—resurrection power—is greater than any power that can come against us. Jesus is at work within us to keep us from stumbling into the snares of Satan.

But that’s not all! The benediction does not stop with what God in Christ has promised to do for us presently. It goes on to make clear what God in Christ will do for us in our promised future: “to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy.” Hear me clearly; if that truth seizes us, we will experience deeper joy and greater freedom in our daily walk with Christ. Why? Because we know from personal experience that, even though Jesus is guarding us from stumbling, we still willfully lurch into sin along the way. And yet our all-too-frequent times of stumbling do nothing to shake the foundation upon which our faith is built: the Rock of Ages.

The glorious good news of the Gospel secures us even in our grumbling, bumbling, and stumbling. God in Christ is perfecting us in our imperfection, and He will not stop short of bringing us into absolute perfection on that day when we stand before the presence of His glory.

I hope you’ll pause right now and remember, regardless of where this message finds you, the glorious words of this benediction over your life . . . To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy . . . You have His Word on that truth!

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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24/7/365

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I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. (Revelation 3:8)


Be encouraged, Christian; you have been promised an open door that leads to the throne room of heaven—24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!

  • Never is the door closed to your pleading.
  • Never is the door closed to your praise.
  • Never is the door closed to your cries.
  • Never is the door closed to your concerns.
  • Never is the door closed to your fears.
  • Never is the door closed to your hopes.
  • Never is the door closed to your dreams.
  • Never is the door closed to your desires.

Omnipotence has promised you an open door. No one can shut that door—not your enemies or the evil one. Nothing can shut that door—not even your sin. If you have placed your trust in Jesus Christ, you have been cleansed by His blood and clothed in His rich, righteous robes, and that gives you unlimited access to the Almighty . . . not only daily, but moment by moment. In today’s verse, we see the King of kings and Lord of lords inviting us into unending communion with Him, regardless of the circumstances we are currently facing in life.

As a pastor, I frequently encounter those who have allowed the devil to deceive them into believing that the divine door has been closed to them. They think they have been locked out because of sins of commission (things they should not have done but did do), or sins of omission (things they should have done but didn’t do). I immediately explain that this kind of thinking underscores the reason why we must preach the Gospel to ourselves each day, so that we will remember God’s great promise to us: You have continual access to the throne room of grace because of what Jesus has done for you. That door is not opened by our good works, and it is not closed by our bad works.

Remember, God has promised you an open door with unlimited access, but you must go through it. Go through it on your feet . . . go through it on your knees . . . go through it on your face . . . go through it in prayer . . . go through it in Bible study . . . go through it in the communion of the saints . . . but go through it! And if you ever find yourself in a condition where you think you cannot muster the strength to go through that open door, know this: Jesus is the Door, and you are already on the other side!

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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REPEATED RESCUE

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From six calamities he will rescue you; in seven no harm will touch you. (Job 5:19)


Oh, what a word of comfort we have before us today in the words that Eliphaz the Temanite spoke to Job! To be sure, calamities will come our way, for we have been promised trouble on this side of the grave. Yet even in calamitous desperation we experience cosmic deliverance.

Eliphaz spoke a truth that we must forever keep in view: greater is the power that is in us than any power that comes against us. That is why we are to face any and all waves of challenge that confront us with confident assurance . . . because our Redeemer has promised our rescue.

In the first half of today’s passage, we might see those six calamities as representing six days of the week, leaving us one day of rest to be refreshed and renewed by our Redeemer before the next calamity comes calling. But in the last part of the passage, we see that seven calamities span the full week, with no rest day to recover. Yet even with no rest for the weary one travelling toward the Celestial City, no harm will touch you! Rightly understood, today’s verse should be a source of unimaginable comfort to us, no matter what calamities beset us.

Regardless of the trials you are facing—whether they come in sixes with a day to rest and recover, or even if they roll in on you in relentless waves of seven with seemingly no end in sight—fear not! Your heavenly Father has promised to rescue you without fail. Remember, when we face the storms in seasons of seven, with no letup in the winds that are howling around us, our rest is not to be found in the day, but in our Deliverer. Even during the most intense storms, our Savior is our shelter; we can rest assured that He will carry us through to the other side of the storm, more conformed to the image of Christ than we were before.

