Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Toys You Can't Play With...A Room of Lies

“Toys you can’t play with and food you cannot eat…this is a room of lies.”  I heard that line in an ad the other night. I said to Tina, “Some people in our country today make similar remarks of the church.”

I love my church!  Ever say that?  I brag about this church all the time.  I love saying “Come to Crosspoint!”  For going on eight years I have been privileged to be your pastor, but that isn’t why I love this church.  This is my family’s church home.  We don’t love it because we have to or because we are the pastor and family, this IS our church home.  This IS our church family.  Lauren and Dayton are growing away, but they love coming home to their church.  Lauren shared with us recently how she so loves our Crosspoint family. We do so love you!

I think it has much to do with the realness factor.  You have said it before.  Crosspoint is real.  We are who we are. We share our struggles.  We share our lack of real as well.  We are just the opposite of the ad Tina and I viewed.  It was a Kraft Mac-N-Cheese commercial depicting a father showing off his room of Star Wars memorabilia.    Being told to put a Star Wars Mac-N-Cheese box back on the shelf, the son remarked, “Toys you can’t play with and food you cannot eat…this is a room of lies.”  I chuckled to Tina, “Wow!  What a disappointment that would be!” 

I never want to be a church where people visit and go away sensing anything near that boy’s experience.  Never should the church become a museum or showcase of something that used to be but no longer is.  Never would I want us to be all package and no substance.  How about you?  Do you love your church?  Has Crosspoint become your church home/your church family? 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Ten Minutes

An old country song I often recount is “If You’ve Got Ten Minutes” by Joe Stampley.  I just love that old song. The song centers on the hope that with just ten minutes we could fall in love.  Some of you may have a testimony of love at first sight. It makes me think creatively about what I might actually be able to accomplish in just ten minutes. 
I often put off what actually only takes a few minutes.  One of the highlights of my week last week was a ten minute visit with my sister Ann.  We laughed and caught up on memories. Ann’s first comment when I arrived was, “Hey, do you remember Josh and Dani getting married?”  At the end of our visit, I did something I am not sure I have often done with Ann.  I asked her if I could pray with her.  She smiled and bowed her head.  As I prayed I watched a beautiful sight of my sister humbly bowed before her Father. In the rush of a busy week we often neglect things that take little time and effort.
Here is a short list of what may only take ten minutes:
  • You can read the book of James in the Bible in ten minutes
  • You can write a brief note to someone, address and stamp it and place in a mailbox in ten minutes
  • You can call an old friend just to say, “I was thinking about you.”
  • You can stop by an assisted living home and visit a resident—that might be your mother—for ten minutes
  • You really can scrape ice off of a friend’s sidewalk in ten minutes—I promise
  • You can scrape off the ice on the windows of your wife’s or children’s car in ten minutes
  • You can stop and pray with a co-worker in ten minutes
  • You can share the gospel message in ten minutes
  • There are some jobs around the house that your wife has been asking you to do for six months that actually only take ten minutes
  • You can unload and load the dishwasher in ten minutes
  • You can make your husband’s day with a surprise snack bag and a note in his briefcase or backpack that says, “If you’ve got ten minutes, let’s fall in love!” and don’t forget the perfume
  • You can send your spouse that favorite song from when you first started dating in a link with a special note that lists several reasons why you still would say ‘yes’ all over again
  • You can make up your bed and pick up the clothes in your room without being asked

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Bitter Root

While walking across the front of our church yard, I studied more closely why one of our own live oak trees lost a quarter of its shape.  To my amazement, right there in the origin of the split was a mass of roots high in the canopy but within the trunk.  Where moisture had collected in the V of that tree, I thought maybe a bird had sown a destructive seed.  Hours later, I walked out there again with a theory that maybe an acorn fell in the crevice.  Sure enough, there was evidence in other trees that given the right conditions, an acorn could get lodged there from the parent tree and sprout another sapling. Over the years, down through the trunk where that limb met, roots were doing their divisive work to compromise the strength of a mighty tree.  What just a week ago was a beautifully shaped tree now has the scar of that bitter root!

Often within a family or a church family, embittered roots sow destruction within the body. It is a very sad reality that within a family one could be rooted in a spirit of division.

“See to it that no one fail to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ spring up and cause trouble, and by it the many become defiled.” Hebrews 12:15


Monday, November 2, 2015

Dear friends, how full of love are you right now?  I am not talking about while you are here in this place, just today.  If there were a gauge on your chest that measured the love inside of you, what might it read?  Is it full?  Has it all been spent?  Is there a limit to how much you can or will love?  To what object do you refer, Pastor John?  Well, I am talking of course about your love for God and your love for others.  But let’s just narrow our focus and consider your spouse, how have you loved him/her this week? How would you describe that love?  Was it out of duty?  Did you love as you first loved?  Was there any measure of love displayed this week for the love of your youth?

Marriage in this country has taken a direct hit in our children’s lifetime.  It seems that we have forgotten what a covenant is.  Our nation redefines God’s institution and we are faced with the question of how to stand up to a small percentage of people who have won the favor of an unbelieving lawmaking body and to exercise both truth and love at the same stroke.  I welcome your disagreement, but I do believe that it is futile to shout and cry for justice from a stance of weakness.  I am speaking of being doers of the word and not hearers only.  When Christians in our generation have spoken down in judgment to the ways of the world and unbelievers in a feeble attempt to gain back lost ground, we are perceived with hypocrisy.  I have been reading Romans 2 over and over each day for several weeks and I recall God’s warning to those who possess the Law.  Are we to judge others by a standard that we do not keep ourselves? Our greatest response to a lost culture is to live as true believers.  Our lives and our marriages have to honor God’s commands.  Our testimony of healthy families and healthy children will create a hunger and thirst in a culture turning to unspeakable impurities.  Paul speaks in Romans one of the approval of a culture’s idolatry.  Consider pornography as just one example.  When a  professing Christian man or woman watches this impure and immoral act, not only have they worshipped the creation instead of the Creator, but they have given hardy and sometimes financial approval to those who practice these impurities.  There are many more instances where even professing Christians have exchanged the truth of God for a lie.

Each morning, I look at a framed picture of Tina in her wedding dress.  Oh how beautiful she is!  I am reminded of the covenant made on July 18, 1987.  We are not perfect, but my how we love one another.