What is Under the Hood?: Simple

Totem poles are an important part of the cultural heritage of the Native people of the Pacific Northwest.  They are more than just beautiful art, they represent characters or stories or symbols about a village’s cultural beliefs. A totem pole may have an animal that embodies the ethos of that community – an eagle, a salmon, or a bear, for example. 

Elders in the village would communicate the values to the younger generation using the totem pole. “We must be wise as an owl, cunning as a fox, strong as a bear, and as resourceful as a badger,” they would say. 

As new people would come in to their community, the elders would tell them the story of the totem pole -- “The salmon on the pole – he doesn’t give up; he swims upstream even though it is difficult, until he reaches his goal. That is who we are: people who persevere and grow stronger through our struggle.”
 
The totem pole is an outward expression of what is “under the hood” – what drives a community.  

We are in a conversation about what drives us. Last Sunday we talked about how love is the foundation of everything we do.  This Sunday we are going to look at valuing simplicity.  It turns out, it is simple to make things complex, but a complex task to make things simple.  Keeping things simple is an important way of understanding our faith, of how we do life together, and even how we make financial decisions. 

What is Under the Hood?: Loving

This Sunday at CrossPoint we are kicking off a new conversation to think about our new year and the kind of people we want to be. 

The kind of people that we become is result of what we value. Another way to put it is: the things we care about make us into a certain kind of person – for good or bad. 

As we begin this New Year, I want to challenge all of us – what do we value most?  What is “under the hood” that is driving our thoughts, emotions, and actions? 

And what is it that drives us collectively as CrossPoint Church?  Our collective heart – the things we collectively value, the things we collectively care about -- is called our “ethos." What kind of ethos are we creating at CrossPoint?  How will that ethos impact our children? How will it impact the people who visit CrossPoint?

This Sunday, we are going to talk about the kind of people and the kind of church we want to become in 2018.

"Reflections on 2017" by James Stewart

We are wrapping up our first calendar year together at CrossPoint. As I have been reflecting back over 2017, I thought a lot about how our church has grown in our unity, intimacy, and faithfulness—and I expect many more exciting things to come in the new year! I came across a passage in the Bible that perfectly represents how I am feeling at the moment:

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” (Colossians 2:6-7)

As we celebrate our last Sunday of 2017 together, and move forward with a new year, I am eager to discuss with you this spiritual journey we have taken together, “rooted and built up in [Christ Jesus]!"

Christmas Conversations: "Silence" with James Stewart

 It seems that this time of year our lives get filled with lots and lots of noise: TV specials, parties, and busyness.  But the very first Christmas present was a kind of gift of silence. This Sunday, James and I want to tell you part of the Christmas story that centers around a man named Zechariah the priest and his experience with silence.   

One day, he was in the temple serving, and an angel named Gabriel showed up and said that Zechariah and his old wife Elizabeth would have a son, and they were supposed to name him John. He would become John the Baptist, and he would help prepare Israel for what God was about to do through Jesus, through the coming of a Messiah.  Zechariah said to the angel, “No, it’s not possible. It couldn’t happen. God could not do this. I’m too old. Elizabeth my wife is too old. Angel, you have the wrong guy.” 

But the angel says to Zechariah, “Actually, it is possible. I’m an angel. I stand in the presence of God. My name is Gabriel. I was sent to tell you this good news myself. Zechariah, why should you be so quick to say what God cannot do and what God can do? Zechariah, why would you be so quick to say what you do believe and what you don’t believe? Zechariah, you need a button for your mouth. Now you will be silent and not be able to speak until the day this happens because you did not believe my words, which will come true at the appointed time.” 

God is going to be present to Zechariah in silence in a way God could not break through to Zechariah in words. This is the strange gift of silence. There is something about silence that is really important to your spiritual development. Silence involves two aspects: having nothing to hear, no noise around you, and nothing to say, not speaking. This Sunday we are going to look at how you can practice silence, this advent by entering into Zechariah’s experience.

Christmas Conversations, Part 1: "Joy" with Bob Condon

 For the next couple of Sundays, we are having what we are calling “Christmas Conversations”.  Instead of me preaching at you, I’m going to interview and discuss aspects of the Christmas story with a couple of other CrossPointers. 

This Sunday, Bob Condon and I are going to reflect together on the story of the Magi or the Wise Men from the Christmas story.  We really don’t know that much about them.  Most people think there were three of them because they brought three gifts to the baby Jesus: Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.  The truth is, the Bible never tells us how many of them there are; there could have been two or ten or maybe three.  They were from the “East,” which means they were probably from what is now modern day Iran or Iraq. They were open to learning from other people and other cultures.  In fact, they had read the ancient books of Israel. 

Crave, Part 4: "Soul Cravings"

While our souls were designed to crave things that bring health and life and wholeness, sometimes our souls can be trained to crave things that are destructive to ourselves.    

The story of humanity is the story of cravings.  We are designed to crave. From the very first story in the Bible, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, humanity has been trying to align what we need with what we crave.  
 

This Sunday we are wrapping up our series, “Crave” by looking at how Jesus dealt with very real cravings for food when he was tempted in the wilderness.  

Crave, Part 3: "Meaning"

This Sunday we will be looking at the soul craving of meaning.  The one place your soul cannot stand to live is in a land of meaninglessness – a place that believes that life is arbitrary, random, or senseless. 
 
If we live our lives without meaning, we find ourselves consumed by phobias and controlled by superstitions.  Even if we don’t understand life, our minds will try and make something up to give it meaning. We will find meaning in our reality no matter how twisted or nonsensical it is.  We will even choose to believe something that is false so that we don’t have to have the destabilizing effect of thinking that our lives are unmanageable and that we have no control over our circumstances.

We will be reflecting this Sunday on this soul craving of meaning: how it gets twisted in our lives and how it points us to God.