Repeated rescue is the promise from our Redeemer God. May that truth set us free today to rise above any and all storms, knowing that we are safe in the omnipotent arms of our Savior.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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EVERY BELIEVER’S BURNING BUSH

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This will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you. (Exodus 3:12)


The bush that was burning yet not consumed was the sign God gave to Moses in calling him to be the deliverer of Israel. Who could ever imagine such a thing but God Himself?

Moses had fled from Egypt 40 years earlier when he tried to rescue his people by the might of his own hand. Now God was calling this fugitive murderer into His service; the Sovereign Lord knew He would need to do something striking to convince Moses that it truly was the one true living God who was calling him into service. So God used a burning bush that did not burn up.

I am not suggesting that God still uses burning bushes today to call His people into His service, but I do emphatically assert that God still uses signs that point the way toward His perfect purpose for our lives. God sends every believer a burning bush. The primary point is not what form that sign takes, but rather what it is pointing to . . . and are we sensitive enough to recognize it? And are we willing to obediently go wherever it is leading us?

God can and will use just about anything as a sign to call His children into service. It could be a sermon you are sitting under in which spiritual reality turns into a supernatural conviction of calling. It could by a hymn or praise chorus that suddenly pierces straight to your heart. It could be a conversation with a friend or family member. It could be something you sense being spoken to you during your prayer time. But make no mistake, as a child of God, you will have burning bush experiences that bring you to the place where the voice of God is so clear and present that you simply cannot doubt it, deny it, or delay in responding to it.

God gave me my burning bush experience through my beloved wife. We had talked for years about planting a church, but each talk ended with Kim saying she simply did not sense it was the right time. Then, in 2011, just when I was resigning myself to doing ministry right where I was serving, Kim told me that it was time. There was no doubt God was speaking to me through my wife, and today we are seven years into the most amazing spiritual journey as a church-planting family, experiencing the full gamut of God’s triumphs and trials.

What burning bush has God placed before you? Remember, God never calls the equipped. I can assure you that Kim and I were not equipped to plant a church! But what God does do is equip the called. He will not call you into something without giving you everything you need to get it done. Are you willing to answer your call, regardless of the cost or circumstance? I can promise you from personal experience that it will leave you forever changed for your good . . . and for God’s glory.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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A FOUNTAIN FOR THE FAITHFUL

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With you is the fountain of life. (Psalm 36:9)


It is true that when Jesus saves us individually, He saves us to community. The Bible knows nothing of the solitary saint. When we are raised from death to life, we are placed within the body of Christ. As part of His body, we are to remain in contact with all the other parts of His body as we come together in our corporate worship, fellowship, service, and times of study. We are fed and nurtured in our faith when we are connected with the people of God.

But we have all experienced times when it seemed as though we were walking through a barren wilderness, even though we are surrounded by the people of God. Why? Perhaps we had neglected the Fountain Himself.

Speaking from both personal and pastoral experience, I can testify to this truth. It’s easy for me to get so focused on ministry that I neglect my time alone with the Master. To be sure, I am drinking from the wells of the great cloud of witnesses (other Christians), but that is a poor substitute for the Fount of Every Blessing (Jesus Christ). The family of faith will strengthen and support us as we walk with Christ through the details of life, but, make no mistake, only the Fountain will sustain us every step of the way.

It is in that Fountain of Life that we were first given new life. Like Lazarus, who was four days in the grave, we must be called forth from the tomb of spiritual death by the Fountain of Life to receive the new life that we now have in Christ. Once we have come forth from the tomb, our life experience is much like Peter’s. We declare to our Prince that we will never fall away . . . yet we all too often do, and with very little effort. What then? Like Peter, who denied the Lord three times on the night He was betrayed, we will be renewed and refreshed when we flee to the Fountain of life. And we must not simply sip from the wellspring of life, but submerge ourselves in it!

Do you thirst today? Do you feel like you’re running on empty? For some, that emptiness is simply because they have separated themselves from the people of God. If that is you, return at once to your family of faith. However, if you are plugged into the people of God and still find it hard to light up, return at once to your Fount of every blessing. The thirst you are experiencing is just a prelude to being filled to overflowing, for your Lord has promised, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink” (John 7:37).

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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